Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble Headline 7th Annual “Note To Remember” Event

On Saturday, February 14, the Sycamore Music Boosters is excited to welcome headliner Mardra and Reggie Thomas Ensemble, Jazz In Progress, Sycamore High School (SHS) Jazz Ensemble, SHS Jazz Choir, and a SHS String Ensemble as they host its 7th annual night of jazz and classical music entitled “A Note to Remember”. This fundraiser will be held at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. Additionally, three Sycamore High School alumni will be introduced and honored as our 2015 SHS Music Hall of Fame inductees. An elegant, sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres buffet and coffee bar will be included along with a raffle and silent auction of hundreds of gifts and prizes generously donated by local businesses.

Mardra Thomas is a well-known jazz vocalist and known in the Broadway world for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in concert and on the theatre stage. According to her bio, her music career was sparked in the St. Louis area when she performed for the opening of Dizzy Gillespie’s 70th Birthday Concert. Shortly thereafter she found herself trading scat solos with world-class trumpeter Clark Terry while performing with the East St. Louis Lincoln Big Band under the direction of renowned educator and former NIU jazz educator Ronald Carter. Her sultry voice can be heard in radio and TV spots and is released on CD recordings such as “Fade To Blue”(Max Jazz Records), “Standard Times (Victoria Records), as the Flying Jazz Kitten in Sharon Burch’s recently released “Freddie the Frog” music educational book/CD series (Mystic), featured vocalist on Michigan State University’s Professors of Jazz last release “Better Than Alright”, and has a new CD entitled “Matters Of The Heart” scheduled for release spring of 2015. She has shared the stage with diversified greats including: Bill Pierce, Clay Jenkins, Dennis Mackrel, Don Vappie, Ernie Adams, Harold Jones, Jeff Campbell, Kim Richmond, Lou Marini, Randy Brecker, Rodney Whitaker, Victor Goines, and on many occasions with her husband pianist/organist Reggie Thomas in their ensembles, as they will be featured together at A Note to Remember this year.

Pianist Reggie Thomas is currently the Associate Professor and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. He has performed internationally in Canada, Italy, Poland, Senegal, and England, and his recordings include work with Clay Jenkins, Kim Richmond, Clark Terry, and Mike Vax, as well as recordings as a leader and with his jazz vocalist wife, Mardra. His bio states Reggie is co-author with Wynton Marsalis and others on the important jazz teachers’ resource Teaching Music through Performance in Jazz (GIA Publications). He is a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center, working with the Essentially Ellington Program and the Band Director Academy. He presented “Creating Music Through Improvisation” at the Carnegie Hall Music Educator’s Workshop (NY). He is an active college clinician/adjudicator, has directed All State Jazz Bands, Combos and Jazz Choirs in numerous states, and has served on summer jazz faculties across the country and abroad.

Jazz In Progress formed from the interest of several local musicians wanting to establish a musical group. Rehearsals began in March 2012, under the direction of Dave Lehman with approximately 20 musicians. Jazz In Progress made their public debut on June 30, 2012, as a part of the Celebration Chorale “Salute to the USO” concert.  One year later they were happy to be a part of “Freedom”, with the same group. Jazz In Progress has been privileged to play at several local events and venues including the NIU College of Education Jazz Bistro, the Gavin Wilson Family Variety Show, the grand opening of DeKalb Sycamore Chevy, Heritage Woods, Bethany Healthcare, St. Mary’s Lancer Legacy Ball, Downtown Sycamore’s Tuesdays on the Town, and two shows at the Hopkins Park Dee Palmer Bandshell.  This is their second time performing at A Note to Remember.

The 2015 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees will also be introduced at this event. Three Sycamore High School Alumni have been chosen as Legacy Award recipients and will be announced soon. A separate induction ceremony including the unveiling of the updated 2015 trophy case is scheduled for February 14 in the Sycamore High School Auditorium at 2:30pm; the public is invited to attend and admission is free to this ceremony.

Sponsors for A Note to Remember currently include Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists, Prairie View Animal Hospital, Dr. Todd Anderson – Oral & Maxillo Facial Surgeons of Northern Illinois, NB & T, Ideal Industries, KishHealth Systems, American Midwest Bank, Floor to Ceiling, Austin’s Violin Shop, Law Office of Riley N. Oncken, Special Needs Products, Quinlan & Fabish Music Company, Carmine’s Subs, InVironments Magazine, LePrint Express, New Values Magazine, and Shaw Media – the Daily Chronicle and the Midweek. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; please see our web site to download the sponsor form at http://www.SycamoreMusicBoosters.com.

A limited number of tickets are available for this adult-only event at $25.00 per person which includes musical entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, coffee bar, silent auction and raffle.  A cash bar will also be available. Seating opens at 7:00 pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Sycamore High School main office, Northern Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists 3266 Resource Parkway office in DeKalb, Kar Fre Flowers, Riccardi’s, Shawns Coffee Shop, via E-mail at Note2Remember@gmail.com or by calling 815.751.8388. For more information, please visit http://www.SycamoreMusicBoosters.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Sycamore Music Boosters is a group of families and friends of students enrolled in music education classes in Sycamore Schools.  This fundraiser will aid in the purchase of instruments, uniforms, and scholarships for Sycamore’s talented musicians.

ReggieandMardraThomas #2Jazz In Progress-Group

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