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Chamber Promises to Continue 'Great' Jazz Event Downtown

The chamber says it does not plan to change the yearly event, except its name.

After severing ties with the original partners of Jazz Fest, Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce executive director Gerogia Koch said the and continue a chamber-run jazz event was not about money. 

The yearly summer event was started in an effort to attract foot traffic to downtown Glen Ellyn businesses by creating a garden oasis along Main Street featuring performances by acclaimed jazz musicians. But in May, the without the partners and White Space Design following a statement from the college's director of the McAninch Arts Center , "The Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce has informed us of its intent to create a new event with an emphasis on raising funds for the chamber." 

Not true, said Koch. It's about planning a quality event for the future, she said.

However, Koch explained the musical event costs nearly $50,000, which in some years ended up costing the chamber money, although she won't say how much. In some years there was a profit, which was put back into the next year's event.

"We're lucky if we break even," she said.

So while Koch does acknowledge that she does not want to lose money, she's adamant that finances did not spark the breakup, and will not change the emphasis of continued jazz in Glen Ellyn events.

"If we have to watch the bottom line to ensure a quality event for the future, then that's what we have to do," said Koch.  

Some downtown business owners are concerned that the quality of the event might change without the College of DuPage partners. For some downtown business owners the news of losing the college's jazz radio station, WDCB, and host Ken Scott as a partner, was disappointing. 

"He's like having Dick Clark on New Year's Eve," said Rich Ducar, owner of . 

Although he's upset about the changes, Ducar said he wants to remain positive about this year's new event. "I'm hopeful. I want to see it thrive for the community."  

Koch said the event won't be new. In fact, she said everything will stay the same, if not improve. The landscaping and garden oasis will line Main Street like in past years. Hursthouse will not provide the landscaping. Koch said she's working out a contract with another vendor. The lineup is still in the works, and could be announced as soon as next week but Koch said a Grammy-winning jazz artist has agreed to play.  

"I don't have any doubt in my mind that it will be a great event," said Koch. 

But other downtown merchants aren't so sure. Despite Koch's assurance that this event isn't about raising money, Kathryn Hudson, owner of  of Glen Ellyn, is afraid that money will be the sole focus.  

"The reason this event was so magical was because they didn't cut corners and they didn't shave things off, or lose sight of any detail," said Hudson. 

The July 14 event is now called Jazz in Glen Ellyn and will start around 3 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. Stay tuned to Patch for more details about the lineup. 

Marilyn June 06, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Sounds like another attempt by COD to sour relationship with GE to sever ties and get its own kingdom
Jim Hankes June 06, 2012 at 01:50 PM
My Wheaton neighbors and I will attend this event again to listen to those crazy cats wailing out that sexy jazz. We go early, stay late, check out the downtown merchants and have a great time. Just ignore the politics and enjoy this wonderful day.
Jessica June 06, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Please don't put all the blame on COD.
Charlotte Eriksen (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Agreed - from a Wheaton neighbor
J. Burket June 06, 2012 at 06:54 PM
COD is indeed evil, but WDCB and The Mac have zero to do with COD politics. This is just a money grab, plain and simple, by folks who are confused about their mission and are confused that an event that is meant to bring people and business to town might just cost a few bucks out of the annual budget. BTW, didn't WDCB and The Mac guarantee that the Chamber wouldn't incur any expense? Thought that was the case. Maybe I'm wrong. The vast majority of jazz experts in Glen Ellyn probably will not notice any difference except for the beer being offered (think MGD 64 vs. craft brews) . . . nor will those from Wheaton who use phrases such as Mr. Hankes did. :o) Crazy cats and sexy jazz? You're killing me. Armed with a couple of copies of Jazz For Dummies and some potted trees, they will vanilla this thing down to the eventual ho-humness of a Taste of Glen Ellyn. Maybe they will boot Danny and bring in a souvlaki trailer to save a few bucks next year. Thankfully, the village won't have to pony up $20,000+ in police and public works expense for this Jazz Fundraiser like we do for TOGE. Wait till next year . . . Ken Scott will be back in the saddle, I'm guessing.
Jim Hankes June 07, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Jim Burket, aren't you the failed local gossip columnist? Stick to being the third smartest man in the coffee shop daily trivia contest. Are you going to volunteer to help run Jazz Fest this year? After all, it is the coolest, freest, and yet deepest music humans have ever made.
J. Burket June 07, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jim . . . did you not see the smiley face emoticon indicating that I was joking around? That I was giggling playfully at your obviously goofy jazz talk? Kind of odd to see the Advertising Manager of The Patch flaming on respected citizens of the highly desirable Glen Ellyn community on . . . The Patch.
Jim Hankes June 07, 2012 at 02:35 PM
No flames intended there, Jim. I thought we were giggling together.
J. Burket June 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Failed gossip columnist? Third smartest man in the coffee shop line? I wept openly upon reading those. Colleagues wondered what was wrong when they saw me. Your idea of playfulness is so very different than my own. :o( I need a Kleenex and some aloe vera lotion.
Sean Johnders June 07, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Hey Burket, you complain about the way you think the chamber is going to ruin the jazz event. You put yourself above others by saying that others won't notice a difference. Yet when someone replies you right away get all defensive? What's next, throwing pebbles over the fence? Man up, dude.
J. Burket June 07, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Either Jim or Mr. Burket is appropriate, John. OK, you figured me out. I wasn't really truly upset. That was all a ruse. I can't help but think that you knew that. Dude?
GE Towny June 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Armed with subtle sarcasm and superior intel, Jim Burket seems to have summarized the situation nicely, and accurately. From what I have been able to learn from the downtown merchants, who seem very well informed, WDCB and The Mac - in their desire to pacify The Chamber and maintain the partnership - had agreed to shoulder the financial risk of the event. Why the Chamber felt the need to kick out the other partners is a mystery that maybe the Patch can uncover. It sure seems that the Chamber had a pretty good thing going for the first five years.
GE Towny June 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Ouch, Jim Hankes. I thought this was nice bulletin board. How appropriate (or inappropriate) is it for Patch employees to be bullying contributors to the Patch's own comment board?
Sean Johnders June 09, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Looking forward to some good jazz and a good time had by all.

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