Jazz-gospel violinist Kersten Stevens, a Stratford native, returns to Connecticut for a Dec. 22 holiday concert at the Fairfield Theatre Company’s Stage One. Photo: Contributed Photo
Jazz-gospel violinist Kersten Stevens comes home for holidays
Phyllis A.S. Boros Published 2:43 pm, Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Jazz-gospel violinist Kersten Stevens is headed home to celebrate the holidays.
And she couldn’t be more excited.
Not only will Stevens, a Stratford native, visit with her parents and hometown friends, she’ll be headlining with a Christmas show at the Fairfield Theatre Company‘s StageOne, on Sunday, Dec. 22 — her first full-length concert in Connecticut in five years.
“My dad (Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barry K. Stevens) has been after me for the past few years to do a concert here in Connecticut … and I think it’s a great idea, especially with my new album, `Inspire Me.’ I’m really looking forward to it,” Stevens said.
“Connecticut, of course, is my first home and it is the place where many of my most dedicated supporters and fans live,” said Stevens, who also is a composer and arranger. “I’m hoping to make the concert an experience for all, a special evening for us to celebrate the magic of the holiday season and to be impacted by the power of great music.”
A 2006 graduate of Yale University, Stevens now resides in Teaneck, N.J.
Stevens said last week that she kicked off her IveBeenInspired Tour a few months ago with “a sold-out album release party at the world famous Apollo Theater soundstage.”
Sunday’s event, “An Inspired Christmas: A Holiday Concert Event,” also will feature El Shafer on trumpet, Miki Hayama on keyboards, David Rosenthal on guitar, Parker McAllister on bass and Russell Carter on drums.
On the program will be arrangements from her 2008 Christmas album, “The Gift,” and favorites from the “Inspire Me” album.
Tentatively planned, she said, is Regina Carter‘s arrangement (inspired by Jean-Luc Ponty) of the hymn “Tis So Sweet,” “O Holy Night” as a jazz ballad; “Jingle Bells” a la “fast swing”; “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas”; and “The Gift,” the title track from her holiday album.
Since graduating from Yale, she has concentrated on performing, developing a music career, teaching (including at Greenwich Academy). She also is an on-camera personality and digital media specialist for the Apollo Theater.
“I’ve been given a great gift and I feel a responsibility to give back to others” through teaching, performing and volunteering in faith-based projects,” Stevens said.
“I’m in a unique place” as a musician, “equi-distant between jazz and gospel/spirituality. There are not many of us around — I’m one of the few.
“A couple of years down the road, I’d like to think that I’ll have the respect of both my peers in the field and mainstream audiences. I’m working toward that.”
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Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield. Sunday, Dec. 22, 6 p.m. $50 includes autographed poster; $40; $25 ages 15, younger. 203-259-1036, fairfieldtheatre.org.