Thirty-Eighth Annual Celebration of the Arts Begins This Weekend

COTA will celebrate the life of Rick Chamberlain this year. Photo Courtesy /
COTA will celebrate the life of Rick Chamberlain this year. Photo Courtesy /
COTA will celebrate the life of Rick Chamberlain this year.
Photo Courtesy /

By Kathleen Kraemer

This weekend, Friday Sept. 11- Sunday Sept. 13 Delaware Water Gap will be holding its thirty-eighth annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA).

COTA Board of Directors says the festival “seeks to reflect the creative vortex of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountain resident artists.”

The Celebration, also known as Jazz Fest, will kick off tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. at the Dutot Museum and Gallery, located on Delaware Water Gap’s Main Street, with the Music Motif Art Show.

At 7:00 the Church of the Mountain next door, there will be exhibits of modern dance, classical music and theater.

On Saturday, festivities will begin at noon with the Nancy Reed Trio followed by a tribute to the late Eric Doney, the New Quintet, The COTA Festival Orchestra, Expansions, and Tom Hamilton’s A Work in Progress.

Sunday will soothe your ears with the music of Jazz Mass at 10:00 am followed by the Su Terry Group, Dixie Gents, COTA Cats Volume XXXV, Adam Niewood’s Paradigm Shift, the Bob Dorough Quartet, Tony Kadleck’s Brass Arts Tribute, and The Bobby Syvarth Combo.

The festival aims to span “the full range that jazz music has to offer: swing, funk, Brazilian, big band, vocals, avant-garde, Latin and more.”

In addition to the plethora of performances listed above, the streets will be lined with booths for art, food, children’s activities, local business, and food.

This year’s festival is held in honor of Rick Chamberlain, one of the three co-founders of COTA, who passed away in March.

The first COTA was held in 1978 when Chamberlain, Phil Woods, and Ed Joubert decided to invite the numerous jazz musicians of Northeastern Pa. to an outdoor, end of summer jam.

News of the gathering spread quickly, and soon the festival took off.

COTA proudly continues to be not-for-profit and independent relying entirely on “the generosity of individual donations, institutional grants, and concert income.”

Their mission, according to their website, is “to present and to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historical breadth, support and cultivate interest in art through youth education, performing arts presentations, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Pocono area.”

Jazz Fest is a “community-based, all-volunteer-staffed event,” which is “known for its warmth and intimacy.”

The festival is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the scenic Delaware Water Gap while enjoying the local and internationally recognized art, music, and performances for “less than a bus ticket to New York.”

Ticket prices for one day are $28. A 2-day pass is $40, and children 5 to 12 are $10. Students and senior tickets are $10 per day.

All ticket pricing and information can be found at or on their Facebook page

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