The Tonto Community Concert Association (TCCA) season beginning in September will feature eight shows covering a broad medley of audience-pleasing musical performances.
TCCA subscribers will enjoy a range of music running from traditional folk sounds of The New Christy Minstrels to Jim Witter’s tribute to the piano hits of Elton John and Billy Joel. The season will debut with the Gibson Brothers country bluegrass band and complete several months later with the rousing Dallas Brass.
The ticket price for the entire season subscription is $80 — only $10 per concert; and students accompanied by a ticketed adult are free. Now is the time to get season tickets.
“The association brings world-class performers from around the globe to Payson,” said TCCA President Marilyn Wolfe.
“We also work to bring in artists who are not just exceptional musicians, but those who give the audience a complete musical experience. Many of the performers also enjoy meeting with attendees after the show, answering questions and signing autographs.”
As a special service to the youth of the community, the TCCA works with several of the artists to host outreach performances just for Payson area students.
The concert group is a nonprofit organization with an all-volunteer board. It also supports other performing arts activities in the region. Concerts are held at the Payson High School auditorium.
For subscriptions or other information, call (928) 474-6115 or (928) 478-4363 or go online to www.tccarim.org.
The upcoming season
The Gibson Brothers, country bluegrass – 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 20
Eric and Leigh Gibson grew up on a dairy farm outside of Ellenburg Depot, N.Y. in the shadow of the Adirondack Mountains. It isn’t the typical beginning for a bluegrass band, but sometimes things just come together.
“My parents loved music, but they didn’t play,” says Eric. “My father, I think, always wanted to play, but he worked like mad from the time he was 9 years old. He was a dairy farmer. He’d go to an auction and come back with a fiddle, and they ordered a guitar and a banjo through the Sears Roebuck Catalog so we had instruments around the house, but nobody knew how to play them. When I was 12 and Leigh was 11, we came home from school and Dad said, ‘There’s a guy giving lessons at Dick’s Country Store, and I’d like one of you to play the banjo and one to play the guitar.’”
Eric chose banjo and Leigh, guitar, and the die was cast.
The brothers took lessons on their instruments and began singing at the suggestion of their minister.
“We progressed at the same rate,” remembers Eric. “We grew up listening to the same people and seemed to agree about what type of songs we wanted to play and our direction. We never really argued about that. If I like a song, Leigh will like it too.”
Daniel Narducci, classic American baritone – 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 3
Classic American baritone, Daniel Narducci is a multi-faceted artist whose talents have been captured through live stage presentations, recordings, documentaries and television. Since his professional debut with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the direction of Erich Kunzel, He has appeared regularly as a guest artist at many popular summer music venues throughout North America, including the Wolf Trap, Ravinia, Blossom, Saratoga and Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festivals.
The New Christy Minstrels – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9
If you prize authenticity, time is running out. It seems that most old-fashioned musical concerts these days present only tribute bands, younger folks playing and singing in the style of well known idols, and what’s the difference, as long as the programs are sincere and accurate?
The difference for Randy Sparks and most of the born-again New Christy Minstrels is extraordinary excitement on a nightly basis. The surviving Beatles could only be, at best, a duo, but there are five original Minstrels in a presentation of The New Christy Minstrels these days, occasionally as many as seven. Randy invented the format and founded the group in 1961, recorded them on the Columbia label in 1962, won a Grammy for their first album in 1963, and reached millions of people across the world via television and their hit singles and albums. Now they are back, and not just a famous name along with only newer, younger faces, but as John Madden might say it’s, ‘the real deal.’
Christiana Pegoraro, pianist – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 26
Hailed by The New York Times as “an artist of the highest caliber,” Italian born pianist Christiana Pegoraro has performed in some of the greatest concert halls in Europe, United States, South America, Asia, Middle East and Australia. At her 10th sold out concert at Lincoln Center, she was honored with the “Circolo Culturale Italiano of the United Nations World Peace Award” for her support to the cause of advancing peace in the world. At the current time, she is the first female Italian pianist to perform all 32 Sonatas for piano by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Celtic Blaze – 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 14
Celtic Blaze is an fast-paced show featuring a contemporary take on Canada’s music and dance heritage told through dance, story-telling and (of course) music. The production features the talents of world-champion tap dancer/fiddle/singer Stephanie Cadman. She blends her considerable talent with a quintet of piano, guitar, violin/mandolin, bass and percussion to bring audiences, young and old, a thrilling musical experience.
Jim Witter – The Piano Men – 7 p.m., Monday, March 21
Jim Witter has been entertaining for more than 20 years. Whether it be country music, contemporary Christian, or the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, His versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada and the United States. Supported by bass, guitar, keyboards and drums, you’ll see and hear the soundtrack of your life during this multi-media “rockumentary”. This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, makes him a favorite with theatre-goers everywhere. He is the talented creator and performer of The Piano Men.
Paul McDermand, percussionist – 7 p.m., Friday, April 15
Paul McDermand began his musical career as a free-lance percussionist in the Chicago area. At the age of 19, he assumed the percussion duties in The Music Man playing in a downtown Chicago theater, starring David Copperfield. In 1981, Paul moved to the Phoenix area, lending his artistry to film scores, commercial jingles, symphonic productions and stage shows of every description.
In 1993 he received an invitation from New York to join a revival tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ, Superstar. Upon his return to Scottsdale, he began to develop an assortment of instrumental arrangements built around the steel drums and marimba. For 19 years he has proudly performed at the elegant Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa.
Dallas Brass – 7 p.m., Friday, May 13
Since its founding in 1983 by Michael Levine, the Dallas Brass has become one of America’s foremost musical ensembles. The group has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges.
The Dallas Brass’ repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, Swing, Broadway, Hollywood and Patriotic music. According to Mr. Levine, “A Dallas Brass concert is intended for the entire family. Our ideal audience has a range in ages from 5 to 95. Our goal is to entertain and enrich by playing great music, while showing our audience how much we enjoy what we do.”
The artists providing special concerts to students are The New Christy Minstrels; Christiana Pegoraro; Celtice Blaze; Paul McDermand; and Dallas Brass.