May 19, 2019

Ivory & Gold (and Maybe the Frogs of Israel!) at CBSRZ Today

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

Jeff and Ann Barnhart

CHESTER — Playing the Popcorn Room at the Griswold Inn is thousands of miles away in geography and meaning from performing before 2,500 people at an outdoor concert in Israel.  But that’s the musical leap that Jeff and Anne Barnhart have made over the years in their concerts of jazz, blues and the American songbook.

The Tel Aviv show sticks out in their as one of the greatest moments in the storied career of Ivory & Gold, as the duo is known, during which they’ve played in dozens of states and many countries, and produced several recordings – Jeff on piano and vocals, and Anne on flute.

Jeff recalls, “I don’t know how you can beat that Tel Aviv concert. There were all those Israelis sitting in lawn chairs and looking out over the Mediterranean waters.  There was a moat near the stage, and when Anne and I started playing Gershwin’s ‘Summertime,’ the frogs started croaking along with us.”

And now you, too, can croak along with Ivory & Gold as Jeff and Anne return to their home base (they live in Mystic but are on the road 40 weeks a year), and perform in a Music & More concert at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) on Sunday, April, 19, at 5 p.m.

All this croaking, by the way, doesn’t have to be done by adults. Jeff and Anne delight in introducing the American Songbook to kids, and have many stories about how music previously unknown to them has resonated.

Not long ago, at a concert in New London, a boy in the first row listened as Jeff demonstrated how to scat, a technique used so beautifully by Ella Fitzgerald among others, and the boy, a first grader, volunteered to try it out. He wowed the crowd.

Indeed, Jeff and Anne always have fun with kids and they encourage our synagogue community to bring children even if they’ve never heard the name Cole Porter or Irving Berlin.

The kids will be humming along and stomping their feet, and agreeing with the many music critics who consider this duo to be at the top of their game. Max Morath, a legendary ragtime player, calls them “musically flawless,” and Stuart Dryden, a music writer in the UK, says, ”Enjoy the warmth and talent of this unique duo – you won’t regret it.”

Tickets are $25 and children under 16 are free. To reserve tickets, which will also be available at the door, call the CBSRZ office, 860.526.8920.

Music & More, in its 7th season, regularly brings outstanding entertainers to Chester. For a complete listing of upcoming events at the synagogue, see  CBSRZ is located at 55 East Kings Highway.