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Can the Chi-Town Jazz Festival continue fighting hunger?


Last year, the exceptional Chicago guitarist John Moulder – who also happens to be a Catholic priest – dared to dream big.

He created a jazz festival in which all the musicians donated their services, all the clubowners contributed their facilities and all the proceeds went to feed the hungry.

The first Chi-Town Jazz Festival not only enlivened the city's jazz rooms but raised $17,000 for Catholic Charities, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Banks, among others.

That response has inspired Moulder to launch the second Chi-Town Jazz Festival, which runs Tuesday March 22 through Saturday in several venues.

The question now, says Moulder, is whether he'll be able to keep the venture going.

"Jazz comes from that place, and so perhaps it's perfectly suited to help today."

At the very least, the second Chi-Town Jazz Festival will raise additional money to fight hunger. Moulder says he hopes the event generates more money than last year, because "the need for hunger relief has grown in Chicago and in the country. It was timely last year, and it still is."

If Moulder can attract broader philanthropic support for the festival , the event will be back next March, he says.

Surely this is one cultural event that deserves to keep on swinging.

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