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Jazzed for Justice

FAIRFAX—Last Friday, 11/11/11, was the day of the 10th annual “Jazz 4 Justice” concert at George Mason University. It also was Veterans Day, which gave this year’s performance its theme.

The GMU Jazz Ensemble played “The Music of World War II,” tunes from an era when bandleaders Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Woody Herman, among others, took the jazz genre to its “high point,” said Jim Carroll, ensemble director. Jazz was at its most popular during the war years.

Carroll told the audience that he really didn’t know how to say thank you enough to veterans, except through the music.

The GMU Jazz Ensemble did all vets in the audience proud – and there were quite a few at the GMU Center for the Arts, judging from the number of people who stood during an “Armed Service Medley” of all the service branch themes.

A trio of students channeled the Andrews Sisters in a rendition of the classic, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Other top tunes of the era included, Carroll said, a “song that needs no introduction,” Miller’s “In the Mood.”

Fairfax lawyer Ed Weiner, the founder of Jazz 4 Justice and past president of the Fairfax Law Foundation, took a turn at conducting the ensemble. The GMU music department honored Weiner with the Director’s Award, thanking him for 10 years of work on the concert, which raises money for the foundation and for the music programs at Mason.

Members of the ensemble bore gifts, too, presenting Weiner with a framed photograph of the group and their leaders in China during their recent visit. Weiner and his wife Maura were able to accompany the GMU students to the Far East.

At the concert, Weiner also announced the results of the Jazz 4 Justice hat contest – an annual exercise to see who can take a hat with the J4J logo the farthest from Fairfax. This year’s winners were Linda and Paul Hammack, who sported their hats in a snap in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, some 9,758 miles away.

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