Jazz legend David Benoit and his quartet kicked-off the Christmas season on Sunday with a CBA Jazz Series performance of his Charlie Brown Christmas Special in the sold-out Henderson Theater.
For the opening portion of the performance, Benoit was joined on stage by the CBA Jazz Ensemble, who played select pieces with the five-time GRAMMY nominee. Once the CBA Jazz Ensemble finished their set with Benoit, the CBA Men’s Choir and the Trinity Hall Ladies’ Choir were given the opportunity to provide vocals for Benoit’s outstanding musical performance.
A world-class contemporary jazz pianist, composer and conductor, Benoit played the beloved holiday music made famous by Vince Guaraldi on the original A Charlie Brown Christmas. The concert also included a Peanuts Piano Concerto tribute to Charles Schulz, songs from the musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, along with Benoit’s own compositions. Benoit was joined by special guest and jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek.
Under the direction of Mr. Christian Lopez, CBA continues to expand its music program, giving its students a heightened stage experience like no other school in the area.
“For any young and aspiring music student, the opportunity to work with and perform with a high caliber musician like David Benoit can be life changing,” Lopez said. “The students grew as musicians and made a memory that not many people will ever have the chance to make. The CBA Jazz series is not only an event that our students benefit from musically, but also one that teaches them about professionalism and responsibility, while building character.”
Founded by Joe Tort ’76 in 2012, the mission of the CBA Jazz Series is to raise funds for the CBA performing arts program through one-of-a-kind performances by renowned artists. The Series also gives CBA students a unique opportunity to meet, interact and perform with a professional.
“To say it was an honor to play with someone as well renowned as David Benoit would be an understatement,” senior Shane Ridoux said. “There is so much to learn from someone at Mr. Benoit’s level about how to be a better musician. I just hope that Mr. Benoit enjoyed playing with us as much as I know we enjoyed playing with him.”
It was the third time that Benoit played at CBA, adding to the exceptional list of jazz talent that has performed for the annual series, which includes Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane, Yellowjackets, Max Weinberg, and Kevin Eubanks.