My name is Benjamin Hall. I am the Coordinator of the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF), which means I do everything from creating the festival’s advertising to the glamorous job of renting the port-a-potties. Last year was my first in this position, and I was more than a bit nervous.
I also have a tendency to become star struck. When I meet someone who has gained a certain amount of fame I get more than a bit nervous. In preparation for Cyrille Aimée’s performance at the SSJF I looked at picture after picture and watched video after video… for months! She was extremely talented…without a doubt. After all she had won first prize in both the Montreux Jazz Festival Voice Competition and the Sarah Vaughn International Vocal Competition, and in her videos she is so much more than a singer. She IS a part of the band. She IS another instrument. In the video performances I watched she had this playfulness in her delivery, and a sort of impish quality that made one smile just from watching her. I really did not know what to expect. Would she be this gifted, spritely persona that she depicted, or was that part of the act. Would she end up being a demanding diva? The anticipation continued to grow…
As the festival drew near, my thoughts became more and more concentrated on frantically pulling the event together. On Friday in the early afternoon, I paused a moment from whatever I was doing and looked up from under the tent and saw Cyrille and the Surreal Band making their way toward the festival grounds. The moment of truth had come. I walked over to them and introduced myself, and they were all so unbelievably nice! They immediately thanked me for allowing them to play at our festival, and complimented our t-shirt design. What Diva does that? We fitted the band with six complimentary t-shirts and let them proceed to their sound check.
Later in the evening the group returned and rocked the house! Energy, charisma and skill aplenty! They played several encores, and if that wasn’t enough the whole band came to the Afterglow concert and played an additional set!
The festival was so fortunate that the Wharton Center, one of our producers, was able to secure such a talented performer. Do yourself a favor, and don’t miss this one!
To see Cyrille’s performance from Summer Solstice Jazz Festival, check out these videos: