The Astoria Jazz Band is a 12-piece offshoot of the Astoria Big Band. Founded in 1986 by baritone saxophonist Carol Sudhalter, the big band presents concerts to the people of Queens through the borough’s parks, street fairs, churches and events. Its purpose has been to bring new Big Band music to residents of all ages, areas and ethnic backgrounds. To this end, the band works closely with the Queens Council on the Arts, from whom it receives performance and development grants.
1. Can you tell us about your QAF funded project?
We are very excited about our project, playing popular songs composed by women through many decades, and arranged by band members. Billie Holiday, Bernice Petkere, Ann Ronell, Linda Presgrave, Melba Liston and so many others!
Saturday, June 18, 2016 – 7 pm – Astoria Big Band Concert at Sunnyside Reformed Church: “Women Composers of Popular Music”. 48-03 Skillman Ave., Sunnyside, Queens
Saturday, October 15 2016, 2 TO 4 PM – Astoria Big Band Concert at Langston Hughes Library: “Women Composers of Popular Music”. 100-01 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights, Queens
2. How do you think this project will impact the community?
a. They love the big band sound!
b. They often don't realize how many standard tunes are written by women. That can have a huge impact, especially on young women who write or want to write music.
3. How has QCA been helpful in the grant process?
I will say that we couldn't have done it without them. We would have existed, but without the grants, we wouldn't have given the great concerts in Queens venues; and without the prospect of applying for a grant, we probably wouldn't even have paid attention to our own ideas for concert themes.
The council is a godsend to all of us,
4. Here is your chance, what do you want everyone to know about your organization?
- We were the first to play at the Forest Park Carousel, to play a jazz series at Athens Square Park, and many other firsts
- We are available for concerts, festivals and parties
- We will travel