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Gwinnett's 'jazz sweetheart' to play Norcross First Fridays event

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Anita Canada, a Gwinnett resident, will perform a free concert Friday at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. (Special Photo)

IF YOU GO

• What: Anita Canada jazz performance

• When: 7 p.m. today

• Where: Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center, 10 College St., Norcross

• Cost: Free

• For more information: Visit www.norcrossga.net or call 678-421-2049

Anita Canada believes in the power of community. Originally from Seattle, the 16-year resident of Lawrenceville uses her vocal capabilities to support local music, art, schools and charities.

“Gwinnett has a rich history of culture and we all need to get out and support it,” she said.

Canada performs regularly in the county, but her performance at the First Fridays event in Norcross will be the first time she will perform for one of the cities directly. She hopes she will be able to do more city events and festivals in other Gwinnett cities in the future.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for me to perform for the city of Norcross and the Gwinnettians. I’ve never really performed for the city,” she said. “I’m really excited about this, because it will let Gwinnett know that there’s a jazz sweetheart in Gwinnett.”

The performance will be a mixture of cover songs with a jazz twist and original pieces from a CD planned for release later this year. Canada’s influences are eclectic and include Bob Dylan and Sting, though she gives everything her unique jazz twist.

“When people come to my show, they get a variety. I may go all the way back to Dionne Warwick, and then I may go to Nina Simone, and then I may turn it around and do nothing but classic rock,” she said. “I do covers that are mostly old and familiar. It could be two to three years ago or 10 years ago, but someone’s always going to say, ‘I know that one!’”

Anita is also involved with the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Initiative and is a 2002 alum of the program. On March 22 she will be performing a solo for this year’s graduates representing the work that they’ve done for the community of Gwinnett.

Anita’s experience as a breast cancer survivor pushed her to get more involved with the community and charity events. It also influenced her music and her ability to connect with audiences. Surviving breast cancer pushed her to be more extroverted and open with everyone she encounters.

“It has engaged me with the audience more, I don’t have any inhibitions. I’m so grateful to be alive that my energy and my personality comes through my performance,” she said. “Tomorrow’s not a promise, so let’s have a good time right now.”