Articles by David Dupont

Walk of life: Noted bassist Robert Hurst offers straight talk to BGSU jazz students

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jazz performance comes down to conversation. On the stage that means the bass player communicating with the drummer, and both communicating with the saxophonist, explained award-winning bassist and composer Robert Hurst. Off the stand it means listening to records together, and talking about the music. When he traveled with singer Dianne Krall’s band, the musicians would take turns assembling playlists to listen to during long bus trips. It’s about the hang, said Jeff Halsey, the director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University. Hurst, who has played with a who’s who of the jazz world, in the Tonight Show Band and composed for movies, was on campus last week. He performed with the university’s top student big band, and then on Friday held a master class with a couple student jazz combos. Communication also means being clear with yourself, Hurst, 51, said. “Two things I try to ask myself,” he said: “How can I make this groove better? … Are you being a drag?” That applies not just to the bandstand, he said, but life in general. Hurst carries his prominence lightly, not afraid to crack a joke. When saxophonist David Mirarchi said the trio was going to play the standard tune “I Hear a Rhapsody,” Hurst came back at him with “I hear a Rap CD?” He praised the group he heard, but also offered some advice based on his decades as a musician. A solo, he said, should have a theme, a rhythmic fragment or motif. His approach is to work…


Former director of Stroh Center being investigated for financial irregularities

BG INDEPENDENT NEWS The Bowling Green State University employee who oversees the Stroh Center has resigned over financial irregularities. Ben Spence, a Bowling Green native, had been Stroh director since 2013. In a statement from the university stated that in Augu st, university internal auditors “discovered irregularities with cash handling practices done in connection with Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) tournaments held at the Stroh Center.” Spence was suspended at that time, and resigned in October. The university then presented the information to the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office, which is conducting an investigation. University officials will not comment about the investigation while it is ongoing.


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, Jan. 27-Feb. 1

Submitted by BGSU OFFICE OFMARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS WEDNESDAY—The Faculty Artist Series continues with a piano performance by Robert Satterlee, a professor of piano and director of graduate studies at BGSU. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. He will perform Sonata in D Major, K. 576 – W.A. Mozart (1756 – 1791) Two Etudes (Homage to William Albright) – David Gompper Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 – Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856). Free THURSDAY —The Creative Writing Program continues its MFA Reading Series with readings by Jacob Hall and Teresa Dederer at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free. FRIDAY —BGSU’s Repertory Dance Ensemble presents its Winter Dance Concert featuring choreography by dance program faculty Kristi Faulkner, Colleen Murphy, Tammy Starr and Tracy Wilson, and senior dance major Erynn Leff. Performances in tap, jazz and contemporary dance feature BGSU undergraduate dance majors and minors. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, The Wolfe Center for the Arts. A second performance is slated for Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available beginning one hour prior to the show. For more information, email cmurphy@bgsu.edu MONDAY —Canadian pianist Vicky Chow, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “new star of new music,” will bring her music to BGSU as part of February’s Music at the Forefront Series. Her performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Clazel Theatre, 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Free FEB. 2—The Chamber Jazz Ensembles will perform, featuring the work of student…


Local volunteers to shave their heads in support of childhood cancer research

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, will host one of its signature head-shaving events at Bowling Green State University. The 4th annual St. Baldrick’s at BGSU will start at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, in 228 Bowen-Thompson Student Union. The head shaving kicks off at 10 a.m. So far, almost 60 participants have registered to “brave the shave” with the goal of raising $20,000 to help fight childhood cancer. Over the past three years, this event has raised nearly $65,000. For more information, contact Stephanie Surblis at surblis@bgsu.edu or visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/BGSU. ### About the St. Baldrick’s Foundation The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives. Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $101 million to support lifesaving research, making the Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants. St. Baldrick’s funds are granted to some of the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world and to younger professionals who will be the experts of tomorrow. Funds awarded also enable hundreds of local institutions to participate in national pediatric cancer clinical trials, which may be a child’s best hope for a cure. For more information about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation please call 1-888-899-BALD or visit www.StBaldricks.org.


First Islamophia panel Wednesday

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS In the wake of recent concerns about intolerance and violence targeting Muslims, Bowling Green State University and the city of Bowling Green are hosting two panel discussions on “Islamophobia” in our region. The events are part of the Not In Our Town initiative. Representatives from the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, Canton Response to Hate Crimes Coalition, BGSU and the Bowling Green community will address the term “Islamophobia” and the concerns facing Muslims in northwest Ohio and the United States. The first discussion will be held at wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater (Room 206). A second event will be held Feb. 9  at 6:30 p.m. in the Wood County District Public Library Atrium. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.bgsu.edu/notinourtown.


