Trio Offering New Jazz Lessons and Carols at Sanibel Congregational UCC

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Jazz arrangements of Christmas songs, readings that are both meaningful and enjoyable, carol singing, and holiday decorations will all be part of the Jazz Lessons and Carols service at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way. All are welcome to attend and are invited to enjoy refreshments afterwards in Fellowship Hall. There is no charge, although there will be a free-will offering.

Saxophonist and vocalist Shawn Allison, pianist Abbey Allison, and guitarist Dave Dust – all local professional musicians – enjoy working together and are excited to offer this special service to the community during the festive Christmas season. The Rev. Dr. John H. Danner, Senior Pastor, will also participate.

While this is a new service for SCUCC, the trio has played at the church’s blended services for three years, performing arrangements inspired by jazz, folk, rock, gospel, and classical music and tailored to the week’s message.  In Jazz Lessons and Carols, they will present upbeat pieces, beautiful ballads, and other Christmas music with a jazz twist. Shawn will lead the carol singing, which will feature familiar Christmas songs.

The trio has chosen readings from sources including Christmas poems by Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou and Christmas sermons by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. There will be selections by other poets, orators, and theologians, as well. The readings will emphasize Christmas miracles, peace, and the joy of the season.

Shawn Allison is a saxophonist, vocalist, composer, and educator. As a saxophonist, he has performed across the country in a variety of venues, both as a soloist and with numerous ensembles. Locally, he plays and sings in weekly services at St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church and SCUCC. As the Allison Duo, he and Abbey perform at concerts and events throughout the region, including this coming summer’s concert series at Shell Point. Shawn’s music has been played by ensembles ranging from high school choirs to collegiate ensembles to Grammy winners including the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, eighth blackbird, and Third Coast Percussion. He has taught at Ithaca College, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, and Florida Gulf Coast University. He holds degrees from St. Olaf College and Ithaca College and is a doctoral candidate in composition at the University of Chicago.

Abbey is a collaborative pianist who has worked in the Ithaca, Chicago, and Southwest Florida areas. She holds a double degree in piano performance and string education from Ithaca College, and has worked with both student and professional instrumentalists and vocalists, including national competition winners and contemporary music specialists. In addition to her work as a freelance pianist, Abbey is the staff accompanist for the choral program at FGCU and accompanies the Symphonic Chorale of Southwest Florida and the Bay Singers of Bonita Bay. Abbey plays for weekly worship services at Temple Bat Yam and St. Hilary’s Episcopal Church, in addition to SCUCC, and is a member of two duos: The Wild Coffee Duo, with cellist Susie Kelly, and the Allison Duo, with Shawn.

David Dust caught the guitar bug as a young boy of eight, in 1963. He studied with private teachers for several years in Cincinnati and has been playing in a variety of groups and ensembles since high school and performing on stages in numerous clubs and restaurants since 1972. Seeking to learn as much as he could about music and the fine art of making it, he studied at both University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and the Berklee College of Music in Boston during the ’70s. He has shared stages with Bonnie Raitt, Paul Barriere (of Little Feat), Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen, the Marshall Tucker Band, and most recently “American Idol” finalist Reuben Stoddard. He loves to hear and see how music moves people.

For more information, call 239-472-0497.

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