Samuel B. Lawler IV, Executive Chef of Catering Thyme, is commonly known as Chef Sam. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Chef Sam is certified in Nutrition, Service, Food & Beverage cost control, Classical French and currently critiquing Gluten Free Menus. He is best know for his Beef Carving Stations and Shrimp & Grits, which placed in the People Choice Award.
With the feast for the eyes provided by our artisans, treasures from around the region and world will provide additional opportunities to procure wonderful wares and exciting experiences.
Set against the background of the setting sun on the Cape Fear River, you will enjoy an elegant epicurean experience from the biggest names in regional signature chocolates and fine wines.
In the Riverview Room
Bar and Terrace:
Join Us for the gala style Grand Tasting!
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3, 2017 @ 7-10 p.m.
Guests will delight in the delicious abundance of heavy hors d’oeuvres as the Lawler family and “Catering Thyme” return as the Evening’s Presenting Sponsor and Caterer. This year, jazz saxophonist “Benny Hill & The Benny Hill Quartet” will perform for dancing under the lights of the Eiffel Tower in the Grand Hall. Regional vintners, chocolatiers and specialty food purveyors will present products for tasting and sale while artisans, a caricaturist and photo booth add extra fun. Returning–Beer & Cigar Lounge in the Riverview Room with 8 PM Comedy Show featuring Basile, the Comedian associate, “Daniel Butler” & Wilmington’s Comedy King, Timmy Sherrill!
Grand Tasting Entertainers:
“Jazz Saxophonist, Benny Hill & his Quartet”
Come “swing to the jazz sounds” of The Benny Hill Quartet as they bring their traditional jazz to Wilmington’s tastiest festival of the year. Benny has assembled one of his best Quartets yet, and is sure to get your fingers snapping, hands clapping and toes tapping on the center stage dance floor! The band performs at the Grand Tasting on Friday, February 3, 2017, 7-10 p.m.
The Benny Hill Quartet Includes:
Benny Hill: Benny is well versed in the many styles and genres of popular and classical music and specializes in jazz performance. He is steeped in the tradition of many of the past greats including Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. His improvisations on the Alto Saxophone are reminiscent of these greats, yet he has a distinct style and voice of his own. Benny is a true crowd-pleaser and never fails to raise excitement and enthusiasm while on stage. Benny has shared the stage with such notable jazz musicians as Trumpeter Ray Codrington, Guitarist Melvin Sparks, Trombonist and Arranger Slide Hampton, bassist Percy Heath, drummer Winard Harper, Saxophonist Ron Blake, Trumpeter Eddie Henderson, and New Orleans’ Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He has also opened for roots rocker Edwin McCain and RatDog, with legendary Guitarist/Vocalist Bob Weir and Bassist Rob Wasserman and performed with James Browns’ “Soul Generals”. Joining him on stage at the Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival are pianist Dr. Brad Merritt, bassist Doug Irving, and drummer Dwayne Jordan. Benny Hill's website: bennyhilljazz.com
Doug Irving: From Washington, D.C. USA. Douglas Curtis Irving began playing the Trombone at age 13 and performing and composing at age 15. He grew up listening to Classical, Soul, Rock, Jazz, and Gospel music in addition to his mother, Edith B. Harper, playing organ for various churches. Doug studied Classical and Jazz at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. In addition, he studied Classical Trombone with Jack Pindell and Mike Kris; Jazz Trombone with Howard Lamb, John Jenson, and Jerald Shynett. In 1996, Doug began studying Jazz Bass with such greats as Herman Burney, John Patitucci, and Nat Reeves. He still admires his Classical mentor "Russian-native" Leonid Finkelshtey of the North Carolina Symphony. “I can never say enough about my first mentors Bob Hood, Jack Pindell, and Herman Burney, but that they ‘truly created a concrete foundation for me to continue to walk on’. Also thanks to Nat Reeves, John Patitucci, Leoniod Finkelshytey for being just a phone call away every day. Finally, The United Pentecostal Church International for keeping me sharp at home and in my travels!”
Dwayne Jordan: Dwayne Jordan is drummer, arranger and composer from Charlotte, North Carolina. As a child he was heavily influenced by gospel, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and jazz, which developed his listening skills, giving him a natural ability to play the drums. He has shared the stage with Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder and Grammy-nominated jazz percussionist Joe Chambers. Dwayne has also opened up for artists such as Maceo Parker and several others. Jordan received his bachelor’s degree in music business from Winston-Salem State University and is currently attending North Carolina Central University studying for a master’s degree in Jazz studies in Performance.
Brad Merritt: Pianist, Brad Merritt is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington School of Music, studying along with Benny Hill and Doug Irving. He graduated with a Degree in Music and enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine, where he graduated and is now the Head of UNC Hospital’s Department of Dermatology. Brad still finds time to pursue his passion for music and especially Jazz, playing with The Benny Hill Quartet at events such as the North Carolina Jazz Festival, where they opened in 2016. Brad, his wife and family reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Friday, February 3, 2017
Heavy Hors d’oeuvres by
The Benny Hill Quartet
Beer & Cigar Bar with
8 p.m. Comedy Show
Danny Butler and
WINE & CHOCOLATE
Saturday, February 4, 2017
11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and
Sunday, February 5, 2017
noon - 4 p.m.
Kid’s Korner Activities
Wine, Chocolate, Food and Artisan Exhibitors!
Something for Everyone
Attire is “Festive”
Daniel Butler is a NEW, refreshing comedian on the National comedy scene. His unique blend of Southern-fried, cynical observations, mixed with his high energy persona, makes for an unforgettable evening of entertainment.
Daniel will take his audience down the humorous dirt road less traveled, and lead them to the paved streets of political incorrectness.
Click HERE for more info...