Last year Gail Spector wrote a book called the Legendary Locals of Newton that featured profiles of 100+ notable Newtonians, past and present, from all walks of life.
In a blatant rip-off, with a slight twist, I’d like to start a series of profiles of Notable Newtonians. Local folks who help make the city what it is. I’m thinking of those people who are involved, often behind the scenes, in all sorts of civic and community activities – particularly interesting activities which may not be widely known.
To keep this going I will definitely need your nominations and help. Know anyone you think is a Notable Newtonian? Send me a profile of them with as much detail as you can and a photo if you have one.
First up – Chris Pitts. Probably most citizens first heard of Chris Pitts when he ran this past year in an (unsuccessful) bid for City Councillor (ne Alderman). He also serves on the Waban Area Council. Long before he dipped his toe in town politics though Chris has been involved in all manners of other interesting behind the scenes activities, both in the wider world and here in Newton.
He’s an accomplished sax player who has played with a who’s-who of jazz greats, everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Betty Carter. In the pop world he’s played with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Liberace to Bill Clinton (really!) He runs his own independent record label (Jazz Nation). Here in Newton he’s performed numerous times at the annual Waban Village Day. Last year he took on the job of managing the entertainment for the Highlands Village Day and amp’ed up the whole thing with two simultaneous stages running all day with dozens of local bands/musicians of every conceivable style.
He’s also a video/multimedia maker. He’s produced and directed award winning 1/2 hour documentaries on different jazz greats (“Jazz Masters: Keepers of the Flame”) as well as run his own multimedia company. Here in Newton he’s been a very active member of NewTV, had regularly mentored various younger video makers, and regularly helps out with all manners of video duties for all manners of civic activities. I will personally always be in debt to Chris for helping to make our Nomad Story Slams such a success. From the very first one, Chris volunteered to produce professional level videos of these events, with a three camera setup and doing all the editing of the dozens of hours of video himself. For the storytellers, it is a real treat to end up with a beautifully shot video of their performance on NewTV and YouTube.
I know he’s also involved with all manners of other local activities too so this is just the tip of his iceburg … so thanks Chris Pitts for doing the things you do for our fair city.
Send your nominations for Newton Notables to [email protected]