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Jazz and romance headline Ilse Newell concerts

The week of Feb. 6 starts with jazz and ends in romance with what might be the most spectacular week of music in the Ilse Newell Fund for Performing Arts concert series for 2022, featuring the best of purely American musical genres.

It starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 6 when the Leon Anderson Jazz Ensemble performs their tribute to New Orleans Jazz at Trinity Episcopal Church, 79 6th Street in Apalachicola.

Drummer Leon Anderson is joined by Scotty Barnhardt on trumpet, Joe Goldberg on clarinet/sax/flute, Rodney Jordan on bass, and Bill Peterson at the piano for a performance that honors musicians like Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bachet, Ellis Marsalis, and James Black with a themed program showcasing New Orleans Jazz, from standards to modern.

The program will feature classic New Orleans tunes such as Wild Man Blues, Maple Leaf Rag, When the Saints Go Marching In, and Bourbon Street Parade. Then it will transition to tunes from modern jazz masters such as Magnolia Triangle, Swingin’ at the Haven, and Alviette is Her Name.

It’s two hours of pure New Orleans jazz right here on the Forgotten Coast is a concert no music enthusiast will want to miss.

Then the pace changes to one of romance just in time to kick off the Valentine’s Day weekend. On Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. the vocalist, pianist, composer and arranger Darryl Tookes takes to the performance stage for a concert he calls “A Valentine Special,” also at Trinity church. 

Tookes is considered a performer of unequaled stature, confirmed by a resume of appearances with the biggest names in the music industry. His three-decade career includes working with Leonard Bernstein, Carly Simon, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Christina Aguilera, Al Jarreau and numerous others. 

He has taught voice at the New York University Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and the Tisch School of the Arts. He is the founding musical director of the Black to Broadway initiative, increasing the presence of Black musical performers on the New York stage including Jennifer Holiday, Billy Porter, and Melba Moore. 

Tookes’ many command performances include playing for such dignitaries as Presidents Obama and Clinton, foreign leaders that include Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, and a diverse group of celebrities that encompass Audrey Hepburn, Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor and Maya Angelou.

Tookes’ Valentine Special features music by Cole Porter and other composers such as Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, writers of the romantic songs and ballads of the Great American Songbook, a collection of 459 songs that represent the finest popular music from the 1920s through the 1950s as assembled by songbook master, Michael Feinstein. 

Indulge your love of the best in American music at this fabulous week of Ilse Newell Fund for Performing Arts concerts. Admission to the Leon Anderson Jazz Ensemble is $10 per person; to the Darryl Tookes “A Valentine Special” is $20 per person. Tickets are available online at inconcertapalachicola.org or attendees can pay in cash at the door. 

Doors open a half-hour before performance times. Seating is open, with social distancing suggested. Vaccinations are assumed; masking is optional. Programs are partially funded by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

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