Astoria Big Band presents Memories of Jazz in Queens on Nov. 17

Led by baritone saxophonist Carol Sudhalter, the Astoria Big Band presents the music of Queens’ greats Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Big Nick Nicholas, Jimmy Heath and more at Flushing Town Hall on Friday, November 17. Two prominent vocalists and the swing dance group ‘Big Apple Lindy Hoppers’ bring zest, color, and movement to this already engaging performance.

Carol’s 17-piece Astoria Big Band presents their fascinating Memories of Jazz in Queens concert, originally based on tales told by the late bassist Leonard Gaskin, who played with icons such as Louis Armstrong All-Stars and Big Nick Nicholas. Gaskin, who lived for many years in Jamaica, Queens, worked closely with Sudhalter and the Astoria Big Band.

The concert includes selections immortalized by Queens Jazz legends Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Jutta Hipp, Big Nick Nicholas, Sarah McLawler, and more. Arrangements are written by band members including Chris Rinaman and the late Charlie Camilleri, and by Queens greats such as Count Basie.

Carol Sudhalter, who plays flute, baritone sax, and tenor sax, has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (Lincoln Center), Trumpet’s, Birdland, Iridium, JVC Jazz Festival; and in major clubs and festivals in U.K., Italy and Switzerland including Villa Celimontana and JazzAscona. She founded the Astoria Big Band in 1986 and continues to lead the band. The band has played in a variety of venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. They also were the first to play at the Forest Park Carousel.

“I am so excited to be presenting our material on some of the legendary Queens-based jazz names to an audience who remembers much of the history and knew some of the artists,” says Sudhalter. “Especially at Flushing Town Hall, which has been and still is a hub of jazz in Queens!”

Tickets are $16/$10 for Members and Students. Please visit www.flushingtownhall.org for more information. Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

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Celebrate 100 Years of Dizzy and Monk with NEA Jazz Masters in November

On Friday, November 3, Flushing Town Hall presents a concert celebrating 100 years of two Jazz icons: Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. Their essential contributions to the jazz vernacular is celebrated in a show featuring National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Masters Kenny Barron on piano, Jimmy Owens on trumpet, and Jimmy Cobb on drum. The Masters are joined by Lew Tabackin and Antonio Hart on saxophone and Rufus Reid on bass.

This group of Masters will perform special arrangements of classic compositions by Dizzy and Monk, including “Groovin’ High” and “Round Midnight.”  NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath was originally scheduled to perform at this concert. However, due to a health matter, Dr. Heath will not be performing but will be at the concert in spirit.  Dr. Heath personally selected Antonio Hart as his substitute for the evening.

 

Dizzy Gillespie helped to usher in the era of Bebop in American jazz. Gillespie is known as one of the founding fathers of the Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz tradition, and he was inspired by his travels throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. He remains one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time.

The NEA Jazz Masters are also paying tribute to the great Thelonious Monk. Known for his improvisational style and highly percussive piano technique, many of his compositions are now part of the standard jazz repertoire.

Celebrate a century of incredible jazz with Flushing Town Hall. You will not want to miss this tribute to two jazz legends, lovingly performed by Kenny Barron, Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Cobb, Lew Tabackin and Rufus Reid.

Admission is $42/$32 Members/$20 Students with Table Package options for $125/$100 Members (reserved table for two with wine and snacks) and the event is open to all ages. You can access details by visiting http://www.flushingtownhall.org/ or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.

This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the new “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens.

Presenting Afro-Venezuelan Music by Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo on October 21

On Saturday, October 21, Flushing Town Hall presents “the voice of Venezuela”, Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo, for a colorful evening of Afro-Venezuelan dance and music. Guests can participate in a dance lesson before the performance.

Betsayda Machado grew up in the small village of El Clavo in Venezuela and performs with her village’s own multi-generational percussion band, La Parranda El Clavo. Together they perform tambor venezolano, a Venezuelan Afro-Soul genre. Many of their songs shed light on the challenges that Venezuelans are currently facing. Experience the passion, color, and contagious beats of this spirit-shaking show that is said to make dancers float.

Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo made their New York City debut in January 2017, which received rave reviews from The New York Times, which called them, “The kind of group that world-music fans have always been thrilled to discover: vital, accomplished, local, unplugged, deeply rooted.”

The group has been performing throughout the country ever since, and they are currently celebrating their 30-year anniversary with a series of concerts and residencies from Denver to D.C.

This engagement of Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo is funded through Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Flushing Town Hall is excited to have this vibrant group share their rhythm and vocals with our community. The evening will start with dance lessons at 7 PM, followed by a performance at 8 PM. Tickets are $16/$10 for members and students. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.flushingtownhall.org.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free with a student I.D. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Only a few days til 123 Andrés

123 Andrés is one of the most exciting new voices on the family music scene in the US and Latin America – “A rockstar for little language learners” according to Billboard Magazine. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Andrés brings to audiences joyful sounds, passion for bilingualism and a high-energy love of music that gets kids singing and dancing in Spanish and English.

