Elkhart Jazz Festival
The 2014 Elkhart Jazz Festival celebrates the 27th year of one of the country's premier jazz festivals! New Faces, New Venues and a continued commitment to bring you the best jazz festival ever, the 2014 Elkhart Jazz Festival will make your summer really swing. So get ready and join us for hours of jazz over an extraordinary three-day weekend from more than 100 world-class performers including Aaron Neville (Presented by INOVA Federal Credit Union)*, Preservation Hall Jazz Band*, and Fourplay.
* Requires purchase of a Premium Pass or a straight show ticket.
Early Bird Tickets on sale now!
Single Session Passes
Afternoon Pass: $35
Evening Pass: $55
Student Passes: $27.50/$17.50
Student Jazz Pass: $65
27th Annual Elkhart Jazz Festival Lineup
R&B and soul singer Aaron Neville has had four top-20 hits in the United States (including three that went to number one on Billboard's adult contemporary chart and one that went to number one on the R&B chart) along with four platinum-certified albums. He has also recorded with his brothers Art, Charles and Cyril as The Neville Brothers and is the father of singer/keyboards player Ivan Neville. Neville's first major hit single was "Tell It Like It Is", which topped Billboard's R&B chart for five weeks in 1967 and also reached #2 on the Hot 100. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. His other hits have included "Everybody Plays the Fool", his 1991 cover of the 1972 Main Ingredient song, that reached #8 on the Hot 100; "Don't Take Away My Heaven", "Hercules," and "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You (The Rain Song)." His 2003 album Nature Boy: The Standards Album hit number 1 on the US Jazz charts. Neville's career has included work for television, movies and sporting events. On December 12, 2010, while performing at Baton Rouge's Manship Theater in the Shaw Center, Neville was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Neville is also an inductee of the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading their mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit. Under the auspices of current director, Ben Jaffe, the son of founders Allan and Sandra, Preservation Hall continues with a deep reverence and consciousness of its greatest attributes in the modern day as a venue, band, and record label. The PHJB began touring in 1963 and for many years there were several bands successfully touring under the name Preservation Hall. Many of the band's charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early twentieth century including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bunk Johnson. Band leaders over the band's history include the brothers Willie and Percy Humphrey, husband and wife Billie and De De Pierce, famed pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, and in the modern day Wendell and John Brunious. These founding artists and dozens of others passed on the lessons of their music to a younger generation who now follow in their footsteps like the current lineup.
For two decades, the contemporary jazz quartet known as Fourplay has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B, pop and a variety of other sounds to their unwavering jazz foundations. In the course of a dozen recordings – six of which have climbed to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album charts – the supergroup has continued to explore the limitless dimensions and permutations of jazz while at the same time appealing to a broad mainstream audience. The Fourplay story begins in 1990, with keyboardist Bob James, session drummer, producer, composer & recording artist Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Notorious B.I.G.), guitarist Lee Ritenour (Sergio Mendes) and bassist/vocalist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins). The original lineup of James/Ritenour/East/Mason stayed together for three successive albums, including Elixir (1994), a set that features some high-profile guest vocalists: Phil Collins, Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson. The infusion of new blood into the Fourplay lineup creates an opportunity to bring an even higher level of energy and inspiration into a band that is already known for taking chances and pushing the limits of contemporary jazz. “All four of us have been in this business long enough to know that there’s always pressure to compromise, and we don’t want to do that,” says James.
The Airmen of Note
The Airmen of Note is the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force. Created in 1950 to carry on the tradition of Major Glenn Miller's Army Air Corps dance band, today the “Note” features 18 of the most talented jazz musicians in the country and is one of the last touring big bands. As a result, it has earned an international reputation as one of the finest and most versatile big bands of its kind in the world. Through the years, the Airmen of Note has presented its exciting brand of big band jazz to audiences throughout the United States, dozens of countries in Europe and Asia, as well as back home in the Washington, D.C., area. The group’s successful delivery of their recorded music to millions of fans over hundreds of media outlets worldwide is validated by industry measures, including the JazzWeek jazz chart. The Airmen of Note's steadfast commitment to musical excellence and reputation has led to many collaborative efforts, recordings and performances with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson. Today, Master Sergeant Alan Baylock, the group’s current chief arranger, helps maintain a commitment to tradition and “cutting edge” innovation. In 2010, the Airmen of Note celebrated 60 years as one of our nation’s most revered musical organizations. As it passes this historic milestone, the band will continue to vigorously support the U.S. Air Force by building on its deep and rich musical heritage and tirelessly delivering musical excellence to audiences throughout the United States and around the world.
Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan
Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan is Chicago's premier gypsy-jazz band. The group plays the 1930s-style music of guitarist Django Reinhardt -- foot-tappin' swing played on acoustic instruments. It's a blend of the jubilant swing of early jazz with the feisty passion of gypsy music, plus a strong dose of guitar pyrotechnics and virtuosic improvisation. Formed in 2001, Swing Gitan features bandleader Alfonso Ponticelli on lead guitar and a world-class lineup of musicians on violin, rhythm guitar and upright bass. Over the years, they've played with many of the great contemporary gypsy-jazz players from around the world, including Bireli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Angelo DeBarre and the Robin Nolan Trio. Alfonso has studied gypsy-jazz music for more than a decade, having traveled several times to the annual Django Reinhardt festival in France. He introduced gypsy-jazz to Chicago in the 1990s, when he began teaching a weekly Django-style class at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music, and he is often invited to teach his popular workshops at festivals around the country. A multi-instrumentalist, he won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and plays both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. He's also a gypsy flamenco guitarist, having been to Cordoba, Spain, to study with the great flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni.
Bucky Pizzarelli & Ed Laub
John 'Bucky' Pizzarelli (1926) began his professional career in 1943 at 17 years old playing in the Vaughn Monroe dance band. He toured and recorded with Monroe through 1951, and in 1952 he joined NBC as a staff musician. At NBC, for many years, he played in the Doc Severinson Band on the Tonight Show. He also toured and recorded with Benny Goodman into the 1980's. In New York, Pizzarelli worked mainly as a freelance musician in the studios and he appeared on many recordings as part of the rhythm section. One of the era's most solid rhythm players, Pizzarelli was in high demand to provide propulsion and background for other musicians. His extraordinary skill as a rhythm player places him in the company of the great rhythm players like Freddie Greene and Barry Galbraith. Along with being a dedicated preservationist of the old guitar music and the early styles of playing, Bucky Pizzarelli has also developed a very personal style that sets him apart.
Ed Laub is a locally renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared to a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker and James Taylor all being accompanied by Bucky Pizzarelli. Because of Ed’s talent as an accompanist and the fact that he is one of the more accomplished 7 String guitarists, he is sought after by many of the top guitarists in the NYC metropolitan area to back them up and adds a pianistic style that makes a duo sound more like a trio. Focusing mostly on the American Songbook genre Ed also loves to perform the great Brazilian classics using a nylon 7 string guitar. After abandoning the trumpet and the piano, the February 1964 performance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan’s show was the catalyst to taking up the guitar and singing. In ’66 Ed had the good fortune to study with a marvelous guitarist and banjoist, Bobby Domenic (Uncle to jazz legend, Bucky Pizzarelli) and ultimately a few years later in 1969, studying the 7 String guitar with Bucky. They now travel all over the metropolitan area and major cities in the US, playing in clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals. All About Jazz Magazine said, “Pizzarelli is the complete jazz musician and Laub complements him perfectly!”
The California Honeydrops
The Honeydrops have expanded from an acoustic street trio to a full band: piano and keyboards, electric bass, and additional percussion round out their sound. Beyond the band’s shared musical vision remains a greater purpose: to make people dance, sing, and enjoy themselves. The Honeydrops’ music speaks not just to the heart and soul, but also to the body; people have no choice but to dance. Drawing heavily on Southern soul and Bay Area R&B with twist of New Orleans second-line street music, the Honeydrops defy genres. Their style may not have a name, but one thing is certain: The California Honeydrops don’t just play music. They throw parties.
Dave Bennett Quartet
Michigan clarinetist Dave Bennett, is an authentic musical prodigy at the age of 30, (totally self-taught) who brings to life the classic sound and music of Benny Goodman (1909-1986) with incredible technique, style, beauty of tone and naturalness. Truly a “young phenom,” Dave resides in Waterford, Michigan and began playing at age 10 on a clarinet given to him by his grandparents. He then taught himself how to play Goodman songs by ear, listening to a tape given to him by his grandfather. Dave had his first "feature appearance" playing Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen at his 5th grade band concert. At age 12 Dave was invited to the bandstand of the famous Sweet Basil jazz club in New York to sit in with the trumpet great Doc Cheatham. Dave started as a “road warrior” early: he was 14 when he began traveling all over the US with several Michigan-based Dixie bands on the “trad jazz” festival circuit. At 17 Bennett was selected as one of two high school students from a field of 600, to have the opportunity to perform as a special guest soloist with The Count Basie Orchestra. Dave Bennett began touring his Tribute to Benny Goodman combo in 2005 and has now performed in over thirty-five US States and Canada and has appeared with thirty orchestras for “pops” shows. Dave made his Carnegie Hall debut on Nov. 1 2013, featured with The New York Pops, Steve Reineke, conducting. Bennett's mature stage presence, knowledge of the dates and details of Goodman recordings, and penchant for wire-rim glasses, spats and classic suits, transport listeners back to the time and mood of Benny Goodman's “swing era”. Bennett has made a great impression on several of Benny Goodman’s famous band members: vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dick Hyman all strongly endorse Dave Bennett as “the closest ever” to Goodman’s sound and style. Dave was featured on two NPR network radio programs with The Jim Cullum Jazz Band on Jazz at Riverwalk broadcast in Dec. 2007. In April 2008 Dave made his European debut at The Bern International Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Perhaps surprising some of his “swing clarinet” fans, Dave is also an extremely good “rock-a-billy” performer. He is gaining increasing fame for his work playing boogie-woogie piano in a style of his hero Jerry Lee Lewis, vocals that have a strong tinge of Elvis and playing his “rocking” Gretsch electric guitar, inspired by another hero: Brian Setzer. Dave has just recorded with The Memphis Boys following their Sacramento Music Festival debut in 2012. Their CD has lots of early ‘50s classic rock and roll that came out of the Sun Records Studio. Dave has an added fan base when he performs for the young “swing dance” crowds at competitions around the country. Now his career is ratcheting up a notch, as he will be the featured soloist in a Nov. 1 Benny Goodman tribute, "Sing Sing Swing" announced for Carnegie Hall, with the New York Pops. In the hands of this young phenomenon, the clarinet just might have its next chance at popularity. Only time will tell where Dave Bennett's remarkable and unique musical gifts will take him.
