Cultural Arts Rotary Club of Fresno presents “A Toast to the Town” (formerly Storyland and Jazz) at Rotary Playland at Roeding Park on Saturday, September 10 at 6 pm. This annual fundraiser will feature great music by The After Dinner Mints with a special appearance by Clarkia Cobb and Fresno’s Finest Restaurant Tastings. Wine, beer and soft drinks will be available for purchase. The proceeds from the event will benefit youth arts programs.
ABOUT THE AFTER DINNER MINTS
Describing the Mints’ music is a challenge. Their repertoire includes jazzy favorites from the Swing Era, novelty songs from the 1940s, the pre-rock jump blues of Louis Prima, fiery Latin dance tunes, soulful Ray Charles covers, odd songs about food, and a few “modern” numbers (from the 1960s!) Add in some odd costume choices and slightly inappropriate props, and voila: After Dinner Mints!
Don’t let the “food” nicknames throw you. Jazz fans will recognize Mark Ribera (Pea), Les Nunes (Ham), Dale Engstrom (Gløgg), Craig VonBerg (Kraut), Brian Hamada (Rice), John Lauffenburger (Butter), and Mike Dana (Soup) as some of the busiest jazz performers on the scene.
Cultural Arts Rotary Club presents an “At the River” version of
STORYLAND & JAZZ, COMING AUGUST 22, 2015!
With Storyland temporarily closed, the annual Storyland & Jazz concert and fundraiser this year is “At the River” – the San Joaquin River Parkway to be exact. Storyland will be in evidence, though, thanks to characters provided as paper mache centerpieces through Fresno County EOC Sanctuary youth and other volunteer efforts.
The evening includes food tasting from local restaurants, a no-host bar, and silent auction to benefit Storyland, underserved youth and arts programs funded by Cultural Arts Rotary Club.
This year’s headliner is No Prisoners, a local band not heard for some time. One of Fresno’s most popular jazz groups of the 1980s gets back together to perform for Storyland and Jazz at the River. No Prisoners was a frequent performer on the Fresno jazz scene in the 80s and 90s and many of the band’s members remain vibrant forces on the jazz scene today. The group includes Mike Dana, guitar; Craig VonBerg, piano; Brian Hamada, drums; Roy Carlson, bass; Bob Bergthold, vocals.
Also on tap is the youth group The Jazz Extension, a hit at last year’s event. These college students bring their love of music and embody the culmination of the youth programs the club supports.
Cultural Arts Rotary’s annual event raises funds to benefit Storyland, underserved youth, and arts organizations. Food tasting from local restaurants, a no-host bar, and a silent auction are provided in addition to the jazz bands. Tickets are $50, available at brownpapertickets.com or from club members.
The Storyland & Jazz event was a spectacular success with nearly 300 in attendance. The food was excellent and plentiful. The music was fun and enjoyable with “street drummer” Joe Lizama setting the tone at the entrance, the Jazz Extension playing pre-show music and the Bourbon Street Beat bringing the heat in a very entertaining show. Train rides, conversation, and an outstanding silent auction array completed the good times.
So many thanks to the Interact Youth and the Police Academy Cadets – they all did yeoman’s work setting up, tearing down, and everything you could think of in between. Lots of kudos must go out – starting with Chair Sandy Silva. That little tiny lady does HUGE WORK! Thank you a million times, Sandy. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard and to everyone who brought friends and could be there. It was especially nice to see long long time members Ann and Gary Hanson, who used to run the silent auction. They particularly enjoyed being able to relax and enjoy!