Bluefield University in the News

STRUTTERS CONCERT TO FEATURE 100 YEARS OF JAZZ

by | Mar 29, 2018

With more than three decades of stage performance experience and with a show that celebrates 100 years of jazz music, the award-winning Side Street Strutters will perform live in concert as part of the Blue Mountain Performing Arts Series, Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bluefield High School Auditorium.

Co-sponsored by Blue Mountain, the Stelio and Betty Corte Charitable Foundation, Bluefield College, the Bluefield High School Foundation, and WVVA-TV, the concert is open and free to BMPA season ticket holders and members of the Bluefield College family. Individual tickets for non-BC and non-Blue Mountain members are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

Created in 1983 while still students at Arizona State University, the Side Street Strutters are an ensemble with an artistic focus on the musical traditions of early New Orleans jazz. Today, more than three decades later, the group continues to expand its musical palette to encompass a century of classic American jazz.

The Strutters have presented formal concerts, symphony pops performances and student outreach programs in all 50 states, seven European countries, Canada and Mexico. Their musicianship and award-winning orchestrations have earned them national and international acclaim. Among their accolades are a first-place honor at the Breda International Jazz Competition in Holland, an International Association of Jazz Educators Outstanding Musicianship Award, National Education Association fellowships and grants, national radio and television appearances, and performances at dozens of European and U.S. jazz festivals.

Additionally, the Strutters have been entertaining guests at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, for 22 years. In 2000, the ensemble created a symphony pops program and have since shared the stage with major orchestras, including the Houston, Rochester, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Pasadena, and San Antonio orchestras. In 2008 in celebration of their 25th anniversary, the Strutters revisited the roots of jazz with “Back to Bourbon Street,” a colorful show embracing the spirit, festiveness and culture of New Orleans. And in 2013, the band unveiled “Shiny Stockings,” featuring for the first time the vocal stylings of Meloney Collins. This popular show combined Collins’ sassy, yet sultry, personality and soulful voice with the Strutters’ exciting musical arrangements, personable humor and showmanship to create a musical theater experience that captures the essential charm and vibrant energy of the golden age of jazz.

The Strutters’ latest musical project, “Vinyl Jazz: A Century Celebration,” commemorates the 100th anniversary of recorded jazz and features an assortment of jazz, pop and R&B melodies that have shaped our musical landscape. The selections from this show include songs that inspired entire generations, lyrics that reflected a particular time in our country’s history, and melodies that played a significant role in the development and enjoyment of American popular music.
Among those endearing melodies that encompass the past 100 years of
popular recorded music: “Rhapsody in Blue,” written by 25-year-old George Gershwin, Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo,” and “All or Nothing at All,” originally a commercial flop for a young singer named Frank Sinatra. The show also includes Nat King Cole’s “Route 66,” Ella Fitzgerald’s signature song “How High the Moon,” Dave Brubeck’s and Paul Desmond’s “Take 5,” and Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly.” The Strutters will also present songs from cross-over performers, like Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Weather Report, and Michael Bublé.

The Blue Mountain Performing Arts Series is designed to foster and encourage public appreciation of music, the teaching of music, and the history of music. Through the support of donors and paying members and in an effort to support its mission, Blue Mountain brings a wide variety of quality musical programs to the community through its yearlong Concert Series.

Annual membership with Blue Mountain, which includes admission to all BMPA shows at a significant cost savings, is $40 for adults, $35 for senior citizens, and $15 for students. Family packages, including two adults and all children living within the home, are $85. Individual tickets to Blue Mountain events are $15 to $20 for adults and $10 for students. All concerts are general admission with no reserved seats. Box office and doors open one hour before show time.

In addition to Blue Mountain concerts, BMPA membership also provides admission to events that are part of Bluefield College’s Performing Arts Series and concerts scheduled by the Beckley Concert Association. To purchase annual memberships or individual tickets, or for more information about the April 12 concert, visit bluemountainperformingarts.com, call 304-324-3234, or e-mail [email protected].

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