The following is a republished press release from the State Theatre and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice. Click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at

(Ithaca, NY) – With over 10 Grammy nominations between them, jazz masters Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling grace the historic State Theatre of Ithaca stage on January 19th at 7:30pm at the 7th annual Benefit My State Concert. Just over 87 years old, the not-for-profit State Theatre of Ithaca depends on community support to host over 85 events a year including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performers, world-renown classical composers, hysterical comedians, community performances and just recently, classic films.

With its 1,625 seat capacity, The State Theatre of Ithaca is one of the area’s most significant arts venues. Originally designed and built by local architect Henry N. Hinckley in 1915, it was originally an auto garage and dealership. In 1926, Cornell Theatres, Inc. purchased the building and hired celebrated theatre architect Victor Rigaumont to design and oversee the transformation of the garage and showroom into an atmospheric cinema and vaudeville palace. Opening night, December 6, 1928, was a memorable and entertaining spectacle featuring Paul Tremaine and his Aristocrats of Modern Music. The show promised “21 Peppy, Snappy Entertainers” and admission cost 50 cents.

Branford Marsalis has stayed the course. From his early acclaim as a saxophonist bringing new energy and new audiences to the jazz art, he has refined and expanded his talents and his horizons as a musician, composer, bandleader and educator – a 21st century mainstay of artistic excellence.  The three-time Grammy Award winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.

The Branford Marsalis Quartet rarely invites other musicians into the folds of their cohesive unit, but this January they will be joined by guest-vocalist Kurt Elling, celebrating their 2017 Grammy nominated album Upward Spiral.

One of the few male jazz singers from around the baby boom generation, Kurt Elling is an anomaly simply by profession. Given the depth and broad vision of his recordings and performance style, Elling is in a league of his own. Planning a career in the academic world, he discovered jazz and took to it naturally. Deeply influenced by singer and poet Mark Murphy, Elling began to develop his idiosyncratic scat style in the smaller clubs of Chicago (primarily at the Green Mill, sharing the stage with legends Von Freeman and Ed Peterson) and then throughout the Midwest. An Elling show can contain ranting beat poetry, dramatic and poignant readings of Rilke, and hard-swinging scat.

General admission tickets for Branford Marsalis Quartet and Kurt Elling are on sale now. Tickets range from $45 to $65.  A limited number of VIP tickets will be available at $100 and Meet and Greet packages are $150. Tickets are available through the State Theatre Box Office at 105 W. State/MLK Jr. St., by calling 607-277-8283, or online All proceeds will directly benefit the State Theatre of Ithaca, Inc. The 7th Annual Benefit My State concert is generously sponsored by CFCU Community Credit Union and Jason K. Demarest Architecture, D.P.C.

State Theatre of Ithaca Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that owns and operates Tompkins County’s last remaining historic theatre. Their mission is to enhance the cultural life of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes by preserving, operating and promoting the historic State Theatre as an active venue for national, international and community performances and programming. Over 65,000 people will attend events there during the 2016/17 season.