The Elkhart Community Chorus
The Elkhart Community Chorus was originally conceived by Becky Wagner-Schooley as the Elkhart High School Alumni Choir, made up of former Elkhart High School choir members. Her goal was to perform at the opening of The Lerner Performing Arts Center (formerly the ELCO Theater) which was realized when the Elkhart Alumni Choir was invited to be included in the grand opening on June 16, 2011. After the performance at The Lerner, the members decided to continue the group and open the membership to anyone who loves to sing and rename the group the Elkhart Community Chorus.
The Elkhart Jazz Festival All-Stars
In addition to his frequent all-star appearances, Bill Allred is mainly noted for leading the best “small” big band in the business: The Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band. Bill Allred played trombone at Rock Island High School, in the U.S. Navy Band and at St. Ambrose College. In 1971, Bill was chosen as one of the original 200 staff musicians at the new Walt Disney World attraction in Orlando, Florida from over 2500 auditioned. In 1974, Bill's next stop was at Rosie O'Grady's in Orlando, Florida where he organized the Goodtime Jazz Band and produced the world-famous Goodtime Show. Bill's production efforts have been rewarded by many accolades, among them, the coveted Carbonel award given by Florida Entertainment writers for excellence in show production. In addition to Disney, he continues to head up his own entertainment production company in Orlando and is involved in many musical activities. With all of these activities, Bill still finds time to broaden his musical scope by traveling, performing and recording throughout the US and in Europe. His jazz performances have taken him to the major jazz festivals and concerts in the United States and abroad where he has appeared in concerts with countless jazz personalities.
Bill Dendle began playing banjo in 1963, and by 1967 was appearing at Mickie Finn's in San Diego as leader of the South Market Street Jazz Band, which also appeared at Disneyland and on USO tours. 1977 found Bill as an entertainment consultant, banjoist, trombonist, band leader and entertainer at Florida's Disneyworld, where he opened the Empress Lilly Showboat. In late 1977, Bill returned back to San Diego to revive the South Market Street Jazz Band, which became a popular fixture at Dixieland Jazz Festivals throughout the United States. From 1982 on, Bill appeared as one-half of the duo called Goodtime Banjos at banjo concerts, jazz festivals and conventions until 1995. Bill is currently director of three jazz camp programs, two in Sacramento (youth and adult), and one in Mammoth Lakes. He plays trombone, guitar and banjo in Shelley Burns & Avalon Swing, a popular Sacramento jazz, show and dance band, and appears at jazz festivals, parties, conventions and shows with his wife, the talented vocalist/entertainer Shelley Burns, and Fast Eddie Erickson. Highly regarded as a banjoist, trombonist and very funny master of ceremonies, he’s in much demand as a performer and camp administrator. Bill's home page is found at S & B Productions.
Born in Allentown, PA and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, Eddie Metz Jr. received his first pair of drumsticks at the tender age of three from the drummer in his Dad's Dixieland band. He played his first professional job when he was twelve years old and hasn't stopped since. A graduate of the acclaimed Jazz Studies program at William Patterson College, Ed has performed with some of the biggest names in jazz including the Count Basie Orchestra, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Woody Herman Orchestra, Scott Hamilton, Clark Terry, Dick Hyman, Milt Hinton, Tommy Newsom and Ken Peplowski. Ed has appeared on more than 50 jazz recordings with major artists. Another major part of Ed's career has been his involvement with The Black Dogs, a ground-breaking group of musicians who all had their roots in Dixieland jazz. In 1989 the Black Dogs took the jazz festival circuit by storm with their unique style of music. Perhaps because of the Black Dogs' popularity, Ed has become the drummer of choice for many jazz artists. This has enabled him to appear at more than 60 jazz festivals around the world, including tours of mainland China, Europe and Canada. A 15-year resident of Orlando FL, Ed recently completed 14 years as a staff musician and clinician at Walt Disney World. Ed is also on the teaching staff at several jazz camps around the country including Sacramento and Mammoth Lakes, CA. Eddie Metz, Jr. performs on SABIAN Cymbols and EVANS Drumheads exclusively.
