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Jenni Samuelson performs Jan. 21 at UC Merced

Jenni Samuelson
Jenni Samuelson
Jenni Samuelson

Soprano Jenni Samuelson returns to UC Merced for "An Evening of Song with Jenni," Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Lakireddy Auditorium, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced.

The all-new, eclectic program will be filled with gems from the world of musical theater and classical concert halls, as well as contemporary standards and comedic cabaret pieces (including the return of “Taylor the Latte Boy” with a surprising twist).

Jenni performed a similar program two years ago in Lakireddy auditorium to a sellout crowd. She is delighted to bring another program to UC Merced. “It’s always such a pleasure for me to perform in my hometown. I feel a great sense of freedom here to program music I love, regardless of the genre. There are no boundaries. These are simply songs that I connect with and I hope my audience will as well. They are songs that make me smile, make me laugh out loud, or even make me cry.”

Jenni will be joined by pianist Dennis Brown. “Dennis is a huge talent and a dream to work with. The last time we performed together was when I was in high school. It’s great to reunite after 20+ years and collaborate on a project such as this. He simply can play anything, from delicate arts songs to Bernstein’s wild 'Trouble in Tahiti.'”

Jenni is currently a lecturer with UC Merced’s Global Arts Studies Program. “Much of my inspiration for the program this year draws from lectures I prepared during the fall, including several selections by Rodgers and Hart (often overshadowed by the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein), as well as selections from George Gershwin’s folk-opera Porgy and Bess and duets from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story."

Stephen Mouillesseaux, tenor, will join Jenni on these and other duets. John Albano, classical guitar and Sandra Stocking, flute, will be featured on the piece “Sing God a Simple Song” from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, a composition originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Ten-year-old Jessica Spencer will perform a special duet from Jenni’s new CD, Once upon a Lullaby. “This duet was originally supposed to be a duet with myself on the recording. Just days before we went into the studio, I had the idea of having a child sing the part instead. Jessica (then eight years old) immediately came to mind. With just days to learn the very difficult harmony, and a tight recording schedule which only allowed for a few ‘takes,’, Jessica nailed it. I knew the next time I performed in Merced, she would definitely have to be highlighted on the program.”

An Evening of Song with Jenni is hosted by Arts UC Merced Presents. Tickets are $20 General Admission/$10 Students and are available at Christina’s Fine Clothing (2852 G St. in the Bear Creek Galleria) or online at arts.ucmerced.edu. For more information, call (209) 658-8118 or (209) 228-4566.

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