Alexandria Jazz Fest
A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest
Get Ready to Swing into the Holiday Spirit at A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest!
The enchanting sounds of jazz will fill the air at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Old Town Alexandria on Saturday, December 16, starting at 5pm with drinks and mingling. The city's Office of the Arts is proud to present "A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest," a holiday event that's FREE and open to all.
A Very Merry ALX Jazz Fest
Saturday, December 16, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
George Washington Masonic National Memorial, Old Town Alexandria
101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria, VA 22301
- Mingling, DJ Set, Drinks with Port City, and viewing of NEA Art Projects in the Masonic Hall:
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
- Live DJ Set by RWEONTHEAIR?!
- Drinks (Wine, Beer, Cider) for sale by Port City Brewing Company
- Exhibitions by 3 Artist Recipients of the New Project Residency (funded by the National Endowment for the Arts): Lex Marie, Saya Behnam, Bex Novak
- Tours of Masonic Memorial
- Jazz and Poetry Performances in the Memorial Theater:
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
- 7 PM: Opening by Master of Ceremonies Christopher Thomas
- 7:05 PM: Poetry by Zeina Azzam
- 7:15 PM: Jazz by Lena Seikaly
- 8 PM: Poetry by Ra Brown
- 8:10 PM: Poetry by Yahney-Marie Sangare
- 8:15 PM: Jazz by Bobby Jasinski and the Hot Lanes
Drinks available all night in the Masonic Hall, directly outside of the Memorial Theater (music and poetry will be heard in both the Hall and Theater).
Part of the yearlong celebration of the Alexandria Jazz Fest's 45th year!
Immerse yourself in the timeless melodies of jazz as talented musicians take the stage, captivating your hearts with their melodic tunes. Additionally, prepare to be moved by mesmerizing spoken word performances that will inspire and uplift. Past Jazz Fest performers were selected through the Office of the Arts Jazz Fest Activation Team, a rotating team of community professionals from various organizations, including the Smithsonian, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series, and the Levine School of Music.
Before the main event begins, join us for a pre-show and mingling session starting at 5:00 PM, featuring three art projects commissioned by the Office of the Arts through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It's the perfect opportunity to connect with fellow jazz enthusiasts, artists, and performers.
About The Office of the Arts
The Office of The Arts promotes the value of arts and culture in Alexandria by nurturing, investing in and celebrating the creative contributions of artists and arts organizations. Through engaging the community, encouraging participation, and facilitating access to the arts, the Office of the Arts works with local artists and arts organizations to build a vibrant community for all of the City's residents, workers and visitors.
7:15 – 8:00 PM
A fixture on the D.C. jazz scene for over 15 years, vocalist and DC area-native Lena Seikaly is already making her mark in national and international jazz circles as a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She was one of eleven semi-finalists for the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in L.A., is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in DC, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program in Maryland. Both as a bandleader and featured artist, Lena has headlined at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai (China), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore Music Center, Blues Alley, the Hamilton, West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, Sidney Harman Hall, various Smithsonian venues and DC’s famed Westminster Church, as well as the Elkhart Jazz Festival (Elkhart, IN), Mel Bay Jazz Festival (St. Louis, MO), Chestertown Jazz Festival (Chestertown, MD), DC Jazz Festival (Washington, DC), and Center City Jazz Festival (Philadelphia, PA). She has performed alongside Byron Stripling, Christian McBride, Sean Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Norman Simmons, Walter Blanding, Michael Feinstein, Duduka da Fonseca, and various big bands including the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues, Capitol Bones Big Band, and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra.
Lena has released four albums under her name between 2009 and 2018, all of which were released at Blues Alley. Her music is played regularly on DC’s jazz station WPFW 89.3, and “A Little Closer” was featured on Washington DC’s NPR station, WAMU 88.5 shortly after its release.
8:15 – 9:00 PM
The Hot Lanes jazz ensemble promotes jazz in the D.C. metropolitan area and beyond through festivals, concerts, educational masterclasses in the public school system, and other appearances. The musicians have many years (in some cases, decades) of experience in large ensembles and as soloists. Several are teachers as well as performers. Many have been with the band for most of its existence, sharing a passion for presenting generations of jazz repertoire in a modern concert setting.
