Vermont Jazz Center launches GoFundMe campaign to replace stolen sound equipment

BRATTLEBORO — Early on the morning of Oct. 23, the Vermont Jazz Center was the target of a theft.

Thieves broke into the VJC's performance space at approximately 4 a.m. and stole more than $8,000 worth of mostly new musical equipment within 20 minutes.

With its recent upgrade, the center had achieved a new level of detail that allowed it to deliver exceptional sound throughout ots newly expanded space.

The losses were yet to be insured.

According to VJC Executive Director Eugene Uman, the thieves knew what they were looking for. Only the highest quality and most expensive items were taken. Having done their homework, the thieves also knew where all surveillance was positioned, and managed to avoid it almost completely.

The one camera to capture them briefly showed two people wearing ski masks moving gear out through a side door.

Uman said the VJC is strong and resilient, and will continue to provide high-level performances, no matter what.

The VJC writes it is grateful for the outpouring of goodwill and many offers of assistance it has received in the theft's aftermath. It says it appreciates the good people at Klondike Sound in Greenfield, Mass., who loaned the Center key equipment for several events just after the theft.

Uman said the loss of massive amounts of specialized sound equipment the week before a sold-out live music show could have been devastating, but Klondike Sound's generous support saved the day.

So many members of the VJC community have offered to help that the VJC has decided to coordinate a GoFundMe campaign at to streamline this process of giving. Funds raised will enhance security at VJC, Uman writes.

The Vermont Jazz Center is a small, nonprofit musical venue and educational facility now in its 40th year of operation. Founded by the legendary guitarist Attila Zoller, it is an internationally recognized institution providing jazz education, programming, and outreach.

This fall, the VJC underwent a large expansion, renovation, and sound and lighting upgrade, and received Chamber Music America's 2014 CMA Acclaim Award. This award brings national recognition to an individual, ensemble, or organization whose work in chamber music has had a significant cultural impact on a local or regional community.

The VJC serves a broad community through a monthly concert series, an annual summer jazz workshop, ongoing classes, a community big band, an emerging-artists concert series, weekly jam sessions and outreach to local schools.

It is recognized as a high-caliber performance venue where people can expect to see and hear artists who regularly perform in top jazz clubs in New York City and at esteemed festivals.

VJC's policy is that jazz should be accessible to all, regardless of one's financial situation. All concert-goers are given the opportunity to volunteer in exchange for entry. Students from area schools are given free entry due to an arrangement between the VJC and local band directors.

The Center is also dedicated to its mission of creating and preserving jazz through the presentation of workshops, concerts, and instruction to a broad constituency of artists, students, and the general public.

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