Born in Richland, Iowa and receiving his B.S. from Drake University and his M.S. from the University of Missouri, Terry Myers has been quite active in the jazz music scene. He has played in numerous jazz festivals, including North Sea (Holland), Cork (Ireland), Birmingham (England), Copenhagen (Denmark), Sacramento, Sun Valley, Clearwater, Jacksonville, Maui, Redding (California), Sun Fest (West Palm Beach), Bern (Switzerland), Central Illinois, Bix Festival (Iowa) and the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Terry's dynamic career has enabled him to appear not only with his own Terry Myers Big Band but countless other bands and top of the line jazz performers. He fronted the Tommy Dorsey Band in 2013 for two cross-country tours as well as the Bill Allred Classic Jazz Band…and many others. Terry is now living in Maitland, Florida where he freelances in the Central Florida region. Also, now leading his own big band, Terry has had feature dates with a sixteen piece unit at Busch Gardens and Cypress Gardens.
Jeff Phillips, from Naples, Florida began playing organ by ear at age 6. Upon hearing Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner recordings on the same day at age 18, he began learning piano. Listening to recordings, attending any jam sessions he could find, and playing commercial club dates and conventions, he developed a diverse music background. "I've been very fortunate in that I was never too quick to shun certain kinds of music. It has allowed me to work everything kind of job out there." Jeff has worked numerous festivals through the United States and is currently employed at Walt Disney World with the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra and as a sort of "go to" guy for Harrison School For The Arts in Lakeland, Florida, where he currently resides. He holds a B.A. from Florida Southern College.
Bassist Darrel Tidaback, a long-time resident of San Antonio, TX, has been a member of the IUSB music faculty since 2002 as well as an adjunct member of the Notre Dame music faculty. He has nearly twenty years’ experience teaching at the university level and more than thirty years’ experience as both a jazz and classical performer While in San Antonio, Mr. Tidaback could be heard with numerous jazz groups and as a frequent performer in the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra's pops concerts. Currently he may be heard with jazz groups throughout the Northern Indiana/Chicago area and as a performer with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, the South Bend Chamber Singers and the Vesper Chorale. He has performed with several jazz stars in concert and performed on NPR. He has performed in numerous music festivals around the country including the Texas Jazz Festival, the Fiesta Jazz Festival, the Southwest Guitar Festival, the Elkhart Jazz Festival, and the Oregon Festival of American Music. For the past eighteen years Mr. Tidaback has been an arranger and performer with the contemporary chamber ensemble Musical Offerings. He is actively engaged in writing and arranging music for the IUSB Jazz Ensemble, which he has directed for the past four years. He has performed on more than twenty recordings including his own “Timelines”. Mr. Tidaback holds an undergraduate degree in music from Saint Mary's University and a Master of Music degree in string bass performance from the University of Texas, San Antonio.
Greg Varlotta began studying trumpet under his father’s direction in Lockport, Illinois at the age of 5 and received his music degree in trumpet performance from Arizona State University in 1985. He has performed with numerous symphony orchestras, brass quintets, jazz ensembles, and is the recipient of the prestigious Arion Trumpet Award. In addition to his accomplishments on trumpet and trombone, this multi-talented performer also enjoys playing bass, guitar, banjo, piano, tuba, singing and tap dancing. Greg has a strong interest in music technology and enjoys working with computers, programming synthesizers, composing and arranging music. In 2006, Greg completed a 21 year tour of duty as a staff musician with The Side Street Strutters at Disneyland in Anaheim California. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona and has toured with the Brian Setzer band, Niles Lofgren and continues to tour with the Side Street Strutters
The Fat Babies Classic Jazz Band
The Fat Babies are a seven piece jazz band interpreting classic styles of the 1920s and 30s. Founded in 2010 by string bass player Beau Sample, its members include Andy Schumm (cornet), John Otto (reeds), Dave Bock (trombone), Jake Sanders (banjo and guitar), Paul Asaro (piano), and Alex Hall (drums).
The Gene Knific Trio
The Gene Knific Trio formed in Miami from musicians dedicated to creating an original voice. Their sound emanates from repertoire reaching from jazz trio classics, to chamber music, contemporary compositions, and a truly unique nexus of jazz and chamber works. As a result, they are featured at Jazz Festivals, Chamber Music Series, clubs and music education events with a profound impact. The Trio brings deep jazz reverence and forward vision with an engaging stage presence.
