Equinox Little Big Band

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Equinox Little Big Band
Thursday, September 22, 2016 – 7:00PM

Audiences have fallen in love with Jeremy Davis and Clay Johnson and The Fabulous Equinox Little Big Band. Along with the greatest songs, the best original arrangements and phenomenal musicianship, these two bring their rich friendship and charm to the stage. Big Band for a new generation!

Jeremy DavisLouisiana native Jeremy Davis has lead various bands on over 200 shows a year on the road before forming Equinox. Jeremy’s groups have been featured at festivals, theaters and venues all across the country.  He has performed in conjunction with David Sanborn, Ellis Marsalis, George Clinton, The Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, The Beach Boys, Col. Bruce Hampton, Derek Trucks, Jennifer Holiday, Fred Wesley, Charice, Ellis Hall, Bill Watrous, Fred Wesley, Wycliffe Gordon, several American Idol alums and many, many more.  Jeremy and his beautiful wife Meredith have been blessed with three children —  Leighton, Madden, and Miller Davis.

Clay JohnsonRaised in a family of preachers, teachers and Folk/Southern Gospel singers, Clay was born to inspire and entertain. His passion for music performance has developed since childhood over thousands of concerts, musicals and shows on stages from L.A. to NYC, whether volunteering to sing at his children’s school, crooning for the senior citizens center, or singing at festivals, arenas, or sold-out theaters. At the same time, his love for the gospel has taken him all around the U.S. and the world to work with churches and communities as a minister and missionary (i.e., Ukraine, India, and Ethiopia). Clay and his wife find great joy in raising their children and her chihuahua in lovely Savannah, GA.

 “[At] Hot Summer Nights, a free outdoor concert series…Big-band jazz will be the predominant style with the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra…”   -New York Times

“The dance floor stayed busy all night …a fantastic night with their music, conversation and all around fun show. The most repeated phrase was, ‘When are they coming back?’”  -Patricia Prudhomme, Banners at McNeese State University, LA

“WOW, WHAT A BIG BAND! …AMAZING PROGRAM! …absolutely fantastic and professional in every way …the whole crowd dancing the night away.” -Brian Laczko, Executive Director, Carson Center, Paducah, KY

“A PLEASURE …Our audience was enthralled …The energy, atmosphere and camaraderie were second to none and made for one of our best shows of the year!” -Stacy Hoover, Development Manager, Hot Springs Village POA, AR

Matt Dusk

Matt Dusk

Matt Dusk
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Big-band-styled crooner tops Canadian pop charts! Student of jazz legend Oscar Peterson. Reintroduces and reinterprets songs with a lyrical, full-barreled sound from greats like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Chet Baker. The next big thing!

Like countless listeners and lovers around the world, Matt Dusk gets lost in the music of Chet Baker. “It’s usually at night when I’m drinking a bottle of wine with my lady,” says the 34-year-old Toronto crooner. “Pretty soon, my attention turns to her, and, well, I get lost… in other things. And for me, that’s Chet Baker. It’s the perfect soundtrack for an intimate evening together.”

Wine and women aside, it’s Dusk’s love affair with Baker’s music that has lasted years. Dusk — whose romantic fifth studio album “My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook” pays homage to the tragic balladeer and trumpet player — first fell hard for Baker’s hauntingly unaffected vocals and lyrical horn work in the wee small hours of his teen years. “When I was growing up, I listened to what normal kids listened to: pop music. But, in our house my parents had the radio tuned to the classical station, however, at night they played jazz,” recalls the former choir boy. “And that’s how I discovered jazz; specifically Chet Baker. I remember saving my allowance, then heading to the record store where I’d rummage through the bins looking for his music. I eventually got a trumpet, learned how to play, but I quickly learned that should left to the professionals! When I made this record, I wanted to go back to my roots and pay homage to the artists who influenced me, one of them being Chet Baker.”

With “My Funny Valentine,” the JUNO-nominated performer reintroduces and reinterprets Baker’s repertoire for a new generation — and comes home in the process. Recorded in Toronto, Dusk and an 80-piece orchestra are joined by GRAMMY® award-winning trumpet and flugelhorn virtuoso Arturo Sandoval, JUNO award-winning jazz king Guido Basso, Canadian chanteuse Emilie-Claire Barlow and Straight No Chaser alum Ryan Ahlwardt — the 12-song album digs deep into Baker’s vast and varied catalogue. The set list glides seamlessly from lushly appointed signature ballads like Deep in a Dream and the unconditional-love title track, My Funny Valentine, to swinging renditions of standards like Let’s Get Lost, All The Way, Embraceable You and Come Rain Or Come Shine. For Dusk — who produced the album with Terry Sawchuk and Shelly Berger — it was a true labor of love…emphasis on labor. “It took me almost six months to choose the songs on the record,” he says. “I would only record a song that I knew Chet had either recorded or performed.”

