Mt. Kisco, NY-Westchester, New York will officially become the home for a new and dynamic all-star Jazz Orchestra when it performs its debut concert featuring new arrangements of classic standards and the works of Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie on Saturday, October 18 at the Irvington Town Hall Theater. After a year of planning and preparation, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, led by Artistic Directors Joey Berkley and Peter Hand, and Executive Director Emily Tabin, has already secured four concert dates through the spring of 2004 with distinctive programs performed by some of the finest jazz musicians in the world.
The Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO) was born when guitarist/composer /arranger Peter Hand and saxophonist/composer Joey Berkley realized that many of the greatest jazz players in the world are Westchester residents. Master musicians ranging from outstanding group leaders and top New York session players to seasoned veterans who have played with countless world-renowned artists in the pop, rock, Latin, Broadway and jazz fields make the WJO a true all-star ensemble.
The Orchestra’s mission of bringing Jazz at its best to Westchester will go far beyond the concert hall. Jazz is the unique American art form, and WJO will embark on an ambitious educational outreach program through local schools, offering residency programs, workshops and low-cost private instruction for economically disadvantaged students. WJO’s dual commitment to performance and education will provide a unique cultural resource dedicated to celebrating and honoring a great musical tradition.
Comprised of a core group of musicians that includes Joey Berkley, Jay Brandford, David Brandom, Gary Deinstadt, Larry "Dean" Farrell, Peter Hand, Tony Jefferson, Ralph Lalama, Keith O’Quinn, Jim Rotondi, Harvie S, Marvin Stamm, Ray Vega and Ed Xiques, the Orchestra will also enjoy the presence of special guest artists throughout its concert season including well known vocalists and surprise guests. Their second concert on December 6th at the Joyce Auditorium at Iona College in New Rochelle will be a celebration of "The Year of the Blues"; the extraordinary saxophonist Houston Person will be the special guest artist in the Orchestra’s third concert on January 31 in Irvington; and on April 17 again at Iona College, the Orchestra will pay special tribute to two legendary jazz giants and collaborators, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Concerts will also feature original compositions by Orchestra members and newly-commissioned works, as well as fresh twists on familiar standards and audience favorites.
WJO is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, and it must raise a substantial portion of its budget through private contributions. The Orchestra is seeking sponsors and donors to help support its concert series and educational programs.
Additional information about the Westchester Jazz Orchestra including upcoming events is available upon request. Call Emily Tabin, Executive Director, at 914-833-9710 or e-mail WJO at Emily Tabin