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Forest Hills Group Raising Funds to Add Date to Popular Free Jazz Series

 L.A. Blacksmith, Stacia Hobdy and Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley-Grace performed in Forest Hills last year.
Forest Hills Group Raises Funds for Free Jazz Concerts
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QUEENS — It's a feast for your ears.

Forest Hills' "Restaurant Row" is set to transform into an outdoor jazz venue to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the "Jazz Thursdays" concert series — and organizers are holding a fundraiser in hopes of adding another date for the popular free shows.

Free jazz concerts have become a recent Forest Hills summer tradition as each August for the past nine years, residents had the chance to enjoy two of the shows on 70th Road, between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard, a stretch known for its numerous eateries.

Over the years, dozens of artists, including L.A. Blacksmith and Jazz Plus, Stacia Hobdy, Etienne Lytle Sextet, and Cheryl “Pepsii” Riley, performed during the annual series, organized by the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce.

In an effort to mark the 10th anniversary of the concerts, which have attracted as many as 1,000 listeners each, the Chamber is planning to expand the series and organize three dates this summer.

"I personally love jazz," said Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce. "It's the premier American music and it appeals to a very wide range of audience."

Brown said it costs about $8,000 to organize each concert.

The Chamber has been raising money to pay for the staging, sound crew and the performers through sponsors and grants.

To cover the cost of the additional concert, the organizers also launched an online fundraiser on Indiegogo.

"We decided to reach out to the community which really loves these concerts," said Brown. "Every little bit counts, so if you can give $1 or $5 — whatever you can — we would really appreciate the help."

As of Monday morning, the group collected $187 of the $8,000 goal.

This year’s concerts are scheduled for Aug. 7 and 14; from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The additional concert has been planned for Aug. 21. The Jazz Thursdays are free and open to all ages.