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Imagine yourself in an intimate place, absorbing the glorious sound of music or laughing to the
comedian’s antics while surrounded by the inspiring colors and forms of works of art!
The Heinz W. Otto Gallery has 12-foot ceilings, superb acoustics, and a seating capacity of 100.

"JaZZ in the Gallery"

Ed Finkel's Reunion Jazz Band

Saturday,March 28, 8 p.m.

Ed Finkel

Tenor saxophonist Ed Finkel brings a group of well-known New York jazz artists to the Heinz W. Otto Gallery.
In addition to Mr. Finkel, the band will consist of Glenn Mills on trombone, pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Patrick O'Leary, Tom Melito on drums, and vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli.

A dessert reception will follow the performance.

Watchung resident Ed Finkel played in big bands as a young man, touring throughout the eastern US and on an ocean voyage aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, with Helen O'Connell and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, as well as performing with the Vaughn Monroe and Sammy Kaye orchestras and others, before embarking on a career as a structural engineer.

For more than 25 years, Ed was a member of The Jazz @Noon Band, the longest running jazz institution in New York City, launched by Les Lieber, circa 1965, for businessmen-musicians. Gathering every Friday this event featured weekly visits by renowned Jazz artists from all musical eras, including: Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Dick Hyman, Joe Wilder, Doc Cheatham, Harry Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, Claudio Roditi, and Paquito D‘Rivera. Ed has also performed with pianists Dave McKenna at the Copley Plaza in Boston and in Hyannis, and Dorothy Donegan at Fat Tuesday's and the Fortune Garden Pavilion in New York City.

Gabrielle Stravelli began singing as a soloist with orchestras at the age of 15 and has since performed on stages from Amsterdam to New York including Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, the 92Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists Series, Birdland Jazz Club, the Carmoor Festival, 54 Below, Maree Sonore Festival in Venice, Italy and NJPAC among others. She has appeared as a soloist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2014, Gabrielle performed a sold-out, critically acclaimed run of solo shows at New York's Metropolitan Room in which she "...unfurled new layers of her remarkable voice. As she dipped and swooped, twirling notes and phrases with a confidence and playfulness that recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Ms. Stravelli began interpreting lyrics with a ferocity that her vocal pyrotechnics accentuated" according to Stephen Holden of The New York Times.

Trombonist Glenn Mills, a recipient of 3 National Endowment Grants, has played with a wide variety of bands and performers including the Widespread Jazz Orchestra, Larry Elgart Orchestra, Jacj McDuff, Gloria Gaynor, the Supremes, Larry Harlow and Johnny Colon salsa bands and the Big Apple Circus.

Tardo Hammer, pianist, has been playing professionally since the late 1970s. He has performed in groups led by Johnny Griffin, Bill Hardman, Lionel Hampton, Lou Donaldson, Art Farmer, Abbey Lincoln and many others. He’s been musical director and accompanist for vocalist Annie Ross since 1992. He appears on a number of CDs; including five with his own trio, most recently “Simple Pleasures”. Tardo Hammer continues to teach and perform in the New York area.

Bassist Patrick O'Leary studied piano and bass at The Crane School of Music, where he received a bachelor's degree. He has toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra and Bob Dorough. Other leading artists with whom O'Leary has played include saxophonists Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, and James Moody, pianist Marian McPartland, vocalists Joe Williams and Marlena Shaw, and vocalist/pianist Diana Krall. As a Kennedy Center/Department of State Jazz Ambassador, O'Leary toured several African countries, Southeast Asia and Central and South America with Scott Robinson, Larry Ham, Bill Heid and Bob Dorough. Pat arranged and composed "The Montenegro Jazz Suite" and "The Balkan Jazz Suite" for Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Quartet.

Tom Melito has been a mainstay on the New York City jazz scene for many years. His drumming has been heard behind such varied artists as John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vache, Frank Wess, Harry Allen, "Sweets" Edison, Gene Bertoncini, and Stacy Kent. Tom's talents have been in demand internationally, including numerous tours of Japan, China, Europe, and South America. His various television appearances include the CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, and CNN World Beat. Currently Tom is playing with pianists Pete Malinverni, and Larry Ham while doing Jazz clinics at various schools in the area. Active in jazz education, he is an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut University where he teaches drums and jazz ensemble playing.

