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Slidell names Amphitheater stage in honor of Koles

Slidell names Amphitheater stage in honor of Koles
Posted: May 6, 2019
Categories: Front Page, Good News
Comments: 0

On Sunday, May 5, 2019, Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer and the members of the Slidell City Council officially named the Heritage Park Amphitheater Stage “The Ronnie and Gardner Kole Stage” before the “Some Enchanted Evening” with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra concert.

In 2018, the Slidell City Council voted to name the amphitheater stage in recognition of the cultural contributions that the Koles have made to Slidell.

The festivities began at 5 p.m. with a performance by Ronnie Kole, followed by the stage naming ceremony an LPO concert.

“The contributions that the Koles have made to the citizens of the City of Slidell and St. Tammany Parish are too numerous to name,” said Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer. “We are honored to call Ronnie and Gardner friends of the City of Slidell and are grateful for all of the wonderful things they have done for our community.”

Over 25 years ago, Ronnie and Gardner Kole started “Jazz on the Bayou” to help raise money for local non profit organizations such as Easter Seals, STARC, Safe Harbor, The Tammany Trace and the City of Slidell Cultural Arts. To date, “Jazz on the Bayou” has raised over $1.5 million dollars for these causes here in Slidell.

Ronnie Kole is a world-renowned pianist who has performed for six United States President and Pope John Paul II. He is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the recipient of the Mahalia Jackson Lifetime Achievement Award and the Chevalier of Arts and Letters (the highest honor that the French government bestows to individuals for achievement in the arts). Mr. Kole is one of five musicians honored in New Orleans Musical Legends Park (along with Chris Owens, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain and Fats Domino) and was one of the organizers for the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Festival.

Gardner Kole is the founder of the Slidell Arts Guild, which brought dance and symphony performances to Slidell. She was also the owner of the first ballet studio in Slidell, where she taught generations of young ladies how to dance, manners and life skills. Gardner has been an integral part of the Slidell arts scene for over five decades, giving her time, talent and support to many organizations.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, lead by conductor David Torns, is celebrating the 50th year of Jazz Fest. The LPO designed a special program featuring jazz music and its development in New Orleans. From Scott Joplin and Paul Barbarin to Louis Prima and Pete Fountain, the LPO featured orchestral arrangements of some of the most important music in American history.

“Some Enchanted Evening” with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is brought to you by the City of Slidell’s Department of Cultural & Public Affairs with assistance from the departments of Parks & Recreation and Public Operations, the Slidell Police Department, the city’s Commission on the Arts and the city’s 2019 Cultural Season Sponsors, including the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce; Edge of the Lake MagazineNorthshore Plus ENJOY!; The Lake 94.7; Slidell MagazineThe Slidell Independent; Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner; Sophisticated Woman Magazine; CLECO Power, LLC; C. Ray Murry, Attorney At Law, LLC; Jazz on the Bayou/Ronnie Kole Foundation; Silver Slipper Casino; Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert; Lori Gomez Art; Lowry-Dunham, Case & Vivien Insurance Agency; Purple Armadillo Again; Chateau Bleu; Chef Charmaigne, Fine Creative Food; CiCi’s Pizza; Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer; Flatliners Entertainment; Old School Eats Food Truck; Olde Towne Slidell Print Shop; Pontchartrain Investment Management; Roberta’s Cleaners; Slidell Historic Antique Association; Terry Lynn’s Café & Creative Catering; Amy Thomas; Weston Three 19; and Tanya Witchen – RE/MAX Alliance.

This Olde Towne Slidell Main Street and Louisiana Cultural District event is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs,  St. Tammany Parish Government. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.

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