Articles by David Dupont

Symphony & ballet step into new partnership

The Toledo Symphony Orchestra and The Toledo Ballet have announced they will merge. The merger, announced Tuesday, Sept.  18, becomes official on Jan. 1, 2019. The new Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts though will be celebrated this weekend when Alain Trudel makes his debut as the orchestra’s music director. The performances Friday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 22, both at 8 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle will feature dancers from the ballet performing selections from “Swan Lake” with the orchestra. Zak Vassar, the orchestra’s CEO, said that the merger came about through a study conducted with funding from the Toledo Community Foundation’s Strategic Alliance Partnership. Originally he said that study looked at a three-way merger with the orchestra, ballet, and Toledo Opera. In the end the opera decided to remain independent, though its extensive collaborations with the symphony will continue. Vassar said the merger between the 78-year-old ballet and the 75-year-old symphony are three-fold. Primary is the fostering and expanding on the long history of collaborations, including the annual “Nutcracker,” and other productions that have included Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Stravinsky’s “Firebird.” The merger also brings together the two educational wings of their operations. Vassar said this may be the only educational organization in the country with certification from the American Ballet Theatre and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. The symphony’s educational mission, including its youth orchestras, has 350 students, and the ballet teaches 300 students. Vassar also said that the new organization will mean administrative efficiencies, resulting in financial savings. The goal, he said, is “optimizing” the saving in he back end while “maximizing” what’s presented to the public. Trudel said celebrating this collaboration has long been part of how this weekend’s concerts, which also mark the beginning the orchestra’s 75th anniversary festivities, were programmed. He said he wanted to open with a major statement, so he programmed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. He wanted to recognize the area’s musical culture by presenting “Caldera” by Christopher Dietz, who teaches composition at Bowling Green State University, and then celebrate the community with Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” with dancers from the Toledo Ballet.

Toledo Symphony, Toledo Ballet to merge

From TOLEDO ALLIANCE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet today announced plans to merge the area’s oldest performing arts institutions. The Toledo Symphony, celebrating its 75th anniversary, is recognized as one of the finest regional orchestras in the country. The Toledo Ballet, celebrating its 78th season, is recognized as one of America’s finest pre-professional dance programs. By joining forces, the Symphony and Ballet will build on an accumulated 153 years of performing arts history to present the finest performing arts in the region and reaffirm their shared focus upon education. The merged organization will be known as the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts, or T.A.P.A. The new non-profit is expected to form effective January 1, 2019. The Symphony and Ballet will continue to operate as sibling brands under the T.A.P.A. umbrella. Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony will become CEO of the combined organization. The Toledo Ballet has operated for several months without an Executive Director. “This partnership is a natural one,” says Vassar, “The Toledo Symphony and Toledo Ballet have worked together for over 70 years, with the Symphony serving as the Ballet’s pit orchestra. Our archives are rich with collaborations, and we have a great history of working together to entertain and inspire this community.” The Toledo Symphony first performed with the Toledo Ballet in the 1949 performance of the Nutcracker. The orchestra has supported the Ballet in every Nutcrackersince, celebrating the nation’s longest-running production of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. Additionally, the Symphony has presented dancers from Toledo Ballet in many of its series performances, including the Rite of Springin 2015. “Marie Vogt choreographed several special performances for the Toledo Symphony in the 1950s under then-Music Director Wolfgang Streseman,” recalls Robert Bell, President Emeritus of the Toledo Symphony. “There were special performances of music by Copland and Enescu at the Paramount and Rivoli theaters, too. The Ballet’s dancers beautifully enhanced each program with fresh choreography.” During this formative period of the Toledo Ballet under Marie’s passionate and unwavering commitment to the art, the Symphony retained the Ballet for a variety of educational concerts as well imaginatively staged productions of the Nutcracker Suite. Besides presenting memorable performances, the Symphony and Ballet have common roots in education. The Toledo Symphony, through the Toledo Symphony School of Music and…

