The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will hold its 45th Annual Christmas Concert Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston MA 02116. Expect a joyful evening of music in the spirit of the season, including jazz arrangements of favorite carols like Silent Night and Go Tell It on the Mountain, plus original compositions by Aardvark music director Mark Harvey. Proceeds will benefit The Poor Peoples United Fund. Tickets are $20 at the door. For information, call 617-776-8778 or 617-452-3205.
The concert will feature several of Harvey’s works that received their premieres at prior Christmas concerts.
The Prophet (December 1997) was inspired by Boston’s legendary social activist Kip Tiernan (1926-2011), founder of Rosie’s Place and co-founder of Poor People’s United Fund. Blue Butterfly (December 2009) honors legendary storyteller Brother Blue, who performed for more than 50 years in schools, libraries, churches, prisons, and street corners in Boston and beyond; and No Walls, Aardvark’s anthem of hope and inclusivity, was first performed in December 2004 as a tribute to Doctors Without Borders.
Proceeds of the December 9 concert will benefit Poor People’s United Fund, an organization fighting poverty and homelessness through education, advocacy, support to grassroots service organizations, and emergency assistance to families and individuals.
Aardvark has been praised for “adventurous spirit, eclectic repertoire, and positive social conscience…an ongoing Boston jazz tradition” (The Boston Globe), while JazzTimes hailed the band’s “lush sonorities and a saxophonic blend worthy of Ellington’s finest reed sections.”
Led by founder/music director Mark Harvey, The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra gave its first concert December 23, 1973 at the Church of the Covenant in Boston as a benefit for the Chelsea Fire Fund. Every year since then, the band has held a Christmas concert to support a deserving cause, as part of the band’s commitment to social justice, community outreach, and inclusiveness. Past beneficiaries have included Doctors Without Borders, American Friends Service Committee, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, and dozens more. Esteemed guests who have joined the Aardvark Christmas concerts include Sheila Jordan, Howard McGhee, Semenya McCord, Joe Carroll, Ron Gill, Jack Powers, Kip Tiernan, and Brother Blue.
Aardvark is: Arni Cheatham, Peter H. Bloom, Phil Scarff, Chris Rakowski, Dan Zupan, Dylan Sherry/saxes and woodwinds; K.C. Dunbar, Jeanne Snodgrass/trumpets; Bob Pilkington, Jay Keyser/trombones; Jeff Marsanskis, Bill Lowe/bass trombones, tuba; Richard Nelson/guitar; John Funkhouser/string bass; Harry Wellott/drums; Jerry Edwards and Grace Hughes, vocalists; Mark Harvey/trumpet, music director.
The Poor Peoples United Fund was founded in 1980 by Kip Tiernan and Fran Froelich to advocate for social change on behalf of the poor and the homeless and those who have no voice in society. PPUF provides financial and support services to small grassroots member organizations; emergency assistance to individuals and families in need of food, housing, and health care; and education and advocacy for enlightened and just social policies.