Ellington's Nutcracker Suite to be performed at ESU

17-piece ensemble will be joined by guest narrators Nancy Reed and Duke Ellington's grandson, Edward Ellington II


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  • Duke Ellington



— East Stroudsburg University’s Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection will present Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Cecilia S. Cohen Recital Hall of the university’s Fine & Performing Arts Center, Normal and Marguerite streets, East Stroudsburg.

The suite will be performed by the Water Gap Jazz Orchestra, directed by Matt Vashlishan, D.M.A. The 17-piece ensemble will be joined by local jazz vocalist Nancy Reed and Duke Ellington's grandson, Edward Ellington II, as guest narrators telling the story of the Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker has become one of the most recognized holiday performances since its debut performance in 1892. In 1960, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn arranged their own jazz version of the suite for Columbia Records. The music is instantly recognizable with a fresh, "hip" twist, and has become very popular among jazz musicians, jazz listeners and general audiences.

Before the performance, at 6 p.m., ESU’s art + design and theatre departments will host the opening night of the ESU Holiday Craft Market. The event, in Madelon Powers Gallery, will feature a craft market, wreath decorating competition and student carolers. The Holiday Craft Market will be open Dec. 4 and 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 6 and 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

General admission tickets are $15; the cost is $5 for students and children.

Tickets are available by contacting Emily Brennan, special events coordinator at 570-422-3156, or can be purchased online in advance at esufoundation.org/duke2017. Tickets will also be available at the door.

For more information about the Al Cohn Memorial Jazz Collection contact Vashlishan at 570-422-3828 or email alcohncollection@esu.edu.

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