Thomasville Entertainment Foundation Announces Blockbuster Series for 75th Anniversary Season

By  | 

Thomasville, Georgia - August 7, 2012

The Thomasville Entertainment Foundation (TEF) is celebrating its 75th anniversary season with a blockbuster series that will bring some of the biggest names in entertainment to the Rose City during 2012-2013 and will utilize two venues. The exciting season will include a world renowned orchestra with Thomasville connections, a 2011 Kennedy Center Honoree, a young American singer poised on the edge of a major international career, a member of the “first family of jazz” from New Orleans, a multi-platinum – selling swing band, and one of the only two women ever to win the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

On September 20, 2012, due to the need for the larger stage and seating capacity, the TEF Concert Series will return to the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium for the opening concert of the season. Making its eighth appearance on the auditorium stage, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), with guest conductor Timothy Myers and cellist Daniel Laufer, will perform works by Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Smetana, and Beethoven.

The orchestra’s previous performances in Thomasville have been under the batons of Henry Sopkin (1950, 1959, 1960) and Robert Shaw (1969, 1981, 1982 and 1983). In 1982 and again in 1983, William Fred Scott III—a Thomasville native who served as ASO Assistant Conductor for almost two decades—conducted a portion of the orchestra’s Thomasville program.

The Grammy-Award winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, currently in its 67th season and tenth year under music director Robert Spano, is known for the excellence of its live performances, creative presentations, and renowned choruses. The leading cultural organization in the Southeast, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra serves as the cornerstone for artistic development and music education in the region. The orchestra increased its international visibility playing at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics.

Barbara Cook

On November 23 at the Thomasville Center for the Arts, TEF will present musical-theater leading lady Barbara Cook, one of the five 2011 Kennedy Center Honorees. The annual awards are given to individuals in the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture. A native of Atlanta, Ms. Cook made her Broadway debut in 1951. She recently returned to the Broadway stage and received a Tony nomination for her performance in Sondheim on Sondheim.

Whether on the stages of major international venues or in the intimate setting of New York’s Café Carlyle or Feinstein’s at the Regency, Barbara Cook’s popularity continues to thrive—as evidenced by a succession of six triumphant returns to Carnegie Hall. An ever-growing mantle of honors including the Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards earned her the citation as a Living New York Landmark and her induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

In January 2006 Miss Cook made her solo concert debut at the Metropolitan Opera Company, making her the first female pop singer to be presented by the MET in the company’s 132-year history. An April 2012 review in a prominent New York newspaper says, “She has truly outgrown any niche and hurdled any barrier to become an artist of universal scope.”

James Valenti

On January 29, 2013, American tenor James Valenti will carry the celebration into the new year. Considered one of the brightest rising stars of his generation, Valenti was the winner of the prestigious 2010 Richard Tucker Award, recognizing an American singer poised on the edge of a major national and international career. In 2009 he received the Maria Callas Award, which rewards outstanding interpretation in an operatic role.

Valenti has been hailed for having a voice of Italianate beauty, for his handsome stage presence, and for his elegant musicianship in performances with the leading opera companies of the world. His repertoire encompasses the romantic leading roles of both Italian and French repertoire, including Puccini’s Rodolfo in La Bohème and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Verdi’s Duke of Mantua and Alfredo, and Gounod’s Roméo and Faust.

Valenti’s debut at the Metropolitan Opera was as Alfredo in the Zeffirelli production of La traviata opposite Angela Gheorghiu and Thomas Hampson. He also sang Alfredo opposite Ms. Gheorghiu for his Royal Opera debut at Covent Garden. Of these debuts, reviews noted the 6' 5" tenor’s “dashing presence and virile voice” and one called his Alfredo “glorious.” Valenti’s Thomasville audience will hear him in a program of Italian, French, and English serenades and love songs from the stage of the Thomasville Center for the Arts.

Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo Duo

There have been many multi-generational jazz families from New Orleans, but over the past two decades, one New Orleans family, the Marsalises, has spearheaded a new wave of interest in and appreciation of jazz music.

The most eclectic of the Marsalises, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, has performed with Sting and the Grateful Dead, served as musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, led the electric, hip-hop influenced band Buckshot LeFonque, and at the same time, collaborated with classical orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Marsalis has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.

The three-time Grammy winner will join his friend and collaborator, pianist Joey Calderazzo, to bring his own unique musical approach to contemporary popular music to the Thomasville Center for the Arts on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. Marsalis has dual careers as a jazz and classical saxophonist, and this setting lets him pull both worlds together. A saxophone/piano duo can conjure up a recital hall as well as a bar’s backroom.

