A three-day lineup stocked with jazz legends and emerging talents blasts through more time signatures than a clock’s checkbook to usher in the 16th incarnation of the Litchfield Jazz Festival. The Springs Center stage kicks off Friday with genre luminaries The Clayton Brothers, whose silky sounds light a fire under the crowd that fellow Grammy nominees Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stoke with brassy flares. Saturday hosts a veritable who’s-who of mind-blowing musicians with NEA Jazz Master grant winner Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band blasting buttery sounds after a Ray Charles tribute featuring Davell Crawford belts harmonies more memorable than “Happy Birthday” sung in Klingon. A collection of performers worthy of a Gatsbyan soiree closes out the festival on Sunday, with a hip-swinging finale from Jimmy Heath.
The storied performers of Journey delight fans with powerful guitar, catchy hooks, and virtuosic singing. Lead singer Arnel Pineda's octave-smashing range combines with guitarist Neal Schon's monumental chords and the musical teamwork of Ross Valory's bass, Jonathan Cain's keyboard, and Deen Castronovo's drums, creating tuneful tapestries that inspire ears like a stirring soliloquy from a bald eagle. Touring in support of its new album, Eclipse, the band is able to draw upon an aural arsenal that includes hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," and "Faithfully." The power balladeers of Foreigner and Night Ranger supplement the sonic revelry with their own swelling melodies and heart-inflating emotion. The concert takes place at the open-air Comcast Theatre, with Groupon holders welcome to sit, stand, or mime anywhere on the expansive lawn. Chair and blanket policies vary from concert to concert, so guests should call ahead to determine what items can be toted along.
Recognized as best pizza place in town by the Hartford Advocate in 2009, Lena's Pizzaria knows how to toss the dough and sprinkle the shredded melty stuff across a variety of freshly-prepared pies. Your Groupon covers one 18-inch Large with a single, non-premium topping such as pepperoni, meatballs, roasted peppers, or other delicious enhancements (the full list of choices is presented under "items #1" ). The pizza can be upgraded with additional toppings ($1.99 to $2.99 each) or Sicilian style crust ($2.50). Likewise, the pitcher of Bud Light can be enhanced through smooth dance moves inspired by the beats and riffs pumping from Sully's stage. Almost every night, diners can enjoy a variety of featured music acts, open mic nights, poetry slams and other feats of entertainment.
In the past 40 years, the Southern Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut have seldom stood without an echo of laughter or music. That's because Woodbury Ski Area keeps them pulsing with skiers and snowboarders during winter months and warm-weather revelers and concertgoers throughout the summer. Tubing slides run down the hills throughout the summer, along with zorb balls—inflatable spheres that carry passengers to the bottom in 45 seconds.
Woodbury Ski Area's president Rod Taylor, who competed as a member of the U.S. Ski Team, maintains the facility with the same drive he used to become the national downhill ski champion and record holder for clearing 222 feet in the Glendale Jump contest. While helping to keep adrenaline levels high, Rod ensures the facility hosts more laid-back cultural events with concerts on the Woodbury stage. Past shows have featured legends including The Wailers, Fela Kuti, and UB40, as well as Muddy Waters, The Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Earl Scruggs.
Southbury School of Performing Arts' staff touch upon every aspect of dance. The seasoned dance instructors lead ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, creative movement, and lyrical classes for youngsters—creative movement even welcomes pupils as young as age 3. The other end of the performance spectrum is tended to by a vocal coach, who leads classes in singing and musical theater.