The Sis Frank Concert Series 2017


The St. John School of the Arts is proud to present a high quality series of performers throughout the winter of 2017. In re-establishing this tradition, we are honoring the legacy of our founder Sis Frank, a true St. John icon, who worked tirelessly to keep a vibrant arts presence on our island. By purchasing tickets and attending the performances, you can participate in making our island a more joyful and enriching place to be.



Harmony Zhu
January 14, 2017
7:30 P.M.

A happy girl with a big smile, Harmony Zhu is a prodigy of multiple talents. She has been featured on CBC TV and NBC’s Ellen DeGeneres Show twice for her amazing talents in music and chess. Showing an exceptional musical talent at an early age, Harmony has been consistently winning first prizes and scholarships from older age categories in music competitions, frequently invited to perform at gala concerts as trophy winner.

In 2012, 6-year-old Harmony won the National First Place in the 7-year-old category of CMC, Canadian Music Competition (the most prestigious national music competition of Canada), becoming the youngest winner in the history of CMC. Harmony made her Carnegie Hall debut at age 7 and since then has been invited to perform there several times. Recently she has been invited to open the International Festival “Passion of Music 2015” as the Gold prize winner.

Harmony currently lives in the US and is studying at the Juilliard pre-college.

Black Oak Ensemble
February 3, 2017
7:30 P.M.

The seeds of the Black Oak were planted in 2011 when the ensemble first performed for a standing room only audience in Chicago’s prestigious Music in the Loft Series. According to John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, “The flamboyant vitality of the originals lived on in the arrangements as well as the expert performances.”

The founding members, Serbian guitar virtuoso, Goran Ivanovic; Grammy Nominated Lincoln Trio’s violinist, Desirée Ruhstrat; and cellist, David Cunliffe, continued their collaboration with performances at the Latino Music Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Mayne Stage, WFMT Radio, and Windy City Live. In addition, the Ravinia Festival chose the ensemble as their guest artists on the Ravinia tour from Barcelona to Monte Carlo.

2014 saw the addition of violinist/violist Aurélien Fort Pederzoli a founding member of the Spektral Quartet, and the formal naming of the ensemble, Black Oak, a beautiful tree native to their home state of Illinois.

Alex Brown Trio featuring Victor Provost
February 24, 2017
7:30 P.M.


The understated virtuosity of pianist Alex Brown is a clear indication that reports of jazz music’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Fast emerging at the forefront of a new generation of artists, Brown is mightily armed with the technique of jazz tradition, reinvested with fresh curiosity and vision for what jazz is, and can be.

Featured in the January 2010 issue of Keyboard Magazine, Alex Brown’s reputation continues expanding via his notable performances with everyone from innovative saxophonist Miguel Zenon to the legendary Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. “A really fine record that leaves you wanting more,” said DownBeat magazine of Pianist, Alex Brown’s 2010 debut CD (Sunnyside), further emphasizing “…and Brown can play!” That is something jazz audiences throughout the world have been discovering since 2007, when he joined the group of the renowned Paquito D’Rivera, sharing in the ensemble’s 2010 Grammy nomination as a part of D’Rivera’s album, “Jazz-Clazz.”

In addition to touring with D’Rivera, Alex Brown performs regularly as the leader of his own jazz ensemble. “There are those who only play what audiences like,” says Alex. “Then there are those who only play what they want. I’m drawn to music that has complexity but that anyone can enjoy.” Classical, rhythm & blues, hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles all co-mingle – naturally and infectiously – in Brown’s music, reflecting his unique path, and the continued evolution of the genre. Members include his brother Brown,

March 3, 2017
7:30 P.M.

Dynamic change and self-searching was inevitably going to be a big part of SHEL’s story in these early career years. Sisters Eva, Hannah, Sarah and Liza Holbrook (SHEL) are, after all, in their twenties, born in a five-year span and raised in a bohemian, art-loving family in Fort Collins, CO. Each found an instrument to master early on, studying classical music while composing and arranging unique works for their anomalous instrumentation, violin, mandolin, piano and drums. They gained performing experience working with their songwriter father, and soon had festival promoters and media figures championing their fresh, intricately drawn sound.

SHEL is now touring and creating relentlessly in the hothouse environment of the 21st century music business. “We’ve always made our living playing music,’ says Sarah Holbrook, “I dropped out of two different colleges, before it finally sank in that I was supposed to be playing music with my sisters full time. We signed with Republic Records early on, but escaped the ‘artist protection program’ and we’re prouder than ever to be waving our indie banner.”

SHEL music is many things sonically, but its coherence and distinctiveness comes from the sisters’ commitment to making every song an honest, four-way collaboration. That said, every artist profits from outside perspective, and circumstances aligned in recent years to work with Eurythmics co-founder and world-renowned electronic music creator Dave Stewart, whose production credits include albums with Stevie Nicks, Joss Stone and Ringo Starr. SHEL arranged and recorded tracks in Nashville with long-time producer Brent Maher. Then Stewart, in his Los Angeles studio, sculpted sounds and beats to complement each track. The mandate was to uphold the soul of the songs, the acoustic musicality of the sisters as players, the subtlety of Eva’s lead vocals and the colors of the four-way harmonies.

Spark: The Classical Band
April 6, 2017
7:30 P.M.

Spark brings an exciting new voice to the young creative classical scene. The group combines the virtuosity and precision of a classical chamber music ensemble with the power and grit of a rock band. Since 2007, this adventurous quintet has been roaming the world as the Classical Band and celebrating an eccentric mix of post-classical, minimal music and avant-garde. In 2011, the ensemble won an ECHO Klassik Award. With their ear for the unusual and the unheard, these five young musicians move effortlessly between the most contrasting musical worlds. Classical at heart, outwardly willful and nonconformist, they forge tradition and innovation into a thrilling sonic experience at the cutting edge. Together they perform music that ignites passion. Together they spark.