BLACK & WHITE BALL, 2008 – At Davies Symphony Hall, May 31st

ELEPHONE wins the “Build Your Own Ball” Contest

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY rolled out an innovative community campaign, BUILD YOUR OWN BALL, inviting the public to play a role in selecting entertainment, fashion and the official cocktail for the upcoming 2008 Black & White Ball, Saturday, May 31st, at the Civic Center’s War Memorial Performing Arts Center. ELEPHONE, the catchy four-piece band from San Francisco’s Mission District has won the battle of the bands and will be the opening act at the Van Ness Avenue Stage at 9:00 PM. The members of elephone are a cross between Frank Lloyd Wright and Charlie Chaplin, a mighty gorrilla in a man suit. They don’t believe in the story of Santa Claus, keeping it real or the two drink minimum. Listening to elephone is shivering, moving, cinematic, dynamic, dark and literary. By making honest music for dishonest times, elephone will change everything about everything, everywhere, all the time. General Admission Party Pass tickets ($200 per person) are now on sale. AT&T is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2008 Black & White Ball.

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ELEPHONE

The 2008 Black & White Ball will begin at 5 p.m. with three different VIP receptions and dinners prior to a special performance by three-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Seal in Davies Symphony Hall at 8:00 PM. Beginning at 9:00 PM, there will be “dancing in the streets” when the Ball takes flight with 12 different bands on multiple stages throughout the War Memorial Performing Arts Center before giving way to the big “Midnight Surprise.” The Ball will conclude at 1:00 AM. Build Your Own Ball encourages the public to play a role in selecting several elements of the 2008 Black and White Ball. The public will have an opportunity to vote for one of three Bay Area indie rock bands, with the winning band scheduled to perform at the Ball. The three finalists are Elephone, Minipop, and the all-girl quartet, The Hot Toddies. The selected band will perform a 75-minute set on the prominent Van Ness Avenue Main Stage beginning at 9:00 PM.

Also voted into the winners’s circle is a couture gown by Bay Area designer Sara Shepherd (to be worn by Event Chair Patricia Sprincin) and as the “official cocktail of the Ball” – a Grey Goose Vodka concoction, “The Orchard Martini”. [See recipe below.]

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Gown, by Sara Shepherd & The Orchard Martini – with Grey Goose Vodka

The entertainment roster for the 2008 Black & White Ball features an impressive array of nationally renowned musical groups spanning the sounds of Latin and Brazilian beats, American roots country and rockabilly, and traditional big band styles to a Beatles-inspired cover band, smooth jazz, classic rock, and edgy hip hop sound: Marianne Kent and Bay Society Dance Band, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Boca Do Rio, Pete Escovedo Latin/Jazz Orchestra, Big Bang Beat!, Larry Vuckovich Jazz/Latin Quintet, Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra featuring Faye Carol, The Sun Kings, DJ Afrika Bambaataa, Dick Bright’s SRO, and Blues Traveler.

The auction continues now through May 29th, with a live event taking place on May 31, 2008 at the Black & White Ball Patrons’ Dinner. Items purchased here through “Buy Now” will be awarded immediately. Items not purchased at the guaranteed bid price will be awarded at the close of the online portion of the auction provided the reserve price has been met. Proceeds will benefit Adventures In Music. The auction items include exotic vacation getaways to exclusive event tickets you cannot get any where but here! So, tell your friends, family, community. Let the bidding begin! BID NOW!

Meet the performing artists of this year’s Black and White Ball:

SEAL – This spectacular Pop vocalist and songwriter has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide since his emergence from Britain’s house music/rave scene. He catapulted to fame with his 1991 U.S. Top Ten single “Crazy” from his eponymous album, a genre-defying fusion of soul, pop, rock, R&B, and propulsive grooves that announced the arrival of an innovative new talent. His second album featured the single “Prayer for the Dying,” receiving a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. A second single, “KISS FROM A ROSE” won multiple Grammy Awards for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year” in 1996. In 2007, Seal returned with his latest album, the up-tempo “System” which features the Grammy-nominated single “AMAZING” .

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SEAL – and CD cover of SYSTEM

BLUES TRAVELER, best known for their 1994 hit “RUN-AROUND”, Blues Traveler plays thumping blues-rock with ease. Balancing renowned musicianship with accessible song craft that blends pop hooks with blues- and rock-influenced grooves, the band plays explosive live performances. The band is revered for its epic sets, and for transforming the jam scene in the early ’90s via its beloved H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) festivals.

DJ AFRIKA BAMBAATAA is a legendary pioneer of hip-hop music. As the “Godfather of Hip-Hop,” he is known for his ground-breaking use of samples from all genres of music, as represented by his formidable hit Planet Rock. His influence continues to be felt in many styles of electronic, techno and dance music today. He has collaborated with a variety of musicians including James Brown, Little Steven Van Zandt, Boy George, George Clinton, Nona Hendryx, and Lou Reed.

DICK BRIGHT’S SRO is a 19-member group and one of the best party bands around. The band, led by emcee Dick Bright, features string, horn and rhythm sections as well as vocalists and dancers that are dedicated to making every performance unforgettable fun. They constantly update their repertoire of dance hits from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s making sure there is something to please everyone and get them on the dance floor.

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PETE ESCOVEDO

PETE ESCOVEDO LATIN/JAZZ ORCHESTRA – Legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo is an artist who broke down the barriers between smooth jazz, salsa, Latin jazz and contemporary music. Escovedo has played with legendary musicians including Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Bobbie McFerrin, Boz Scaggs and many others. Today Escovedo leads one of the top Latin jazz orchestras in the country performing his own unique sound.

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BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS

BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS specialize in American roots music – western swing, rockabilly and traditional country. They create original dance music that is influenced by some of their musical heroes including Chuck Berry, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Etta James and Junior Parker. The band has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry and on the “Late Show with Conan O’Brien”.

