The Jazz Nativity is the traditional Nativity story told in a fresh way, through the union of Jazz and opera. After the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled in-person performances of the Jazz Nativity in 2020, the popular holiday show is making its return to Utica this year. As is the tradition, three “star” kings will present the gift of their talent: Joe Magnarelli on trumpet, Max Pollack as tap king and Joe Carello on saxophone. This year, the Jazz Nativity will host several guest musicians from New York City, as well as the show’s composer, Anne Philips, as host. The Royal Bopsters vocal group and drummer Tim Horner, both from NYC, will travel to Utica to perform. Chelsea Opera president and co-founder Leonarda Priore, mezzo-soprano, will play the role of the archangel. The show features talented local musicians and performers, including Jeff Welcher and John Krause as shepherds, Adam Dunlap as a child shepherd, Ceara Windhausen as Mary, dancer Catherine Brigandi as Spirit of Mary, the Mt. Carmel Choir and a band featuring local jazz musicians: Tom Brigandi, bass; David Donley, percussion; Jimmy Johns, vibes; Barry Blumenthal, piano; Steve Brown, guitar; Jeff Stockham, trumpet; Joe Vanable, trombone; Frank Grosso, alto saxophone shepherd; and Mike Dubaniewicz, baritone and tenor saxophone. With additional music and lyrics by Dave and Iola Brubeck, Bob Kindred, Henry Timm, the production is under the direction of Beth Ann Kennedy. In addition to performances in Utica and Syracuse, the Jazz Nativity has been co-produced by Chelsea Opera in New York City with Anne Philip’s Kindred Spirits since 2015.
Chelsea Opera presents the Jazz Nativity in Utica, December 9th
Utica, NY – Chelsea Opera, a New York City-based opera company now in its 18th season, will present Bending Towards the Light… A Jazz Nativity, a holiday show composed and arranged by Anne Phillips, December 9, 2021 at 7:00 PM at St. Mary of Mount Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Church, 648 Jay Street, Utica, NY in memory of Nicholas S. Priore, Esq. This will be the 5th annual performance in Utica of the Jazz Nativity, suitable for families and audiences of all ages. The performance is free to the public, with free will donations accepted. All guests will remain masked during the performance, and socially distanced seating areas will be available.