Glowing reports on SKARTS Gala guitarist

An exuberant crowd of 260 attendees gathered on the lakeside lawn of the Stella Maris Retreat House Sunday night July 25 for a fundraising party to benefit the Skaneateles Area Arts Council (SKARTS). SKARTS raises funds to provide grants for local artists and arts organizations.

On a gorgeous summer evening, celebrants enjoyed cocktails, dinner and a concert by the nationally renowned John Pizzarelli Quartet, all under a spacious tent decorated with iridescent peacock feathers.

Council President Joe Strodel welcomed the attendees and emcees Tim Green and Julie Abbott thanked sponsors and introduced the band. Afterward, Dr Robert Kiltz, a longtime supporter of the event, presented gifts to Pizzarelli and Strodel.

Singer-guitarist Pizzarelli led a well-traveled combo that included brother Martin on bass, Larry Fuller on piano and Tony Tedesco on drums in an exciting survey of the Great American Songbook, leavened with jokes about his New Jersey boyhood and the jazz life.

Tunes ranged from the Gershwins' "How About You" to Ellington's "Satin Doll" and ended with Pizzarelli's hit original "I Like Jersey Best."

When the audience cried for an encore, the group closed with a rollicking version of the Beatles' "Money Can't Buy Me Love."

"Pizzarelli presented very challenging material with technical brilliance, saut (c)ed with a lot of fun; his genius is the way he makes it seem so easy," Strodel said. "He took the crowd by storm with his sense of humor, charm and personality; he was a grand slam the moment he touched down in Skaneateles. As guitarist/SKARTS board member Holly Gregg said: 'he was doing extremely difficult stuff without breaking a sweat. Anybody who plays guitar has to be blown away by his virtuosity.'"

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