The Camel City Jazz Orchestra serenaded the Elon community during a free public concert outside Martin Alumni Center Thursday afternoon.
The heart of the Elon campus welcomed the smooth sounds of jazz on a warm summer afternoon Thursday as members of the Elon faculty, staff and surrounding community gathered under the oaks outside Martin Alumni Center for the university's second-annual free public summer concert.
"Everybody knows that I'm a big fan of great music," Elon President Connie Ledoux Book told the crowd during intermission of a performance by the Camel City Jazz Orchestra of Winston-Salem, N.C.
Book introduced a new free summer concert for the public in 2018, with the broader Elon community gathering to hear the North Carolina Brass Band last year. This year the Camel City Jazz Orchestra performed popular hits, like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” as well as several patriotic tunes to celebrate the approaching July 4 holiday.
“One of the great things we have at Elon is a great community of faculty and staff and students who bring this campus to life,” Book told the crowd Thursday. "We wanted to have a moment when we celebrate our community with a concert."
The concert, which is sponsored by the Office of the President, attracted Elon residents like Irene Britton, whose son, Clay, graduated from the university in 2004.
“I think this is marvelous,” Britton said. “It’s great to get outside and meet university people, people from the community, and to just enjoy jazz music. Doesn’t this sound nice?”
Former Elon football player Dominick DeSarro ’58 and his wife, Doris, spent the afternoon tapping their toes to the music. They said the concert gave them a glimpse into what Elon continues to offer to its students and the community.
“This school has grown tremendously, and the education students get here is unreal,” said Dominick DeSarro.
Doris DeSarro added, “It’s just so welcoming, and everybody is so interested in the community and joining together to help make it a better place."
Attendees enjoyed free ice cream from Smitty's to help cool off in the summer heat as they listened to the music drifting across campus. Attendees listened intently during the intermission as President Book pulled raffle tickets out of a box to award prizes.
"It's not really what I listen to usually, but I like it," said Alexander Aviles Cruz, who is on campus this summer with the Elon Academy, the university's college access and success program for local high school students. Aviles Cruz joined his classmates under the oaks to learn more about life in the Elon community.
"People know each other and get to create relationships with each other, even teachers," he said. "And, I believe events like this help students, teachers and staff join together."