Apr 23, 2013 - All-Star Benefit Set for Friday at the Jazz Depot

At first glance, the event taking place on Friday, April 26, at Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame’s Jazz Depot looks a lot like the Monthly Musicales that pianist/vocalist Amy Cottingham has been producing in Tulsa for more than three years now.  At 6:30 p.m., food and wine will be served to the accompaniment of a string quartet, and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., there’ll be entertainment from a variety of top-notch musicians, working in a variety of genres.

The difference is, this event is a benefit for someone close to Amy Cottingham’s heart. Money raised will help her mother, the music teacher and pianist Barbi Cottingham, travel to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston at the end of the month.

“It’s important that we support the musicians who make our community better,” said Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame CEO Jason McIntosh. “The Cottingham family has made an incredible impact on music and education. The Oklahoma Jazz Hall family appreciates Mrs. Cottingham’s tremendous dedication to her students, and we encourage everyone to support her just as she supports so many in our community.

“I hope every can attend Friday’s benefit. Please visit to make a donation to this important cause. It’s going to be an inspiring night filled with wonderful music and fellowship.”

“The concert is free, but we’ll be taking donations at each table, and they’ll all go to my mom,” says Amy. “Even if people can’t donate, though, I want to encourage them to come. We just want to show support for Mom. Plus, I like to have people come and listen to different kinds of performances they might not normally hear. That’s why I like to have so much variety.”   

“Variety” is an apt description of the Monthly Musicales, which are usually held in homes around Tulsa. And it certainly describes Friday’s Jazz Depot concert, whose program runs from classics to jazz to show tunes, all performed by some of the area’s best-known talent.      

“Each performer or group will play from 10 to 20 minutes, beginning with [father-and-son pianists] Donald and Barron Ryan,” notes Amy. “Then Annie Ellicott will come up with a jazz group, and that’ll feature [bassist] Jordan Hehl, [drummer] Mike Cameron, [pianist] Steven Schrag, and [trumpeter] Steven Goforth. She’ll sing with them, and then Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner will do a tune or two with her.”         

As many music fans know, Ellicott, fiddler Eicher, and guitarist Bruner are a popular Tulsa-based trio with a brand-new CD release.

Ellicott, adds Amy, will stay on stage to sing a duet with Booker Gillespie. “It’s a really dramatic thing, really funny, called `Tear Jerk,’ from [the musical] I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” she explains. “I’ll play for them and for Steven Goforth, who’ll do a song after that.”           

The latter part of the show features violinist Laura Talbot, accompanied by pianist Ann Raphael; a vocal performance by a group assembled by Dr. Barry Epperley, the artistic director and conductor of Tulsa’s Signature Symphony; and a finale featuring the return of Bruner and Eicher.           

“Dr. Laura Talbot is a violin professor at Oklahoma State University, and she’s an incredible performer,” says Amy. “She’ll be playing a piece by [Gabrielle] Faure. The vocal group will sing about three numbers, with tightly knit jazz harmonies -- all a cappella.”           

One of Friday’s special guests won’t perform, but her appearance will undoubtedly create a stir.          

“Mom will actually be there,” Amy says. “She wasn’t sure she could at first, but her appointment with M.D. Anderson isn’t until Monday. So, if she has the energy, she’s going to make every effort to be there. She’s planning on it.”           

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, is located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street.  For more information, call Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609 or visit