The Friends of Music Society is currently planning some musical entertainment for local residents in the coming months.
The 2010-2011 season marked the Society's 31st season, and began in December with a concert by the Kennett Schola Cantorum.
The next upcoming concert on its agenda is a performance by Southeast Percussion and Friends at 7 p.m., Friday, February 25, 2011, at the Kennett First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, located at College Avenue and Washington Street. The percussion group will feature Southeast Missouri State University faculty members Shane Mizickl, percussion, and Brandon Christensen, on violin. The special guest that will also be appearing is The Southeast Steel Drum Ensemble, an eight-member student ensemble.
"This performance will offer an evening of crowd-pleasing exotic sounds that will surprise and perhaps challenge one's ears, brighten one's step, and will also be fun for all ages." said Jules Mercier, executive director.
The evening will feature the sounds of 20 instruments from the percussion family including drums, cymbals, gongs, marimbas, vibraphones, and steel drums. According to Mercier, there will be a little bit of something for everyone. Selections will range from "classical" works such as John Cage, "In a Landscape," (1948), arranged especially for the marimba and the vibraphone; David Jones, "Legal High," for the marimba and violin, Frank Wiley; "Awakenings of Earth and Time," for one player on more than 15 percussion instruments; to songs associated with the Caribbean and other tropical locales. Admission to this musical event is free to the public.
Another event that the Friends of Music Society will be sponsoring is its annual dinner theater event, scheduled to take place at 7 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2011. It will be held at the Kennett First Baptist Church Family Life Center, located at Southwest Drive at Highway VV, and will be catered by Pat Mitchell's Traveling Whisk. The scheduled performers will be Howard Lamb and his Men in Black Quintet. Members of the group include the following:
* JoJo Jefferies (singer) - Jefferies is a singer, songwriter, vocalist, musician, producer and engineer, having spent 30 years in the music industry. During the early years, she toured with the group, "The Marvels" and traveled in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. In 2003, she played the Piazza Blues Festival in Bellinzona, Switzerland and the Poretta Sweet Soul Festival in Poretta, Italy along with Stax/Hi Records artists, Ann Peebles and Syl Johnson. Other accomplishments of Jefferies include, head sound engineer for pro golfer, John Daly for "The Make A Wish" tour for St. Jude, opening for legendary singer-songwriter, Leon Russell, graduating magna cum laude from The University of Memphis and earning a Bachelor of Music degree. Jefferies joined the Memphis Jazz Orchestra in 2008 and still continues to work on Beale Street with the orchestra as well as with other artists. Her many talents can be heard on more than 20 albums as well as her debut album entitled, "Three Wishes." Jefferies will be honored on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, by the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission, as a recipient of the 2011 Emissary of Music award.
* Tom Prestigiacomo (singer) - Prestigiacomo has been singing with the Memphis Jazz Orchestra for 10 years, previously working in the Memphis radio market since 1979. He sings most of the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Tony Bennet songs for the band. His singing style has been described as being "in the style of Sinatra." "My brother, sister, and I would laugh when our parents would move the coffee table and roll up the rug so they could dance. They are some of the best memories I have from growing up," he said.
* Howard Lamb (trombone) - Lamb is the leader of The Men in Black Quintet, having retired from the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. After retiring, he moved to Memphis in 1992 and founded the Memphis Jazz Orchestra. 2011 marks the 20th anniversary for the band. Lamb has traveled to Europe and South America during his career as a trombonist. Other accomplishments include, instructor of the Bavarian Youth Jazz Orchestra in Germany, founding the first authentic Latin band in the Mid-South, Orquesta Caliente. He is also a leader in two other bands, the Sauerkraut Six, a German band, and The Beale Street Strutters which is a traditional Dixieland band. He currently teaches jazz trombone at the University of Memphis.
* Lance Williams (bass) - Williams is a member of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra and a past member of the Navy Band in San Diego, Calif. He attended Jackson State Community College and Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., where he studied music.
* Mike Krepper (saxophone) - A resident of Memphis since 1977, Krepper is originally from Beaumont, Texas. As a music educator, he has taught music in both public and private schools. His students have ranged from kindergarten to college. In 1969, Krepper began playing music professionally and has enjoyed playing music from country to jazz. At the current time, he teaches elementary music in the Memphis City School System.
* René Koopman (keyboard) - Koopman is one of the original members of the Memphis Jazz Orchestra and is a native of the Netherlands. Since he moved to the United States, he has played with Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lola Falano, Dinah Shore, Vicky Carr, Helen O'Connell and Tony Bennett. In 2009, Koopman was at the dinner theater event held in Kennett.
* Jim Pettit (drums) - Pettit is currently a member of three bands, including the 18 piece Memphis Jazz Orchestra, the nine piece Swingtime Band, and the six piece Men in Black Combo. He has performed with several top local and regional bands and has 40 years experience behind the drums. He owns the Memphis Drum Shop. .
According to Mercier, these performers are considered to be an outstanding, well-known group of musicians out of Memphis, and have all worked together on a regular basis, bringing to this event their exceptional individual and collective experience as professionals in the music industry. Music that will be included in the performance will come from "the great American songbook" of the 1930's and 1940's. Admission will be $25 per person. This price includes the dinner and the show. Tickets are available from Friends of Music board members and by contacting the Society. The Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, has helped to make this event possible through financial assistance provided by Challenge America funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, who believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Also scheduled are regular events from the Kennett Municipal Band, the annual concert-in-the-park, and the Southeast Missouri Regional Jazz Orchestra, which features the big band sound, directed by Scott Rybolt.
Anyone wishing to obtain more information about membership donations, events, and tickets for the dinner theater may write to P.O. Box 213, Kennett, Missouri 63857, or call (573) 717-6308 or (573) 888-3230 in Kennett, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and at the Society's new Web site, www.fom.macaa.net, as well as from members of the Board of Directors.
Members of the Society's Board of Directors include Jack Astrachan, Anita Blackmon, Mindy Brown, Marilyn Caldwell, Glenda Deeter, Mary Lynn Jones-wright, John T. McMullan, Jules Mercier, Pamela Jones Mercier, Libby Mobley, Nancy Rogers, Bill Walsh, and Joyce Walsh.