Tenth annual "All That's Jazz" student scholarship benefit planned
Penn State Greater Allegheny will celebrate 10 years of great jazz music, delicious food, fun, and fellowship at the 10th annual All That’s Jazz scholarship benefit, to be held Nov. 9 in the Student Community Center on campus. Nearly $600,000 has been raised for scholarships in the past nine years through All That’s Jazz.
The event promises to be exciting with musical performances by Tamara Tunie and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Tunie, a Homestead native, is in her 10th season as Medical Examiner Melinda Warner on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She has had other memorable roles on television, most notably as the longstanding character Jessica Griffin on the CBS Daytime Drama “As The World Turns” and as Alberta Green in season one of the hit series “24” (when she worked on three series simultaneously), as well as guest appearances on “Law and Order,” “Sex and the City” and “NYPD Blue.”
Tunie also has produced and directed her first feature film titled “See You In September,” and has starred in and produced a number of stage productions. In film, Ms. Tunie has worked with some of the most respected stars and directors of the screen, including Brian De Palma, Oliver Stone, Al Pacino, and most recently, Denzel Washington.
Tunie is chair emerita of the Board of Directors of Figure Skating in Harlem, a nonprofit organization that teaches education and life skills to young girls in the Harlem community through the art and discipline of Figure Skating. In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg awarded Tunie the “Made in New York Award” from the City of New York for her support and commitment to Film, Television and Theater in Manhattan. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Carnegie-Mellon University. She resides in Harlem with her husband, jazz vocalist Gregory Generet.
One of the most in demand jazz drummers in the world today, Jeff “Tain” Watts majored in classical percussion at Duquesne University, where he was primarily a timpanist, followed by enrollment at the Berklee School of Music, where he pursued jazz studies alongside such talented players as Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, and Steve Vai.
Watts holds the unique distinction of being the only musician to appear on every Grammy Award winning jazz record by both Wynton and Branford Marsalis. Watts played with the Wynton Marsalis Quartet from 1981 to 1988, winning three Grammy Awards with the ensemble. After working with George Benson, Harry Connick. Jr. and McCoy Tyner, he joined the Branford Marsalis Quartet in 1989.
Watts has worked in the film and television industry as both a musician on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and as an actor, Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s "Mo Better Blues." He joined Kenny Garrett's band after returning to New York in 1995. Watts also continued to record and tour with Branford Marsalis as well as a number of others.
Watts has an extensive discography as a side-man, as well as six albums as a leader. A true jazz innovator, Watts never fails to deliver the percussive magic that has been his trademark since his emergence on the contemporary jazz scene.
“The vast majority, 90 percent, of students at Penn State Greater Allegheny are eligible for student aid. In these tough economic times, scholarship funds are increasingly important to our students and their families,” said Penn State Greater Allegheny Chancellor Curtiss E. Porter. “The funds raised at All That’s Jazz can make the difference between students staying in college or having to make some hard decisions about their futures.”
The All That’s Jazz Committee is planning an exciting evening. The most important aspects of the evening are the auctions, which are the primary fundraisers for the scholarship fund. The auctions include a live auction showcasing the most spectacular items, a silent auction featuring various gifts and certificates, and the popular Blue and White “mystery” auction with surprises in every box. Auction items will include a week’s stay at Kiawah Island and an autographed Franco Harris football.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Penn State Greater Allegheny Student Community Center, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, Pa. The public is invited to join in the festivities to help support student scholarships. Tickets are $125 each.
Information on tickets and sponsorship opportunities can be obtained by calling (412) 675-9048.