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Montour Alum to Perform Pittsburgh-Inspired Jazz at Upcoming Benefit

Jazz vocalist Lisa Ferraro will perform next month at the August Wilson Center.

For five years, Kennedy Township native Lisa Ferraro sang jazz on Friday nights at the James Street Pub on Pittsburgh's Northside. 

"(James Street Pub) had jazz and blues six nights a week. And if you aren't cutting as a performer, they won't be as flexible," Ferraro said of the crowds that would gather at the bar, a staple in Pittsburgh's jazz scene. 

"The thing about Pittsburgh is people aren't afraid to be honest with you," Ferraro said. 

Ferraro, who has etched a name for herself as a jazz vocalist, left the Pittsburgh region in 2009 to pursue her music career on the West Coast. 

"The more I travel, the more I appreciate Pittsburgh," she said. "The way it's been able to reinvent itself when so many other cities haven't is really a testament to the people who live there."

Ferraro will return home on March 6 for a performance at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, playing a set of big band-era tunes with a Pittsburgh twist. 

The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit FamilyLinks, will also feature Mike Tomaro and the Three Rivers Jazz Orchestra with opening act Benny Benak Jr. 

Ferraro, a 1982 graduate of Montour High School who has been singing since the age of 8, said the performance will be geared towards Pittsburgh jazz lovers. 

"It's a performance that we've never done out there," said Ferraro, who last performed in the area in 2012 during a fundraiser for the Father Ryan Arts Center. 

"We're going to feature of the greatest artists to come out of Pittsburgh (in the set)," she said. 

Ferraro has settled into the San Francisco Bay area's flourishing music scene. She said her new home enables her to tour more frequently and work alongside the city's musicians.

"I'd always worked to support my music habit," Ferraro said. "So finally I could support myself with music if I moved around a little bit. And it was important that I get up, move, and work to establish myself somewhere else." 

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To attend the event, visit the FamilyLinks website. VIP tickets are $150, while general admission is $75. A cocktail reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the show beginning at7 p.m., on March 6. 

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