Special guests for this year’s Winter Solstice Celebration





Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Danny Rivera began singing at an early age, and came to fame in the 1970s as a pop singer of hit songs such as “Porque Yo Te Amo,” “Fuiste Mía un Verano,” “Manolo,” “Mi Viejo,” “and Yo y la Rosa.”  Beloved throughout Latin America, he is revered for celebrating the rich traditions of Puerto Rican music.




Theresa Thomason, Winter Solstice Celebration, 2012. Photo credit: Kay Winter

Theresa Thomason, Winter Solstice Celebration, 2012. Photo credit: Kay Winter

Theresa Thomason first reached the airwaves with Fresh Enuff, a popular club single. She has toured Europe for over 10 years, performing in over 150 cities. She remains a featured artist with the Paul Winter Consort at the annual Winter Solstice and Missa Gaia/ Earth Mass celebrations at New York’s St. John the Divine.






Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013

Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013

Founded in 1981, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre is known for fusing traditional, ritual dance forms with modern styles, including hip-hop and ballet.

In addition to annual appearances at Aaron Davis Hall, the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company has been presented by the Joyce Theater, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DanceAfrica Festival, the American Dance Festival, the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) conference, among many other venues. The company was also presented as part of the First International Black Dance Festival (UK); the International Dance Festival in Aruba; the 2nd International Grand Festival of Mexico, receiving the National Critics and Theater Award for Best Dance Company and Most Outstanding New Choreographer; and the 12th Annual Festival for Peace in Moscow, as engaged in historic cultural exchange with members of the Bolshoi Ballet. Forces of Nature led the historical procession for Nelson Mandela during his first appearance in the United States in 1990

Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013

Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013

The 25 drummers and dancers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre at New York's Winter Solstice Celebration, Dec. 13-15, 2012. Photo credit: Rhonda Dorsett

The 25 drummers and dancers of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre at New York’s Winter Solstice Celebration, Dec. 13-15, 2012. Photo credit: Rhonda Dorsett

In 2002, Forces of Nature was featured in the three-part PBS “Great Performances” special on the history of Black dance in the 20th Century entitled “Free to Dance”. Forces of Nature was also the featured dance company in a film project with the National Association of Black Museums on the influence of African American dance in Western culture entitled, “When the Spirit Moves”, culminating in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

In addition to performing and touring widely throughout the U.S. and abroad, Forces of Nature has gained national and international recognition for its work with youth through its innovative programs to schools, community service organizations and cultural art institutions. The company’s artistic director and choreographer, Abdel Salaam is also a director of the Harlem Children’s Zone/Forces of Nature Youth Academy of Dance and the artistic director of an annual Kwanzaa celebration at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He will serve as the new artistic director of Brooklyn’s DanceAfrica festival in 2016.






Forces of Nature Dance Theatre choreographer Abdel Salaam and bomba master Nicky Laboy are creating a new adventure for the 2014 Solstice shows, reflecting the evolution of the bomba tradition from Africa to Puerto Rico, interweaving our guest Puerto Rican bomba dancers and drummers with the 16 dancers and five drummers of the Forces of Nature. Bomba is a musical tradition from Puerto Rico, originating from the slaves and combining a mix of the Spanish, African and indigenous Taino cultures on the island. Bomba expresses a special creative relationship between the singers, and drummers and dancers, whose style combines the elegance of Spanish Flamenco and the dynamism of African traditions.


The Paul Winter Consort


Grammy Award™-winning multi-instrumentalist and composer Paul McCandless specializes on the oboe, English horn, bass clarinet, soprano and sopranino saxophones, as well as a collection of folk flutes. Grounded in jazz and classical traditions, McCandless’ soaring lyricism has been integral to the ensemble sound of two seminal world music bands, the original Paul Winter Consort and the quartet, OREGON.


A member of the Paul Winter Consort since 1978, cellist Eugene Friesen has won Grammy Awards for his role on 4 Consort albums. He is renowned for breaking new ground for the cello, using it in a wide variety of non-classical settings and creating new techniques to expand its role as a solo and accompanying instrument. As Celloman, he has introduced his instruments to thousands of young people. A composer for cello and also full orchestra, Friesen is a professor at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, His book, Improvisation for Classical Musicians was published by Berklee Press/Hal Leonard. 

Paul Sullivan and Eugene Friesen, Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013

Paul Sullivan and Eugene Friesen, Photo credit © Kay Winter, 2013


Pianist Paul Sullivan has played with the Paul Winter Consort since 1983. His musical journey has taken him from Yale University to the jazz clubs and Broadway theatres of New York, and around the world, performing with some orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and the Boston Pops under both Arthur Fiedler and Keith Lockhardt. He has also worked extensively in the dance world, writing music for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and enjoying a long friendship with the Pilobolus Dance Theater, for whom he has written over 15 scores. He won a Grammy Award™ for the his work on the Paul Winter Consort album, Silver Solstice.



Percussionist/Drummer Jamey Haddad is regarded as one of the foremost world music and jazz percussionists in the U.S. and he was voted one of the top 4 world percussionists in the world by Modern Drummer magazine. Haddad has been a member of Paul Simon’s band for 9 years, and collaborates regularly with Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, Yo Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, the Paul Winter Consort, among others. He is an associate professor at Boston’s Berklee School of Music, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and the Cleveland institute of Music.  The recipient of three National endowments for the Arts Performance Grants and a Fulbright Fellowship. he can also be heard on more than 170 recordings. He publishes internationally relating to the experiences of the contemporary world musician.

Eliot Wadopian, and Paul Sullivan, Photo © Cliff Sobel, 2013

Eliot Wadopian, and Paul Sullivan, Photo © Cliff Sobel, 2013


Eliot Wadopian, and Paul Sullivan, Photo © Cliff Sobel, 2013Eliot Wadopian has enjoyed close collaboration with many artists in the US and abroad. He has over one hundred album recordings to his credit, performing throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition to playing with the Paul Winter Consort, Eliot performs with World Fusion trio Free Planet Radio and flutist Rhonda Larson’s group Ventus, among others. Eliot also teaches at Western Carolina University and Mars Hill University, and performs regularly in the bass sections of the Asheville (NC) Symphony and Greenville (SC) Symphony Orchestras.


480_Tim_at_MormonTIM BRUMFIELD

Tim Brumfield tours regularly as a solo organist and pianist. An arranger, composer and producer, he also lectures on the art of improvisation. Brumfield was organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 2002-2009.  He currently serves as Director of Music and Organist at Christ Church Riverdale, Bronx.