The Arts at St. Matthew’s offers 2014-2015 lineup

For the past 17 years, the Arts at St. Matthew’s mission has been to introduce Wilton and its surrounding communities to a wide variety of diverse artists — from Grammy winners like Dave Brubeck and Ricky Skaggs to Broadway performers to a capella groups — and this year is no exception.

Yale University School of Music guitar department chair Ben Verdery will kick start the 2014-2015 season on Nov. 16. Pete Balderston, chair of The Arts at St. Matthew’s committee, said Ben Verdery’s musical explorations across genres and styles made the board particularly excited to invite him to the St. Matthew’s stage. “While his training is rooted in a classical framework, he has sought out and played with contemporary performers such as Andy Summers and Leo Kottke. We all admire artists who push themselves into new realms.”

North Shore Acapella will then take the stage on Dec. 14 and perform original takes on songs from the 1940s to today as well as a number of Christmas favorites. The group has opened for world-renowned artists including Frankie Valli and The Temptations and has also been featured on season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off.

The season will wrap up on Feb. 22 with the innovative jazz stylings of the John Pizzarelli Quartet. Inspired by the likes of Nat “King” Cole, The Beatles, and James Taylor, John Pizzarelli has been reinterpreting some of the most popular songs of the 20th Century since his high school days in Paterson, N.J. He has opened for the likes of Dave Brubeck and Frank Sinatra and even had the opportunity to perform with his father, legendary jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, at Sinatra’s 80th birthday celebration.

The church’s specially designed, theater-like atmosphere is the perfect place to showcase the talents of these three celebrated artists. Mr. Balderston said, “There’s been a long tradition of music at St. Matthew’s since before the church’s new location. In fact, when the new church was built at its current location in the late 1960s, the church leaders consciously designed our sanctuary with many acoustical enhancements. Our overall music program has very much formed who we are as a parish community.”

The Arts has, in fact, given St. Matthew’s choir members the opportunity to perform alongside musicians like Judy Collins, Maureen McGovern, and Dave Brubeck. Some have even gone on to pursue successful music careers after college.

All of the proceeds from the 2014-2015 season will fund the purchase of new instruments, the upkeep of performance facilities, and future events so the Arts can continue to uplift the local community with dance, music, and theater performances for many years to come. So as they rev up for their 18th season, the volunteers behind the Arts look forward to the opportunity to share their love of music with parishioners and non-parishioners alike for another year of innovative and inspiring performances.

Information: info@artsatstmatthews.com, artsatstmatthews.org, or Facebook.