6th Annual Big Band Bash Raises $12,000 for Charity

Official artwork for the 2017 Amelia Island Jazz Festival created by Alfred “Alex” Gockel.

Park West Gallery and the Park West Foundation supported one of America’s greatest art forms during the 6th Annual Big Band Bash gala on February 12 at Amelia Island, Florida.

The jazz fundraiser collected $12,000 during its silent and live auctions. Proceeds generated from the auctions and ticket sales will go to the Amelia Island Jazz Festival Scholarship Awards program. The festival provides funds to high school students seeking a major or minor in music as well as programs for children and senior citizens in Northern Florida.

Music students with Les DeMerle at the 6th Annual Big Band Bash (Photo courtesy of John Block)

Park West Gallery donated art to be auctioned, while the gallery’s non-profit Park West Foundation provided financial contributions.

“Park West Gallery’s company culture focuses on philanthropy and support of the arts and arts education,” says John Block, Park West VIP auctioneer. “We are so proud of our auctioneers, managers, and staff who helped to make the Big Band Bash 2017 a success.”

Individuals with Park West provided significant donations to the event. They include: Auctioneers Naomi Baldwin and Matt Ketteman; National Sales Managers Steve Weiss and Tim Findlay; and Executive Vice President of Sales Stoney Goldstein.

Park West Gallery Executive Vice President Stoney Goldstein conducting an auction during the 6th Annual Big Band Bash (Photo courtesy of Studio CB Photography)

Goldstein served as the auctioneer for the event’s fundraising auction. The auction featured artwork by Alfred “Alex” Gockel, the festival’s official artist for 2017. The artist created an original painting and a series of graphic works specifically for the festival to be auctioned off and used in promotional materials.

“It was a real honor to be the auctioneer for this year’s event,” Goldstein says. “In a time when arts funding seems to be disappearing, it’s important that we all do our part to help support the arts. Jazz is the only original American art form, and there is so much great music out there that needs to be played, heard, and kept alive for future generations.”

Gockel wasn’t the only Park West talent on display. Goldstein had the honor of playing the trumpet alongside the 17-piece Les DeMerle Orchestra and vocalist Bonnie Eisele during the gala, drawing on his previous career as a professional musician. Goldstein said it was great playing alongside musicians who toured with icons such as Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Harry James and Lionel Hampton.

“What a treat is was to play with the Les DeMerle orchestra! Les and Bonnie are a real class act, and the band is stacked full of world-class musicians,” Goldstein says. “What a smoking hot band!”

Park West Gallery Executive Vice President Stoney Goldstein performing with the Les Merle Orchestra (Photo courtesy of Studio CB Photography)

The gala is a primary fundraiser for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival and its scholarship program. Legendary drummer Les DeMerle created the festival to promote jazz music through the scholarship program, music workshops for students and concerts for senior citizens.

“We now have several scholars in colleges all over the country,” said DeMerle. “And our goal is to keep this critical American art form alive in North Florida.”

Visit the Amelia Island Jazz Festival website to learn more about the festival and becoming a sponsor. Contact Park West Gallery at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or sales@parkwestgallery.com for information on how to collect art by Alex Gockel.

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