A special group of local musicians will headline this year’s “Picnic in the Park with Mercer” taking place in Forsyth Park on Sun., Oct. 4, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Coastal Jazz Association Hall of Fame Inductee, Teddy Adams, and Armstrong Atlantic State University (AASU) Music Professor Dr. Randall Reese, organized the group that will perform many of Johnny Mercer’s classic songs in honor of the Johnny Mercer Centennial.
“Mercer provides such a rich collection of material, we could have put together several concerts,” said Reese. “We've chosen some familiar tunes, but also some great songs that have been overlooked in the past. Also, each of the singers suggested material that they would like to perform, so the song choices will give the audience some insight into the personalities of the performers.”
The Picnic in the Park Mercer Band is made up of local musicians from Savannah and will also feature the vocal talents of Trae Gurley, Roger Moss, Gina Rene' and Huxsie Scott. The Savannah Arts Academy Orchestra and the Skyelite Jazzband will also perform, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
“I'm very excited about the group we’ve put together. They’ve got a lot of experience and talent. As an arranger, I am confident that they can take my ideas off the page and bring them to life,” Reese said.
The big band style group will perform two sets beginning at 7 p.m. and is made up of the following local talents:
Teddy Adams, trombone, member of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and inductee into the Savannah/Coastal Jazz Association Hall of Fame
Dr. Randall Reese, woodwinds and music arrangement, member of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra, Associate Professor at AASU (Music Department)
Eric Jones, piano, AASU graduate, presently pursuing a Masters in music composition at Georgia Southern University
Dr. Steve Primatic, vibraphone, Associate Professor at AASU (Music Department), drummer for the Savannah Jazz Orchestra
Delbert Felix, bass, national recording artist, formerly with Branford, Ellis, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis
Kirk Lee, trumpet and flugel horn, lead trumpeter with the Savannah Jazz Orchestra
Bruce Spradley, guitar, jazz and classical teacher, music teacher in Savannah/Chatham County Public Schools
Eric Vaughn, drums, national recording artist, entrepreneur
Mike Nestor, baritone saxophone, AASU graduate, music teacher in Savannah/Chatham Public Schools.
Jeremy Davis, tenor saxophone, leader of the Equinox Jazz Orchestra, promoter
The event will also include a Mercer themed picnic contest; registration is free and open from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. The picnic contest winners will be announced during the Picnic in the Park Mercer Band’s intermission. For more information about the Picnic Contest, please contact Meaghan Walsh at (912)525-5025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picnic in the Park Schedule of Events
(Times are approximate)
3:00 - 5:00 PM - Picnic Competition Registration
5:00 - 6:30 PM - Picnic Competition Judging
4:30 – 5:15 PM - Savannah Arts Academy Orchestra Performance
5:45 - 6:30 PM - Savannah Arts Academy Skyelite Jazz Band Performance
7:00 – 9:00 PM – Picnic in the Park Mercer Band & Vocalists
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