New Year’s Eve Concert at Hesperia Hall

Hesperia Hall Concert Community Center

Hesperia Hall Community Center – Since 1894

Hall members welcomed in the New Year with another in a series of New Year’s Eve concerts organized by resident Bob Attiyeh and Yarlung Records.  This year’s offering swerved away from previous concerts when, following a short medley of songs played on the Renaissance pipes by Adam and Rotem Gilbert, the stage was turned over to jazz pianist Yuko Mabuchi.  She started off with a jazz arrangement  of three Japanese songs and then charmed us with Jerome Kern’s “All the Things You Are “and a pair of Duke Ellington numbers, “Take the A Train” and “Satin Doll.”

Bassist Ilai Gilbert and keyboard player and Master of Ceremonies Billy Mitchell then joined Yuko with a rousing cover of “Route 66” with vocals by Billy and the audience. Dancing broke out, and from there the concert was in full swing. A base solo by Ilai in a Sonny Rawlins tune was followed by some improvising on the recorder by his father, Adam. “Kansas City Blues” got the crowd on their feet again, while Billy’s rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World” had many joining in.  Local resident  Cheryl BryantBruce was a star in singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

Clearly this year’s concert was well received. Billy’s skill as MC brought a new dimension and level of audience participation, while Yuko’s playing was an inspiration.  The enjoyment that the musicians derived from performing together was a pleasure to see….

–Rupert Lyle

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