But it’s not simply about ticking boxes on a to-do list. Dusk makes these numbers his own, just as Baker did decades ago. “I have my own voice. That’s why I called the record The Chet Baker Songbook; I didn’t necessarily want to record every single popular song he had done, but rather sing songs that would hopefully move people the way Chet moved me. I wanted to capture the intimacy in my voice the way Chet had done in countless recordings.” Capturing that intimacy — driven and defined by Baker’s minimalist, lovelorn singing style — didn’t come easy either, he admits. “I’m a natural-born crooner. I come from the school of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, with a very lyrical, full-barreled sound. But Chet’s approach and sound was very different. His voice was soft… almost lilting. He helped me discover a different and softer side of my voice.”

Ironically, the timeless romance and beauty of Baker’s music stand in stark contrast to his dark and troubled life, cut short when the 58-year-old musician plunged from an Amsterdam window in 1988. “Here’s a guy who drank too much, did too many drugs, and still had the ability to sound amazing… almost free. The most incredible thing about his singing was, in my opinion, it was almost a means to an end. He performed like he didn’t care, and it was his nonchalance that actually made him great. As an artist, you’re always trying to think of what to do, but Chet took the approach of, ‘I’m just gonna do what I do.’ With these vocals, I had to take that approach. Not the drugs, of course,” laughs Dusk, “but his free, relaxed way of singing. That scared the crap out of me! It took me weeks just to mentally prepare.”

He needn’t have feared. Truth is, Dusk has spent a lifetime woodshedding for this moment. As an alum of St. Michael’s Choir School who studied under legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at York University, he hit it big with his major-label debut Two Shots, scoring a GOLD record. With the punchier follow-up Back in Town, he upped the ante and took his act to Hollywood’s fabled Capitol Studio A — the home of heroes and influences like Sinatra, Cole and Darin — and worked with renowned arrangers Patrick Williams and Sammy Nestico, plus Grammy-winning engineer Al Schmitt. The album garnered two number one singles: All About Me in Canada and Back In Town in Japan — making Dusk the first male jazz singer to ever top the pop charts. With 2009’s contemporary-based Good News, Dusk indulged his youthful love of pop with an international lineup of songs rendered in styles from Motown and swing to Euro-dance and guitar-rock. The title track Good News went to number one and the album went GOLD.  Even as Dusk respectfully follows in the footsteps of his musical forebears, heroes and influences, at the end of the day he’s his own man on his own creative path. This was captured on his previous release, the 2010 concert CD/DVD Live from Las Vegas, that inevitably leads to his true home: the stage. Whether he’s fronting a sweeping symphony, cutting loose with a big band or leading his longtime quintet, it’s all about creating a connection. “All I want to do is perform,” he says. “I want to get up on stage — not from an egotistical point of view, but to share a moment with the audience. It’s like being at a party where everyone knows the words to the songs, they’re singing along, and are immersed in that moment… I live for that.”

While you wait for Dusk to bring the party your way, take a cue from the man himself: dim the lights, find that perfect spot on your couch, light a candle or two, pour your favorite beverage, and get lost in the music of the one and only Chet Baker.

Wine and women not included.

Stringfever

Stringfever

Stringfever
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 – 7:00 pm

Stringfever – brothers Giles, Ralph and Neal Broadbent and their cousin, Graham – are four world class musicians playing five and six-stringed electric violins, viola and cello in a truly original show. Stringfever’s unique, acclaimed version of Ravel’ s ‘Bolero’ has all four playing on one cello simultaneously. Then they challenge the audience to play Name That Tune as they race through 20 of the best-loved film themes in one breathless arrangement.

Great Show! The community loves these guys. Their second pass through Elkhart, Indiana was very well received and the group definitely delivered. The Lerner theatre and our community loves  Stringfever, can wait to have them back.
– David Smith, General Manager of the Lerner Theater

I need to say what an amazing experience it was to have Stringfever at our school for the clinics and the concerts! I cannot tell you how much the students and parents are raving about the show and how kind and gracious. Stringfever is! I sincerely hope to work with you all again in the future!Thanks so much for everything!
– Jennifer Divasto, Orchestra Director, Central Bucks East High School Holicong Middle School

“The Show was EXCEPTIONAL! Everyone loved them and raved. If you don’t enjoy Stringfever then you don’t have a pulse!”
– Bruce Raines, Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA

