Jazz at the Sheraton Leaving

Jazz at the Sheraton Leaving

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John Hollenhorst Reporting The symphony and opera aren't the only musical institutions locally in trouble. There's word another well-known program is folding after 10-memorable years. But Salt Lake's mayor is promising to try and save it.

Great music, delighted audiences, some of the biggest names in jazz.

Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake: “It has been a spectacular thing for Salt Lake City over the years.”

But it wasn't enough to keep a cultural landmark alive. Sponsors have announced the 'Jazz at the Sheraton' series will die following the last concert of the season May 23rd. KUER Jazz host Steve Williams says the money and audience troubles parallel those of the symphony.

Steve Williams: “I’m sad about it. Right now we’re in a little bit of a difficult situation in this area with the Musics.”

The jazz series always survived on charity. Businessmen Gordon Hanks and Mike MacKay pledged their own money ten years ago.

Gordon Hanks, GAM Foundation, May 26, 2003: “There was this big void in the 80’s of hardly any jazz at all in Salt Lake.”

Mike MacKay, GAM Foundation, May 26, 2003: “Our primary objective really was to expose the community and our young musicians to jazz.”

But their GAM Foundation never came close to breaking even. That's partly because they gave students hundreds of tickets for each concert, free or cheap. Hnks told us he and MacKay just can't keep pouring the money in. They typically donated about $5,000a concert and costs are spiraling upward.

Steve Williams, KUER-FM Jazz Director: “I think there’s an audience there. I think there is. With the rising costs, is there an audience that can afford it anymore? Maybe not.”

Mayor Rocky Anderson says what's needed are corporate sponsors.

Rocky Anderson: “I think this means enough to enough people that we can bring this back to Salt Lake City. And I’m going to do everything I can to help them do that.”

Hanks told us he'd welcome a corporate rescue. "We're parking the car in the garage," he said. "But we're not locking the door."

¶ The last concerts of the series will be the Jeff Hamilton Trio next Monday, followed by Eddie Palmieri April 18th and Michel Camilo May 23rd.

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