SATURDAY STAFF STORIES:
Q: How long have you been with MCG Jazz?
A: 23 years
Q: Why did you join MCG Jazz?
A: I came to Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild years before I was looking for a job here. I knew upon entering the building that there was something different here. You could just feel the positive energy. I was drawn to that.
Q: What do you do at MCG Jazz?
A: I am the director. Formerly I was the associate producer and before that I was the administrative assistant.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Commit yourself to a passion that moves you.
Q: Do you have a mentor? If so, tell us about them.
A: I had two mentors when I was young. One was my dance instructor, Pat McKeown who danced with the Dance Alloy, she started her own school, The Dance Company and a professional Modern dance company called Pat McKeown and Dancers. The other was Helen Tozzi, she started the McKeesport Drill Team Drum and Bugle Corps. These two women demonstrated for me how you can be a strong independent business person and how to run your business with compassion.
Q: Tell us a surprising or a fun fact about you.
A: Marian McParland gave me a crystal apple for accompanying her on her travels to and from New York City when she performed at MCG Jazz for four days in 2005.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
A: Movies! I love foreign films, documentaries, art house films, Sci-Fi Fantasies, Superhero blockbusters, you name it and I want to see it. I also love awards shows.
Q: What type of jazz is your favorite to listen to/play?
A: Brazilian Jazz is what got me to MCG Jazz; but, I love JAZZ. Whether it is Swing, Bebop, Hard Bob, Contemporary, I love it and listen to it all.
Q: What is something that has surprised you about working at MCG Jazz?
A: How much the people who work here genuinely like hanging out with one another. It is so fun to have this extended group of family and friends. This includes the Pittsburgh Jazz community. They are so supportive of one another and genuinely enjoy being at each other’s events and performances.
Q: Who is an artist you want to see perform at MCG Jazz and why?
A: I have seen so many and love them all. Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis, Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves – singing the “Grandma song.” All perfect moments in time. For the future, I am truly excited to hear Samara Joy’s performance on April 15, 2023. You will find me in the concert hall seats for her sets.