Nov 26


As part of the Triple Cities Jazz Concert Series, The Goodwill Theatre will present Jazz for the Holidays, Sunday December 2 at 2 p.m. featuring Bill Carter and the Presbybop Ensemble, including Al Hamme and vocalist Warren Cooper. The Goodwill Theatre’s 2012-2013 Triple Cities Jazz Concert Series is sponsored by Sentry Alarms and Robert J. Hanafin Insurance.

While we all recognize the Christmas music standards, sometimes ad nauseam in shopping malls and grocery stores, it is refreshing to hear them in new arrangements. Bill Carter and his fellow jazz experts will put those Christmas classics in a new swingin’ set of musical clothes. They plan to pull out all the stops this year by providing all your holiday favorites, filtered through a jazzy lens. “God Rest Ye Merry Jazzman”, “Christmas Time is Here (Vince Guaraldi)”, “Sussex Carol”, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” are just some of the many tunes on the program. The songs have been carefully rearranged and given that added jazzy spice that’s sure to please your ears, and get your toes tappin’.

“The jazz tradition in the Schorr Stage is growing and several patrons asked us if we would offer a holiday themed jazz concert so we Al Hamme and Bill Carter if they were interested. They have been working on it all year. We are very excited to hear the interpretations they created from the iconic holiday music…” says CEO Naima Kradjian.

Formed in 1993, the Presbybop Ensemble has recorded eight CDs of original tunes and jazz for the church, including “John According to Jazz” with biblical storyteller Dennis Dewey, and “Welcome Home” with vocalist Warren Cooper. Their latest release “Interior Window” is an exploration of instrumental jazz as contemplative prayer. It was recorded on a single afternoon.

This consort of New York-based professionals, have toured the country extensively in presenting concerts and jazz worship services. They have served as the “house band” for significant clergy conferences, led worship services for the PC(USA) General Assembly, and served as “musical theologians in residence” at Princeton Theological Seminary, the Massachusetts United Church of Christ, and Arkansas conference of the United Methodist Church. In 2012, the ensemble will be featured prominently at the PC(USA) General Assembly in Pittsburgh.

The Presbybop Ensemble features Bill Carter, a Presbyterian minister, on piano, Tony Marino on bass, Al Hamme on alto saxophone and Ron Vincent on drums. Joining them will be Mike Carbone on tenor saxophone, Jeff Stockham on trumpet and french horn, and Philadelphia vocalist Warren Cooper. These jazz musicians are the absolute best our region has to offer and are a joy to watch.

Warren Cooper is a highly regarded vocalist from Philadelphia, PA. He is a vocalist, composer, producer, choir master, music minister, recording artist, and radio broadcaster. A graduate of Oberlin College with a philosophy major, he also studied Vocal Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory. He has traveled widely in presenting sacred concerts, leading worship seminars, and producing sound recordings.

Al Hamme founded the jazz program at Binghamton University in 1964 and directed it for 33 years. Other responsibilities while on the faculty at Binghamton University included: Director of the Concert Band and Wind Chamber Music Program; Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Music; and Chairman of the Music Department. He also served as the director of the Cornell Jazz Ensemble for six years and was chosen to be the first Artistic Director of the School of Jazz Studies for the New York State Summer School of the Arts Program.

Tickets for Jazz for the Holidays are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students. You can purchase tickets online at: or by calling the Box Office at (607) 772-2404, ext. 301.