Inaugural Taste of Irvington Jazz in the Square concert proves tasty

At large Councilwoman October Hudley, center, is flanked by Denise Keys, left, and Adriane Allen, right, on Thursday, June 16, during the inaugural Taste of Irvington Jazz in the Square concert that kicked off the summer.
At large Councilwoman October Hudley, center, is flanked by Denise Keys, left, and Adriane Allen, right, on Thursday, June 16, during the inaugural Taste of Irvington Jazz in the Square concert that kicked off the summer.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss and the Municipal Council kicked off the summer by hosting the inaugural Taste of Irvington Jazz in the Square concert in Civic Square on Thursday, June 16.

“We’re doing our thing,” Vauss said Thursday, June 16.You’ve got to have flavor to make things happen and this was a huge event tonight. It was very successful. We had jazz, house music, hip-hop; it was just a great event.”

Vauss said the best part of the Taste of Irvington concert was the performance by singer Valerie Adams, along with the Dimension Band, and called the concert a coming out party for the new Irvington.

“Our motto is ‘Making Irvington Strong’ and it’s all about one team, one dream,” the mayor said. “Everyone was here. All our council people were here. Everyone enjoyed their time. Making Irvington strong is making the community strong. Letting everyone come together, build the community, have a good time, enjoy yourself; there’s nothing better than being able to go out and have a good time in your own community. We had hundreds of people out here tonight. Where else could they have gone on a Thursday night to have a good time in their own community?”

Vauss also said last week’s concert and the upcoming installments of the series, scheduled for Thursday, July 21, and Thursday, Aug. 18, give the township an opportunity to showcase the results of his administration’s “Clean and Safe” campaign.

“With crime being down almost 83 percent — which is unheard of — and still one homicide to date, it’s unbelievable,” said Vauss. “I think it’s a combination of things, but our people and our community are buying into what our community can be and they’re starting to believe again. Once you start to believe, there’s no stopping you from there.”

Melody Scott is the director of the township’s Neighborhood Preservation Department. She was also the driving force behind the Taste of Irvington Jazz in the Square concert series, along with at large Councilwoman Renee Burgess and Jamilah Beasley.

“It’s always a team effort and we wanted to bring something cultural, some music, something grown up,” said Scott on Thursday, June 16. “We wanted people to come out and see Irvington in a different light and just enjoy themselves, not just for the employees, but the residents and everybody; and we called it a Taste of Irvington so you could get an Irvington feel.

“We gave it a little flavor. We’ve got a lot of flavor in Irvington. It was good and it turned out to be excellent. Valerie Adams was amazing.”

But Scott said the best thing about the inaugural Taste of Irvington event was the debut of the Tony Vauss Rockets and Rockettes. “The mayor doesn’t dance, but the seniors did a great job. … It turned out real nice and I’m proud of it. We’re going to put one on again in July and again in August and I think we’ll have more vendors, more people, more everything.”

Scott said the goal of the Taste of Irvington was “to do something different,” and attendees Denise Keys and Adriane Allen said she succeeded at that.

“I’m new to New Jersey,” said Allen on Thursday, June 16. “This was the first time I came to the park, the first time I heard Valerie Adams. I just enjoyed myself. It was great.”

Keys said she’s very glad she brought her friend out to have a good, safe, enjoyable time in Irvington. “Valerie Adams is a premiere band nationwide and you guys had her here in Irvington,” said Keys on Thursday, June 16.

“And so we’re inviting people from far and wide to come and enjoy a Taste of Irvington and listen to the best vocalist, as well as … DJ Qua. I’m a longtime Newark resident with a number of family members who live in Irvington and work for Irvington, so I’m very supportive of the city and what it’s doing for its people. It was a great day. We had a wonderful, wonderful time.”

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