Freedom Hall 2021 Season Schedule
Freedom Hall is proud to present our first virtual streaming concert in 2021 - Better Together: Songs of Hope and Healing: Soul, Jazz, & Gospel Favorites. The show premieres Friday, March 19 at 7 pm and will be available on-demand through Sunday, March 21, streaming on the Stellar platform.
Because we all could use a little HOPE and HEALING right now.
Let Songs of Hope and Healing take you on a journey of rejuvenation through timeless soul, jazz, and gospel favorites, featuring inspirational hits by artists such as Al Jarreau, Marvin Gaye, and Curtis Mayfield. Filmed live in Freedom Hall in Park Forest, IL, this musical treat is designed to lift listeners into a new awareness of connection and positivity.
Better Together is a powerhouse group of top-level musical souls on a journey to unite people around amazing music and good vibes. Featuring vocalist Bruce A. Henry (“bell-pure voice”—Miami Herald), guitarist Henry Johnson (“impressive”—L.A. Times), pianist Jo Ann Daugherty (“★★★★”—Downbeat), acoustic bassist Joshua Ramos (Ramsey Lewis), and drummer Ryan Bennett (Jersey Boys), the band taps into the universal power of music to bring people together during these times when we need more love and understanding.
Meet the Better Together Band
Bruce A. Henry
Bruce A. Henry is a vocalist, performer, and educator extraordinaire. Henry's eclectic vocal style has been influenced by legends such as John Coltrane, Leon Thomas, Gil Scott Heron, Al Jarreau, Nina Simone, and Marvin Gaye.
Bruce possesses a three-octave range, a pure voice with versatility few can match. Bruce's music has taken him to five continents and he has recorded for Disney, HBO, and numerous national ad campaigns. In addition, he has performed with and opened for the likes of Doc Severinson, Roberta Flack, Chris Botti, Ramsey Lewis, Stephane Grapelli, Jimmy Jam, and The Sounds of Blackness.
The Chicago-born guitarist began playing at age twelve. While spending some formative time in Memphis, he started playing gospel music at age thirteen. By age fourteen, Johnson was playing in R&B groups. Although Johnson’s parents brought him up hearing the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Joe Williams, and other artists of that era, it was not until 1967 that Johnson was formally introduced to jazz by hearing guitarist Wes Montgomery. In 1969, Johnson and his family then moved back to Chicago where he developed a reputation on the south side as a good local jazz guitarist. In 1976, he went on the road with jazz organist Jack McDuff and was called to work with vocalist, Donny Hathaway in 1977.
In 1979, Johnson began playing with jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis. And in 1985, jazz legend, Joe Williams added Johnson to his regular group. Johnson’s musical roots run deep into gospel, blues, and jazz. His strongest and earliest influences were Kenny Burrell, George Benson, and most significantly, Wes Montgomery. While influenced by these great guitarists, Johnson also cites the music of Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, big bands, and jazz orchestras as integral forces which shaped his sound and style.
Jo Ann Daugherty
Pianist Jo Ann Daugherty’s most recent album Bring Joy earned a 4-star review from Downbeat Magazine (January 2017) and was listed as one of their “Best Albums of 2017.” She has performed in jazz festivals and clubs throughout the U.S. and abroad (Chicago Jazz Fest, Satchmo Fest in New Orleans, Jazz at Lincoln Center-Shanghai, Dizzy’s NYC, Snug Harbor, the Jazz Showcase, Green Mill, Winters Jazz Club, Andy’s and many more), as well as in premier Chicago productions as West Side Story and Jesus Christ Superstar at the Lyric Opera.
As a music director, she played throughout the US as conductor of the Jersey Boys national touring company and holds the honor of being the first woman in Motown history to conduct the orchestra (touring with the show Motown: The Musical). In addition, she has produced the music for two live PBS concert specials with the vocal group Under the Streetlamp and most recently played piano and music-supervised for To the Ends of the Earth, a PBS wildlife documentary featuring narration by Jane Goodall. Her trio maintains an active schedule in Chicago, including a steady Monday night engagement at Bandera restaurant on Michigan Ave in Chicago. Read more at joanndaugherty.com.
Bassist Joshua Ramos is a Chicago native who benefitted from the wonderful and eclectic Chicago music scene. He went through the Chicago public school system and attended Northern Illinois University.
Joshua has recorded and toured with Ramsey Lewis, Marquis Hill, Robert Irving, Guy King, Victor Garcia, Darwin Nogueira, the Occidental Brothers, and many others. He has shared the stage with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Philip Bailey, Ramsey Lewis, Ann Hampton Callaway, John Pizzarelli, Dan Nimmer, Red Holloway, Steve Turre, Nestor Torres, Ignacio Berroa, Elio Villafranca, Victor Goines, and Jo Ann Daugherty--the list continues to grow. Joshua is constantly evolving and developing as a musician-composer soloist and bassist.
As a drummer, percussionist, and teacher in the Chicago area, Ryan is an in-demand performer in many styles of music. He played drums in the hit Broadway show Jersey Boys, both the Chicago production and national touring company. Other performances of note include shows with pop songstress Tori Amos, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and guitarist John Abercrombie. Ryan has performed at clubs and festival venues at home and abroad and has toured extensively throughout the US. He has appeared on three PBS specials playing drumset and percussion.