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Writer  /  Shannon Siders

East end residents won’t have to travel far to enjoy national jazz musicians this summer at the second annual ALC Jazz Fest on Saturday, July 6. Featuring six acts, indoor and outdoor stages, food trucks and more, this family-friendly event offers something for all ages.

Local musician Todd Hildreth was the inspiration for the event, held at Ascension Lutheran Church (13725 Shelbyville Road) where he is the music director. Hildreth, who has also been a piano instructor at Bellarmine University for the last 16 years, intentionally timed the event to happen in conjunction with the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop. That event, held at the University of Louisville each summer, brings in dozens of national acts across two weeks in July.

“National musicians from New York to California come in to teach at these camps, so we tap into that pool in addition to local talent,” says Hildreth, whose role with the festival is to coordinate the music and the musicians.

Hildreth is excited to give Middletown residents a more local option for Fourth of July weekend fun, rather than heading to downtown Louisville.

“This is a great festival that offers both outdoor and indoor entertainment, right in the heart of Middletown,” Hildreth says. “You usually have to head downtown or to a different neighborhood to hear quality jazz.”

The festival experienced foot traffic from customers of the retail stores in the immediate area, who happily stumbled upon the event.

Hildreth works hard to create a diverse range of jazz styles and musicians to perform, so there truly is something for everyone.

The outdoor stage will feature performances by New York City Saxophonist Eric Alexander Quartet (4-5pm), Gypsy Jazz group Ken Allday Quartet (6-7pm), and Latin Jazz group Hermanos (8-9pm), while the indoor stage will host performances from vocal smooth jazz Jerry Tolson group (5-6pm), and modern piano jazz Chuck Marohnic trio (7-8pm). The evening will be capped off by a performance on the indoor stage featuring Hildreth, who will be joined by University of Louisville piano instructor Gabe Evans from 9-10 p.m.

“We’ll be playing each other’s compositions and arrangements and will reach out to others from the camp to perform with us as well,” says Hildreth, who described their style as original and electric jazz. “We’ll have all different kinds of jazz throughout the night to make for a really nice event.”

Tickets to the ALC Jazz Fest are just $10 and can be purchased at the door.

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