St. Mary’s City, MD- St. Mary’s College of Maryland presents the Mulberry Music Festival: Jazz, featuring Joseph Brotherton, the Kelly Bell Band, Carly Harvey, and headlined by Sharón Clark on Friday, June 17, beginning at 6 p.m. on the College’s Townhouse Green. The event is free of charge and open to the public. It will be simultaneously live-streamed on the College’s website. In addition to performing, Harvey, a St. Mary’s College alumna, will reprise her role as mistress of ceremonies. 

The Mulberry Music Festival is the vision of President Tuajuanda C. Jordan and is held every year on the eve of Juneteenth. Originally created in 2019, that festival featured a gospel theme and chart-topping recording artist Jason Nelson. 

“I strongly believe in bringing people together through the universal language of music. This year’s Mulberry Music festival, with a focus on jazz – a true American art form created by African Americans and characterized by harmony, syncopated rhythms, and improvisation – is sure to do just that,” said Tuajuanda C. Jordan, president of St. Mary’s College.

Those in attendance are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and food to help enjoy the event. Food vendors will be onsite. The Townhouse Green opens at 4 p.m. on the day of the event. 

About the performers 

Joseph Brotherton is well known for his musicianship and signature style of trumpet playing. Born in Nashville, Tenn., Brotherton began playing trumpet at age 8. After serving as a trumpet player in the Marine Corps Band Quantico, he made a home in Washington, D.C., and now thrives in the music scene throughout the east coast region and abroad. Brotherton has studied with Wynton Marsalis, Ingrid Jensen, and Ron Blake amongst others. He has performed live with Gregory Porter, Aaron Neville, James Earl Jones, Greg Karukas, Benito Gonzales, Robert “Mousey” Thompson, Stephen Riley, Neal Caine, Kermit Ruffins, and Eric Lewis, to mention a few. 

According to Jazz Improv Magazine, “Joseph Brotherton is an exciting and spectacular soloist, well-schooled in the tradition, and post-bop concepts. His solos are notable for their clarity, connectivity of ideas, clear articulation, intonation, and tasteful and measured use of his ample technique.” 

Based in Washington, D.C. Carly Harvey combines blues, jazz, soul, and Americana roots styles to create a unique sound that calls to mind Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, and Nina Simone, with a little Ella Fitzgerald thrown in for good measure. In July 2018, she was featured in Big City Blues Magazine as one of the youngest Blues artists to watch. She has had the privilege of sharing the stage with iconic musicians including Annika Chambers, Ron Holloway, Kebbie Williams, Ephraim Owens, Cory Henry, Kofi Burbridge, Junior Marvin, and Susan Tedeschi – an artist whose work has been foundational to her musical evolution. Currently dubbed D.C.’s Queen of the Blues, Harvey is a 2021 Wammie Award-winner for Best Blues Artist.

Originally formed as the backup band for rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, the Kelly Bell Band has been touring the world ever since, entertaining fans in Japan, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cuba, Germany, and more. The band has won two prestigious Maryland Music Awards, has been voted “Best Blues Band” in the Mid-Atlantic Region for 12 years in a row, and was recently named “Best Band” by Baltimore Style magazine. The band’s debut album, “Phat Blues Music” remains one of the best-selling releases in Mid-Atlantic region history. The band is fronted by Kelly Bell, known as “The Bluesman,” who is joined by Ryan Fowler and Eric Robinson (guitar), Taylor Zimmerman (vocals/violin) Frankie Hernandez (bass), and John Robert Buell (drums), and Jon Mauer (keyboard).

Washington, D.C. standout Sharón Clark has brought festival and concert audiences to their feet across the globe. The Jazz Times wrote about Clark, “A revelation . . .  I never thought I’d hear a singer with the range, musicality, and command of tone and timbre that was Sarah [Vaughan] at her best, but now I have.”

Clark has made countless international tours, from Europe to Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Russia, where she has developed a major following. She has performed as a featured soloist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony.  

She has appeared in festivals at home and abroad. Both the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and The Ludacris Foundation chose Clark to perform for their separate tributes to Quincy Jones. 

Clark won the Gold Medal and $10,000 top prize at the Savannah Music Festival’s American Traditions Competition. She then took first place in the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition, earning a $2,500 prize along with a featured appearance with the Baltimore Symphony.

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