The In-Between with Marcus Amaker at Piccolo Spoleto Festival

The In-Between with Marcus Amaker

Jill Terhaar Lewis, soprano; Robert Lewis, saxophone; and Gerald Gregory, piano with Charleston’s Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 6 pm

Holy Trinity Windermere

95 Folly Rd Blvd., Charleston, SC



CHARLESTON, SC - “The In-Between with Marcus Amaker” is a collaborative program featuring The In-Between ensemble that includes classical soprano Jill Terhaar Lewis with jazz musicians Robert Lewis (saxophone) and Gerald Gregory (piano) in collaborations with Charleston’s Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker. The ensemble performs new compositions and arrangements by members of the ensemble and have been recurring guests with the Piccolo Spoleto festival. This year's program will include new poetry by Amaker and a program of settings of Amaker’s work by Robert and Jill, Gerald, and guest composers Demetrius Doctor and Maxx Bradley.

The In-Between began in 2010 in Charleston when husband and wife team Robert and Jill Terhaar Lewis desired to create music together.  Robert is a well-known jazz musician around town and runs the jazz program at the College of Charleston.  Jill is a classically trained soprano and is the head of the voice program at Charleston Southern University.  Not a lot of music is written that successfully merges jazz and classical music in a meaningful way that brings out the best of both worlds.  Robert and Jill enlisted the help of jazz pianist Gerald Gregory to work together by composing new works and arrangements tailor-made for their strengths to great success.  Through open communication between the two art worlds of classical and jazz music, the trio highlights the shared qualities and explores the differences while allowing the listener to enjoy these styles together in the same concert and even within the same piece.  

Amaker is no stranger to music having recorded several albums begin early in life.  He is also Charleston’s first Poet Laureate appointed in 2016 by Mayor John Tecklenburg.  His poetry captures glimpses into life in Charleston from his unique perspective.   Longtime friends with Amaker and fans of his work, the trio reached out to collaborate for Piccolo Spoleto.  The result is a program of spoken word and music highlighting the intersections of jazz and classical music with poetry that is unique to Charleston. The program will merge texts spoken by Amaker and sung by Terhaar Lewis over a tapestry of composed and improvised dialogues by Lewis on saxophone and Gregory on piano.

The In-Between have been featured on the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Preview Concert as well as the Spotlight Concert Series, Other Musical Highlights, and the Piccolo Comes to Kiawah series.  They have also performed in venues throughout the region.  Together they have toured in the upstate and in Pacific Northwest. They have performed in Denmark, in Charleston on the inaugural Free Verse Festival, and on the St. John the Beloved Concert Series in Summerville. The trio has recently released two cds recorded with engineer and producer Quentin Baxter.

Artists Biographies

A native of Greencreek, Idaho, soprano Jill Terhaar Lewis is a Professor of Vocal Music at Charleston Southern University and a respected performer in the Southeast Region.  Known for her beautiful, rich tone and her ability to adapt to different styles and genres, she has performed as soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and recently with the Lowcountry Voices and Charlton Singleton Ensemble in the Duke Ellington Sacred Concerts as part of the MOJA Festival.  She has also been a guest artist for the Baker and Baker Recital Series at the Columbia Museum of Art, the Women & Concert Series (Rolling Stones), and The Hi Harmony concert, and is a recurring featured soloist in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival including several Spotlight Concerts with Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra under Dr. Donald Portnoy.  She is also a frequent guest with the Hilton Head Choral Society and other area orchestras and ensembles.  She has presented American art song programs in Michigan, Idaho, South Carolina and Georgia. She has collaborated on art songs with composers in Michigan and South Carolina.  She also has been working on crossover projects and recitals with her husband, jazz musician Robert Lewis and pianist Gerald Gregory.  The three have released multiple albums together of original compositions and arrangements.

Based in Charleston, saxophonist Robert Lewis is in demand as an artist and clinician.  Lewis plays regularly in a trio – Lewis/Gregory/Wiltrout - with Gregory (piano) and Ron Wiltrout (drums).  Lewis also performs in other jazz ensembles, and is the lead alto player of the acclaimed Charleston Jazz Orchestra (CJO).  Robert Lewis writes many arrangements and compositions for the CJO and his smaller groups.  Lewis recently wrote a widely acclaimed jazz suite for the CJO on Gershwin's Porgy and Bess.  He is also the Director of Jazz Studies at the College of Charleston. 

Gerald Gregory is a versatile, well-respected pianist in the Charleston area who is fast making a name for himself along the East Coast.  Gregory recently performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in a program featuring GRAMMY-Award winning singer, Erykah Badu.  He has played in the Copenhagen Jazz Festival with Toca Toca, a Brazilian inspired ensemble.  He is also part of the group Morimoto, which he helped form in 2006 along with Dave Linaburg (guitar) and Nick Jenkins (drums).  Gregory also performs with the Charleston Latin Jazz Collective as well as the Charleston Jazz Orchestra.

Marcus Amaker is Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate. When he was 10, he wrote “When I grow up, I want to be a rock star like Prince.” Since then, his love for the purple one inspired him to pursue art in all of its forms.

He’s a well-known graphic/web designer and videographer, producing award-winning work for many local nonprofits and organizations. He’s also the lead graphic designer for the national music magazine, No Depression.

In 2016, Marcus was named Charleston, South Carolina’s first Poet Laureate, as appointed by Mayor John Tecklenburg. Marcus’ poems have been featured on TEDx, PBS Newshour, A&E, the Huffington Post, several journals and poetry collections.

As a musician, he’s recorded more than 15 albums. Of those albums, his most famous song is “Big Butt,” written when he was 10 years old.

Marcus graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He worked in newspapers for 12 years. During that time, he was the editor of the Post and Courier’s Charleston Scene entertainment section.

But, most importantly, he still loves Prince (RIP) and is obsessed with “Star Wars.”

Demetrius Doctor is an up and coming pianist, composer, and arranger out of North Charleston, SC. In addition to writing original works for his solo album Home,  Doctor has received commissions from Charleston Jazz for original works for the Jazz at the Gibbes series and arrangements for the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. His musical foundation is found in the Gullah infused African-American churches of Charleston and he still serves as Minister of Music at Royal Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC. Demetrius is also regular on the jazz scene in Charleston and has performed with critically acclaimed artists both nationally and abroad. 

Maxx Bradley is a student composer raised in Charleston and currently a senior studying Composition/Music Theory and Jazz Piano at the College of Charleston. He has had twelve works performed via the College, including a piece for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and two pieces performed by student ensembles at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece.