With the world experiencing its own version of the Roaring Twenties, Wilton Library is moving ahead with its plan for its Wilton Reads 2020 community-wide reading program based on F. Scott’s Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age. With the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck’s centennial birthday this December, the announcement of the Brubeck Collection archives coming to Wilton Library, the earlier collaboration of the library and the Wilton Historical Society’s “Jazzed Up–The History of Jazz” scholarly series, the time is now right to reintroduce the topic of American jazz. In keeping with the collaboration with Wilton Public Schools for Wilton Reads, young children and teens are part of the concise set of programs that will be delivered virtually by the library.

“Without a doubt, this year is not what anyone expected. Through it all, we’re happy to be offering many of the same quality programs that were planned this spring. Now we’re providing them virtually so that everyone can remain safely at home, and still be immersed in the American jazz experience,” Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library, said.

Paperback copies of Tales of the Jazz Age were provided free to the community in March, courtesy of Fairfield County Bank. The few remaining paperback copies are being given away at the library’s drive-thru window beginning Thursday, Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while supplies last. The virtual programs also begin on Oct. 1, with poetry lectures, book discussions, jazz history lectures, a literary discussion, an art contest for teens, a jazz concert for kids and their families, and educational resources and additional reading selections that can all be found on the library’s website.

The following is a list of the programs. All of the details are on the library’s website:

  • Now through Oct. 31:  Jazzy Art Contest for Teens, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; submissions drop off with entry forms:  Oct. 28 or 31. Teens in grades 7-12 can create jazz album covers or book covers; prizes awarded.
  • Thursdays, Oct. 1, 8, 15, & 22:  Poetry with Judson Scruton: The Bridge–Hart Crane’s Journey Through and Over The Roaring 20s, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. This is a four-part series examining the arts and culture of the Roaring Twenties using The Bridge as the focal point.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 28:  Book Discussion–Tales of the Jazz Age with Susan Boyar, 12-1:30 p.m. Popular book group facilitator Susan Boyar discusses the Wilton Reads selection.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31:  Scott Fitzgerald and The Jazz Age with Mark Schenker, 3-4 p.m. Dr. Mark Schenker examines Fitzgerald’s life and work in the 1920s through the lens of Tales of the Jazz Age.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3:  Book Discussion–Tales of the Jazz Age with Susan Boyar, 7-8:30 p.m. Popular book group facilitator Susan Boyar discusses the Wilton Reads selection.
  • Thursday, Nov. 5:  Jazz, Classical Music, and the ‘Third Stream’ with Gil Harel, 5-6:30 p.m. Dr. Gil Harel explores the cross pollination of jazz and classical music in the early 20th century by composers from Paul Whiteman to George Gershwin and more.
  • Saturday, Nov. 7:  Airborne Jazz for Kids and their Families, 2-3 p.m. The Airborne Jazz Trio will share their energetic, contemporary jazz as well as educate about jazz as a musical art form.

With the exception of the teen art contest, all the programs will be delivered virtually on the Zoom platform; therefore registration is required in order to receive the Zoom invitation links. Please visit the library website and click on the Wilton Reads graphic to be connected to all the program descriptions and registration links, and the educational resource materials.

Wilton Reads 2020 is enhanced by the partnerships with Fairfield County Bank, Wilton Historical Society and GOOD Morning Wilton, media sponsor.