Traverse City, Mich. – For Immediate Release – City Opera House recognized local resident Bob James with an Ambassador for the Arts Award this evening at the end of the City Opera House 125 Years! Collage Concert.
Bob James is a two-time Grammy Award – winning jazz keyboardist, arranger and record producer.Discovered by Quincy Jones in 1963, James recorded his first solo album in 1963. Fifty-eight albums and innumerable awards have followed through five decades. He founded the smooth jazz band Fourplay and wrote the theme song “Angela” for the TV show Taxi. Music from his first three albums is frequently sampled and James is recognized as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz. His music has had a profound effect on the history of hip hop. James resides in Traverse City, Michigan.
In addition to his career as an internationally known artist, James has been instrumental in getting City Opera House to where it is today. In 2003 Bob James brought in fellow musicians, Earl Klugh, Dave McMurray, Bob’s daughter -Hilary James, Al Turner & Ron Otis to perform for the City Opera House Recherché Benefit which was held at Interlochen Center for the Arts. A second benefit, Recherché II was held in 2005 where once again Mr. James extended his support with performances by Kirk Whalem, Regina Carter & the Bob James Trio. James, who is also a visual artist, created a piece of artwork for auction at the Recherché I event. The original piece, “Restoration,” is a digitally generated Giclée measuring 18” X 30”.
Recherché (ray-share-shay) means rare, choice, uncommon, extraordinary and was at the heart of these benefit events: the extraordinary gift of Bob, Earl and their musical colleagues, the extraordinary reunion of their musical genius on behalf of, the extraordinary effort to restore City Opera House to its former function and grandeur.
In 2016, City Opera House asked to participate in the TC Banner Project and place a piece of large artwork on the back side of City Opera House. Bob James’ “Restoration” piece came to mind right away and was granted approval by Northwestern Michigan College and The Dennos Museum Center. Once again, James stepped forward and graciously extended the use of his “Restoration” for the communities benefit. Bob James’ gratis performance tonight was another example of James’ commitment to the community and the arts.
“Inviting Bob to take part in the celebratory event was always top for City Opera House and we are ever so grateful to him for all he has done for City Opera House and this community.”
- Diane Baribeau, City Opera House Executive Director
Celebrating 125 years in the region, City Opera House paid homage to the community with a free 125 Years! Collage Concert. Ron Jolly (The Ron Jolly Show - NewsTalk 580) is the 125 Years! Collage Concert Master of Ceremonies with special guest, Grammy award - winning Bob James with flutist, Nancy Stagnitta, plus performances by Old Town Playhouse, NWS-Front Street Writers, and TSO Ensemble.
Presented by City Opera House, the 125 Years! Collage Concert was a collaboration among partners and community groups who have actively utilized this Victorian gem since reopening and, through their service, have contributed to the continued sustainability of City Opera House.
Celebrating the 125 year, City Opera House is one of forty-eight opera houses built in Michigan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Affectionately known as “The Grand Old Lady," this regional treasure had its grand opening gala February 5, 1892. Today only seven of these historic Victorian structures are open statewide. Of these, only the magnificently restored City Opera House in downtown Traverse City features two world-class Performing Arts series featuring professional national-touring artists, multiple arts education programs for learners ages 8-18, and hosts an active schedule of public and private community events year round. A landmark and community gathering place, over 60,000 experience this gem annually; a great point of community pride! None of this would be possible without generous support from donors, sponsors and partners like Bob James and more.
Celebrating 125 years in downtown Traverse City, City Opera House connects people to the arts through entertainment, education, and community events.