Arts and Entertainment

College of Education honors Dr. G for her student-centered theater education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Matt Webb knew of Jo Beth Gonzalez’s teaching mostly through his daughters’ experience in theater at Bowling Green High School. Katie is a high school junior who is in the improv troupe and in one acts, and the other, Liz, is a college junior who danced in the musicals. As students involved in theater they worked closely with Dr. G, who has taught theater at the school for 22 years. Neither girl, their father said, is a star, but both felt the drama teacher had a positive influence on them. His younger daughter told him that Dr. G was always preparing them for life. So when, in his role as the director of student and academic services in the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, Webb received an email asking for nominations for the college’s Educator of the Year award, he decided to submit her name. First he reached out to Gonzalez and asked for her curriculum vitae.  He learned the details, about the ground-breaking productions, the award-winning shows, two books. “I realized how stellar she is.” This week Gonzalez received the honor given to outstanding alumni and gave the keynote address to about 350 graduates of the college during their Capstone Day activities. As nominee, Gonzalez had to go through an interview process, almost like getting hired for a job. “It was a little nerve wracking,” she said in a recent interview. And she had to respond to a question, she hadn’t prepared for: What is the greatest challenge facing the nation and how does she address it in her work? The problem: The disparity in the quality of education people receive depending on where people live. Her solution: “We need to teach or social equity and social justice… that there’s injustice in all facets of our country.” She continued: “I teach in a way that alters the power structure. So I’m not the power center.” She makes her classes student centered in order “to teach students to collaboratively…


Pianist Cole Burger to perform in Malaysia

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Cole Burger has gone to Southeast Asia for a few weeks each of the last two years, even traveling to Thailand unknowingly in the midst of a coup-albeit a “very peaceful” one-in 2014. But the trip he will take this May, back to Malaysia for a third time, will be a little different. The instructor of piano in the College of Musical Arts will teach piano and present recitals and master classes at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur as a Fulbright Specialist. Part of the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program, the specialist program promotes short-term collaborative projects linking American scholars with counterparts at host institutions in more than 140 countries. While he has also been in Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as in Thailand, recently, Malaysia was his desired destination because English is spoken “relatively well” there, plus roads and other infrastructure are better, he said. In addition, about 10 percent of Malaysia’s population is ethnic Chinese and, in a colleague’s words, “it seems like half of the Chinese population wants to be a classical pianist,” Burger related. So, he added, while many Chinese students are studying Western music, the Chinese don’t have the history of teaching it that the U.S. does, offering an opportunity. “We have a chance to share what it means to teach and learn classical piano music,” said Burger, whose international trips to teach and perform have also included one to China, in 2007, and five to Europe. To go abroad, and to welcome international students to BGSU and elsewhere in America, and help change lives through music – “that’s diplomacy at its best,” he maintains. Such new opportunities were among the attractions to apply for the Fulbright, as were the chance for professional development and a learning experience in general, Burger noted. “Just because I have a doctoral degree doesn’t mean I don’t have more to learn, and you learn a lot from travel,” he pointed out. But the fourth-year BGSU faculty member…


Old tunes find new listeners at concert for young & young at heart

With an audience made up largely of kids age 4 through 7, the line between moving to the music and fidgeting is pretty fine. It didn’t matter that the music was not only before their time – because everything is before their time – but before their parents’ time, and likely even before their grandparents’ time. The beat was good. A few youngsters broke out the dance steps, a few swayed in rhythm in their seats and a few fidgeted. Teachers know the difference. For its Young and Young at Heart concert Friday, the Bowling Green bands threw open the doors of the Performing Arts Center to senior citizens and pre-school, kindergarten and first graders from Kenwood, Conneaut and Crim. The older listeners mostly took up the back rows, while the front of the house was packed with kids, and their outnumbered teachers. After some preludes on marimba, the concert got underway with the high school’s jazz band, the Jazz Cats. Their short set was devoted to swing classics from the 1930s and 1940s. But what’s 70 years when one of the songs is named “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which is deliciously funny to say. During the switch between the Jazz Cats and Symphonic Band, Band Director Bruce Corrigan demonstrated how that bugle boy blew those notes. More funny sounds, more laughs. Corrigan knew his audience. Then the Symphonic Band stepped forward with Morton Gould’s “American Salute,” a fantasy on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” then a bit of musical magic, a piece featuring a flute solo by Lilly Rakas, and a musical tribute to bugs that included a couple of comically cavorting butterflies. The time just flew until the show ended up in a galaxy a long time ago. First graders trooped up to the stage to take positions within the band, and don the visages of Stormtroopers, Ewoks and Wookiees. Then with their masked associates at their feet,  the musicians played music from “Star Wars,” a preview of a May 10 at 7 p.m. concert when the winds…


