The maestro has met the MC… and they make great music together. On April 12th, Flushing Town Hall will host Wil B and Kev Marcus, the members of the revolutionary group Black Violin. These classically trained violinists — who say their influences range from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z — have created a music genre that mixes the violin, which first emerged in Italy’s Bresica area in the 16th century, with Hip Hop, which evolved organically at block parties in the Bronx during the 1970s. Get prepared for rhymes, dulcet tones and some great stage antics.
Details: Black Violin, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 12th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children. Buy two family shows and the third is free.
Bonus details: The Mark Wade Trio, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 11th, 8 pm. $15/$10 students. Bassist and composer Mark Wade leads his dynamic trio in an evening of original jazz compositions.
I love this building. It has a wonderful sense of whimsy and joy to it, and is just a delight to behold. Unlike the usually dour and ponderous town halls of most cities and towns, the Flushing Town Hall is not trying to convince you of how serious and important Flushing is. To me, anyway, it says that the Flushing of 1862, which is when the building was finished, was a town reaching for higher and loftier goals. Considering it was built while the nation was embroiled in a horrible Civil War, that was certainly a good thing.
Flushing was originally called “Vlissingen” by the Dutch who founded the settlement in 1645. They named it after the city of the same name in the Netherlands, which was the port city of the Dutch West India Company. English settlers came soon afterwards, and “Flushing” is an Anglicization of the Dutch name. When the English took over New Netherlands in 1664, Flushing was one of the original five towns that made up Queens County.
Fast forwarding to the middle of the 19th century, Flushing had become a populous and popular area, due in part to its proximity to Manhattan. It was already spinning off separate neighborhoods such as College Point and Whitestone. The farms and fields of Flushing were quickly being developed into residential neighborhoods, with Northern Boulevard as the town’s main street. As the town grew, it became apparent that a centrally located town hall was needed for civic functions. (more…)
Portland’s A-listers are ready to rock Flushing Town Hall on April 5th. One Night in Frogtown is a multi-media musical based on a story by Emmy-winning author/composer Philip Pelletier (seen above with a few co-workers). This multi-faceted show celebrates multi-culturalism with different social groups of frogs that play different kinds of music — R&B, Classical, Jazz, Hip-Hop, etc. — while living in the same pond. The tale comes alive through beautiful illustrations, projected animations, live narration and live tunes by Portland’s best musicians. Pelletier, whose book won two National Gold Awards in Children’s Literature, handpicked the talent, which includes saxophone star Devin Phillips as lead character Tad, the jazzy tadpole. Attendance has some side benefits, too, as Pelletier will autograph books after the show and those present can enter a contest to win four tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s show Amaluna, which is currently running at Citi Field.
Details: One Night in Frogtown, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, April 5th, 2:15 pm, $12/$8 children (buy two family shows and the third is free).
There’s no argument, Ron Carter (above) is the most prolific and influential bass player in the jazz world. He has contributed to more than 2,000 albums, including collaborations with one-time St. Albans resident Lena Horne, Thelonius Monk and B.B. King. The Michigan native has also toured the world many times, including gigs with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and one-time Corona resident Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley. Add the film scores, such as projects with the Public Broadcasting System, and awards, such as two Grammys, and the lectures, clinics, classes and ensembles and this distinguished professor emeritus at City College of New York has had a very full life. On Friday, the Ron Carter Quartet will perform at Flushing Town Hall, a city landmark which just finished a $1.2 million renovation and now features traditional wood flooring, a new HVAC system and even new seating with a special tweeting section.
Details: Ron Carter Quartet, Flushing Town Hall (below), 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 28th, 8 pm, $40/$20 for students.
Top photo: Ron Carter; bottom photo: Flushing Town Hall
The five-month theater renovation is finished, and Flushing Town Hall is going to celebrate just like it did before the restoration: with great music and top-notch acting. The fun starts on Friday night with the Trumpeters in Queens Part II concert. Ron Horton’s Sextet and Josh Deutsch’s Pannonia Band, both part of the NYC jazz scene for years, will perform an homage to such inspiring trumpet players as Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry, who all lived in Queens. On Saturday, the British educational theater troupe Tall Stories will perform The Snail and the Whale. Based on the award-winning book by Julia Donaldson, this family-friendly play tells the story of a tiny snail that longs to see the world, so she hitches a ride on a huge humpback whale’s tail. Together they go on an amazing journey, experiencing sharks and penguins, icebergs and volcanoes mixed in with music and sound effects created live on stage by an electric viola player with an effects pedal.
Details: Trumpeters of Queens Part II, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 14th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for members and students.
Bonus details: The Snail and the Whale by Tall Stories, UK, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 15th, 2:15 pm with a workshop at 1 pm, $12/$10 for members/$8 for children/$6 for member children.
