Flushing Town Hall to kick off fall season with award-winning, all-female Afro Cuban jazz ensemble

Courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

With the end of summer in sight, Flushing Town Hall is getting festive for their upcoming fall season performances with over 30 programs to entertain its audience from September through December. 

On Sept. 20, Flushing Town Hall will kick off its fall season opening party with a performance from award-winning jazz and world music artist Jane Bunnett with her all-female Afro Cuban jazz ensemble. 

“Everything I’ve done has led up to this group, which is the perfect vehicle for now,” Bunnett said. “Anybody who gets the opportunity to perform gets to be a stronger player. A lot of it comes down to hard work and talent, of course, but opportunity is key.” 

Renowned soprano saxophonist and flutist Jane Bunnett is a five-time Juno winner and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards. Bunnett has received The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and The Premier’s Award for Excellence. 

Maqueque (pronounced “mah-keh-keh,” which means “the energy of a young girl’s spirit”) began as a project by Bunnett to record and mentor brilliant young Cuban female musicians, and has since become one of the top groups on the North American jazz scene, playing in major jazz festivals like Newport and Monterey. Jane Bunnett and Maqueque create an intoxicating atmosphere of joy and electricity, and their enthusiasm is contagious, thrilling audiences wherever they perform.

Bunnett and Maqueque’s 2014 self-titled debut album received a Juno Award for Best Group Jazz Album of the Year. They were nominated for a Grammy Award for their newest album Oddara and were voted as one of the top 10 jazz groups by DownBeat magazine’s critics poll. 

Maqueque currently includes Yissy Garcia on drums; Dánae Olano on vocals and piano; Magdelys Savigne on vocals, batá drums and congas; Elizabeth Rodriguez on vocals and violin; and Celia Jiménez on vocals and bass.

The season launch party will include a dance lesson at 7 p.m., prior to the 8 p.m. concert. Cuban-style food and drinks will be available to purchase at the event to celebrate the launch of Flushing Town Hall’s fall season. 

Other upcoming events include a Diwali dance party to a marionette Nutcracker; also, Flushing Town Hall’s first-ever presentation of six NEA Jazz Masters together on stage for a once-in-a-lifetime concert.

“We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year with a truly incredible roster of global artists, many coming from overseas,” said Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s executive and artistic director. “Why travel the world when you can hop the 7 train to Queens? At Flushing Town Hall, we bring the world to your doorstep, and this season is no exception.”

Tickets are $16, $10 for members and students, and free for teens. Tickets can be purchased at flushingtownhall.org or by calling 718-463-7700, ext. 222.

Other Flushing Town Hall fall highlights include Hot Club Jazz Listening Session (Sept. 22); Antonio Hart Quintet (Oct. 5); Kobo Town (Oct. 11); Jazzmobile@55 (Oct. 19); Bongsan Talchum Korean Masks (Oct. 31); Diwali Dance Party (Nov. 2); NEA Jazz Masters (Nov. 8); DDAT (Nov. 16); Gustavo Casenave Quartet (Nov. 22); The Nutcracker (Dec. 4); Roberta Piket Sextet (Dec 6); Global Arts for Global Kids Benefit (Dec 14).

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot — located a short distance from the 7 train — at 137-35 Northern Blvd. in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.

And there’s good news for Queens teens: Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to them for free.

Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old teens (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love for arts and culture.

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