JazzPA's Board of Directors is busy at work putting together the 2015 Summer Jazz Celebration, which once again promises to be one of the premier jazz events this side of the Hudson River. We welcome your input and support. Please contact Catherine at catherinedupuis@aol.com with any suggestions, comments and wish lists. If you'd like to be involved with one of JazzPA's many committees, please let us know - we'll be thrilled to have you working with us as we prepare a jazz festival Centre County can embrace! We look forward to working with the community and providing service to Central Pennsylvania and all of its communities for years to come.

JazzPA's Board of Directors: John Arrington (Treas.), Lea Asbell-Swanger, Rick CriderCatherine Dupuis (Pres.), Curtis Ishler, Pam LongLeslie Wagner, Paul Wagner (V. Pres.), Holly Wilson, Tom Wilson, Betsy Dupuis (Of Counsel).

JazzPA is a non-profit corporation in the State of Pennsylvania with IRS 501c3 designation. We welcome the opportunity to visibly acknowledge your sponsorship and support. Please contact us today. See you July 23rd at the Palmer Museum and July 24th and 25th in historic Bellefonte!


Warren Vache shares his insights with a local student during the Saturday afternoon Master Class (2011).

JazzPA's History:

Past Guest Artists:
Phil Woods (2014)
Sheila Jordan
 (2013)
Houston Person (2012)
Warren Vache (2011)
Wycliffe Gordon (2010) with Jay Leonhart
Jerry Dodgion (2009) with David Finck
Byron Stripling and Tom Malone (2008)
Bill Mays/Invention Trio (2007)
Bucky Pizzarelli (2006) with Ken Peplowski
Russ Kassoff Trio (2005-2015)

In 2009, we mourned the passing of our founder Joe Alessandro, and dedicated our weekend of jazz to Joe: all he meant to the local jazz community as a musician, a mentor and a teacher. Celebrating the strong saxophone of Central PA, including Steve Bowman, Rick Hirsch, David Stambler and Dan Yoder, plus the incredible award-winning State High Jazz Band with their outstanding sax section led by Kevin Supina, under the direction of Rich Victor, we thanked Joe for making his and our dream come true, a jazz festival all of Centre County embraces!

JazzPA began as the State College Jazz Festival: local saxophonist Joe Alessandro's dream, who then convinced Catherine Dupuis to "make it happen!" In 2005, with the help of local residents Maralyn and Paul Mazza, the South Hills School and many generous sponsors, local and nationally-acclaimed musicians participated in a one-day summer jazz festival filling the South Hills School Bandshell and surrounding lawns and gardens with jazz music and enthusiastic community support.

Expanded to 2 days, the 2006 summer festival became a multi-venue event, moving to downtown State College PA and kicking off with a "Battle of the Big Bands" showcasing three fabulous local big bands (including the award-winning
State High Jazz Band). A second day of music featuring local and regional artists culminated in an evening concert with legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, clarinetist extraordinaire Ken Peplowski and crowd favorites, the Russ Kassoff Trio. 2006 also introduced "music around town" featuring local bands in restaurant and club locations around downtown State College. The 2007 summer festival expanded to 3 days, incorporated the fabulous State Theatre and featured the jazz piano with pianists Arthur Goldstein, Billy Test, Russ Kassoff and Bill Mays, plus many local and regional artists.

In 2008 the organization grew to become
JazzPA with an active board of directors and the summer event, now the Summer Jazz Celebration, one component of the organization. Thanks in large part to lead sponsor Columbia Gas of PA, the revamped summer festival moved to Bellefonte, and was a huge success with three simultaneous venues running for the one-day event. Featured artists Tom Malone and Byron Stripling led both a morning master class and an evening concert and were they ever extraordinary — they brought down the house, Bellefonte's historic Garman Opera House Theatre which we will miss very much.

Catherine Dupuis' Personal Statement:
State College in Centre County is my hometown (State High '76; MFA PSU '85). My high school years were spent in Park Forest (State College) and on Buffalo Run (Bellefonte), but for the past 25 years I've lived and worked in New York City with a successful performing and recording career both on the stage and as a jazz vocalist. I attribute much of my success to having grown up in Central Pennsylvania where I was afforded so many positive performing experiences as a young musician, actor, singer and dancer. I received excellent training from my high school and private instructors, am a proud Boal Barn alumnus, and sang in a Choral Society children's choir and every Sunday in the choirs at Our Lady of Victory. Central PA afforded me the luxury of hearing bands live (like Buddy Rich's) as they passed through on their way between the "big" towns (thanks Mom for taking me!). While completing my MFA in Acting, I performed during the three years in mainstage shows and each summer for Centre Stage (once reconnecting with my high school leading man now Olivier Award winner and hometown actor Robby Lehman). Other evenings were spent singing with Skip Wareham's dance band (with Joe Alessandro leading the sax section). I cherish that I got to grow up in Happy Valley and I'm continually impressed with all the musical talent that's here for the listening, generation after generation. Because I grew up in Centre County, my life has included irreplaceable (thank you Ira Gershwin) and wonder-filled experiences, including the miracle that is Grange Fair, the State Farm Show (thanks to my sister's award-winning jerseys and Muncy Mountain Farm), and hikes on Tussey Mountain with my forever Girl Scout friends. I continue to learn the depth and breadth of the history that is Bellefonte and Centre County - Thank you Bellefonte Secrets! I remain indebted to the JazzPA board for their constant and tireless efforts to bring this summer event to fruition - and to all of you who attend and support it and look forward to it each year. Hope I'll see you in July - no matter how busy I look, please stop me to say hello and introduce yourself. I look forward to seeing all of you.