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Wed, Dec 20


Merrimans' Playhouse

Cortiñas / Dillinger / McGrath / Stagl Quartet

Cortiñas and McGrath join Stagl and Dillinger to bring their exciting blend of their musical influences from jazz and Latin America.

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Cortiñas / Dillinger / McGrath / Stagl Quartet
Cortiñas / Dillinger / McGrath / Stagl Quartet

Time & Location

Dec 20, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E Colfax Ave, Suite 135, South Bend, IN 46617, USA


About the Event

TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student. End time is estimate.

Gustavo Cortiñas - drums

Roy McGrath - saxophone

Meghan Stagl - piano and voice

Ben Dillinger - bass

Embracing a multicultural language, while investing in a variety of disciplines within the music itself, Mexican born, and Chicago based composer, bandleader, drummer, and lyricist Gustavo Cortiñas continues to surpass himself in the breadth of his work. “Cortiñas’ music is uplifting, robust, melodic, and gets your body moving; it’s an exciting blend of the artist’s musical influences from jazz and Latin America, including his native Mexico” (DOWNBEAT). A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans (BM Jazz, Minor in Philosophy), and Northwestern University (MM Jazz), Gustavo Cortiñas has developed a successful career in the US for over a decade, leading and accompanying ensembles in renowned stages and festivals in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. During his time in Chicago, Gustavo has become one of the most sought out drummers.

Meghan Stagl has been pursuing music since she was little, and thinking about it pretty much nonstop since her first piano lesson when she was 6. She grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, where, after grade school piano lessons, she participated in her high school orchestra and choir, and directed the student-led a cappella ensemble her senior year. In college, Meghan became interested in jazz, studying piano and voice with Steve Talaga, Edye Evans Hyde, Dr. Brian Coyle, and Dr. Robert Hodson. In recognition of her participation and leadership in numerous jazz ensembles, she received the Jazz Jury Award and the Senior Jazz Award, along with the Music Senior Seminar Award for her capstone research project (using various music theory techniques to analyze a Coldplay album). She then attended Western Michigan University, for her M.M. in Jazz Performance. While there, she participated in the Downbeat-Award winning ensemble Gold Company along with numerous other groups, and has had the distinct pleasure of singing and studying with artists such as Peter Eldridge, Andrew Rathbun, Greg Jasperse, Keith Hall and Matthew Fries. Meghan also studied with legends like Sunny Wilkinson, Tammy McCann, and Jeremy Siskind. These days, she performs in the Chicago area with various jazz ensembles, including her duo project with bassist Matthew Epperson, the Sam Pilnick Project, and Gustavo Cortiñas’ Kind Regards Project. Recently, she won the 2020 Luminarts Fellowship for Jazz Voice. She's currently working on her first songwriter album, as well as continuing to record and play jazz all over the Chicago area!

Ben Dillinger is an upright and electric bassist, composer, and educator who has been working professionally in Chicago for the past 10 years. His formal training is in jazz performance and composition, but he has also performed in many different musical settings including classical, musical theater, rock, and popular music. As an educator he has taught at Roosevelt University, Morton College, and The Chicago High School of Performing Arts.

Roy McGrathis a Chicago based tenor saxophonist and multi-woodwind instrumentalist, composer, and bandleader. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and educated in Boston, New Orleans and Chicago, Roy brings to bear these diverse influences in his playing and composing. In addition to leading and recording his own ensembles, he is a member of several others as an in-demand player, recording artist, and producer. He has led four international tours to Mexico, Singapore, Myanmar, South Korea, and China. As a composer and arranger, Roy is firmly in the jazz tradition, but his Caribbean heritage is an ever-present mind set, leading to wholly original works that are a true expression of who he is. 

His latest project “Menjunje” is an Afro-Caribbean Septet featuring original compositions as well as arrangements of renowned Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, Antonio Caban Vale “El Topo”, combining musicians from Puerto Rico and Chicago. Menjunje features folkloric rhythms of Puerto Rico such as Bomba (Sica, Yuba, Cuembe), Plena, Seis Araucano, as well as Cuban Guaguanco, Bolero, Chachacha, and Son. For this project he flew in musicians from Puerto Rico: Drummer Efrain Martinez (Viento de Agua, Cultura Profetica, La PVC, and many more) and Eduardo Zayas (Charlie Sepulveda, Mahya Veray, Bobby Valentin). As well as musicians from the Chicago area, Constantine Alexander on trumpet, Kitt Lyles on Bass, Javier Quintana-Ocasio and Victor “Junito” Gonzalez on Percussion, and Jose Carrasquillo on Cuatro. This project is a product of working in conjunction with the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, the Puerto Rico Arts Alliance, the Walder Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of Chicago. In 2022 Menjunje played festivals around Chicago and surrounding areas: Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, Glenwood Arts Festival, CU Jazz Festival, Mayfest, Mole de Mayo Festival.

Also, in 2022 Roy plays on supporting the release of Giovany Revelle’s self-titled album, which Roy co-produced, wrote horn arrangements, string arrangements, and coached the rhythm section. In 2017 Roy released his Latin Grammy nominated prior album, “Remembranzas”, a new batch of original compositions that incorporate folkloric Bomba rhythms and other Puerto Rican elements in a jazz framework. Originally, in 2015 the project was called the Julia al Son de Jazz project and was commissioned by Chicago’s Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, where he worked as director of the youth Afro-Caribbean Jazz Ensemble for five years. The project used the writings of revered Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos as a springboard for new compositions that included spoken word recitations of her poetry. Its debut was followed by successive performances throughout Chicago including three dates for the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks summer concert series in 2016.

In 2017 Roy also led two special big band tribute projects: one honoring legendary Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández, with his son, Chali Hernandez singing, and a local All-Stars tribute to Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nations Orchestra that played the Chicago Latin Jazz Fest. 

Roy sang in school choirs before picking up the saxophone at age 16. After attending the Berklee College of Music Summer Workshop, he earned a full scholarship to attend Berklee’s five-week Summer Performance Program. Back in Puerto Rico, he honed his improvisational skills performing with jazz pianist and Beach Boys alumnus Carli Muñoz.

Upon high school graduation, Roy was awarded a scholarship to Loyola University in New Orleans, where he studied under Tony Dagradi (saxophonist for Astral Project) and composer/arranger John Mahoney. He graduated in 2009 with BM in Jazz Performance. After graduation, Roy extended his time in New Orleans, performing in clubs, concert halls and the streets with a variety of musicians. He made three appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and one appearance at the New Orleans French Quarter Fest.

The next stop on his musical journey was Northwestern University in Chicago, where he graduated with a master’s degree in music, studying under Victor Goines, saxophonist for Jazz at Lincoln Center and Director of Jazz Studies at Northwestern University. Graduating in 2014, McGrath decided to put down roots in Chicago because of both its historic role in the development of jazz and the presence of a large and vibrant Jazz & Latin music community in which he could continue to pursue his vision. He returned to Northwestern’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall in 2016 to perform with Victor Goines and Branford Marsalis in Goines’ orchestral composition the “Crescent City Suite”.

Roy released his debut CD as a leader, Martha, in 2014 with a quartet formed of fellow Northwestern grads Gustavo Cortiñas, Kitt Lyles and Joaquin Garcia, all bandleaders in their own right, and returned the favor by joining their ensembles: Snapshot (Cortiñas), Real Talk Collective (Lyles) and Rhythm Convergence (Garcia). The Roy McGrath Quartet was featured in the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s NextGEN concert series in 2015. Later that year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) awarded McGrath a grant to take the quartet on a month-long tour of Mexico. Also in 2015, The Roy McGrath Latin Jazz Quintet performed at the Chicago Latin Jazz Festival. 2016 also saw McGrath joining alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and traditional music ensemble Bomba con Buya for Folclórico: An Exploration of Jazz and Afro-Puerto Rican Music at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.

As an educator Roy has taught masterclasses on improvisation at Dulwich College International in Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing, on four different touring occasions. Roy has taught in his home of Puerto Rico at the Universidad del Turabo and in Mexico City as well.

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services Private Trust Foundations, which include grants from the Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation (2020-2021; 2022-2023 seasons), the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation (2021-2022; 2022-2023 seasons), and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust (2021-2022; 2022-2023; 2023-2024 seasons). Special concert event support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season). Activities are made possible in part by the Arts Organization Support (AOS), Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency (2023-2024 season).

Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation (2020-2023 seasons).

The Student and Home Grown Series concerts made possible, in part, with support from the ArtsEverywhere Grant from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the Arts Project Support Grant and the Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.


  • Student

    $5 Student/Discount

    Sale ended
  • General

    $10 Advanced or Door

    Sale ended



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