Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie are just a few of the international luminaries who have headlined the Carver Community Arts Center on San Antonio’s East Side.
“When you think of all the legendary artists that have graced the boards of the Carver stage over its near 100-year history, it is both inspiring and humbling,” said Executive Director Cassandra Parker-Nowicki.
The Carver will welcome a new slate of touring artists for its 2022-2023 performance series.
Opening the season on Oct. 1 at the Jo Long Theatre, the larger of the Carver Center’s two stages, is five-time Grammy award winner and Blues Hall of Fame inductee Robert Cray, fronting The Robert Cray Band. Cray has been touring and performing since the early 1970s, opening for such mega stars as Eric Clapton and John Lee Hooker. Unlike the stadium shows Cray has played with these stars, his performance at the Jo Long Theatre, which holds just 650 people, will provide a more personal setting for concertgoers.
“I would say the Carver’s intimacy lies not only in the size of the venue but also in the kind of experience the artist, audience and staff create together at any given performance,” said Parker-Nowicki. “It isn’t just about coming to see an amazing performance. It is about genuine connection and gathering with one another.”
The season at the Carver’s Jo Long Theatre continues with a spirited array of musicians and performers including German-born, Spanish guitar-influenced instrumentalist Ottmar Liebert Jan. 7, Cuba’s revered Malpaso Dance Company Jan. 21 and Tennessee singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjo player Amythyst Kiah March 25, an artist Rolling Stone calls “one of Americana’s great up-and-coming secrets.”
The Carver’s second stage at the Little Carver Civic Center seats just 150 and boasts a separate roster of touring acts and hometown heroes this season, including Nina Diaz and Eddie and The Valiants. Diaz rocketed to fame as a teenager fronting the alt-pop act Girl in a Coma. Diaz, who boasts an impressive tour roster that includes opening for Joan Jett, Morrissey and Smashing Pumpkins, will take the stage at the Little Carver on March 4.
Eddie and The Valiants is led by Eduardo “DJ Plata” Hernandez, a founding member of local favorites Sexto Sol and SunDay. His newest project honors a purely homegrown subgenre. Rooted in rock and soul, Westside Sound emerged in the 1950s, when Mexican American teenagers began forming bands that melded their cultural roots with what they were hearing on the radio for a sound that endures today (think “Hey Baby Que Paso” by Texas Tornados). Bassist George J. Lara considers this sound “timeless,” and looks forward to taking the stage at the Little Carver on April 1.
“While playing nightclubs can be intimate and our crowds are always very diverse, the art center/theatre vibe draws a deeply discerning listener,” said Lara.
Parker-Nowicki agrees. “I say it so often I feel like it may be a little cliche at this point, but coming to a show at the Carver always feels a bit like a family reunion,” she said. “It really is a special place.”
Information on the full season lineup and tickets is available on the Carver Center website.