Nonprofit music venue One Longfellow Square hosted its first Jazzy Jingle Mingle fundraiser Dec. 14 at The Cumberland Club in Portland.

A trio of University of Southern Maine students – Robben Harris on bass, Jorge Allen on sax and Ry Johnson on guitar – set a jazzy tone at the Federal-style clubhouse on High Street. Just over 100 guests sipped cocktails with jazz-inspired names like The Duke (after Duke Ellington) while bidding on silent auction items and nibbling on passed hors d’oeuvres and Christmas cookies.

“We love OLS,” said Kym Dakin of Yarmouth, with her husband Rob Neal. “We’ve already bid on three things, and I’m in trouble if I get all three.”

Coffee by Design owner Mary Allen Lindemann, a longtime sponsor of the monthly Portland Jazz Orchestra series, hosted the Jazzy Jingle Mingle in honor of her late mother, Cissy Lindemann, who was active in a jazz series at the Portland Art Museum years ago.

“When the jazz program stopped there, One Longfellow Square stepped in,” Lindemann said. “Jazz is an incredible American art form, and OLS is helping keep that tradition alive and bringing up the next generation.”

Portland Jazz Orchestra frequently works with student musicians, including high school ensembles.


“It’s a really special experience for these students to get their first ticketed performance in a professional venue,” said the venue’s executive director, Emily Read. “Within the Portland music ecosystem, there are small gigs at bars. And then you hope to be selling out the Merrill Auditorium or Thompson’s Point in the summer. We’re one of the milestones in between.”

One Longfellow Square presents 150 shows a year featuring a wide range of artists, both professional and emerging.

“It’s a unique venue that has a special place in the hearts of its patrons,” said board president Robin Lee. “Portland wouldn’t be the same music scene without One Longfellow Square.”

The Jazzy Jingle Mingle raised $8,000 to help One Longfellow Square support mentoring and emerging artist programs that include students from local high schools, Maine Academy of Modern Music and University of Southern Maine.

Mingle tickets included admission to that night’s Portland Jazz Orchestra holiday concert, featuring Ellington’s “The Nutcracker Suite” and other festive favorites.

“We were looking for a holiday music event and found this,” said Jennifer Beedy of Scarborough. “Drinks, heavy hors d’oeuvres and supporting One Longfellow Square. This is great.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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