Polk State Hosts A Legend: Wynton Marsalis

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Tickets are still available for Wynton Marsalis’ upcoming performance at Polk State College, an event that is comparatively intimate for the jazz phenomenon.

Marsalis will be accompanied by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for the performance, planned for March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Polk State College Fine Arts Theatre, located on the Winter Haven campus, 999 Ave. H N.E.

Tickets are $75; seating will be reserved. Tickets may be purchased by calling 863-297-1050. The box office will open at 6 p.m. the night of the performance.

As part of his current tour, Marsalis is booked at venues including Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Boston Symphony Hall. During his seven-stop swing through Florida, his venues all seat more than 1,400 – more than twice the size of Polk State’s 600-capacity Fine Arts Theatre.

The proximity concertgoers will have to Marsalis and the Orchestra will make for a one-of-a-kind experience, said John Anderson, the College’s music coordinator.

Anderson explained that at larger venues, the music will be channeled through amplifiers and mixed by sound technicians. At a smaller venue like the Fine Arts Theatre, such equipment and techniques are unnecessary.

“Instead of hearing a lot of amplified sound, you’re going to hear the live sound,” Anderson said. “This is a big band and they really play.”

The Theatre’s stadium-style seating means all attendees will have a clear view of Marsalis and other performers.

“Polk State’s Fine Arts Theatre has a very large stage, but the house is raked very abruptly up. Its design means that the farthest seat is really closer to the stage than a lot of theaters’ front row,” Anderson said.

“This is really quite unique to see Wynton Marsalis and his band in a small, club-like atmosphere.”

James Ziefert, a talent agent for Marsalis, agreed the Polk State venue is small compared to those that Marsalis and the Orchestra typically book.

“They typically play at halls 1,500 (capacity) and up. It’s really special,” said Ziefert, an agent in the domestic division of Boston-based Ted Kurland Associates.

The event will benefit the Women’s Resource Center of Central Florida.

“Life affords us historical moments in time. The visit of Wynton Marsalis to the Winter Haven community and Polk State College is just that, one of those historical moments in time,” said Dr. Sharon Miller, provost of the Winter Haven campus.

“We are thrilled to bring a performer of such caliber to this area. It is a chance for residents to enrich themselves, and because it’s a charitable benefit, attendees will be giving back to their community as well.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Call 863-298-6821 for more information.

Marsalis is one of the world’s most celebrated musicians. Raised in the rich musical tradition of New Orleans, he started playing the trumpet when he was 12. He went on to study at The Juilliard School and has recorded 70 jazz and classical albums. He has received nine GRAMMY awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize.

An avid supporter of music education, Marsalis serves as the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, which offers a year-round schedule of performances, education events and broadcasts to grow and inspire the audience for jazz.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra includes 15 accomplished soloists and ensemble players. The Orchestra is known for its versatility and is regularly booked for a wide range of venues around the world.

The Orchestra’s current tour celebrates Marsalis’ 50th birthday and will showcase a retrospective of his music for big bands. Attendees will also enjoy modern renditions of music by jazz greats Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan and Joe Henderson. Completing the night will be compositions and arrangements by contemporary jazz artists.