Stringfever – brothers Giles, Ralph and Neal Broadbent and their cousin, Graham – are four world class musicians playing five and six-stringed electric violins, viola and cello in a truly original show. Stringfever’s unique, acclaimed version of Ravel’ s ‘Bolero’ has

all four playing on one cello simultaneously. Then they challenge the audience to play Name That Tune as they race through 20 of the best-loved film themes in one breathless arrangement. Their helter-skelter 007James Bond medley is an absolute killer. And the

show ends with Stringfever’s breathtaking signature finale, ‘The History of Music… in 5 Minutes’. Charisma, humor, energy and a distinctive use of custom-made ‘Violectra’ instruments create an experience that can only best be described as… Stringfever!

Stringfever are Giles 35 and Ralph, 33, on violin, Graham, 30 viola, and Neal, 22, on the cello. Giles and Ralph studied at The Royal Academy of Music, and Graham at The Royal College of Music. From the day Giles Broadbent’s father gave him his first violin lesson on his sixth birthday, his passion was born and he was destined to make his

career as a violinist. The Broadbent family had long been a musical one: Grandfather Harold was an organist, choirmaster and singer, and three of his four sons made their living from music. Alan Broadbent (Giles, Ralph and Neal’s father) as a Music Master

at Rugby School; Stephen Broadbent (Graham’s father) was principal viola in the Welsh National Opera, professor of viola at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff University and with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain; and Uncle Nigel has

been a violinist in the London Symphony orchestra for nearly 30 years. As youngsters Giles and Ralph would regularly watch their uncles, Stephen and Nigel Broadbent, performing and this was a major inspiration.

While students, Giles and Ralph, together with two friends from school, spent their summer holidays touring Europe in a camper van, busking to pay their way. Over four years they performed on the streets of almost every major capital city and quickly learned the value of turning their musical performances into all-round entertainment. Dreams of broadening this gift and passion into anything greater were put on hold, while more traditional careers were pursued.

On their travels they saw a busker playing the world’s first six string electric violin and decided they had to have one. David Bruce-Johnson, a Canadian living in Birmingham, was the creator of this instrument, called Violectra. David has made instruments for many great violinists, including Nigel Kennedy, Jean Luc Ponty and Maxim Vengarov, and he went on make a quartet of instruments for the Broadbents. On leaving the Royal Academy of Music Giles was asked to lead the orchestra of the German production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Ralph joined him in the orchestra and they moved back to England to tour with ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. This led them to the West End, and Graham joined them in the orchestra of ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. During this time they also spent time as session musicians for artists including Paul McCartney, Groove Armada, Travis and Dido. Neal was due to follow in the family footsteps and take up a place at music college in London when, following the closure of ‘My Fair Lady’, his brothers found themselves out of work and an idea was born – Stringfever.

Giles Broadbent – Big brother

Leader of the pack. Former West End Konzertmeister. Royal Academy of Music, gypsy violin demon, you name it, he’ll play it – the faster the better. Favourite sports: skiing, cordless bungee jumping. Plays a bright blue 5 string Violectra.

Ralph Broadbent – Middle Brother

Trusty Lieutenant. Royal Academy of Music. The Orchestrator. You hum it, he’ll arrange it. Football mad. Plays a sunburst yellow and green 6 string Violectra -3-

Neal Broadbent – Little Brother

Yo Yo Ma meets My ma’s Yo Yo… I mean Marcus Miller. Male model, international playboy & general ‘Funky Gibbon’, learned to walk in ’86. You name it, his brothers will tell him to do it. Plays a red 5 string Violectra.

Graham Broadbent – Cousin

Gentle giant. ‘Mr. Rhythm’. Royal College of Music.DIY expert; you name it he’ll build it (violas included). General taxi driver, knows the A-Z like the back of his hands, hobbies include general knowledge & eating!(a lot). Plays a navy blue 5 string Violectra.

Mike Farris

Mike Farris

Mike Farris
Sunday, March 13, 2016 – 2:30 pm

In music there are those special artists that seem to transcend genre and defy categorization. From time to time one hears a voice that can stop you dead in your tracks and shake your very foundation to the core. Mike Farris is that artist and he has that voice.

