Cherresa Lawson & Friends




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Cherresa Lawson

Gary Walters

Thomas Brinkley

Jimmy Finney

David Bugher

The Kokomo Symphonic Society will bring big city sophistication and seasonal classics to the community as they present Holiday Variety with vocalist Cherresa Lawson & Friends along with selections by the Kokomo Youth Orchestra.  The event is downtown at Grace United Methodist Church, 219 W Mulberry Street at 3pm, Sunday, December 12.  Kokomo’s own Cherresa Lawson is joined by some of the finest musicians in the region to provide an afternoon of unique and inspiring soul, jazz and pop renditions of familiar selections to celebrate the holiday season.

Cherresa Lawson is Director of the award-winning Kokomo High School Choirs.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Ball State University and is active as a performer and teacher. She was a 2006 American Traditions Competition (International Competition) finalist, held in Savannah, Georgia, and Ms. Lawson continues to be invited to perform at this annual event. Cherresa is in demand as a soloist, performing jazz, blues, pop, and classical music at numerous venues across the Midwest. Locally, she performs frequently with the Kokomo Park Band and at Second Missionary Baptist Church and has been active in Kokomo Civic Theater.

Providing backup and unique stylings and interpretations for Ms. Lawson are four acclaimed jazz musicians from central Indiana.  Starting with the Pianist Gary Walters, he has taught applied music and jazz piano at Butler University, DePauw University and Indiana-Purdue University, where he has also led college jazz combos, jazz bands and  taught jazz theory and jazz history. In 2004, Gary began working on a Master’s degree in Composition, studying with Dr. Michael Schelle at Butler. He was inducted into the Indianapolis Jazz Hall of Fame in 2011.

         Bassist Thomas Brinkley has performed in practically every genre of the music business over the last 30 years: large and small jazz ensembles, funk, rock, and blues bands, early music chamber ensembles, choral groups, wedding bands, and brass quintets (he also plays tuba), national and international tours of Broadway shows, and session work.  

Percussionist Jimmy Finnie will perform on drum set and steele drum.  He has taught music at Indiana State University since 1994 and has presented solo and chamber concerts, and clinics and master classes throughout the United States, Canada, China, Austria, Thailand, and Hungary. He performs regularly with Mojah Tuba (brass, percussion, and dance fusion), Cramped Spaces Ensemble (piano and percussion quartet), Caribbean Consort Steel Band, and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of North Texas.

         Currently from Chicago,  Percussionist David Bugher is the former assistant band director at Kokomo High School.  He will be featured on vibes and percussion.  Bugher earned his bachelor’s degree in performance and education from Ball State University, a master’s in classical performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s in jazz performance from DePaul University. He has played with numerous groups and players including Phil Woods, Ron Perillo, Tom Matta, Douglas Walter, Bob Palmieri, Suena Latin Jazz, Psychedelic Blue, and his own Chicago based quartet. Most recently, David recorded tracks for an upcoming album with notable jazz arrangers Cliff Colnot and David Bloom.

         Also participating are Trudy and Keith Whitford, Principal Flute and Principal Trumpet with the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra.

         Selections include Sleigh Ride, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, A Child Is Born (Thad Jones), Do You Hear What I Hear?/ Noel (Gloria Shayne), We Three Kings (John Henry Hopkins Jr), River (Joni Mitchell), The Christmas Song (Mel Torme’), Merry Christmas Baby, Mary Did You Know, Silent Night, This Christmas (Donny Hawathy/Nadine McKinnor), Feliz Navidad (Jose’ Feliciano) and O Holy Night (Placide Cappeau).

               This concert is not part of the regular subscription series of the KSO. Tickets are $10 for adults. $5 for college students and free for children and students K-12. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kokomosymphony.net,  by calling 765-236-0251 and will also  be available at the door.

         Kokomo Symphonic Society activities are produced in cooperation with the City of Kokomo, Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Indiana Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Howard County, Indiana. the UPS Store, and Scared Rabbit, Z92.5, and the Kokomo Tribune. More information about the KSO and the Kokomo Youth Orchestra can be found on Facebook, on the website or by emailing kokomosymphony@sbcglobal.net.