The city of Philadelphia attempted to set a world record on Tuesday in LOVE Park, with the most people doing jazz hands at once.
The stunt was staged to kick off Philly Celebrates Jazz 2023, the annual, month-long series of jazz-related events in April, known as Jazz Appreciation Month. Philadelphia will stage over 100 concerts and events, including 22 free events coordinated through the city’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy.
In the past few years, the number of events during Philly Celebrates Jazz month had shrunk and were held outdoors, due to the pandemic. The director of the Office of Arts and Culture, Kelly Lee, said this year the celebration has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and is mostly indoors.
“In 2023, Philly Celebrates Jazz will be our largest celebration of jazz since before the pandemic,” Lee said. “We are so excited about these events that truly reflect the diversity and the influence of jazz in the city of Philadelphia.”
Among the free jazz offerings will be a tribute to Herbie Hancock, Nina Simone, and “Lovett Loves Jazz” concert series at the Lovett Library in Mt. Airy.
A few hundred people came to LOVE Park and were issued white gloves to perform the act of shaking their open palms in unison, like they were in a Bob Fosse musical.
Exactly how many people came to don white gloves is still to be determined. The record to beat is 477, set in 2019 by a group of 5- to 13-year-old schoolchildren in Michigan.
According to Guinness, those children in Michigan practiced jazz hands for nine months. In Philadelphia, Lee led the gathered crowd through a 10-second tutorial.
“Raise your gloved hands, like, shoulder height. And then you have to flick your fingers really fast. Really fast,” she explained, pointing to a few people who got it. “That’s right. Like they’re doing.”
It is unclear if Philadelphia beat the kids from Michigan out of their world record. A photo of the event in LOVE Park will be sent to the world-record experts at Guinness for evaluation.
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