“Surely, there are few artists whose persona belies their music more than Mike.  Out of this diminutive, self described southern boy comes an extraordinary soulful voice with a range, talent, and emotions that make him seem possessed.”
– Terry Stewart President, Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and Museum

“Mike Farris has enough heart, soul, and power to light up a city. He mixes up the elements and turns them into something new, beautiful, and uniquely his own.”
– Buddy Miller

“Mike Farris sings blue-eyed soul to soothe the spirit.”
– Associated Press

“Never have I had so many people pitching me on an artist, and not I’m not talking just his people: Retailers, TV executives, other journalists and a array of music-loving folks have called or emailed or shoved a CD in my hand…”
– Billboard

“Mike Farris is a soul man…way cool! When I saw him on TV the first time, even though I didn’t know who he was, I thought he was a star. When I heard his record, I knew he was.”
– Marty Stuart

“MIKE FARRIS is MAGIC – The Rejuvenator! You gotta see it to believe it!”
– Delbert McClinton

In June of 2007 Farris released the critically acclaimed Salvation in Lights, which married old time roots gospel sounds with his own unique arrangements that were mainly inspired by New Orleans, Stax and the blues. The music was both spiritual and personal for Mike as it dealt with individual struggle but it also had a commonality that music fans from all walks of life could enjoy. In 2008 he won the Americana Music Association’s “New & Emerging Artist of the Year” award and started to make a name for himself as a dynamic performer.

In 2008 and 2009 Mike Farris and his Roseland Rhythm Revue performed monthly residencies at Nashville’s’ Station Inn and called it “Sunday Night Shout!” The shows had audiences that consisted of people from all walks of life and the goal was to make the crowd feel “excited, delighted and loved.” The official live recording of the Station Inn show, Shout! Live, was released in 2009 and won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for “Best Traditional Gospel Album of the Year” in 2010.

When the “1,000 year flood” hit Middle Tennessee in May of 2010 it became obvious to Mike that he needed to do something to help those who were affected. He gathered up some of the finest musicians in town including: Sam Bush, Ketch Secor & Gill Landry (Old Crow Medicine Show), Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart), Byron House (Robert Plant) and members of his Roseland Rhythm Revue. Six songs were recorded in 6 hours at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church and the music was a beautiful blend of old time country, gospel and blues with Mike leading the “Cumberland Saints” from the pulpit. In October of that year the EP was released as The Night The Cumberland Came Alive with partial proceeds donated to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

With recording now complete on his next studio release Mike Farris continues to amaze audiences whenever he plays solo or with any one of his different configurations from the stripped down Cumberland Saints to the full 9 piece Roseland Rhythm Revue. His voice connects and mesmerizes in such a way that it doesn’t matter if the songs are his own compositions or ones sung 200 years ago. As Mike puts it “this music – it’s so beyond us, we only perpetuate it. We are just cooks in the kitchen.” If so Mike Farris is one “cook” with an immediate voice. Mike’s new album SHINE for all the people, which has been totally funded by Kickstarter campaigns, will be released on 9/16/2014 via Compass Records

Savannah Jack

Savannah Jack

Savannah Jack
Tuesday, February 16, 2016 – 7:00 pm

From traveling throughout the Caribbean as a featured, headline act on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to opening arena and large festival dates for Peter Frampton, John Fogerty, Vince Gill, The Doobie Brothers and the legendary Kenny Rogers, among others, Savannah Jack has honed their skills as outstanding live entertainers who captivate audiences from the very first note.

How do you describe this band from Nashville, Tennessee?   Joe Guercio, Elvis Presley’s longtime music and orchestra director, calls Savannah Jack “the absolute best band I’ve seen in music today.”  Savannah Jack, comprised of Don Gatlin, Jay Darby, and Matt Schumacher, is the preferred opening act for the legendary Kenny Rogers, having performed onstage with him in excess of 60 shows during the past few years, to include a 21 city tour of England, Scotland, and Ireland in the spring of 2009. The band’s live show was recognized as one of the “Top Ten Concerts of 2010” in the Greater Pittsburg area by Beaver County Times writer, Scott Tady. Other top ten selectees included Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Lady GaGa. 

Exceptional songwriters as well as versatile musicians, band members infuse their individual style to collectively create Savannah Jack’s unique sound. All come from a musical family and have been singing and playing their individual instruments from a very young age. Their musical influences range from Ronnie Milsap, The Gatlin Brothers, Kenny Rogers, and Restless Heart to The Beatles, Tom Petty, and The Eagles.  The band is comprised of Don Gatlin on lead vocals, Jay Darby on bass, and Matt Thomas Schumacher on fiddle and guitar. They are backed by an incredible drummer, and guitar player as well.

Prior to joining Savannah Jack, Matt Schumacher toured with country star Phil Vassar for seven years playing fiddle and adding vocal harmonies. “I’m excited to be on board with these guys,” commented Schumacher. “Their professionalism and musicianship are at the highest level – they’re great entertainers.” A native of Avoca, Michigan and graduate of the University of Michigan, Schumacher is an extremely talented and diverse musician. He is proficient on a myriad of instruments including violin/fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, and trumpet.

