St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids Kicks off their 135-Year Anniversary Year Jazz Series with 10-time GRAMMY™ Award Winner Jazz Trumpet Great Arturo Sandoval

St. Cecilia Music Center (SCMC) in Grand Rapids will launch the jazz series during their 135th year anniversary season on October 11, 2018 with 10-time GRAMMY™ Award Winner Jazz Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.  Arturo Sandoval, protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, is one of the most dynamic and vivacious live performers of our time, and has been seen by millions at the Oscars, Grammy Awards, and Billboard Awards.

SCMC Executive Director Cathy Holbrook says, “To have Arturo Sandoval on stage at SCMC during our 135thAnniversary Season is a special tribute to Grand Rapids, our rich music history and love of live jazz performances. It will be thrilling to see and hear Arturo’s prolific playing and experience his vibrant personality that persevered through hard times to bravely achieve his lifelong dream of sharing his musical gift with people throughout the world.”

Concert tickets for Arturo Sandoval are $45 and $50 and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at  A pre-concert reception with wine / hors d’oeuvresis available by reservation for $15 and begins at 6:30 pm. A post-concert party with dessert, coffee and wine is open to all ticket-holdersand Arturo Sandoval’s music will be available after the concert.

A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Arturo Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, on November 6, 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American Jazz. Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of twelve, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. While still in Cuba, he was influenced by jazz musicians Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie. He finally met Dizzy Gillespie in 1977. Gillespie became a mentor and colleague, playing with Sandoval in concerts in Europe and Cuba and later featuring him in the United Nations Orchestra. Sandoval defected while touring with Gillespie in 1990, and he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1998.

Arturo Sandoval’s life was the subject of the film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000), starring Andy García. Arturo Sandoval has won ten Grammy Awards and has been nominated nineteen times; he has also received six Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award.

In 2013, President Barack Obama presented Arturo Sandoval with the Presidential Medal of Freedom proclaiming, “Arturo Sandoval was born into poverty in Cuba and held back by his government. He risked everything to share his gifts with the world. In the decades since, this astonishing trumpeter, pianist and composer has inspired audiences in every corner of the world and awakened a new generation of great performers. He remains one of the best ever to play.”

Throughout his life experiences, Arturo Sandoval has evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer, performing regularly with the leading symphony orchestras from around the world.

Arturo Sandoval reaches beyond the scope of mere effort. His struggles while in Cuba and since his defection have given him more energy and strength, urging him to accomplish and surpass his childhood dreams. Filled with a virtuoso capability, he desires nothing more than to share his gift with others who feel the same intense adoration for music as he does. He is one of the most brilliant, multifaceted and renowned musicians of our time.

Three Additional Jazz Series Concerts at SCMC during the 2018/2019 135thanniversary season include:

  • The Kenny Barron Quintet performing on November 1, 2018. Barron has earned eleven GRAMMY™ nods beginning in 1992 for Best Jazz Album with “People Time” an outstanding duet with Stan Getz, and most recently in 2017 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album. TheLos Angeles Timeshas called Kenny Barron “one of the top jazz pianists in the world” and he was named Best Pianist in 2017 by the Jazz Journalists Association for a record seven times.
  • Multi-talented Jazz Musician Joey DeFranceso appearing with his quartet “The People” on February 7, 2018. Applauded as “one of the best B-3 players on the planet” by Jazz Times, DeFranceso will be releasing his new album on Mack Avenue Records – Project Freedom. The new album features him on the Hammond B-3, along with contributions on keyboards, trumpet and as a vocalist. Accompanying DeFrancesco will be drummer Jason Brown, guitarist Dan Wilson and saxophonist Troy Roberts—collectively billed as “the People.”
  • Young rising jazz singer Veronica Swift and the Benny Green Trio performing on March 7, 2019. Veronica Swift will launch her newest album for release in 2018 and the album will feature the great pianist Benny Green and his trio. At age 23, Veronica Swift is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene. Benny Green, a veteran of the jazz world combines a mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century.

More Concerts and Events to Celebrate SCMC’s 135-Year Anniversary

SCMC’s 135 Year Anniversary season will include the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performing three concerts. Beginning on November 15, 2018, CMS of Lincoln Center will perform the beloved Schubert composition “The Trout Quintet”, as well as,diverse gems from the 19th century including works by Beethoven and Bottesini. March 14, 2019, CMS will return to perform a program entitled Russian Mastery, featuring works by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Arensky.They will perform again on April 25, 2018 with a program titled From Mendelssohn, celebrating the German romantic composer Felix Mendelssohnwho led prominent composers (Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and others) to follow him for generations.

The Acoustic Café Folk Series will begin on October 4, 2018 with St. Louis-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Pokey LaFarge in his first solo concert since 2006; The Lone Bellow will perform on November 29, 2018, and is a Brooklyn-based band (now in Nashville) who has become known for their transcendent harmonies, serious musicianship and lively performances; “The king and queen of the banjo”, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn will return to SCMC on February 9, 2019; and two-time Grammy nominees and winners of The Best Duo Group of the Year by American Music Group Association, the California based Milk Carton Kids will perform on February 28, 2019.

In addition to the exciting concert line-up, SCMC will feature two special events to celebrate their 135-year anniversary during March 2019 Women’s History Month.

  • March 23, 2019, the first annual Helen DeVos Legacy Award dinner will debut to honor the late Helen DeVos, lifelong benefactor and supporter of many arts organizations in the community. SCMC will honor the late Helen DeVos for a lifetime of philanthropic service and, in particular, her support and love of the arts. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation has been one of the most important benefactors of SCMC over the years. Helen DeVos served on the SCMC Board of Directors and had a special appreciation for music. Her lifetime of patronage to the arts had a huge impact on the cultural growth of Grand Rapids as a city. In subsequent years, SCMC will choose a West Michigan woman who has had a positive impact on the cultural life of Grand Rapids to receive the Helen DeVos Legacy Award.
  • A second special event celebrating women during the 2018/2019 season will be an educational outreach performance for Grand Rapids Public Schools from the New York based organization JazzReach. Currently scheduled for March 15, 2019, the program titled “She Said/She Says – The History and Status of Women in Jazz” will give students a view of the important role women have played in jazz.

SCMC’s history is integrally aligned with women’s history in Grand Rapids. The organization was founded in 1883 by nine Grand Rapids women and was the only organization of its kind to be run solely by women.  It was through the efforts of the first women of SCMC that the historic building on Ransom Avenue was erected in 1894, and it is their original mission that SCMC continues to uphold today.