With thanks and appreciation for a grant from the ESSA Foundation - this recording project is a benefit for COTAl.

ALL proceeds will benefit COTA, and most involved donated part or all of their time and talent to make this vision a reality.

Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011,
Bob Dorough, a jazz pianist and the man behind the "Schoolhouse Rock!" series of the 70s, sits by a piano at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap.


Bob Dorough was writing jingles for a New York ad agency in the 1970s when the company's president approached him for a special project.

The man's son was having a difficult time learning his multiplication tables, but the father noticed the boy knew all the words to his Beatles songs. The president asked Dorough to write rock songs that reviewed his son's math lessons.

Dorough, now of Upper Mount Bethel Township, was an accomplished jazz pianist, but he gave educational music a shot. The result was "Schoolhouse Rock!," the series of educational shorts that have taught generations of school children about math, science and history.

Courtesy Pocono Rcord - June 12, 2011

Saxophonist Phil Woods will be honored with the BNY Mellon Jazz 2011 Living Legacy Award in a special ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14.

The BNY Mellon Jazz 2011 Living Legacy Award is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and is sponsored by BNY Mellon, a global financial services company. The award honors living jazz masters from the Mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education. The celebration will include a reception, the award ceremony and a performance by the 2010 Legacy award recipient, Roy Haynes, in the Terrace Theatre.

by Michael Lello - Weekender Editor

To say the organizers of the Celebration of the Arts Jazz Festival — commonly known as COTA — are in a unique situation would be quite an understatement. The annual event, which will take place in Delaware Water Gap for the 33rd time this weekend, has survived despite a decision to eschew outside sponsorship since day one. The festival also has had the luxury of being located in a town teeming with musical talent.

“Everybody has to have some kind of local connection to be on the festival. We don’t go out and look for bands of international notoriety,” said Rick Chamberlain, a COTA cofounder. “We have international notoriety right here.”

Chamberlain’s fellow founder, Delaware Water Gap resident Phil Woods, is a renowned jazz saxophonist who will again perform at COTA this year. Fellow sax standout Dave Liebman, who also lives in the area, is on the bill, too. Both have been named National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Masters — the highest honor bestowed in the United States on jazz musicians. In late August, the New York Times published an article about Liebman.

Congratulations to drummer, bandleader, clinician, educator and COTA Board of Director Sherrie Maricle for a great interview in the October 2012 issue of Jazz Inside magazine.


Courtesy Pocono Record
By Michael Sadowski Pocono Record Writer May 12, 2010 12:00 AM

Everything with a name is for sale these days.

But for years, one thing that decidedly wasn't on the market was the Celebration of the Arts (COTA) jazz festival in Delaware Water Gap every September.

Festival organizers are facing a dilemma for this year's festival and for the future as they continue to turn down the offers of corporate sponsorship and keep the event a Poconos original.

"That's the way it was intended when it started," said Lauren Chamberlain, president of the COTA board of directors. "And that's the way we want to keep it. It's always been local and independent."

On November 12, 2008 Phil Woods and the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts received the 2008 Creative Community Award in a ceremony in Williamsport, PA.

Selected to perform at the event were bassist and COTA CampJazz Ensemble Coordinator Evan Gregor (Summa Com Laude, Berklee School of Music, 2003), Jay Rattman, alto saxophonist and COTA CampJazz Mentor (Manhattan School of Music, 2010) and pianist David Lantz IV, a 17 year old senior at Stroudsburg High School and student at COTA CampJazz for the past two years.

Speaking of the event David commented, "It was an honor to play for Phil at the Governor's Awards, especially after all of the inspiration and opportunity he's created through the COTA Cats and COTA CampJazz for young musicians such as myself."

Both Evan and Jay are also graduates of the COTA big band program.

Bob Dorough, the jazz pianist who wrote and produced the original "Schoolhouse Rock" for ABC in the 1980s, will be feted at the 34th annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) jazz festival Friday through Sunday in Delaware Water Gap.

Dorough has long been a friend and contributor to COTA. When NEA jazz master and festival co-founder Phil Woods was asked why COTA chose to honor Bob, he replied: "Let me count the ways! Turn to page 189 in the Encyclopedia of Jazz and prepare to be amazed! From music director for Sugar Ray [Robinson] to teaching America how to count with the celebrated series 'Multiplication Rock' to recording his Christmas song with Miles — come on, man! About time I say!"

