Local Ensembles Take the Walton Arts Center Stage at Jazz for the Holidays

Published Friday, November 20, 2020

Walton Arts Center will host some of the top jazz artists in Northwest Arkansas for Jazz for the Holidays, presented in partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society, at 7 pm on Saturday, Dec. 12 as part of P&G Ghost Light Programming.

“The Northwest Arkansas Jazz Society is a long-time presenting partner with Walton Arts Center, and we’re lucky to have their support for jazz in our region,” said Jennifer Ross, director of programming. “Robert Ginsburg curated the evening’s ensembles of supremely talented locals for a holiday show that’s sure to bring joy to the season.”

No other style of music sounds more like the holidays than jazz. Join us to celebrate the sounds of the season with three unique ensembles: the Claudia Burson Quartet, Holiday on the Beach and Lighthouse Saxophone Quartet.

Tickets are on sale now and range from $15 to $25 plus applicable fees and can be purchased by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.

Claudia Burson’s mastery of the piano is punctuated by her gutsy style and charisma. She is among the rare artists who have risen above technique to deliver music from a place deep within. Stylistically, the Fayetteville native is equally at home with jazz standards and ballads as she is with free improvisation.

She has anchored the house rhythm section for the North Arkansas Jazz Society’s Summer Jazz Concert Series; has been the featured artist at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Women in Jazz Festival; has performed on the Walton Arts Center Jazz Series and is the featured pianist with the 17-piece jazz big band, the Fayetteville Jazz Collective. Joining Burson are long-time collaborators Ben Harris, Benji Wilson and Steve Wilkes.

Holiday on the Beach is a quintet of Northwest Arkansas musicians lead by trombonist, drummer and singer Matt Beach, a New Orleans native with a deep passion for its musical traditions. The group has been inspired by the music of New Orleans, infusing a selection of holiday and seasonal music with the spirit of the Big Easy. The quintet also includes Grant D'Aubin, Drew Rogers, Darren Novotny and Adam Becker.

Comprising four of Northwest Arkansas' finest concert and jazz saxophonists, the Lighthouse Saxophone Quartet performs exciting new interpretations of popular songs and classical standards. For their holiday performance, the quartet will include selections from The Nutcracker and an assortment of holiday tunes, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Michael Hanna leads the group on soprano and alto saxophones along with Landon Cole, Austin Farnam and Samantha Canon.

The performance will be in Baum Walker Hall to allow a minimum of four empty seats between parties and every other row will remain empty. These empty rows, with select seats removed, will also serve as walkways to seats located in the center of the theater, reducing contact between patrons. For a complete list of health and safety precautions that will be in place for these and future performances at Walton Arts Center visit www.waltonartscenter.org.

Before and after the show, patrons can drop by Community Creative Center’s Holiday Gift Market in Walker Atrium. This annual maker’s market features one-of-a-kind gifts by local artists and supports the Community Creative Center. The market is open 5-9 pm, Tuesday through Saturday from Nov. 20 through Dec. 23.

Patrons can also grab a festive drink for kids or adults and enjoy holiday décor at Holidaze, a pop-up bar at Walton Arts Center. Holidaze offers open seating nightly on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of reserved spaces are available Wednesday through Sunday with seating options inside or outside close to heaters or fire pits. Reservations are $15 for a two-hour period and can be made at www.waltonartscenter.org/holidaze.

Ghost Light Programming is presented by Procter & Gamble and provided in part by supporter of the Ghost Light Recovery Fund.

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