All Jazzed Up

A perfect summer night, a fine barbeque feast, and a swinging jazz band made RAH’s first Jazz Fest a big hit.

When it comes to jazz festivals, the first time was the charm for the RAH Civic Association.* The August event, co-hosted by the St. James School in Allegheny West, went off without a hitch, drawing a crowd of almost 100 neighbors on a soft summer night to mingle and donate to RAH’s community programs.

The crowd was all smiles, whether they lounged at picnic benches catching up with friends or waited in line for a spread three tables long of smoky barbecue, fried chicken, and rows of side dishes, courtesy of Charity Barbecue and several Reading Terminal vendors. The smiles carried over to St. David’s field, where the TNB Jazz Band performed multiple sets under a stand of trees as the sun began to set, a soft evening breeze rustling the leaves overhead.

Volunteers at a nearby raffle table sold sleeves of 50/50 tickets at a brisk pace for several baskets of cheer while RAH President Rose Cooper worked the crowd — greeting guests, welcoming neighbors old and new, and pitching in to help where she could. “This is great,” she said, watching the band play. “Really happy with the way it turned out.”

When we asked her what she’d change next time, she couldn’t think of a thing, except “maybe have people bring more bug spray? But it’s the summer, what can you do?” she said with a laugh. When a few mosquito bites are the only issue at your neighborhood festival, you know it’s a winner.

*A registered community organization representing neighbors and businesses in the neighborhood bounded by Ridge, Allegheny, and Hunting Park avenues.

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