Arts and Culture | Local

Jonas to bring percussive rhythms to Sukkot concert at the J

Billy Jonas

Renowned Jewish singer Billy Jonas will present a Sukkot concert at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, cosponsored by PJ Library, on Sunday, Oct. 8 from 4-6 p.m. in the Sculpture Garden.

The event will include a story from PJ Library and a light, breakfast-themed dinner.

For 25 years, Jonas ­ — performer, singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator — has perfected what has been described as a “neo-tribal hootenanny” with audiences around the globe, combining voice, guitar, and “industrial re-percussion.”

“It began around an evening campfire in the summer of 1972 — ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ and ‘Blowing in the Wind’ rising with the sparks into the darkness,” recalls Jonas, “communal singing, guitars strumming, and a bucket thumping the back beat. Forty summer campers and eight counselors became one big, glorious, harmonizing being. I remember thinking: wouldn’t it be great to carry this ecstatic connectedness, and musical magic out into the world?”

Jonas developed his craft in the late 1980s as a founding member of the Oberlin College Big Bang Theory performance art collective. He refined his style in Chicago during monthly “Bangalong with Billy” shows at the No Exit Cafe, and subsequently in the 1990s as a co-founder (with Bill Melanson) of the funky folk duo The Billys. He currently tours with the Billy Jonas Band, which was honored with an invitation to perform at the White House in 2010.

Tickets are $18 per immediate family with registration by Wednesday, Oct. 4; $25 per immediate family thereafter. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 299-3000.