Dietz finds a place among the masters on Toledo Symphony program

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Alain Trudel debuts as conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 21 and 22, ( he’ll call on some heavy hitters in classical music to help with the introductions. The concerts will open with Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony and its majestic four-note clarion call. The second half will be devoted to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake” with dancers from the Toledo Ballet.  And then tucked in between Beethoven and the intermission will be “Caldera” by Christopher Dietz, a professor of composition at Bowling Green State University. Dietz said he’s delighted to be on the program. “It’s a little weird seeing my name in the middle between those two,” he said. While his fellow composers on the program are represented by mature work, “Caldera” was actually Dietz’ first successful orchestral piece. He composed it in 2004 while he was studying for his doctorate at the University of Michigan. The title means a large volcanic crater, but that came well after the piece was composed Dietz said. “I just wanted to write 11 to 12 minutes of robust, energetic, intense orchestral music.” This was not his first try. “The first one was so big and grotesque and impossible to play,” he said. The second was a chamber symphony that “lacked chutzpah.” “Caldera” hit the Goldilocks spot. The piece has a churning, forward momentum full of sparkling instrumental touches. Every instrument in the orchestra gets a chance to shine. Dietz said in this instance he “had a better sense of what an orchestra can do given the rehearsal time they have.” This is the second time the orchestra will perform “Caldera.” Back in 2007, then Resident Conductor Chelsea Tipton put the piece on a Classics Concert he was leading. Dietz knew Tipton through his wife, Emily Price Dietz, who has played French horn in the orchestra since 2000. Dietz said he showed the piece to the conductor and was surprised he programmed it. “Caldera” resurfaced during conversations between Dietz and the orchestra’s CEO Zak Vassar at the Toledo Symphony Student Composer Reading Sessions. Dietz initiated that program when he came to BGSU in 2010.  Vassar was interested in having a new orchestral work from the composer, and that was arranged, and will be performed next season by the symphony….

Partial closures on Slippery Elm Trail on Tuesday

As part of ongoing maintenance, the Slippery Elm Trail will have sealant applied on Tuesday, September 18.  The partial closures on Tuesday will be along the trail between the crossroads of Bays Road and Portage Road. The grass shoulders along the trail will be open for public use. The Slippery Elm Trail is expected to be fully open on Wednesday, September 19. The Wood County Park District and Strawser Construction are working to provide trail access throughout this trail update.

Park district programs share nature with public

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT   Intro to Nature Photography Tuesday, September 18; 5:30 – 7:30 pm Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Interested in capturing the wonders of the outdoors in photographs but unsure how to do so? Bring your camera and practice honing your skills at our Nature Interpretation Center. This session will focus on making the most of natural lighting and taking great pictures without a flash. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Friends’ Migration Field Trip Tuesday, September 18; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Join the Friends of the Parks on a tour of the parks in search of migrating songbirds. A light lunch will be provided. Leader: Jim Witter (14) Emerge: Space is limited on the park bus, but participants may follow behind. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Wonderful Wooly Bears! Tuesday, September 18, 6:00 – 7:30 pm Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Do these cute fuzzy “bears” have the ability to forecast our winter? We will search out the answer as we look for them on the trail and in the quarry. All winter prognostications are the responsibility of the larvae of the Isabella tiger moth and are not necessarily the viewpoint of the Wood County Parks.  Register at, or call (419) 353-1897     Parks Bus Tour Saturday, September 22; 9:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Enjoy a naturalist-led tour of a few parks, with a brief hike at each. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Canoeing with Crayfish Saturday, September 22; 9:00 am – noon Weirs Rapids Access 21095 Range Line Rd, Bowling Green Enjoy a scenic float down the Maumee River with Naturalists and ODNR stream scientists who will point out interesting river features. Experience how experts evaluate the health of the river by investigating the critters that call it home! Cost: $10, FWCP $7. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   Hunter Education Class Sundays, September 23 and October 28, 2:00 – 6:00 pm Park District Headquarters: Community Classroom 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Need to complete an Ohio Division of Wildlife Hunter Education course for your hunting license? Finish your Home-Study course with a park officer….

