Roughly one month separates Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s the busiest month of the year for nonprofits and charities. That’s when folks open their hearts and wallets, and give. It’s also when Jacksonville musician and poet Scott T. Horowitz convenes his musical friends for an annual holiday jamboree to benefit local nonprofit Community Hospice and Palliative Care.
Horowitz feels he owes a special debt to the organization.
“My dad passed away in 2011,” he explains. “He had cancer and was in hospice care. Community Hospice provided end-of-life care for him and therapy services for my mom after the fact. They provided care for my granddad, too. And they never asked for any money. They will help you no matter what your economic status is.”
He conceived Scott T’s Holiday Jamboree in 2013, as a way of saying—and giving—thanks. It has been hosted at 1904 Music Hall nearly every year since. (In 2016, Horowitz took the event to St. Augustine.) The proceeds have always been directed to Community Hospice.
“This is how I give back and celebrate life all at the same time,” he continues. “That’s what good music, good food and good spirits are all about—enjoying life.”
Horowitz is checking all the boxes. Not only is there music; there’s a free beer keg (while it lasts), free bottles of wine (while they last) and food, courtesy of some of Scott T’s favorite purveyors: Brooks Brothers BBQ, Fehrenbacher’s Artisan Sausages, Spliff’s Gastropub and Southern Roots Filling Station. Manifest Distilling will be presenting a special seasonal cocktail menu.
The line-up is a who’s-who of Jacksonville music luminaries across several genres.
“The nature of the show is unique,” Horowitz says. “Everyone on the bill has already headlined their own show at 1904.”
The evening is set to begin with an acoustic set by Ben Strok and a bluegrass stomp courtesy of Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum. Bass has been a mainstay on the Americana scene for years. His quartet, Melted Plectrum, is a feast of nearly all of the roots-music food groups: acoustic guitar, double bass, banjo and mandolin (the fiddle is conspicuously absent).
John Parkerurban and friends are scheduled to provide a jazzy interlude next, punctuated by a short set of poetry by Ebony Payne-English. Horowitz crossed paths with Payne-English on the spoken-word circuit, and he was mightily impressed.
After that comes the debut of Osirian Orchestra, a supergroup starring none other than Scott T himself.
“Side Hustle is joining forces with me and Ben [Strok],” Horowitz says. “I’m fronting that band for a one-time thing.”
Headlining the evening is MZG, making a rare hometown appearance. The Jax-born, twin-brother DJ duo are now based in Colorado, but they’re flying in just to assist their friend Scott T.
“It’s an eclectic bill,” Horowitz says. And it’s that way for a reason. He wanted to avoid the pitfalls of same-old concert promotion.
“Sometimes I’ll go to a show and it’s three bands that sound exactly the same. It can get boring,” he explains. “I love music, period. Music of all kinds. So I made a show that I would want to go to. Start out with some bluegrass and some chill music. Then roll out your rock and roll soul power. Put your electronic music on last, to blow out the dance party. You can stay from start to finish and you won’t get bored.”
Horowitz sees the love of music as one of humankind’s common denominators, something that can bring us together. We also share a common fate as human beings. According to Horowitz, Community Hospice and other providers of hospice care help us face that finality.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what music you like, everyone dies,” says Horowitz. “I think if you can face death and be cool with it, you can live your life more fully.”
The requested donation is $20 but Horowitz emphasizes that any dollar amount is appreciated. Nobody will be