Augusta UNCF Campaign Gears Up for Scholarship Jazz Festival

Posted by lsuggs | 08/30/2013 10:06 AM

(Augusta, GA) – The Augusta UNCF Campaign is thrilled to announce its Inaugural Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival is underway and scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, 2013, at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater. This historic outdoor venue is located at 1 Ninth Street in downtown Augusta, Georgia. The UNCF Jazz Festival’s chair, Ann N. Johnson, has been a community pillar within the greater Augusta area for over 40 years and a strong supporter of Paine College, a UNCF member school

Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Sounds Unlimited, Trey McLaughlin and the Sounds of Zamar, A Step Up, Three Generations, Richard Payne, and Playback featuring Tu’Tu Dy’vine.

Sounds Unlimited Band has been one of Augusta’s most distinguished bands since 1995. The band began as the Pitt Band for the Augusta Mini Theatre’s production of The Wiz. In 2005, the band was recognized by the 100 Black Men of Augusta for their accomplishments and service to the Augusta community. 

Trey McLaughlin and the Sounds of Zamar released their first single, “I Will Praise,” earlier this year.  The single, available on I-Tunes, is featured on their debut album “Limitless,” which was released November 2012.  A Step Up feature Eric Hillman and Michael Peele. Hillman began playing trumpet at the age of nine receiving training in jazz and classical music through the local school systems of Augusta, Georgia.  He has also done studio work with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, trombonist for the Wynton Marsalis Septet and has had the privilege of playing with Wynton Marsalis in a jam session.  On drums, Michael Peele was born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Augusta, Georgia.

The Richard Payne 4 is composed of some of Augusta’s most talented natives mixed with moonlighting Army musicians. These musicians of different regions, generations, and musical backgrounds fuse together to bring a unique, smooth, and sometimes funky edge to everything from jazz standards to modern R&B.

The 3 Generations are a musical group which consists of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation male relatives.  Based out of Augusta and formed in 2012, the 3 Generation's mission is to utilize its instrumental and vocal talents for the glory of God.  The 3 Generations have performed at various churches throughout the C.S.R.A. and cherishes the opportunity to share its love for music with all who will hear.

“To have a local college who has given so much to our community and produced dynamic leaders since 1882 is phenomenal,” shared Ann N. Johnson.  “I, and the Augusta community, have received so many of its benefits.  The act of giving forward is most important. UNCF scholarships enable students to realize their career goals so that they can become successful citizens and a treasure in their local and global communities is nothing but a WISE investment”.

The honorary chair of this scholarship event is musical recording artist, Janelle Monáe.  Four decades of funk and soul explode as hot new singer, Monáe joins forces with Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, pivotal members of James Brown’s band in the 1960s and 1970s. Janelle Monáe has been called a super-musical cross between James Brown, Judy Garland, Andre 3000 and Steve Jobs. Monáe burst on the music scene in 2010 with her recording The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), a concept album about a messianic figure in an android community. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album with the song "Tightrope" nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. In 2011, Monáe performed at the Grammy ceremony and during the spring of 2012 appeared at the White House – First Lady Michelle Obama is a fan and uses her music as part of her workout. A key member of her band is guitarist Kellindo Parker, nephew of legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker.

Monáe is no stranger to Paine College nor Augusta, Georgia. The artist visited the College on October 4, 2012 to encourage voting among students for the 2012 presidential election in November. She also performed at the annual Westobou Festival, a celebration of visual and performing arts. In terms of education and philanthropy, Monáe has been a vocal proponent of progressive organizations such as Black Girls Rock and Keep A Child Alive, which better the lives of young electric ladies everywhere. 

She is set to release her upcoming album “Electric Lady” on September 10, 2013.

Tickets, now available for purchase, are $25 in advance and $35 on the day of the scholarship event. To purchase tickets for this event, contact Leadra Collins, Augusta UNCF Campaign Coordinator, at 706.821.8233 or

For more information on Paine College, please visit or contact Leah Suggs in the Office of Communications & Marketing at

(706) 821-8322, (803) 524-3195 or

Photo caption: Flyer for the Inaugural Ann N. Johnson UNCF Jazz Festival.

Photo caption: UNCF Jazz Festival honoree, Ann N. Johnson.