Classical Classical music’s No.1 maverick performs March 21

Don’t expect a “stuffy concert” when Jade Simmons brings her Jade Simmons Experience Part 2 back to The Bender stage March 21.

“I’ve never played a stuffy concert,” says the classically trained pianist who defines herself as a maverick. “It’s interactive. You may end up on stage. You’ll hear music you already love, and you’ll discover music that you’ll fall in love with.”

Simmons has played the piano since she was 8 years old, “… very late; I was already over the hill,” she confessed.

On her way to becoming a concert performer, Simmons was Miss Chicago, Miss Illinois and first runner-up at the Miss America 2000 pageant. From an early age, though, she had a love for practicing and performing at the piano. 

She moved to the Lake Houston area in 2001 with her air traffic-controller husband (her high-school sweetheart), and was accepted into Rice University’s master’s piano program.

Today, Simmons travels the world entertaining and inspiring audiences. She was named one of the best keynote speakers by Northstar meetings and serves as the storyteller behind American Public Media’s new hit podcast, “Decomposed,” where she blends her love of classical music history with the stories that created and shaped that music, accompanied by the music the stories inspired. 

Take a listen to the podcast at

As for what The Bender audience can expect, Simmons said that it won’t be a “straight-ahead” recital.

“I’m bringing my usual mix of music and inspiration but this time, I’m also bringing a new experience I call ‘The Sound of Breakthrough,’” said Simmons. “My goal is to leave my Lake Houston fans transformed in some way, seeing things differently about themselves and the world around them.”

Simmons hinted at a “… pretty big announcement …” she’ll be making soon and, during her Bender performance, she’ll have a live “question and answer” session, one of her favorite things to do and a powerful way for her to get to know her audience.

“If we’re doing life right, we should always feel the call to grow into the next version of ourselves,” she said, without giving a hint about what that mystery announcement will be. “Your gift, whatever it is, cannot stay limited to where you are now. At some point, they must be called on for a good greater than just you and what you want to do.”

By the time she performs at The Bender, her announcement will be out in the open and she’ll be sharing the big “why,” as she calls it, with her audience.

“I’ve performed all over the world and for many notable people, but I rank my 2018 Bender concert as one of my favorites, partly because my son performed for the first time at the end of the show,” Simmons said. “He’ll return to open for me.”

Simmons rates Jennifer Wooden and The Bender staff an A-plus as well -- and the audience?

“Lake Houston is so warm and welcoming,” she said. “I want everyone to bring their kids just like last time. I so enjoy playing for them, too.” 

Check out the versatility of Simmons on her extraordinary website,, or find her on YouTube.

“In addition to the Jade Simmons Experience, we’ve scheduled got some marvelous events that will keep you movin’ all through the summer,” says Bender Director Wooden. 

Sixteen-year-old Houston singer Sarah Grace brings her trumpet and her band, Soul, to The Bender stage April 25. Grace was a semifinalist from Season 15 of “The Voice.”

Classically trained performers who call themselves Divisi Strings and Cosmic match their violins and cellos with a DJ at The Bender June 27 to “mash up” every music genre you can think of.

Thanks to the generosity of K. Austin and Associates, The Bender is the scene of “Pianos on Fire” July 11 as pianists Brian Holland and Carl Sonny Leland and drummer Danny Cooks return to The Bender to perform their “head-bobbin’” rockabilly, ragtime, blues and boogie.

Rounding out the summer sound, the Fab 5 return July 25, and Austin’s Urban Achievers Brass Band make their Bender debut Aug. 8.

To experience Jade Simmons at The Beautiful Bender Saturday, March 21, call 281-446-4140 or visit or Charles Bender Performing Arts Center on Facebook. Ticket cost is $20.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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