SYLACAUGA -- One of the Marble City’s favorite musicians and some friends will present “Celebrating Our Past Through Songs and Music” to kick off the winter brown bag adult lecture series Wednesday at noon at B.B. Comer Library.

Buddy Simpkins will bring a “who’s who” of musicians to join him in playing for the enjoyment of Comer Library’s brown bag audience.

Simpkins, on drums, will be joined renowned jazz double bassist Cleve Eaton, who spent 17 years with the Count Basie Orchestra. Eaton is in the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, as well as the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Bo Berry, who played with such greats as Wynton Marsalis and Count Basie, will be on trumpet. Berry was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1993.

Choko Aiken will be on keys. Born and raised in Japan, the talented musician began studying classical piano at age 3 — later adding jazz, salsa, gospel and pops to her incredible repertoire of beautiful music.  

Tena Wilson, a noted singer and vocal instructor, will perform vocals. Wilson has performed on stage and at concerts throughout the United States, using her incredible voice to “make people happy” at venues ranging from the Alabama Symphony Orchestra to Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf.  

Simpkins directed the Sylacauga High School band from 1967 to 1994. He also directed the choirs at the First United Methodist Church for 38 years, carrying the youth choir on many trips throughout the United States and Europe.  

Over the years, he has continued to play with other musicians and kept in touch with some of the best in their fields.

“We are happy to bring Buddy and his musician friends back for a performance,” library Director Tracey Thomas said. “He has been so gracious about playing with and lining up these gifted musicians who are still so active in the music world.”  

The “Celebrating Our Past through Songs and Music” program will draw on selections from musical history, with the group playing its favorite repertoire of tunes — jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and swing — or whatever strikes the group’s fancy.

The “Celebrating Alabama’s Storied Past” adult lecture series is sponsored by the SouthFirst Bank.

The Hightower Refreshment Room opens at 11 a.m. Participants are invited to bring a sandwich and enjoy drinks and desserts provided by the library.

Working adults are invited to come by on their lunch break to enjoy the programs, which will begin promptly at noon in the Harry I. Brown Auditorium.

Groups wishing to attend should contact Thomas at 256-249-0961 or e-mail tthomas@bbclibrary.net to inquire about availability of seating.

 

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