7:05 – 7:15 PM
Zeina Azzam is a Palestinian American poet, writer, editor, and community activist. She serves as the poet laureate of Alexandria, Virginia, for 2022-2025 and has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems appear in literary journals and anthologies, and her poetry collection, Some Things Never Leave You, will be released in summer 2023 by Tiger Bark Press. Zeina’s chapbook, Bayna Bayna, In-Between, was published in 2021 by The Poetry Box. She holds an MA in Arabic literature from Georgetown University and an MA in sociology from George Mason University. www.zeinaazzam.com
8:00 – 8:10 PM
Raquel "Ra" Brown was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. She's been writing since she was 13. Using poetry and prose as an outlet (and saving her parents thousands in therapy sessions) she found and still uses her voice to express ideas and experiences: in love, life situations, lust, tragedy and traveling. She has performed and written for other artists, performed on national and international stages and for many amazing audiences. Featured on many albums and has been published in a number of anthologies.
8:10 – 8:15 PM
Yahney-Marie Sangare is a writer, poet, and playwright. She is currently a Senior at Alexandria City High School and co-editor-in-chief of Theogony, ACHS’s student-run newspaper.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Introduction 7:00 – 7:05 PM
Christopher Thomas is a dynamic force of creativity, activism, and inspiration! As a Queer Black Non-Binary individual and survivor of child abuse, they have harnessed the power of words and art becoming a champion for their community. Their journey has led them to become an award-winning poet, a dedicated teaching artist, and a prominent advocate for positive change.
Recognized as a pioneer of poetry by the National Underground Spoken Word Poetry Award (NUSPA) in 2015, C. possesses the remarkable ability to both captivate audiences as a performer and lead as a host. Their magnetic presence has left an indelible mark on diverse platforms, from esteemed institutions like Angelina College, Georgetown University, Jefferson University, and Howard University to cultural spaces like Busboys and Poets, Studio 2001 Art Gallery, The Athenaeum, and Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Mingling, DJ Set, Drinks with Port City, and viewing of NEA Art Projects
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
DJ SET BY
Pre-Show Drinks (Beer, Wine, Cider) Provided by
Founded in February 2011 by Bill and Karen Butcher, Port City Brewing Company is an award-winning brewery serving and shipping beer to D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic market. Port City brews a lineup of year-round beers, as well as an exciting slate of seasonal, occasional, and specialty beers, each with a unique twist. The brewery’s mission is to be a reliable and innovative brewer of delicious, well-balanced beers that celebrate their raw ingredients.
The longest operating brewery in metropolitan Washington, D.C., Port City offers regular tastings, tours, and events at the state-of-the-art facility, located in the historic PORT CITY of Alexandria, Virginia.
Port City Brewing Company is committed to promoting environmental sustainability and making a positive social impact. We have adopted many practices to conserve resources and minimize our impact on the environment and to support and celebrate our employees, promote diversity and inclusion, and give back to our communities.
New Project Residencies
Funded by a Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
The Residency program places visual and performing artists in the community, conducting interactive art engagements. Residencies will include, but are not limited to, expansion of the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Post Grad Residencies, Site See, the City’s Mobile Art Lab, as well as new locations including hospitals and senior centers. The guiding principle of the Residency Program is equity, ensuring all residents of Alexandria have equitable access to arts and culture while presenting programs that will equitably employ artists. A second guiding principle is creating meaningful relationships with the community. The two principles will inform the locations of art programs serving communities in Alexandria where there are less arts and culture programs and connecting artists directly with community members.
Lex Marie (b. 1992: Prince Georges County, MD) is a multidisciplinary artist who creates paintings, sculptures and installations that reflect many of her own individual experiences yet encompasses the experiences of many in the African diaspora. Marie’s most recent works focus on the many issues Black children can face in their childhood such as adultification biases, food insecurity, discipline and the many issues within American school systems as seen in her second solo exhibition Let Them Kids Be Kids which opened in Arlington, VA at the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington in 2022. Her work has been curated into group exhibitions including Stories From My Childhood (NIU Art Museum, DeKalb, IL 2022); Cumberland Valley Juried Exhibition (Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, MD, 2022); Future Places (Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA, 2022); Rooted in Voyage (Band of Vices, Los Angeles, CA, 2022); We Can’t Predict Tomorrow (Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, VA, 2021) and FRESH START by McCall Art Advisory (online, 2021). Marie holds a BA in studio art with a concentration in painting from the University of Maryland, College Park. She lives and works in the metropolitan DC area
Saya Behnam is an Iranian-American artist with more than 20 years of experience in fine art. She lives in Virginia, and her studio is at Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA.