BGSU gets boost from College Credit Plus

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A new program to encourage high school students to take college courses has been a plus for Bowling Green State University enrollment. College Credit Plus started this fall as a replacement for the more limited post-secondary education options program. State officials hope it will encourage more students to get college credits before they graduate. In discussing enrollment for the spring semester at BGSU Monday, Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Planning Cecilia Castellano said that some of the increase in undergraduate enrollment was attributable to students enrolled in College Credit Plus. That was especially true at Firelands, said Castellano. Firelands has long been strong in reaching out to high school students both with the earlier PSEOP program, and now Credit Plus. The university has also seen an increase in graduate enrollment, she said. Part of that is high school teachers coming back to take the courses to get the credentials they need to teach the college courses back in their schools. The university has a state grant to support that program. The news Monday was good for BGSU as it reported its 15-day enrollment numbers. The university has 509 more undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this spring compared to a year ago, a 3.3 percent increase. That brings enrollment on the Bowling Green campus to 16,036. Firelands saw a 9.7-percent increase to bring its study body to 2,232. That’s a 4-percent increase overall for BGSU. Undergraduate enrollment in Bowling Green was up 281 students, 2.1 percent, from a year ago, and graduate enrollment was…


“The Butler” Author Serves Up History From the Basement

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Reporter Wil Haygood had to watch two episodes of “The Price Is Right” before he could start interviewing Eugene Allen and his wife, Helene. Haygood had come to the Allen home because he was interested in hearing about Allen’s experience as an African-American butler in the White House. In the living room there was little sign of his former employment. A single photo with Nancy Reagan. Only after two hours of talking did Helene Allen turn to her husband and say. “You can take him down now.” That’s when Haygood went down with Allen into the basement. Walking gingerly in the dark, Allen clung to the reporter’s arm, until they found the light switch. When the light went on, Haygood saw what looked “like the most gorgeous room in the Smithsonian Museum.” The writer related all this to an audience last week at Bowling Green State University’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Allen’s basement walls were lined with photos and memorabilia from decades of service in the White House. There were presidents and royalty – Duke Ellington for one. There were gifts, including a Stetson hat given to him by Lyndon Johnson, given to Allen by the presidents he had served. Among the items were 20 photo albums. Here was history in all its glory, in the basement of a modest Washington house. Haygood asked Allen if anyone ever written about him. “If you think I’m worthy you would be the first,” Allen replied. “That hurt to hear that,” Haygood said. Here…


Suitcase Junket delivers bone-rattling sounds at Grounds for Thought

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The suitcases for musical act The Suitcase Junket are mostly empty. Matt Lorenz, the sole human member of the ensemble, doesn’t need that much luggage to haul his personal belongings. He does share the stage with two old suitcases. A large one that he beats with a pedal operated by his right heel serves as his bass. Another smaller valise props up an old gas can which he strikes with another pedal with a baby shoe attached. Lorenz told the audience at Grounds for Thought Friday night that he’d worn that baby shoe, and his sister had as well. Sharing this familial detail is intended to make the device less creepy. Doesn’t really though. The creepy and the wistful, the otherworldly and mundane, meet in the music of The Suitcase Junket. Among the other members of the band (as Lorenz thinks of them) are a circular saw blade, a bones and bottle caps shaker, a hi-hat cymbal. He plays a guitar that he found on the river bank. It was moldy, he said. No good reason to throw out a guitar. He’s fitted out his musical set up with rescues from the junk shop and dump. And they repay his devotion though during one number Lorenz said his guitar acts up sometimes just to remind him it was “garbage.” Still that acting up, the odd, incidental vibrations and buzzes, all contribute to the “Swamp Yankee” textures of The Suitcase Junket. Lorenz is just as resourceful with his voice, he growls, even croons, on occasion….


