Date:   8/11/2007

Prudence Johnson Cabaret performing at Thrasher

Please join us at the historic Thrasher Opera House, in beautiful downtown Green Lake, on August 11 at 7:30 p.m. for the Prudence Johnson Cabaret featuring internationally acclaimed vocalist, Prudence Johnson; jazz violinist extraordinaire, Randy Sabien; and  pianist, Dan Chouinard, for a musical tribute to Carmichael, Gershwin and other greats.

From honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall, the theater stage to the Silver Screen, from the Midwest to the Middle East, Prudence Johnson has seemingly done it all.  With her roots in folk and country music, Prudence developed a passion for jazz and the work of the 20th century’s great songwriters when she met guitarist Tim Sparks, with whom she co-founded the vocal jazz group Rio Nido.  A decade and three albums later, she ventured out on her own and turned again to the music of her roots, making three records for the folk label Red House including Songs of Greg Brown and Little Dreamer, a collection of international lullabies.

In the 90’s she could be found on the concert circuit, in the jazz clubs, on the theater stage and in the classroom—she graduated summa cum laude from Hamline University in 1998.  If the collision of her artistic and academic interests left her looking a bit dazed, it all came into focus when she turned her attention to the music of Hoagy Carmichael and was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, enabling her to record Moon Country, a collection of Hoagy’s songs.

 

With a renewed appreciation for the Great American Songbook, she found an ideal collaborator in pianist Dan Chouinard.  They released s Gershwin in 2004 and appear together on concert stages across the country, performing the music of Carmichael, Gershwin and other greats, and taking side trips to the café music of France and Italy with Dan on accordion.  They co-wrote and perform together Another Song About Paris, a loving look at the City of Light through stories and songs.

Prudence now lives in Minneapolis and is working on a play and a few new recording projects, enjoying her work with A Prairie Home Companion, and having a wonderful time bringing the music she loves to new audiences. 

Although Randy’s musical aspirations began by studying classical violin, his direction did an about face the day he discovered he could play jazz on the violin.  He poured himself into the music of the swing era and began teaching himself to play along with records of his favorite jazz artists.  He also continued to appreciate the music of his own generation; the 60’s and 70’s.  This led to inspired renditions of tunes by the Beatles, The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and others.  Meanwhile, his own compositions developed as straight ahead jazz for violin.  When he put out his first album, In a Fog, it was received with glowing reviews from Downbeat, JazzTimes, Billboard and others.  

Because of the long and diverse list of musical influences that Randy brings into his music, his audiences are equally varied.  His latest cd, Rock This House (2005), featuring Sabien along with bassist Brian Torff, is a perfect example of this diversity and the belief that if you love music, you’ll love Randy Sabien.  

This special performance is sponsored by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, with hospitality provided by Two Chez.  Tickets for the Prudence Johnson Cabaret are $20 and can be purchased at Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake State Bank (Green Lake), Pick ‘n Save & Ripon Drug (Ripon) Twister (Princeton), Berlin Chamber office, or by calling 294-4279.  Online tickets available at www.thrasheroperahouse.com. 

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