On Sunday, October 15, join Latin Grammy-winning Andrés on an exciting cultural journey of Latin America through an introduction of language, music, and dance, when he presents at Flushing Town Hall. Families will sing and dance to rhythms while gaining knowledge of vocabulary in English and Spanish. Children will be encouraged to use their imaginations to ride an airplane and join in singing songs that will entice dancing while practicing new vocabulary.

The 2:15 PM family performance will be preceded by a 1:00 PM interactive arts workshop. Tickets are available here.

What can an audience expect to see/experience at your (performance, workshop, event)?

Our family workshop will focus on using music to expand children’s vocabulary and language skills, including for children who are growing up with two or more languages. We will get the whole family involved in singing, making movements to songs, playing with words, and even writing whole new songs. I really enjoy seeing families be creative together!

At our concert, Christina and I will be joined by our band – so expect a high-energy show! We’ll play some classics as well as songs from our albums, and everyone – regardless of age – is invited to stand up to dance and jump. During the concert you’ll also see that Christina and Andrés have a disagreement that we have to resolve.

After the concert, children may want to talk about all of the instruments they heard, or about Andrés and Christina’s disagreement and how we resolved it. Talking and retelling shared experiences is an important way for children to develop early literacy skills, so we hope that the concert is a jumping off point for lots of family conversations!

What do you hope audiences learn/discover/feel at one of your events?

I hope families leave the hall singing one of our songs! We hope adults get to enjoy a unique time of interaction with their children. We always say that our concerts aren’t kids’ shows but family shows, so we hope that each member of the family leaves having learned something and having laughed or smiled at some aspect of the concert.

Tell us about you – how you started as a (performer, artist, photographer, etc.)?

I started as a kid, in Bogotá, Colombia. One day when I was six, my dad was walking by a community center and heard kids’ voices singing. It turned out to be a kids’ music group.

My dad signed me and my brother up. In the group we sang many traditional kids songs and learned to play the recorder. We would perform, singing and dancing, at community events in Bogotá. Then, when I was nine, we had the opportunity to participate in recording an album of kids music called “El Ratoncito Marinero.”

Around same time my dad started teaching me to play the guitar. Then I went on to study the clarinet at the Conservatory and then in college, and then in grad school. I also played in lots of other bands, from rock to opera to Norteña to Latin Jazz. It wasn’t until after I finished graduate school that I decided to come back full circle and dedicate myself to music for children and families full-time.

Where did you grow up / where do you live? (this helps us when we pitch local media in NYC)?

I grew up in Bogotá, Colombia and moved to the US for graduate school. We travel a lot so we live in many places but mostly in the Washington DC area and Kansas City!

What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?

Coming to Flushing Town Hall means coming to one of the most diverse places in the world, where hearing multiple languages is a part of daily life. I come here with an open heart not only to share my music but to learn from this vibrant community.

What is on the horizon for you (what other projects are you working on? Do you have a book/movie/recording coming out?)

We are working on two new albums at the same time! One project is a CD of lullabies, with some traditional and some original songs. The other album… will also be for families but the theme will be totally different from lullabies. It’s still a surprise but stay tuned!

Flushing Town Hall Presents 3rd Annual Diwali Festival on Sunday, October 29

On Sunday, October 29, Flushing Town Hall will celebrate the Festival of Lights with its third annual Diwali Festival, this time as a Diwali Dance Party, featuring DJ Rekha and Abha Roy in a mash-up of Bhangra and Kathak music and dance styles, with cooking workshops, dance lessons, traditional foods, and family-friendly activities such as a jewelry workshop and henna painting. The event will provide a rare opportunity to see DJ Rekha perform once more after her final Basement Bhangra performance in August.

The Diwali Festival is supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mayor Bill de Blasio; The National Endowment of the Arts; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; Con Edison; and The New York Community Bank Foundation

The three-hour celebration features master artists: master Indian dancer Abha B. Roy with Sarika Persaud, and the Srijan Dance Center; and for one day only DJ Rekha returns to the stage for a Bhangra dance party. Join us for henna painting, rangoli (decorative design) workshops, a dance workshop, and cooking workshops led by The League of Kitchens’ Yamini. 

Delicious Indian foods and handmade Indian jewelry also will be for sale during the lively event.

The event runs from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Flushing Town Hall, located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, Queens. Tickets—$20/$15 Members/$10 Students & Children—are available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

Additionally, Flushing Town Hall will hold two school shows for grades four to eight on Friday, October 27th at 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM. To make reservations, call (718) 463-7700 ext. 241 or email education@flushingtownhall.org.

Diwali, or Deepavali, comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “row of lights.” It is a day of solidarity, where the soft light of diyas – or oil-wick candles – illuminate streets and homes, banishing the darkness of ignorance and suffering. Diwali began as a part of an ancient harvest festival, which celebrated the fertility of the earth and prosperity of the new harvest. Though Diwali has taken on a significant meaning in Hinduism, in India, it is still celebrated by all groups regardless of religious affiliation as a time of renewal and growth.

