Patti Austin

Patti Austin will perform songs paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald when she performs Jan. 18 with the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra at The Clarion at Brazosport College.

LAKE JACKSON — When it comes to jazz and band performances, usually it’s the teachers who watch the students practice and perform. On Jan. 18, students and their families will get the opportunity to see their teachers perform as the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra plays a show at The Clarion at Brazosport College.

“We’re very excited,” said Richard Birk, coordinator of music at Brazosport College. “The Brazosport Jazz Orchestra is a local big band comprised of teachers and professional musicians, and once a year we get the great opportunity to make music with special guest artists.”

This year, that special guest artist is Grammy Award-winner Patti Austin. This will be Austin’s first time to perform at The Clarion, Birk said.

“Patti Austin is a tremendous performer and songwriter … and she’s just a powerhouse singer,” Clarion Administrator Vorin Dornan said.

Austin and the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra will perform a selection of music primarily from Austin’s album “For Ella,” which is a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Birk said.

“It’s a lot of great, great music,” he said. “Timeless classics.”

Austin’s album includes “exciting new interpretations of music from the Great American Songbook,” according to the singer’s website. “Throughout the creative process, Patti reflected on her own life and realized how Ella’s life informed her own; not just through the brilliance of her talent, but through the trials and ultimate triumphs of Ms. Fitzgerald’s remarkable life.”

The doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Being able to perform with an artist like Austin not only offers a great opportunity for the orchestra, but also for the local music community as a whole, Birk said.

“What’s so great about it from our perspective is that we get the opportunity to work with a great professional artist, and the students or parents that come to the event get to see their teachers or directors making music with these people,” Birk said. “What we gain from the experience and learn from interacting with these artists, we turn around and share with our students.”

The event also offers a chance “to highlight local talent in the Brazosport Jazz Orchestra,” Dornan said. “We have a lot of great local talent from the area … so it’s a great way to see not only them but also a great artist as well.”

Tickets cost $45 for adults, $40 for seniors and $20 for students and children. All student IDs are accepted. For information or to purchase tickets, call the Clarion box office at 979-230-3156 or visit

Corinna Richardson is the features writer for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0150.

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