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Holiday Jazz Concert Showcases Greenwich Students

GREENWICH, Conn. – Come out and hear the Greenwich High School Honors Jazz Ensemble Saturday, Dec. 3, at St. Bede's Chapel when they perform as the opening act at Backcountry Jazz’s Christmas Spectacular Benefit Concert.

“Backcountry Jazz’s concerts at St. Bede’s give the audience a great sense of master jazz performers in an intimate setting,” said Warren Bein, a Greenwich High senior who has played with the Jazz Ensemble for three years.

The concert will feature the Disorder at the Border All Star Jazz Orchestra, led by saxophonist Bennie Wallace of Greenwich. It will showcase New Orleans great Herlin Riley on drums. Proceeds will support Backcountry Jazz’s summer music camp in Bridgeport and public school conerts and workshops for disadvantaged and at-risk children.

“The Jazz Ensemble students are excited for this performance opportunity,” said John Yoon, the ensemble’s music director and faculty member at Greenwich High. “Students enrolled in the Honors Jazz Ensemble class are the most advanced jazz musicians at Greenwich High.”

Prior to the concert, legendary alto saxophonist Jerry Dodgion will conduct a workshop for the Jazz Ensemble students, the second in a series of workshops with Backcountry Jazz artists in its partnership with the school’s music program.

Jazz vocalists Melissa Newman, Rosena Hill and Liza Sukra will also perform at the concert. Newman’s voice has been described as “a cross between Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline.” Hill made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2009 with the New York Pops, has performed on Broadway and was a featured soloist with the Harlem Gospel Singers & Band in Europe. Sukra, a 17-year-old student, performs with Jazz Elite, a premier audition-based student jazz program in Westchester County. “I heard Liza perform at Greenwich High’s Essentially Ellington Regional Festival and knew I wanted to offer her performance opportunities,” said Wallace.

Wallace has been a tenor saxophonist, composer and recording artist for over 30 years. He has released over 20 jazz recordings, won five DownBeat awards and has performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Elvin Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Dr. John, Chick Corea and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at St. Bede’s Chapel, located at 270 Lake Avenue. Tickets are $100 per person. Patron levels are $250, $500 and $1,000 per person, $2,500 for two seats, $5,000 for six seats and $10,000 for 12 seats. Contributions in excess of $25 per ticket are tax-deductible. Champagne and Coturri Wines will be served before and after the concert.

All tickets should be purchased in advance by contacting Backcountry Jazz at 203-869-9454 or by email.

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