“Being on the road with these guys is really a blast,” mentioned Darby, who plays both bass and acoustic guitar. “Don is like a light switch that’s always on – there’s never a dull moment.” Born and raised in Florida, Darby started out playing the drums at age ten, while his brother played the guitar.

“We truly are like family…we have a lot of fun on the road and you never know what we’ll do next,” said Gatlin, also a gifted songwriter. Gatlin grew up in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he started singing for his neighbors for twenty-five cents or a piece of bubble gum.

They guys are currently in the process of recording their second studio album entitled, “Night of Your Life”, which will feature special guests, Love and Theft, Ronnie McCoury of the Grammy Award Winning Del McCoury Band, Vince Gill, Grammy Award winning guitartist, John Jorgensen, and the incredible Michael McDonald.  It is set to be released later this summer.

It is obvious that the band loves making music and is having a blast, whether they are performing in a small venue in Nashville or playing in front of thousands of people in sold out amphitheaters across the country. Savannah Jack brings a highly entertaining and energetic show to the stage, commanding standing ovations night after night at virtually every venue in which they perform.

The Young Irelanders

Young Irelanders

The Young Irelanders
Monday, October 19, 2015 – 7:00 pm

The Young Irelanders comprises eight sensational performers who have Irish traditional music, song & dance running through their veins. Although still in their 20’s and 30’s, these performers have achieved more than most people would aspire to in a lifetime.

The Young Irelanders comprises eight sensational performers who have Irish traditional music, song & dance running through their veins. Although still in their 20’s and 30’s, these performers have achieved more than most people would aspire to in a lifetime. Between them they have performed for heads of state – Presidents of Ireland, US Presidents, the Queen of England, the President of China, Prince Albert of Monaco, Empress Michiko of Japan; and have performed at Radio City Music Hall, the Great Hall of the People in China, Kremlin State Palace in Moscow, the US Capitol Building, Fox Theatre in Detroit and the Pantages Theatre in L.A .

The artists have also toured as lead performers with Riverdance and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, been soloists on PBS Special’s, shared the stage with Bono, and have recorded with Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) and been chosen by Sting to perform for his exclusive private parties.

The Young Irelanders are:

  • Damien Mullane – Accordion & Melodeon
  • Colin Farrell – Fiddle, Whistles & Vocals
  • Kieran Munnelly – Flute, Whistles, Bodhrán, Snare & Vocals
  • Stephen Markham – Keyboard, Piano, Percussion & Vocals
  • Sean O’ Meara – Guitar & Vocals
  • Lisa Canny – Lead Vocals, Harp & Banjo
  • Siobhán Manson – Dancer
  • Cathal Keaney – Dancer

“It sometimes disheartens me when audiences outside of Ireland don’t get a chance to see and hear what our Irish culture is really about but are instead fed a derivative of the real thing. When I put this group together I had a very clear objective; to find young performers who were evidently amongst the best exponents of Irish traditional music, song & dance in the world today. I am not exaggerating when I say I found them. I cannot imagine someone disputing this fact or hearing from someone who isn’t taken aback by the sheer talent inherent in this group. The task now will be to ensure as many people as possible are given the opportunity to witness the brilliance of these phenomenal performers.

– Eric Cunningham (Producer), “Ability in Abundance” Irish Independent

The Young Irelanders was formed not only to merge the significant creative ideas and talents of a select group of young Irish performers who are unique amongst their peers but also in the hope that given their combined youthfulness and ability, their existence in the music business would act as a catalyst in attracting more young people to the world of traditional Irish music at home in Ireland and throughout the world.

The McCartney Years

The McCartney Years

The McCartney Years
Monday, September 14, 2015 – 7:00 pm

100% authentic reproduction of the McCartney arena concert experience. Featuring original instruments and arrangements this production has toured and enthralled audiences across U.S. and Europe. Rewind to 1973 and recapture the excitement of the iconic Wing’s World Tour.

‘The world’s premier Paul McCartney concert experience’
    – Canada

“Best on the scene…!”
    – Sid Bernstein, original Beatles promoter

“Fantastic!”
    – Denny Laine, former McCartney/Wings guitarist

“Eerily similar”
    – James Reaney, London Free Press

“Superb vocals. Spectacular show”
    – Lee Curtis, Star Club performer with The Beatles, Germany

Praised by the late Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein – the man who brought the original Beatles to North America – as ‘the best on the scene today’, The McCartney Years, a premium touring production, is a note-for-note faithful recreation of a mid-1970’s Paul McCartney concert, spanning more than 20 hit albums and features the original Wings guitar player and Paul McCartney’s longest collaborator, Denny Laine in select concerts.

