When John Sievers isn't teaching English at Rochester Community and Technical College (he holds a doctorate in English literature), you can usually find him playing his trombone with bands around town, including his own band, the D'Sievers.
Playing music has been a part of his life since he was a young child. "I started playing the trombone in fifth grade with the formal music program at my school and got into bands pretty early," Sievers said.
Sievers even played with the St. Ambrose College jazz band while he was still in middle school, then went on to study music in college.
"I thought I was going to be a band teacher, but decided that wasn't what I wanted to do," he said. "So I kept doing music as a hobby, not my career."
That hobby and love for music has evolved into bringing more jazz to Rochester, such as the "Jazz Jam" (live jazz and open mic sessions) at the Rochester Civic Theatre, and this Sunday's inaugural Rochester City Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Rochester Downtown Alliance and the Rochester Civic Theatre. The event will feature a jazz jam, two stages, and three bands, including the D'Sievers quartet, Group 47, and the Atlantis Quartet.
"I think it is high time that Rochester had its own jazz festival," Sievers said, "and I'm thrilled we've been able to attract two top tier jazz ensembles."
The event will also provide the opportunity for local musicians to join in with the jazz jam, that runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Rochester Civic Theatre's patio.
"I'm really excited to hear Rochester's veterans and youth play side-by-side on the same stage," Sievers said. "This event wouldn't be possible without the generous support of both the Rochester Civic Theatre and a stARTup grant from the Rochester Downtown Alliance.
"Jazz is one of America's truly original art forms, and it is incredible to see it embraced here in Rochester," he said. "This is going to be the start of a new local tradition, and it will definitely be a must-see event."
Check out the Rochester City Jazz Festival Facebook page, www.facebook.com/rochestercityjazzfestival. Tickets are $10 and available online at tinyurl.com/hnzbm8g.
Saints and ninjas
Rochester's Andrew Yori will appear again Monday night on "American Ninja Warrior," the reality TV show sports competition where athletes go up against insane obstacle courses.
Yori, who's known on the show as the "K9 Ninja," was one of a handful of people selected from over 70,000 applications to appear on the show. He competed in the regional qualifying event in Indiananapolis, where the top 30 moved on to the finals course. He made it through that qualifying round and moved on to the Indianapolis Finals, which airs July 25 on NBC.
If you missed his qualifying round, you can see the full episodes on nbc.com. Good Luck Andrew!