Group of doctors set to serve up a dose of jazz in Rotterdam

A former orthopedist leads Doc Spring's Rehabilitated Dixieland Jazz Band, a group set to headline St. Clare's Hospital's 23rd annual Winter Jazz Fest at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at Mallozi's Restaurant in Rotterdam.

Dr. John Spring, 69, a former chief of orthopedics at St. Clare's, has spent more than 35 years practicing medicine. He's spent a good many years practicing his cornet too.

We started the group in 1972 as a bunch of doctors who wanted to be musicians. Most of us were frustrated musicians, said Spring. "When we started, we were so bad, but we added some solid players, and now we hold our own."

Tickets are $35 per person, including a buffet dinner. Proceeds from the event honor the memory of Dr. Joseph Slovak and benefit St. Clare's healing mission.

"This program helps out the hospital a lot," said Spring, who was a friend and former co-worker of Slovak's. "It's a fun event fundraiser and a good morale booster for the hospital."

Doc Spring's Rehabilitated Dixieland Jazz Band is an eight-piece group that specializes in Ragtime and Dixieland music, a style popularized at the turn of the 20th century.

The group is composed of several physicians, including head and neck surgeon John Angerosa who plays piano. Spring says the surgeon is good with his hands " he calls Angerosa one of the group's finest musicians.

Spring said the group will perform such classic songs as "It Had to Be You," "I'm Confessing," "When You're Smiling," and the aptly titled "Doctor Jazz."

Spring's band has performed on and off for 25 years, playing regularly in the summers at Jumpin' Jacks Drive-in in Scotia and hosting the hospital's Jazz Fest nearly every year since its inception.

Friday's Jazz Fest will also feature special guest vocalist Colleen Pratt and woodwind player Skip Parsons. Both are regulars in the Capital District jazz scene.

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