Cinco de Mayo is a loud & proud celebration of Mexican heritage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Gloria Pizana and her family didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo when they grew up in Pemberville. Their celebrations of the Mexican heritage were private – birthdays, holidays, all had their own Latin twist. Now Pizana, as a member of Bowling Green’s Human Relations Commission, organizes the Cinco de Mayo celebration which was held Sunday. As she spoke the sound of Mexican music echoed through the corridors of the Woodland Mall. “I never had this,” she said. “Having grown up in Northwest Ohio you think you’re the only one. You have a few cousins. No one ever talks about your culture, who you are. You’re isolated, and the history books never mention it.” That’s why she feels it’s so important that Bowling Green has held this celebration for 24 years. It started, Pizana said, when then Mayor Wes Hoffman approached Marsha Oliveraz about what the city could do to recognize Latino culture. The result was the Cinco de Mayo celebration. That’s a bit ironic because, as Pizana notes, the holiday that celebrates the Mexican repulsion of a French invasion in 1862, isn’t really celebrated much in Mexico. Still this became a time for area Hispanics to celebrate their roots and culture. That’s important, Pizana said. “I say it’s the most important history. To know who your ancestors are is to know who you are today because of what they went through. It’s showing respect and appreciation for your ancestors. You need to take pride in who you are. The more you know about your family the more there’s that self-pride. That’s why we do this. I want my grandchildren to know, I want everyone to know.” Everyone should celebrate their ethnic heritage, and she’d like to see Bowling Green host powwows and events to celebrate other ethnic groups. Her great-grandparents were from Mexico. Her parents traveled back and forth between Northwest Ohio and Texas to harvest crops for many years before settling here in 1954. The display tables included her family tree among those of…


Art Walk brightens up downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The sunny day couldn’t have been better for Cindy Tesznar. The spring weather meant she was comfortable as she sat outside the Ben Franklin store in downtown Bowling Green selling her glasswork, and the sunshine made her bottle trees glow. As a veteran Art Walk participant, she knows the weather isn’t always so favorable, so on Saturday she was enjoying the sun. “The bottles show better outside,” she said. Tesznar was one of dozens of artists who were showing, and many like her, selling their work, as part of the annual event. The work displayed in locations throughout the downtown was created by professional, avocational and student artists. Crim art teacher Noreen Overholt said she was glad that the organizers always included the schools in the event. She was overseeing the art activities and exhibit by her students inside the United Way office. Among the projects was an art cave that students could crawl through to see “cave drawings.” “This gives the kids a chance to participate in a real art show,” she said. “It gives them a chance to share art with their families.” Art Walk also gives the schools a chance to show the community what students are doing and “all the talent they have.” “It’s nice that Bowling Green sponsors so many arts events,” she said. “Look at all the people walking around. It’s good for the whole city.” Amy Craft-Ahrens who owns For Keeps, agreed. On Saturday she was in Ben Franklin helping with that shop’s 40th anniversary sale. She noted the number of people in the store. “On a beautiful sunny day like today, we get a lot of traffic …You see a lot of people walking downtown,” she said. “It’s not necessarily a day that lends itself to significantly larger sales but it brings people downtown and they see what we have offer and even if they’re not buying today, they’ll come back.” While Ben Franklin is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Main Street, Flatlands Coffee is a…


Students and colleagues sing their good-bye to James Brown

By FRANCES BRENT Good bye dear, dear Mr. Brown! Saturday 50 of his former students, youthful again despite grey hair and receding hairlines, met at St. Mark’s Lutheran in a Memorial Choir led by Linda Gullufsen, to sing him to his rest. The church was packed with his admirers. The final Hallelujah Chorus drew dozens more singers from the pews for a musical celebration of a man who brought so much beauty and creativity to the young people of Bowling Green. Jim Brown brought greatness to Bowling Green students as they learned to create a beauty that transcended their everyday selves. He made music matter. Bowling Green High School students that didn’t make it through auditions, or that never thought of trying, still experienced an era when music (band was terrific too,) was a source of school cultural pride. Jim Brown and his generations of student musicians were also a source of community pride and for a time almost defined Christmas and summer musical theater in BG. To earn a place as a Madrigal Singer was to be blessed for life and to learn that all that glory of song was the result of very hard work, lots of discipline and major disruption to family life. Less well known was the wide ranging idealism and world view of a class he co-taught with English teacher Dianne Klein that inspired students outside his musical world. Jim Brown was the heart, soul and remarkable leader and inspiration of a truly memorable 50-year song fest that blessed the Bowling Green Schools and the entire community. The Madrigals, the Yuletide Singers, the Summer Musicals were spectaculars in the “Small Town America” that is Bowling Green, Ohio. He gave a musical opportunity that allowed generations of young people to experience the joy of being part of a beauty that took them beyond their everyday selves. He also organized terrific international tours that introduced the great wide world to hundreds of students and lucky chaperones.


