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Flicks N' Jazz in Sunnyside Gardens Park

Flicks N’ Jazz In The Garden Attracts Crowd of Nearly 800

flicks n jazz in garden sunnysideSeptember 28, 2015 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Jazz in Queens / Queens Buzz.

I attended the fifth annual Flicks N' Jazz in the Garden in Sunnyside Gardens Park. In prior years I had written several stories about the film portion of the program, so this year I decided to focus on the new addition to the event moniker … jazz.

Sunnyside is home to quite a number of jazz musicians, and the neighborhood periodically gets to enjoy listening to these talented performers for free or only a few dollars. The Bix Biederbecke concert in August is one such occasion, and the Flicks N’ Jazz in the Garden is another.

In the first year of Flicks in the Garden [2011], Sunnyside Gardens Park had set up the screen in an area near the park entrance. Phil Valenti and the Broken Hearted Blues Band was the first band to play for the Flicks event. They were, in a sense, the warm up band or the preamble for the Flicks in the Garden event. Their bluesy tunes were a big hit with the crowd. Phil Valenti runs Go Natural Health Foods and Juice Bar on Queens Blvd between 45th and 46th Streets.

Click here to read more about Flicks N' Jazz in the Garden & see video of Wake Up! including members of the Street Beat Brass Band.


Sunnyside Gardens Park Flicks N' Jazz

Flicks N’ Jazz In The Garden Attracts Crowd of About 700

September 28, 2015 / Sunnyside Neighborhood / Jazz in Queens / Queens Buzz. Continued.

street beat brass band wake up band tommy stahtes animation queens nycThe second year [2012] food came more to the fore and the event organizers featured an Irish warm up band, the New York Trad, wherein Peadar Hickey and Pio Ryan played some fancy fiddling music to which the kids danced. In 2013 event was emcee'd by Ty Sullivan, a local tall, slim and very red mad hatter, and again the kids enjoyed the show. I missed Flicks last year, but this year when I saw Jazz added to the moniker, I decided to return to check it out.

Again this year, the primarily musical portion of the event led the program, as the vintage animated films curated by local animation aficionado Tommy Stathes, weren’t shown until after sundown.

Street Beat Brass Band & Wake Up!

I believe the event started a bit late, and I arrived early, just in time to hear Wake Up!, which is one of the local jazz bands. Since two of the musicians, trombonist Jeff Fairbanks and drummer Vin Scialla, also play in the Street Beat Brass Band - which I had come to record - I decided to record Wake Up! instead.

flicks n jazz in garden sunnysideBoth bands are comprised of mostly local musicians. The Street Beat Brass Band plays for parades, weddings and funerals as they are mobile and can march. And both bands appear frequently at clubs and other venues around the city and at private events. You can find Street Beat Brass Band on Facebook.com / streetbeatbrass and you can find Wake Up!, at Facebook.com / wakeupjazz.

The Flushing Remonstrance - Musical Duo

There was a third group there, a duo by the name of the Flushing Remonstrance. This keyboard and percussion team provided music to accompany the vintage silent animated films. I’m pretty sure they used their own original scores.

I captured one of the Wake Up! jazz performances on the video below, which is an enjoyable piece entitled Bluein' Away the Blows from the album Wake Up! by Liftoff Records.

Vintage Animated Films With Live Musical Accompaniment

events open to public sunnyside gardens parkAfter the program I spoke to Tammy Arnstein, one of the volunteer park members, about the event. She reminded me of how the Flicks event had stated [in tandem with the Sunnyside Shorts Film organizers] and told me that this year the park organizers had set up arts & crafts tables so the kids could create storyboards for animation. A professional cartoonist was also there, as well as a puppet theater.

The intent was to make the program interactive and creative, so that the kids could participate in arts themselves. She noted that Materials For Arts on Northern Blvd and Artists and Craftsmen Supply on Queens Blvd provided some of the materials, and that the food that was for sale was made by Park volunteers along with donations from Sunnyside Pizza, Butcher Block and Jin Brothers Wine & Liquor.

Sunnyside Gardens Park - Events Open To Public

This event was open to the public, as Sunnyside Gardens Park has been a privately owned park since its inception in 1926. The suggested donation was $10 / $5 for non-members / members.

The next event open to the public at Sunnyside Gardens Park is Oktoberfest on October 3rd [rain date the 4th] and this is followed by a Holiday Boutique on December 6th.

Sunnyside Gardens Park has hosted [or soon will] nine events open to the public this year. In 2015 the Sunnyside Gardens Park public events were: Star Gazing on April 25th, Mother’s Day Plant Sale on May 9th, Memorial Day on May 30th, Shakespeare in the Park on July 31 and August 7, a Yard Sale on September 12th and Flicks & Jazz on September 19th.

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