A Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas
It has become a tradition for audiences of all ages to converge upon the Carroll Arts Center for the annual performance of “Charlie Brown Jazz Christmas.” The special event is a unique pairing of the beloved animated film “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with the unforgettable Vince Guaraldi jazz score performed live by the Eric Byrd Trio. The Carroll Arts Center is pleased to combine both pieces for an extraordinary series of family concerts on Friday, December 19 at 8 pm; Saturday, December 20 at 3 pm & 8 pm; and Sunday, December 21 at 3 pm.
After the commercial-free screening of the film on the big screen, the lively jazz score is performed live by the Eric Byrd Trio. Each concert will end with a live auction of the charmingly pathetic “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” that will decorate the stage! The series coincides with the Arts Center’s 6th annual Gallery of Gifts, so audience members will be able to buy some unique handmade gifts at the same time they enjoy the show.
The Eric Byrd Trio has performed throughout the world, at the White House, and they hold the prestigious honor of a Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassadorship. Through that program they have performed to capacity crowds in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Honduras and Trinidad. During a September 2013 trip to Bolivia they played at the Teatro Municpal in La Paz for an enthusiastic crowd of 500+ people who made them feel like the Beatles by asking for autographs and photos with the band. Trio members Eric Byrd (piano) Alphonso Young, Jr. (drums) and Bhagwan Khalsa (bass) are energetic, masterful musicians of modern jazz.
Guaraldi was born in 1928 and was known as “Dr. Funk” by his compatriots in San Francisco. He began performing as a piano player in college and quickly rose through the jazz scene. His career exploded after his performance at the 1st annual Monterey Jazz Festival where audiences were on their feet after hearing his blues riffs. National prominence was just around the corner the following year when he composed the Grammy Winning “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” His modern jazz setting for the choral Eucharist was a popular and critical hit, and he figured, “if he could write music for God, he could pen tunes for Charlie Brown.”
He and master cartoonist Charles Schultz collaborated on 15 animated features. Guaraldi’s smooth trio compositions — piano, bass and drums — perfectly balanced Charlie Brown’s kid-sized universe. Sprightly, puckish, as well as somber and poignant, his gentle riffs established musical trademarks which, to this day, still prompt smiles of recognition. Guaraldi and “Peanuts” was a perfect match. Surely there would have been more collaboration to come had Guaraldi not died of a sudden heart attack at age 47. It was a short career, but one that is rightly celebrated.
The show is sponsored by Woodhaven Building & Development and Papa Joes Mexican Restaurant.
Tickets are $12 for Adults and $8 for CCAC Members, Seniors 60+ and Students 18 and under. Please note that FLICC movie passes cannot be honored at this event. The Carroll Arts Center is located at 91 W. Main Street in downtown Westminster. Online tickets and more info at www.CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org or call 410/848-7272.