Her art practice is inspired by nature. She believes in and practices Biophilic Design, which recognizes how much human physical and mental well-being relies on the quality of our relationships with the natural world.
By using natural elements and inspiration from nature, she likes to juxtapose time and space, birth and death, and sacred or fractal geometry patterns observed in natural forms for the structures of growth, energy, decay, chaos, and order.
By creating her handmade colors and inks from minerals, fresh or dried flowers, spices, plants, earth stones, and other pigments —the medium intelligence, an essential aspect of her creative process—they aren't just mediums. Those are parts of places and time.
Furthermore, they produce different colors in response to weather, soil, and location. Since they are specific to the moment, time, and environment they were created, each is unique and can never be replicated. They become singular visual aesthetic records of that unique location and time.
Bex desperately needs help with a new music playlist - she’s been listening to the same one for nearly a decade - eeeek! But luckily other things come easier to her - she is a performing artist, an engineer, a stand-up comedian, and a yogi.
She’s been painting people for nearly two decades. Her experience ranges from studying at the World Body painting Academy in Austria, to painting at the NYC Body painting festival, to winning 2nd place at the Living Art America Championship, to much more in between. Her award winning piece "Namaste", is currently on display at the Smithsonian's Ripley Center in Washington, DC.
Bex also had a new found love for public speaking and storytelling. She feels incredibly alive on stage, and her goal is to connect and inspire audiences. She is a member of Toastmasters International, and has recently told stories with Story Extreme, Story District, the DC Improv, and Perfect Liars Club in Washington, DC.
Free parking is available the Masonic Memorial. Visitors to Old Town can also take Metrorail’s Blue or Yellow lines to the King Street-Old Town Station. For DASH schedule information, call 703.746.DASH (3274) or visit dashbus.com. For Metrobus schedule information, call 202.637.7000 or visit wmata.com. For parking information, visit alexandriava.gov/Parking.
For more information about the event, call the City’s Special Events Hotline at 703.746.5592 or visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation.
For media inquiries, contact the newsroom at email@example.com or 703.746.3959.
For reasonable disability accommodation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.746.5419, Virginia Relay 711.
ALX Jazz Fest Pop-Ups
In celebration of its 45th year, the Alexandria Jazz Fest will host additional "ALX Jazz Fest Pop-Up" events at a location near you.
Featuring jazz music, poetry, art activations, and more, these leaner pop-up events will celebrate our neighborhoods while keep you excited for the next annual ALX Jazz Fest. Part of the ongoing effort by the City of Alexandria's Office of the Arts to bring arts and community events to all Alexandria residents.
To stay updated on information, follow the Office of the Arts at @alexartsoffice
Questions? Interested in performing? Volunteering at the events? Email email@example.com
ALX Jazz Fest Pop Up at Four Mile Run Farmers Market
The City of Alexandria's Office of the Arts invites you to the second ALX Jazz Fest Pop Up Series, providing free art activations, live jazz, and spoken word artists at various locations throughout Alexandria. This time, we take the party to the Arlandria area in collaboration with the Four Mile Run Farmers Market.
Free and open to the public!
Sunday, December 3
1 - 3 PM
Enjoy live music by Multi-percussionist, Composer, and Arranger Fran Vielma @franvielmaperc Hailing from Venezuelan Andes, Fran Vielma is a critically acclaimed and award-winning multi-percussionist, composer, and educator. His continuous research on the rhythms of America, and beyond, is integrated with his attraction to concert music and the freedom of jazz.
PLUS: Join Mobile Art Lab artist David Amoroso @amorosoart during the ALX Jazz Fest Pop-Up for a card crafting workshop to welcome Winter and all of the upcoming celebrations! Participants can customize their cards with cut paper, markers, crayons and other crafting items provided by the Alexandria's Mobile Art Lab!