Starting on Friday, downtown Laurinburg will be filled with the sounds of New Orleans jazz as the Storytelling Arts Center of the Southeast kicks of its first “Laurinburg Alive with Jazz” weekend.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will play two concerts at the center at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
“I saw this same group at a music series at Brevard College last year, and they are wonderful,” said Carol Lee, SACS community coordinator. “One of the things that we want to emphasize is that they play all kinds of music. They’re not limited at all to what people may think of as Dixieland jazz; it’s also gospel and blues. It’s very eclectic and there’s something there for most everyone.”
The group has seven traveling members who will perform in Laurinburg, with several vocal numbers in its repertoire. Each performance will be 75 minutes long and seating is limited to 200. Some tickets are still available at $30 per seat.
Founded in 1961, the band takes its name from Preservation Hall, a tiny but famous building in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has traveled worldwide since 1963, disseminating the sounds of New Orleans jazz at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center in New York, N.Y., with members of the British and Thai royalty among the band’s audiences.
“I never would have conceived that we could have them in Laurinburg and that’s why I’m so excited: they said yes,” said Lee. “I was in the program committee when one of our members said why don’t we get the Preservation Hall Jazz Band this year and I sat there and thought oh, right, they won’t come to Laurinburg.”
In fact, SACS is the smallest venue that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has performed this year, and tickets have been purchased by audiophiles from around the region.
“It’s a rare treat to have them in a venue like this one,” Lee said. “They’ve moved the grand piano in that’s going to be used in the concert and it’s being tuned today. We’ve been having calls from folks around the state. We had someone call from Raleigh the other day to see if there were still tickets because he saw them at Preservation Hall.”
Band merchandise and recordings will be available at the concert, and wine, beer, and refreshments will be for sale as well.
To purchase tickets, call SACS at 910-277-3599 for tickets or buy them on-line at www.storyarts.info. Any remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the door on Friday evening.
In addition to Preservation Hall’s performances, the weekend of jazz will be rounded out on Saturday at 7 p.m. with the monthly SACS jazz jam and cabaret. That event will feature the Day and Knight jazz duo and other musicians. On Sunday, a gospel jazz brunch will be held at SACS at 2:30 p.m.