UCSC kicks off Arboretum Music Series at new amphitheater beginning April 21

UC Santa Cruz will kick off its inaugural Arboretum Music Series on Thursday, April 21, with a concert by singer/songwriter Keith Greeninger, plus Dayan Kai and Band, at the new Arboretum Amphitheater off High Street in Santa Cruz. The series is part of the university's 40th anniversary celebration this year.

The Marie Beckham Arboretum Music Series, will present folk, classical, cultural, and jazz performers on the third Thursdays of the month from April through September. Performers this year include tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis, Hawaiian slack key guitarist Patrick Landeza, Linda Tillery & The Cultural Heritage Choir, the Cypress String Quartet, and the Chicano folk-fusion band, Quetzal.

"It's a beautiful setting," said Stephen McCabe, coordinator of research and education for the Arboretum. "With the abundant rain this year, the Arboretum's flowers are outstanding this spring. Patrons will walk past or take a wagon shuttle by the flowering gardens to get to the outdoor amphitheater."

McCabe added that the concert series is named in honor of Marie Beckham "who has been tirelessly volunteering in many capacities at the Arboretum for the last 30 years, and has previously helped bring concerts to other venues in the Arboretum."

The 2005 Lineup:

Thursday, April 21--Keith Greeninger plus Dayan Kai and Band

Singer/songwriter Keith Greeninger has drawn comparisons to Jackson Browne and Bruce Cockburn for the soulfulness and imagery of his phrasing and the power of his voice. He first started gaining attention on the national music scene in 1989 as a principal songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist for the groundbreaking trio City Folk. The group was known for its powerful lyrics, harmony, and instrumental virtuosity, and quickly became one of the prominent new folk acts in northern California. Greeninger has just put the finishing touches on his second album, Back to You, on which he is joined by local Santa Cruz favorite, Water. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Show starts at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, Arboretum members $10.

Thursday, May 19--Linda Tillery & The Cultural Heritage Choir

In 1992, Linda Tillery came across a treasure trove of field recordings of traditional African American music. Within months she had assembled the Cultural Heritage Choir, a six-member ensemble to perform spirituals, work and play songs, field hollers, and other slave songs in the folk tradition. The group is one of the vital performing ensembles in its field, bringing traditional forms of African American culture to the stage. In addition to songs and chants, delivered through such stylistic forms as call-and-response, multilayered harmonies, and repetitive verse, the CHC repertoire includes intoned sermons, folk tales, polyrhythmic percussion, and dance.

Thursday, June 16--The Cypress Quartet

Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, the Cypress String Quartet has performed to great acclaim at prominent venues worldwide, playing sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center, the Ravinia Festival, and Stanford Lively Arts. Praised by the Los Angeles Times for their "musical astuteness and virtuoso resources," quartet members Cecily Ward, Tom Stone, Ethan Filner, and Jennifer Kloetzel strive to reach a large and diverse audience through an extensive touring schedule and an array of innovative education and outreach programs. The quartet is also widely known as a champion of American music. Having commissioned and performed 10 original works by leading American composers, the Cypress recently won an Aaron Copland Award.

Thursday, July 21--Quetzal

From Los Angeles, Quetzal has built a strong reputation as a catalyst for Chicano/Latino music. Blending a variety of music traditions--including son, vera cruz, rock 'n' roll, and traditional Mexican ballads--Quetzal has created a new music scene reflecting the diverse mix of Mexican sounds in the United States. In the past several years, the six-member group has toured extensively with artists such as Taj Mahal, Ozomatli, and Los Lobos. The group also has two full-length albums to its credit, the self-titled Quetzal and the 2003 release Sing The Real, produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin.

Thursday, August 18th--Dave Ellis Trio

Tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis was named Best New Talent (along with Diana Krall) in the 1997 Jazziz magazine Readers Poll. In 1992, Ellis became a pioneer in California's nascent "new jazz" movement, teaming up with eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Jay Lane to form the immensely popular Charlie Hunter Trio. After recording for Les Claypool's Prawn Song label, the trio signed to Blue Note, which brought them national attention. State of Mind, his debut recording for Milestone, has received international acclaim and was selected as the 2004 California Music Award for Outstanding Jazz Album of the Year.

Thursday, September 15--Patrick Landeza

Patrick Landeza is considered to be a leading performer of Hawaiian slack key guitar, or ki ho'alu, one of the world's great acoustic guitar traditions. His career highlights include becoming the first slack key artist to perform the national anthem at a major league baseball game and opening for legendary Hawaiian musicians Israel "Bruddah Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, Keali'i Reichel, and HAPA. Noted pianist and ki ho'alu player George Winston says "Patrick Landeza is one of the best and most dedicated of the new generation of slack key players."

For more information and directions go to arboretum.ucsc.edu or contact Stephen McCabe at the Arboretum: (831) 427-2998 or at arboretum@ucsc.edu.