Benedum Jazz – a first time event in Bridgeport slated for this Saturday, December 10, has the potential to “go annual” according to event planners, the West Virginia Jazz Society, Inc. (WVJS).

With three local venues offering four different live music acts – including the “Holiday All Stars” in Benedum Civic Center – Benedum Jazz is the Bridgeport-based part of Holiday Jazz Weekend in Harrison County, a regional event funded by the The Cultural Foundation of Harrison County’s Barbara B. Highland Fund for the Arts. The Clarksburg-based part is the Uptown Jazz Stroll set for Friday, December 9 in the Harrison County seat.

“We see both events as complementary to the other,” said Bob Workman, WVJS Treasurer and a Bridgeport business owner. “Benedum Jazz is tapping into the momentum built by the Uptown Jazz Strolls over the years, and building on that with an event that showcases Bridgeport as a Harrison County arts community.”

The WVJS visionaries see the development of a countywide holiday celebration that begins the first Friday in December with an evening parade in Clarksburg’s business district, and in Bridgeport on Saturday morning along Main Street, followed by a week of jazz performance through the following Saturday night show at Benedum Civic Center.

“Jazz music can be a great unifier because no one has a franchise on America’s music,” said Workman. “We’d love to help build a week long holiday celebration enlivened with jazz. That would be a very positive message to send at a traditionally important time.

Benedum Jazz kicks off at noon in Bridgeport with Seth Maynard’s Holiday Special at Brookdale Senior Living, when a quartet of area professionals present jazzified holiday songs.

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Then on Saturday evening, Mia Margherita in Charles Pointe will host Dan Baker’s Yuletide Guitar performance beginning at 8pm, with a full bar and full menu of rustic Italian specialties featured.

The grand finale for Holiday Jazz Weekend comes Saturday evening with a performance by the Holiday All Stars, a sextet of headliners from the Jazz Stroll venues in Clarksburg. Leading the group will be pianist, Steve Rudolph, with bassist, Victor Dvoskin, and drummer, Mark Cappellini in the rhythm section. Soloists, Randall Hall on saxophone and clarinet, and Reggie Watkins on trombone complete the lineup.

Opening for the Holiday All Stars will be The Yule Cats playing some funky and improvised jazz standards and holiday songs.

Dining option is the Bridgeport Arts Council’s Italian Tapas Dinner at Benedum Civic Center at 6:30pm.  The menu was planned by the Mia Margherita Culinary Team and will feature a four-course small plates selection of Caramelized Walnut and Pomegranate Salad, Handmade Rigatoni & Portabella Mushrooms, Beef Filet, Creamy Polenta and Italian Greens and Mia’s Housemade Tiramisu.

There is no admission charge for music only guests. For guests desiring dinner, the Tapas Dinner is priced at $35 with proceeds benefiting the BAC.  Beverage policy is BYOB and there will be a beverage assistant available for patron conveniences.

For more information on Benedum Jazz or the Uptown Jazz Stroll or any other aspect of Holiday Jazz Weekend in Harrison County, email to: WVJazzSociety@aol.com or phone 304-517-9813.

Photo: In The Moment – Victor Dvoskin, Russian jazz bassist and founder of Russian supergroup, Allegro, will appear in Benedum Civic Center on Saturday, December with the Holiday All Stars as part of Benedum Jazz, and with the Steve Rudolph Quartet in Washington Square on December 9 as part of the Uptown Jazz Stroll.