by Kevin Amos
Jones x Two, the musical event to benefit Child Literacy programs at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library in Carnegie was an extraordinary evening with a thrilling blend of Jazz, Pop and Reggae.
Opening up the festivities was Caroline Jones. A New York City based singer songwriter, Jones did songs from her recently released CD, “Fallen Flowers” and her very popular version of “Moon River.” Jones, performing in Pittsburgh for the first time, thoroughly impressed the attendees with her musicianship.
Pittsburgh trumpeter Sean Jones is currently touring with the Miles Davis tribute band consisting of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Marcus Miller. With a few days off on the fall tour, Jones came home and was joined by the amazing Alton Merrell on piano, Dwayne Dolphin the outstanding bassist, and drummer extraordinaire Tom Wednt. This quartet reeked with star quality as they performed such classics as “Billie’s Bounce,” “Jitterbug Waltz,” “Speak Low” and the touching “E.J’s Tune.”
The Flow Band, who is celebrating more than 30 years on the local music scene, completed this special evening by performing audience favorites and selections from their new CD, “New Days, New Times.” They had everyone rocking and swaying to the reggae groove.
The evening also included a site tour, light fare in the reception room, a dessert and piano bar, wine from the Capital Grille and silent auction. Also noted were the absolutely beautiful fresh flower arrangements from Mt. Lebanon Floral.
Launched by the Chartiers Valley Partnership in November 2003, the campaign has raised more than $7.5 million. Funding has come from federal, state, county, and local governments and foundations. Remarkably, individuals and businesses from Carnegie and nearby communities have contributed nearly a quarter of the funds raised to date. The community’s support of this campaign to restore the library and music hall has assumed almost celebrated proportions. This campaign began with an anonymous $500,000 challenge grant. The challenge was that Carnegie and neighboring communities must contribute a dollar for dollar match—in 10 months’ time—to meet a Sept. 30 deadline and secure the half million dollar grant. In 2004, devastating floods ravaged Carnegie and other Chartiers Valley communities. Astonishingly, instead of stopping the challenge in its tracks, Carnegie contributed $60,000 in the two weeks after the flood to meet and exceed the challenge.
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall has served the families of Carnegie and the surrounding communities for more than a century. It is the mission to serve as an outstanding library, theater, and historic site that informs, entertains, and engages. The library was built with money provided by the famed industrialist. Although Andrew Carnegie’s name is internationally associated with libraries and he ultimately went on to build more than 2500 of them, the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is one of only five libraries in the world that the philanthropist endowed.
Encouragement of children to achieve greatness, use their imaginations, and most importantly, be themselves is a top priority. With this support the library can continue to serve young people and their families through programs such as Read to Me, Story Time, Math 4 U, Science 4 U, Discovery Time, School age Tutoring, and many more. The campaign to restore, renovate and revitalize the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall has captured the hopes, dreams and support of Carnegie, surrounding Chartiers Valley communities and beyond. The entire staff of the library, their board led by Lois Wholey, the benefit committee and volunteers did stellar work and put together a wonderful evening.
(For more information about the library and music hall go to: http://www.carnegiecarnegie.org/)