Tickets are $16 in advance, $20 ($18 for WAC members, $10 for students) at the door. You may purchase tickets securely through Eventbrite. For more information, please call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.

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"JaZZ in the Gallery"

"Spring Is Here"
Marty Eigen's Beacon Hill Jazz Band

Saturday, April 18, 8 p.m

Spring Is Here

Spring is in the air as the “Jazz in the Gallery” series proudly presents Marty Eigen’s Beacon Hill Jazz Band celebrating songs of spring and love.

The band for the concert will consist of vocalist Nancy Nelson, Marty Eigen on tenor sax and clarinet, Paul Nagle on trumpet and flugelhorn, Fred Fischer on piano and vocals, trombonist Bill Ash, Paul Larsen on baritone sax, guitarist Flip Peters, bassist Gene Perla, and Gordon Lane on drums.

This is an opportunity to experience this outstanding band up close and personal. Following the concert, there will be a “Meet the Musician’s” Reception. Ticket prices for this exclusive event are $18 in advance, $22 ($20 WAC members, $10 students) at the door. Tickets may be purchased online at watchungartscenter.eventbrite.com, or by mailing or bringing cash or check to the WAC office.

Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 ($20 WAC Members, $10 students )at the door. You may purchase tickets securely through Eventbrite. For more information call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.

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Improv

The Improvables

Family Improv: Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m.
Adult Improv: Saturday, May 16, 8 p.m.

The Improvables

The Improvables have been providing the Center’s audiences with zany, raucous one-of-a-kind and never-to-be-repeated humor since 2002. Each show features a series of games in which the performers act out various scenes, based on audience suggestions, without advanced knowledge of the topics. Come ready to laugh at the antics of this wonderful improvisational troupe of actors including Randy Schweriner, David Kritz, Michele Kerekes, and Brandon Lericos of Bridgewater, Phil Hochman of Plainfield, Roberta Maher of Mt. Arlington and Mike Griffin of Hillsborough.

The Improvables

Family-friendly shows are suitable for children 10 and older, while adult shows are “R” rated.

Tickets to all performances (adult and family-friendly) are $8. You may purchase tickets securely through Eventbrite. For more information call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.

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"Classicals at the Circle"

"The Elysian Ensemble"

Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m

Elaine Christy, Sam Magill, Lucian Rinando

Elaine Christy, Sam Magill, Lucian Rinando

Founded in 1997 by cellist Sam Magill and flutist Lucian Rinando, the Elysian Ensemble made their critically acclaimed New York debut at Weill Recital Hall, and have been described by Strings Magazine as “masters of their instruments".  In addition to Mr. Magill and Mr Rinando, the ensemble also includes harpist Elaine Christy.

The evening will include a dessert reception and an opportunity to meet the performers.

Praised by the New York Times for his "unimpeachable reading" of the Poulenc Cello Sonata, cellist Samuel Magill has had a rich and varied career as soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared as soloist throughout Japan and the U.S., including performances of the Schumann Concerto and Brahms Double Concerto in Tokyo's famed Suntory Hall and in Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Magill has partnered with the pianists Oxana Yablonskaya, Pascal Rogé and the late Grant Johannesen, and has given annual recitals since 1994 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Flutist Lucian Rinando is admired equally for his orchestral and chamber music performances. As Principal Flutist of the Garden State Philharmonic since 2000, he has become a popular soloist with orchestras in New Jersey. Within the New York metropolitan area he has worked with ensembles such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra as an Artistic Extra, and as Principal Flute for both the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and Cantori New York.  He is the Assistant Conductor of the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra and his programs there for the last 3 seasons have become audience favorites.  As Assistant Conductor, he is also Assistant Program Director and consequently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the MSO since 2008.

