Hear That Song Again With The Harry James Orchestra

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Audiences who have filled the auditorium for a show produced by the Tonto Community Concert Association know they are in for musical treats.

The concerts, planned for the rest of the 2007-2008 season, are no exception.

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The musicians of the Harry James Orchestra continue the tradition of mellow arrangements and fine rhythmic playing the band has been known for since the 1930s.

Sunday, Jan. 20, at 2:30 p.m., audience members will hear the hot trumpet of Fred Radke, as he conducts the Harry James Orchestra through hits such as, "I'll Get By," "I Don't Want to Walk Without You," "I Cried for You," "I Had the Craziest Dream" and "I've Heard That Song Before."

"Fred has gained an outstanding reputation throughout the United States and Canada as a great trumpet soloist, conductor and educator of music," Harry James wrote of Radke.

James learned to play at the age of eight in a circus band. As an adult he played with the Ben Pollack group. Benny Goodman heard James play on a Pollack recording and hired him immediately.

He went out on his own after three successful years with Goodman and formed Harry James and his Music Makers.

"All or Nothing At All" was his first million-seller with the James Orchestra. Frank Sinatra was the singer.

James mellow arrangements garnered hit after hit with Connie Haines, Helen Forrest and Kitty Callen singing lead.

A 1940 Metronome poll voted James "best hot trumpeter" and "best all-around trumpeter."

Radke's style of trumpet playing is so similar to James' that listeners, who have heard both men play, may not discern the difference.

Since the death of James in 1983, Radke was the natural pick to continue the tradition of fine rhythmic playing.

In addition to being a trumpet virtuoso, Radke is an educator, recording artist, composer and arranger in his own right.

He has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra led by Ray McKinley.

He has recorded with Harry James, Gina Funes and his own band and has toured internationally.

President Richard Nixon and Olaf, King of Norway, have heard him play.

Radke is a full-time member of the music faculty at North Seattle Community College and is music director for the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Wash.

Michael Kaeshammer

Michael Kaeshammer is a classically trained pianist who, at the age of 13, fell in love with boogie-woogie piano.

He gained his first following on the German club, concert and jazz festival circuit.

A mere three years after he veered from his classical roots, he released his first jazz CD "Blue Keys," to critical acclaim, following in 1998 with "Tell You How I Feel."

Concert: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5

Trio Excelsior!

Trio Excelsior! formed out of a 15-year friendship between pianist Marja Kaisla, cellist Ulrich Boeckheler and violinist Gabriel Gordon.

They hail from Finland, Belgium and New York respectively.

Kaisla's studied music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia.

Presently, she is the Director of Delaware Valley Conservatory of Music and Co-President of the Philadelphia Foundation for World Music and Arts.

Boeckheler was the principal cellist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders in Belgium before moving to the United States.

Gordon graduated from New York's High School of the Performing Arts and is an assistant conductor at the Manhattan School of Music and the assistant director of Strings International Music Festival.

The three friends knew they shared similar musical tastes and reason for playing music, so in 2003 they decided to form a piano trio.

The name they chose reflects their goal: "still higher!"

Concert: 7 p.m., Friday, March 7

The Celtic Tenors

Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson are the Celtic Tenors, arguably the most successful crossover artists ever to come out of Ireland.

They are supporting their fourth CD "Remember Me" with this tour.

Gilsenan gave up his career in engineering to pursue singing full-time with the Celtic tenors first record deal.

Although classically trained at the Sisters of Mercy convent in Kells, Gilsenan never lost his passion for jigs, reels and ballads.

Nelson, from Sligo, is a B.A. B.Mus graduate from University College Dublin.

Simpson holds an opera master's degree from the Alexander Wilson Opera School in Glasgow, Scotland. He has performed with Opera Theatre Company's Young Associate Artist Scheme and the Internationales Oper Studio at the Oper Z├╝rich.

He is the musical director of the Omagh Community Youth Choir.

Concert: 7 p.m., Monday, March 31.

TCCA season finale: On Broadway

The Drifters sang "there is always magic in the air" on Broadway.

In May, that magic will come to Payson.

An ensemble cast will perform enchanting songs from "Wicked," a tribute to Broadway's longest running musical, "Phantom of the Opera," and a salute to "West Side Story," in their 12-act production.

Audiences will also hear songs from "Cats," "Jesus Christ Superstar," and "Rent."

They will bring some of Broadway's most beloved characters to the stage in new ways during the follies.

Classic and Contemporary Broadway magazine called On Broadway "a sparkling revue of show-stopping moments."

Concert: 7 p.m., Monday, May 20

Tickets

Tonto Community Concert Association season tickets are $80. Since only three concerts have taken place, new TCCA subscribers will be enjoying professional entertainment for only $16 a concert. Members of the association may also request free tickets for children under 18, if the child is to be accompanied at the concerts by a ticketed adult. Additionally subscribers may bring a guest from outside the Payson area for only $15.

Individual tickets, if available, will be sold at the door for $30.

To learn more, visit the Web site, tccarim.org or call (928) 474-6115 or (928) 478-4363.

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