Jazz orchestra lights up Chicago remembering the Great Fire


Chuck Malm

The Lakeside Pride Jazz Orchestra will perform “¡En Fuego!”on Oct. 8 at Seven Nightclub and Lounge, 3206 N. Halsted St.

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Nearly 150 years after one of Chicago’s greatest tragedies, the Lakeside Pride Jazz Orchestra will honor the Oct. 8 anniversary of the Chicago Fire while also celebrating the city’s LGBT youth.

The performance titled “¡En Fuego! The Great Chicago Fire,” is hosted by Center on Halsted, will be held at the Seven Nightclub and Lounge, 3206 N. Halsted St.. It will take place 145 years after the fire and the rebuilding that followed. Approximately half the proceeds will go to the Center’s Youth Homelessness Initiative, according to Pete Johnson, the Center’s director of public relations. 

The performance by the LGBT-focused ensemble will honor Chicagoans’ resilience during and after the fire rather than the destruction it caused, according to Scott Malinowski, Lakeside Pride Jazz Orchestra’s director.

To express this celebration of strength in history, Malinowski said he chose a genre of music meant to enliven the night.

“I immediately thought, ‘What is the most fiery music that we could perform?’” Malinowski said. “I envisioned it as a Latin jazz night.”

According to Malinowski, the ensemble is also largely focused on community building.

Jonathan Alvares, a saxophonist who has played with the Lakeside Pride Jazz Orchestra for two years, commended the ensemble for its emphasis on unity.

To Alvares, Lakeside Pride’s acceptance and diversity means the jazz genre can be accessible for all musicians. 

“Being one of the premier LGBT-focused ensembles and having a very diverse group, both in terms of gender and racial diversity, along with having allies of the LGBT community in the band, is a great way to showcase how jazz is accessible for all groups and all individuals,” Alvares said.

In addition to unity within the LGBT community, it is necessary for people  to know they are also a part of the city’s larger community, Johnson said.

“LGBT Chicagoans are Chicagoans,” Johnson explained. “Being LGBT does not preclude us from also having a great love of Chicago and great love of the history of Chicago.” 

According to Johnson, the Center supports Lakeside Pride’s commitment to focusing on Chicago and its LGBT community.

“This is one of their series of programs that really highlights the sounds of Chicago,” Johnson said. “They are trying to give back more to the community they serve.”