Scranton Jazz Festival kicks off August 5th

All of Downtown Scranton will serve as center stage for an award-winning music festival as the 17th Annual Scranton Jazz Festival (SJF) returns to the Electric City, Friday through Sunday, August 5, 6 and 7. The festival is made possible through partnerships with Blu Elefante Events, PA Jazz Alliance Inc., the City of Scranton, First Friday Scranton, Lackawanna County, and Scranton Tomorrow, and with the generous support of sponsors and media partners.

This year’s event continues the 2021 format, reminiscent of a New Orleans style festival. Instead of utilizing one, large main stage, performances will be held in multiple venues throughout the Downtown. Featuring national, regional and local musicians, SJF fans will enjoy the extensive variety and unique experience they have grown to expect, and love. 

The SJF will also provide a much-needed economic boost for musicians and also supports local businesses. While enjoying performances by accomplished jazz, blues and world beat musicians, visitors to Downtown Scranton are encouraged to explore the wonderful restaurants, pubs and cafés in the Business District. So many establishments have struggled financially, and these small businesses will benefit from the extra foot traffic generated by the festival. 

The SJF has garnered international recognition and has been mentioned in U.S. News and World Report, for the cultural diversity and integrity it has brought to the region.

 In celebration of its commitment to the arts, admission is free on Friday. There will be two ticketed events at The Ritz Theater featuring The Royal Scam, a Steely Dan Tribute Band, on Saturday, and the SJF Big Band featuring the legendary Four Freshmen on Sunday.  Everyone is invited to enjoy live music in more than 20 venues in the Downtown Scranton Business District all weekend.

For more information about the 17th Annual Scranton Jazz Festival, tickets, a schedule of performances, and artist info, visit www.scrantonjazzfestival.org and follow Scranton Jazz Festival on social media.

Athlete of the Month: Morgan Quinn

By Steve Svetovich

You only need to talk to Dunmore junior softball player Morgan Quinn a few minutes to notice her positive demeanor.

And it’s that positive demeanor, combined with her team first attitude and hard work, that makes her a special member of the Dunmore Lady Bucks softball team.

Daughter of Krissy and Sam Quinn, Dunmore, Morgan was second on the team with a .393 batting average and .782 slugging average. She was third on the team with a .433 on base percentage and added five homers, five doubles, a triple and 16 runs scored.

Morgan was primarily the right fielder for the Lady Bucks.

She talked about what it takes to excel in the outfield.

“You need to focus and hustle,” she said. “You need to know where the next play is. You are the last road of defense, so you need to make the play.”

She talked about hitting. “You need to constantly practice. And you need confidence. Confidence is the most important factor in girls softball. If you think you can do it, then you can. It’s a mind set.”

Morgan’s parents are strong role models.

“They tell me first and foremost to be kind. Work hard and believe in yourself.”

Dunmore veteran softball coach Ryan Ferguson taught her a lot. “He tells me to always be positive. There is always a way to win and have fun. Coach Ferguson is great.”

Always positive and kind-hearted, Morgan played AAU softball for nine years. “I loved it.”

She is a member of the Spanish Club, TACT, and the Earth Club at Dunmore. The scholar-athlete has a 95 academic average. Her favorite academic subject is English. She has made high honors every semester and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Morgan is undecided about a college, but thinks she will choose a science major.

She was a Lackawanna Coaches first-team softball all-star for the past two seasons.

Morgan likes music and would like to see Frank Ocean, a rhythm and blues soul artist, in concert.

Morgan is all about Dunmore. “I absolutely love Dunmore,” she said. “It is a tight-knit community. We all support each other here. And I love Dunmore High School and all my friends, teachers, and coaches.”

Morgan was asked about her future goals and provided an interesting answer.

“I want to be successful, but most important, want to help and be kind to people around me. I want to help people feel loved. Then in turn, feel the love inside of me. I will then feel loved. That is the most important thing.”

Connor Rasimovich leads Holy Cross with his bat

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross Crusaders junior third baseman Connor Rasimovich was one of the heavy hitters who helped his team to its first district title in school history this past season.

“It felt tremendous,” he said. “It was just such a great feeling to be a part of the team’s first district title in school history.”

Son of Frank and Ellen Rasimovich, Connor hopes to play college baseball after completing his senior year at Holy Cross.

Connor led Holy Cross with a .455 on base percentage and was second on the team with a .348 batting average. He led the Crusaders with three homers and was second on the team with 18 RBIs. He scored 12 runs and added six doubles.

Connor talked about what it took to make him a strong hitter.

“You need to work hard and look for the fastball early,” he said.

The talented third baseman is also skilled at the hot corner. “You need to work very hard to be a good third baseman,” he said. “You need to work on all the fundamentals,”

Connor has close to a 3.0 academic average. His best subject is history.

He said his parents taught him a lot. “My parents teach me to work hard all the time. With hard work, you can accomplish a lot.”

Multi-talented, Connor is a three-year member of the Holy Cross baseball team and two-year member of the basketball team. He plays forward for veteran coach Al Callejas on the basketball team.

He said Holy Cross veteran baseball coach Sandy Menichetti has been a strong influence.

“Coach Menichetti tells me to always stay focused, even under pressure.”

Connor enjoys listening to music in his spare time. He likes the music of Kid Cudi, a rap artist, who he would like to see in concert.

Connor was named honorable mention to the Lackawanna League Coaches’ All-Star team this past baseball season.

He talked about his future.

“My goal is to keep playing baseball and help Holy Cross win another district title next year. I want to study sports management and play baseball in college. I want to eventually get into coaching after graduating college.”

Connor has played travel baseball for the Lackawanna Thunder the past two years. His baseball coach for the Thunder is Tony Karpinski.

“I’ve really developed a lot playing summer travel baseball,” Connor said. “You play against the best competition.”

Connor is enjoying his experience at Holy Cross.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of great people and made a lot of friends.”