Hakels’ glass treasures in “Hot Spot” at Toledo Museum’s Glass Pavilion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Milt and Lee Hakel have poured their love of art into collecting art glass, and now they’re sharing a few favorite pieces with the world. The Bowling Green couple have four pieces in the exhibit “Hot Spot: Contemporary Glass from Private Collections” now at the Toledo Museum of Art. The show is on exhibit in the Glass Pavilion through Sept. 18. They are happy to have some of their glass treasures included, but Lee Hakel said her husband “was a little bereft when the pieces went off.” Not that the loans to the museum leave gaps in the Hakels’ home decor. The couple has been collecting glass for 20 years, and has no idea how many pieces they own. They are displayed throughout the house, from the sunroom to the bathroom. Milt Hakel said they are attracted to art glass because of its sculptural nature and because of the way glass interacts with light. “It’s so different in different lighting conditions.” The vivid color is evident at every turn as a visitor moves through the house. That’s what greeted Jutta-Annette Page, the museum’s curator for glass and decorative arts when she visited last fall. They got to know the curator through their involvement in the Glass Arts Society meeting in Toledo in 2012, marking the 50th anniversary of the glass arts movement. “The Hakels are serious collectors,” she said. She visited collectors within a 25-mile radius of the museum to find artwork that represents the current directions in art glass, both here and abroad. Of course, the Toledo area is just the right place to do that. The museum was central to the development in art glass. In 1962, potter Harvey Littleton, along with several colleagues, set up a studio to explore the use of glass in art. The efforts took place in the center of commercial and industrial glass production. Dominick Labino was an artist and glass craftsman who provided important insights. Though not in the show, the Hakels own a relic of…


Roller on a roll at Art Walk

Art Walk winners   Art Walk has been good to artist Tom Roller. In previous years he’s won both the top prize awarded by the jurors and has won the top prize chosen by the public. This year he won both. That double win will amount to a fond farewell for Roller, who said earlier in the day that he’s going stop doing art fairs this year. At 78 hauling his large metal sculptures is more than he wants to take on. Not that he’ll abandon his metalworking tools. He’ll continue selling his sculptures inspired by flora and fauna out of his garage. That’s plenty of work for him. Also winning Juried Art Awards were: Chris Burch, photography, second place, and Shannon Yocum, found art furniture, third place. Winning People’s Choice honors were: Richard Gullett, drawings, second place; John Calderonello, wooden boxes, third place; and Curisa Passalacqua, fourth. Art by professional, avocational and student artists was displayed in 29 locations in downtown Bowling Green.


Emily Freeman Brown honored as Professor of Creative Arts Excellence

BGSU Office of Marketing & Comunications There have been many high notes during Dr. Emily Freeman Brown’s 33-year career at Bowling Green State University. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in music performance studies, has been named the 2016 Professor of Creative Arts Excellence. The title is conferred upon members of the faculty already holding the rank of professor and who have established outstanding national and international recognition through research and publication or creative/artistic achievement in their disciplines. The title is for a period of three years with an annual stipend of $5,000 — a $3,000 salary stipend and $2,000 for professional development. Brown serves as director of orchestral activities and professor of orchestral conducting in the College of Musical Arts, a position she has held since 1989. “Dr. Brown’s record of creative activity is stellar in every way and she maintains a national and international profile as an orchestral conductor and music educator,” said a letter of nomination, composed by a committee of Drs. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president; William Mathis, chair of music performance studies; and Marilyn Shrude, professor of music composition. “The quantity of her creative output is remarkable and the quality and prestige of her work has only grown through the years.” Last year, Brown released a book, “A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor,” published by Rowman and Littlefield. Guest conducting appearances make up the majority of her creative work, the nominators said. “Her record in this regard would qualify her consideration of this award by itself,” they said. “Her new book, publications and presentations and associated scholarship throughout her career are significant and lend an added dimension of prestige to her profile.” Some of her invited performances as conductor or presenter in the past 10 years include serving as guest conductor in international venues with the Sibiu (Romania) Philharmonic Orchestra, Gottingen (Germany) Symphonie Orchester, Chengdu (China) Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Macedonia. On two occasions, Brown has been invited by the U.S. State Department to lead cultural arts activities: in 2003…


