In May, the Cornerstone Concert Series at the First Church of Christ will host a performance by one of Simsbury's newest residents, Jon England, the "Velvet Piano" player.
"It's a very nice first step into the Simsbury crowd," England said.
Far from his birthplace in Dorset, England, the well-traveled musician said playing a show at a church in Simsbury was fitting because he grew up within earshot of the Simmondsbury church bells.
England has an extensive performance background that includes five years as the headline act at the Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. England has also played for Queen Elizabeth II, performed live on the BBC and NPR, and has headlined in Las Vegas and Branson, Missouri.
The performer has also recorded 20 piano albums during his career.
When England and his family first moved to their new home in West Simsbury, England was approached by a neighbor who suggested he perform at the church. England loved the idea and quickly began work to arrange a performance.
"I wanted to take advantage of the fact that he was here in our community and present him to the community," Director of Music Ministries Mark Mercier said. "I would like Simsbury [residents] to know what they have here."
Mercier said England wanted to perform at the church but requested that a portion of the proceeds go to benefit local charitable organizations. It was agreed that a portion would be donated to both the Simsbury Food Pantry and Covenant to Care.
"That was something Jon wanted," Mercier said.
"It's nice to mix the hardcore commercial work that I do with something charitable and to give back," England said.
England said his debut performance in Simsbury will offer piano renditions of pop music, classics, ragtime, jazz, and romantic and sentimental anthems from the 20th and 21st Century.
"Jon is more of a performer so it's more entertaining across the board which means it will be more for the whole family," Mercier said. "I'm excited, I really am- he's a ball of fire."
The concert will be held at the First Church of Christ in Simsbury on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $8 for seniors. One child will be admitted free for every adult ticket purchased.
To purchase tickets, contact the First Church of Christ at 860-651-3593.