Feb. 3, 2006 — For five straight years, on the third Friday of every month, St. Croix residents and island visitors have flocked to Frederiksted with beach chairs and blankets in tow. Their destination, the popular Sunset Jazz concert where they come by the hundreds to enjoy the sunset and listen to local jazz artists and the occasional off-island guest. The event is the brainchild of the Frederiksted Economic Development Association (FEDA) promoting the organization's mission to promote economic activity in Frederiksted.
In a press conference on Thursday, FEDA president Rupert Ross Jr. outlined several initiatives planned to enhance Sunset Jazz and bring it to a nationwide market starting with this month's event on Feb. 17.
Sunset Jazz falls on the opening day of the 35th annual Agricultural and Food Fair in St. Croix and organizers hope to bring in a big crowd of residents and off island visitors.
The biggest announcement of the day came when Robert C. Siebengartner, managing partner and majority owner of Island Lynx, announced that ferry service would begin between St. Croix and St. Thomas in time for Sunset jazz and the Agriculture Fair. Siebengartner, who was unable to attend the press conference in person, relayed the information via speakerphone. (See "Ferry Service Should Arrive in Time for Ag Fair").
The internationally known St. Croix quelbe band, Stanley and the 10 Sleepless Knights, will be the featured artist.
"Jazz has its roots in folk music," said saxophonist, Olaf "Bronco" Hendricks. "We feel we can bring something to the table." Also on stage will be international jazz saxophonist Hans Leonardo Pedersen of Denmark and favorite local jazz singer Jeanette Rouse Cochrane.
WTJX channel 12 video tapes the event each month and replays it on the local station. Executive director, Osbert Potter and board chairperson, Roan Creque announced the station is in negotiations to broadcast the event to a nationwide audience. Potter said the station would be offering the program to the more than 300 public broadcast stations on the mainland.
"We are recording our history," said Creque. "This is the longest running jazz program in the history of the Virgin Islands. Some things are being done right."
Ross said that First Bank VI, Hovensa and the Economic Development Commission have contributed to the event
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