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2014-04-11 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


April 11, 2014  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Join a band for Lag B’Omer celebration

The Billy Jonas band The Billy Jonas band For those who have dreamed of joining a band, your chance is coming on Sunday, May 18 when the Billy Jonas Band comes to Clearwater for a noon-time communitywide Lag B’Omer celebration.

The free contact, open to the entire Tampa Bay Jewish community, is sponsored in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties’ PJ Library program along with Clearwater’s Congregation Beth Shalom and Temple B’nai Israel. The program will be held at Beth Shalom, 1325 S. Belcher Road.

Jonas loves to make music from “found objects” – just about anything that can produce a sound – and that includes audiences. In fact, he says, “My favorite instrument is the audience. I work to ‘tribalize’ the compositions … to provide an immediate opportunity for the listener to join in.”

His concerts have been described as a “neo-tribal hootenanny,” “a musical conversation,” “a sonic celebration” and “funky music for the whole family.”

Jonas, whose Jewish background is rooted in Ashville, NC., is a professional singer, songwriter, percussionist and multi-instrumentalist who is both a performer and family entertainer. Some of the less typical instruments he plays are made from recyclable materials.

Jonas’ website describes the concert experience like this: “The music mixes conventional instruments (guitar, bass, marimba) with homemade creations (using buckets and barrels, keys and cans, bells and body percussion) – It’s spirited, straightforward music that is accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or cultural background. The big-tent festival quality of Billy’s music facilitates connection and community while fostering inspiration and ... most importantly ... fun.”

Besides the audience, which helps provide the vocals and percussion, Jonas describes the band members who make the concerts unique:

• Ashley Farmer (vocals, percussion) – In turns soulful, sensual and humorous, Ashley adds an exciting vocal dimension to the Billy Jonas Band.

• Sherman Hoover (vocals, bass, re-percussion) – With a varied background in classical, jazz and progressive rock, Sherman holds down the funky bottom for the band while adding innovative harmonies to the mix.

• Juan Holladay (vocals, marimba, re-percussion) – Juan is a mover and a groover and adds sweet tenor harmonies.

• Jonas brings a wealth of both Jewish and secular musical experience to this family-oriented event at Beth Shalom.

Years ago, at Temple Beth Ha Tephila in Ashville, Jonas began playing a repertoire of synagogue and temple standards. Since then he has appeared at numerous synagogues, Jewish summer camps and Jewish day schools, as well as at non-religious events and a performance in 2010 at the White House. Over the last two decades, Jonas also has shared the stage with well-known musicians and singers, including Alison Krauss, Peter Yarrow, Pete Seeger, Justin Bieber, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kathy Mattea, among others.

He has released six CDs and two DVDs of his music. This year he hopes to release his third family CD and his first Jewish CD. His “What Kind of Cat Are You?” CD received a First Place/Gold from the American Federation of Independent Musicians and a Parents’ Choice Gold. His videos also have garnered critical acclaim, including Parents’ Choice awards and a New York Times “Best” listing.

For more information, call Congregation Beth Shalom at (727) 531-1418 or write cbsoffice@tampabay.

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