So far in May, Onondaga County has reported more than 70 daily hospitalizations, 200 daily infections and three deaths from Covid-19. These numbers tell the story of a virus that continues to produce deadly results in central New York, with an expected increase of 100 million new infections nationwide by the end of the year. Syracuse’s urban zip codes continue to lag the region in all pandemic indicators. Other health needs have gone unnoticed during the pandemic, causing serious residual effects to the urban community as a whole.
In response, Syracuse Community Health is again leading an aggressive public health outreach effort to fight back. The agency is launching the Jazz in the City public health concert series to bring people together in joy with food, music and fun, while providing health services information and tools, offering consultations and screening to those who do not have the resources for regular medical appointments and urging the vaccine hesitant to step up and help push the numbers.
The concerts will feature national artists, top local bands and neighborhood opening performances by community groups. Each concert features food, arts and crafts vendors, and an expansive “health care village” of local health and social service organizations. Guest speakers will take the stage during the intermissions. New this year is Onondaga County’s donation of 5,000 test kits, distributed in goody bags filled with health service information. New York Lottery scratch tickets will be awarded as incentives for those who get vaccinated, boosted or tested.
All concerts take place on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The program includes:
- June 9 – Urban Jazz Coalition at Kirk Park, Argyle Terrace and West Borden Avenue
- June 23 – 3D Rhythm of Life at Skiddy Park, 300 Oswego St.
- July 7 – Atlas at Leavenworth Park, 120 Wilkinson St.
- July 21 – Deepak Thettu & Judah Sealy at Schiller Park, Farmer Street and Whitwell Drive
- August 4 – UAD Kings of the Fall & The Blacklites at Dunk & Bright, 2648 S. Salina St.
- August 18 – Paula Atherton at Thornden Park, Thornden Park Drive and Greenwood Place
All concerts are free and open to the public, and no alcohol is served. For more information, visit www.cnyjazzinthecity.org.
Said Keith Cuttler, COO of the health center, “Syracuse Community Health is proud to continue its partnership with CNY Jazz Central to deliver the Jazz in the City Public Health Festival concert series this summer. This series connects the communities we serve with exceptional jazz musicians and vital health information and providers. Filming in our city’s beautiful parks, these events bring music and health directly to city dwellers, right in their own neighborhoods.
Mayor Ben Walsh added, “Jazz in the City played a key role last summer in helping to combat misinformation and overcome fear related to COVID-19. CNY Jazz uses music to bring people together to get outdoors, enjoy our parks, and focus on living healthier lives,” said Mayor Walsh. “Furthermore, Jazz in the City goes beyond music; it brings the art and entertainment of many artists to our neighborhoods. Come for the music and food, stay for the healthy relationships.”
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, Onondaga County is proud to partner again for another season of ‘Jazz in the City’. It’s especially fitting that the focus of the series this year remains on public health as we learn to live with COVID-19 while addressing the many other consequences this pandemic has caused. McMahon continued, “Thank you to the CNY Jazz team for their efforts and to the Syracuse Community Health Center for their partnership.”
The live concerts will be accompanied by a high visibility and highly targeted media campaign. Media personality George Kilpatrick, who lost his mother in the pandemic, will again lead a summer-long messaging campaign, and 100 black men from Syracuse will serve as the show’s volunteer corps. Larry Luttinger, head of CNY Jazz, observed, “We don’t claim to have done it ourselves, but last year the vaccination rate in our most vulnerable zip code, 13204, went from 27% to 44% during this sensitization and sensitization. country. We have all worked together to move the needle towards controlling this virus, keeping it under control and minimizing it. I urge everyone in the city to be part of the solution this summer by doing their part and being smart about family health practices.
“The arts are a powerful platform for change and community awareness, as well as a positive social and economic driver, and we are leveraging all of that and more with this unique mobile cultural platform,” said said CNY Jazz executive Larry Luttinger. “I don’t know of any other such effort in the country. Come to these concerts to enjoy entertainment, food, crafts and more for the whole family, and take advantage of the on-site services of the Health Center and Health Care Village information booths during your stay. This series has been a model of civic and business leadership every summer since 2003. We can’t wait to get started.