13 year old Geoffrey Gallante possesses the kind of musical giftedness very seldom seen even among such a rarefied and exclusive group as child musical prodigies. He began trumpet at the tender age of four. Just barely seven, his credits already include the WASHINGTON POST, BBC radio, CBS’s ‘THE EARLY SHOW’’ followed by NBC’s ‘TONIGHT SHOW’ w/Jay Leno’ (playing with the ‘TONIGHT SHOW BAND’) and NBC’s ‘TODAY SHOW’’ where he joined Columbia Records recording artist Chris Botti in a marvelous duet of ‘America the Beautiful’’ that captured the hearts of viewers all across the country. Geoff has played with other trumpet luminaries from Phil Driscoll, Arturo Sandoval and Hugh Masekela to the preeminent jazz musician of our time, Wynton Marsalis. Indeed last May Geoff had the distinct honor of sharing the stage with Maynard Ferguson when the legendary jazz trumpeter performed his very last show at famed Blues Alley in D.C. And Chuck Mangione and Doc Severinsen are two more greats he’s met and performed for along the way. His many guest soloist credits already include the likes of the distinguished brass ensemble WASHINGTON SYMPHONIC BRASS (comprised in part of principal players of the NSO), the acclaimed METROPOLITAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA of D.C., the renowned U.S.ARMY BLUES JAZZ ENSEMBLE (on the steps of the U.S. Capitol), the 257th U.S.ARMY BAND, and the RAPPAHANOCK (VA) POPS. Attesting to Geoff’s immense appeal as a national anthem performer are appearances in nine professional sport venues across the country— 4 Major League Baseball stadiums, 4 NBA arenas and one NHL venue.
The Jazz Assemblage
The Jazz Assemblage has been performing in the Michiana area for 4. They have performed for a number of years at the Elkhart Jazz Festival, Elkhart's Rhapsody in Green and McNaughton Park, and South Bend's Potawatomi Park.
Emmy award winner and international vocalist, Joan Collaso, was born, raised and is living in Chicago. Joan’s flowing sensual melodies, colorful improvisations and soulful stylings capture your ear; her spirit will capture your heart. She blends the textures of Jazz, R&B, Blues and Gospel in a way that gives her a distinct sound. In 1997, Joan appeared singing in the history-making movie ‘Soul Food’. Four times, to standing-room-only crowds, she has enlightened audiences at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. Joan’s other festival appearances include the JazzKaar Festival in Estonia (Russia), the Sister Cities Festival in Osaka, Japan, and touring northern Italy for the Central Jazz Torino School of Jazz. Joan has appeared at least 10 times at the Elkhart Jazz Festival and most recently gave her debut performance at the Chicago Jazz Festival where she was named one of the top 5 "must-see" performances.
On September 2011, Collaso opened for the R&B artist India Arie at the African Festival of the Arts in Chicago. She has been featured on countless radio and TV commercials. Collaso was a featured vocalist on world renowned pianist, Ramsey Lewis' "Urban Renewal" CD. Three times in 2009 she performed on the Oprah Winfrey show as background vocalist for Susan Boyle, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Sugarland and Tim McGraw. While Collaso trail blazes her musical talents and performances all over the world she also weaves her extraordinary skills in her community. As an advocate for social justice Joan has written, produced and performed, for school age children and families, musical plays that teach history and promote education, courage and love. In 2010 Collaso started a new organization, Timeless Gifts, a mentoring and performance program for youth in the arts (ages 8-18). Joan and some of her most accomplished colleagues are currently mentoring 25 young performers. Her ultimate vision for this organization is the Timeless Gifts Center for the Arts.
John Hasse – Jazz Presentations
Dr. John Edward Hasse’s books, presentations, and speeches move and inspire leaders, associations, educators, and audiences around the world. As the biographer of Duke Ellington, the creator of Jazz Appreciation Month, the founder of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, a Grammy-nominated writer on music, and an accomplished musician himself, John Edward Hasse is a global voice for American jazz music—and a leader himself in the search for creative achievement.
Rising contemporary jazz saxophonist and MEGAWAVE Records artist Kris Brownlee sets the pace again, with his third full-length album, titled Sincerely Yours. Known for his smooth notes and instrumental versatility, Brownlee fuses vintage talent with accented grooves and contemporary soulful arrangements. A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native, Brownlee’s career has roots in the Midwest jazz scene with Chicago being a home base for many years. With more than 25 years of experience, he continues to make his mark with national and international audiences. In January 2013, Brownlee received critical acclaim after opening for Grammy-nominated and world renowned group The Rippingtons. His latest album, Sincerely Yours, also features collaborations with Grammy Award-winning producer, Michael Broening, as well as other prominent contemporary jazz artists such as trumpet player Cindy Bradley, Argentinian vocalist Gabriela Anders, and legendary guitarist Freddie Fox. One track off the album, Halo, received early airplay prior to the official release, and its first radio single, Solstice, continues to grow in international popularity. Kris has also worked with other artists such as Jiggs Whigham, Harry Watters, Todd Williams, Mel Brown, Joel Styzens, Steve Lippia and many more.
