Prima Music Foundation brings Jazz to the Berkshires with another concert at Ventfort Hall on Thursday, July 6 at 4 pm with. There will be light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar offering beer, wine and our new signature cultural cocktail, the Ventfort Vesper, in collaboration with Berkshire Mountain Distillers. The bar will open a half hour prior to the concert.
The Jazz and the Gilded Age concert will include works from the Great American Songbook by Gershwin, Porter and Berlin and more. George W. Michael on the saxophone and clarinet, Michael Shirtz on piano and vocals and Jason Emmond on bass will perform music from this golden era.
George W.Michael has over 20 years as a music educator, performer, clinician, composer and arranger. A NYC based saxophonist and educator, he holds degrees from The University of Texas Bowling Green State University. For the last 12 years he has been employed as a music teacher with the Department of Education in New York City. During this time he has curated an affinity for teaching students of high needs in an urban environment. George is also keen to point out that everything he listens to directs his musical development in some way. However, he would certainly reference Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock amongst his biggest influences. Pre-pandemic George could be heard at a number of venues around NYC including but not limited to Carnegie Hall Music Educators Workshop, NYC Jazz Workshop and the Michael Shirtz Quartet.
Michael Shirtz, performer, educator, composer, and conductor, is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary, and classical music audiences. As an entertainer his vocal style and arrangements feature Jazz, Blues, Funk, Rock, Gospel, and Singer/Songwriter styles into his performances. Credited as a “songsmith,” his shows highlight 20th Century American music and legendary artists through multimedia performances. His conducting credits include: vocal coaching and directing educational, repertory theatre, masterwork, and pops music productions for choral, symphonic, and music festival organizations. Currently, Shirtz and is active as a guest artist and leads the Michael Shirtz Quartet, teaches at Heidelberg University School of Music & Theatre, and conducts the Symphony Chorale with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra & School of Music. Shirtz is a member of ASCAP, African American Jazz Caucus, American Choral Directors Association, Jazz Education Network, and an advocate for mental health awareness.
Jason Emmond is an upright and electric bass player and composer residing in upstate New York. After growing up in New Hampshire and studying music at the University of New Hampshire, Jason made the move to Kansas City to play jazz and continue his musical studies. In 2021, he relocated to Albany, NY where he has continued with his music career. He keeps busy playing with a variety of talented musicians from New York City, Kansas City, upstate New York, and beyond. You can find him playing often with artist Eddie Moore and his band, We the People, who have backed up notable artists such as Andre Hayward, Chantae Cann and Andrew Bailie. He also frequently plays with drummer Joe Barna, whose group of rotating musicians has included world class jazz artists such as Stacey Dillard, Ralph Lalama, Jon Gordon, Gary Smulyan, and Joe Lovano.
Tickets are $45 general admission and $40 for Berkshire county residents. Reservations are required as seats are limited. For reservations visit https://gildedage.org/events/ or call us at (413) 637-3206. Please note that all tickets are nonrefundable and non-exchangeable.