Vocal Guest Artist – American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble
The AMERICAN RIVER COLLEGE VOCAL JAZZ ENSEMBLE is entering its 22nd year under the direction of Dr. Arthur Lapierre. This acclaimed ensemble has garnered countless accolades locally and nationally. The American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble has
performed frequently for the state, divisional, and national conferences of such organizations as the International Association of Jazz Educators, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Jazz Educators Conference. These performances have afforded American River Community College students the opportunity travel to Salt Lake City, Tucson, Chicago, Santa Barbara, Toronto, New York, Long Beach, and New Orleans. The American River College Vocal Jazz Ensemble most recently received our 19th DownBeat Award for our many recordings. We hope you enjoy our newest CD available from any of our members after tonight’s show.
Dr. Art LaPierre is currently Professor of Music, and Director of the Vocal Jazz Ensembles, at American River College, where he also teaches studio voice, jazz history, and voice classes. Dr. LaPierre’s ensembles have been featured performers for the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), Jazz Education Network (JEN), American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), California Music Educators Association (CMEA), New York State Music Teachers Association (NYSMTA) and at other regional and international conferences, and jazz festivals. DownBeat Magazine has awarded his ensembles with 21 Student Achievement Awards.
Previously, Dr. LaPierre directed vocal jazz ensembles at the Berklee College of Music; California State University, Long Beach; California State University, Los Angeles; Rancho Santiago Community College; and, Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Dr. LaPierre is active as an adjudicator, guest conductor, and clinician and also operates a music studio in Carmichael, California.
Instrumental Guest Artist – Bria Skonberg
Photo credit Krista Stucchio
To most of us, the adventures of trailblazing trumpeter, vocalist and songwriter Bria Skonberg are borderline unbelievable.
“I play jazz because it’s the closest I can get to flying.…spreading joy, relating the human experience, and putting good into the world to counteract the negative. I want to make music that makes people feel, and think.”
Described as “one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation” (Wall Street Journal) she recently sang the music of Aretha Franklin alongside Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, played with U2 at the Apollo, sat in with the Dave Matthews band, was a featured guest with Jon Batiste and performed the Star Spangled Banner at Madison Square Garden for a NY Rangers game. A bandleader since her teens, Bria has performed festivals and stages the world over, including New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, and over a hundred more. In 2016 Bria released her debut LP on Sony Masterworks which won a Canadian JUNO award and made the Top 5 on Billboard jazz charts; her music has over 7 million streams on Spotify. A 6x Downbeat Rising Star, further accolades include the Jazz at Lincoln Center Swing Award, Best Vocal and Best Trumpet from Hot House Jazz Magazine and Outstanding Jazz Artist at the Bistro Awards. The “shining hope of hot jazz” (NY Times) has been at the forefront of a revival of classic American music as both a performer and educator, programming concerts and workshops for students of all ages. She has been on faculty at the Teagarden Jazz Camp (2008- present) and Centrum Jazz Camp, performs outreach on behalf of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is currently developing educational activities for the Louis Armstrong House Museum and co-directs the New York Hot Jazz Camp she co-founded in 2015. In 2018 Lincoln Center sought out her leadership for a tribute to the first integrated all female big band, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, which launched her acclaimed group Sisterhood of Swing. In 2019 she was a featured member of Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour for 26 dates alongside Cecile McLorin Salvant, Christian Sands, Melissa Aldana and Jamison Ross. Bria is a member of the Town Hall Ensemble, an all star cast directed by Steven Bernstein that celebrates the cultural and musical history of New York city. She tours constantly bringing her own signature sound of fiery trumpet playing and smoky vocals together with storytelling and adventurous concoctions of classic and new.
Originally from the small town of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Bria studied jazz and performance at Capilano University in Vancouver while balancing a full road schedule with two bands. After graduating she traveled extensively, performing in China, Japan and throughout Europe as a featured artist. When she wasn’t traveling, Bria was honing her chops with Dal Richards, Vancouver’s King of Swing. Playing BC Place Stadium at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver capped off this exciting period, with Bria featured at the Paralympics opening ceremony for over 50 000 people. Seeking new challenges, Bria moved to New York city in September of 2010. Upon arrival she went to jam with friends in Washington Square Park and an hour into playing world renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis stopped to listen. He gave her a thumbs up.