WCSU to present Holiday Jazz and ‘A Baby Boomer Christmas’

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University’s Jazz Studies program will present its annual Holiday Jazz concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The concert will be free and donations to support the department of music will be accepted.

Performing will be Frankensax, directed by Andrew Beals; the WCSU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dave Scott; and the Jazz Studio Orchestra, conducted by Jamie Begian.

Frankensax will open the show with Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and arrangements of John Coltrane’s “Central Park North” and “Giant Steps.” The Jazz Ensemble will follow with an arrangement of “Oh Christmas Tree” and a jazz tune featuring various members of the band.

After a brief intermission, the WCSU Jazz Studio Orchestra will serve up “A Baby Boomer Christmas.” Opening the set will be an arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” (as sung by Andy Williams) featuring vocalist Ashleigh D’Addio, followed by a cover of Jimmy Webb’s immortal “Up, Up and Away” (as sung by the Fifth Dimension). Tenor saxophonist Dan O’Brien will be featured on Jim McNeely’s “Absolution” and alto saxophonist Jason Fitch will be featured on Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan.” After the ensemble tune, Frank Foster’s “Shiny Stockings,” the set will close with D’Addio singing another Andy Williams arrangement: “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.”

Music Department Chair and Coordinator of Jazz Studies Jamie Begian explained the concept behind “A Baby Boomer Christmas.” “I always loved those old variety shows from the ’60s, particularly the holiday-themed ones that Andy Williams used to put on every year. As I became more astute musically I gradually realized the incredible production values and artistry that went into those shows and how that was becoming a lost art. ‘A Baby Boomer Christmas’ is my attempt to recreate those performances and keep them relevant to our students as an important part of the culture of jazz/popular music in America. The sound of the strings and choir with the regular Jazz Orchestra is pretty cool, too!”

For more information, call (203) 837-8350.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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