Lena Seikaly Trio
Lena Seikaly is a fresh voice on the national jazz scene from Washington, D.C. A long-time student of music, she began her classical training at age 4 with piano, continued with classical voice in her teens, and went on to complete a B.M. in classical vocal performance at the University of Maryland School of Music. Though on course for a career as an operatic mezzo-soprano, it was in college where Lena discovered a strong passion for jazz, and embarked on a fervent education of jazz history, styles, theory and composition before pursuing a jazz career in the Washington, D.C. area. As a vocalist with several D.C. ensembles, she was a participant at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival (The Netherlands), the Jazz Ascona Festival (Switzerland), the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee (CA), and several other national and international venues. In 2009, she was a participant at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., a prestigious program open to young performer-composers of jazz – there, she studied closely with greats Curtis Fuller, George Cables, Nathan Davis and Carmen Lundy. She was also a Strathmore Artist-in-Residence for the 2009-10 performance season at Bethesda, Maryland’s renowned Strathmore Music Center. Lena has sold out performances at legendary D.C. institutions such as Blues Alley, the Strathmore Mansion, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Twins Jazz, and various Smithsonian venues. In February 2009, Lena released her first album, “Written in the Stars,” comprised of standards and original compositions. In October of 2011, Lena will release her second album, "Lovely Changes." Lena is also an accomplished, classically-trained mezzo soprano. She has studied for the past four years from world-renowned bass-baritone Francois Loup at the University of Maryland School of Music. There, she has been a featured soloist in several choral, orchestral and solo performances including Vivaldi's "Gloria" (Alto), Handel's "Dixit Dominus" (alto), Kodaly's "Missa Brevis" (alto), Debussy's "Trois Chansons" (mezzo), and several Bach Cantatas (alto). She is a member and section leader of the prestigious UMD Chamber Singers, with whom she was a featured soloist at the Eistedfodd International Music Competition in Wales, 2007. In March of 2008, Lena was named the D.C. chapter winner of the Eleanor Searle Whitney McCollum Vocal Award, sponsored by the National Society of Arts & Letters. An avid educator, Lena has worked as a private teacher of jazz and classical voice, beginning piano and beginning guitar in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia for several years. She was the vocal jazz instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts during the 2008-2009 school year. Beginning in 2010, Lena has been leading educational workshops for jazz vocalists at the Strathmore Music Center.
Marquis Hill Quintet
At age 26, Marquis Hill is already a well-known name on the Chicago Jazz Scene. After retrieving a Bachelor degree in Music Education/Jazz Studies, and studying privately at Northern Illinois University, he started performing heavily in Chicago. He has performed with artist such as: Dee Alexander, Tito Carrillo, Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Ron Perrillo, Victor Garcia, Benny Golson, Antonio Hart, Rodney Whitaker, Steve Turre , Ernest Dawkins, Maurice Brown, Corey Wilkes, Willerm Delisfort, Brian Lynch and many others. He has toured the U.S and abroad with many different artist and groups; Sirens of Sound, The Delisfort Project, Chicago 12, Bebop Brass, Ronald Carter Big Band, New Horizons. In the spring of 2012, Marquis Hill retrieved his Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from DePaul University.
The Pat Mallinger Quartet
Pat Mallinger Quartet has performed for packed audiences throughout the Midwest and in Europe. The Chicago Tribune writes, "Jazz connoisseurs already know Pat Mallinger's stature as a top-rank improviser that ranks high among Chicago saxophonists as first-call player in this city but he steps out front, claiming his place as a formidable bandleader-composer. He showcases his considerable gifts as melodist and jazz composer of distinction with the relentlessly inventive Bill Carrothers backing him on piano, his pianism as creatively original as it is technically impressive. Pianist Bill Carrothers, whose harmonic sophistication has to be heard to be believed, only deepens the quartet's impact. The technical dexterity, harmonic imagination and melodic volatility of Carrothers' work raises the performance level of this band while drummer George Fludas and bassist Dennis Carroll make sure that the music surges ever forward."
Premier Arts inspires the imagination and develops the creative spirit of our community. Its focus is on youth, family and lifelong learning. Premier Arts, the Resident Theatre of the Lerner Performing Arts Center, is comprised of professional staff guided by engaged community leaders serving as the board of Directors. Premier Arts, based in Elkhart, Indiana, is the recognized regional leader in providing diverse, professional performing arts education and entertainment. Premier Arts instills civic pride, confidence and character building for everyone engaged in its success. The region supports Premier Arts through attendance, contribution and volunteerism.
