Jazz guitarist Eric Despard coming to Oldcastle Theatre


BENNINGTON -- Live jazz comes to Oldcastle Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. with the Eric Despard Quartet.

"We are delighted to add jazz, particularly jazz with some local musicians to our concert series," said Amanda Elise Garcia, Oldcastle’s Programming Associate and Company Manager. "We are excited in this our first concert season in our new home to showcase a wide variety of music. Music fans will be in for a big treat with this show"

The program highlights selections from the jazz repertoire with a focus on the 1960s, including songs by Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. The quarter includes guitarist Eric Despard, drummer Jeff McRae, bassist Dave Cuite and Michelle Labieniec on piano.

Eric Despard began studying jazz guitar in high school with Hartford, CT teacher Jamie Sherwood. He studied briefly at the Hartt School of Music with renowned guitarist and studied jazz history with rank Tiro and jazz arranging with Willie ruff at the Yale School of Music. Eric is an Affiliate Artist of Classical Music at Middlebury College, and Instructor of Guitar at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and is the Music Director and Part-Time faculty at Southern Vermont College where he directs a concert band and choir.

Jeff McRae is a writer and drummer and plays with a variety of groups in the tri-state area including the Sage City Six, Sage City Symphony and with Bernice Lewis.

Bassist David Cuite studied art history and music at Manhattanville College. From 1990 until 2005 he lived in New York City. At the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music he played bass for the jazz ensemble classes taught by Scott Napoli.

Currently living in Cambridge, New York, he plays in the Leah Carrol Quintet and works in multiple ensembles playing jazz, bluegrass and free improvisation.

Michelle Labieniec Despard began playing the piano at age seven, and was classically trained. She lived most of her life in Connecticut and attended the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she earned her B.M. degree.

"We hope to present jazz regularly at the theatre," Ms. Garcia said. "Coming up January 25th we have Sonny and Perley playing jazz and the great American songbook followed on Feb. 1 with vocalist Evita Cobo. We are determined to make Oldcastle Theatre not only a destination for the best professional theatre around but also a primary music venue."

Tickets for the concert are $20. For further information call Oldcastle at 802-447-0564 or check out their website at oldcatletheatre.org.


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