Come to West Hartford Center to dance, sing, and enjoy some local music! Families welcome. Concert season runs from October to April.

2018-2019 Season

A Perfect Saturday Night: Chamber Jazz & Gospel

First Church West Hartford presents its first Arts in The Center concert of 2018-19 Season with: “A Perfect Saturday Night: Chamber Jazz & Gospel” featuring vocalist Theresa Thomason with Eugene Friesen, cello, Joel A. Martin, piano, and First Church Choir directed by James Boratko. On Saturday, November 10th at 7:30 pm.

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The evening will include the Connecticut debut of Friesen & Martin’s new recording, “A Perfect Sunday,” an album of their free-spirited, lyrical, and rhythmic originals that melds jazz with folk and classical influences, and will also feature the spirit-lifting gospel vocalist Theresa Thomason backed up by First Church Choir.

First Church music director James Boratko will be performing with Friesen & Martin on pipe organ as well as directing First Church’s superb vocal ensemble.

Cellist Eugene Friesen is best known as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Paul Winter Consort. Friesen has brought the cello into pop, jazz, rock, and world music styles over an international career that has included collaborations with artists as diverse as Dar Williams, Dave Brubeck, and Dream Theater. He is on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Pianist Joel A. Martin is a musical phenomenon. First discovered as a musical prodigy, Joel was the youngest-ever pianist – and the first African American pianist – to compete in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. He has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Hartford Symphony, and many other leading orchestras. Having grown up with both jazz and classical music, Joel brings a perfectly integrated dignity and swing to any musical setting. Joel is currently touring with international operatic star Kathleen Battle in her stirring program “The Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey.”

Theresa Thomason has travelled widely as a musical ambassador bringing her elegant, fiercely beautiful, and thrilling vocal interpretations of Gospel, pop, and folk favorites to audiences all over the world.