Prince maintained artistic integrity throughout his career

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jeremy Wallach was a teenage musician when Prince hit the scene. As a keyboard player he was captivated by the sounds Prince elicited from his keyboards. The attack was funky and percussive, and Prince made the most of the distinctive qualities of the electronic instruments of the time. They were firmly rooted in the funk traditions, but difficult and definitively Prince. Now a scholar who studies Indonesian rock and pop music, Wallach has seen the global reach of Prince’s music. When he hears a Chinese guitar player solo over a rhythm ‘n’ blues groove that manages to incorporate elements of traditional Chinese music, he hears the influence of Prince. The Minnesota funk master respected no boundaries, he didn’t set any for himself and certainly didn’t care about any limits others tried to place on his music.                 When his record label pressed him for new and bigger records following “Purple Rain” he rebelled. He famously changed his name to a symbol, and was referred to as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” All “because he didn’t like the way the industry was treating him.” Wallach, who teaches in the Pop Culture Department at Bowling Green State University, said Prince never returned to his days of being “a commercial juggernaut” the way he was in the 1980s and 1990s, but he continue to create. “I hope 50 years from now people will listen to his entire catalog as masterpieces of American music, both his best known stuff, and his lesser known stuff. … I do hope music scholars will appreciate his later work.” Wallach said he senses people are beginning to start to appreciate the entire span of his work. True, Prince’s most innovative period was in the 1980s and 1990s. His late work “wasn’t as innovative. It didn’t have the shock of the new.” Still Prince explored his own sound, and he was still experimenting. He defied genres and defied limitations. He tossed together elements of rhythm…


BGSU’s “Noises Off” brings on roars of laughter

By DAVID DUPONT By BG Independent News The actress playing the housekeeper in “Nothing On” is struggling during the dress rehearsal. The play is about to open and she’s still trying to learn her lines. Some of what comes out of her mouth, allows the director, does have a ring of familiarity. The actress says, her brain is like a slot machine—she’s not sure what’s going to pop up, two oranges, a lemon or even bananas. “Nothing On” is a play within the play “Noises Off,” and by the time we get out final shout out to sardines, it’s all bananas. The classic theatrical farce “Noises Off`” opens tonight at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts. It continues Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students. All tickets are $20 the day of the performance. Visit bgsu.edu/arts or call the box office at 419-372-8171. Directed by Geoff Stephenson, “Noises Off” is a well-oiled piece of comic chaos. The show is full of fainting, pratfalls, dropping trousers, stuck doors, and multiple servings of sardines that appear and disappear as if they had a will of their own. The play opens during the dress rehearsal of a touring company’s production of “Nothing On,” a British bedroom farce. Dotty Ortley (Ashli York) who plays the dithering maid is, well, dithering, speaking her lines and musing aloud on what she should do until interrupted by the director Lloyd Dallas (Jared Dorotiak). Dallas is a genius, at least in his own mind. He’s not above comparing himself to Yahweh of the Old Testament, though in his dalliances with the youngest women in the company, he’s more like a Greek god. One by one we meet the cast as they crash or wander on to make their entrances. First to arrive are the pair Garry Lejeune (Zach Robb) and Brooke Ashton (Madi Short). They play a couple stopping by the house for…


River House Arts takes up residence in historic Secor building

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News River House Arts, an art gallery that has enlivened the area art scene for six years, has now taken up residence on the left bank … of the Maumee River in the Glass City. Paula Baldoni who owns the business with her husband, William Jordan, said that move from the house on the river in Perrysburg to the sprawling new space in the Secor Building at 425 Jefferson Ave. has taken more time than anticipated. But even as Jordan works on the floors in the 9th floor office space, the gallery is ready to open its newest show, “Immigrants, Outcasts, and Other Heroes,” oil paintings and drawings by Cuban artist Augusto Bordelois. The show of more than two dozen works opens with a reception Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. The show continues through June 4. For details visit: http://www.river-house-arts.com/#!immigrants-outcasts-and-other-heroes/cbtc The exhibit is well in keeping with what River House Art has been about all along. Its exhibits have featured forgotten American masters such as Clay Walker featured in the gallery’s first show in November, 2009; international artists such as Mexican painter Veronica Leiton, creator of surreal abstract cityscapes; important contemporary Americans such as Swinomish and Tulalip photographer Matika Wilbur, who is using fine art photography to produce powerful and positive images of contemporary indigenous people; and local artists both young, jeweler Amy Beeler, and more established, photographer and digital artist Lou Krueger. Bordelois, Baldoni said, has been living in Cleveland since 1999, but he regularly returns to Cuba. His paintings are bold, with robust, heavyset figures. They lounge in the tropical heat, or at least it looks like that. One painting is actually a homesick Cuban on the beach of Lake Erie, Baldoni said. “Each painting has an incredible story.” And they are full of mythological images. While they are full of color and wit, they also have an emotional heft to them. The show will be displayed in the ground floor gallery with windows looking out at the Huntington Center. Paintings will…


