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Monroeville

Monroeville Foundation takes over annual jazz festival from founding board

Dillon Carr
| Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, 1:54 p.m.
Jazz enthusiasits came from around the tri-state area and beyond with their lawn chairs and blankets to sit back, relax and listen to some of the areas greatest jazz music. The event, hosted by the Monroeville Jazz Festival, was held on Saturday, August 22 at the Tall Trees Ampitheater.  Lillian DeDomenic  |  for Trib Total Media
Jazz enthusiasits came from around the tri-state area and beyond with their lawn chairs and blankets to sit back, relax and listen to some of the areas greatest jazz music. The event, hosted by the Monroeville Jazz Festival, was held on Saturday, August 22 at the Tall Trees Ampitheater. Lillian DeDomenic | for Trib Total Media

The Monroeville Jazz Festival is looking to get bigger and better under the new leadership of an area nonprofit.

“We officially took over on Jan. 2. We've only engaged in this for about a week now,” said Monroeville Foundation President Ernie Groover.

Chuck Summerville, festival founder, said he considered shutting down the event after four members of his nonprofit resigned last year. Having only four members on the festival nonprofit's board would make it hard to organize the sponsor-supported festival, he said.

“I didn't want to continue to find subs for them per se,” Summerville said.

So he approached the Monroeville Foundation through one of its members, Monroeville Manager Tim Little, and made the deal for that group to take over the yearly event.

“I didn't want to see Monroeville lose the event” Little said.

The Monroeville Foundation has provided money for food pantries, beautification and garden projects, the animal shelter and Eagle Scout projects since being founded in 2004. Monroeville Councilmen Jim Johns and Greg Erosenko were recently appointed to serve on its board of directors.

“We want to get good, quality, better artists — both local and national artists. So we're just looking to improve upon what Chuck has already established,” Groover said.

The free festival will be in its 16th year when musicians take the stage on Aug. 18. A lineup of performers is being developed.

Groover said the foundation plans to increase the event's $23,000 budget by 10 percent by attracting more corporate sponsors. Another goal is to make the event profitable, he said.

“They were breaking even,” Groover said.

Summerville and other members of his nonprofit will act as consultants for the planning of the festival.

“I wanted to have a good solid plan in place to ensure the legacy of the Jazz Festival before I stepped away from it,” he said. “They'll do a good job.”

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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