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Wharton Music Center Kicks Off Community Concert Series with The 3 Guitars: From Bach to Ellington

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GILLETTE, NJ - Wharton Music Center kicks off its Community Concert Series on Sunday, September 28 at 3:00 p.m. at the Long Hill Township Library located at 917 Valley Road in Gillette. Craig Graham, Joel Perry, and Andrew Nitkin present The 3 Guitars: From Bach to Ellington. The concert is free and open to the public.

Wharton Music Center faculty Graham, Nitkin and Perry present a program that celebrates the breadth of styles and techniques inherent to the guitar and the wide scope of repertoire available to the instrument, from the Baroque period to original compositions by the performers.

With a background in American musical styles ranging from jazz, rock, and blues to blue grass and hip hop, Craig Graham has performed extensively as a soloist and ensemble player, touring Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, and throughout the United States. He can be heard on over two dozen recordings of notable jazz and rock artists including Bobby Rydell, Mark Egan, and Tony Award and Golden Globe nominated actor and singer Ben Vereen.

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Andrew Nitkin, Founder and Director of the American Institute of Guitar (AIG) in New York City, developed a specific curriculum geared towards the teaching of all styles of guitar-playing as well as an international concert series that featured many of today’s great performers during his tenure at AIG. Mr. Nitkin studied at The College of New Jersey, Hunter College, and Mannes College of Music in New York City. He has served on the faculty of Wharton Music Center since 2005.

Mr. Nitkin has performed in a variety of venues and settings including chamber music with Juan Carlos Rybin of the Quartetto Amati, The Sacred Hymns and Carols Choir of New Jersey, and at the New Providence Memorial Public Library both as a soloist and ensemble player. Having been classically trained, his performing style is a mix of classical, Spanish, and Brazilian guitar.

One of the premier guitarists of our time, Joel Perry has performed and recorded with a veritable Who’s Who list of the music world, traveling to over fifteen countries and appearing in venues from Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall to The Rainbow Room, The Blue Note, and Sounds of Brazil. Highlights of Mr. Perry’s musical journeys include collaboration with the late blues great Johnny Copeland during a U.S. Department of State tour of West Africa in 1982. Mr. Perry has appeared with Papa John Creach, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, Lavern Baker, Joni Mitchell, Herb Ellis, Rosemary Clooney, Leslie Gore, James Cotton, Percy France, Leon Thomas, Jimmy Dawkins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Frank Foster, and Al Hibbler among others. Mr. Perry has released three recordings: Rainbow Skylight, Perry Airs, and Sonata to the Blues.

Wharton Music Center, where creativity and expression converge with exploration, provides a diverse range of classes and programs as New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center. Serving nearly 1,200 students with high quality instruction in all instruments and voice, musical theatre, drama, and dance, Wharton and its esteemed faculty of talented professionals offer instruction for beginners of all ages, as well as an in-depth, sequential course of study through its Achievement Program, and orchestral and ensemble training with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, its orchestral and ensemble affiliate. New Jersey Youth Symphony features fourteen ensembles, available by audition for students in grades 3 – 12. Its premiere ensemble, Youth Symphony, was awarded first place in the prestigious 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and has appeared in such internationally renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.

Innovative programming and over 500 classes taught weekly, from Early Childhood Music, music theory, and audio recording to Introduction to Instruments, ensures that there is something for all ages and interests.

Part of our mission as a community school for the performing arts is to engage, educate, and enrich our community with a broad spectrum of accessible programming. Dedicated to serving the community, WMC provides instruction at local public, private and charter schools in after-school settings and during the school day. From an assembly program to a full-year residency, our outstanding faculty collaborates with school principals and staff to offer customized curriculum to meet the needs for music, drama, and musical theatre instruction for each school or organization. One of the highlights of our community programs is the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program that provides intensive music instruction to elementary school students attending the Community Charter School of Paterson.

Wharton Music Center builds personal connections in the community through an array of faculty and student performances, many of which are free and allow community members to become more involved with WMC. These often interactive Community Concerts include classical, jazz and family programs and are held at a variety of venues throughout the region. New Jersey Youth Symphony ensembles, both large and small, perform throughout the community.

Located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, New Jersey, Wharton Music Center and New Jersey Youth Symphony serve students from thirteen counties.

For additional information about our community programs and class offerings visit our website www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or call 908-790-0700.

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