Each fall, Birch Creek’s dedicated volunteers, known as The Associates, present a festive evening of social time, delicious food and incomparable music. This year, Mardra and Reggie Thomas, Birch Creek Jazz Session faculty members and guest artists, bring “Body and Soul: The Best of Billie Holiday” to the intimate setting of Juniper Hall for the 2018 Associates Fall Fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 13.
The Thomases are perennial favorites for Birch Creek audiences and will perform the signature songs that made Billie Holiday one of the most popular jazz vocalists of all time. Vocalist Mardra Thomas and pianist Reggie Thomas are joined by bassist Mark Urness and drummer Dave Bayles. They will bring to life favorite songs such as “God Bless The Child,” “Them There Eyes,” “Body & Soul,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Fine & Mellow,” to name a few.
Mardra’s sultry voice is well suited to showcase Holiday’s sculptured phrasing that stamped a signature style on jazz singing. Mardra was recently nominated for Chicago’s Black Theater Alliance’s 2018 Lena Horne Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the Evanston, Ill. production of Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Mardra and Reggie call Birch Creek their “home away from home” and have in the past performed the music and memories of “Lady Day” to sold-out crowds on the concert barn main stage.
On Oct. 13, the event begins at 5:30 pm with social time, followed by heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 6 pm. The concert performance begins at 7 pm. Tickets are available for purchase at birchcreek.org/tickets or by calling 920.868.3763. The price is $65 per person and all proceeds benefit Birch Creek students. Office hours are 9 am – 4 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am – 2 pm Friday.