Led by perfectionist Yuri Pool as Paul McCartney, the band has a commitment to 100% live and accurate reproductions of McCartney’s concert experience. The show is period-true, technically stunning and sonically explosive. Every note is live and played true to its original arrangement. It has set the standard for all who might follow in this significant body of work. And… it’s a blast to watch and listen to!

Whether he plays an original 1960’s Höfner bass or sporting the same wardrobe from the ‘Wings over America’ mid-1970’s world tour, Yuri is true to Sir Paul in his musicianship, tremendous vocal stylings and presentation. And the band doesn’t miss a beat delivering a texture that will transport you back to the first time you heard these great songs on vinyl. TMY players include David Usselman (guitars and bass); Braden DeCooman (guitars); Darryl Lahteenmaa (keyboards and synth); Karen Bell (percussion and keyboards); Dean McKey (drums) and of course Yuri on bass, vocals, piano and guitar. Experience three decades of ‘The Beatles’ and ‘Wings’ live – with the world’s premier McCartney concert experience. Rewind into the 60’s and 70’s to dance, sing and relive your passion for McCartney with a band that has opened for Mariah Carey, performed sold-out shows across North America and Europe and have been featured on international news channels such as CNN, Fox and the BBC.

John Berry

JohnBerry_banner 580

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014 – 7:00 PM
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Using his tenor voice as a spiritual tool, John Berry is a moving, inspiring performer that has the power to touch the hearts of both his loyal fans and newest concert-goers.

John recorded and marketed six albums on his own Clear Sky Records label. His regional popularity and those early discs eventually attracted him attention on Music Row. Capitol Records signed him in 1992 and it was then that he had a string of hits including “I Think About It All The Time,” “Change My Mind,” “Kiss Me In The Car,” “What’s In It For Me,” and the #1 Grammy-nominated single “Your Love Amazes Me.” In 1995 he received the Horizon Award and a nomination for Top Male Vocalist by CMA. His performance of the title track CD, O Holy Night, led to his most enduring legacy.

John Berry wants you to listen to him in a whole new way.

Mention his name to just about any country music lover and the response will likely be, “What an awesome vocalist!” For he is noted for the intense passion he has brought to such hits as “Your Love Amazes Me” and “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye.” John Berry’s wide-ranging tenor voice remains an instrument of stupendous power. But it’s not what he wants you to notice on his new Those Were the Days CD.

“This is not about how long can a note be held,” says Berry. “This is not about, ‘Let me show you what I can do.’ This is about the songs. This is about what these songs have got to say. This is about me communicating these messages. Having a conversation, and Let me tell you a story”.

“I was very conscious of that when I recorded this album. I grew up with a real gospel background, a lot of church music. In that kind of music, you sing the notes as long as you can sing them, before you go on to the next one.

The collection’s first single, “A Woman Like You” is already attracting attention with its clever lyric, chopping rhythms and rocking mood. On a song like the sexy, up-tempo “Somethin’ Somethin,'” John Berry is clearly phrasing his vocals in a more conversational manner. He draws you into the message of the ballad “If That Ain’t Love” with gentle persuasion. He is lilting on the jaunty “We Were There,” broken hearted in the power waltz “Fool’s Lullaby” and wistfully resigned in the ballad “Just Married.”

Throughout the album, he shifts the tones and colors of his voice to best convey each of its songs. Berry is remarkably restrained in the sweet story tune “The Balloon Song,” yet muscular in the soaring, melodic choruses of “You Still Own Me.” The power ballad “Day and Night” has vividly picturesque lyrics that he allows to shine. And he revels in the nostalgia and drama of the CD’s title tune, “Those Were the Days.”

In addition to being one of the strongest collections of songs he has ever assembled, Those Were the Days is one of the best-produced albums John Berry has ever made. Its tracks have striking instrumental clarity and ear-opening audio dynamics. Again, this is a result of the star rethinking his approach to recording. Instead of tapping into Nashville’s pool of established producers, Berry went looking for someone with a fresh approach. He hired one of Music Row’s hidden sonic geniuses, Kerry Kurt Phillips, to produce Those Were the Days.

Phillips is known for penning such award-winning songs as “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair” (George Jones), “Pickup Man” (Joe Diffie), “Do You Want Fries with That” (Tim McGraw), “She Let Herself Go” (George Strait), “Almost Home” (Craig Morgan), “Down on the Farm” (Tim McGraw), “Drinkin’ Bone”(Tracy Byrd) and “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” (Joe Diffie). Although John Berry had never met the songwriter, he knew he wanted to find a hit song.