Even the Polar Vortex needs to have fun every now and then. This weekend, the warmth and fun of the Caribbean come to Queens in various forms. On March 7th, Flushing Town Hall hosts a tribute to singer and actor Harry Belafonte with Jeff Zúñiga and his band recreating the King of Calypso‘s signature steel-drum tunes, “Day O” call, and such hits as ”Matilda” and “Jamaica Farewell.” On March 8th, Queens Museum kicks off a day of fun at 1 pm with Caribbean storytelling with Michael Manswell, a dancer, singer, choreographer, teaching artist and artistic director who is currently affiliated with the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and other entities. At 2 pm, teaching artists host a mask-making activity that will lead to participants wearing their masks and dancing to the steel drums around the museum in Carnival style. Then at 3 pm, steel drum expert Patrick Davis and his group give a live concert.
Details: A Tribute to Harry Belafonte, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, March 7th, 8 pm, $15/$10 for students.
At times eloquent while at other times intimidating, the upright bass is the unsung hero of any rhythm section. It soothes. It provokes. It goes unnoticed. Alex Blake is the unsung hero of the modern bass. A virtuoso recognized for his technical and stylistic mastery, he dazzles with everything from classical fingering and guitar-like strumming of intricate melodic patterns to resounding slapping and vibrant staccatos. This Friday, he brings his quartet to Flushing Town Hall for a night featuring a full range of harmonies and rhythms.
Details: Alex Blake Quartet, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, January 24th, 8 pm, $15.
Queens will be filled with beautiful music this Sunday. At 3 pm at Flushing Town Hall, Trio Cavatina will play classical and romantic music featuring works by Beethoven and Brahms. It will be the NYC premiere for Douglas Boyce, who writes chamber music that bridges the medieval and the modern, the visceral and the cerebral. This chamber ensemble, consisting of pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, violinist Harumi Rhodes and cellist Priscilla Lee, won the 2009 Naumburg International Chamber Music Competition. Meanwhile at 4:30 pm, the Con Brio Ensemble will perform a twilight concert at the Church-in-the-Gardens in Forest Hills. World famous violinist Alexander Meshibovsky and pianist Diana Mittler will perform Respighi-Violin Sonata, Bloch-Baal Shem Suite and Sarasate-Introduction and Tarantella. Plus, Alan Hollander will play works for oboe and piano by Telemann, Ravel and Saint-Saens, and baritone Darian Worrell will sing the Four Serious Songs by Brahms. And if these concerts inspire their audiences, the Oratorio Society of Queens will hold auditions for those who enjoy choral singing at Flushing’s Temple Beth Sholom on Monday, January 13th, at 7:45 pm.
Details: Trio Cavatina, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, January 12th, 3 pm, $25/$20 for Queens residents/$15 for students.
Bonus details: Con Brio Ensemble, The Chuch-in-the-Gardens, 50 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills, January 12th, 4:30 pm, $12/$10.
Final details: January 13th, Oratorio Society of Queens Auditions, Temple Beth Sholom, 171-39 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, January 13th, 7:45 pm, free but make reservations at 718.279.3006.
It’s spontaneous, soulful and sweet-sounding. On the first Wednesday of each month, Flushing Town Hall plays host to jazz musicians who get together… and get down. Participants include professional musicians looking to hone their chops or network, graduate students studying the genre, music educators seeking enrichment and those who simply love the scene. Beforehand, the Queens Jazz OverGround (directed by local legend Jimmy Heath above) offers a clinic during which anybody can play with the band.
Details: Monthly Jazz Clinic & Jam, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, January 8th, 5 pm for clinic, 7 pm for jam, $10 for spectators, free for performers and students. (Please note that January’s jam takes place a week later than normal due to New Year’s Day.)
‘Tis the season to attend concerts… many, many concerts. Various top-notch Queens ensembles are set fill local venues with holiday spirit in the upcoming days. Each gig is unique, and each one offers a slightly different take on Christmas, the new year and winter. On Friday, Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and composer Amanda Monaco brings her quartet, Formula One, to Flushing Town Hall. The first part of the show will feature original compositions inspired by car racing, while the second half will consist of seasonal favorites. On Sunday, there are three fantastic choices. At 3 pm at LeFrak Concert Hall, the Queens Symphony Orchestra (above) will take the audience on a world tour through music emblematic of various cultural traditions, all bound by the common theme of joy, unity and winter. At 4 pm, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Society will host the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens. At 5 pm at St. Joseph Church, the Astoria Symphony will celebrate with music by two great French masters: the Bach-inspired Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns and Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Exactly a week later, the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens will do another show with the Oratorio Society of Queens at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center. Expect Handel’s “Messiah,” Christmas carols and Hanukkah favorites.
December 13th details: Carols and Car Races, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, 8 pm, $15.
December 15th details: Holidays Around the World, LeFrak Concert Hall, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, 3 pm, $20/$10 children under 13 and adults over 64;A Christmas Concert, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 110-06 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, 4 pm, $25/$10 for children 12 and under;Noël!, St. Joseph Church, 43-19 30th Avenue, Astoria, 5 pm, $20/$15 seniors and children.
December 22nd details: Annual Holiday Concert 2013, QPAC, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, 4 pm, $30/$25 seniors and students with ID/$10 children 12 and under.