Coltons Point, MD – Preserving history and celebrating culture are all aims of a museum. The 19th annual Potomac Jazz and Seafood Festival, held Saturday, July 14 on the grounds of the St. Clements Island Museum was a bull’s-eye. County government and museum officials continued the tradition started during the late-1990s by St. Mary’s Museum Division Marketing Specialist Kim Cullins, showcasing contemporary jazz talent with the vista of a famous island serving as the backdrop.
“Perfect day! Beautiful weather, great music and lots of fun,” exclaimed Jazz Festival Planning Committee Member Joan Waters.
The hundreds attending came from all over the region and beyond. The event’s door prize—artist Angela Wathen’s work that was used as a concert poster—was won by a woman from Piscataway, NJ. Viewing space is on a first come-first-served basis, with ticketholders advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Some of the attendees preferred to minimize their day in the sun by occupying the spots under a shading tree. Others opted to get as close to the stage as possible.
The stars of the show were vocalist Tracy Hamlin, saxophonist Jackiem Joyner and guitarist/vocalist Nick Colionne. Hamlin, a Baltimore native, was appearing at her first Potomac Jazz Festival. Colionne appeared at the festival in 2014. In addition to her vocal talent—she sings in several languages—Hamlin is also a producer. One of the highlights of her on-stage segment was her rendition of the Billie Holiday Classic “Good Morning, Heartache.” Joyner—who is known as “Lil’ Man Soul”—has received many award and has released several albums. The high note—literally—of his set was a sultry rendering of “Georgia on My Mind.” Another Georgia song—Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia,” made famous in the early 1970s by Brook Benton—was part of Colionne’s performance.
While the artists went for the soul, museum officials tugged at the heartstrings, as they honored Cullins’ memory. Cullins, who passed away in 2015 after battling leukemia, now has a bench in front of the museum overlooking the Potomac in her honor. Inscribed is her signature line, “It’s All About the Love.” Family members were on hand for the festival and the brief bench unveiling ceremony. Festival officials also recognized Lewie Aldridge, who recently retired as a member of the Friends of the St. Clements Island and Piney Point Museums Board of Directors.
“We’re looking forward to the 20th anniversary festival next year,” said Waters.
The Potomac Jazz Festival, which is recognized as one of the top five jazz events on the East Coast, is already scheduled for its anniversary event—July 13, 2019.
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