Explore the Hudson Valley

Experience The Hudson Valley

BERNIE WILLIAMS – New York Yankee Baseball Star Turned Latin Jazz Guitar Star Performing at the Bardavon

  |   April 29, 2011  |  Comment

Benefit Concert for Good Counsel at the Bardavon

The Bardavon is pleased to present Bernie Williams and his band on Saturday, May 14 at 8pm at the Bardavon. This concert is a benefit for Good Counsel, a shelter in Poughkeepsie for homeless pregnant women and unwed mothers.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time — at the age of eight.  He fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his Merchant Marine father brought home from Spain, and also felt the same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat. The young musician-athlete quickly excelled in both pursuits.  Bernie attended the special performance arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at thirteen.  At the same time he was recognized as one of the most talented young athletes on the island, as both a track and field standout, posting record times in the 400 meters and one of Puerto Rico’s most sought after young baseball prospects. When Williams signed a contract with the New York Yankees at seventeen, he brought his love of music with him – first to Albany for his development in AA and then on to the Bronx and the most famous field in sports when called up to join the Yankees in 1991.

In his 16 year career patrolling centerfield for the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star.  Williams has more post-season RBIs to his credit than any other player in Major League Baseball history.  His resume boasts four Gold Glove Awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award, and the 1998 American League batting title. Bernie is also among the Yankees all time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance statistics often standing alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio.

Throughout Williams’ years with the Yankees, his passion for music never waned, and the sound of a guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights.  Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag.  It was no surprise in 2003 when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, The Journey Within. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ heritage and was met with both strong critical praise and instant chart success- reaching #3 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart.

Bernie Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album, Moving Forward. The album features guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz, and an all star cast of renowned studio musicians, and debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz Album.  It and spawned two consecutive Billboard  #1 singles, Go For It, and Ritmo de Otono, which spent seven weeks topping the charts. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.

Bernie returned to the studio this year to record his third album, and co-authored a book that was released in July 2011 titled, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance. The book examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both. You can find Bernie online at www.bernie51.com.

Tickets for the Saturday, May 14, 8pm Bardavon performance of Bernie Williams and his band are available at the Bardavon Box Office (35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, 845.473.2072), at the Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC) Box Office, (602 Broadway, Kingston, 845.339.6088), and through Ticketmaster (800.745.3000, www.ticketmaster.com).  Tickets are $30-$75 depending on location. A limited number of $200 tickets are available which include a meet and greet with Bernie Williams and a tax deductable donation. For more information please log on to www.bardavon.org.

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