Ben Sollee, a Kentucky-born cellist, composer and storyteller.

A December hol­i­day show fea­tur­ing world-renowned Kentucky cel­list Ben Sollee high­lights a busy month at Leeds Center for the Arts.

Actually, to call Sollee a cel­list is to sell the tal­ent­ed musi­cian short. Besides his uncon­ven­tion­al and mes­mer­iz­ing style of play on the cel­lo, he is also a not­ed singer-song­writer and has com­posed scores for movies and plays. He has per­formed on stages from Louisville to New York’s Carnegie Hall to tele­vi­sion’s Jimmy Kimmel show.

Despite his far-flung fame, Ben Sollee has been a friend to Leeds in recent years, appear­ing on stage here and spend­ing time in our com­mu­ni­ty. He played at the the­ater’s reopen­ing in 2017 after that year’s major renovation. 

Tracey Johnson, pres­i­dent of the board at the Leeds Center, told us Sollee “spent a whole week­end in Winchester for the reopen­ing, talk­ing to locals, shop­ping and eat­ing here, and try­ing to get a real feel for the com­mu­ni­ty. And then he came back and played for our youth cho­rus show out­side our doors, which was very profound.”

Ben Sollee will return to Winchester on December 11, along with Daniel Martin Moore, anoth­er Kentucky singer, song­writer, and pro­duc­er. The show, Happy Hollerdays, will fea­ture music, sto­ry­telling, and dance. Tickets are on sale now and avail­able by vis­it­ing the cen­ter’s web­site.

Other upcoming events

Also hap­pen­ing in December, open audi­tions begin on December 7 for the musi­cal Into the Woods, Jr. The show, which is being direct­ed by Ellie Miller with musi­cal direc­tion by Steve Crosby, will be per­formed at the Leeds on February 25 through March 6. Persons inter­est­ed in audi­tion­ing for the show can find more infor­ma­tion on the audi­tion page of the cen­ter’s web­site.

On December 17, Leeds will fea­ture stu­dents of the cen­ter’s SPARK pro­gram dis­play­ing their tal­ents in a show­case event. SPARK is a new arts edu­ca­tion pro­gram offer­ing class­es in singing, music the­o­ry, and oth­er aspects of the­ater to youth ages 11–17.

The annu­al Good Giving Challenge is com­ing up on November 30 through December 6. The Clark County Community Foundation match­es any dona­tions dol­lar for dol­lar up to $10,000. This is the pri­ma­ry fundrais­er for the cen­ter, and the means to make their oper­at­ing bud­get for the year.

In case you missed it, be sure to read our fea­ture arti­cle from last week about the return of live events at Leeds. 

  • Pete Koutoulas

    Pete is an IT pro­fes­sion­al work­ing in Lexington. Formerly of Campton, he and his wife have lived in Winchester since 2015. Pete is a for­mer week­ly news­pa­per pub­lish­er and for­mer colum­nist for the Winchester Sun. These days, when not work­ing he can often be found on his back porch read­ing or writ­ing, in the back­yard tend­ing to his toma­to plants, or put­ter­ing around in his garage or work­shop. Reach Pete at