Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweet Velzoe Brown Celebrates 101 at the Kuumbwa

The Grand Dame of the Santa Cruz music scene, Velzoe Brown, is greeted by fans young and old as she celebrated her 101st birthday last night at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz.

The woman who left her home in Nebraska to join an all girl travelling jazz band at 16 then worked as a musician steadily for 50 years before settling down in Santa Cruz and continuing to perform and teach piano until very recently attributes her longevity to keeping “a child’s heart inside”.

A year ago she was on the Kuumbwa stage with her band, The Upbeats, as musicians and fans turned out  to honor her on the ocassion of her 100th birthday.  While the crowd was smaller last night to mark her 101st birthday (she was born March 1, 1910) and her health of late has kept her from her regular gig she was clearly enjoying herself as a number of local musicians played and serenaded her with some of the same music that she has been performing for almost 85 years. Meanwhile Velzoe greeted and shared moments with a steady stream of admirers that included former bandmates, students and fans.

After everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and shared cake, one guest bid her farewell by saying “See you next year.” to which Velzoe responded “Wouldn’t that be just delightful!”

Read more about Velzoe:

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