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Arthur Davis

The Arts

BUHS students show off their skills at Vermont Jazz Center fundraising gala

BRATTLEBORO—One of Brattleboro’s newest town meeting representatives is also an accomplished musician who plays trumpet with the All State Jazz Band and sings at the Vermont Jazz Center at the Cotton Mill.

He also happens to be in high school.

Arthur Davis seems nonplussed by the fact that he was recently was elected to serve as representative from District 3 to the Town Meeting. He explains, “You simply have to be 18 years old.”

But then again, Davis is man of many talents. He has acted for many seasons with the New England Youth Theatere, recently took a Brattleboro Union High School-sponsored trip to Cuba, and this Saturday, for the first time, will be singing jazz in public.

On April 2 at 8 p.m., the Vermont Jazz Center will present a special fundraising concert marking the 15th anniversary of its jazz vocal program. The event will celebrate those who have come through the VJC’s summer workshop and moved on to become professional singers. It will also shine a light on a generous handful of younger, talented singers who have chosen to make music a significant focus in their lives.

The singers will be accompanied by pianist and VJC director Eugene Uman, drummer and long-time VJC faculty member Claire Arenius and bassist James Robbins, a senior at the Berklee College of Music and a junior faculty at the VJC summer workshop.

To honor the present, the VJC welcomes numerous vocalists who have, over the years, trained with Sheila Jordan and Jay Clayton at the summer jazz workshop — Hannah Rose Diamond, Integriti Reeves, Rebecca Holtz, Miriam Raffeld, Devin Beck, and Kavita Shah.

VJC will also presenting established professional performers with strong ties to the VJC summer workshop: Jill Connolly, Sarah Elizabeth Charles. and Beth Logan.

Funds raised from this event will be used to support the Jazz Center’s scholarship program. Over the years, dozens of students have had the opportunity to attend classes at the Vermont Jazz Center and participate in the week-long summer workshop through scholarship support.

The present economic situation has significantly increased the number of musicians seeking financial assistance and VJC therefore hope to increase its scholarship capacity to continue to make jazz programs accessible to all.

Last summer, Davis himself had the good fortune of taking part in the Vermont Jazz Center’s summer workshop, studying trumpet with Howard Brofsky, a prominent musician and president of VJC.

He thought it “a really great time to be around so many good people.” The upcoming concert, however, is his first time he has ever sung jazz in concert, and he said he is really looking forward to it.

He will be joined by fellow BUHS students Julia Foster and Maya Struthers-Freedman. Both girls are 15, and this will be the first chance for each to perform at the Vermont Jazz Center. Like Davis, neither would limit themselves as jazz singers.

Foster is a member of the BUHS choral group, and belongs to Renegade, an a ccapella group which has often performed in the area. She plays both the piano and guitar. Struthers-Freedman also plays piano and sings with the BUHS choral group.

Both students write their own music, Julia accompanying herself on guitar, Maya on piano. Both have have taken part in numerous productions at New England Youth Theatre, working together this year in Fiddler on the Roof and the upcoming My Fair Lady.

Along with Arthur, all three last year performed together in the intensely dramatic play The Crucible at the NEYT, directed by Peter Gould.

These young singers have proven themselves in the BUHS vocal program under the meticulous and caring guidance of Patty Meyer. For this performance, they will get the opportunity to sing a jazz standard of their choosing accompanied by a professional rhythm section.

They will work directly with Uman, choosing the right tune, right key and appropriate jazz feel for the song they have chosen. Julia will sing Fever, which was a hit by one of her favorites, Peggy Lee. Maya will perform Almost Like Being in Love, from the classic Broadway musical Brigadoon. Arthur will give the jazz treatment to that old standard, On the Sunny Side of the Street.

Tickets for the show are $15. To purchase using a credit card, visit the VJC website at and order using their secure server. Tickets can also be purchased at In the Moment in downtown Brattleboro, or can be reserved by calling the VJC ticket-line at 802-254-9088. A surcharge of $1 per ticket will be added to all tickets purchased with a credit card. This concert is handicapped accessible, call ahead to discuss arrangements.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #94 (Wednesday, March 30, 2011).

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