THE AARDVARK CHRISTMAS CONCERT
AN ANNUAL BOSTON HOLIDAY TRADITION
46th Aardvark Christmas Concert celebrates our common humanity
By Mark Harvey, Founder/Music Director
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra’s Christmas Concert on December 8, 2018 will be the 46th installment of this holiday tradition. Always a benefit performance, this year’s beneficiary will be The Poor Peoples United Fund [PPUF]. The concert will be held at the Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street, Boston, at 7:30 PM, $20 admission at the door.
The Christmas Concert concept was foundational for Aardvark. In the early 1970s, I formed a brass quartet each December to play at the tree-lighting festivities for the City of Boston on the Common. By 1973, I was interested in expanding this to a large brass choir with rhythm section and sought a concert venue to present an ambitious seasonal program. Calling the group Aardvark: The Boston Brass Ensemble, we arranged for a performance at the Church of the Covenant at 67 Newbury Street. Earlier in the fall, a disastrous fire devastated the City of Chelsea, and we made our performance a benefit to assist with their recovery efforts. We were joined by legendary storyteller Brother Blue and Ronnie Ingraham’s Gospel Choir. The church was packed to capacity and a three-hour performance ensued. The rest, as they say, is history.
The brass were soon complemented by saxophones and the name was changed to that of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra [AJO]. Even as other concert and club gigs came along, the Christmas Concert was our annual anchor event, always a benefit for a worthy organization, and always with the aim of providing a soulful celebration with a social conscience at the season of joy and peace.
This year’s concert will feature the premiere of my new composition “Healers of the Universe,” inspired by words of social justice advocate Kip Tiernan. Kip was a long-time friend who founded Rosie’s Place and co-founded the PPUF, both past beneficiaries of our holiday concerts. In early October, a small group drawn from the AJO participated in the dedication of a sculpture to Kip’s memory on Dartmouth Street near the Old South Church. I decided to extend the spirit of this event, basing the music in words inscribed on the sculpture. In these turbulent times, we need healing on many levels, and so, our annual Christmas Concert will once again seek to bring light to the darkness and provide music that seeks to renew the soul of our common humanity. Please join on December 8th for this celebratory event! For more: www.aardvarkjazz.com.