The 2009-10 Community Concert Series kicked off last night with the smooth stylings of the Todd Hill Orchestra. The group’s repertoire features an amazing selection of Swing and Jazz, including numbers from Bennie Goodman, Count Baise, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Frank Foster, George Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and many more.
The Todd Hill Orchestra has been entertaining for twenty-four years. The Orchestra has been featured at a number of venues, ranging from Mississippi Casinos to upscale Concert Halls. The vast majority of the musicians in the Orchestra have been members for more than fifteen years, eight members have served over twenty years.
The musical numbers they played were upbeat, with that crisp clean sound that is the signature of the Big Band Era. The Brass Section raised the roof on the concert hall, at least once or twice during the evening. Director Todd Hill played the Piano, and for most of the evening provided vocals when needed. Derek Jones provided the vocals for one number, during the rest of the evening he played either the Alto Sax or the Clarinet, he also had several outstanding sax solos.
A number of the Orchestra members were former Austin Peay students, and one lead trumpet player Richard Steffen is a faculty member in the APSU Music Department.
If you missed the show last night, the Todd Hill Orchestra graciously allowed me to provide the following video of them performing Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night in Tunisia.
They also have a CD available at their web site, http://toddhillorchestra.com/Home.html
The show was the first of a series of five outstanding concerts that are being brought to town by the Clarksville Community Concert Association (CCCA)
The CCCA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting musical performances of high merit to Clarksville-Montgomery County. The CCCA receives funding by the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, series subscriptions, corporate donors, private contributions, and ticket sales.
The next concert in the series is set for October 8th at 7:30 p.m., and features the lovely and talented pianist Gabriela Montero. She along with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, and clarinetist Anthony McGill played at the Obama inauguration. The song by John Williams was pre-recorded due to the extremely cold weather.
Montero frequently interacts with the audience during her performances, to the point of asking them to suggest a melody, then improvising the song for them. “When improvising,” Gabriela says, “I connect to my audience in a completely unique way – and they connect with me. Because improvisation is such a huge part of who I am, it is the most natural and spontaneous way I can express myself. I have been improvising since my hands first touched the keyboard, but for many years I kept this aspect of my playing secret. Then Martha Argerich overheard me improvising one day and was ecstatic. In fact, it was Martha who persuaded me that it was possible to combine my career as a serious ‘classical’ artist with the side of me that is rather unique.”
I hope to see you there!