Renee King-Jackson

“Memphis Jazz & Soul” raises cash for Belle Vue Conservancy


By Ron Giofu


The Belle Vue Conservancy’s latest fundraiser brought a touch of Memphis to Amherstburg and raised about $5,000 towards the historic mansion’s restoration.

Shirley Curson-Prue, president of the Belle Vue Conservancy, said they sold out the “Memphis Jazz & Soul for Belle Vue” fundraiser held recently at The Artisan Grill.

Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome performed at a recent Belle Vue Conservancy fundraiser held at The Artisan Grill.

“The gross revenue for the evening was over $10, 000 and I believe net proceeds will be over $5,000 to the ACF (Amherstburg Community Foundation),” said Curson-Prue. “Our current target is to raise money for the windows since I believe all that was required has been collected and paid for the roof.”

Before and after a Memphis-themed meal complete with brisket, chicken, ribs, blackened catfish and much more, the sell-out crowd of 80 people enjoyed the music of Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome. King-Jackson did more soul than jazz and performed differently than a previous Belle Vue Conservancy fundraiser, added Curson-Prue.

“Not everyone attended both events. Of those who did, some I spoke to liked it better, and some liked the June concert more,” she said. “Same with the food, but overall it was a very good evening again from all reports.”

Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome performed at a recent Belle Vue Conservancy fundraiser held at The Artisan Grill.

Curson-Prue added there is a planning meeting for the Belle Vue Conservancy’s working group this week so upcoming events should be able to be confirmed soon.

For more information about the Belle Vue Conservancy or to donate, visit

Belle Vue Conservancy pleased with “All that Jazz” fundraiser



By Ron Giofu


The Belle Vue Conservancy is pleased with its most recent fundraiser, the June 25 “All That Jazz for Belle Vue” event.

A sold out crowd of over 80 people came to the Artisan Grill for the Monday night show with the featured entertainment being Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome. Conservancy president Shirley Curson-Prue said the entertainment and the meal provided by the Artisan Grill made the night one to remember.

“That was an amazing combination,” said Curson-Prue. “(King-Jackson) is really, really professional.”

Curson-Prue said King-Jackson and the band got people involved as numerous people got up and danced throughout the night.

Renée King-Jackson and her Fabulous Foursome perform at the Belle Vue Conservancy’s “All That Jazz for Belle Vue” event recently at the Artisan Grill.

“She’s so enthusiastic about Belle Vue,” said Curson-Prue. “We couldn’t have asked for any better entertainment. We couldn’t have asked for better food.”

People who attended ranged in age and Curson-Prue said many commented as they were leaving that they had a good time. She added that few, if any, left as the event was happening.

“People liked the enthusiasm. It was a great combination,” said Curson-Prue. “It turned into a real party. Everyone loved the music. She really did appeal to everyone.”

The Belle Vue Conservancy had “generous sponsors” for the event with Curson-Prue adding that they also had a good partnership with the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, as the latter helped sell tickets.

“We sold out within two weeks,” said Curson-Prue.

The event raised over $2,600.

Plans are underway for the second annual “Birdies & Bogies for Belle Vue,” with this year’s event being a nine-hole event Aug. 10 at Sutton Creek Golf Club. Cost is $75 per person and includes nine holes of golf, a cart and a steak dinner. Register by contacting Meg Reiner at 519-890-4425 or e-mail her at

People can also register by calling Curson-Prue at 519-736-6947.

For more information on the Belle Vue Conservancy, visit or call

Amherstburg Freedom Museum welcomed holiday season with “joyous sounds”


By Jolene Perron


“We want to welcome the season with joyous sounds and welcome the community to celebrate the sounds of the season and bring everyone together one last time before the end of the year.”

Curator and administrator at the Amherstburg Freedom Museum, Mary-Katherine Whelan, said their annual Christmas event, which has been happening at the museum for a number of years, is a way to celebrate the holidays and cap off the year with “one last hurrah.”

Renée King-Jackson sang Christmas tunes and jazz numbers at Amherstburg’s Freedom Museum Dec. 20, during their fundraising event, which their curator explained is held every year as a final “hurrah” heading into the holiday season.

“I think in the history of Amherstburg, the history of the Underground Railroad is sort of overlooked and I think it’s definitely important to recall that history and share that history with everyone so they are aware of how important and integral it was to this area and Amherstburg,” said Whelan. “It’s important for people to realize that it wasn’t something that was specifically just in the states, or somewhere else, it did specifically happen in Amherstburg.”

The Dec. 20 event featured soprano vocalist Renée King-Jackson singing with her ensemble of jazz musicians. King-Jackson has performed at the museum previously throughout its history.

“I love this event,” said Whelan. “It’s a breezy, fun kind of event where you can enjoy music and socialize with people that you may not have seen for a little big and just relax and enjoy things before the wrap up of the year.”