Consultant encourages people to engage in the hard work of conversing about race & diversity

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Talking about race is hard. That’s no reason not to have those conversations, Jamie Washington told a gathering of university faculty staff and students and community members last week. Washington, a consultant on diversity, had been invited to Bowling Green State University by the Office of Residence Life. Washington, whose credentials include being an ordained minister, didn’t come pontificate. Instead he had those in attendance do the talking, to each other, one on one face to face with people they didn’t know. He was hoping to spark some genuine conversation.  Not the kind that happens in a meeting where people “perform” what they’re supposed to say, but the kind of exchanges that happen at “the meeting after the meeting” when people are free to share what they really think. One of Washington’s few pieces of guidance for the conversations: “If you’re hearing a voice that says ‘you can’t say that,’ that’s what I need you to say. That will take us to engagement.” Ana Brown, Coordinator for Diversity and Retention Initiative in the Office of Residence Life, said hosting speakers like Washington is a way of fulfilling the university’s mission statement. Washington has been called one of the top consultants on diversity by The Economist. He currently serves as president of the American College Student Personnel Association. Given the community’s partnership with BGSU in Not In Our Town, Brown said, it was natural to pull community members in. “A lot of folks want to have these conversations, but don’t know how. Attending sessions like these will make it more comfortable for these folks.” She hopes to have more dialogues.  That’s a key, Washington said. Progress is only made through practice. If it’s a one-time speaker, or conversations are only held when there’s a crisis, that’s not enough. “It’s like going to the gym once a year.” Leaders, whether campus, government, religious, or business, need to take responsibility for infusing this into the way they do their business every day and create opportunities for conversation. Practice is needed because grappling with issues of race and diversity is difficult. Washington himself said he’s had to deal with his own issues as a male in dealing with female colleagues. “We have to own that difficulty,” he said. That’s the context of these…

BGSU art exhibit celebrates legacy of Bernie Casey & other African-American artists

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION Bernie Casey’s death in September 2017 was the impetus for creating an art exhibition in his honor at his alma mater. The Bowling Green State University School of Art is hosting “So Much More … Ohio’s African-American Artists” now through Oct. 21 in the Fine Arts Center’s Willard Wankelman Gallery. Though Casey was best known to the world as an actor and professional football player, he also was remarkably talented as an artist. He attended BGSU on a football scholarship and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts in 1961 and 1966, respectively. According to Charlie Kanwischer, director of the School of Art, the exhibition evolved from a tribute to the legacy of athlete, actor and visual artist Bernie Casey and other African-American alumni to a broader, intergenerational conversation among alumni, current students and invited African-American artists from Ohio and beyond, addressing the intersection of racial identity and personal experience. “This conversation recognizes that the experience of African-American students in the School of Art has sometimes been fraught, that it has been and continues to be marked by the same fitful and incomplete progress toward equity and inclusiveness too long symptomatic of race relations in our country,” Kanwischer said. “Yet, approaching the exhibition only through the lens of race risks essentializing the participating artists and their work. “‘So Much More’ is fundamentally a celebration of the deeply personal and particular vision of the artists who gently but forcefully remind us that we’re all ‘so much more’ than our racial and ethnic identities, that the sense of agency arising out of a committed studio practice is a powerful means to push back against the injustice of stereotypical assumptions.” Work by 15 alumni and current students is included in the exhibition. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 6-9 p.m., and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. “The exhibition features (Casey’s) work and that of African-American artists with ties to him, to BGSU and to the state of Ohio,” said Jacqueline Nathan, gallery director. Casey’s art was loaned from the collections of the Thelma Harris Art Gallery in Oakland, California; Barbara DuMetz; Vicken J. Festekjian CPA Inc., and Vicki McMillan. Nathan acknowledged three BGSU alumni who helped shape the exhibition’s direction: Col. John Moore Jr., Class of 1966; Edward…

