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EC-CHAP Jazz Series: Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet

  • The Packing House 156 River Road Willington, CT, 06279 United States (map)

EC-CHAP Jazz Series: Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet

Tickets $12.00 in Advance (ONLINE) / $15.00 at the Door / Special Senior Price $10.00 at the Door

The Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet (TISQ) will offer a Sunday afternoon performance as a debut appearance at The Packing House.

TISQ is made up of 4 virtuoso saxophonists having an average of 30 years of professional musical experience, who join in a thrilling ensemble with the unique arrangements by Frank Vasi. The program will feature George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, Mozart’s quartet “The Hunt”, Bernstein’s Westside Story, along with the music of Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, Samuel Barber, Louis Armstrong and Frank Vasi.


The Thimble Islands Saxophone Quartet features music from the Baroque to Contemporary, including music from the Jazz, Broadway and popular idioms. This eclectic repertoire includes works from the chamber music, symphonic, choral and vocal traditions.

The Quartet rehearses at the Church of Christ Congregational in the shoreline town of Branford Connecticut, in the area known as Stony Creek. The name of the quartet is taken from the Thimble Islands which the church overlooks.

Audience comments after concerts expressed how beautiful and familiar the music sounded like it had originally been written for the saxophone quartet.

“Given the saxophone’s late arrival to the classical music scene, the works of the great classical composers lack its sound, a void Vasi fills by making new arrangements and transcriptions.” - Christina Hennessy, Ct Post

 “…from the four-part pianissimo unisons to the personalized jazz inserts. Frank showcased his excellent composing and arranging skills…Quite noticeable was the solid oneness of the quartet sound.” Don Reutenauer, Musician

“It was truly joyous to listen to your Sax QWuartet perform the concert… The Mozart was an exquisite brilliant, most inspirational piece. I was certain folks would hop out in the aisles to dance to the jazzy Gershswin tunes and lost count of the number of encore pieces you graciously offered. We were totall mesmerized by this exceptional musical journey.” Betty Jane Schiller, Yale University

Join us for an afternoon of familiar music presented in original and unique style by these creative artists! This program is hosted by the "Eastern Connecticut Center for History, Art, and Performance" (EC-CHAP). Doors 2:30pm / Show 3:00pm. Soft drinks and snacks available. "BYOB&F" - Bring Your Own Beverage & Food (Wine & Beer Only - I.D. Required). You can also bring your paid ticket to Willington Pizza House (or WP Too) for eat-in or take-out the night of the show and receive 15% off your meal purchase. Ask for "The Packing House" pizza! Click here for secret recipe. 

For information and table reservations, please call 518-791-9474.

About the Musicians...

Frank Vasi: Tenor Saxophone/Composer

Frank Vasi is an award winning composer and the founder of TISQ. He graduated from the Mannes College of Music in NYC where he studied saxophone and clarinet with Joseph Allard and Frank Socolow, and composition with Fred Werle and David Loeb. As a New York freelance musician he played with such jazz greats as Benny Goodman, Doc Cheatham, Joe Jones, Victor Gaskin and Chris Calloway. Vasi’s compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls.

The American pianist Ronald Hawkins gave the European premier of Brooklyn Bridge 3:00am at the Academy of Saint Martin-in-the Fields(London) and the Rachmaninov House in Russia. In 2018 Spectra Records will release Random Thoughts performed by TISQ. Vasi’s compositions are published by Dorn Publacations.


Tim Moran: Soprano Saxophone

 Tim Moran is widely acclaimed as an innovative jazz musician on Sax, flute and clarinet. He has performed in Europe, Japan and throughout the U.S. and Canada. In collaboration with percussionist Tony Vacca, he has released 5 CD’s, including “Dance Beneath the Diamond Sky” on Columbia Records. He has backed up such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and Gerry Mulligan. He keeps very busy in pit orchestras for the national touring companies of Broadway musicals.


Will Cleary: Alto Saxophone

Will obtained his BM from Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks and Dan Wall,

And his MM from Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Walt Weiskopf and Bill Dobbins, and was the recipient of the Raymond and Maxine Schirmer Prize in Jazz Performance. Cleary has performed with Slide Hampton, Chuck Mangione, Conrad Herwig, Marvin Stamm, Marcus Belgrave, Charles McPherson among others. He has opened for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He has performed at the Houston International Jazz Festival, the Detroit and Rochester International Jazz  Festivals and at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. He performs and records regularly in the tri-state area.


Skylar Hagner : Baritone Saxophone

Skylar Hagner is a graduate of Temple University where he received a BM degree in jazz performance. He studied under Ben Schacter, Tim Warfield and composition with Norman David. Skylar is currently an adjunct professor of woodwinds at the University of New Haven. He also has performed with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, The Shoreline Jazz Collective, The Hartford Jazz Orchestra, Normon David and The Eleventet, Ray Drummond, Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Eacoffery, Robin Eubanks and David l-Bakara. He has appeared at the Wilmington DE Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Philadelphia Center City and Litchfield Jazz Festivals, SEAMUS, New Music Gathering, Hot Steamed Jazz Festivals and many others.


The Packing House  |  156 River Road, Suite 1301Willington, Connecticut 06279  |  (518)791-9474