Elaine Christy is winner of the American Harp Society National Harp Competition and has twice won the Ruth Lorraine Close Competition Award for advanced study. Ms. Christy was invited to perform at the World Harp Congress in Seattle/Tacoma and Geneva, Switzerland. She has performed at Carnegie’s Weill Hall, the Riverside, St. Bartholomew, and Trinity Church concert series, and gave the world premiere of Oyeme con los ojos by Allison Sniffin in Merkin Hall and has appeared with the CBS Orchestra on The Late Show with David Letterman. She is a member of the Richardson Chamber Players, Princeton University.

Tickets are $16 in advance, $20 ($18 WAC Members, $10 students )at the door. You may purchase tickets securely through Eventbrite. For more information call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.

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“Jazz in the Gallery”

Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub

Saturday, May 2, 8 p.m.

Bucky Pizzarelli & Ed Laub

The Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Laub Duo have been performing for the past 13 years after a lifetime association as teacher and student. As a duo they perform for audiences all over the US and Canada in clubs, concert halls and jazz festivals.

Pan

Bucky Pizzarelli was born in Paterson, NJ in 1926. Piz is a world-renowned jazz guitarist. His career spans over 70 years from the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra, to the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. Hundreds of jazz concerts worldwide, including White House performances with Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, and Claude “Fiddler” Williams, with Presidents Reagan and Clinton add to the list.

His numerous worldwide tours also included performances with practically every jazz legend, such as Stephane Grapelli, Slam Stewart, Tal Farlow, Rosemary Clooney, Zoot Sims, Benny Carter, Michael Feinstein and Charlie Byrd, to name a few. He has hundreds of jazz recordings with every major jazz great, including his own solo albums and work with his two sons, John and Martin Pizzarelli. He is on the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown and appeared on PBS with Les Paul and Tal Farlow, The New Jersey Jazz Guitars [Filmed at Rutgers University]. Last year, Bucky became one of the very first musicians in New Jersey to have two of his guitars, along with a recorded history of his lifetime in music, inducted into the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2011 Bucky was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and in 2012 recorded with Paul McCartney on his latest Grammy Winning Album, “Kisses On The Bottom.”

Ed Laub

Ed Laub is a locally renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared to a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker and James Taylor all being accompanied by Bucky Pizzarelli. Ed says, “That’s not bad company to be associated with. They were amongst the artists to whom I listened to and was most influenced by. I guess I would say I am honored with that comparison.” Because of Ed’s talent as an accompanist and the fact that he is one of the more accomplished 7 String guitarists, he is sought after by many of the top guitarists in the NYC metropolitan area to back them up and adds a pianistic style that makes a duo sound more like a trio. Focusing mostly on the American Songbook genre Ed also loves to perform the great Brazilian classics using a nylon 7-string guitar.

Thirteen years ago Ed became the steady partner to his teacher, hero and close friend, Bucky Pizzarelli. They now travel all over the metropolitan area and major cities in the US, playing in clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals. All About Jazz Magazine said, “Pizzarelli is the complete jazz musician and Laub complements him perfectly!” Besides being the consummate rhythm guitarist and accompanist Ed is in demand as a vocalist and performs with such great artists as Gene Bertoncini, John Pizzarelli, Paul Meyers, Martin Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, Jay Leonhart, Russ Kassoff, Russell Malone, Jack Wilkins and special guest appearances with the late Kenny Rankin.

For more information got to: www.edlaub.com & www.7stringmusic.com.

All seats for this performance are priced at $25. They are expected to sell out quickly so be sure to purchase your ticket in advance at Eventbrite. For more information, please call 908-753-0190 or e-mail us.

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Enjoy videos of some of the past season's performances at the WAC

"JaZZ in the Gallery"

The Three Jazz Divas

Lauren Hooker sings "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"

Saturday, Feb 1

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"Classicals at the Circle"

Sophia Agranovich


Saturday, May 31.

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"JaZZ in the Gallery"

The Three Jazz Divas

Carrie Jackson sings "The Nearness of You"

Saturday, Feb 1

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"JaZZ in the Gallery"

ImpresaRIO Series: Rio Clemente & Guest, Warren Chiasson

Friday, June 6.

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