The Bakery Celebrates Women in Jazz All Month Long

In honor of Women’s History Month, The Bakery is hosting a “Celebrating Women in Jazz” series, featuring live music from local female musicians from 12-2 p.m. on Sundays in March.

Located at 13A North Front St., The Bakery has been a staple in the New Paltz community since 1981, and has recently become important to the local music scene as well. Owner Dawn Borrello bought The Bakery in May of 2023, and envisioned having live music in the outdoor seating area. Her friend and professor at  the SUNY New Paltz music department Rebecca Coupe Franks, gave her the idea to host weekly jazz open mic nights in collaboration with the college, and so every Thursday from 7 – 9 p.m. SUNY New Paltz students have the opportunity to play jazz live at The Bakery. 

“I’m all about community and I want to give a variety of age groups the opportunity to do things here,” said Borrello. 

The “Celebrating Women in Jazz” series will be highlighting one female artist a week for three weeks in March. The first two performers are SUNY New Paltz students Jennifer Poroyé and Aileen McCarthy, and the third is Coupe Franks. In a town where the music scene is dominated by men, this opportunity provided by The Bakery is important to these female talents.

“There’s not a lot of spaces for femmes and women in general, and the atmosphere that creates tends to push a lot of femmes out. There are lots of women I know who want to make music and perform, but it’s also about feeling safe in these spaces,” said Poroyé. 

“People will assume or size you up very quickly; assume that they know your level of musicianship or skill level. There’s always a sense of needing to prove yourself, and sometimes it can be exhausting,” she added.

The fourth-year put on a beautiful performance of both originals and covers with her guitar on Sunday March 10, and is extremely grateful for a space like The Bakery where she can do what she loves without fear of judgment.

“I think spaces like this that are very informal and  give everyone a chance are helpful because people are less quick to judge you and are less demanding of you to be this certain kind of person in the music scene,” Poroyé said. 

“That’s why I keep coming back to The Bakery, because I know a lot of folks and I feel comfortable and safe around them. I don’t feel like I’m being judged or like I have to prove myself all the time. It’s just such a nice place to chill and make music with other people in an informal setting. It’s beginning to become a staple and I hope we continue that way.”

The welcoming atmosphere at The Bakery is certainly not one to be missed, especially at a time like Women’s History Month when they are working to raise female voices. If you missed Poroyé’s performance you can often catch her at the Thursday jazz jams. Be sure to catch Aileen McCarthy on March 17, and Rebecca Coupe Franks on March 24, from 12 – 2 p.m.