Dec 17, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Most concerts are strictly entertainment.
When Spyro Gyra takes the stage Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Palace Theater, however, the music will represent a clarion call for an end to handgun violence on our city’s streets.
On Nov. 25, former Henninger High School sport star Kihary Blue was critically wounded in a drive-by shooting on Interstate 81. He was in a car that also carried members of the Bricktown Gang. The 19-year-old Blue died Dec. 2, at Upstate University Hospital.
On Nov. 28, 20-month-old Raashad Walker Jr. was shot to death when a gang member opened fire on a car in which the baby was sitting. According to Syracuse Police, the shooter was a member of Bricktown gang. The intended target of the attack, police said, was the infant’s father, a member of 110, a rival gang.
‘Gang violence out of control’
“As you know, youth gun and gang violence in the city is currently rampant and spiraling out of control,” said concert promoter Frank Malfitano, a native of Syracuse. “And as you may also know, Dunbar Association was recently cut from the United Way budget, so this upcoming holiday jazz concert takes on added significance for Dunbar and the youth of the Syracuse community they serve for a variety of reasons.”
Saturday’s Spyro Gyra show in Eastwood will benefit the Dunbar Association, which has worked here since 1918 to provide reliable, affordable and accessible social services to children, youth, adults, families and older persons in need of advocacy and assistance regardless of race, gender, age and creed.
The Dunbar Association is one of the few African-American Settlement Houses still operating today. It started out during World War I when an ex-convict named Jimmy LaGrin proposed providing recreational activities to black youth to keep them from criminal activities. Partnering with the local AME Zion Church, LaGrin created a recreational program. The effort took the Dunbar name after he befriended black students at Syracuse University who had formed a literary group called The Paul Lawrence Dunbar Society
For info, visit. Dunbarassociation.org.
“A lot of young lives in the inner city of Syracuse have come to depend on this invaluable service agency daily and nightly for their very survival,” Malfitano said.
So Saturday’s concert is much more than entertainment.
Spyro Gyra Saturday
Spyro Gyra, the 32-year-old jazz fusion group from Buffalo, will perform a “Jazz Christmas 2010” at Eastwood’s Palace Theater, 2378 James St., at 8 p.m. Saturday to benefit the Dunbar programs.
Led by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Tom Schuman, Spyro Gyra received a 2009 Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Album for its holiday disc, “A Night Before Christmas,” featuring improvisations on tunes such as “O Tannenbaum,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
The Dunbar Association Inc. is co-presenting the “Jazz Christmas” concert in association with Syracuse Jazz Fest and WAER-FM. Tickets cost $25, $35 and $55 (the latter includes pre-show reception); 476-4269 or 395-9869
‘Christmas Story’ set steals scenes
The local kids cast in “A Christmas Story” at Syracuse Stage bring a welcome warmth to the stage version of the popular 1983 movie about the boy who wants a BB gun from Santa.
This “Christmas Story” not only delights the memory banks, it also dazzles the eye. The real star of this production is its marvelous motorized set design
At the final preview performance on Dec. 2, audience members displayed their appreciation for Michael Ganio’s spectacular scenic designs as applause broke out spontaneously several times when new sets rolled into view.
Especially impressive was the sparkling Higbee’s department store set in the second act.
While the professional adult actors and the local kids all did yeoman comedic work, those gorgeously decorated shifting set pieces really stole the show.
“A Christmas Story” runs through Dec. 30 at Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St. Ticket prices range from $15 to $48; 443-3275; syracusestage.org.
S&Ms play Shifty’s Sunday
A talented trio calling itself the S&Ms will entertain at the Shifty’s Tavern Christmas Party, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 19, at the legendary watering hole at 1401 Burnet Ave.
The S&Ms feature mandolinist/guitarist Shirley Woodcock-Kolb, bassist Mike Ranger and guitarist Mark Gibson. The S&Ms play a fetching blend of blues, folk and roots rock.
“We’ll make you like it,” Shirley says, sadistically.