Brown Bag Concert Series
The Brown Bag Concerts are produced by WICN 90.5 FM AND Mechanics Hall.
Wednesdays at Noon, November 13th-December 18th
321 Main Street, Worcester, MA, 01608; 508-752-5608
Broadcast live on WICN 90.5 FM and streaming at wicn.org
For 35 years Mechanics Hall and WICN have been proud to provide quality performances free to the general public! Every concert begins at noon and ends promptly at 1:00 pm. Bring your own “brown bag” lunch or purchase one at the Hall while they last! Brown Bag Concerts are broadcast on 90.5fm and stream live on wicn.org whenever possible. All concerts are free and subject to change without notice.
Fall 2019 Brown Bag Concert Series Listing & Flyer
Ball in the House
Ball in the House is an R&B/Soul/Pop a cappella group based out of Boston, MA, whose high energy shows have audiences singing, dancing, even beatboxing along.
With their extensive tour schedule (averaging 200 shows a year), Ball in the House has performed everywhere – from theaters to performing arts centers, fairs & festivals, to opening for some of the biggest acts in the world, such as The Beach Boys, The Jonas Brothers, The Temptations, Fantasia, Gladys Knight, Lionel Richie, Jessica Simpson, Blondie, Smokey Robinson, KC & The Sunshine Band, Diamond Rio, Colin Raye, Orleans, and numerous others.
They headlined the 2018 & 2016 China International Chorus Festival in Beijing, won the 2016 Boston Harmony Sweepstakes, and were voted 2014 APCA Band of the Year and 2009 Best of Boston for Outstanding Musical Performers. For six years, they were the voices behind all the Cool Whip commercials and recently wrote and performed the jingle for Amazon’s Prime Day. Ball in the House has appeared on America’s Got Talent, The TODAY Show, The Daily Buzz, the Philadelphia 4th of July Parade, and SBS Culture Club and MBC News in Seoul, South Korea.
November 20: Walt Weiskopf (Steely Dan)
Saxophonist, composer, and author Walt Weiskopf began his New York career performing with the Buddy Rich Big Band in 1981 at the age of 21. Since then, he has made an impressive mark as both a leader and sideman with 20 critically-acclaimed CDs and countless sideman credits, including performing and recording with Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald.
A dynamic player with enormous technical prowess, Walt is equally well regarded as a composer. His recordings as a leader contain predominantly original work with unique interpretations of standards always in the mix. Walt’s seven books on jazz improvisation are among the most respected in the field.
Whether for a quartet, nonet, or any configuration in between, Walt’s compositions and arrangements have attracted fans and critical notice.
Simplicity (Criss Cross Jazz-1993), met with immediate success. It was number one on Eurojazz radio for four straight weeks and inspired Mel Martin of Saxophone Journal to write: “Walt Weiskopf’s prime influence as a player appears to be John Coltrane, but he is no slavish imitator. He gets to musical matters in a powerful and positive way, asserting a definite viewpoint… He displays much technical accomplishment, yet makes it sound basic and accessible.”
November 27: Greg Abate
Greg Abate is a jazz saxophonist, flutist, and composer. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in the mid-70’s, Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for 2 years.
In 1978 Greg formed his group Channel One which was a favorite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to play tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under the leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to ’87.
Following this experience, Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the U.S. Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, and Moscow and Georgia Russia.
To this date Greg has recorded over 17 other recordings. Greg is also an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and is also a very active jazz clinician with co-sponsorship from the Conn-Selmer Instrument Co., conducting workshops and master classes through the U.S and abroad. He continues actively touring the globe as an International Jazz/Recording Artist.
Greg was inducted into the RI MUSIC HALL OF FAME in 2016
December 5: NEC Symphonic Winds & Chamber Singers with the U.S. Navy Band Northeast
This annual holiday concert serves up the spirit of the season in a big way. Bill Drury and Erica Washburn from New England Conservatory conduct a broad repertoire. Also performing — Navy Band Northeast, a 35-musician ensemble based on board NAVSTA Newport and one of 11 official U.S. Navy bands worldwide.
December 11: Carlos Odria
Peruvian-born guitarist Carlos Odria has been described as a “breathtakingly talented musician…with an immense technical skill” (Worcester Telegram) and as a “guitar wizard” (Gamble Rogers Fest). His original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards and Latin American tunes deliver an exciting blend of international styles such as bossanova, Afro-Peruvian festejo, rumba flamenca, and Afro-Caribbean vibes with an improvisational approach inspired by the rich tradition of American jazz. He holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the Florida State University, where he also obtained a Certificate in World Music. He studied classical and Latin American folk guitar with acclaimed Peruvian guitarist Pepe Torres. Later on, he pursued advanced jazz studies with Richie Zellon, jazz guitar arranging with Leo Welch, and Venezuelan cuatro at the Jose Luis Paz Conservatory in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
In 2014, the debut album of Omnimusica, an ensemble in which Odria was the lead guitarist, was included on the official ballot for the 57th Grammy Awards, in the World Music category.
Dr. Odria has performed at numerous concert halls, universities, and festivals and has shared the stage with renowned jazz, classical, and world music artists such as Jeff Denson, Longineu Parsons, Leon Anderson, Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, Mlimani Park Orchestra, Mia Gormandy, Haigiong Deng, Silviu Ciulei, Jorge Continentino, Jeff Brooks, and Etienne Charles. He has taught at Darton State College, Clark University, Worcester State University, and currently is an Associate Lecturer at the Performing Arts Department at UMASS Boston.
December 18: Annual Holiday Concert
Worcester Organ Concert Series featuring Maria Ferrante, Soprano & Will Sherwood, Organ
Brown Bag Concerts started out as free organ recitals as a way for Mechanics Hall to thank the community for the dollars it donated to restore the Hall’s world-famous Hook Organ. WICN realized that Mechanics Hall was getting great audiences and tried a noontime series of its own….another great success. The following year they decided to become partners…Mechanics Hall provides the stage, the staff, and the tech support including sound; WICN programs and books the talent and broadcasts the performances live on 90.5 FM and streaming at www.wicn.org. Mechanics Hall and WICN share promotional responsibilities.
Brown Bag Concerts is sponsored by:
BROWN BAG ARCHIVE
WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) has recognized the historical significance of the 30+ years of the Brown Bag Concert Series. WPI has documented the series history in its Jazz History Database. The database includes information from 1989 – 2008.
“Studio 3”, half-hour music and interview television program featuring some of the best jazz groups in New England and beyond, was taped between 1993 and 2000 before live audiences in the studios of WGMC-TV3 or on location, including Brown Bag concerts at Mechanics Hall. All shows were produced and hosted by jazz vocalist Toni Ballard, with production support from Greater Media Cable, and aired from 1993 to 2003 on WGMC-TV3. The WPI Jazz History Database includes Studio 3 videos.
Brown Bag Concert Series: Spring 2013
Brown Bag Concert Series: Fall 2012