Remembering Patricia Myers, A Beloved Friend to Young Sounds

By Marisa Arellano

 

To most in the Arizona jazz scene, Patricia Myers was a supporter, fan and lover of jazz.  To Young Sounds, she was family.  Myers devoted her life to promoting and nurturing the Phoenix jazz community as both a journalist and a producer of events.

She began a regular jazz column in 1970, published then in the Scottsdale Daily Progress, and in 1977 co-founded the non-profit organization Jazz in Arizona.  Myers’ column continued through to 2017, at MusicSceneAZ.com, which featured her monthly jazz updates: her Riffs column, Events Calendar, and Jazz Venues listing. The website was conceived and is sponsored by the 104-year-old Professional Musicians Union, Local 586. It compiled all genres of music events throughout the state, with a special focus on local live jazz and Young Sounds of Arizona.

“Patricia was such a unique lady and she found a way to combine two of her greatest passions in life- music and writing,” says Jerry Donato, President of the Musician’s Union, whose friendship with Patricia began back in the 1980’s. She had an extensive body of work that spanned several decades and she never failed to intrigue her audiences. 

Patricia’s love for jazz was woven throughout her life. “I started listening to jazz as a teenager because of my mom’s extensive record collection, and over the years I heard a lot of great live music with her,” says her daughter, Suzanne McElfresh. “She wrote her column and the listings every month so people would know where they could hear music in Phoenix and around the state. She wanted to get the word out about all the live shows, and it was important to her that the musicians were appreciated.

Over the years, Patricia developed friendships with local musicians and was well respected in the community as a writer and a supporter of live music.  “Aside from supporting local music, Patricia truly cared about the artists. Her empathy for the elder artists was moving.  She never forgot about them, even when they could no longer perform or were no longer in the public eye,” says Donato.

And while it was evident that she cared deeply for the professional performers in our community, she had a special place in her heart for the budding musicians of Young Sounds. She consistently promoted Young Sounds concerts, attended performances, wrote articles about our kids and spread the word about our scholarship opportunities.  In 2016, she wrote, Young Sounds’ musicianship is amazing for their age-group, and they are always a pleasure to hear. It was as if she already knew how bright the future is going to be for our kids.

“She loved jazz and really cared about music education for young players,” McElfresh says. She was excited to be working with the Musicians Union to get the word out about Young Sounds and all the live music in Arizona.”

Young Sounds Director Andrew Gross explains, “while we all know that Patricia was extremely passionate about live music and especially about jazz, we are both honored and humbled by her wishes to have donations made in her honor to our program.  This means a great deal to our staff and to our kids and we are truly grateful.”

Patricia loved the art of jazz and the artists, young and old alike, and for that we are grateful. And although her passing has left a hole in the heart of Young Sounds, her spirit continues to remain with us all.

Please join us in a Celebration of the Life of Patricia Myers – jazz journalist, organizer, producer, and bonne vivante – on Saturday April 1, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale.  Food and drinks will be served. RSVP via email to RSVP@ASUKERR.com or at 480-596-2660.

In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted to the Patricia Myers Young Sounds of Arizona Scholarship Fund at www.youngsounds.org/donate and at the event.

Young Sounds of Arizona Training and Auditions

With alumni like Sonia Jason, Joey Sellers, Matt Rollings, Lewis Nash, James Kass, Phillip Strange, Jeff Dellisanti, Dick Weller, Rachel Eckroth, Eric Felten, Alex Han and Vince Wedge (just to name a few!), Young Sounds of Arizona is one of the best training programs for young jazz musicians in the country.

Young Sounds commissions a new tune for big band for our annual Meet the Composer concert. Members are honored to work with these exceptional musicians for that concert. At the end of each year, deserving members receive generous scholarships.

Click here for The Auditions Page.

Called “the best young talent in the Valley”, Young Sounds of Arizona consists of 40 young jazz musicians, ages 13 to 18.

Young Sounds of Arizona is an on-going project of American Federation of Musicians Local 586, and is led by Music Director Andrew Gross. The work ethic, attitude, discipline, talent and performance level of these Young Sounds musicians is quite impressive and they serve as powerful examples for the community and music lovers, both young and old.

Go to The Auditions Page for details about requirements, and to register for an audition.