Skip to main content




September 13, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU Jazz Ensemble joins Lippia's 'Simply Sinatra' concert

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Steve Lippia, best known for interpreting songs made famous by legendary singer Frank Sinatra, will be backed by the Slippery Rock University Jazz Ensemble when he performs for the SRU Performing Arts Series Oct. 11.

The show will include many of Sinatra's standards and traditional pop songs that Lippia offers in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos and in concerts with symphonies around the country.

The 7:30 p.m., show is in the University Union.

"This is the first time in our nine-year performing arts program history that we have called on students to provide the music for an entire show," said Deborah Baker, director of special events. "It is my understanding that Mr. Lippia uses all original charts in his performances and that many of them are musically difficult, but because the SRU Jazz Ensemble is especially strong this year, we believe they are up to the task."

Jason Kush, assistant professor of music and SRU graduate, will direct the ensemble.

"The ensemble began rehearsing the charts at the start of the academic year, and we are greatly anticipating the Oct. 11 performance," Kush said. "The experience is great. It is a chance for our students to learn this timeless American music made famous by Frank Sinatra - what is known as the 'American Songbook.' The students are also learning very practical professional commercial musician skills and seeing first-hand what is expected of a free-lance musician. We are grateful to Deb Baker and the SRU Performing Arts Series for this unique and essential opportunity."

Kush recently performed on a European tour with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, playing for sold-out audiences in Frankfurt and Bonn, Germany and Lucerne, Switzerland.

The performance will include such Sinatra hits as: I've Got the World on a String," "The Best is Yet to Come," All The Way," "Cheek to Cheek," I've Got You Under My Skin," "Angel Eyes," "My Kind of Town," "The Lady is a Tramp," Come Fly with Me," "Let Me Try Again," "Mack the Knife," "My Way," and "New York, New York."

Lippia has headlined extended engagements at the Rio Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. He has also appeared at the Hilton Atlantic City and Casino Windsor, among others.

In addition to his SRU visit, Lippia's current performance schedule includes symphony appearances in Anchorage, with the Boston Pops in Boston, and with the Boston Philharmonic and symphonies in Chattanooga, Colorado, Forth Worth, Jacksonville, Midland, North Charleston Pops, Rochester, Saskatoon, Symphony Silicon Valley, Tallahassee and Yakima.

He has also performed at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City backed by the Nelson Riddle and Woody Herman orchestras, as well as with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. His "European Jazz Festival Tour" resulted in a nationally televised special on Finnish TV.

He has appeared on television's "Extra," Fox-TV's "Good Day New York," CNN's "Showbiz Today," and ABC and the BBC.

His self-titled CD was recorded at Warner Brothers' Studio in Los Angeles with a 41-piece symphony. He has also recorded and released "Steve Lippia Live" and "Steve Lippia in Concert."

A native of Southington, Conn., he makes his home in Las Vegas.

The SRU Jazz Ensemble, comprised of undergraduate students majoring in music education, music therapy, music performance and other areas, is one of five jazz ensembles in SRU's music department. The ensemble has performed at jazz festivals, high schools, colleges and other various concert venues in the U. S. Canada, Europe and Asia. The group performed in Europe at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Netherlands and the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

The ensemble has performed with such jazz legends as Kenny Burrell, Paquito D'Rivera, Slide Hampton, John Scofield, David Liebman, Claudio Roditi, Stanley Turrentine, Jim Snidero, Kim Nazarian, the New York Voices and a host of others.

The ensemble has recorded five CDs since 2000.

Kush, the ensemble's director, is an active saxophonist, educator and scholar. He earned his doctor of musical arts degree in saxophone performance from the University of Miami after obtaining his master of music degree in jazz pedagogy from the University of Miami and his bachelor of music degree in music education from Slippery Rock University.

He has performed as a soloist and ensemble member in wide variety of genres in the U.S. and Europe. He debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1998 with a performance by the All-Eastern U.S. High School Honors Band, with a return visit in 2008 to premiere Christopher Rouse's "Wolf Rounds." He recorded the Henri Mancini Institute Big Band, an album that received a double Grammy Nomination in 2006.

Concert tickets, available by calling 724.738.2018, are $22 for adults; $20 for seniors; $18 for youth; and $8 for SRU students.

AVI Fresh, the campus contract food vendor, is offering pre-performance dinner service at 6 p.m. in the University Union Lobby for $20.95 per person. Call 724.738.4644 for reservations by Oct. 7.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.