The lights lowered on the audience, all eyes riveted on the bright stage when, suddenly, from the back of the Fort Harrison Auditorium, a familiar voice swelled, putting nearly 200 heads on a swivel. Eyes stayed glued as Paul Wilson, singer extraordinaire, weaved his way through the crowd to mount the stage singing, “Luck Be a Lady,” followed by “New York, New York.” It was in this spectacular fashion that the Sunscreen Film Festival Concert began on the evening of June 20th, 2009 at the recently refurbished hotel at 210 S. Fort Harrison Avenue in downtown Clearwater.
The Birthplace of Clearwater Jazz Holiday
October 15, 2008, Downtown Clearwater—On Wednesday the 15th of October from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., The Church of Scientology hosted a cocktail reception in the lobby of the Clearwater Bank Building to showcase to the public for the first time the new designs, handcrafted furniture and special features that will be part of the historic Fort Harrison’s makeover. The building, which has been an icon in Clearwater since 1926, is being renovated from top to bottom to modernize its facilities and polish up its 1920’s splendor. The announcement coincided with the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, which grew out of a series of jazz concerts held in the Fort Harrison during the 1970’s.
According to Chuck Adams, the co-owner of the former WAZE radio station and who was responsible for planning those concerts, “Back in those days, the Fort Harrison hosted the likes of jazz greats such as Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Keaton, and Buddy Rich. That was when I realized how much Clearwater loves jazz.”