Helbing Jazz Initiative

RSO with Helbing Jazz Initiative

Helbing Jazz Initiative with the RSO

Various Holiday Selections Including:

Jingle Bells
All I Want for Christmas is You
The [Funky] Little Drummer Boy
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

The performance is approximately 110 minutes including a 20-minute intermission



Get ready for a magical evening filled with beloved holiday classics influenced by the blue notes of jazz as the Richardson Symphony Orchestra and Stockton Helbing’s Jazz Initiative twist together for a festive winter celebration like no other. 

Immerse yourself in the captivating melodies of the season with fan favorites like Sleigh Ride and timeless selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Let the symphony whisk you away on a journey through winter wonderlands and holiday dreams. 

But that’s not all! Brace yourself for a fresh take on popular holiday tunes with Stockton Helbing’s Jazz Initiative. From the soulful sounds of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to the funky groove of “The [Funky] Little Drummer Boy,” experience holiday charts like never before. Get ready to swing to the rhythms of “Jingle Bells” and feel the New Orleans warmth of “All I Want for Christmas is You” in a jazz-infused celebration of the season. 

Whether you’re a fan of traditional holiday cheer or crave the excitement of toe-tapping contemporary jazz, this concert promises to delight and inspire. Join us for an unforgettable evening of musical joy and holiday spirit.  

Buy Season Subscriptions HERE


Helbing Jazz Initiative

Pete Clagett, trumpet
Tony Baker, trombone
Shelley Carrol, saxohone
James Driscoll, bass
Kwinton Gray, piano
Stockton Helbing, drums & band leader
Madison Russell, vocals


Helbing Jazz Initiative logo

Stockton Helbing’s Helbing Jazz Initiative (HJI) focuses on three E’s: to Encourage, Educate, and Embolden people through jazz music and the stories of the diverse people that helped shape the art form. Since 2016, HJI has presented hundreds of concerts, clinics, workshops, and masterclasses to all ages and demographics throughout Dallas/Ft. Worth and beyond. Most presentations center around one key jazz legend through performance of songs associated and/or composed by that artist as well as extensive narrative of that artist’s journey through the challenges of their life. By using the music and biographies of well-known jazz masters such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie to the lesser appreciated jazz legends including Joe Henderson, Lee Morgan, and JJ Johnson, the Helbing Jazz Initiative reminds audiences that the past is present and is available to everyone for inspiration in their future.

Pete Clagett, trumpet
Pete Clagett, trumpet

As a trumpet player, Pete Clagett has performed, toured, and recorded with a wide variety of jazz musicians and pop artists. He was a member of Bob Belden’s acclaimed experimental jazz group, Animation, which recorded and performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Following a groundbreaking tour to Iran in 2015, the group garnered press in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and the Boston Herald. In the DFW area, he is a sought after soloist and recording musician and maintains a busy career as a freelance performer. He has held trumpet clinics throughout DFW, performed at International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE,) the Jazz Education Network (JEN,) and also teaches at the University Texas at Arlington. Mr. Clagett holds degrees from the University of Miami (Coral Gables) (B.M.) in studio music and jazz and the University of North Texas (M.M.) in jazz studies.

Tony Baker, trombone
Tony Baker, trombone

Considered one of the finest trombonists of his generation, Tony Baker is currently a faculty member at the University of North Texas College of Music. Previously, Mr. Baker served as assistant professor of trombone at Ohio University and as visiting assistant professor of trombone and euphonium at Kent State University. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, he is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota and the University of Central Arkansas. Mr. Baker’s professional experience is as varied as it is substantial. Currently a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, he has performed with ensembles such as the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, and the Dallas, Richardson, Columbus, Akron, Arkansas, and Duluth-Superior symphony orchestras.

As a jazz musician Mr. Baker has performed with groups such as the Woody Herman Band and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. He has also performed on stage with such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Steve Turre, Terry Gibbs, John Fedchock, Chris Vadala, and Jiggs Whigham. As a jazz clinician, Mr. Baker is on the faculty of summer jazz workshops at the University of North Texas and Northwest College in Cody, Wyoming. Mr. Baker is a regular faculty member of the University of North Texas Trumpet and Trombone Workshop, University of North Texas Combo Workshop, and Yellowstone Jazz Camps. He was also a guest artist at the 2002 Redbud Jazz Festival and the 1999 Capital University Jazz Week. Mr. Baker served as the All-State Conductor of the 2004-2005 Minnesota All-State Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Baker has recorded with the Sounds of Blackness and can be heard with this group on their Grammy-nominated compact disc, Time for Healing. From October 1997 to April 2000 Baker was lead trombonist of the Columbus-based professional big band Jazz-to-Go. The recipient of many prizes and awards, Mr. Baker’s honors include a first place in Brass Performance in the 1991 Music Teachers National Association Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist National Competition. Mr. Baker currently is a member of the University of North Texas Faculty Brass.