“We had a mutual friend who told him I was looking for some songs,” Berry recalls. “Kerry Kurt said, ‘Sure, send him my way.’ He couldn’t have been nicer. We were looking for something special. The morning we were going over to see him, my manager, Terry Oliver, my wife Robin and I joined hands and prayed for God to send us a song. We left Kerry Kurt’s that afternoon with 18 songs that (would just lay you out) were amazing.

“His demos of his songs sounded so good. I said, ‘Who in the world produces your demos?’ He said, ‘I do it myself.’ I said, “I’d like for you to work on this record with me if you’d consider doing it.’

“One of the things that attracted me to his demos is how real and natural the instruments sounded. It was such an earthy, organic sound. And yet it was so completely contemporary and fit today’s country-music market. I told Kerry Kurt that’s what I wanted.

“He brought ‘Those Were the Days,’ ‘Day and Night’ and ‘If That Ain’t Love’ to us. And then he put that producer’s hat on and said, ‘I’m going to find songs from some (other) friends of mine.’ And he did. So I feel so fortunate and very blessed to have not just a great guy to work with producing the record, but someone who could open up the top drawers of the songs on Music Row.”

John Berry is no stranger to great songs. Nor is he a novice in the recording studio. Born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia, he began playing guitar at 13, performing shows at age 14 and making records at age 19.

Between 1979 and 1990 he recorded and marketed six albums on his own labels. Those early discs and John Berry’s strong regional popularity attracted attention on Music Row. Capitol Records signed him in 1992. Berry’s co-written “A Mind of Her Own” and “Kiss Me in the Car” introduced him to radio audiences in 1993. Then “Your Love Amazes Me,” “What’s in It for Me” and “You and Only You” thrust him to stardom in 1994. “Standing on the Edge of Goodbye,” “I Think About it All the Time” and “If I Had Any Pride Left at All” were all major hits the following year.

But it was his stunning performance of the title track of the 1995 CD O Holy Night that led to his most enduring legacy. John Berry began doing a Christmas tour that year. This year will mark his 12th consecutive holiday concert series. He has also issued three more Christmas-music collections.

Berry took “Change My Mind” into the country-music top-10 in 1996. “She’s Taken a Shine” became an even bigger hit, a number 1, in 1997. He switched to Lyric Street Records in 1999, then to the Ark 21 label in 2000. In 2002, he returned to making records for his own company. Songs and Stories, a double CD issued that year, led to another concert series that continues to this day. On the “Songs and Stories” shows, he performs solo in intimate theater settings.

In 2003, John Berry issued his I Give My Heart collection and its critically applauded wedding anthem “Will You Marry Me.” The disc also contained his versions of such classic love songs such as “Time in a Bottle,” “If,” “Love Look What You’ve Done to Me,” “Faithfully,” “Lady” and “Let’s Stay Together.” I Give My Heart inspired still another popular annual concert series, “The Love Tour.” These are full-band shows scheduled just before and after each Valentine’s Day.

Now Those Were the Days marks John Berry’s return to mainstream country music. It is on his Clear Sky Records label, as are Celebrate This Christmas (2005), Hits (2006), O’ Holy Night Live, I Give My Heart, and Songs and Stories. These days, it is common for country artists to succeed with their own labels. John Berry was doing it long before any of his peers.

“This is a rebirth of sorts and I’m into that.”

An Evening with Hal Linden

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TUESDAY, APR 1, 2014 – 7:00 PM
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Hal Linden spices up the stage with a dose of nostalgia and a dash of legendary star quality.

With a 65-year career in the entertainment business, Hal Linden is best known for his portrayal of the police precinct captain in the hit television series, Barney Miller, for which he earned multiple Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. In 1957, he made his Broadway debut in the musical Bells Are Ringing opposite Judy Holliday and has continued to perform in more than 20 Broadway and off-Broadway productions including Pajama Game, A Christmas Carol, Chicago and Cabaret. In 1971, he won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in The Rothschilds.

Backed by a 7-piece band, Linden performs some of America’s greatest songs and Broadway hits. You will get decades worth of knowledge and talent and an entire concert filled with an assortment of poise, entertainment and timeless melodies.

Hal Linden is an American actor, singer and musician whose career spans more than 65 years with memorable roles on stage, television, in film and a cabaret-style variety show that he tours nationally. Linden is perhaps best known for his portrayal of police precinct captain Barney Miller in the hit television series of the same name that aired on ABC from 1975-1982, earning multiple Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his work.

