Sunday, March 3, 2024 - 3:00pm

2365 Pine Ave, Vero Beach, FL 32960

DVORAK Carnival Overture
SAINT SAENS Piano Concerto No. 2 
Carnival of the Animals 
DEBUSSY Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Jacob Craig, piano
Jean Black, piano
Laurel Stanton, cello
Sonya Stahl, guest composer

Encounter elephants, kangaroos, donkeys, lions, cuckoos, swans, and more as Aaron leads Saint-Saëns’s beloved musical menagerie, The Carnival of the Animals. Brimming with humor and vivid color, and filled with music audiences will recognize, this is one of the most purely fun works ever composed. This presentation of Saint-Saëns’s masterwork for two pianos and orchestra highlights Principal Keyboardist Jean Black, together with the incredible Jacob Craig.  Craig will also be featured on Saint-Saëns’s glittering and extravagant Piano Concerto No. 2, one of the composer’s most famous.  Also featured on the program is the world premiere of Sonya Leonore Stahl’s Eagle Music, a soaring work that evokes birds of prey gliding euphorically through the sky.  The concert also features two shorter works by composers, Antonin Dvorak and Claude Debussy.  Dvorak's Carnival depicts “a lonely, contemplative wanderer reach[ing] at twilight a city where a festival is in full swing. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and the unrestrained hilarity of people giving vent to their feelings in songs and dances.”  The concert is rounded out with one of Debussy’s most famous works, the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, an Impressionist masterpiece that will transport you to a mythical land.

Artist Information

Dr. Jacob Craig is the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Vero Beach, Florida. Jacob moved to Vero Beach in 2012 and continues to delight churchgoers and crowds alike with his virtuosic skill on piano and organ. He is particularly talented at jazz piano, which he frequently performs during services. Former Dean Andrew Galuska of the Treasure Coast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, said of Craig, “Jacob is an enthusiastic and multi-talented young musician who has not only revitalized the performance of sacred music in his own church, but has also had an exciting impact on music in our community at large. His success at working with and encouraging young musicians is unparalleled.” As a result of his work with local youth, Craig was the most recent recipient of the Indian River County Cultural Council’s Laurel Award for Excellence in Education. As the Director of Music and Arts at First Presbyterian, Jacob directs the Chancel Choir, Youth String Orchestra, and more. In the community, Dr. Craig directs the Silver Tones, a seniors-only community choir sponsored by the Senior Resource Association, the ACTS Choir based out of Indian River Estates, the Sea Oaks Chorus, the John’s Island Singers, and the semi-professional auditioned-only Vero Beach Choral Society. Jacob also maintains an active performing career and enthusiastically supports other local nonprofit organizations such as the Vero Vino Festival, Vero Beach Chamber Orchestra, Treasure Coast Wind Ensemble, Space Coast Symphony, and Treasure Coast Youth Orchestra.  Dr. Craig is on the board of the Indian River Symphonic Association.

In addition to his skill at the keyboard, Jacob is a professional level bagpiper and the Pipe Major/founder of the Vero Beach Pipes and Drums. Jacob received his Bachelor of Music Education and Piano Performance degree from Shorter University in Rome, GA before moving on to Tallahassee, FL to receive his M.M. in Choral Conducting and Literature under Dr. Andre Thomas at Florida State University. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Music from the Graduate Theological Foundation, a partner of Oxford University in England. As part of his post-doctorate study, he attended a summer sabbatical on-site at Oxford University in 2019, which resulted in a culminated and conferred degree. In addition to his musical and artistic endeavors, Dr. Craig also trains regularly as a boxer, and is an aerobatic pilot building time towards an ATP rating.Jean is a Brevard County native, born in Rockledge. She began studying piano under the tutelage of Connie Trainor, with whom she studied from the age of five through high school. During her school years, Jean sang with her family, played handbells, and began playing the flute, but piano was still her first love. By age fifteen, she was the accompanist for the Titusville High School Madrigals. Upon her graduation, she attended The Florida State University where she minored in music while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film from the School of Motion Picture, Television, and Recording Arts. In the past twenty-five years, Jean has earned a reputation for excellence as a collaborative pianist working with Brevard County public school choirs and soloists, band and orchestra students, and theatrical productions at the Cocoa Village Playhouse, Titusville Playhouse, and the Henegar Center. In 2016, she had the privilege of playing keyboard at The Dr. Philips Center in Orlando for the National Tour of “Wicked.” She is the principal pianist and keyboardist of the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra and works frequently with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, Central Florida Winds, Orlando Light Opera, Opera del Sol, Central Florida Vocal Arts, Riverside Chamber Orchestra, and Riverside Community Chorus. She is the accompanist for the Brevard Chorale at Eastern Florida State College and serves in the worship arts ministry at Indian River City United Methodist Church as a pianist and singer.

Sonya Leonore Stahl (1981) is a violinist with the Gainesville Orchestra and Ocala Symphony Orchestra, and was the state fiddle champion at the Florida Folk Festival in 2011. She studied with Janna Lower and Paul Richards at the University of Florida, and her compositions center love, nature, faith, and fairy-tales. Her "Solutions" was performed both by the Professors' Choir at the 2022 Southeast Trombone Symposium and the Cramer Choir at the 2023 International Trombone Festival, and her "Song of the Rose" appears on Dr. Jemmie Robertson's Red Dragonfly album.  In 2023 she was awarded one of the prizes in the “Silent Voices” Festival out of Bemidji State University. She previously spent two decades working with fruits and vegetables, both in scientific research and wholesale logistics, and was the winner of the Florida State Horticultural Society’s Best Paper for her 2021 review of bamboo shoot freshness. Find her musical compositions on YouTube at the channel “I eat too many clementines.”