Joey Calderazzo is one of the leading pianists in the jazz realm. As he approaches nearly two decades as a definitive accompanist, he sees his output, as a composer, performer and leader grow deeper and more diverse. Marsalis and Calderazzo have a close understanding that comes from working together for a decade in the saxophonist’s quartet, but the duo lets them go places that a rollicking band doesn’t. Their collaboration allows both artists to stretch creatively with deep respect for each other’s composition and technique. Part of their program will be based on their latest CD, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, a collection of melodic songs influenced by classical chamber music and their very diverse musical experiences.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

On Thursday, March 7, 2013, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (BBVD) swings into town. The Municipal Auditorium will be the site of the performance by the jazz-blues-and-swing combo that touched off a whole new craze for classic American dance music in the 1990s. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy took its name from an autograph that blues guitarist Albert Collins scrawled on a poster for the band’s leader, Scotty Morris, in 1989.

Known as “America’s favorite little big band,” the group has enjoyed a multi platinum-selling, nineteen-year career. Since their arrival on the music scene in Los Angeles in 1993, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s live show and aggressive, musically perceptive approach has proven them over time to be the standout among the numerous bands that launched the 1990s swing revival. The group forged a massively successful fusion of classic American sounds from jazz, swing, Dixieland and big-band music, building their own songbook of original dance tunes.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s eighth studio album, How Big Can You Get? A Tribute to Cab Calloway, captures the essence of an American icon in a rowdy celebration of musicianship, mischief, genius, street smarts, and fun. It was also possibly the timeliest and most welcome album of 2009—bringing a much-needed high-voltage jolt of feel-good energy to a country slogging through tough times …exactly the way that Calloway’s music did in the Depression-era America of his own youth.

BBVD has played in theaters and performing arts centers, selling out shows at the Hollywood Bowl, Walt Disney Hall, Lincoln Center, Constitution Hall, and Chastain Park, just to name a few. The band’s music has appeared in over sixty movies and television shows.

Olga Kern

During TEF’s 25th Anniversary Season a young pianist named Van Cliburn played TEF’s newly purchased Steinway Grand piano and autographed it with a metal stylus. To close the 75th anniversary season on April 2, 2013, Olga Kern, a fiery young Russian will play the same newly restored piano. Ms. Kern is the second woman to win the gold medal in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s 50-year history. In describing her appeal, one reviewer wrote, “Whatever it is—call it star quality—music likes Kern the way the camera liked Garbo.”

With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking young pianist continues to captivate fans and critics alike. Ms. Kern was born into a family of musicians with direct links to Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and began studying piano at the age of five. She was the winner of the first Rachmaninoff International Piano Competition when she was seventeen, and she is a laureate of eleven international competitions. The season finale will take place at the Thomasville Center for the Arts.

Ticket Information

Executive Director Janice Faircloth said, “We are pleased to be able to bring this star-studded lineup of artists to South Georgia and North Florida without an increase in ticket prices. TEF owes its success to the community which has supported it with leadership and financial resources for these 75 years. One might say this is our gift in appreciation of that support.”

Tickets for the season series and individual concerts may be purchased by calling the TEF Office at 229-226-7404, online at or by mail at Thomasville Entertainment Foundation, P.O. Box 1976, Thomasville, GA 31799.

Thomasville Entertainment Foundation, Inc., is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization founded in 1937. TEF’s annual concert series features internationally celebrated artists in the fields of opera, theater, dance, classical music, jazz and other genres. TEF also provides concerts, classes and workshops for area students, as well as scholarships and travel grants for outstanding young musicians.

The 2012-2013 Concert Series

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Robert Spano, Music Director

Timothy Myers, Guest Conductor

Daniel Laufer, Cello

Thursday, September 20, 2012 • 8 PM

Thomasville Municipal Auditorium

Barbara Cook

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 • 8 PM

Thomasville Center for the Arts

James Valenti, Tenor

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 • 8 PM

Thomasville Center for the Arts

Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo Duo

Thursday, February 14, 2013 • 8 PM

Thomasville Center for the Arts

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Thursday, March 7, 2013 • 8 PM

Thomasville Municipal Auditorium

Olga Kern, Piano

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 • 8 PM

Thomasville Center for the Arts

TEF Box Office: 229 226-7404,

Online purchase:

Single tickets: Adults - $35, Students - $15

Season tickets packages (before August 31):

Series A or B (three concerts) - $85

Series C (all six concerts) - $160