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Victoria Fine Arts Association celebrates 65th year with two-day festival

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
April 8, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.
Updated April 7, 2012 at 11:08 p.m.


The Victoria Fine Arts Association has enhanced the musical culture of the Crossroads for 65 years.

Luciano Pavarotti and Grammy-award winning producer Bob Gallarza & Friends are just two of the musical legends that have taken center stage in Victoria because of this arts organization.

For almost two years, the association's volunteers have organized what is now the Jam Fest.

Teri Trafton, the marketing chair, said the Jazz Fest was renamed to appeal to a broader audience.

"We want as many people as possible to come," Trafton said. "It's a free, family festival."

The two-day festival will begin Friday evening at the Junior League Courtyard with a screening of "Unsigned," a documentary about musicians trying to break into the industry. The event will offer an opportunity to meet director Edward Payson and musician Paul Nagi.

Various musical acts will perform at DeLeon Plaza on Saturday.

For jazz fans, the Victoria College Jazz Band will perform songs from legends Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

California-based musician Nagi will display his alternative, dark new wave style with a opening night serenade and Saturday afternoon jam session.

Other musical acts include Thomas McDowell and local favorites 24X7 and Clay Crockett & The Shotgun Riders.

Hector Ward & The Big Time's nine-piece horn-fueled ensemble will enlighten the hearts of the crowd before headliner Jason D. Williams will play the piano.

Trafton expressed gratitude to the other community organizations that have contributed to the weekend-long festival.

"The more people to bring free entertainment to Victoria, the better off the city will be," she said.

Concert-goers are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets.

For those who want the extra perks of preferred seating, a catered meal and access to an after party at One O'Connor Plaza, a VIP ticket is available for $65.

One continuing goal of the association is to promote arts among the youth.

On average, $3,000 is divided among music majors at Victoria College per year. Some of the scholarship recipients will perform at the festival throughout the day.

"It's an opportunity for the kids to come out and earn it," said Jonathan Anderson, an associate professor of music at the college. He is also the association's entertainment co-chairman.

Anderson said the Jam Fest will serve as a great platform for students to see professional musicianship and interact with the public at large.

Throughout the year, the jazz band and commercial music ensemble learn about different decades of music.

"Classic music sets the tone for today's music," Anderson said.

Trafton hopes all generations will come to enjoy the signature festival. She said the success of the event depends on the public.

"If we can get people to come, they will see how passionate we are about music," she said.

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