WESTFORD — Renowned musicians Jay Geils and Gerry Beaudoin will headline “Sweet Sounds: An Evening of Jazz and Dessert” to help raise funds for the revitalization of a local K-4 school playground. The event will be held just in time for Valentine’s Day on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Westford Regency Hotel, 219 Littleton Road (Route 110), Westford, Mass. Tickets are $35 per person and available to the public at www.mktix.com/frbpta.
Proceeds from the benefit event will help revitalize the Florence Roche School playground in Groton. In addition to live jazz all night, the gala will include hors d’oeuvres, dessert and a chocolate buffet, a silent auction, raffle, and a cash bar. Jazz and chocolate fans throughout the Merrimack and Nashoba Valleys, as well as southern New Hampshire are expected to attend.
Music will be provided by the Jay Geils-Gerry Beaudoin Sextet, an exciting trip through the history of jazz, blues and swing guitar. It is interesting to note that Geils, who made his mark on the music world playing rock and roll with the award-winning J. Geils Band, is such a consummate jazz and blues guitarist. The sextet evokes the classic guitar sounds of a bygone era with an original twist, featuring multi-reed player Billy Novick on clarinet and saxophone and backed by double-bassist John Turner and drummer Les Harris Jr.
Opening the show is the Barry Singer Quartet.
Geils and Beaudoin are donating their services to the cause, and will also sell CDs and sign autographs at the show. “I’m a long-time Groton resident and moved here in 1982,” says Geils. “I like it here and have lots of friends, so I’m happy to help out and do something nice for them.”
While some attendees might dress in red to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day, event chairman Sarah Abrahamsen doesn’t expect to see people in formal attire. “I envision a warm and glowing party filled with friends, laughter, good music and a dream-like buffet of desserts,” said Abrahamsen. “I want our guests to feel like they just stepped into the coziest jazz club, ready for a sophisticated but relaxing evening.”
A limited number of sponsorships are available to local businesses by contacting Abrahamsen at (978) 448-1468.
The Florence Roche/Boutwell PTA is fund-raising for a new playground and equipment including a rubberized safety surface. In August 2006, soil testing revealed unsafe levels of arsenic and the playground was closed. This meant that the 600 kindergarten through fourth grade students, the school district’s extended day program, and the entire community no longer had access for gym classes, activities or fun.
Although the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District paid to remediate the arsenic, most of the PTA funds were depleted for general landscaping, purchasing basketball hoops, and adding a fence.