Pinellas County Centennial Celebrated With an Evening of Jazz
CLEARWATER: 350 guests from all over the Tampa Bay area enjoyed a special evening of jazz to celebrate the centennial of Pinellas County, Florida, which was originally incorporated January 1, 1912. The event was held at the Church of Scientology’s historic Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater.
Great jazz, sumptuous food and the friendly, elegant atmosphere of the Fort Harrison made it a memorable event. The evening began with hors d'oeuvres and cocktails in the Fort Harrison portico where the Fort Harrison Band set the mood with a medley of well-loved jazz standards spanning the 1940s to the 80s.
To start off the formal part of the evening, the Church of Scientology’s Public Affairs Director, Pat Harney, welcomed the guests to the Fort Harrison. In honor of the occasion, a commemorative letter from Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan was presented to Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield. Florida Senator Bill Nelson also sent a letter of acknowledgment to Pinellas County on the occasion.
The concert began with a set by international jazz performer and musician Fred Johnson, pianist Daniel Kelly and percussionist Victor See Yuen. Seated on a Cajon drum, which he played throughout the set, Mr. Johnson had the audience singing along to songs such as “Just My Imagination.”
Jazz Director for WUSF radio, Bob Seymour, introduced the centerpiece performance, an intimate 90-minute concert by jazz legend and 20-time Grammy winner Chick Corea with a world-class trio. Gayle Moran Corea provided vocals for the final set.
The concert was followed by more live music and dessert by the Fort Harrison pool. A 1930 Model A Ford, loaned by P.J.’s Auto World, provided a backdrop for photos of the guests.
The Fort Harrison has served as a hub for the Clearwater community since the 1920s and continues to do so today. In addition to the Scientologists who avail themselves of the religious retreat's accommodations, restaurants and amenities while in Clearwater for religious services, the community at large also enjoys the Fort Harrison. Since re-opening following an extensive renovation in 2009, thousands from across Tampa Bay area have gathered there for open house brunches and community events, such as the Sunscreen Film Festival’s, “Night on Broadway” concert, Harlem Nights Concerts and other benefits for the arts and charity groups.