Columbus Jazz Orchestra Comes Home to the South for a Holiday Show

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When she was growing up, Kelly Crum Delaveris associated the holiday season with one thing: It was a time of year when her dad wasn’t home much.

The daughter of longtime WCMH-TV (Channel 4) sports presenter Jimmy Crum, Delaveris remembers her father, who died in 2009, doing various good deeds around Columbus.

“It was who he was,” said Delaveris, 63, an accomplished singer residing in York, Pennsylvania. “On Christmas Day he was in the children’s hospital hanging out with children in the burns unit.”

Delaveris recently returned to her hometown to give back in her own way: On December 16, Delaveris and singer-tap dancer Leo Manzari joined the Columbus Jazz Orchestra for “Home for the Holidays,” a return scheduled within a month’s time. usual venue, the Southern Theater, where the group last performed at the end of February.

“I love to sing with a big band,” said Delaveris. “I love to sing with them.”

In response to Mayor Andrew Ginther’s stay-at-home notice, no live audiences were in attendance for the orchestra’s performance of its annual vacation show, but it was recorded for viewing on its website, jag.tv. Ticket buyers can access the concert from December 25 through January 3.

The show was scheduled to be taped and aired online earlier in the month, but those plans were scrapped when members of the film crew went into quarantine due to exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 .

With the cancellation of annual favorites such as “The Nutcracker” from BalletMet and “Messiah” from the Columbus Symphony, “Home for the Holidays” is among the few holiday concerts in central Ohio to take place in some form or form. another from his original plan.

Artistic Director Byron Stripling said continuing the tradition was important to the orchestra.

Columbus Jazz Orchestra Artistic Director Byron Stripling said it's important to keep the holiday show going, even if audiences will only be able to see it virtually.

“For us not to be around during that time, I think it would do a disservice, not only to the people we’re playing for, but even to ourselves,” said Stripling. “We like to offer happiness through music during the holidays. “

Ticket buyers who see the show should expect to see the usual pandemic precautions: Plastic screens will separate orchestra members, and every musician, including those who play brass, will be masked.

“I have a special mask that was created (so) that trumpeters and trombonists could play with a mask,” Stripling said. “They offer some protection because they have a hole where the mouth is.”

The list includes the usual help from holiday staples including “Deck the Halls”, “Santa Claus is Comin ‘to Town” and “White Christmas”. Stripling also promises some surprises.

Delaveris will be heard on the orchestra’s swing interpretation to tunes ranging from Christmas carol “Silent Night” to the Carpenters hit “Merry Christmas, Darling”. Playing with jazz ensembles takes the singer back to her roots.

“My dad was a member of this Columbia Records Club,” she said. “They sent you a file every month. He was a big (fan of) Stan Kenton, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman.

Although Delaveris has performed with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra for about four decades, Stripling, whose tenure dates back to 2002, did not initially know his famous father – no matter how he assessed his talent.

“People are like ‘Oh, that’s Jimmy Crum’s daughter,’” Stripling said. “Well, I didn’t know him, so I didn’t care. I was like, ‘Can she sing?’ Boy, can she sing.

The Los Angeles-based Manzari will also bring to the show what he calls his “classic man of song and dance” skills.

“There is definitely a young and contemporary element … that I express through jazz standards,” said Manzari. “I improvise and tap, and vocalize alongside Kelly (and) Byron as well.”

Stripling added, “We could make him rap Christmas.”

Although the concert is watched from computer screens rather than theater seats, Stripling said the show represents a welcome return home, just in time for the holidays.

“You’re not going to see everyone in the band smile,” Stripling said. “But we have to go home, and we have to get this music out by any means necessary.”

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In one look

The performance of “Home for the Holidays” by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra will be available on demand from December 25 to January 3 on jag.tv. Individual tickets cost $ 25. A subscription to the four orchestral on-demand concerts this season costs $ 90.

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Henry R. Wright