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St. Charles prepares for second annual jazz festival

ST. CHARLES – Those attending the second annual St. Charles Jazz Weekend will have even more opportunities to listen to jazz than last year’s event.

The number of venues participating in the event, which kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday, has grown from four to eight. St. Charles Jazz Weekend is put on by the St. Charles Downtown Partnership, and the Kane County Chronicle is a premier media sponsor of the event.

“We had a really good reception from the four venues that participated last year,” said Scott Piner, marketing and development manager for the Downtown St. Charles Partnership. “The original intent was to bring more people downtown who could go out and enjoy jazz in different restaurants in the downtown.

“There is a lot of great entertainment and great music that is already a part of the fabric of the downtown.”

The St. Charles Jazz Weekend is being put on in association with the St. Charles Arts Council All-City, All-Arts Event – Charlie’s Center for the Arts – All Of The Arts, All Over Town. It will encompass venues all over St. Charles that will feature visual art galleries/studios, music, literature and arts programming.

A full schedule of events is at

One of the featured artists in the St. Charles Jazz Weekend is Chicago-born and Grammy award winning saxophonist Frank Catalano, who was a member of the Elgin Community College Jazz Band while in high school.

“He brings a lot of credibility to the quality of the jazz musicians,” Piner said.

Catalano, 36, said his experience in the Elgin Community College Jazz Band helped him to grow as a musician.

“It really made me hone my skills,” he said.

Catalano, who has played around the world, said he is happy to be playing on his home turf.

Biggby Coffee is one of the new venues participating this year. This is the first time that the coffee shop will feature live music. Franchise owner Todd Madziarczyk said he enjoys listening to jazz.

“We will see what our customers would like to see,” Madziarczyk said. “Hopefully it will lead to something else. We just want to have another reason for people to visit us.”

Other venues that will participate this year include The Filling Station, The House Pub, McNally’s Irish Pub, Alibi, Isacco Kitchen, The Office and Nuova Italia Ristorante.

A full St. Charles Jazz Weekend schedule is available at

Restaurants aren’t the only venues getting into the act. Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, at 307 Cedar Ave. in St. Charles, coincidentally kicked off its new jazz worship service Sunday, and it will be having another service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday during St. Charles Jazz Weekend.

“I think we were looking for something different to offer the community,” said Jeff Hunt, the church’s director of music.

Hunt went to a couple of services at a church in Chicago where jazz is also incorporated into the worship service.

“Jazz is so soulful,” Hunt said. “Jazz has a real soulful spirit to it. If people are in the mood for a whole jazz weekend, they might want to consider coming in here.”

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