Saturdays in the park with jazz

PBJ & Jazz concerts offer Columbus children and families an interactive introduction to live music

On summer weekends in the city, the sounds of merriment and music fill the Topiary Park as families and friends gather for PBJ & Jazz concerts.

Now in its eighth year, the popular PBJ & Jazz concert series introduces jazz and American music to children and their families in casual, one-hour interactive concerts. Each of the concerts features some of Columbus’ finest musicians in a dynamic introduction to live music for young audience members. In 2015, nearly 2,000 children and adults attended the concerts.

The concerts are presented on the second Saturday of July, August, and September from noon to 1 p.m. This summer, a special concert was added on Saturday, June 25, as part of CML’s grand reopening of its Main Library.

Don’t miss September 10th at Noon for the final concert!

Each concert is hosted by retired music educator Rebecca Ogden and features a different group of professional musicians from the Jazz Arts Group. The 2016 lineup includes the Caribbean Jazz Quintet, Jailynn Lake-Noel, Bobby Floyd and Byron Stripling, and Kelly McLennan.

Families are encouraged to bring picnic lunches to enjoy during the free concerts.

A collaborative effort between the Jazz Arts Group, Friends of the Topiary Park, Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) and the Columbus Museum of Art, the concerts build awareness of high-quality cultural activities and educational opportunities for families in downtown Columbus.

Each of the concerts is “bookended” by two family-friendly cultural offerings. Preceding concerts at 11 a.m., CML presents family story time in the Main Library. Following the concerts, the Columbus Museum of Art offers a hands-on art activity from 1 to 2 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.

“PBJ & Jazz in the Topiary Park is a wonderfully collaborative program that offers high quality arts and cultural programming in downtown Columbus,” says Friends of the Topiary Park representative Jennifer McNally, who has helped coordinate the series since 2008. “The combination of story time, jazz, and art making in a beautiful outdoor setting is appealing to all ages and multigenerational families.”

Since the introduction of PBJ & Jazz, a grant from the Friends of the Library (FOL) has made it possible to present free concerts of high artistic value to a wide audience. FOL funding supports promotional efforts to build awareness of the series—including advertising and the printing of 10,000 bookmarks distributed through CML’s branches, at the Columbus Arts Festival, and by each participating organization. FOL funding also supports the rental of sound equipment for concerts.

PBJ & Jazz concerts are presented by Friends of the Topiary Park and sponsored by the Discovery Special Improvement District, the Jennifer Michel Keefer Memorial Fund at The Columbus Foundation, and Friends of the Library. Columbus Recreation and Parks, the Discovery Special Improvement District, and Motorists Insurance Group provide in-kind support. WCBE 90.5 FM provides exclusive media support.

The Topiary Park is located at 480 E. Town Street in downtown Columbus. Free parking is available in the Motorists Insurance lot just north of the Topiary Park. In the event of rain, all activities are held in the Main Library, located at 96 S. Grant Avenue, adjacent to the Topiary Park.

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