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‘The Jazz Nativity’ (Utica, NY)
December 20, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pmFree
For a second time, I will be participating in the chorus of “The Jazz Nativity” as it returns to St. Mary of Mt. Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Church in Utica, NY. Normally performed in some of the greatest jazz venues and Christian churches in New York City, director and composer Anne Phillips brought the “jazz opera” to Central New York for a one-of-a-kind performance at the request of a parishioner. In New York, the show has been co-produced by Kindred Spirits and Chelsea Opera. It is a combination of traditional Christmas carols, a spirited carol in 5/4 written by Dave and Iola Brubeck, and original music. The story is told by a soprano and a jazz vocal group or full choir. The band is an eight piece jazz band. The Kings are two instrumentalists and a tap dancer. It is indeed an unusual and exciting combination of jazz, opera, theater and dance.
People of all faiths, for jazz fans and those new to it, young and old, return year after year. The joy, love and camaraderie inherent in the show radiates throughout the audience. The show was written and arranged by singer-songwriter Anne Phillips at the suggestion of the late John Garcia Gensel, “The Jazz Pastor” of St. Peter’s Church. The Jazz Nativity was premiered in 1985. The original music written by Ms. Phillips, Bob Kindred and Dave and Iola Brubeck is combined with well-known carols.
The one-night only Utica performance is FREE and open to the public but seats go fast in the small church. You’ll want to arrive early! On this page you’ll see some photos from my participation in last year’s event!
Photo credit: Mark Diorio, The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, NY