MARIANNE KENT AND BAY SOCIETY bring you back to the days of the big bands. This ten-member group performs standards, show tunes and swing. Bandleader Kent sings songs made popular by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee and many others.

MARCUS SHELBY Jazz Orchestra plays acoustic bass with his 15 piece jazz orchestra. Featuring Faye, the MSJO is comprised of some of the Bay Areas most respected and sought after young musicians including Rob Barics, Gabe Eaton, Darren Johnston and Danny Grewen. Shelby and his bandmates perform original compositions as well as a broad survey of arrangements from great jazz big band composers Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Charles Mingus and Count Basie.

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MARCUS SHELBY & FAYE CAROL

THE SUN KINGS – a Bay Area-based tribute band, plays the Beatles vast songbook brilliantly. Accomplished musicians and life long Beatles fans, they recreate the trademark harmonies and orchestrations with precise attention to detail. They perform with a rock ‘n’ roll energy and passion that recalls the Beatles earliest gigs in Hamburg and Liverpool. This five-member band does not strive to look like the Fab Four, they simply play the Beatles music as it should be heard.

BIG BANG BEAT is one of the Bay Area’s favorite party bands and they will keep audiences moving on the dance floor. Their music ranges from ’60s Motown, ’70s funk to dance hits from the ’80s and ’90s. Critics have called them a “surrealistic soul sensation.”

BOCA DO RIO – this Brazilian soul music is a blend of jazz improvisation and Brazilian roots music—samba, reggae and music of the African diaspora. Kevin Welch—Boca’s leader, composer, guitarist, and vocalist—has assembled a superb team of Brazilian and American musicians to perform “soulful samba and funk-laden grooves to get the whole room shaking.”

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BOCA DO RIO

LARRY VUCKOVICH Jazz/Latin Quintet. Pianist Vuckovich has been a mainstay of the San Francisco jazz scene since he arrived in 1951. This group performs original songs, film noir classics, swinging bebop, post-bop, Latin/Brazilian, flamenco, blues, and more. The only piano student of Vince Guaraldi, Vuckovich is also known for his 25-year association with vocalist Jon Hendrix. His Jazz/Latin Quintet features Akira Tana on drums and Hector Lugo on Latin percussion, among other musicians.

To order tickets on-line: BLACK AND WHITE BALL, 2008
To view auction item on line: BID NOW!

RECIPE – THE ORCHARD MARTINI:
1 ½ parts GREY GOOSE® Vodka
1 part Apple Cider
½ parts maple syrup
Cinnamon sugar for rimming the glass
1 lemon wedge for rimming the glass
Lemon twist for garnish
Place the cinnamon sugar on a plate, rub the juicy side of the lemon wedge on the outside lip of the glass, then roll in the sugar. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice squeeze the leftover lemon wedge and drop in shaker, add GREY GOOSE® Vodka, Apple Cider, maple syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into seasoned martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Seán recommends these CDs for your Popular Library:
SYSTEM. Seal’s fifth studio album includes Eric Schermerhorn (guitars); Chris Bruce (acoustic guitar); Bill Bottrell (Mellotron).
FOUR. Featuring Blues Traveler band members Tad Kinchla, Chan Kinchla, John Popper, Ben Wilson, Brendan Hill and the hit “Run-Around”.
FLYING SOUTH – with Pete Escovedo. Selections include All This Love, Esta Noche, Canto Para Chango, El Alma de Carnival, etc.
BOCA DO RIO. Featuring Kevin Welch (guitar), Jon Evans (bass guitar), Dan Foltz (drums), Alex Calatayud (pandeiro), and Larry De La Cruz (percussion).

Visit Seán on YouTube
Lorena Feijóo – A Look at “Giselle” with Seán Martinfield
SAMSON & DELILAH – Meet Seán Martinfield

For related articles and interviews:
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET’S 2009 SEASON – Includes World Premiere of All-New Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM – Now at The Curran Theatre
A CONVERSATION WITH MAESTRO HELMUTH RILLING
BLUE BEAR LIVE III – Friday, May 9th at Great American Music Hall
RICHARD C. BARKER – Named Chair of San Francisco Ballet’s Board of Trustees
SAN FRANCISCO CONCERT CHORALE PRESENTS – THE BACH EXPERIENCE
7 SINS – EXTENDED AT THEATRE RHINO THROUGH MAY 17th
ANTIQUE ROADSTERS RACE FROM NOB HILL – THE 2008 SAN FRANCISCO MILLE
LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN – Restored Film Noir Classic at SF International Film Festival
BERNARD LABADIE & HAYDN – This Week At the San Francisco Symphony
VETERAN SERVICE PROVIDER PATTI CARLISE WED AT EPICENTER OF SAN FRANCISCO’S HEART
TANGO EVOLUTION – At the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, April 19th – 22nd
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL – At the Orpheum, San Francisco
CHERYL BURKE DANCE – Dancing with Gavin and Jennifer
DALE CHIHULY – Lighting-Up At The de Young
At the Asian Art Museum – DRAMA AND DESIRE
LORENA FEIJÓO – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
ANNIE LEIBOVITZ – On her show at the Legion of Honor
JENNIFER SIEBEL – A Conversation with Seán Martinfield
SWEENEY TODD – PRIME CUTS FROM DIRECTOR TIM BURTON
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY – 14th Season with Michael Tilson Thomas
ANITA COCKTAIL and LEANNE BORGHESI – A 3-Way Dialogue
GILBERT & GEORGE – A Debut, at the de Young February 16th – May 18th
SAN FRANCISCO OPERA Announces 86th Season – 11 Operas, 78 Performances

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Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com.

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