BGSU student composers offer opera in a nutshell

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media If you want to know how daunting writing an opera is, just ask Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Speaking last October as the guest composer at the New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green State University, she said writing her first opera “Cold Mountain” was an all-consuming project that occupied her full time 28 months. With casting and orchestra and staging, an opera is a massive undertaking beyond what a young composer can wrangle. BGSU has an answer though. For several years it has invited student composers to submit proposals to write micro-operas, 20 minutes or less. They use small casts and just a few instrumentalists, and can be staged in a recital hall. Four micro-operas will make their debuts Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall in Moore Musical Arts Center. Admission is free. On the program will be: * Respectable Woman by Kristi Fullerton with libretto by Jennifer Creswell who directs and Evan Mecarello, conductor. * Sensations by Robert Hosier, Ellen Scholl, director and Maria Mercedes Diaz-Garcia, conductor. * Black Earth by Jacob Sandridge, Jeanne Bruggeman-Kurp, director and Robert Ragoonanan, conductor. * The Lighthouse by Dalen Wuest, Hillary LaBonte, director, and Santiago Serrano, conductor. Writing an opera, said Hosier, “is the kind of thing I’d considered before. I actually started writing one but the forces required for a full opera, for one thing … I couldn’t get ahold of them. And it’s a lot to write for.” So he set aside the project aside. Then…


University police chief unconcerned about concealed carry

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News University Police Chief Monica Moll is unconcerned about the prospect of allowing concealed carry of weapons on campus. Speaking to the faculty Senate at Bowling Green State University, she said the scenarios posited by both sides of the debate are unlikely to occur. A disgruntled student intent of wreaking havoc will get a weapon and won’t bother with getting a concealed carry permit. Given a resident must be 21 to get one, most students are ineligible anyway. So she doubts there would be a dramatic increase in weapons on campus. On the other side, having an armed citizen with a weapon stop an active shooter is unlikely. While civilians with weapons have intervened in some situations, that’s not likely to happen in an active shooter situation where even a highly trained police officer can find it difficult to deliver the kill shot to a moving target among innocent bystanders. “For me it’s not going to be the end of the world either way,” the police chief said. House Bill 48, which is now awaiting consideration in the State Senate loosens concealed carry regulations on campuses and other settings. If it were passed, any change would have to be approved by the university trustees, and Moll expressed doubt that the trustees would take such an action. Moll addressed the senate about the evolving strategies for handling active shooter situations. She prefaced her remarks by saying though such incidents have dominated the news of late, they are still highly unlikely. Tornadoes are more of a threat to…


Warm up your ear drums this weekend

  If you love music then you’ll have your love to keep you warm this coming weekend. Several performances are scheduled that will beat the ear drums to a variety of beats. On Thursday and Friday the Bowling Green State University Jazz Program will host bassist Robert Hurst. A master of all media, he has Emmy, Grammys and even an Oscar nod on his resume. He first emerged on the scene as he helped set the pace for early Wynton Marsalis groups. Since then he’s played with Barbra Streisand, Yo Y o Ma and Sir Paul McCartney as well a host of jazz luminaries. He joinied Brandford Marsalis as a member of band for Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He now teaches at the University of Michigan. He’ll share the lessons of his career with students in master classes rehearsals and a concert with the university’s Lab Band I directed by Jeff Halsey Thursday at 8 p.m.in Kobacker Hall. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 on the day of the concert. On Friday Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Bowling Green, will host The Suitcase Junket, the one-man band of Matt Lorenz, musician, sculptor and writer. That Lorenz hails from Amherst in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley is telling. His music is full of ghosts revived in Lorenz’ dark, rough voice, that nonetheless is very much of our time. His work is a kind of spectral scholarship. At www.makingwhatiwant.com, he explains what he means by “Giving Life to Dead Things for 25 Years.” “I see it as an overriding theme…


Trombone takes center stage at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Trombone takes the spotlight in two upcoming Bowling Green State University recitals. Sunday at 3 p.m. Brass from Bowling Green State University will be presented in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Arts as part of the museum’s Sundayconcert series. The concert features trombonists William Mathis, chair of BGSU’s Department of Music Performance, and Garth Simmons, principal trombone with the Toledo Symphony and adjunct professor at BGSU. The trombonists will open the program going slide to slide on Cindy McTee’s Fanfare for Trombone in two parts. Mathis with pianist Cole Burger will perform Sonata for Trombone and Piano by James M. Stephenson. Simmons will close the program with “Arrows of Time” by Richard Peaslee  with pianist Robert Satterlee. Also on the museum program will be the Graduate Brass Quintet performing the classic brass Quintet No. 3 by Victor Ewald. Members of the quintet are: Jonathan Britt and Christina Komosinski, trumpets, Lucas Dickow, horn, Drew Wolgemuth, trombone, and Diego Flores, tuba. On Wednesday as part of the Faculty Artists Series Mathis and Simmons will reprise their duo and solo pieces in a recital with Burger and Satterlee at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Musical rts Center. Mathis will also perform electro-acoustic piece “Can You Crack It?” by Benjamin Taylor, who did his graduate study at Bowling Green State University. Simmons will also perform Fantasy for Trombone and Piano in E Major by Sigismond Stojowski. The concert is free as are all Faculty Artist Series events.


