News from Joe Holt's Notes

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February 2005
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
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Product in Focus

This month's product in focus is my first CD release, in collaboration with Joe and Paul Midiri: JOE HOLT PRESENTS THE MIDIRI BROTHERS-AVALON. This recording was released in 1999 and features jazz/swing in the Benny Goodman tradition. I have known these boys since high school (1974-I think) when they each picked up musical instruments for the first time. Shortly thereafter, we were immersed, as a group, in the Benny Goodman trio and quartet music. This was not the typical persuit of teenagers in the 1970's, and as such, we attracted some (local) attention (what's with these guys anyway?). These days the Midiri boys are increasingly in demand at jazz festivals throughout the country (Conneticut, Idaho, several in Florida and California). As our persuits are largely seperate (these days) I perform with them but occasionally (a couple of gigs a month, roughly). The musical rapport, however, is as strong as ever, and this is captured in AVALON. Swing and Goodman era standards as well as some fun originals are featured. A complete list of selections can be seen on my product page, along with my other available recordings.

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Greetings!

Hope this month of February finds you well. As for January (for those of us in the northeast and mid- atlantic) winter finally came! I enjoy the cold and the snow (in some respects, my favorite weather), except for how it interferes with schedules. You'll find the "snowed out" Elkton (Md) Church of the Nazarene concert rescheduled in this month's performance schedule. Last month, nonetheless, was fairly full (for a January, especially with the drought that many musicians are enduring)- 28 engagements. Now it begins to get busier as the year really gets into gear.


Jazz Performances and Piano Entertainment Concerts

This month, Sullivan's Steak House continues on Tuesday nights (with Bruce Kaminsky on bass) from 5:30-10:10pm, also on Sun 2/20 from 4:30-9:10 with Steve Beskrone. This month's lone piano entertainment concert (in retirement communities that agree to be listed) is in Annapolis, Md on Sat 2/19. In case I'm late getting the March newsletter out (as I was this month), know that I'll have a concert at the Philadelphia Protestant Home on Thurs 3/3 at 7:00 pm. As always, anything can happen, so I always recommend checking first before coming, either with the host, or with me at (877) JOE-HOLT


Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts

Exciting to me now is the development of the "He's Steppin' Out" live concert with comedian Brian Whitaker (who brings to life Jim Lawlor's brilliant performance on the recording). On 1/30 Brian and I skated through an freezing rain mess (part of the way, until we got to the snow part, which was much easier) and made it (just in time) to the Marlton (NJ) Methodist Church, where we performed the material in 2 morning services. The funny part is that we came to the church on a youth retreat weekend (which would have been excellent except that the youth were retreating elsewhere). In spite of this, the largely adult congregation recieved the presentation enthusiastically as Pastor Lew Hiserote appropriated it into worship and application. This month, Brian and I get to present our program at The Kings Christian Elementary School in Haddon Heights NJ. Also this month, a variety dinner concert with Karen Sommerville, and the reschuled concert in Elkton. Click on the link for more information.


Other news

This begins my third year as Worship Facilatator at the Chestertown Church of the Nazarene, in Chestertown Maryland. Sometimes I still shake my head (and am assured by the rattling). Back in 1979, at age 19, I took over as organist/pianist of my church (from childhood) in NJ. Before too long I assumed responsibility for the full music ministry of the church, and stayed in that position through 1990. At that point, with increasing touring, and other considerations, it became clear to me that it was time to "move on" from local church ministry. Upon leaving the position, I became the only 30 year old in my awareness to be given a "retirement" dinner - attended by the congregation, complete with a plaque (but not a gold watch). To keep it short, I answered a call of God (yes, this is how I see it), to come "out of retirement" 13 years later (the plaque is on display in my office) here in Chestertown, where I now serve part-time on staff (a staff of two - now the Pastor (Jonathan Mills) isn't so "lonely", and he laughs more). My primary responsibilities here are twofold : to equip willing members for ministry (kind of like being Mr. Holland for the church), and to enhance worship. If you would have told me 2 1/2 years ago that I would be doing this, I would have taken your temperature (or checked your pulse, for there obviously would have been something wrong). It just goes to show what God can envision (that we cannot). Many exciting things are going on here, and it's a joy to watch it play out - and a privilege to be a part of it.


phone: 877-JOE-HOLT