by janet i. martineau
A big-name jazz orchestra and its Grammy-winning leader are headed to Saginaw’s Temple Theatre for a Sunday, Dec. 8, concert.
Trumpet player/composer/educator Wynton Marsalis and the 14-member Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform their “Big Band Holidays” touring program. And opening the 5pm concert is the 18-member Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band with three guest singers.
Tickets, on sale at the Temple, are $75 for VIP in the first two rows (included is a meet and greet with Marsalis), $55 for main floor rows C – O, and $35 for main floor rows P-AA and the balcony.
Student tickets are available at $25 in the $35 sections. And there is a family pack available at a 10 percent discount (2 adults, 2 children).
Marsalis, 51, is a native of New Orleans. He attended the famed Juilliard School of Music, is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the winner of an astounding nine Grammys for classical and jazz music and one Pulitzer for an oratorio, has penned six books, and hosted Peabody-winning educational series on PBS and NPR (to name just a few of his long list of credits).
In 1995 Time magazine named him as one of America’s most promising leaders under age 40 and in 1996 designated him as one America’s 25 most influential people. Life magazine named Marsalis as one of the “Most Influential Boomers.”
And in the summer of 2014, he will become the director of jazz studies at Juilliard.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra began in 1987 as a summer concert series; by 1991 became an official department at the New York City performance venue (home also to the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet), and in 2004 opened its own performance facility there, one designed for the sound, function and feeling of jazz.
Marsalis founded the orchestra. Its players are top-rated soloists, ensemble players and jazz arrangers.
Annually the orchestra and Marsalis tour worldwide and perform in collaborations with many of the world’s top symphony orchestras as well as presenting their own headliner concerts. Over the years the orchestra also has premiered pieces Marsalis composed.
The Saginaw concert is the brainchild of Midlander Molly McFadden, who started the Michigan Jazz Trail Festival organization in 2010 as a way to honor the state’s rich jazz heritage and provide a Great Lakes Bay Region celebration of it.
In addition to forming its 18-piece big band, comprised of select regional players and conducted by Jim Hohmeyer, Michigan Jazz Trail has sponsored regional jazz festivals, hosted jazz clinics for high school students, and partnered with other non-profits to present programs.
In 2014, Michigan Jazz Trail is planning to produce regional jazz festivals in Saginaw, Midland, Bay City, Tawas and Charlevoix.
Says McFadden of the Marsalis booking, “The musicians in the Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band want to raise the bar in their performing, and this is a Christmas gift to them for their past four years of providing first-rate concerts, for their love of jazz, and for their loyalty to the mission and the vision of the Michigan Jazz Trail Festival.”
Performing with the Michigan Jazz Trail band at the Marsalis concert are McFadden, a former New York City cabaret singer; Julie Mulady, a singer with the Brush Street combo, and Dacia Mackey, a recent Arthur Hill High School graduate and a soloist with the Saginaw ACT-SO program sponsored by the Saginaw branch of the NAACP.
The Dec. 8 concert is funded in part by a grant from the Saginaw Community Foundation’s Senior Citizen Enrichment Fund.
The Temple Theatre is located at 203 N. Washington. To order tickets, call (989) 754-7469. They also are available online at www.templetheatre.com.