Chronicle Exclusive: Concert series will go forward; details still undetermined

Michelle Collins

In the April 11 issue of The Chronicle, it was reported that the legendary Sonny Costanzo Concert Series was in danger of being cut because Buckman Theatre couldn’t accommodate the large crowds the series attracted.

According to Kathleen McCourt, senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs, there was a meeting last week to determine the outcome of the series.

“We’re looking at the possibility of a jazz festival over the [course of] a weekend,” McCourt said.

Costanzo and his late brother, Sonny, began the jazz series in 1968 as a festival. The series ended in 1980, and was brought back after Sonny was named Quinnipiac’s first artist-in-residence in 1988.

“We don’t have a definite commitment in terms of artists yet for what we’re doing…Professor Costanzo is still consulting with artists [about playing the festival],” McCourt said.

According to Costanzo: “I don’t know what dates are available [for Alumni Hall]….It’s only then I can begin to negotiate with artists.”

Costanzo said the festival could take place on a weekend, with one show Friday and Saturday night.

Costanzo admits that so much depends on the artists’ availability and if they are willing to accept the money Quinnipiac has to offer them.

“The artists I am seeking to contract for the first evening include John Pizzarelli with Jane Monheit,” Costanzo said. “The second evening will be Steve Tyrell with Ann Hampton Callaway, or ‘Remembering the Rat Pack’ featuring Steve Lippia (Sinatra) with Wayne Brady (Sammy Davis Jr.).”

Once Costanzo is given dates that Alumni Hall is available, and artists can be confirmed, more information will be available.

“My wish is that funding will be available to engage the 18-member Sonny Costanzo Jazz Concert Orchestra for both evenings,” Costanzo said.