BG Rides wants to kick efforts into a higher gear

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Biking has many benefits. The rider gets exercise, and maybe sheds some pounds. Bike riding can help reduce the use of cars, and the resulting emissions. And for some folks it’s how they get where they need to go. For those people even the cost of an inexpensive bike can be a barrier. For a couple years, an informal group of bike enthusiasts has been gathering unwanted bicycles, rehabilitating them, and then giving or selling them for a minimal price. Now Kelly Wicks, one of the organizers of BG Rides, wants to step up the effort. They are meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Anyone interested can contact Wicks at: BG Rides, Wicks said, started as an offshoot of the Community Rides in summer, 2016. He participated in the rides and from that sprouted the idea to connect unwanted bikes with bike riders. “We’re looking for help to see if there are other people  in the community interested in helping to take the group from its more informal nature to something more structured,” Wicks said. “In talking to  people in the community from various non-profits and international students, there’s a great need for bikes. For some people it’s an important form of transportation.” In its three summers of existence, BG Rides has distributed about 200 bikes, he said. The group would like more and wants to enlist more help to pursue that mission. “We fix those bikes up and either give them away or sell them for the cost of that it took to get them road ready.” Though it has been a low-key effort, Wicks said that Grounds for Thought gets multiple calls a month from people inquiring about finding a bike. “We need bikes,” he said. “We’re asking for bike donations.” Maybe landlords have abandoned bikes that can be refurbished rather than put out on the scrap heap. Even bicycles that can’t be repaired can be used for spare parts. Bicycling, Wicks said, is the second most common form of transportation after walking. “How many students have we seen come over from China or Europe and get here and not have any avenue to get around?” He added: “When you ride your bike a little bit, you…

BGSU Arts Events through Oct. 3

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION Through Oct. 21 – Bowling Green State University’s School of Art announces the opening of “So Much More: Ohio’s African-American Artists.” Over the course of its planning, the exhibition has evolved from a tribute to the legacy of athlete, actor, visual artist and BGSU alumnus Bernie Casey, and other African-American alumni to a broader intergenerational conversation among alumni, current students and invited African-American artists from Ohio addressing the intersection of racial identity and personal expression.  The exhibition, in the Willard Wankelman Gallery in the Fine Arts Center, runs through Oct. 21. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Sept. 29 – BGSU is part of the collaborative “ScupltureX – Igniting Change: Teaching Artists and Social Practice” with the University of Toledo, Owens Community College, Toledo Museum of Art, and Contemporary Art Toledo. The BGSU exhibition, sponsored by David and Myrna Bryan and curated by Saul Ostrow, features the work of regional sculpture faculty. BGSU also will host a series of presentations, including talks by Ostrow and Mel Chin, on campus Sept. 29.  Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Sept. 17 – The Grammy-winning choral ensemble Conspirare presents “Considering Matthew Shepard” as part of the McMaster Residency in the College of Musical Arts. Under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson, the group will perform the three-part oratorio, an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. Shepard was a young, gay college student at the University of Wyoming who in October 1998 was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in a lonely field under a blanket of stars. The performance begins at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center. A talkback with BGSU panelists and Johnson will follow the performance at 9 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall. Admission is free for all BGSU faculty, staff and students with ID at the door. Advance tickets for community members are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Call the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or purchase online at Sept. 18 – Tuesdays at the…

Toledo Symphony welcomes Trudel as music director, kicks off 75th anniversary season

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra welcomes new Music Director Alain Trudel to Toledo for its first ProMedica Masterworks series concert for a community celebration featuring local composer Christopher Dietz from Bowling Green State University and dancers from Toledo Ballet. Two performances of Trudel’s Debut will take place Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. “This weekend kicks off our 75th Birthday celebration. It was September 1943 when what is now the Toledo Symphony gave its inaugural performance,” said Zak Vassar, President and CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “We will spend a lot of this season looking back over the past 75 years and where the orchestra has been in our community. With Alain’s arrival, this season represents a great moment of artistic change for our organization, but it also represents a great opportunity to raise a glass to where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.” “I am so excited for our season opener and my official debut as Toledo Symphony Music Director. I’m looking forward to bringing some of my new ideas to the table in the 2018-2019 season. Each concert will feature music you know and love and something new for audiences to discover. We hope you can join us to experience the power of live music,” said Alain Trudel, Music Director of the Toledo Symphony. The programs on Friday and Saturday evening open with one of the most recognizable themes in all of music from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The opening four-note motif has been featured in movies, television commercials, and popular culture for decades, such as The Breakfast Club (1985), Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), and The PeanutsThe Toledo Symphony Orchestra welcomes new Music Director Alain Trudel to Toledo for its first ProMedica Masterworks series concert for a community celebration featuring local composer Christopher Dietz from Bowling Green State University and dancers from Toledo Ballet. Two performances of Trudel’s Debut will take place Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 8 PM at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle Theater. “This weekend kicks off our 75th Birthday celebration. It was September 1943 when what is now the Toledo Symphony gave its inaugural performance,” said Zak Vassar, President & CEO of the Toledo Symphony. “We will…

