Third Annual St. John Christmas Music Festival, Children’s Parade

Homemade Jamz Blues Band from Tupelo, Mississippi, will be performing at this year’s St. John Christmas Music Festival at Winston Wells ball field. Photos Courtesy of Steve Simon

Steve Simon presents the third annual St. John Christmas Music Festival on Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2 — two glorious nights of free concerts under the stars in the heart of Cruz Bay at Winston Wells Ball Field.

“Christmas Jazz Under the Stars” is scheduled for Saturday, December 1, at 8 p.m. This free show will feature Grammy-nominated jazz singer Julie Michels and the “Velvet Voice” of Dr. Ron Nimmo.

Michels’ most recent CD, “Julie Michels and Kevin Barrett — Live at Statlers” went platinum in just four weeks. Once concert-goers see this incredible bundle of exciting talent take the stage, they will understand why. Michels’ distinctive soulful sound and energetic stage presence continues to thrill standing-room only audiences at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Toronto’s Downtown Jazz Festival, The Top of the Senator, Montreal Bistro and the Rex Hotel just to name a few.

Nimmo, known to many as “Dr. Ron,” is the smoothest dude in town. Nimmo’s amazing velvet voice has graced many stages throughout the world including our own Reichhold Center on St. Thomas. Tall, good looking and charming combined with a jazz voice that sends chills through the air, Nimmo is truly a Virgin Island’s treasure.

Backing up Michels and Nimmo will be St. John’s own world renowned jazz band, The Jazz Islanders featuring Sally Smith on piano, Joe Ramsey on sax, Dale Harrigan on trumpet, Vince Wallace Jr. on bass, Ryan Diehl on drums and Steve Simon on clarinet.

Food and beverage service will be available all evening so bring a chair or a blanket but please be cool — no coolers.

The Third Annual St. John Children’s Christmas Parade is scheduled for Sunday, December 2, at 6:30 p.m. In three short years, the parade has become a tradition with many of the island’s community organizations participating. It is truly a parade for all ages.

Starting in front of Mongoose Junction, Santa leads the torch-lit parade through Cruz Bay, around the ferry dock and then up to Winston Wells Ball Field. Live Christmas music fills the air with the island’s own children’s Steel Pan band and plenty of reggae sounds. The parade route is filled with Christmas spirit as locals and visitors line both sides of the street.

Upon reaching Winston Wells Ball Field, Santa will be giving every child in attendance a free Christmas gift, so plan on coming early and staying late.
“An evening of Christmas Gospel and Blues Under the Stars” is scheduled for Sunday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. This free concert will feature Gospel legends Diunna Greenleaf and I.J. Gosey with Zac Harmon and the Gospel band Blue Mercy. Also appearing is the 2007 IBC winners The Homemade Jamz Blues Band from Tupelo Mississippi.

Greenleaf, the leader of Blue Mercy, is a native Texan whose whole life has been steeped in Gospel music. Nominated for the 2007 Female Artist of the Year and winner of the 2005 IBC, Greenleaf has been influenced by the likes of Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Rosetta Thorpe, Sam Cook and her own parents, Ben and Mary Ella Greenleaf. Greenleaf has developed “Diunna’s style of gospel” combining her gospel with intricate patches of jazz and heartfelt soul that takes one on an emotional roller coaster ride.

In 1955, a young Gosey traveled from Newton, Texas to Houston to hear his favorite blues musician Johnny Clyde Copland perform at the famous Hamilton Inn. The rest is now history. Gosey has been a Houston blues and gospel legend for decades. From a six night a week gig at Jimmy Mutis’s Club to his own legendary

“Sunday Afternoon Blues Party” at Mr. Gino’s, Duke-Peacock recording artist Gosey has come a long way to become an institution in the Houston music scene.

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Harmon is a disciple of the great gospel and blues legends. During the 50s and 60s Harmon hung out at his father’s pharmacy, the first African-American pharmacy in Jackson, soaking up the aura and sounds of the musician customers while developing his skills as a guitarist, organist and vocalist. Like so many other artists in Mississippi, Harmon honed those skills while at church. Today, Harmon continues to thrill audiences throughout the world and St. John is in for an incredible Christmas treat.

Opening the show will be the winners of this year’s International Blues Competition in Memphis, the Homemade Jamz Blues Band from Tupelo, Mississippi.

This is a band that has taken the music world by storm this past year. They are two brothers and their sister, ages 8, 12 and 14. This incredible band has just been featured on Charles Osgood’s CBS Sunday morning and in just about every music magazine in the world. The young girl, 8 years old, is the band’s drummer and the two brothers, ages 12 and 14, play the bass guitar and rhythm guitar and sing. Simon was lucky enough to be a judge during the International Blues

Competition and when these kids finished their first song, the entire place went nuts, he explained.

“No one had ever before seen such amazing talent from three little kids,” said Simon.

Food and beverage service will be available all evening so bring a chair or a blanket, but please be cool — no coolers.

The third annual St. John Christmas Music Festival is sponsored by the angels at Merchants Commercial Bank, FirstBank, American Paradise Real Estate, Holiday Homes of St. John, Tropical Properties, Chelsea Drug Store, Carlson Construction, Catered To…Vacation Homes, The Westin Resort St. John, Theodore Tunick and Company, Donald Sussman and Steve and Helen Simon.

For additional information, please contact Steve Simon at 340-693-8120 or at [email protected]

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I.J. Gosey

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Diuna Greenleaf

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Julie Michels