Paul Winter Consort to perform 'In Celebration of the Earth' at Latchis Theatre

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GUILFORD -- There may be white clapboards on the outside of the Guilford Community Church (GCC), but its members are very green, involved in environmental programs ranging from the tree-planting programs to helping endangered species. Pastor Lisa Sparrow's friendship with Wangari Maathai and support of her organization called the Green Belt Movement that, among other things, had inspired woman around the world to plant more than 30 million trees, is how Sparrow met Paul Winter. In turn, the extraordinary musicians of the Paul Winter Consort will hold a benefit concert for the church at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro on Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

"Proceeds from the concert will go towards our efforts to green up the lot next to our property, reclaiming the wetlands next to the brook and provide community space for a playground, labyrinth, or outside concert facility," Sparrow said. She said they are hoping that enough funds are raised from this event that will allow them to clean up the property so the children may play and to use it for community activities. There are also future plans are to create a space for the Guilford Food Pantry and an early childhood education center.

Highlighted in Saturday's performance are Paul Winter, who fuses the celebration of cultures and creatures of the earth into his music. According to a press release, soprano saxophonist Paul Winter is one of the pioneers of world music, combining elements of African, Asian, Latin, and Russian music with American jazz. Winter was one of the first to incorporate the sounds of nature and wildlife into his acoustical compositions, including the complex and poignant vocalizations of the humpback whale, wolves and birds.

This is Winter's second visit to the Latchis Theatre, having performed there eight years ago. Since often his performances are ‘saving the earth' benefits he didn't need any persuading to come back to help the church. "I have great respect for the Guilford Community Church and what they do, they act locally and globally, and for their work in Africa." Winter said

Also featured is cellist Eugene Friesen who is active internationally as a concert artist, composer, conductor and teacher. A graduate of Yale School of Music, he has been featured on recordings and in concerts utilizing his love for improvisation and rhythm in contemporary, jazz, and world fiddle styles.

Special guest American gospel music singer Theresa Thomason, has enthralled audiences in over 150 European cities, in addition to performing live at the United Nations for the Dalai Lama. Thomason, who has worked for Winter for 30 years, is a featured artist with the Paul Winter Consort at the annual Solstice, Missa Gaia, and Earth Mass celebrations at St. John the Divine, the world's largest cathedral in New York City.

"This is an opportunity for all churches to do something- it is great that the church (GCC) is advocating and stepping up. It is what a community is about - I personally enjoy that and am looking forward to singing there," Thomson said.

Also featured are Todd Roach on percussion and Jeff Holmes on piano. Holmes is a nationally published and commissioned composer/arranger and has also performed around the world. Holmes plays lead trumpet with the New England Jazz Ensemble, Earl MacDonald and the Hartford Jazz Society's New Directions Ensemble, and Rob Zappulla, as well as drums with the Amherst Jazz Orchestra.

The 60 or so members of the Greater Brattleboro Choir of the Community will be directed by Peter Amidon and will join the Consort on stage to perform several songs, including one made famous by folksinger Pete Seeger.

Amidon invites the people to come to this concert with a sense of adventure - it will be a very enthusiastic musical. "I am thrilled to be singing with this great group of singers," he said.

"We are thrilled to bring the Paul Winter Consort to Brattleboro, to share their powerful body of work which celebrates the cultures and creatures of the whole Earth," said Lise Sparrow, pastor of the Guilford Community Church, UCC which is known in the region for its musical ministry, its commitment to the environment, and its global and community outreach.

Tickets in advance cost $20 for balcony seats; $40 all other downstairs seats or $75 for front orchestra seats (includes a post-concert reception with the performers) and are available online at www.BrattleboroTix.com , at Everyone's Books in Brattleboro, at the Putney General Store and at the door. Friends of the Sun is a partial sponsor of the evening. For more information, contact the Guilford Community Church at 802-257-0994 or visit: www.guilfordchurch.org/PaulWinter.


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