Former Delta Queen pianist to entertain for Mizpah benefit

Rosary Pond on Mizpah property. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MIZPAH ORGANIZING COMMITTEE. &quotjonijul14"
Rosary Pond on Mizpah property. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MIZPAH ORGANIZING COMMITTEE. "jonijul14"
Posted July 13, 2010, at 10:23 p.m.
Tom &quotJazzou" Jones and Rose Upton. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MIZPAH ORGANIZING COMMITTEE. &quotjonijul14"
Tom "Jazzou" Jones and Rose Upton. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MIZPAH ORGANIZING COMMITTEE. "jonijul14"

Former cruise director and entertainer for the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., Tom “Jazzou” Jones of Glenburn, will be entertaining to help fund a trip to Mizpah, the Grand Isle retreat in Aroostook County for those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

“An Evening of Music In Memory of Kiki Martin and Perley York” will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, July 30, at Bucksport Performing Arts Center, Bucksport Middle School, 100 Miles Lane.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students and children.

Advance tickets are available at BookStacks and Bittersweet Gift Shop in Bucksport, and Wo’s BBQ Grill on Verona Island.

Since his retirement, Jones has been working with musicians at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, and joining him for this concert will be two of those students: singer Rose Upton of Orland, whom Jones will accompany, and Dixmont flutist Nicholas Southwick.

The program also includes the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Choir, honoring military personnel and veterans.

Tina York, Jacqui Hart and Suzanne Castonguay once again are helping organize the concert, which will enable a busload of people to visit Mizpah, free of charge, Aug. 25-26.

“Last year we had 29 people,” Tina told me “and, this year, we hope to fill the bus” with 40 participants.

Registration should be made as soon as possible by calling York at 469-2329 or Hart at 567-3154.

One reason for early registration for those who want to visit Mizpah, Tina said, “is so we can get the right count for food, but people can still register right up to the last minute. We just want them to make the trip.”

The retreat, which is a nonprofit organization, has several buildings and sites and is visited by many people each year, free of charge.

Tina is the widow of a former, favorite Bangor Daily News co-worker, Perley York, who died last August, and she admitted during a recent phone call that she is “a bit late” getting the word out, “so Perley’s been whispering in my ear, telling me to get started,” she said.

“The concert is such a big part” of the fundraising, Tina added. “We need to raise the money to take these people for free.”

As I have written previously, Mizpah was created in 1991 by cancer survivor Dick Corbin for those who have cancer, have had cancer, know someone with the disease or are supporting someone with the disease.

Tina said the organizers have received great support from members of the Knights of Columbus throughout the state and, in fact, Jazzou, who is volunteering his time for this concert, is Grand Knight for the Orono Council.

Jazzou also should be a familiar face to folks in the midcoast area, since he told me he goes to Rockland every Tuesday night to perform on ships of the American Cruise Line that come up the coast.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I still get to play ragtime on a boat.”

The Delta Queen, Jazzou said, was built in 1926 and now is a National Historic Landmark, but no longer in service on the river.

When he moved to Maine in the ’80s, he would spend 30 days at home and 30 days on the boat.

“It was a quite a lifestyle,” he admitted.

The boat now is “moored in Chattanooga, and it’s a bed-and-breakfast,” he explained. “I’m going there in November to play for a four-night reunion stay, with former passengers and crew.”

Since 1995, he has been working with John Bapst students, who know him as “the other Tom Jones.”

And while his musical specialty is ragtime, the Mizpah concert will feature a little bit of everything, Jazzou said, including patriotic music.

For more information about Mizpah, e-mail Corbin at dickcorbin@mizpah.us or visit www.mizpah.us/start_page.html.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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