Jodi Beach, Jim McDowell featured in ‘Music on Main’ April 8

Online Staff Report

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s (PAC) next “Music on Main” concert with Jodi Beach and Jim McDowell will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 8, at the historic Emerson House on the Mendelssohn PAC campus, 420 N. Main St., Rockford.

If you ask Jodi’s mother when Jodi first began to sing, she will look at you with a very sincere face and ask, “When hasn’t she?” Truly from birth, Jodi has been warming people’s hearts with pure and beautiful vocal tones. At the age of 5, she started piano lessons and could read sheet music before she could read English. One day while still very young, she ventured into a music store and was overwhelmed with the racks and bins of music. That day, she realized all of the music in the world was at her fingertips, and she has been gobbling up little black notes ever since.

Jodi began her performance career at the age of 6, singing in church. Even at this early age she gained an immediate “fandom” and continues this with several guest appearances annually in churches around the county. Music theater became a major part of Jodi’s life in 1987 when she joined the cast of the Rock Valley College Starlight Summer Theatre. For 13 years, she performed lead and supporting roles in musical after musical. Today, she still enjoys theatric roles when her schedule permits. Jodi became a member of the jazz community in 1995 by working as pianist and vocalist with the Moonlight Jazz Orchestra. In 1997, she began filling open dates by forming her own trio, and has grown that into the full-time endeavor heard today as the Jodi Beach Trio.

McDowell is a bassist, guitarist, composer, arranger, studio musician, engineer, conductor and photographer. He has built a career of more than 40 years by adapting his musical talents to any situation presented. A classically-trained bassist, Jim has been able to apply his craft to almost every genre of music known. “To me, it is not as much about what you are playing as how well you play it,” he says. Jim is promoting his fourth release with The Jodi Beach Trio (, West of the Moon, an ensuing symphonic tour. Also, to keep things interesting, Jim has begun a new venture with “Can’t Touch This,” a funk pop-soul horn band. Jim also keeps the creative juices flowing with an artistic photography business specializing in classic “old-school” promo and cover art.

I have a room full of instruments and a closet full of clothes, just tell me where to be and what to bring,” is Jim’s favorite quote. 1999 brought Jim into the Jodi Beach Trio, where he became an integral part of the family. Spending most of his time playing the acoustic jazz bass these days, Jim’s musical depth and artistic approach lend themselves perfectly to the Jodi Beach Trio sound.

Music on Main” is the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center’s series of brief and intimate after-work concerts in various genres, held at the historic Emerson House in the heart of Rockford’s cultural corridor. Experience beautiful music, mingle with the artists, enjoy complimentary wine and light refreshments, and relax with friends. “Music on Main” performances take place on the second Monday of the month, September to November and February to May. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Purchase tickets online or at the door of the concert. Doors open at 5 p.m., and seating at the Emerson House is limited to the first 100 guests.

Posted April 3, 2013

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