Shelley Carrol, saxophone
Shelley Carrol, saxophone

Shelley Carrol hails from a family of gospel singers and musicians in Houston, Texas. It was there that the music bug bit him at an early age and landed him in the famed Boys Choir of Houston. After picking up the saxophone, he was able to study with the legendary Texas Tenor greats Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson. At the time he didn’t know how revered these gentlemen were around the globe. They simply lived in his neighborhood. Shelley attended the city’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was a standout in the city’s Summer Jazz Workshop Program. This is where he developed a true flair for the stage.

While attending the University of North Texas, Shelley earned 1st tenor in the Grammy-nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. There he recorded two critically acclaimed CD’s in 1990 – 91. During the same period, Mr. Carrol was invited to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra by trumpeter Barrie Lee Hall. This would prove to be an enormous musical opportunity with worldwide exposure. Since joining the band, he has toured the U. S. and over 30 foreign countries. He has also recorded and/or performed with Sheryl Crow, Maureen McGovern, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Roger Waters and a host of others. Shelley evolved to record as a leader in 1997. He was able to feature members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra on his debut CD for Leaning House Records. His second CD, A Distant Star, was released in the fall of 2001. The disc features pianist Bernard Wright, bassist Curtis Lundy, and drummer Sebastian Whittaker. This sophomore effort easily got the critics and fans buzzing with excitement. Carrol’s third release was recently recorded with his Monday night band. This group has been featured at The New Amsterdam Bar in Dallas for several years. Their CD entitled Gentle Friend is now available. His latest recording is entitled I Heard That and features some iconic guest artists like the late Marchel Ivery, Stefan Karlsson, Roger Boykin, and vocalist Ardina Lockhart. Shelley also feels a need to share his musical gift with today’s youth. He currently teaches privately in the Dallas area and gives clinics whenever he can. He even has plans to develop a Summer Jazz Workshop in Dallas. He says “…music has to be shared to truly be enjoyed.” Anyone who listens to his tenor saxophone would have to agree.

Carrol was a 2006 finalist in the Texas Commission for the Arts “State Musician” recognition and was also named the 2007 “Sammons Center Jazz Artist of the Year,” the highest accolade possible for Dallas/Ft. Worth area jazz musician. He was a 2014 Dallas Observer nominee for “Best Jazz Act.” Shelley has recently toured with multi-platinum artists Sheryl Crow, Gary Clark, Jr. and Kool and the Gang. This has led to many endorsements and various national TV appearances.

James Driscoll, bass
James Driscoll, bass

Bassist James Driscoll has been an active member of the Dallas/Ft. Worth music scene for over 25 years and has performed or recorded with Don Henley, Bobby Paterson, Andy Timmons, Tim Miller, Ariel Posen, Ed Soph, Arlington Jones, Doc Severinsen, Petty Theft, Stockton Helbing, Dallas and Ft. Worth Symphony Orchestras and many more.  He has played on countless national commercial jingles at Luminous Sound and TM Studios.   In addition, he teaches audio production at Booker T. Washington HSPVA and Collin College and operates a studio called Hot Tonic Mastering where he collaborates with many Texas and national artists.

Kwinton Gray, keyboard
Kwinton Gray, keyboard

Kwinton Gray comes from a musical family, and he performs w/ his siblings in their family band known as “The Grays.” He also started his band jazz/fusion group “Kwinton Gray Project” which released their debut album in 2018 titled ‘Leap of Faith.’ ‘KGP’ is currently working on releasing their highly anticipated Sophomore album this year.

In 2019, Kwinton was awarded the Dallas Observer Music Award for Best Keyboardist, as well as Kwinton Gray Project receiving a DOMA in 2018 for best Jazz Act. Kwinton is also a member of electric jazz band The Funky Knuckles. He began touring w/ Tony Award nominated director/choreographer Camile A. Brown & Dancers in 2018. Kwinton has also toured and performed around the globe with some of the industry’s most influential performers such as Lalah Hathaway, Janet Jackson, Mononeon, Liv Warfield, and more.

Stockton Helbing, drums
Stockton Helbing, drums

Stockton Helbing is always moving.  If he is not playing the drums, he is busy being a composer, arranger, producer, bandleader, educator, music director, author, and entrepreneur.

