Annenberg Center to celebrate 'Jon Batiste Day' with 'Late Show' bandleader (Penn Current)

October 15, 2015

By Lauren Hertzler


Jon Batiste, direct from his role as bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and formerly a star of the HBO series “Treme,” will bring his contagious energy to the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, Oct. 17. Batiste's show starts at 8 p.m.—after a day of pop-up events in Philadelphia.

“He is really committed to reaching out to the community and using music as a way to bridge a multitude of gaps,” says Dawn Frisby Byers, director of marketing and communications at the Annenberg Center. “He’s one of the very few musicians we’ve worked with that insisted on putting together a full day of outreach.”

In what the Annenberg Center is calling “Jon Batiste Day,” the jazz musician will start his Saturday by working with a group of young students involved in Play On, Philly!, a local initiative that encourages personal development in children through music. Batiste will lead a working session with about 10 students. Frisby Byers says the students have already been instructed to learn a particular piece, which Batiste will help them perfect.

Batiste will also participate in a speaker series at the Curtis Institute of Music in Center City. The Juilliard School graduate will talk to college-aged students about how he got into music. Students involved in the GRAMMY University organization have also been invited to attend, as well as select musical students from local universities, including Penn, Frisby Byers says.

Batiste and his band Stay Human are expected to end the day with an impromptu jam session at City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St., after the show at the Annenberg Center.

Batiste comes to the Annenberg Center during its inaugural, multi-year "African Roots, American Voices" series, which celebrates the African diaspora’s unique contributions to American culture.

New Orleans-native Batiste will help kick off the jazz sequence for the series. Next year, there will be a blues focus. The third and final year of the series will be all about gospel.

“Jazz, blues, and gospel have influenced all of American culture,” explains Frisby Byers. “We wanted to celebrate that. And it won’t just be musical performances; there will also be dance and theater.”

To purchases tickets to Batiste’s show, or to view other “African Roots, American Voices” performances in the lineup, visit the Annenberg Center website.