Music & Events

Sunday, April 17 at Blasco Library

Bruce Johnstone with Carousel StringsSUNDAY, APRIL 17  A Concert featuring Bruce Johnstone with Strings,  

Blasco Library, 160 East Front St., Erie   Concert at 2:00 p.m.

Suggested Donation: JazzErie Members $10, Adult non-members, $15, Students $5.

Bruce will bring a small string orchestra  for the occasion: an eight person string section, plus piano, bass & drums.  They will be playing a range of jazz standards, noted Brazilian compositions and some original material.  In addition to Bruce, members of the group will also solo.

The program is sponsored by JazzErie, the Erie County Public Library, Erie Arts * Culture and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

There will be a free workshop at 1:00 p.m. at the library prior to the concert.

Bruce Johnstone

New Zealand-born Johnstone earned a continent-wide reputation in Australia before emigrating to Europe as a young adult.  He played with Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked in London  as a studio musician and playhed with Stan Kenton before coming to the U.S.

From 1972 until 1976 Johnstone was a featured soloist with the Maynard Ferguson Orchestra.  During this time he became familiar to American jazz fans, and placed #3 among Baritone saxophonists in Downbeat's Readers' Poll for ten years, behind only Gerry Mulligan and Pepper Adams.

Johnstone settled in NYC in 1976, playing with a variety of bands including Anthony Braxton and blues singer Luther Williams, and Michael and Randy Brecker. He went on the road again with the Woody Herman Orchestra in 1977 for a year, then settled in western New York State.

Johnstone maintains a busy schedule, between leading the jazz music program at SUNY Fredonia and performing in the Western New York, Buffalo,Erie region.  In addition to innumerable small groups, He has performed with the Erie Philharmonic Pops, the Buffalo Brass, Beamus Bay Pops, the Misery Bay Big Band, and others.

Carousel StringsIntroducing “The Carousel Strings”

“The Carousel Strings “ is a jazz string ensemble formed as an extra curricular for S.U.N.Y. Fredonia string players interested in expanding their musical experience.

Jazz is a “serious music” style which focuses not only on reading ability but also the ability to immerse one’s entire being into the translation and interpretation of the material being performed.  

Since its formation in 2008, the ensemble has performed at jazz clubs in Buffalo, at Jamestown Community College and at Westfield N.Y.’s Paterson Library in addition to concert appearances at Fredonia State.

A live concert excerpt from a Fredonia concert has gained frequent air play at a jazz radio station in Sacramento California, and has been featured on jazz radio programs by Erie’s WQLN.

The name “Carousel Strings” refers to the fact that every semester some players leave and others take their place.  Recruitment has always come from players within the ensemble.

Today’s ensemble is made up of:


Andrea Velasquez
Cassity Warnecke
Virginia Croft
Jessica Mayor
Sueh Ono

Viola :

Katie Allen
Kaitlyn Wechsler


Nick Coratti
Kate Gratson

Guitar: John Tocco

Piano: Paul Sottnik

Bass: Matt McGrath

Drums: Frank Valente

Repertoire covers a broad range of Jazz standards from “The Great American Song Book,” compositions by noted Brazilian composers, and compositions by Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Henry Mancini and Bruce Johnstone.

Soloists from within the ensemble are liberally featured.

We hope you enjoy this concert.

Bruce Johnstone

(Ed. note:  Below is another unrelated project with Bruce and SUNY Fredonia students.  Bruce is keeping up to date!)


March 20, 2016