Stockton maintains a busy schedule of performing, recording, lecturing, and teaching around North America with his trio, quartet, quintet, and sextet. He is a frequent guest artist at colleges and high schools where he clinics, rehearses, and performs with their small groups, big bands, and percussion ensembles. Since 2011, Stockton has been heard across the United States playing drums for American music icon and trumpet player extraordinaire Doc Severinsen.

Stockton has released eight albums to date:  Lodestar (2005), For Nothing is Secret (2007), Battlestations & Escape Plans (2010), Crazy Aquarius (2012), Handprints (2014), Patina (2015), Swimming in Place (2017), and Light Sleeper (2020), his most recent.  Each album not only showcases Stockton’s drumming abilities, but his composing, arranging, and producing skills as well. Stockton has authored two books, Big Band Drum Set Sight Reading Etudes Volume 1 and Studies in Syncopation, both of which are included in the percussion curriculum at the University of North Texas.

Since 2016, Stockton has directed a Jazz outreach program called the Helbing Jazz Initiative (HJI). Through HJI presentations, Stockton and his band have provided Jazz masterclasses for thousands of elementary, middle school, and high school students throughout the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area. HJI masterclasses focus on celebrating the Jazz masters of the past through performance and discussion of their musical and social contributions to Jazz and United States history. In April of 2019, Stockton was recognized by the Dallas Jazz Appreciation Month (DJAM) Jazz Legend award for Jazz Innovator of the year for his work with HJI in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

Stockton has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists including Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, the Maniacal 4, Erykah Badu, David Braid, Steve Wiest, Jennifer Holiday, Blue Lou Marini, The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Denis DiBlasio, The Cincinnati Pops, Chip McNeill, Darden Purcell, Clay Jenkins, Phil Woods, Wayne Bergeron, Randy Brecker, The Imperial Brass, Mary Wilson, Paul Tynan, Andy Timmons, Tom “Bones” Malone, Ernie Watts and many more.

Stockton currently teaches drum set at the University of North Texas as an adjunct professor of music. Stockton has appeared as a guest artist at schools including the University of North Texas, San Jose State University, Southern Wesleyan University, the University of Illinois, Simpson College, George Mason University, the University of South Carolina, St. Francis Xavier University, Oklahoma State University, and Troy University.

Stockton lives in Dallas, TX, with his wife Denise, John their son, Liliana their daughter, Jack the dog, and Aquarius the turtle.

For more information, please visit www.StocktonHelbing.com.

Madison Russell, vocals
Madison Russell, vocals

Madison Russell explores the nuances of everyday life, self-awareness, and perception of others through performance and composition. Using jazz, indie/alt rock, folk, classical, and singer-songwriter styles, she crafts intricate narratives that are performed in concert halls, festivals, and house venues. Her voice has been described as “dynamic”, “angelic”, “full”, and “expressive”.

Madison was raised as a classically trained vocalist and percussionist in North Texas. She began singing in choir at age 10 and became a percussionist at age 12, raised on jazz, classical, and 70’s pop music. In 2015, she was named a YoungArts winner in Voice (Jazz) by the National YoungArts Foundation while attending Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In 2020, Madison earned a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Interactive Virtual and Digital Communication, and in 2019, she earned a Jazz Studies degree. In 2023, she earned a Master of Science degree in Library Science with a concentration in Music Librarianship.

Currently, Madison is a performer, writer, and studio vocalist in jazz, rock, pop, and chamber groups. Her focus is on creating thoughtful works and performances that challenge while encouraging introspection, accessibility, grace, and empathy.

RSO symphony picture
Richardson Symphony Orchestra

Just north of Dallas and nestled in the vibrant city of Richardson, Texas, the Richardson Symphony Orchestra (RSO) embodies the essence of what it means to be a regional symphony orchestra. Led by Maestro Clay Couturiaux, the RSO’s journey is a testament to unwavering dedication and musical excellence.

Since its founding in 1961, the RSO has remained steadfast in its mission to enrich lives through the transformative power of music. From enchanting renditions of classical staples to daring explorations of contemporary works, the orchestra’s repertoire mirrors the rich tapestry of human emotion and experience.

The symphony has captivated audiences with electrifying performances, seamlessly blending precision and passion. Under Maestro Couturiaux’s guidance, each note resonates with soul-stirring depth, leaving listeners enraptured.

Beyond the concert hall, the RSO is a beacon of community engagement, nurturing young talent and enriching lives through the transformative power of music. With every crescendo, the orchestra reaffirms its status as a cultural gem, enriching the tapestry of the city of Richardson and beyond with symphonic splendor.

  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00



Dec 07 2024


7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Charles W. Eisemann Center
2351 Performance Drive Richardson, Texas 75082