Rica Obsesion Latin Jazz
Two brothers joined in blood and music founded Rica Obsesion. Dennis and Byron Calito from Guatemala; raised in Chicago, have the talent and ability to achieve in the music industry. They started playing music in church at a very young age, and were inspired by their older brother Victor. Both of them have had the privilege to perform and record with various local bands in Chicago. They have also performed with well-known artist such as, Gloria Estefan, Willy Torres, DLG, Eddie Santiago, Kevin Ceballo, Tony Vega, Van Lester, Yomo Toro, Alex D'Castro, Wichie Camacho, Frankie Negron and many more. Founded in 2005, Rica Obsesion boasts an 11 piece orchestra with music full of energy, with a real heavy brass section, 3 front male line and a very powerful percussion section. Rica Obsesion has been known for having their strong and unique musical sound which makes them a very powerful salsa band here in Chicago. Their first Cd entitled "LLEGO MI TURNO " has been playing overseas, South Amercia, Canada, Mexico. They also reached the number spot on the top 60 for the NEW GEN SALSA charts. Rica Obsesion’s ultimate goal is to show their love for music in their performance, to see and feel the excitement of the audience on the dance floor. With a combination of great music and the best musicians in Chicago, Rica Obsesion is confident that their goals will be achieved and that they will be able to put Chicago back on the map for Salsa once again.
The River Rogues Jazz Band
Jim Everhart founded The River Rogues Jazz Band in 1996. From the beginning, it was always about the music and NOT the money. The River Rogues invigorates the spirit of the traditional New Orleans sound and carries the torch for such legendary greats as: The Dukes of Dixieland, Bix, Sachmo and many others. Each member of the Rogues ensemble is, singularly, a stand-alone talent with decades of experience and accolades confirming incredible musical prowess. The result of this avalanche of ability is a HOT, yet tempered Dixie-jazz collaborative that is enjoyed by the seasoned jazz enthusiast and the casual listener alike.
Terry Bartolotta Quintet
Jazz guitarist, composer/arranger, and educator Terry Bartolotta has been teaching and performing in the Chicago area since 2006. Since starting guitar at the age of eleven, he has studied with a long list of guitarists and other musicians over the years including: Fareed Haque, Bobby Broom, Art Davis, Ron Perrillo, Don Tisch, Jim McPhedran, and Tom Matta. Bartolotta received his Bachelor's in Music from Northern Illinois Univ. in 2006, and his Master's in Music from DePaul Univ. in 2009. As a member of both the NIU Jazz Ensemble and the DePaul Jazz Ensemble, he has performed with masters like: Phil Woods, Jim McNeely, Charles McPherson, Claudio Roditi, and Rodney Whitaker. Bartolotta was a co-leader of Spiral Organ Trio (feat. Lucas Gillan on drums and Stu Mindeman on keys/organ). Also, he leads the Terry Bartolotta Group which has been performing his original compositions at Andy's Jazz Club, and Jerry's in Chicago. In July, the group celebrated the release of their debut cd, Above the Clouds. In addition, Terry Bartolotta freelances throughout Chicago as a teacher and performer. Terry has been working for a NFP organization called Learn to Make Music since 2008. He teaches private guitar lessons in Hinsdale as part of LTMM. He is an adjunct music professor at both Harold Washington College, and College of Lake County. In addition, he maintains a studio of private students.
Tom Rigney & Flambeau
Tom Rigney, the fiery, electrifying violinist/composer, joins forces with some of the finest musicians on the San Francisco roots music scene to form Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a band that will tear the roof off of anyplace that has one and raise the spirits of everyone around. Rigney, now entering his second decade at the helm of Flambeau, has stepped into the spotlight with a vengeance. Flambeau showcases his passionate, virtuoso fiddling, his commanding stage presence, his range, depth, and originality as a composer, and of course, those notorious red boots. His bandmates are veterans of the great bands of Charles Brown, Queen Ida, Clifton Chenier, and others, and together they generate enough heat and energy to ignite a dance floor or lift an audience to its feet. Flambeau specializes in fiery Cajun and zydeco two-steps, low-down blues, funky New Orleans grooves, and heartbreakingly beautiful ballads and waltzes. Most of the repertoire is composed by Rigney, but they also mix in a few classics from the Cajun/zydeco/New Orleans songbook. In the past decade Rigney’s skills as a composer have broadened and deepened, and he is today writing some of the most evocative and powerfully uplifting music you will hear anywhere. Voted Best Cajun/Zydeco Band of 2004 by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, Tom Rigney and Flambeau are making some serious noise on the American Roots Music scene. Flambeau has been tearing things up at festivals, dances, and concerts all over the place--from the Ft. Lauderdale Cajun Crawfish Festival to the Edmonton Blues Festival to the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee to the Alaska State Fair, to the Spring Blues Festival in Ecaussinnes, Belgium. Their debut CD, Red Boots and Rice, was released on the Parhelion label in early 2000, following up Rigney’s critically acclaimed 1998 solo album, Chasing the Devil. Since then they have released six CDs of new material, including a live CD and DVD video recorded at the beautiful Throckmorton Theatre, in Mill Valley, CA. And, along the way, Rigney has released two Blues violin albums (one of which--2009's Back Porch Blues--climbed all the way to Number 1 on the XM/Sirius Satellite Radio's Bluesville Chart, B.B. King's Top 15 Blues Picks to Click) and an all Swing album (2010's Swing State) that have garnered buckets of airplay and rave reviews from critics and fans alike. In 2011 Tom Rigney was crowned Emperor of the great Sacramento Jazz Festival and reigned over a weekend-long party with thousands of his loyal subjects. On the day of his coronation, Parhelion Records released the latest offering from Tom Rigney and Flambeau, an all Blues CD titled "Don't Fight It". It is currently hitting the radio airwaves in North America and Europe. Tom Rigney is a true American original and his great band, Flambeau, is truly one of the hottest bands on the American Roots Music scene. This is a band you have to hear!