Linden made his Broadway debut in 1957 in the musical “Bells Are Ringing” opposite Judy Holliday and subsequently toured with the national company. He later starred in the 1962 Off Broadway revival of Cole Porter’s 1930s hit “Anything Goes.” To date, he has performed in more than 20 Broadway and Off Broadway productions. His numerous stage credits include “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Subways Are for Sleeping,” “The Apple Tree,” “The Pajama Game,” “The Sisters Rosenswieg,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Tuesdays With Morrie,” “I’m Not Rappaport,” “Something More,” “The Education of Hyman Kaplan,” “Three Men on a Horse,” “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” “The Gathering” and “The Rothschilds,” for which he won the 1971 Tony Award for Best Actor In A Musical.

His outstanding stagecraft led to roles on both the big and small screen. His feature film credits include: Bells Are Ringing (1960), “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” (1979), “Starflight One (1983),” “Out To Sea” (1997) with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, “A New Life?” (1988) with Alan Alda, and “Time Changer” in 2002.

There is no doubt however, that audiences know Linden best from his many roles on television. He hosted ABC’s “FYI,” a sixty-second information series, (similar in format to the network’s popular “Schoolhouse Rock”), which aired three times a day in the early 1980s and for which he earned two Emmy Awards. Linden garnered a third Emmy in 1984 for his portrayal of a rabbi in “The Writing On The Wall,” for the CBS series Schoolbreak Special.” He hosted the popular ABC children’s series “Animals, Animals, Animals” in the 1970s. The show, produced by ABC News, earned numerous Emmys and the Peabody Award.

After Barney Miller, Linden starred in several more series for network television: “Blacke’s Magic” (1986), “Jack’s Place” (1992-93) in which he played a retired jazz musician, and “The Boys Are Back” (1994). He’s had numerous guest appearances on some of television’s most popular shows including: “Hot In Cleveland,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Will and Grace,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Nanny,” “The King of Queens,” “Touched By An Angel” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

More recently, Linden has spent considerable time traveling the country with his show, “Hal Linden In Concert.” The set is an entertaining combination of songs and theatrical musings highlighting memorable moments from his life and career. The Grand Rapids, Mich., Press calls it, “…an evening of visual variety that was all first-rate.” The Toronto Star noted, “The term ‘class act’ could have been coined for Linden. Hitting all the right notes, smack in their resonant middles,” and the Milwaukee Journal commented, “A poised performance worthy of one of the great entertainers of his era.”

In 2011 he released his first CD, titled “It’s Never Too Late.” The disc, a labor of love that Linden recorded over a period of three decades, includes 14 tracks that range from classic pop to jazz standards, Broadway and feature film tunes and favorites from the American Songbook.

Linden was born Harold Lipshitz, in New York City on March 20, 1931. He graduated from the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan and later studied music at Queens College, before graduating from City College of New York. A classically trained clarinetist, (he joined the musician’s union at 15), Linden played in dance bands with Bobby Sherwood, Ray McKinley and Sammy Kaye, before being drafted into the Army, where he sang and provided entertainment for the troops. He had long dreamed of leading a Big Band of his own, where he could play his clarinet, sing and make records, but when he returned from his stint in the Army, he realized that the Big Band era was winding down and opted instead to pursue a career in acting. He enrolled at New York’s American Theatre Wing where he trained in voice and drama. He continued to study acting under mentors Paul Mann and Lloyd Richards as well as voice training with John Mace and Richard Dorr. Linden was married for 52 years to his wife Frances, until her passing in 2010. They have four children.

Linden serves as spokesman for the Jewish National Fund.

Back on Broadway

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THURSDAY, MAR 13, 2014 – 7:00 PM
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center

Exciting, impressive, touching, wildly entertaining, fresh, fun and funny are just some of the things people are already saying about Back on Broadway.

Following in the fancy footsteps of the critically acclaimed and audience favorite, On Broadway, Matt Davenport Productions’ all new show delivers an exciting evening of non-stop show stoppers!

The multi-talented cast of ten brings to life the most popular scenes and songs from the new Broadway classics as they learn “How to Succeed on Broadway!” Dazzling costumes, colorful and quirky scenery and an orchestral sound accompanies the triple-threat performers in full production numbers from shows like The Producers, Ragtime, Legally Blonde, Mary Poppins, Avenue Q, Jersey Boys 9 to 5, The Addams Family, Mama Mia and more!

Back on Broadway also brings you the hits from award-winning recent revivals like Anything Goes, South Pacific, Evita and Hello Dolly!

Back on Broadway – It’s your favorite moments from musicals all in one performance!