By Kristina Dixon
WATTS — There were a lot of smiles at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science Oct. 6.
And good music.
The popular Jazz at Drew, an outdoor, picnic-style jazz concert was presented by Dignity Health as a fundraiser for Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.
Despite overcast skies, jazz lovers from all over the Southland came to pack the open lawn to see and hear some of their favorite acts.
Performances started with the Crusaders, DW3, Jazz Funk Soul, the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, the S.O.S. Band, Miki Howard and the show closed with After 7. In between sets, attendees shopped at vendors and local food trucks, Mr. Fries Man being a particular crowd favorite.
Dr. David M. Carlisle, president and CEO of Drew University, said “The funds raised today are used for student scholarships and pipeline programs that help interest youth from pre-K through high school in under-resourced neighborhoods in math, science and health and other health care practitioners in South Los Angeles and communities like South L.A.”
Carlisle congratulated students who were awarded with scholarships this year for their academic excellence and he thanked the crowd for its support, which enables Drew University to provide students with scholarships.
“Over 300 students received degrees in the spring,” Carlisle said. Also, this fall semester we’ve enrolled our highest number of students ever as new students at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science.”
He also remembered Jazz at Drew’s founder Roland H. Betts, who died last year.
Abdul Ra’oof of The S.O.S. Band reflected on what Jazz At Drew means to him.
“It’s an experience,” he said. “I really didn’t know what to expect because it is our first time. When we found out it was about a medical school, we we’re very glad to be a part of it. They have a function that is greater than the live performance. The right sources are benefiting from it. It’s just a wonderful experience.”
Jazz At Drew’s mission is to support Charles Drew University students in health professions and biomedical science through scholarships and professional development opportunities and to provide the South Los Angeles area with excellent entertainment as a commitment to engage the community.