PBS puts accent on American story

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News PBS drama fans will hear new accents Sunday night. After “Downton Abbey” with its familiar British turns of phrase, PBS will premier “Mercy Street” with decidedly American tone. Not only is the setting and accent American, but the production is as well. That’s a major move for public broadcasting which has relied on BBC to provide its drama. In May, 2014 when WGTE hosted Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of the “Masterpiece” franchise, she spoke with regret that there would not be an American equivalent of “Masterpiece.” Now a little more than a year and a half later, thanks to corporate support, we have just that. It also addresses another issue Eaton confronted during her visit, a lack of ethnic diversity in BBC’s offerings. I would hope this is not a one-off. The presence of Ridley Scott at the helm as executive producer, is certainly a good sign. Can PBS recruit top American directors for future series? Set in a hospital during the Civil War, “Mercy Street” explores distinctly American themes. The choice of the Civil War is fitting for this effort. If class distinctions are a British obsession, the Civil War and America’s tortured history of racial oppression, is our country’s own obsession. We alternately ignore it and shout at each other about it. People are still dying. At a recent preview screening at the WGTE studio in Toledo, the station screened a special collection of scenes from the first three episodes. Not the best way to assess a show, but enough to give a…


Gun lobby goes after university faculty for exercising right to petition government

Rabid supporters of the Second Amendment hate nothing so much as people exercising their First Amendment rights to disagree with them. Gun rights is a settled case in their eyes. Never mind that some people would question what allowing Robert Lewis Dear walk around in Colorado Springs with loaded long gun before he attacked a clinic has to do with maintaining a “well regulated militia.” That hair-trigger reaction was evident when faculty members at Bowling Green State University deigned to express their views on pending legislation that directly affects their workplaces and their personal safety. Many of them used their university email accounts to oppose legislation that loosens controls of guns on campus. This is a violation of university policy, writes Chad D. Baus of the Buckeye Firearms Association. * Technically correct, maybe. As a taxpayer I’m not at all concerned that they are using their work emails, after all those are subject to open records laws, so it benefits transparency. In this case it’s a quibble to think a policy overrides citizens’ right to petition their government. Baus is also technically correct that the National Rifle Association is not per se itself “a murderous terrorist organization that is a threat to national security” as Baus reports the rabble-rousing geology professor Jim Evans wrote to State Rep. Tim Brown, of Bowling Green. No the NRA simply throws its big bucks and political muscle against any rational effort to control guns, and in favor of legislation that makes it easier for terrorists, not to mention drug lords, gang bangers, criminals of…


“American Comandante” is adventure story that still resonates with world events

William Morgan came home to Toledo Sunday afternoon. The American adventurer had run away to join the circus as a child, and ended up dying in front of a firing squad in Cuba. Morgan could have been a character from the imagination of E.L. Doctorow. But as the new American Experience documentary “American Comandante” makes clear he was a real person who played a role in events that shaped our world. His story as a warrior in a revolution turned bad resonates with events we face now. “American Comandante” airs on PBS this week (9 p.m. Tuesday ). WGTE hosted a preview screening Sunday with writer, producer and director Adriana Bosch discussing the program, and among the dignitaries in attendance was Morgan’s widow, Olga Rodriguez Goodwin. The documentary is really a story of war and love. To the extent Morgan could be grounded it was by Olga’s love and the love of his mother back in Toledo.  His body is still buried in Cuba. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said in her talks with Fidel Castro about repatriating the remains, it was clear the Cuban dictator knows exactly where they are. In giving her blessing to the film — Goodwin saw it for the first time Sunday — she said: “Thank you for bringing William home.” Morgan carried what he learned in Toledo with him. “He grew up in a place where the American Dream was a palpable reality,” Bosch said. That’s where the story starts. The opening scenes are home movie footage of the Ringling Brothers circus visiting Toledo. Shot by Morgan’s father, they…