Eastman School of Music student Gabe Condon is one of the finest young guitarists in the country. In three weeks, here on Cranberry Pond in Greece, he'll share the stage with music superstar John Legend. It's a special opportunity made possible by the Belasco family. 9 years ago, David Belasco built this summer home for his siblings and their families. Together, they formed a foundation to benefit students at the Eastman School of Music. Their annual concert---for up to 700 guests---is called Jazz on the Pond.
"The first year we had a local band on the deck, with a pair of speakers on stands," says David Belasco. "It was great! The Mambo Kings started us off, and then each year we evolved. Everett Harp, Jeffrey Osborne, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire, and now someone we've always dreamed of having, John Legend."
Over the years, the Belascos have managed to pull off one intimate show after another. Jackie Belasco Stone and her daughter Alyssa say everyone chips in to make the magic happen. "We have family members that clean, that set up marketing, sponsorships, centerpieces, donations," Jackie says. "It's a big operation, but it's a family operation!"
John Legend agreed to perform for charity, and some of the proceeds will go to his own non-profit called the Show Me Campaign. The rest will fund jazz scholarships at the Eastman. "How can you not be inspired to see young people who dedicate their lives to being great at something, not good, but great?" says David.
"It's really benefited me and will benefit many others in the years to come," says Gabe. Over the past four years, this party by the water has produced impressive results, funding $100,00 in scholarships. It's a gift from the pond, for Rochester's own rising stars.
This year's Jazz On The Pond is Sunday July 22nd. For ticket information, click here.
To learn more about John Legend and the Show Me campaign, click here.
To learn more about guitarist Gabe Condon, click here.