One such new endeavor is the concert with Freddy Cole, Nat “King”
Cole’s youngest brother. Jack-Williamson is hopeful that the show’s
proceeds will help Dunbar close some budget gaps. “I had been thinking
about a concert for quite some time,” she says. “I asked a couple of
people I know to put me in contact with Frank Malfitano, because I know
he has a lot of contacts. It’s easier if you have somebody who can get
to these folks and give you a break on their fees.”
And that is what Malfitano, founder and producer of the Syracuse
Jazz Fest, did. “Frank and I went back and forth on some artists. I
heard a song by Freddy Cole and asked a friend who that was. So when I
found out it’s Nat “King” Cole’s younger brother, I asked Frank if he
thought we could bring him to Syracuse. Frank is friends with Freddy,
and he gave him a call, and here we are.”
Not only does the concert bring an established jazz voice to
Syracuse, it also exposes the Dunbar Association to a new demographic.
“These are people who aren’t terribly familiar with us. This gives us
an opportunity to showcase who we are and what we’re doing.” And what
Dunbar is doing can be broken down into three categories: community
services, such as an emergency food pantry and a relatives-as-parents
program; family services, including Child Health Plus and adoption; and
youth services, with after-school and summer programming and a teen
program for at-risk youth.
“We’re dealing with a lot of dysfunctionality among our clients and
it’s tough to get people on their feet,” Jack-Williamson says. “As a
smaller agency, we’re trying to combat the problems with some
structural deficits in our agency. We function with very little, and we
never turn anyone away. We haven’t been business-wise, we’ve been
people-sensitive. If you have to criticize us, that’s a criticism. We
find the resources if we can.”
Perhaps Freddy Cole’s appearance will help close the gaps.
For more information on the Dunbar Association, call 476-4269.