Billie Holiday Celebration Concerts for the community at Mertens Theater on November 20

Billie Holiday Celebration Concerts for the community at Mertens Theater on November 20

Concerts are musical gifts for Bridgeport students and the community

BackCountry Jazz, in conjunction with the University of Bridgeport Music & Performing Arts program, is proud to present Billie Holiday Celebration Concerts, featuring renowned jazz artists performing for the community on Thursday, November 20.

The concerts begin at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Mertens Theater located at the Arnold Bernhard Center, 84 Iranistan Avenue, Bridgeport.

They will be attended by more than 1,500 Bridgeport students but the concerts are open and free to all.

“It has long been my dream to have an annual jazz concert for Bridgeport young people, much like the youth concerts of many symphony orchestras,” said BackCountry Jazz founder and tenor saxophonist Bennie Wallace. “Jazz is the ideal form to awaken a love of music. Kids can relate to the spirit and feel of this music because it is an integral part of our culture. Elements of jazz are found in all American music of the last hundred years.”

The Billie Holiday Celebration Concerts are sponsored by BackCountry Jazz, the University of Bridgeport, People’s United Bank, and Arthur Landi, a member of the UB Board of Trustees and the BackCountry Jazz Advisory Board.

About BackCountry Jazz:

Since 2007, BackCountry Jazz has been presenting outstanding concerts with major artists and rising jazz stars and educating and inspiring youth in their mission to celebrate, preserve and expand the rich tradition of Jazz.

The Greenwich, CT-based nonprofit also supports America’s unique cultural heritage of jazz through their music educational programs, free instrument program, scholarships, and the BackCountry Jazz Summer Music camp for young students.

The all-star ensemble for Billie Holiday: Celebration Concerts features Carla Cook and Charenee Wade, vocals; Donald Vega, piano; Peter Washington, bass; and Herlin Riley, drums. They will perform under the direction of Bennie Wallace.
Media contacts:

BackCountry Jazz: Jeanette Wallace, (203) 561-3111,

University of Bridgeport: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625,