‘With Love From Love City’ Brings St. John Together at Christmas Time

Eddie Russell of the Eddie Russell Quelbe Latin Jazz Band, and local musician and organizer of the St. John Christmas Music Festival Steve Simon at the festival’s opening night on Friday, December 16.

The three nights of free concerts at the Winston Wells Ballfield in Cruz Bay this past weekend were a culmination of the visions of St. John Administrator Julien Harley and Department of Public Works Deputy Director Ira Wade, with a little help from local musician Steve Simon.

“The idea was Julien Harley’s and Ira Wade’s,” said Simon. “They came to me and said they had a vision of doing a holiday music festival to bring the island together, and asked me if I could assist—and I said of course. I don’t take any credit for this.”

The festival featured “An Evening of Latin Jazz and Salsa” on Friday, Dec. 16, with Nestor Torres, The Paoli Mejias Latin Jazz Quintet and The Eddie Russell Quelbe Latin Jazz Band; “An Evening of R&B and Smooth Jazz” on Saturday, December 17, with Kim Waters and His Band and Maryel Epps; and a children’s parade and calypso and reggae on Sunday, Dec. 18, with Inner Visions and The Ah We Band.

There were numerous expenses associated with the music festival, including transportation, airline tickets, hotel rooms and payment for the bands; sound and lighting for the stage; advertising; and gifts for the children, which were handed out on Sunday.

In order to help with these expenses, “I picked up the telephone and called my friends,” said Simon. “We’ve had a lot of help. Our contributors include Premier Wine and Spirits, Donald Sussman, Holiday Homes, American Paradise Realty, Theodore Tunic Insurance, The Westin Resort and Villas, Tropical Properties, First Bank, and my wife and I.”

The music festival is something that Simon said he hopes to do every year.

“I’ve been very, very happy to participate,” said the musician. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

Simon said he was pleased to see the community coming together.

“I thank St. John for stepping up and recognizing that presenting a music festival at Christmas time is a wonderful way to talk about the love in Love City, and a wonderful way to bring the community together,” he said.