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Windham Hill Winter Solstice

“Windham Hill Winter Solstice was a great success in the two communities we presented this show in.  Not only were the artists engaging and entertaining, but top-class musicians who performed with excellence and skill.  After listening to their recordings for years, it was a delight to host them in person.  I would not hesitate to book them again!” – Craig Ralston, Yavapai College

“We thoroughly loved the show and the artists.  Their musicianship was amazing and their showmanship was outstanding.  Not only that, they were very pleasant people throughout their entire stay.” – John Murray, Missouri Theatre

Master musicians who made their names on the Windham Hill label, pianist Liz Story, guitarist Sean Harkness, and vocalist/mutli-instrumentalist (kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes) Samite have created a special show in celebration of Winter Solstice. This ensemble in various forms has toured nationally for the past 10 years in support of the recording series that sold over 8 million copies. Warmth, humor and stunningly pristine performances abound.  

The significance of Winter Solstice is recognized in indigenous traditions around the world. This concert brings the best of acoustic music to joyfully mark a special moment in time.

Liz Story
A native of California, Liz Story began her musical training as a young child, mastering Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 11 by the age of 11. When her family moved to Germany during her teens, she added languages, philosophy, and poetry to her studies. On her return to the United States, she continued her piano studies at the Juilliard School of Music and Hunter College. Later, after moving back to Southern California, she studied at the Dick Grove Music Workshops in Studio City. During her studies, she took a job playing piano in a restaurant and was thrust suddenly into improvisations when the piano had no musical strand. Over several months these improvisations developed into compositions. When Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman heard a tape of these, he signed her to record her debut album, Solid Colors. Liz Story has been an artist of great stature through the years of Windham Hill into the present times. Her brilliant stories and humor on stage contrasted with her deep and profoundly beautiful work on the piano keep audiences enthralled until the very last note.

Sean Harkness
Sean Harkness left Burlington, VT for New York City in 1994 to immerse himself in that music scene. Known especially for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway, television, and screen, Harkness is now a first-call guitarist who compliments an exhaustive client list of artists and productions worldwide. Sean performs extensively both as a solo artist and sideman in New York’s finest jazz, rock, folk, cabaret, blues, R&B, and singer/songwriter venues.

As a solo artist with six CDs, Harkness’s music is on Windham Hill Records [Sony/RCA/BMG] and a list of independents. He has also scored music for television, including World’s Strongest Man, ESPN, NASCAR and ABC Sports.

Today his smooth vocals accompanied by the kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes mesmerize audiences throughout the world.

Samite has released nine CDs internationally and in 2009, the film Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, which features his original score, debuted nationally on PBS. Samite released My Music World, in 2010 and, as he states, the album captures more of who he is than any of his previous albums. "It represents influences from all the places I have been, from my childhood in Uganda, and my life in Kenya as a refugee, to my current travels in Africa with my work for Musicians for World Harmony. I am always inspired by my surroundings– my childhood hikes into the forest, my teenage years in Kampala, and my visits to refugee camps and orphanages." In 2012, Samite composed the soundtrack for the film Addiction Incorporated and his ninth CD, Trust {Inspired by the soundtrack for the film "Addiction Incorporated"} was  released in that year.  Samite has recently released his tenth CD, "Another Side of Me" (available on this website) and he is currently working on another CD to be released later this year.

Sample Song List

1) Carol of the Bells
2) Greensleeves
3) White Snow (original winter themed vocal tune)
4) Walking in the Air (from the British animated Xmas season show" the Snowman")
5) Jeanette Isabella
6) Simple Birth (from Winter Solstice 5)
7) Have yourself a Merry Little Xmas
8) Hanukah oh Hanukah
9) Divali Song
10) Star of County Down (Irish Xmas instrumental)
11) Escape of the Circus Ponies
12) Xmas Time is Here (from Charlie Brown Special)
13) Yazala Abambuti (African Xmas song)
14) Calling All Angels
15) To Be
16) Fiddle tunes

* Each of these songs are not performed every time. The show is a tasteful presentation of Winter/Holiday/Solstice themed instrumental music with 3-4 vocal tunes and several rousing fiddle pieces. Excellent musicianship, cheerful interaction with the audience and warm camaraderie among the musicians create an uplifting evening


“One of the best shows I’ve seen at our hall and we have had a long and celebrated history. Barbara, Sean & Liz are each great solo artists and create a very special energy as an ensemble. Plus they are all great to work with.” - Jon Elbaum, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

"The talent onstage was breathtaking at times. The audience . . . definitely enjoyed it,  with a rousing standing ovation before the encore. It was my pleasure to present these amazing artists to the Grayslake community."
- Gwethalyn Bronner, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, Grayslake, IL