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Local artists join three-time Grammy nominee for benefit

Liz Story headlines the Music for Wonder benefit at the Elks Opera House.

Courtesy<p> Liz Story headlines the Music for Wonder benefit at the Elks Opera House.

A three-time Grammy nominee will make a rare appearance at the Elks Opera House, along with the Sedona Jazz on the Rocks Youth Jazz Band and local artists and musicians for a special event at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16.

Solo pianist Liz Story headlines "Music for Wonder," a benefit to raise money for the arts program at Mountain Oak Charter School.

Story has received critical acclaim for her ambitious style that encompasses classical, jazz and Spanish folk over seven albums on Windham Hill and RCA Records before recently signing to Digital Music Works International.

Story lives in Prescott. She rarely performs locally, and usually only for benefits, according to "Music for Wonder" organizer Ines Vitols.

Vitols, whose daughter is entering the second grade at the school, said he started discussing a benefit for the school with the Jazz on the Rocks Youth Band leader and jazz pianist Matt Jackson and others sometime around last fall.

Jackson and Story are both friends with parents of students at the school, he said.

Vitols' experience studying in the past year with the Landmark Education program, which has sparked initiatives ranging from providing Internet access to refugees in Kosovo to setting up a medical clinic in Kenya, inspired him to produce "Music for Wonder."

"When I looked at what inspired me, what I wanted to contribute, it had to do with my daughter's school," he said, adding that he is extremely impressed with the school's programs.

"When they're studying the Renaissance at 12 and 13 years old, they're playing the music of the Renaissance. Something about how that whole education is woven together really calls to me," he said.

Vitols, a well-known musician in the area, plays violin for several performing groups in the area.

Local musicians and artists scheduled to collaborate for the show's include singer/songwriter Aaron King, vocal percussionist Cain Carroll, and classical East Indian dancer Revital Carroll, with a long-discussed collaboration between Carroll and Jackson playing tabla, an Indian percussion instrument.

Also scheduled to appear are Elks historian Parker Anderson to present a brief history of the theater and former Tsunami on the Square director Susan Defreitas.

Artist O. Allen Huddleston will paint on mirrors during each performance.

"There's something else that's a surprise, and I really can't speak to that," Vitols said.

A Waldorf education-inspired charter school, Mountain Oak offers an academic education for local students from kindergarten through eighth grade, emphasizing creativity, human values, self-determination and responsibility.

Tickets are $20 per person, $15 for 12 and under and 65 and older, and available at New Frontiers, Pangaea Bakery and Granite Alley Garage.

All proceeds benefit the school.

Ian Russell donated the art for the event poster.

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