Introducing Dorough will be one of his personal friends, Emmy-winning TV and film actor Peter Coyote.

by Purchase College Alumni Association on Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 3:53pm

Jazz pianist Bobby Avey  ’07 winner of the 2011 Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Composer’s Competition, will perform his piece on Sept. 11 at the Smithsonian Institute’s Baird Auditorium in Washington, DC. The performance of  “Late November” will take place during the semi-final round of this year’s piano performance competition.

The announcement of Avey’s selection in the Monk competition came just three months after he was awarded a New Jazz Works grant by Chamber Music America, to develop an hour-long piece inspired by the 1791 slave revolt in Haiti that led to the nation’s independence from France in 1804. He received a $10,000 award from the Monk Institute and a $21,500 grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for the work he’s creating for Chamber Music America. 

Community Arts Center will be Venue for Nov. 12 Awards Ceremony

WILLIAMSPORT – Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, First Lady of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, today announced the recipients of the Governor’s Awards for the Arts. The annual awards are a 28-year gubernatorial tradition honoring outstanding Pennsylvania artists, arts organizations, and patrons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the arts.

“It is my great privilege to announce the recipients of this year’s Governor’s Awards for the Arts,” said the First Lady, who was joined in the announcement by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Chairman Diane Dalto and Executive Director Philip Horn. “The winners exemplify the excellence and diversity of the arts in Pennsylvania. Each has made a lasting contribution to our state. Their achievements in the arts are a model for young Pennsylvania artists and an inspiration for all.”

Governor Edward G. Rendell will present the awards to the following recipients at 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport:
August 27, 2010 - NEW YORK TIMES


WHEN the National Endowment for the Arts gives the 2011 N.E.A. Jazz Masters Award to the saxophonist David Liebman in January, it will represent more to him than a personal achievement. It will also mark the establishment’s de facto validation of the fusion aesthetic, he said, because few, if any, of the 118 other award recipients since 1982 have been as strongly identified with fusion and its challenge to mainstream jazz conventions as he has.

“It got a really bad rap for years, the fusion thing, no question about it. Miles got killed for it,” he said, referring to Miles Davis. “Suddenly it’s become the holy grail. ‘Oh boy, he was there before everyone.’ Of course he was. We knew that.”

It may have seemed like a thankless job putting on the 31st Celebration of the Arts Festival this month.

As the event crept closer, it became more and more obvious that torrential rains were going to chase away some of the crowd and put a damper on the event.

But this week, someone did thank the organizers.

Hard to say if Delaware Water Gap missed a chance at being the Branson, Mo., of the East some 60 years ago.

What is certain is that when Bob Lehr chose jazz over country-western for his new business venture, the Deer Head Inn became an epicenter of jazz and an incubator for three generations of stellar jazz musicians.

It began with piano players such as Keith Jarrett and was followed for years by the weekly treat of Johnny Coates, whose elegant arrangements and jazz sensibilities drew fans and put the place on the map.

And it was there that tavern owner Ed Joubert, trombonist Rick Chamberlain and sax player Phil Woods concocted the idea for an arts festival called the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts, or COTA. That yearly event is often known simply as "The Jazz Festival," as if it were the only one in the country. For those who play or attend the event, it is.

The 32nd annual Delaware Water Gap COTA festival will be held this weekend in Delaware Water Gap.

Jazz leaders plan camp, special concert for 30th anniversary of festival

By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Pocono Life Writer

Area jazz musicians just keep on giving, from fundraisers to passing on the torch.

The 30th anniversary of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts will continue that tradition with organizers planning a performance, CD and DVD of music that has been more than 40 years in the making and its first week-long jazz camp for youths.

That is in addition, of course, to the annual pilgrimage of musicians to the region's mecca of jazz, the COTA jazz festival in September.

read more online...

jazzmasscover 253438774


The Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is proud to announce that in continuation of celebrating the spirit of the jazz festival, the Jazz Mass CD has been re-mastered and re-released and is available for sale online and at the COTA Booth this weekend. The Jazz Mass is held every year on the Sunday of the COTA Festival, free to the public, from 10am-12pm. It is a celebration of spirit put to music with a 15-piece big band and full choir. 

