The Goodwill Theatre will celebrate Father’s Day with the annual Father’s Day Jazz concert featuring the Northeastern Pennsylvania Repertory Orchestra with Mike Carbone and Rhonda Plunkett from SPLASH, a popular local band, on Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 2 PM. The Jazz Concert Series at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage is sponsored by Sentry Alarms.
The first half of the concert will be Benny Carter’s Kansas City Suite. There are many cities and areas in this country that lay claim to being the birthplace of the various forms of America’s indigenous music known as Jazz. New Orleans, Chicago, New York, the East coast and the West coast all have some legitimate rights to this claim and to a great extent have made distinct contributions to the art form. Perhaps one of the most important and influential cradles of jazz has been Kansas City.
In the early 1920s and 1930s, all roads led to Kansas City. It had, because of its geographic location, become the hub, the point of embarkation for the traveler. It was the destination of artists and performers coming and going both east and west. Caught in the vortex of the Roaring ‘20s, Kansas City was the only place for 500 miles in any direction where night clubs never closed, were the sounds of the times attracted the talented, ambitious, as well as the unemployed. Kansas City was the doorway that led to all parts of the country…and, it was a swingin’ doorway! Many just passed through, while others because of finances and other necessities of life remained. In the early ‘30s, William “Count” Basie was one itinerant piano player was caught stranded and, for a while, remained.
The Kansas City of the ’20s and ‘30s is now a legend, and the music that saw its beginnings there has since developed and moved into the mainstream of today’s jazz. It has reached its full maturity and greatness in the music of Benny Carter, and through the dynamic force of the great Basie band! The Kansas City that Count Basie found himself in had become the hard core of vital new jazz. It was a place where the musicians who expressed this new jazz could, from night through morning, and on again the next night, sit in on numerous jam sessions. It was a place where musicians like Walter Page, Benny Moten, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Andy Kirk, Coleman Hawkins and many more, could be found working, experimenting and living their music.
This was Count Basie’s Kansas City, and this is the Kansas City that Benny Carter has dedicated this music to. He wrote this suite for the Count Basie Band, an original modern jazz suite flavored with the elements of Kansas City stomp jazz and tailored for the big brash sound of the Basie band. To Benny Carter, the different streets and places in Kansas City, where so many of these jazz greats lived and worked, and where so much of jazz history was written, evokes a mood, a remembrance of things past. He has, for this reason, titled the selections of this suite after these very same streets and places.
“We are very excited about two of our featured guest stars for this concert. Rhonda Plunkett is an extremely versatile performer who we are sure will be a fantastic addition as will Mike Carbone,” said Naima Kradjian, Goodwill Theatre CEO. “If you’ve only heard them with SPLASH, you really only know about 10 percent of what they can do.”
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Repertory Orchestra is the resident professional ensemble at Marywood University in Scranton, PA.The NYPRO members are the finest professional performers in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York. Many are professors in the Marywood Jazz Studies program as well. NYPRO was formed by Marywood Director of Jazz Studies, Tom Heinze, in 2011 as a tribute band for the “Benny Carter Jazz Festival” held at the university. During that premier performance, the band performed Mr. Carter’s Kansas City Suite (1960), which was written for the Count Basie Band. NYPRO is committed to sustaining the Benny Carter legacy by frequently performing concerts devoted to the music that he composed during his long and prolific career.
In February 2013, the sax and rhythm sections from the NYPRO Jazz Ensemble presented the “Benny Carter Legacy Concert” here at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage, performing compositions that Benny Carter arranged for these two instrumental sections. The full orchestra includes: Thomas Heinze, Nicholas Driscoll, Thomas C. Heinze, Thomas Hamilton, Albert Hamme, James Buckley, Jonathan Searfoss, David Jumper, Kenneth Luckey, Jeffrey Leas, Christopher Mann, Todd Hunter, Geoff Speicher, William Carter, Joseph Cole, Marko Marcinko, Rhonda Plunkett, Michael Carbone, and Jeffrey Stockham.
Michael Carbone, a native of Utica, New York, moved to the Binghamton area in 1981 and has been an instrumental music teacher in the Johnson City School district where he is currently the Coordinator of Music for the JC School District. Along with his administrative duties he has also been the Director of Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble One at the high school.
Mike joined the Binghamton University music faculty in 1997 and continues to serve as the Director of the Jazz Studies Program and the Director of the Harpur Jazz Ensemble. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the Crane School of Music and a Masters in Music performance from Binghamton University.
Carbone has had the fortune of performing alongside of, and accompanying many national artists including Al Marino, Natalie Cole, Tommy Tune, Mel Torme, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Engelbert Humperdinck, Slam Stewart, Nick Brignola, Steve Gilmore, Tom Whaley, Duffy Jackson, Jeff Jarvis, Jacque Tara Washington, Danny D’Imperio’s Big Band Bloviation, the Central New York Jazz Orchestra, Al Hamme’s Jazz Ensembles, the Presbybop Quartet, and The Temptations.
Along with filling in as a sideman for many New York State based groups, Mike can be found frequently performing in our area with the Binghamton based group Splash. He is also very active performing with his jazz quartet Miles Ahead.
Rhonda Plunkett Carbone, a native of the Binghamton area, grew up singing in her grandfather’s church, Our Free Will Baptist, where the Reverend Leslie Fields was founder and pastor. Growing up in a very musically involved family and church, Rhonda learned to hone her singing craft in her younger years which propelled her into a long career as a vocalist in many of this area’s top gospel, R & B, pop, soul, and jazz groups including Paces, Four O’clock Collection, and Common Ground with Ron Emerick. While in high school, she was asked by Slam Stewart to accompany him on a concert at Binghamton University. While working on her Masters in Nursing at Binghamton University, she was a vocalist in the Harpur Jazz Ensemble for two years, and has also dabbled in musical theater where she was cast as the lead role in Aida at the Endicott Performing Arts Center.
Rhonda is also very passionate about her career as a nurse with the United Health Services Emergency Department at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center. Several times in recent years her nursing and singing careers have crossed paths. As an RN in 2002, she received the “Community Watch Good Neighbor” award for coming to the aid of a man who became ill at Number 5 Restaurant, and another time while singing at the Woodlands resort in Wilkes-Barre, PA, saved the life of a man who had passed out due to a brain aneurism.
Outside of nursing, or running off the stage to assist someone in need, Rhonda can be found doing work for the Broome County Urban League as a Board Member, freelancing with several groups in and outside of our area, or most often in her current long standing powerful role as lead singer in Binghamton’s popular commercial band Splash.
Tickets for Father’s Day Jazz are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online at: www.goodwilltheatre.net or by calling the Box Office at (607) 772-2404, ext. 301.
The Schorr Family Firehouse Stage, located at 46-48 Willow Street in Johnson City, accepts cash, checks and all major credit cards. Doors open approximately one hour before show time. General Seating is based on a first-come; first-served policy. Refreshments will be available for sale.