The 34th edition of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts student jazz ensemble, THE COTA CATS, will rehearse 8-10 times at East Stroudsburg HS South in August and September and will subsequently perform at the 2014 Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts Jazz and Arts Festival on Sunday, September 7th in the afternoon.    


Tim Helman and the 2014 COTA PosterTim HelmanTim HelmanThe Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) is proud to announce that it has selected the artwork of Tim Helman, as the winner of the 2014 poster competition.

Helman, a Pocono native, has been a visual artist for more than thirty years, painting in three-dimensional mixed media, incorporating musical instruments and found objects into his art. His style is innovative and unique and has been exhibited in the Bixler Gallery, Sweet Creams Café, Designer Crafts on Main, the Willowtree Inn, and the Red Run Gallery, to name a few. Throughout his career he has been commissioned to do face and body painting by numerous festivals and several private gatherings in the Tri-State Area, including the Knowlton River Festival and the Celebration of the Arts. In the past, he has also done airbrushed body art for the ESPN/EXPN X-Games. He has won many awards at the Music Motif Art Show at the COTA Jazz festival and in 2004, was the recipient of the COTA Volunteer of the Year Award. He is also the Director of the Artisan Area at the COTA Festival itself. Additionally, his work is currently displayed in many private collections across the country.


Sundays 6 to 7:30 PM

  • gazebo concertsgazebo concertsJUNE 1 - Spencer and Nancy Reed
  • JUNE 8 - Lost Ramblers
  • JUNE 15 - Calliope
  • JUNE 22 - Vinny Bianchi and Jazz Juice 
  • JUNE 29 - The Wayfarers
  • JULY 6 - Sound of Strings
  • JULY 13 - Erin McClelland Band
  • JULY 20 - SheilaMark Band
  • AUGUST 3 - Tony Dellaria & Friends Blues Band
  • AUGUST 10 - 3Spirit
  • AUGUST 17 - Marty Wilson Trio
  • AUGUST 24 - Louie Setzer and the Appalachian Mt Boys
  • AUGUST 31 - Bonnie Childs with Danny Lattuca & Evan Gregor

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.”

(WVIA) - For the 17th consecutive year, WVIA FM's All That Jazz with George Graham presents comprehensive coverage of the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) Festival. Enjoy 10 nights of extraordinary jazz music starting Monday, November 17, 2014 at 7 p.m. on WVIA FM.

The series will feature music from performances from the main stage of the festival which was held in the Poconos town of Delaware Water Gap on Sept. 5, 6 and 7, 2014 and recorded for broadcast by Chiaroscuro Records.

The complete broadcast schedule of featured performances on All That Jazz on WVIA FM is below and can also be found at

Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. - Nancy & Spencer Reed / The Matt Vashlishan-Evan Gregor Quartet, Part 1
Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. - The Matt Vashlishan-Evan Gregor Quartet, Part 2 / Najwa Parkins and the After Hours Trio
Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. - Phil Woods and the COTA Festival Orchestra
Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. - Bob Dorough / Miss Ida Blue, part 1
Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. - The Diva Trio + vocalist Sue Giles / Miss Ida Blue, part 2
Monday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. - The Bill Mays Trio / Nellie McKay, part 1
Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. - Nellie McKay, Part 2 / Co-Op Bop
Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. - The COTA Cats (student band), edition 34 / The Vic Juris Trio
Thursday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. - Expansions the Dave Liebman Group
Friday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. - The Shockenaw Mountain Boys featuring Tim Carbone / Tracks cut for time from previous segments

Chiaroscuro Records is a division of WVIA Public Media and is the steward of some of the finest jazz recordings in the world. For more information about Chiaroscuro's fine jazz recordings, visit

WVIA FM can be found at 89.9 FM in northeast PA, 99.3 FM in Allentown, 105.7 FM in Bethlehem, 90.3 FM in Clarks Summit, 100.1 FM in Lewisburg, 89.7 FM (WVYA) in Williamsport, 89.3 FM in south central PA, 88.3 FM in Mainesburg, 91.5 FM (WPAU) in the Palmyra Township/Hawley/Lake Wallenpaupack region, 94.9 FM in Pottsville, 94.3 FM in Stroudsburg/East Stroudsburg, 105.7 FM in Sunbury, and 103.5 FM in Wellsboro. WVIA FM can also be heard via an online stream at


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...

The Other Performing Arts
September 5, 7 PM
Presbyterian Church of the Mountain
$10 Admission

The Marsha Cahn Ensemble
The Water Gap Players
The Sound of Strings Quartet
The Totts Gap Dancers


Marsha Cahn
toured with Barbra Streisand, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and is a former member of the New Jersey Symphony. She currently lives and teaches music in Stroudsburg, PA.

Denny Carrig
is an original member of the COTA Festival and also performs theater, TV, and film in New York City and around the country.

Dave Hymes
has performed numerous characters over the past 30 years in the COTA Festival, and in New York City and the Poconos. "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character." - Theodore Roosevelt

Greg Back
playwright, author, actor, and professor of speech and communications at North Hampton Community College. Greg has been writing and performing for different venues for over 30 years in NYC and the Pocono region. 

Olivia Reed, Sophia Rostock, Joe Snyder, Emily Geiger
are the next generation of young, talented local musicians.

 Angeline Wolf 
toured the world dancing and directing. She helped create ballets for Alvin Alley, American Dance Theater, and the Lyon Opera ballet, among others. Angie also was a guest performer in the New York seasons of Twyla Tharp and dancers. She currently teaches dance at Totts Gap Institute.

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.