What’s grown into a three-year tradition will be back for a fourth when an ensemble of top local musicians led by two on grand pianos bring songs of the holidays to the Gesa Power House Theatre.
The 7 p.m. Saturday “‘Tis the Season” concert is a benefit for the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation, dedicated to promoting history, culture and commerce in the city’s downtown core.
Once again, pianists Gary Hemenway and Mark Brown will bring their combination of musical styles as they perform at dual grand pianos, offering
beloved seasonal favorites, surprising gems that may be unfamiliar to some and a few originals, some crafted specifically for this annual show.
They will be joined on stage by vocalists Clairece Rosati and Jennifer Northam, drummer Daniel Cox, bassist Al Gemberling and a section of horn maestros comprising Dave Glenn (trombone), Doug Scarborough (trombone), Gary Gemberling (trumpet) and Clark Bondy (saxophone). All in the ensemble are masters of their instruments and accomplished performers and recording artists around the Pacific Northwest.
Hemenway, an instrumental and vocal composer and arranger who teaches jazz piano and choir at Whitman College, serves as the musical director, creating arrangements tailored to the talents of the ensemble and bringing a holiday sparkle to old chestnuts as well as new renderings.
“He took a tune that was somewhat lugubrious and spun it into a New Orleans gospel number that will, I’m certain, be one of the highlights of the evening,” Brown said.
In return, Brown has written a tune as a Christmas gift for Hemenway and their musical and personal friendship. The tune will be premiered at the concert.
Hemenway and Brown often pair as partners in benefit performances with nonprofits. The Downtown Walla Walla Foundation expects a sellout concert, as in past years. Tickets, $30 for reserved seating, can be bought online at phtww.com of by calling the Power House Theatre box office.
Wine at the concert will be poured by Sinclair
Estate Vineyards and Bontzu Cellars.