Sage City Symphony to host jazz brunch, perform concert

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NORTH BENNINGTON — Sage City Symphony will host a Community Jazz Brunch at the Park-McCullough House Carriage Barn in North Bennington featuring live music by the Leo Yucht Jazz Combo on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The brunch, priced at $20 for adults and $10 for students, is an appetizer for the symphony's free spring concert the following day, Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m., at Greenwall Auditorium in the VAPA Building at Bennington College, sponsored by People's Bank.

The concert program is built around the world premiere of "E," a composition for jazz combo and orchestra by local-boy-made-good Leo Yucht, an up-and-coming jazz percussionist and composer now based out of New York. This work was commissioned by Sage City Symphony as part of its mission to support new composers.

Yucht, a A 2013 graduate of Mount Anthony Union High School who received his degree from William Paterson University, has performed with some of the most acclaimed musicians in the world, including Jon Batiste, Aaron Goldberg, Harold Mabern, Pete Malinverni and many more. He performs regularly in the New York metropolitan area with his band, and also as a sideman with other world-renowned jazz artists. Yucht's jazz quartet for this brunch and concert includes Bob Bruya on bass, Thomas Linger on keyboard and Daniel Berkey on tenor saxophone.

Yucht's composition, simply titled "E," is dedicated to his wife, Ekin. "The piece is my tribute to her," Yucht says. "She is a special person and I feel lucky that I get to write it for her." He adapted his original melody for Sage City Symphony's strings, a few wind instruments and glockenspiel, which will accompany his four-piece jazz quartet. In describing his process, Yucht says, "Musically, I drew inspiration from many historical recordings of a similar nature; for example, Charlie Parker's `Bird with Strings,' `Clifford Brown with Strings,' Wayne Shorter's `Without a Net.' I feel that the piece is dynamic. It is not simply `this' or `that'; rather, it embodies a spectrum of moods and sounds."

Also on the program is Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Anton n Dvo k, and "Fanfare," a rousing brass piece written to precede the ballet "La P ri," by Paul Dukas. Dukas is perhaps best remembered for his orchestral work "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," which was notably used in Disney's 1940 animated film "Fantasia."

The menu for the Saturday jazz brunch will include a variety of brunch favorites, including quiches, smoked salmon, fruits, and pastries. Tickets for the brunch are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and free for kids ages 12 and under. Proceeds will benefit the Village School in North Bennington and the Kitchen Cupboard food pantry in Bennington. This event is made possible by the Fund for North Bennington and the Board of Sage City Symphony.

Sage City Symphony is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, registered in the state of Vermont, and relies entirely on generous donations, grants, and volunteer services from individuals, local foundations, businesses, and sponsors. Concerts are always free and open to all.

About Sage City Symphony

Led by music director Michael Finckel for the past 25 years, Sage City Symphony was founded in 1972 as a community and college orchestra with close ties to Bennington College. In addition to performing traditional classical repertoire as well as contemporary music, the symphony commissions and premieres new pieces each year. The symphony attracts a high caliber of dedicated amateur as well as professional musicians who travel from throughout Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts for weekly rehearsals during the concert season. Auditions are not required, and academic credit is available for Bennington College students who participate. Information about joining the symphony is available at www.sagecitysymphony.org/join.htm.

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