Boehringer Ingelheim presents Grammy Award-nominated jazz guitarist and former New York Yankees center fielder, Bernie Williams and his All Star Band at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Friday, July 12 at 8pm. Tickets to the Friday night concert also include admission to the Bernie Williams Breathless Charity All Stars Softball Game on Saturday, July 13 at 1pm, which features soon-to-be Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, NY Yankees and NY Mets star Darryl Strawberry, former NY Yankees legend Mickey “Mick the Quick” Rivers, former MLB player and manager Bobby Valentine, “The Voice” first season winner Javier Colon and others, along with play-by-play announcer Mike Bennett of Mike & Kacey in the Morning on 100.7FM WHUD.
This event is part of Moffly Media Evening of Art, Wine & Jazz Series with support from the Donofrio family and benefits The Ridgefield Playhouse Arts For Everyone Program & The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Join us in the lobby at the Friday night show at 7:15pm for a complimentary Italian Wine tasting by Pera Wines and an art exhibit by Zac Sorena!
Larry Stevens will be the opening act for the Friday night concert. Help underprivileged kids play America’s favorite pastime with an equipment drive at this show. Will Carbonari, a RHS rising senior, is collecting used bats, gloves, helmets, baseballs, catcher’s gear and cleats for a 501c(3) non-profit organization called Pitch in For Baseball. Visit Bailey’s Backyard (23 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield) for an early dinner and get 10% off when you show your ticket! Media partners for this event are Townvibe and 100.7 WHUD.
Williams is best known for his long and storied career in pinstripes – a career that includes four World Series championships, five appearances on the American League All-Star Team, four Gold Glove Awards and the 1996 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award. He is also among the Yankees all-time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance statistics often standing alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. Since he’s hung up his cleats, he’s had time to devote to his other great passion in life – jazz guitar. Now that he’s out of the game, he’s getting back to his musical roots.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time, when at the age of eight he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his merchant-marine father brought home from Spain, and also felt the same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat. The young student-athlete quickly excelled in both pursuits, going on to attend the special performing arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at the age of thirteen and becoming one of the most noted young athletes on the island, both as a track and field standout, posting record times in the 400 meters, and one of Puerto Rico’s most sought after young baseball prospects. When Williams signed a contract with the New York Yankees at age 17, he brought his love of music with him – first to Albany for his development in AA and then on to the Bronx and the most famous field in sports when called up to join the Yankees in 1991.
Throughout Williams’ years with The Yankees, his passion for music never waned, and the sound of a guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights. Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag, and it was no surprise in 2003 when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, The Journey Within. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ heritage and was met with both strong critical praise and instant chart success- reaching #3 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart. Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album Moving Forward. Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz, and an All-Star cast of renowned studio musicians, Moving Forward made the cut on 5 different Billboard charts and debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz album, spawning two consecutive Billboard #1 singles, “Go For It,” and “Ritmo de Otono.” The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009. Bernie also co-authored a book in 2011 published by Hal Leonard Books titled, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance. The book examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both.
For tickets ($55- $65) call or visit the box office, 203-438-5795 or go online at ridgefieldplayhouse.org. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.