“Diwali is a festive time of gift-giving, charity and sharing in feasts with loved ones,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “We are excited to continue this tradition at Flushing Town Hall and to provide an experience that fills all senses: musical performances, classical dance, traditional food, henna painting, fashion and much more.”

Participants at the event include:

Abha Roy has blazed a trail of her own in the sphere of Kathak, a classic northern Indian dance form. Abha started her career as a classical dancer in 1984, completing her diploma in Kathak under the guidance of late great Guru Kundan Lal Gangani. She attained professional precision under the training of Pt. Durgalal when she completed her specialization in Kathak Kendra, New Delhi. She has served on the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, dancing Kathak around the world as commissioned representative of Indian dance.  Abha has conducted workshops and classes for New York City schools, universities, libraries and museums since 1992 and is the founding director of Srijan Dance Center.

Basement Bhangra’s DJ Rekha is a London-born, Flushing-raised musician, DJ, producer, curator and activist. She has been credited with pioneering Bhangra music – which emerged in the Punjabi countryside – in North Americ In 1997, she founded Basement Bhangra, which since had been held at SOB’s on Varick Street and began with dance lessons that evolved into a dance party. The event, which has become an international phenomenon, drawing an extremely diverse audience, recently celebrated its final show, on August 6 because Rekha was leaving to pursue other projects.

Yamini, of The League of Kitchens, Born and raised in Mumbai, Yamini started cooking with her parents when she was ten years old. She remembers watching her father cook for the large religious festivals her family attended, as the women weren’t allowed to cook for them. She moved to Kew Gardens, Queens with her husband and three daughters in 1999 and has worked in Manhattan at a jewelry company for many years. In 2009, after years of bringing lunch in for her co-workers, she delved into the catering business. She now prepares food for non-profit and corporate events around the city. In addition to cooking, Yamini paints and loves to sing and dance, especially at parties. The League of Kitchens is an immersive culinary adventure in New York City where immigrants teach intimate cooking workshops in their homes, and participants encounter a new culture, cuisine, and neighborhood with every experience. Each workshop offers opportunities for culinary learning and discovery, cultural engagement and exchange, meaningful connection and social interaction, and exceptional eating and drinking. Through this experience, we seek to build cross-cultural connection and understanding and increase access to traditional cooking knowledge.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

The Sport of Kings in Queens: Celebrating 350 Years of Thoroughbred Horse Racing

King Charles II of Great Britain, upon seizing New Netherland from the Dutch, promptly renamed it the Province of New York. An avid breeder, owner, and racer of thoroughbred horses, Charles established the first official race course in 1667 in Queens, Province of New York.

Our new exhibition – The Sport of Kings in Queens: Celebrating 350 Years of Thoroughbred Horse Racing – relates the remarkable history of thoroughbred horse racing in Queens and is co-located at Flushing Town Hall’s Greenroom and the Queens Historical Society.

The exhibition opens on Sunday, October 8 with a reception at 2:30 PM at Kingsland Homestead, at 143-35 37th Avenue in Flushing. The exhibition is open until June 30, 2018, and exhibition hours are Noon to 5:00 PM. A $5 donation is suggested, and the exhibition is free for members and students.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Experience the Music and Rhythms of the Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali

 

Flushing Town Hall is delighted to present The Garifuna Collective and Umalali on Friday, October 6. The Wall Street Journal calls their performances “a completely irresistible groove,” with songs that celebrate the history and traditions of the Garifuna people, a unique culture based on the Caribbean coast of Central America that blends elements of West African and Native Caribbean heritage.

The Garifuna Collective is a multi-generational ensemble featuring some of the most accomplished musicians of the Garifuna community. They aim to tell the stories of the women and daughters who, while working to support their families, sing traditional songs to pass some of their heritage down to future generations. Umalali, the Garifuna word for “voice,” is a moving ensemble that captures the beauty and power of Garifuna female expression. The Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, led by Lucy Blanco, will open the show with joined by a cast of well-seasoned musicians. The Garifuna people are struggling to retain their unique language, music, and traditions in the face of globalization, and Garifuna artists are fighting to preserve their culture.

The show will be filled with traditional melodies and hints of African, Latin, and Caribbean music. Hailing from Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, the powerful melodies and call and response songs, mixed with notes of funk and rock music, will bring the audience on a journey into the entrancing history and culture of the Garifuna people.

To kick off the event, Garifuna Collective and Umalali will teach participants how to use native instruments including traditional Garifuna drums, maracas, turtle shells, and more. The Garifuna Jazz Ensemble, the Garifuna Collective and Umalali will perform their music, accompanied with dance and traditional costumes. The complex rhythms, colorful costumes, and energetic dances are irresistible and will leave the audience wanting more!

 

The event starts at 7 P.M. Tickets are $16/$10 for members and students. For more information, please visit http://www.flushingtownhall.org.

This engagement of The Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali is funded through Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year- old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free with student I.D. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.