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ASU, Herberger Theater sponsor green jazz series


August 28, 2008

Jazz artist Althea Rene will kick off a Green Jazz Series next month that is designed to raise awareness about the environment while benefitting low-income families in the Valley.

Arizona State University Online and the Herberger Theater Center will host Rene as part of its Green Jazz Series at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 4.

The first of six concerts that will run through April 2009, the Green Jazz Series combines the blue sounds of jazz with “green” concepts for sustainable living.

Proceeds from the concert series will support the Green Survival Initiative (GSI), a Phoenix-based sustainability project. Through the use of cost-effective green technologies such as compact fluorescent lights, low-flow shower heads and water heater blankets, GSI seeks to mitigate increasing energy costs for approximately 7,000 low-and-income fixed households in the Phoenix-Metropolitan area.

“Just as ASU is expanding access to its academic programs with ASU Online, we are using the Green Jazz Series to expand the benefits of green concepts to low-income households through the Green Survival Initiative, using the music of jazz as the vehicle to spread the idea and to generate support for the Green Survival Initiative,” said Mernoy E. Harrison, Jr., ASU Online and Extended Campus vice president and executive vice provost.

The initiative will help low-income families make the conversion to a sustainable lifestyle.

“The GSI recognizes that there is a cost to convert to a green lifestyle and those who need it most might not be able to make that conversion,” said George Brooks, publisher of Southwest Green Magazine and one of the concert series’ sponsors. “We believe that once these conversions are made, each household could save anywhere from $300 to $500 annually.”

An educational component will also be incorporated into the concerts, including information booths and giveaways.
Rene, a Detroit native, started her career at age 4 as a flautist. She studied classical music while attending Harvard University in Washington DC, and later gained musical inspiration from the accomplishments of Yusef Lateef and Dave Valentine.

A full-time performing artist, Rene is regarded as one of the nation’s premier solo improvisational flautists and has recorded and performed with jazz greats Al Jarreau, Nancy Wilson, Norman Brown, Boney James and George Duke. Rene will perform an assortment of urban contemporary tunes with a rhythm and blues twist and showcase songs from No Restriction, her latest CD.

Tickets cost $40 for VIP seats and $20 for general admission. Call the Herberger Theater box office at (602) 254-7399 or visit www.HerbergerTheater.org.