Eric Steckel puts the pedal to the metal when he plays the blues

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If you’re a fan of bluesman Eric Steckel, you can thank his Uncle Dave. Steckel, who grew up in Pennsylvania, didn’t have instruments around this house. He did hear the soundtrack of his parents’ vinyl collection. His mother and father bonded over their taste for Deep Purple and the Allman Brothers. Then on a trip to visit his uncle and aunt in Stowe, Vermont, the family visited music store. Young Steckel lit up. “I completely changed. I was at home,” the now 28-year-old said in a telephone interview this week. So his uncle suggested he and Steckel’s dad split the cost of a Stratocaster for the youngster, a guitar he’s only recently retired. Three years later Speckel recorded his first blues record, music influenced by the records his parents spun around the house. Steckel hasn’t stopped playing or developing since then. He now calls his style blues metal, a term coined in jest, that has stuck, became a hashtag, and serves as an apt description for what listeners hear in his performances. Steckel will appear tonight (Friday, Sept. 14) at 9:30 p.m. Howard’s Club H. Cover is $5. He explained blues metal as a style derived from “my heroes,” the Kings of the blues — Albert, Freddie, and B.B. — with “a big massive sound, almost a heavy metal sonically.” He said it took him years and years of playing to find his own voice within the tradition. “It’s this natural beautiful thing that happens. Every night you’re developing.” Everyone he encounters, everything he hears, everything that comes out of his guitar “comes  together into this big pot stew, and that becomes your recipe.” He said as a young musician he got a lot advice from people who wanted him to stay true to the traditional blues sound. “I had this sound, this vision, in my head that wasn’t translating. At a certain point, I said I was going to throw out the rule book and find what I heard in my head. It took a  lot of trial and error, and I found it.” That was about six years ago. Steckel is buoyed by the sales of his most recent album “Polyphonic Prayer,” which is outpacing any of his previous recordings. Like his other recordings, he financed this…

Gas smell forces evacuation of downtown BG businesses (updated)

Several businesses in the 100 block South Main Street in downtown Bowling Green have been evacuated because of a heavy odor of gas. They include Coyote Beads, Grounds for Thought, and Lahey Appliance & TV. (The businesses were back in operation on Friday.) Owners of all three said Columbia Gas teams were in their stores working on gas lines today. Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought, said that she noticed the smell shortly before 6 p.m. A Columbia Gas employee was on the scene, and told her and Gayle Walterbach of Coyote Beads that he needed to call in more help to handle the problem. Both women were complaining of headaches. Patrons from Grounds for Thought were waiting outside both in the front and rear of the businesses. Columbia Gas is in the process of replacing gassiness throughout the downtown.

BGSU plans events around performance of ‘Considering Matthew Shepard’

