Andrew Craig’s Gospel Christmas with the NAC Orchestra will raise the roof in the National Arts Centre’s Southam Hall on December 16
Acclaimed musician and CBC Radio personality Andrew Craig leads an outstanding cast of vocalists (including award winners Jackie Richardson and Ottawa’s own Kellylee Evans) in soulful and high-energy gospel versions of holiday carols and songs sure to put you in the holiday spirit! Andrew Craig’s Gospel Christmas with the NAC Orchestra will be performed at 7 p.m. (please note early curtain time) in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Friday December 16.
The NAC Orchestra will be under the baton of Andrew Craig. Vocalists performing in this soulful celebration will be Jackie Richardson, Kellylee Evans, Alana Bridgewater, Toya Alexis, Christopher Lowe, and Sharon Riley and The Faith Chorale.
Andrew Craig has been the Music Director of high-profile tributes to Quincy Jones and Oscar Peterson, and has arranged music for 50,000 children singing for Nelson Mandela. He has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music -- Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, and Molly Johnson, to name a few. Andrew Craig is a true Renaissance man in the arts: singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, director, broadcaster and impresario. He is one of the most sought-after musicians on the Canadian scene today, in a broad range of musical genres. Andrew also frequently collaborates with leading theatre companies, film and television directors and contemporary dance choreographers. Andrew is often asked to offer his guidance and consultation to organizations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, and the Toronto Arts Council. He is a resident artist at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, and, as such, helped inaugurate the Waves and CanWest Cabaret Festivals and ‘Sundays At The Young’. As a radio host for CBC’s Canada Live, Andrew continues to help showcase the remarkable breadth and depth of Canadian musical talent, over the national airwaves and to the world via the Internet. Andrew’s “pre-debut” CD, Just Gettin’ Started – a collection of live recordings made between 2008 and 2011 -- is now available directly from the artist. “Andrew Craig is a supreme musician for our modern age, fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz and new age genres with proportion, taste and skill” said Carol Lipson in The Live Music Report.
A brilliant singer-songwriter with a rich, soulful voice and a commanding stage presence, Ottawa-based Kellylee Evans received a string of accolades for her first two albums, Fight or Flight and The Good Girl, which seamlessly fused jazz and her own unique style of “soul pop”. Nina, her 2011 JUNO-winning release, is a tribute to Nina Simone, one of the twentieth century’s greatest vocalists and pianists.
Nina was realized after Kellylee was approached by the French record label Plus Loin Music, who had discovered her through her second place win at the 2004 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocals Competition. Following several years of discussion, they invited her to France in November of 2009, where she spent two days in the studio. “They said I could do whatever I wanted as long as it was standards,” Evans recalls. “I had always wanted to do a Nina Simone tribute.” The Scarborough, Ontario native had been working on her Master of Arts in Legal Studies degree at Carleton University when she got lost and found herself in the music department. A sensitive and honest performer now at the height of her creative powers, Kellylee considers herself “a music appreciator” who embraces all forms of music -- rock, country, pop, jazz, classical, hip hop and soul -- and who refuses to be pigeonholed. Kellylee has taken Canadian urban jazz to many thrilling new places. She has toured North America and France, opening for legendary performers such as George Benson, Tony Bennett, and Maceo Parker.
Actress and singer Jackie Richardson is one of Canada's most acclaimed gospel, blues, and jazz recording artists, a Gemini Award nominee and Dora Award-winner in 2004 for Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music & Times of Alberta Hunter. A veteran of the stage and large and small screens, Jackie Richardson was a member of the National Arts Centre English Theatre Acting Company, appearing in Peter Hinton’s production of Saint Carmen of the Main in 2010. She had previously appeared on the NAC stage in the gospel musical Crowns and in Wylah Falls. Other credits include roles in No! No! Nanette, Anything Goes, Hello Dolly!, Raisin in the Sun, and Ain't Misbehavin’. She has received Gemini, Dora, JUNO, Jessie, Betty, Toronto Blues Society and NAACP Award nominations and released a contemporary jazz CD, A Woman's View: Child Eyes. A dazzling performer, Richardson has a powerful and supple voice -- it sounds as if it could almost soar to the heavens -- and a warm, vibrant stage presence. The music of Jackie Richardson is an experience of soul, a profoundly personal synthesis of the remarkable gospel, blues and jazz women she has embodied on stage and screen. It is also a portrait of self -- not the showcase of a showboat but a demonstration of songmanship in the service of spirit.
Andrew Craig’s Gospel Christmas with the NAC Orchestra will be in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Friday December 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $36.59, $49.50, $58.11, $68.88, $79.64, and $95.78 for adults and $14, $19.80, $26.25, $30.56, $35.94, $41.32 and $49.39 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 1-888-991-2787; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through www.nac-cna.ca.
Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Live Rush™ membership (free registration at www.liverush.ca) may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online (www.nac-cna.ca) or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, visit the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca
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Information: Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335