Evans debuts new choir at annual Leo Party
Samirah Evans

Evans debuts new choir at annual Leo Party

BRATTLEBORO — Staying true to the spirit of her astrological sign, jazz and blues vocalist Samirah Evans has hosted a party that is part concert, part jam session nearly every year for the past two decades in celebration of her own birthday and that of fellow Leos.

The 2016 Leo Party takes place Sunday, Aug. 21, at 4 p.m., at the 118 Elliot performance space in downtown Brattleboro.

This year's celebration will also serve as the concert debut of her choir, the NOLABratts.

Evans said in a news release that she had been approached many times about directing a local choir over the years, and this summer she recruited a small group of participants with varying levels of experience to perform vocal arrangements of classic New Orleans R&B tunes.

“It's been a very gratifying experience to interpret these songs from the home I miss so much and seeing the joy they have brought to the members,” Evans says, adding the group will be accompanied by the trio of Franz Robert II (piano), David Picchi (bass) and George Robinson (drums) for the performance.

A special guest for the performance will be Windham County Senator Becca Balint, who has been taking vocal lessons with Evans for about a year. Evans has dubbed Balint “Senator Soul Sister” for her rendition of Jessie Hill's “Ooh Poo Pah Doo.”

“I really dug the way Becca got into the song and I was ecstatic she agreed to front the choir on it,” says Evans, who will also join the NOLABratts for a few songs.

Evans will sing some songs with the house band to kick off the second set, and then open up a jam session for other musicians and vocalists in attendance.

She says the New Orleans Leo Party's were always a popular after-hours spot for the city's musicians, and previous versions in Vermont have featured appearances by Charles Neville, Eugene Uman, Moonlight Davis, and Scott Mullett. Admission is free to any jam session participants.

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