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Gregory Porter won the 2014 Grammy Award for best jazz vocal album Liquid Spirit.

Jazz fest headliners

The 2016 Edmonton International Jazz Festival is racking up another set of blue chip headliners – Grammy Award winners Gregory Porter and Joe Lovano as a double bill on Thursday, June 30 at the Winspear Centre.

Born in Sacramento, raised in Bakersfield, Porter and his seven siblings lived with their mother, a storefront minister. From an early age he sang in church and developed a patient, respectful work ethic that underlies his career.

The singer has released two albums before hitting gold with the 2013 Liquid Spirit, a jazz album that reached the Top 10 on the UK, German, Danish and Dutch charts.

For the past three decades saxophonist Joe Lovano has been a fearless force creating new music. From his Grammy nominated symphonic work to his role as Gary Burton Chair of Jazz Performance at Berklee College of Music, he pushes concepts and themes in the search for new forms of expression. To date, he has released 23 albums on the Blue Note label.

Tickets range from $68 to $80 plus service fees. Call 780-428-1414 or online at winspearcentre.com.

The Edmonton International Jazz Festival runs from June 24 to July 3. Visit edmontonjazz.com for updates.

Junior jazz

The five Cantilon Choirs team up for I Sing, a concert with a jazzy vibe. Featured guests include the Apricot and the Jams Jazz Combo.

More than 200 choristers from KinderSingers, Primary Choir, Children’s Choir, Chamber Choir and Belle Canto perform golden standards including the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Gershwin’s Summertime.

The concert takes place Sunday, May 1 at 3 p.m. at McDougall United Church, 10025 MacDonald Dr. Tickets are $10 to $18 online and $12 to $20 at the door. Visit cantilonchoirs.ca.

May Day youth concert

In its final concert of the season, Edmonton Youth Orchestra celebrates Debussy, Handel, Mozart and Rachmaninoff.

Conductor Michael Massey is also featuring pianist Louisa Lu and pianist-violinist Andrea Young, both winners of the 35th Northern Alberta Concerto Competition.

Lu, a piano student of Wolfram Linnebach, has won an astonishing number of first place wins and is currently studying honours neuroscience at the University of Alberta.

She performs Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major, 1st movement. It is traditionally scored for piano solo and an orchestra with flute, clarinet, bassoon, horns and strings.

On the other hand, Young is a dual instrumentalist, with aspirations to become a heart or brain surgeon. She will play Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for solo violin. Inspired by Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, it delivers a spritely melody acclaimed as one of the romantic period’s greatest pieces.

The concert takes place on Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m. in the Winspear Centre. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 780-420-1757 or at tixonthesquare.ca.

Invitation to dance music

As head of winds and brass at MacEwan University music department, Ray Baril takes every opportunity to raise awareness for music education.

And as artistic director and music conductor of New Edmonton Wind Sinfonia (NEWS), he is highlighting the nationally celebrated Music Monday with Invitation to Dance.

The sinfonia concert takes place Monday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Convocation Hall at the University of Alberta.

Since dance is the physical expression of music, the two performance arts are virtually synonymous.

NEWS will perform an eclectic program of dance music that ranges from the lively Polka and the juke joint sounding The Rusty Bucket to the ragtime With Pleasure and South American spirit dances from Espiritu.

Tickets are $12 to $15 and can be purchased at the door.

Star Wars Day

Not to be forgotten among a plethora of celebratory days is Star Wars Day taking place on Wednesday, May 4 at Edmonton’s Churchill Square.

It is a free celebration of all things Star Wars that kicks off Churchill Square’s outdoors summer programming.

Both children and adults can channel their inner Jedi warrior or evil villain during an evening of light-sabre training with instructor Janine Waddell-Hodder.

Adult lessons take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. while special lessons for young Padawans (Jedi trainees) run from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

To ensure everyone is equipped to protect themselves from the dark side, participants are encouraged to bring their light-sabre. Makeshift light-sabres welcome.

The Edmonton Arts Council in cooperation with the City of Edmonton programs activities and events for casual and major festivals.

St. Albert Gazette: The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.