Jazz & Spirituals Coming to Hot Summer Nights Concerts at Library 

By Joan VanSickle Sloan

MARYVILLE, TN- Longtime friends and performing duo, Wendel Werner and Alan Eleazer, will combine their considerable musical talents to present a piano/vocal concert of jazz and sacred music at the Blount County Public Library on Thursday, August 11, at 7 p.m.

The concert is sponsored by the Blount County Friends of the Library during this 15th season of Hot Summer Nights Concerts at the library.

Together, Werner and Eleazer have produced six albums and have performed as a piano/vocal duet throughout the Southeast.  They bring their own unique approach to secular and sacred jazz along with a spiritual and gospel twist. Each has also produced their own individual albums.

Werner is familiar to Blount County Public Library audiences because, while he was Director of the UT Jazz Singers, he brought their spring tour performances to the Blount County Public Library for a number of years, and he also provided a solo jazz piano performance one year.

He is currently freelancing as a musician, composer and performer while also serving as accompanist for the contemporary Sunday worship service at Broadway United Methodist Church.

Werner says, “To say that music is my life is a vast understatement.” He says he has been engulfed in music from childhood, beginning by listening to the music his father played. Werner has served as music instructor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville College, Tusculum College, Roane State Community College and Walters State Community College.

He has also directed numerous choirs in the East Tennessee area and was named the 2003 Composer of the Year by the Knoxville Piano Teachers Association. He holds membership in the Tennessee Music Educators Association and in the American Choral Directors Association, for which he served as state chairman of jazz choirs.

Werner earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in jazz piano and a master’s in choral conducting, with an emphasis in musicology.

Eleazer’s alma mater is also the University of Tennessee where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s in choral conducting and sacred music. He also has previously conducted a Maryville College Choir at the Blount County Public Library.

He is an adjunct instructor of music and voice at Maryville College, directs the men’s ensemble, The Lads, and is in his eighth season as conductor of the Maryville College Community Chorus.

At Broadway United Methodist Church, he is Director of Music and Adult Ministries.

He has been a professional musician, college educator and conductor in the East Tennessee area for more than 30 years.

Other upcoming Hot Summer Nights performers this year at the library will include the following:

  • August 18,  “Spencer’s Own.”  This Nashville all-vocal band of 5 brothers, performing a family harmony of country with the edginess of rock and popular music, are currently rising stars on the national stage.
  • August 25,  “The Young Fables.”  Blount County natives and rising Nashville country duo, The Young Fables, features singer Laurel Wright accompanied by Wes Lunsford on electric guitar.
  • September 1,  “Knoxville Opera Company 2015-16 Season Preview.”  Maestro Brian Salesky, Executive Director and Conductor, will be the guest speaker and accompanist for two Knoxville Opera artists who will preview the coming season’s operas: Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance, Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme and Gaetano Donizetti’s Mary, Queen of Scots.

Open to the public, these programs will be hosted by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville, where services are an example of your tax dollars at work for you.

For further information about library programs or services, call the library at 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org . To sign up to receive a monthly calendar by email, go to the library’s Home Page and type your email address in the box at the top right that says “Email for library news.”

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