Date:   8/26/2006

Chance is joined by Randy Sabien

Three individually super-talented artists, all from the northern Wisconsin area, will be coming together to perform at the historic Thrasher Opera House in beautiful downtown Green Lake on Saturday, August 26 at 7:30 p.m.  Each one of these successful artists maintains an active musical career in their own right; however, on this evening, they will combine their talents for a special performance of jazz, blues, and the emerging genre known as World Chamber Music.

 

Chance (comprised of husband and wife, Ed Willett and Cheryl Leah), first heard nationally on TV’s Northern Exposure, has been intriguing audiences across the Western and Mid-Western United States with their live performances for over eighteen years.

 

Ed Willett, accomplished cellist, guitarist, composer, arranger, and vocalist, (and yes, related to Green Lake’s own Doctor Tom - a younger brother to be exact), earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the U.S.C. School of Music in Los Angeles, California.

 

Throughout his career he has been a member of many symphony orchestras, toured for several years for Columbia Artists Management with the Clarion Trio as part of their Community Concert Series, and in 1999, he premiered his cello concerto, commissioned by the Chequamegon Bay Area Symphony.  Mr. Willett has also performed with the 87-performance tour “Spirit”, the nationally touring Native American/rock ballet written by film composer Peter Buffet.  Last summer, along with the house band of the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, he performed with Howard Levy, formerly of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

 

Cheryl Leah, vocalist, composer, and a published poet and lyricist, is a graduate of the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, founded by jazz great and original music theoretician Dick Grove.  Cheryl, also an instrumentalist, plays Baroque Alto Recorder, and is the founder and Artistic Director of the Amaranth Concert Series, now in its fourth season.

 

Ms. Leah is known in the music world for her staunch adherence to the pursuit of originality, gaining her the respect of a stunningly wide array of prominent musicians. From the praises of songwriting legend Jackson Browne to those of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Roy Tanabe, the theme remains the same - her voice is one of a kind.

 

Together, Ed & Cheryl, who make their home in Highbridge, WI, are often featured at the annual 3-month concert season in Bayfield Wisconsin known as Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, where over the past summer seasons they opened for bands and artists such as Little Feat, Willie Nelson and the Smothers Brothers.  They are frequently heard on “Tent Show Radio,” the WPR show compiled from live performances at the Chautauqua. 

 

When jazz violinist, Randy Sabien (suh bean’), picks up his violin, get ready. His rhythmic, bluesy, swingin’ sound will have you bobbing your head, tapping your toes and dancing right out of your chair.

 

NPR's Jazz Profiles dubbed Randy "The past, present and future of jazz violin." His eclectic style started with classical violin lessons. From there he learned how to play along with records by the Grateful Dead, Papa John Creach, James Taylor and others. He continued his study of classical music at the University of Illinois, augmenting his formal education with gigs as a country/rock fiddler. But his most pivotal musical influence came when he first heard the music of the great jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli. With a new musical focus, he began learning and playing the jazz of the 30s, 40s, and 50s on his violin.

 

In 1977 Randy enrolled at The Berklee College of Music in Boston. One year later, at the age of 21, he returned to found and chair their new jazz string department. He stayed there another three years, after which, he performed with and produced three albums for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Post. This led to violin, mandolin, guitar and piano accompaniment for a host of singer/songwriters.

In between folk gigs, he worked on material for an album with his newly formed jazz quintet, from which emerged a colorful, melodic, energetic album of blues-based jazz. In a Fog was released and sent out for review in 1981 by Flying Fish Records, gaining glowing reviews from the Billboard, Jazz Times, The Christian Science Monitor and USA Today.  He was also voted Artist Deserving Wider Recognition in downbeat magazines annual critics’ poll.

 

In 1989 Randy followed his heart to northern Wisconsin where he started his own record label, Fiddlehead Music. Since then he has released another six titles with others in the works. His discography is predominantly jazz with a couple of albums that cover country swing, roots blues and rock and roll from the sixties. He also plays regularly as a jazz violin, guest soloist with symphonies across the country.

 

Melding together the styles of these individually talented artists from the northwoods of Wisconsin has produced a fabulous blend that has delighted concertgoers wherever they perform –so don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to experience what others already know this August 26 by getting your tickets soon. 

 

Tickets for this exciting evening of entertainment are $18 and can be purchased at the Thrasher Office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake State Bank, Ripon Drug, Pick ‘N Save, or at Twister (Princeton), or by calling 920-294-4279. You can also order online at www.thrashersoperahouse.com.

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