Local Teen Band Lands Spot in Ridgefield Playhouse BandJam Competition Final!

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Apr 062018

Four Orange teens will be competing for the grand prize and title of the best local middle school band in the upcoming Ridgefield Playhouse 2018 BandJam, on Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m.The band, called the 7’s, after the lucky number of some of its members earned one of the four final coveted spots.

They will be performing two songs in front of a live audience, as well as guest celebrity judges.  Luck has nothing to do with it though, as these four boys have been working hard and having weekly rehearsals to prepare them for the show.

Three of the band members, Christopher Carlson (drums,) Lucas Ketchian, (guitar & bass,) and Declan O’Rourke (guitar & bass) are 7th-grade students at Amity Middle School in Orange. Oliver Nappi, lead singer, is a sixth grader at Turkey Hill School.

The band members have known each other since kindergarten, reconnected on the Lacrosse field in 2015 and added a lead singer 2 years later. They are no stranger to performing however, and have played at many school talent shows as well as showcase performances at RVP studios. Eric Carlson, the drummer’s dad,  has a background in music, having played in a band himself as a teenager, and has been an invaluable asset to the group.  He has been managing the boys and giving them musical direction to help prepare for the upcoming performance.

The area’s hottest musical competition known as BandJam 2018 will bring eight high-octane bands, 4 middle school and 4 high school, to compete at The Ridgefield Playhouse!  The Playhouse BandJam is open to area Middle School and High School Students. A panel of celebrity judges will be on hand to select this year’s BandJam champions. The show is hosted by Christine O’Leary and Jay Prince. What began as a charity event for The Playhouse has become a much-anticipated competition where middle school and high school students perform before a panel of industry professionals for the title of BandJam Winner! 100% of all proceeds from this event will go directly to support The Ridgefield Playhouse.

The band members whose musical tastes run from 80’s and 90’s rock such as Guns n’ Roses and Green Day to current performers like Panic at The Disco will be playing two songs and competing against three other middle school bands. The bands will be judged on musicianship, quality of sound and showmanship. The band would love any support they can get from their fans, and the band that has the most tickets sold gets to pick in which order they will perform!  If you would like to attend, please call The Ridgefield Playhouse box office at 203-438-5795 to purchase a ticket and let them know you are there to support the 7’s! The band would love to bring home the title and grand prize but are also super proud of getting this far!

Orange Resident Christian Sands Accompanies Grammy Winner in Ridgefield April 10

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Mar 252016

Christian Sands (L) with the Christian McBride Trio

Christian Sands (L) with the Christian McBride Trio

It’s been a while since I spoke to Orange resident, Amity grad and jazz piano phenomenon Christian Sands. If you miss him as much as I do, you have an opportunity to see him play in Ridgefield in two weeks as part of a trio.

Press Release from the Playhouse: 

2016 Grammy Award Winner for Best Improvised Jazz Solo “Cherokee” – bassist extraodinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride,brings his Trio to The Ridgefield Playhouse on Sunday, April 10 for a 109 Cheese & Wine Evening of Art, Wine and Jazz at 8 p.m.

With pianist Christian Sands and drummer Jerome Jennings, McBride has created an energized unit that is “powered from the ground up!” McBride has been one of the most important and most ubiquitous figures in the jazz world for more than 20 years. In 1989, this Philadelphia-born bassist moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School, only to be snatched up by alto saxophonist, Bobby Watson.

Since then, McBride has amassed a mind-blowing list of accomplishments. He has worked with the very best Jazz artists – Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny.

He’s also made contributions in the R&B world, he’s not only played with, but also arranged for Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

In the pop/rock world, he’s collaborated with Sting, Carly Simon, Don Henley, and Bruce Hornsby. In the hip-hop/neo-soul world, he’s collaborated with the Roots, D’Angelo, and Queen Latifah.

His talents have also reached into the world of opera, where he’s worked closely with the legendary Kathleen Battle, bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, the Shanghai Quartet and the Sonus Quartet.

The evening kicks off in the lobby at 7:15 p.m. with a complimentary wine tasting and an art exhibit by Roy Weinstein, Ridgefield Guild of Artists member. You can also make it a great night out of dinner and a show – visit Toozy Patza Pizza Jazzeria and enjoy a free glass of house wine with your entrée when tickets are presented.

Christian McBride currently hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, showcasing outstanding live jazz from across the country.

With his staggering body of work, McBride is the ideal host, drawing on history, experience, and a gift for storytelling to bridge the gap between artist, music, and audience. As a respected educator and advocate, in 1997 McBride spoke on President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts.”

He has since been named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions (2000), co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (2005), and the Second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (2005).

For tickets ($42.50), call the box office at 203-438-5795, or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.