Jennifer Pollard Departs

On the evening of June 19, many members of the greater Ann Arbor jazz community came together to wish a fond farewell to Jennifer Pollard. The event was organized by Cheryl Tomsic and bassist Josef Deas and filled with music. In addition to Deas, musicians including Keaton Royer, Nate Flanders, and Aris Chalin on piano, Michael Wilson on guitar, Paul VornHagen and Daniel Woodward Bennett on Sax, Jake Lee on bass and trumpet, Bob Sweet on drums, and Aron Kaufman on percussion, rotated on the stage at Ziggy’s. Many friends stopped in to wish Jennifer well as she prepared to leave Ann Arbor and begin a new chapter in her amazing life.

Pollard, a native of Barbados, came to Ann Arbor in 2012 to study at the University of Michigan. In 2016, she saw a post about a kickstarter for the a2jazzfest and, excited about the idea of a jazz festival in Ann Arbor, volun- teered to help. While working at the Jazz Fest, she developed a sample info sheet of events she knew were happening in the area. This was the seed that grew into liftingupa2jazz, which became the Facebook page that jazz fans looked to in planning their musical calendars.

Pollard is also a very talented singer. In her early days in Ann Arbor, she would drop into the Blue Nile and sing with Louis Johnson, Will Austin, and Daniel Mujahid. Later she joined Alex Anest and Eric Nachtrab at the Old Town and Zou Zou’s.

She maintained her Facebook page while handling the rigors of graduate studies (pursuing a doctorate in higher education), teaching, working temp jobs, and helping friends with various projects. Her dissertation requirements were completed in September of 2021, and she began a search for full-time work in the areas of Academic Affairs and Student Development. Sadly for us, but good for her, she was offered the position of Assistant Director, Teaching Support,
at the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of New Mexico Albuquerque. In addition to the loss of our wonderful friend, we thought about the loss of her page which had been our guide for so many years. Pollard, how- ever, assured us that she would continue her postings from her new home. As she explained at her bon voyage party, she would remain connected to what had become her community. She was not about to lose that. So our long-distance relationship began. True to her word, you can still check out LiftingUpA2Jazz each week to find out who’s performing where.

Pollard is now settling in, adjusting to the elevation and heat of New Mexico, but she will always be a part of our community. We miss her, we thank her for all she has done here, and wish her all the success she deserves.

TOP: Celebrating Jennifer Pollard at Ziggy’s, June 19, 2022

photograph by Chuck Andersen