By Sue Terry

adiaAdia M. Gibbs is on a roll.  The 37-year-old Stroudsburg resident has received several awards for her artwork since last summer, and she shows no signs of slowing down.  With work strongly influenced by themes of family and  music, Gibbs won the 1st place prize for multi media sculpture two years in a row at the COTA art competition at the Dutot Museum in Delaware Water Gap.  She also won the annual COTA poster contest with her design for the 2013 COTA festival.  This year, she won a 1st place in ceramic sculpture from the Pocono Arts Council, and her latest piece, a large wall mural in Dansbury Park, was chosen by Project Street Art (founded by Shane Izykowsky, Director) as the winner in a call for mural designs to be painted in 10 public areas in Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg.  

The mural was the most challenging project she had ever undertaken.  Accustomed to working alone, she soon realized that she would need a team of volunteers to help her complete the large piece by the deadline.    With their help, she began the painstaking process of transferring her design on paper onto the huge wall on the Dansbury Park Bathroom House.  Because Gibbs had to schedule painting sessions around her day job, they worked on the mural mostly at night, often until the wee hours. The unveiling took place on August 27, 2014, and Gibbs proudly acknowledged the volunteers who had signed on to help her complete the mural: Abigail Possinger, Peter Taney, Diana Davis, Neshamah Crosby-Jones, Marlena Holsten, Nina Curry, Melody Jane, Gairre Henry, Kimya Sessoms, and Melvin Clark.  

The mural features the founders of the jazz scene in the Water Gap/Stroudsburg area: legendary bandleader Fred Waring, saxophonist Phil Woods, trombonist Rick Chamberlain, and the late Ed Joubert, a jazz aficionado and promoter.  In the foreground the viewer also sees a Dali-esque piano keyboard, double bass, and other musical elements, with a lush green backdrop representing the beautiful Delaware Water Gap.           

Gibbs recalls the trepidation she felt earlier this year when submitting her design to Project Street Art for consideration.  "I had a few ideas, but nothing jumped out.  Then I thought, 'what art would make the most sense to be presented in Stroudsburg?'  A painting representing the COTA festival should have been here already—but it wasn't, so I started drawing sketches."

There was one problem, though.  The design needed to be submitted during the same week that Gibbs would be attending the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina on a scholarship she had won.  She would have to submit her mural design electronically, rather than in person as she had planned.  She was not a full-time student at Penland and had no student ID, so she had to sneak into the library in search of a computer.  In a back room she found two ancient laptops.  "One of them had a 91-year-old lady sitting in front of it.  I think the computer was also 91 years old.  It was so slow.  I wasn't even sure if it was working."  Moreover, she wasn't very confident in her submission even though she knew the idea was good.   "I didn't think I was going to win," said Gibbs.  "My design wasn't fully fleshed out.  But I decided to try for it anyway, because I wanted to reach out to the community.  Music keeps people connected."  

Apparently the Cyber Fates were smiling upon Gibbs that day.  After completing the course and returning home, she received a phone call telling her that her design had been chosen for the mural-to-be in Dansbury Park.  And when it came time to solicit help from assistants, Gibb's mother, Kimya Sessoms, was one of the ten who stepped forward.  Sessoms has been singing in the choir for the annual COTA Jazz Mass for many years.  But it wasn't until 2013, when Gibbs learned about the poster contest for the jazz festival, that she decided to get involved herself.  

Gibbs grew up in the Bronx.  How did this former New Yorker end up in Pennsylvania?  When she visited family in the Poconos, it dawned on her that in New York, she "felt like a trampled sardine."  But now that she lives in Stroudsburg, "I smile at people," she says.  The mural in Dansbury Park is her latest music-themed artwork, and she anticipates creating more  projects inspired by the COTA jazz tradition.  "Kids should have art in their lives and music in their hearts," she notes.  

More artwork by Adia M. Gibbs can be viewed on the Facebook page "Awakening Arts", as well as the website www.amgart.carbonmade.com.  

Photo credits:  Gibbs with Buddha painting by Tursaphoto.  Gibbs standing next to her mural by JoAnn Payne.