Tibbits will be swinging during a thank you concert for the community with the jazz music of the Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble, which will also celebrate Tibbits’ 137th birthday at the Tibbits Opera House on September 21, 2019 at 7pm.
The ensemble will be performing for the 19th Annual Smith Memorial Concert. The event is also a celebration of the 137th birthday of the Historic Tibbits Opera House. A reception following the concert will include a dedication of its Historic Designation. Birthday gifts (donations) and proceeds for the concert will go to the Tibbits Opera House Endowment, a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to support ongoing maintenance and programming of the Tibbits Opera House through a permanently endowed fund.
This year’s concert will feature the Mardra & Reggie Thomas Ensemble. Vocalist/actress Mardra was recently nominated for Chicago’s Black Theater Alliance’s 2018 Lena Horne Award: Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the Evanston, IL production of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Her sultry voice is well suited to showcase Holiday’s sculptured phrasing that stamped a signature style on jazz singing. Reggie can be seen fronting his own groups (Mardra/Reggie Thomas Ensemble; OGD) on both piano and Hammond organ and performing with other artists including Will Matthews, Ann Hampton Callaway and the Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker Project. The ensemble is rounded out with bass, guitar and drums, giving the warmth and welcome of “solid swing.”
The Ruth, Robert, Douglas, and Dean Smith Memorial Concert was originally organized by Diane Smith Pridgeon and her sister Susanne Smith Wise to celebrate the lives of Pridgeon’s father and two brothers, Robert, Douglas and Dean Smith. Pridgeon explains, “At the 25th year after their passing, my mother and I thought we would like to do something to give back to our community.” After Ruth’s passing, the sisters continued the tradition, adding their mother to the list of the lives they celebrate.
Each year a non-profit benefits from the proceeds of the concert, and the Tibbits Opera House Endowment has been chosen as the beneficiary this year. The Endowment provides Tibbits with the annual funds to handle operating costs and continue to provide programming to the community through the arts.
Come swing with the Mardra & Reggie Thomas Jazz Ensemble in a one-of-a-kind celebration of our community. Tickets for this performance are $20 including fees with student rate of $10. For tickets or more information, go online to Tibbits.org, to the Tibbits offices on 93 W. Chicago St. in Coldwater 9-5 Mon. through Fri., or by phone at 517.278.6029. All events are at the historic Tibbits Opera House, 14 S. Hanchett Street, Coldwater, MI.