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Springfield Jazz Concert

June 10, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Elio Villafranca


Blues to Green will present a performance by Elio Villafranca and the Jass Syncopators on June 10th at 7 pm, as an introduction to the Charles Neville Legacy Project and to help launch the HornMan Exhibit at the Springfield Museums— an exhibit about the life and musical legacy of Charles Neville— opening on June 19th.

Elio performed at the 2019 Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival and has been part of the planning for the Charles Neville Legacy Project curriculum and residency program in the public schools. Elio’s virtual performance will take place in conjunction with a virtual residency conducted by Elio and the Jass Syncopators for Springfield public schools on June 9th, 10th, and 11th.

Born in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba, Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban musicians. The Grammy nominated jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader will showcase his new work Standing by the Crossroads, with his six piece jazz ensemble – the Jass Syncopators. The ensemble adeptly pushes boundaries, infusing jazz with the syncopated rhythms of traditional Afro-Caribbean musical forms. Villafranca’s compelling and complex compositions teem with subtle textures and feature architecture derived from his classical training.

Presented by Blues to Green (the organization behind the Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival), this virtual event will be broadcast live from the stage of the Community Music School of Springfield. Registration is free and donations help support the artists and the Charles Neville Legacy Project.


More about the Charles Neville Legacy Project

The intention of the Charles Neville Legacy Project educational program is to use the music of the African Diaspora to engage Springfield Public School students in History and English Language Arts. The program will bring acclaimed Afro-descendant musicians into schools where most students are from families of color with low incomes. Each of the musicians will share their own music and life experiences, reflecting a rich and diverse cultural heritage, and through the arts will explore issues related to identity and social justice.

To ensure the students see their communities reflected in their regular curriculum, the musicians will visit classrooms multiple times, using the historic music of African America and the African Diaspora to bring to life various topics of study. Students will learn how Afro-descendants have and continue to use music to cultivate identity, resilience, and resistance amidst oppression.


June 10, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT