Each year, the VJC Big Band performs a benefit gala for the VJC Scholarship Program. For this concert, the ensemble, under the direction of Rob Freeberg, will honor one of the greatest jazz vocalists and pianists: Grammy Hall of famer Nat King Cole, who celebrated his centennial birthday-anniversary in March of 2019.
Nat King Cole recorded over 150 Billboard singles, selling more than 50 million copies during his lifetime. The pallbearers at his funeral included Robert F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Johnny Mathis and Sammy Davis Jr.. He was the first African American to host his own radio program (1946) and TV show (1956) in the US. But really, Cole’s biggest legacy are the recordings he left : “Mona Lisa,” “Unforgettable,” “ L-O-V-E,” “The Christmas Song,” “Route 66,” “Nature Boy,” “Sweet Loraine.”
Expressing Cole’s music, using many of the big band arrangements prepared for Cole himself, will be vocalist, Peter Eldridge who has performed in some of the world’s most preeminent venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Kennedy Center. As a member of New York Voices, Eldridge is a two-time Grammy-award winner. His original music has been covered by artists such as Nancy Wilson, Paquito D’Rivera, and Jane Monheit.