Thursday, January 14, 2010

“Thinking Outside the Bachs”

“Fluent jazz, silken vocals and fine wine…” Relax among friends, enjoy hot hors-d’oeuvres and tapas, taste some great wines, and listen to exciting live jazz...Mmm…sounds good, doesn’t it?

Yes, a lovely evening is in store for those who attend the annual “Wine and Jazz” event hosted by CONCORA’s Friends of Bach. The event, which will take place on Saturday, January 23, 2010, at a private home in Farmington, is a fundraiser in support of CONCORA’s “Bach! Motet Madness” concert of all six motets by J.S. Bach, which will take place on on February 28, 2010.

Sommelier Raymond Petke will introduce Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California, while The Sir William Trio and members of CONCORA perform jazz selections including This Masquerade, Cry Me a River, Twisted, Samba Saravah, and many more. Attendees can dedicate a song or two to a favorite person. The wines to be tasted/auctioned include: Solaris from Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2000; Foley from Santa Ynez, La Cuesta Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2001; and Saint Francis from Sonoma County, Nuns Canyon, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2002.

Ooh, and what fun! D will be MC for the evening.

WHAT: CONCORA’s Wine & Jazz
WHEN: Saturday, January 23, 2010 • 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
(snow date: Sunday, January 24, 4:00-6:30 p.m.)
WHERE: Private home in Farmington. Travel directions sent with tickets.
TICKETS: All tickets are $50 per person, proceeds to benefit CONCORA. Seating is limited; order your tickets now! (860) 224-7500 or

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There was a terrific write-up in The Hartford Courant today:

Jazz, Wine At CONCORA Fundraiser
Owen McNally / Riffs: Jazz Notes
The Hartford Courant, January 14, 2010,0,4708677.column

Fluent jazz, silken vocals and fine wine flow Jan. 23 in a fund-raiser for CONCORA, Connecticut's premier professional choir.

Set in the intimacy of a private home in Farmington from 6:30 to 9 p.m., the "Wine & Jazz" fund-raising festivities feature the Sir William Trio joined by several singers from CONCORA, the harmonious sounding acronym for the group's formal name, Connecticut Choral Artists.

Led by bassist Bill Stillinger ("Sir William"), the jazz trio also features pianist Alex Nakhimovsky and drummer Gregory Caputo. Stepping outside their classical mode to team up with the jazz trio — literally thinking outside the Bachs — are CONCORA singers Salli-Jo Borden, Christopher Clark, Stacey Grimaldi and Lisa Nappi.

Nakhimovsky, a Russian-born pianist and graduate of The Hartt School at University of Hartford, performs regularly in Hartford- area venues when not traveling the world, often as a jazz and classical pianist and musical director aboard cruise ships.

He has appeared at the Village Gate and Town Hall in New York City, and performed with such jazz luminaries as trumpeter Valery Ponomarev (a fellow Russian emigre), saxophonist Benny Golson, trombonist Curtis Fuller and drummer Jimmy Cobb.

A longtime faculty member of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Nakhimovsky recently completed tours with Golson in Israel and with saxophonist Bill Evans in Russia. His classical performances include appearances in New York City at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and at Steinway Hall in 2000.

He has been a co-producer of the "Baikal Waves International Jazz Festival" since 2006, as well as other festivals in Russia.

Caputo, the trio's drummer, is a graduate of the Hartford Conservatory and has toured with the big bands of Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Harry James, Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.

Served along with the jazz will be hors d'oeuvres and tapas, a wine auction and tastings of three wines from California, presented by sommelier Raymond Petke.

Founded in 1974 by its conductor and artistic director, Richard Coffey, the award-winning choral group has a wide repertoire ranging from choral classics to newly commissioned works, arrangements of folk music, spirituals and popular music.

The fundraiser, according to marketing director and vocalist Stacey Grimaldi, will help "pay the bills" for CONCORA's upcoming Feb. 28 presentation of all six motets of J.S. Bach done in collaboration with members of Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

"Bach! Motet Madness," CONCORA's presentation of the masterworks, will be at 4 p.m. at Immanuel Congregational Church, Hartford, with a snow date on March 1.

Tickets are $50. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Information and reservations: 860-224-7500 and online at Snow date for the "Wine & Jazz" benefit: Jan. 24 at 4 p.m., same location.

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