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The image of young Matthew Shepard, attacked and left to die alone in a Wyoming field because of his sexual orientation, is a horrific reminder of what intolerance, fear and hatred can wreak. But from his 1998 death have come important national conversations and now, a choral work that explores not only Shepard’s death but also his life and legacy. The award-winning choir Conspirare will perform conductor and composer Craig Hella Johnson’s evocative and compassionate “Considering Matthew Shepard” at Bowling Green State University Sept. 17. Guest choirs from the University of Toledo and area high schools will join BGSU choirs as part of the performance. The concert will be the centerpiece of a series of engaging campus and community events in the choir’s two-day residency at the University, which is supported by the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies. The 7 p.m. Sept. 17 concert takes place in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. It will be followed by a talk-back session from 9-9:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall with Johnson and other panelists. Admission is free for all BGSU faculty, staff and students with ID at the door. Advance tickets for community members are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Call the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or purchase online at Conspirare is considered today’s leading choir; they and their conductor, Johnson, have each won Grammy awards. “Considering Matthew Shepard” debuted at number four on Billboard’s Traditional Classical Chart and has also been nominated for a Grammy. “Considering Matthew Shepard” transports listeners through a tapestry of musical textures and idioms in a poignant concert experience inspiring hope, compassion and empowerment. The Washington Post called the three-part oratorio “powerfully cathartic,” and wrote, “Like Bach’s large-scale choral works, this spellbinding piece draws on many styles masterfully juxtaposed, though Johnson’s sources are the American vernacular. A Prologue, Passion and Epilogue … combine spoken text, cowboy song, American hymnody and popular song, spirituals, jazz and dazzling polyphony, all woven into a seamless tapestry. The impact is immediate, profound and, at times, overwhelming.” “Aside from the important topic of the piece and the inspirational message that it will bring, students and members of the community will hear in…

Choral ensemble brings contemporary Passion inspired by the murder of ‘the boy next door’ to BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Craig Hella Johnson first heard the story of Matthew Shepard, he knew he wanted to compose a piece of music about it. Maybe, he thought,  a song. Johnson, the music director and founder of the chamber choir Conspirare, ended up writing a three-movement oratorio. Conspirare will perform “Considering Matthew Shepard” at Bowling Green State University Monday Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The performance is part of a two-day residency by Johnson and Conspirare. (See details of residency here.) The performance will be followed by a talk back in Bryan Recital Hall. Advance tickets for community members are $7 and $3 for students and children. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Call 419-372-8171 or purchase online at Johnson remembers it was a singer in the ensemble who first told him about Shepard’s death. The story of the young gay man’s torture and death in Laramie, Wyoming, outraged the nation. It captivated Johnson for the same reason.  “He just looked like the boy next door,” Johnson said.  “It was quite extraordinary that this could happen to him. … It could have been me.” One section of “Considering Matthew Shepard” is “Ordinary Boy.” “That’s the crux of it,” the composer said.  People hear about hate crimes, but “he put a face on it.” He added: “Hate crimes are spiking again, I’m sad to report. We don’t hear about most of them.” And the way Shepard died, tortured and left tied to a fence barely alive had symbolic resonance.  Coming up with a musical response to Shepard’s death took a long period to germinate.  “It grew over time,” Johnson said. He has often performed Bach’s Passions and realized this was the form he needed to use. From “maybe a song” the idea bloomed into more than 100 minutes of music. In an age of listening to music on shuffle, few people are composing long-form works. Johnson said: “I know we have the capacity for these larger arcs, and I’m interested in continuing to experience that.” Johnson didn’t want to compose something that only appealed to classical music lovers. “I wanted a broad range of people to come and appreciate it,” he said. Bach used chorales based on familiar hymn tunes as a way of connecting his…

Beth Genson exhibits nature paintings at Marathon Center

From MARATHON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The Fisher/Wall Art Gallery, located in Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, welcomes encaustic artist, Beth Genson, whose exhibition, “Exploring Nature in Paint and Wax,” is now on display through Thursday, September 27, 2018. Trained in fine art and education at Bowling Green State University, Genson has spent the majority of her career as an art instructor for middle school through college-age students. She has also studied at France’s Grenoble University. Genson refers to herself as an artistic explorer which has led her to creating works in the ancient art of encaustic. This method of art uses a hot paint mixture of beeswax, damar resin and oil pigments. She finds encaustic is a medium particularly suited to her exploration of water as a subject matter thus rivers and ponds are the focal point of many her paintings. An advocate for access to potable drinking water, a portion of her sales is donated to Charity: Water, an organization that utilizes 100 percent of its donations to fund water projects. The Fisher/Wall Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm. and there is no admission fee to view the exhibit. An artist’s reception will be held on Wednesday, September 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.