BGSU music, art faculty join forces for Puerto Rican project

By BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications College of Musical Arts faculty members John Sampen, Susan Nelson, Nermis Mieses, Kevin Schempf, Conor Nelson and Marilyn Shrude, along with School of Art faculty member Lynn Whitney have been awarded a Glanz Family Research Award for Interdisciplinary Faculty Innovation and Collaboration. Their proposal, Tierkreis, is a multidisciplinary project leading to educational workshops and concert presentations in Puerto Rico and northwest Ohio. This artistic collaboration involves the College of Musical Arts and School of Art faculty in the preparation and presentation of “Tierkreis.” Composed by the late German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, this major work is comprised of flexible movements based on the signs of the zodiac. The composer has referred to these as “twelve human characters.” The elastic framework of the composition is ideal for interdisciplinary exploration. Additionally, the zodiac “characters” offer a symbolic relationship with the cycle of life, providing a vehicle for discussion and communication with both students and general audiences. Composition professor, Marilyn Shrude, will prepare a version of “Tierkreis” for woodwind faculty members, and Lynn Whitney will develop an accompanying photo display. Next fall, the faculty will travel to Puerto Rico to present performances and workshops of the collaboration at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico. In-school residencies and a performance at the Wolfe Center for the Performing Arts are also being scheduled.


BG high’s “Footloose” is about more than fancy footwork

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is not just some footloose and fancy free musical. The stage musical version of “Footloose,” a story told twice on the big screen, touches on some serious issues, said Jo Beth Gonzalez, who directs the theater program at Bowling Green High School. “There’s domestic violence,” she said, “loss of family, and death. … I actually think the stage play is richer.” And, of course, lots of dancing. It is, after all, called “Footloose.” “It’s a big dance show,” Gonzalez said.                     The musical will be on stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at the center’s box office Monday through Friday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The dancing is one of the reasons senior Logan Brown wanted to audition for the lead. He loves to dance and used to perform with his sister Lauren. Brown was excited that he would work with Bob Marzola, who is serving as choreographer. Brown has been in all the musicals during his high school career, he said.  He’s said he was “super excited” to be taking on the role of Ren Mac Cormack, a teenager from the east who ends up in a southern town where dancing has been banned. He’s an outsider “with daddy issues,” Brown said. He’s more than willing to push back against rules “that don’t make any sense.” “You just need to have fun with it,” Brown said. “There’s a lot going on.” When it was selected last spring, the musical team was in transition, Gonzalez said. Shawn Hudson was ready to take a sabbatical, so they would have to work with a new musical director. The technical director Carmen Rowlands was also leaving, and they didn’t know who would replace her. Ryan Albrecht, with lots of theater experience at the university where he studied and in community theater, was hired. But at the time, that slot was…


Singers come from near & far to honor Jim Brown

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Those who knew Jim Brown will go the distance to honor his memory. Linda Gullufsen, who will direct the singers at a memorial for Brown Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, now lives in Tennessee. Others, such as Brandy Tell Mann who is now living in Youngstown, are traveling from far corners of the state. Others are coming from the East and West coasts and places in between. Gullufsen said that one singer arrived at the first rehearsal with an apology. She’d flown in from New York, but she was not able to come to the memorial service. Was it all right if she participated in the rehearsal? She wanted to do at least that to pay tribute to her former choral director. “That speaks volumes about the man being honored,” Gullufsen said. “He was revered enough in his life that they would make any sacrifice they could to be part of this choir,” she said.  And everyone comes with a story. Of course, many others are coming from Bowling Green where Brown was the high school choral director from 1966 to 2004 and an active member on the arts scene.“He was Mr. Music in this community,” said Ed O’Donnell who coordinated the music for the memorial service. Last Friday a handful of singers got together for more rehearsal on the music that will be sung. The four pieces, three sung by the full choir, were all chosen because they were closely connected to Brown. “Sing Me to Heaven” by Daniel Gawthrop is the most difficult piece and will be sung by alumni of Brown’s Yuletide Singers as well as alumni of the high school madrigals who sang it before. Brown had the piece performed at his mother’s and father’s funerals, Gullufsen said. Gullufsen, who worked with Brown as the junior high choral director, said the traditional Irish tune “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” has a special place in the history of the Madrigal Singers. She remembers…