How do you ring in the New Year?

How do you ring in the New Year?

For years (and because I’m older than you think I am, I mean YEARS) I spent every New Year’s Eve playing in a jazz band of one stripe or another. After that, I spent several years performing in a theater company as the years changed over. Even when I have merely been a patron somewhere on December 31, I have always seen that specific night as something special. In fact, I’d say that New Year’s Eve is my personal version of Valentine’s Day.

Since coming to work producing events for Chicago Public Media, there have been two things missing from the tapestry of live experiences we put together for our loyal members: Jazz and a blow-out New Year’s Eve party.

The party component is a strange omission from our annual experiences for the Chicago community of public radio die-hards. We host our Annual Board Meeting, our Evening Inside the Broadcast Studio, and the WBEZ/Vocalo Open House. We’ve produced the Chicago Chef Battle for seven years in a row and, after a year off, are revitalizing the Vocalo Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip Hop Arts. It seems like a no-brainer to throw a bash to ring in the new year.

The jazz component is a little less obvious. In 2007, we went to an all-news format and replaced our regular late night jazz broadcasts with news and, for some, this was a betrayal and a travesty. To this day, I have members (and former members) come up to me at events still angry that we moved away from jazz. For them, we became the anti-jazz radio station. We are NOT anti-jazz nor have we ever been. Given that I was a professional jazz trumpet player for decades and have a Jazz History minor as a part of my Music Education Undergraduate degree, the decision to feature not only jazz but the Sunset Cafe (the heart of American jazz in Chicago for a quarter of the last century) was perfect.

How do you ring in the New Year? Resolutions? Dancing? A midnight kiss and a champagne toast? Do you curl up under the covers and watch the televised coverage? Go to the theater or a concert? Eat a huge meal? Go on a late night run?

This year, I’ll be ringing in 2015 at the historic Victory Gardens Biograph Theater with hundreds of public radio fans, the Doug Peck Trio, DJ Ayana Contreras, and my newlywed wife. I’ll be listening to incredible jazz, eating some delicious hors d’voures, having a few cocktails, dancing to jazz infused hip-hop and soul, and sealing the year with the first New Year’s Eve kiss of my new marriage.

I hope to see you there (but you don’t get to kiss my wife…)!

Live from the Sunset Cafe || A WBEZ New Year’s Eve Party
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
9 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

Get your tickets here…

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