Kings Return // October 4th, 2023
Dynamic and soothing four-piece, GRAMMY NOMINATED vocal group KINGS RETURN take pride in crafting a diverse yet supremely cohesive a cappella sound: The blend of their unique vocal timbres is so rich and so smooth that, at times, it sounds more like a full choir than a mere four men. Discovered after posting a series of bare-bones stairwell performances that went viral, their music is a balm to the soul, laced with expansive harmonies that flex the agility and effortless range of their vocal talent.
Their sound has earned comparisons to iconic acts like Take 6 and Boyz II Men. But what sets Kings Return apart is their seamless integration of a wide range of genres and styles. Drawn to the flexibility of a cappella music, they take full advantage of the genre-mixing aspects of the tradition. Their brand of R&B is entwined with free moments of jazz, soulful bursts of gospel, and bright touches of pop—all built on a solid, classical foundation. Theirs is the kind of talent that makes virtuosic performance look (and sound) like sublime, effortless playtime, defying the constraints of any single genre to explore a myriad of sonic shades and textures.
The group’s name perfectly embodies their intentions as artists: “Kings” because they possess a charismatic power, moving forward with confidence to conquer whatever challenges arise. The “Return” signifies another important part of their mission: to give back to the communities that have supported them along the way.
Masters of Soul // November 16th, 2023
In the early 1960s, some of the most iconic names in the history of popular music were discovered in the Motor City of Detroit, MI. Masters of Soul is a celebration of these artists, their music, and their style. This show features stylishly-costumed and fully-choreographed tributes to both male and female Motown groups backed by a live band.
Masters of Soul-a Motown Revue, has been called the most entertaining history lesson ever performed! This show authentically reproduces the look, choreography, style and sound made famous by record labels that were relatively unknown at the time but went on to profoundly influence the history of popular music: Motown Records, Stax and others. The performance goes beyond the music to preserve the integrity of the entire Motown experience. For many, Masters of Soul is the ultimate stroll down memory lane. For younger generations, the show offers a way to experience a period in our country’s past that produced many of the greatest music acts ever recorded.
The show features a completely live performance with seasoned musicians and world-class performers from The TFC Band. This group has toured extensively worldwide for more than 40 years, performing at private events, festivals, casinos, corporate events and military bases from coast to coast and overseas, including tours of Europe and Africa. After having toured together for decades, The TFC Band created the Masters of Soul show in 2008 as a way to heighten the experience for their fans and deliver the full package—a stage show which captures the sights, sounds and feel of the Motown era.
Cross That River: A Story of a Black Cowboy // February 6th, 2024
Cross That River represents a significant moment in American history where Black cowboys lived and helped settle the West. It is a story that’s never been told in this way. The unsettled West of the 1860s provides a new life and new dreams for Blue, a run-away slave, who escapes from slavery to Texas to become one of America’s first Black Cowboys. This compelling tale of freedom integrates fiction with historical fact, and each song presents a different page in this complicated chapter of American History.
The story of Blue begins in Louisiana, and with every song of this highly-infectious score, the audience is moved further along on Blue’s harrowing journey across the Sabine River to freedom in the Wild West. Each song tells a unique story, at times joyful, sometimes tragic, but mostly a poignant chronicle of enduring perseverance. Award-winning musician, Allan Harris wrote Cross That River to tell the untold story of the Black West and empower Americans with an inspiring story of hope and freedom.
ALLAN HARRIS is a jazz vocalist, producer, composer, guitarist, song-writer, actor, and educator. A natural entertainer, his dynamic stage presence has made him a main-stay in concert halls, theaters, jazz clubs and jazz festivals around the world. Tony Bennett has called him “my favorite singer.” He has been a guest performer with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall, the Algonquin’s Oak Room, the Winter and Summer Olympics, a featured guest with Country Music Star Vince Gill and with Stevie Wonder. Evidence of Harris’ “protean talent” can be heard on his ten recordings as a leader; his far-flung and critically-acclaimed concerts around the world, and his numerous awards, which include the New York Nightlife Award for “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” – which he won three times – the Backstage Bistro Award for “Ongoing Achievement in Jazz,” the Harlem Speaks “Jazz Museum of Harlem Award and the DownBeat Critic’s Poll “Rising Star Jazz Vocalist Award.” Memories of his early career playing guitar and singing with country rock bands inspired Allan to create his 2006 song-cycle Cross That River, a stunning portrait of the African American West. Cross That River recently finished a five-week run at 59E59 Theater in New York City to critical acclaim.
Hiplet Ballerinas // February 29th, 2024
The only company in the world to perform the signature trademark style, Hiplet Ballerinas of Chicago, Illinois fuse classical pointe technique with African, Latin, Hip-Hop and urban dance styles rooted in communities of color. Promoting inclusivity in both their cast and audience, Hiplet features true-toned tights, modern music, and dancers of all shapes, sizes and colors.
Since going viral in 2016 thanks to appearances on Good Morning America and Buzzfeed, the company has amassed over a billion views on YouTube, starred in a feature documentary, made a cameo in Shawn Mendes’ “Youth” music video, and performed across the world. The Hiplet Ballerinas are also often found in high-fashion campaigns from the runways of Paris Fashion Week to ads for Desigual and Swarovski Crystal.
Their premiere tour will support the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center and the scholarships the studio provides.
The Hip Hop Orchestra Experience feat. Ensemble Mik Nawooj // March 27th, 2024
Led by composer/pianist, JooWan Kim, the Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience featuring Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) creates Metamusic by sampling principles of Hip-Hop and Classical. Executed with resident MCs, a lyric soprano, turf dancer, woodwinds, French horn, strings, piano, and drums, the music is rigorous, nuanced, accessible, and free from the dogmas of Western European concert music aesthetic. The result is seamless tête-à-tête with "textures swimming through the sound...like the world's fastest ping-pong game" (Pitchfork) and is considered the "cutting edge of hip-hop" (Huffington Post).
After a successful performance of a novelty piece which featured an MC and chamber ensemble while JooWan Kim was completing his master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the MC at the time suggested they make an album together. Six months later and writing about an hour of music, Kim had a profound shift in the direction of his writing. He felt that he found a way out of the stifling contemporary concert music aesthetic in this new way of composition.
In 2010, JooWan Kim recruited his best friend from college, Christopher Nicholas to push the project forward in a serious way. Since then, the group has attracted some of the most excellent classical musicians and MCs in the SF Bay Area while gaining national attention from outlets such as ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, NPR, Pitchfork, Upworthy, NowThis, and more.