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THE (LITTLE) BIG BROADCAST! Streams From Mount Holyoke

Tickets are free for both streamings of The (Little) Big Broadcast!. Advance reservations are required. 

THE (LITTLE) BIG BROADCAST! Streams From Mount Holyoke

The Jazz Ensembles of Mount Holyoke College present the 16th edition of The Big Broadcast! on Saturday, March 6 at 2PM & 7:30PM, in a free streaming version of what would have appeared on the stage of Chapin Auditorium on the Mount Holyoke College campus in South Hadley, MA. Now titled The (Little) Big Broadcast, it's a one-hour tribute to the 1940's radio show, created by and directed by Mark Gionfriddo, featuring the Mount Holyoke College Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles performing well-known tunes from the swing era and the American songbook. WWLP-TV meteorologist Brian Lapis is emcee "Fred Kelley" for his 14th consecutive season.

Mount Holyoke College music faculty member Mark Gionfriddo originally created The Big Broadcast! for a small cabaret group he directed, and incorporated it into the concert season at Mount Holyoke College. It has since been designated as a Signature Event at the college.

The (Little) Big Broadcast!, according to Gionfriddo, is reconfigured for challenging times. "We've got a series of songs from the golden age of radio, along with some radio commercials of the day. We're featuring the Glenn Miller version of "Little Brown Jug", two Cole Porter hits--"You Do Something To Me" and "Night and Day"; Bobby Troup's "Route 66" as performed by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters; "My Funny Valentine" from Rodgers and Hart's Babes in Arms, and "Star Eyes", a tune made famous by Helen O'Connell and Jimmy Dorsey.

Mark Gionfriddo, creator and director (and "Matt Morgan") of The (Little) Big Broadcast! is well-known to area concertgoers as a piano soloist, coach/accompanist, composer/arranger, conductor and music director. A versatile musician, Mark's knowledge of diverse repertoire includes classical, jazz, rock, and popular music. Mark has been based at Mount Holyoke College since 1986 where he is Coordinator of Piano Studies for the Department of Music as well as Director and Founder of the Jazz Ensembles. In addition, Mark is Catholic Music Director and conducts the Abbey Chapel Singers for the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

In 2000, Mark accompanied Garrison Keillor on the Chapin Auditorium stage in a New England Public Radio benefit show, and he conducted the MHC Big Band in 2006 during two episodes of the popular NPR public radio quiz show "Says You!" During the summer, Mark was resident music director for Berkshire Theatre Group for their productions of Peter Pan, Seussical the Musical, Mary Poppins, Beauty and The Beast, A Christmas Carol, The Music Man, Tarzan, Shrek the Musical, and the Neil Ellenoff Musical Mondays series. Mark's production of A Class Act also appeared off-Broadway at the Robert Moss Theatre.

Mark has recently reunited with the internationally renowned Young@Heart Chorus as pianist and arranger, a post he originally held from 1992-1998. He is also co-author of Good Night, Dear Hart, Good Night, a book about Holyoke's Hart-Lester H. Allen and the Ponzi scandal, on the Epigraph imprint.

Brian Lapis ("Fred Kelley") joined the 22News Storm Team in 1996. He got his start in broadcasting at the age of 15 at radio station WILI, in his hometown of Willimantic, CT. He's worked as a radio on-air talent for stations in Hartford, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Syracuse, NY; and Providence, RI. Brian has a Bachelor's degree in Television Radio Film Management from Syracuse University. In addition, he holds a certificate in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. This is his 14th season as WJAZ announcer and emcee "Fred Kelley". In 2013, the National Weather Association named Brian "Broadcaster of the Year".

Brian loves performing as "Fred Kelley". "The combination of the opportunity for me to perform, the creative energy of the students and Mark Gionfriddo, and the great music makes this far and away my favorite event of the year," he said. "As a 'student of broadcasting', I am one who appreciates the Golden Age of Radio and just how hugely popular these variety shows were in their day. I'd like to believe that if I were around back in the 1940s, I would have a gig like Fred Kelley's."

Performance sponsors confirmed to date of The (Little) Big Broadcast! are: Mount Holyoke College, and WWLP-22News & The CW Springfield.

Tickets are free for both streamings of The (Little) Big Broadcast!. Advance reservations are required.

For tickets to the 2PM performance:

For tickets to the 7:30PM performance:

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