Letter to Editor: Monty Alexander Jazz Festival Notes Sad Passing of Beth Schucker

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The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival and Chesapeake Music lost one of its Frontline Players on February 8th with the sad passing of Beth Schucker. Beth was a true lover of music of all genres, but she had a special passion for jazz which she shared with her late husband Ray, himself a talented jazz pianist.

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Monty Alexander on left followed by Beth, Sally Heckman and Nancy Farinacci

Beth had many talents, including a keen musical ear and a great literary gift that produced many memorable articles on the jazz festival over the eight years of its history. She was one of the key supporters of the festival founded by the vision of Al and Marty Sikes and became one of its most loyal ambassadors introducing so many of us new comers to the Easton jazz scene. Beth had a wonderful journalistic approach to her writing…this excerpt from her autumn 2014 article in Chesapeake Music’s quarterly publication “Interlude” captures her skill perfectly as she interviewed Monty Alexander:

“Absolutely not,” says Monty Alexander, with a hint of indignation. I had asked him if he raised an eyebrow when Al Sikes invited him in 2010 to perform a one-nighter, in a small theater, in a small town on the Eastern Shore. I thought the question relevant: after all, Monty, the namesake and Artistic Director of The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival, claims the world as his stage. Monty finishes his thought, “I had no formal music training. I learned piano by playing. So I played anywhere. I never raised an eyebrow. After sixty some years, I’m still learning, playing anywhere and not raising an eyebrow.”

Beth, with Lee Philips her partner and performer in music, was one of those “extraordinary/ordinary” people with a passion for jazz, a love of life and a dear friend to so many from the Eastern Shore to New Zealand and back. She will be dearly missed, but her memory will live on in those wonderful articles in the Chesapeake Music archives.

John Malin

Letters to Editor

  1. Ray VanHorn says:

    We were blessed to have Beth join us at Bayleigh Chase she was wonderful person very upbeat like the Jazz she loved. A benefit was getting to know her partner Lee Phillips as well.
    We will miss her smiling face.
    Lynne & Ray

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