Singer Sue Raney is the girl from Kansas whose beautiful voice and extreme talent swept her into a cyclone of stardom that hasn't spent itself yet, even after a half century of performing and more. Raney is to make her local debut with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra in a new category of concert at 8 p.m. March 29 in the Valentine Theatre.
This year’s “Hollywood Nights” event launches a collaborative TJO concert featuring a nationally known artist. With the jazz orchestra, Raney plans a survey of her long and illustrious career, with songs from her first recording with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra through her most recent album, a tribute to Doris Day.
Raney, 74, was discovered at age 4, turned pro as a teenager, joined the Jack Carson show in Hollywood at age 14, cut her first album at 20 (the 1960 Capitol hit, When Your Lover Has Gone), and conquered musical styles from jazz to cabaret and pop.
She has performed with Hollywood Voices, the Bill Watrous Big Band, Supersax, and has led her own group. A popular recording artist for Discovery, she also is active in jazz education.
The local jazz group has long legs and range as well, founded three decades ago, always reliably bringing big band music to local audiences. Artistic director Ron Kischuk will conduct. Tickets for the concert are $22-$32 at the Valentine box office, 419-242-2787, or www.valentinetheatre.com.
Ready to swing into spring? There's plenty of jazz elsewhere in the area through March: The University of Findlay Jazz Ensemble is set for the downbeat for its 3 p.m. concert Sunday in the auditorium of Winebrenner Seminary, 950 N. Main St., Findlay.
UF music professor Jack Taylor will lead the ensemble through music from the Glenn Miller Library, pieces by Chick Corea and John Coltrane. They’ll cover pieces made famous by Weather Report — Birdland, to be specific — and Manhattan Transfer. Admission is free but tickets must be reserved in advance at 419-434-4458.
Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor, has a cool lineup of jazz. On Sunday at 2 p.m., the Ellen Rowe Trio presents a program called “Introducing the Piano Trio — Everything You Always Wanted to Ask but were Afraid to Ask. Until Now.” Phew!
The trio comprising pianist Rowe, bassist Paul Keller, and drummer Pete Siers will show and tell what they know about this popular jazz ensemble.
On March 27, an 8 p.m. performance by Alex Belhaj’s Crescent City Quartet will celebrate its latest CD release, Sugar Blues. Besides Belhaj on guitar and vocals, there are Ray Heitger, clarinet and vocals, cornetist Dave Kosmyna, and bassist Jordan Schug.
Heitger and Kosmyna are principals in Toledo’s long-lived and popular Cakewalkin’ Jass Band. Like that group, the Belhaj quartet will focus on Dixieland pieces, old and new.
The third event, Jazz Masters, is dedicated to trumpeter Johnny Trudell, a local light in the southeast Michigan/northwest Ohio jazz scene. Music starts at 8 p.m. March 28. Also performing will be pianist Tad Weed, bassist Kurt Krahnke, and drummer Sean Dobbins. For ticket information and reservations (recommended because of limited seating) call 734-769-2999 or visit www.kerrytownconcerthouse.com.
Two on Tap, the fleet-footed hoofers Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano, will take the River Raisin Centre for the Arts by storm at 7:30 p.m. March 28. The show debuted in 2010 to much acclaim as a reverential throwback to the days of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Backed by a jazz trio — David Snyder, Daniel Fabricatore, and Barbara Merjan — the tapping couple will dance to music by George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Irving Berlin, and other Tin Pan Alley legends.
Giattino began performing in a touring company of A Chorus Line at age 17 and has been on her toes — and heels — ever since on U.S. and English stages. DeStefano is a singer as well as a dancer in musical theater and on Broadway.
Joining the guests in a special arrangement of Tea for Two will be local dancers from the River Raisin Dance Academy. The venue is at 114 S. Monroe St., Monroe. Parking is nearby and free. Tickets at $15-$29 are on sale at 734-242-7722 or www.riverraisincentre.org.
Lots of churches are providing Lenten music this month, headed up by the Cathedral Concert Series at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, which will bring Measure for Measure, a men’s chorus, to town for its debut at 3 p.m. March 30.
Based in Ann Arbor, the 25-year-old group is directed by Steven Lorenz and incorporates selections from many different musical styles and periods in its programming. Admission is free, although donations of $10 are encouraged.
The 2014 Voices of Harmony Chorus will present An Evening of A Capella, a free show of barbershop music, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Alliance Church, 1161 Napoleon Rd., Bowling Green. Featured guest quartets will include Eclipse, from Columbus, and Singamajigs from this area. Donations will be accepted at the door.
Singer/entertainer Kerry Patrick Clark will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday in Community of Christ Lutheran Church, 6517 Finzel Rd., Whitehouse. His free concert will wrap up the church’s 2013-2014 concert series. For more information call 419-877-0607 or www.commofchrist.org.
Organist Daniel Roth is to offer a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday in First Presbyterian Church of Ypsilanti, Mich., 300 N. Washington St. Roth is famed both for performances of major organ literature and extended improvisations on hymn tunes and other themes. He has performed across the United States, in Europe and Scandinavia, England, Japan, and Korea.
Roth taught music in Germany and held the organ post at St. Sulpice, the famed Paris church, until his retirement in 2007. His appearance is sponsored by the Ann Arbor Chapter, American Guild of Organists. A reception will follow the recital. For more information visit www.ypsipipes.com or call 734-482-1525.
Bowling Green State University’s Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra will present a concert for young people at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art. This event by the so-called “Funharmonia” is free.
On Monday, the Yarn/Wire Quartet, a guest group on the Music at the Forefront Series, will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Comprising two percussionists and two pianists, the group will mix works by classical and modern composers including Luciano Berio, Aaron Helgeson, Eric Wubbels, and Phillip Scheussler. This concert is free.
Haitian violinist Romel Joseph, who impressed audiences in previous appearances here, will return as part of his North American fund-raising tour, Never Give Up. Joseph, who is blind, will perform with his children, Victoria and Bradley, at several venues in the southern Michigan area as well as Ada, Ohio.
Their schedule begins at 7 p.m. March 27 in the Ann Arbor Public Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave., continues at 7:30 p.m. March 29 at Northside Community Church, 929 Barton Dr., Ann Arbor, followed by a 3 p.m. concert March 30 at Adrian College, Dawson Auditorium, 115 S. Madison, St., Adrian, and winds up in an 8 p.m. March 31 performance in Snyder Hall at Ohio Northern University. Admission is free but a donation of $10 is suggested.
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