Summer Sounds concert series returns to St. James Church

The St. James Center for Spiritual Formation will host the fifth annual Summer Sounds at St. James series of musical concerts at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in July at St. James Episcopal Church, corner of Convention and North 4th streets downtown.

Admission for each concert is $10. College students with a valid ID will be admitted free. A reception follows each concert so the audience may have an opportunity to meet the performers, obtain memorabilia and recordings and view the St. James Artists’ Guild Summer Exhibition and Sale.

The series opens on Wednesday with the return of the National World War II Museum’s Victory Belles, a vocal trio with spirited performances featuring dazzling costumes and a potpourri of songs in their newest red, white and blue celebration featuring great American composers.

The July 9 show will feature Washboard Rodeo, a New Orleans group focusing on Western swing, a style of music that developed by melding fiddles, steel guitars, and sometimes horns in a blend reminiscent of swing and blues with a little country thrown in. Washboard Chaz leads the quintet.

Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony will be at Summer Sounds on July 16. Chapman and her two daughters, Yolanda Windsay and Jolynda Phillips, record and perform their original compositions, as well as their signature arrangements of traditional and modern jazz, blues, and gospel, in New Orleans and around the world.

Everett Parker, former longtime director of the LSU Gospel Choir, will bring his experience teaching gospel music and spirituals for more than 36 years to St. James on July 23 with the Everett Parker Gospel Quartet. Parker studied sacred music at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has consulted and conducted workshops in the authentic performance of African-American music across Louisiana, the United States, France and Italy.

The 2014 season will close on July 30 with recording artist and raconteur Armand St. Martin, a 10th-generation New Orleanian who will sing and entertain solo with his popular Louisiana-flavored stories and his New Orleans-styled piano playing. His original composition, “Storyville Blues,” was featured on the final episode of HBO’s “Treme.”

Season packages are available for $40, which includes five tickets.

Tickets may be purchased by calling (225) 387-5141, visiting stjamesbr.org or at the door.