Westminster was a hot spot for performers with Flower & Jazz Festival

Gardeners, musicians and moms found plenty to celebrate at Westminster’s annual Flower and Jazz Festival Saturday, May 12.

Though they ranged in experience from middle-schoolers to band leaders with years of performances under their belts, musicians gathered in Westminster Saturday, May 12 to provide their talents to the annual Flower and Jazz Festival.

While Monte Leister was giving advice to the 11 students who make up the friday nigh jazz ensemble, he tried to prepare them for the unexpected. "I told them it doesn't matter what happens, just play to the end of the tune," he said.


The young musicians had been practicing for 12 weeks and had prepared seven pieces for the festival audience. The festival marked the end of their semester and a good performance opportunity with a built-in audience, Leister said.

Logan Brightful, who played baritone saxophone with the Mount Airy Middle School band, said he was nervous before performing. He played a solo in the song "That's My Peanut Butter Cup." His favorite piece to play was "Drama for Your Mama," he said as he hung out after the set with his mom to watch the Sunday Night Big Band perform.

For their second-to-last song, Band Leader Bob Luce and daughter Allie Luce sang a duet of "Cheek to Cheek," for Nancy Luce and Jan and Patricia Calvin in the audience.

No stranger to performance are members of the Westminster Municipal Band, who are celebrating the organization's 125th year. Director Sandy Miller and President Greg Wantz were among those at the band's booth recruiting new members and giving the young people who stopped by a chance to test out some of the instruments.

Miller said the band plays many styles of music including jazz, and they are always open to new members.

Paul Ricci is no stranger to the festival, as he has been playing the trombone there with at least one of the five bands he is a part of for years. Despite Saturday's heat, he said the festival is a good time, and it's nice that there are multiple stages spaced throughout.

The kids carnival was a new feature of the festival this year and many little ones could be found taking a turn on the rides, playing in the streams from bubble blowers or getting a little wild in the moon bounce.

Brian and Gen Haley, of Hanover, were first timers at the flower and jazz festival and said they stopped by after seeing a sign. Their son Collin was excited for the kids carnival, especially the inflatable Polar Plunge, which he said was his favorite. But not before picking out a gift for Mother's Day.

"That's what we did first," Brian Haley said.

Boy Scout Troop 2007 were running one of the flowers stands, located just by the stage at the Carroll County Public Library's Westminster Branch, hoping to raise funds for future activities and trips. Kevin Garjon said the festival is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, and he and his fellow scouts were learning a little bit in the proces about "What plants stay out in the sun, where they go, how much to charge."

The scouts also took advantage of the opportunity to pick out some Mother's Day gifts of their own, evidenced by the long row of flowers tucked behind the wall near their booth.

Many used the day as an opportunity to search for Mother's Day gifts, like Lucy Yezulinas who purchased a handmade wreath for her mother as she walked around the festival with her grandmother Carol Yezulinas. The festival is a tradition in the family, and Lucy said she usually get something for her mother every year.

"It's a really nice time. Very sophisticated," Carol Yezulinas said.

Lisa Rill was also there with her mother Ina, and the two made their way through the festival with a wagon filled with flowers and a decorative bunny statue.


"This is my second one of these," she said, referring to the wagon. The family comes every year to pick out flowers as well as decorations for the garden.

"I look forward to this every year," Ina Rill said.