Tony Monaco Trio
Tony Monaco is a leader in a modest revival of the Hammond B3 organ in jazz. As he has been with so many fledgling jazz organists, Jimmy Smith played a significant role in attracting Monaco to jazz and retaining his interest in the music. The culmination of this association came when Smith invited the young performer to join him at Smith's club. Monaco has also been fortunate to spend time with other jazz organ masters, including Hank Marr and Dr. Lonnie Smith. He started subbing for players, like Marr, in and around Columbus, OH, when he was just 16. Monaco has also been helped along by one of his peers, Joey DeFrancesco, who produced Monaco's first album, Burnin' Grooves, and joined the session on piano. Monaco added horns to his second album, Master Chops T, released in 2002, giving the Hammond organ player much more flexibility to the arrangements. It also allowed him to take full advantage of the rhythmic invention the electric organ allows its players to engage in. A live follow-up, Intimately Live, followed later that year. In addition to his albums as leader, Monaco has recorded with Eric Neymeyer and neo-bop guitarist Mark Elf. Monaco doesn't rely entirely on his jazz work to support his family. He and his brother run and own a concrete construction business. When not performing or building, Monaco listens to other masters of the organ, including Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, and Larry Goldings.
Truth in Jazz
Truth in Jazz is an 18 piece big band formed in 1998 by Truth Publisher David Ogle with help of Steve Pettit and under the direction of Gay Burton. The band is currently under the direction of Steve Allen, our lead trumpet player and a charter member of the band. The band is made up of local professional musicians who have a deep love for Jazz and wish to support the Michiana Area Jazz Music scene. Truth in Jazz has performed for 13 years at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. The group has also performed at the Elkhart County Fair, First Friday’s in Goshen, Vineyards and Vibrations Red Cross Fundraiser at Elcona, Elkhart RV Fest, Goshen Celebrate America 4th of July Event, Rhapsody in the Green, The Box Factory in St Joseph, Goshen Air Show, Warsaw High School, Goshen High School, Concord High School, Memorial High School, and Central High School and for several Michiana parks and recreation programs.
The Whistle Pigs Dance Band
The Whistle Pigs Dance Band continues the tradition of versatile musical offerings. Contemporary music. Classic rock. Jazz. Rhythm and blues. It's hard to fit the Whistle Pigs into a single category. Entertaining Michiana audiences of all ages since 1993, these entertainers provide a polished and exciting musical experience. The Whistle Pigs seven-piece dance band is a close-knit family of musicians who have performed with such groups as The Temptations, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Charlie Daniels, Roomful of Blues, Jim Schwall, Electric Amish, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Mack, Pinetop Perkins, Bobby Vinton, Mary Wilson and The Supremes, The Birds, Lonnie Brooks, War, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Atlanta Rhythm Section and America. The Association of Performing Arts Report says, "...the Whistle Pigs are a dance band that is easy to work with and warms up a crowd in no time at all. Members of the audience were up and dancing practically from the first number. Good vocals, good instrumentalists and good humor made them a winning package."
Incredible event in a beautiful location. Well done!
Read more testimonials
"...love the renovation of the building and am PROUD to call Elkhart home!"Elkhart. Indiana
Read more testimonials
" It gave me the opportunity to reconnect with friends as well as the Elkhart community."
Read more testimonials
Congratulations on the success the Lerner is experiencing. It is the latest and greatest asset to downtown Elkhart!
Read more testimonials
I cannot express enough how happy I am for Elkhart...
Read more testimonials
"Every one was so upbeat and ready to do whatever was asked."
Read more testimonials
We appreciate the Lerner's commitment to make it a community place!Executive Director - Humane Society of Elkhart County
Read more testimonials
My husband was just there and got us two tickets... Moments later I got the ticket confirmation.
Read more testimonials
It was the first and only time in my entire life that I have played a theater pipe organ where everything worked flawlessly.
Read more testimonials
The Lerner is a breath of fresh air and a fantastic beginning to a renewed Elkhart!
Read more testimonials
The Lerner has entirely changed the look of downtown Elkhart!
Read more testimonials
The Lerner Theatre continues to weave itself into Elkhart's fabric, which is a good thing for the entire community.
Read more testimonials