Arts and Entertainment

Glass mosaic would add sparkle & shade to Community Center lobby

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Gail Christofferson’s community mosaics are made from thousands of bits of glass, and by thousands of hours of work by hundreds of community members. Some will trim and sort thumbnail-size bits of glass. Some will glue those down in preordained patterns. And some to create those designs. When all is done, Christofferson hopes to have as many as 50 20-inch-by-20-inch glass mosaic panels. Those panels will provide an artistic solution to a problem at the Bowling Green Community Center’s lobby. Now, explains Kristen Otley, the director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, at certain times of day in certain seasons, the staff members working at the main desk are blinded by the sunshine.  That makes it difficult for those trying to serve the public during those times. Right now there are shades up. But Otley envisioned something else. She knew Christofferson from the workshops the artist has presented for Parks and Recreation. In 2011 and 2012 Christofferson facilitated the creation of a mural at the new Otsego Elementary school. Since then she’s turned to glass work full time and worked on about more 10 mosaic projects, as well as smaller work notably her mosaic guitars. Otley said they talked about it for a couple years. It always came down to where the money would come from. They decided to team up with the Kiwanis Club, and working with Alisha Nenadovich, they requested funds from the Bowling Green Community Foundation. It’s the kind of project the foundation likes, Otley said. Something that involves the whole community. The mosaic project was awarded a $5,000 grant. That’s enough for 20 panels, Christofferson said. “Visually my ideal is 50 squares.” She hopes to find donors to sponsor a square or two or several. The price is for $250 a single square with the price per square declining to five squares for $1,000. She plans to send out a fundraising appeal in the fall. After the summer, she’ll be able further gauge how far along the project is. Those sponsoring the panels, can design them, subject to approval of Otley and the artist. (Logos are not permitted.) They can also help put them together. The assembly is a community endeavor. That part of the project was kicked off at Art in the Park in June. The design began earlier. Christofferson worked with high school art students to design…


Toledo Museum of Art Names Halona Norton-Westbrook Director of Collections

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART TOLEDO – The Toledo Museum of Art has named associate curator of contemporary art Halona Norton-Westbrook to the newly created position of director of collections. In this role Norton-Westbrook is responsible for overseeing the Museum’s curatorial staff, exhibitions and art conservation. A native of California, Norton-Westbrook became a Mellon Fellow at TMA in 2013. The fellowship program, underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, enables participants to gain first-hand experience in institutional management and affords them the opportunity to take a leading role in curatorial endeavors. “We considered Halona’s experience and research background as uniquely preparing her for a successful career in the art museum world when we chose her for a Mellon Fellowship. She has proven us right through her leadership of innovative curatorial projects and programming. We are delighted that she has accepted our offer to become director of collections,” said Toledo Museum of Art Director Brian Kennedy. Norton-Westbrook became associate curator of contemporary art and head of visitor engagement at TMA in 2015. As such she oversaw exhibitions and hundreds of art activities, among them a new monthly program created in partnership with Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts. Called EAR | EYE: Listening and Looking at Contemporary Art, the performance and discussion series explores the relationship between contemporary music and art through music performances in response to specific works of art in the Museum’s collection. Norton-Westbrook also co-curated last summer’s popular Play Time exhibition that included the Red Ball Project and served as point curator for two touring American Federation of Arts exhibitions, Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection and The Rise of Sneaker Culture,earlier this year. She was also the leading force behind the creation of the popular “Speaking Visually” galleries, which utilize masterworks from across the collection to illustrate the Museum’s visual literacy initiative. Norton-Westbrook first became interested in museum management while an American history and studio art major at Mills College in Oakland, California. After completing her bachelor’s degree in 2005 and spending a year as a curatorial and administrative coordinator at the Mills College Art Museum, she moved abroad to pursue a master’s degree in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Following an advanced museum management traineeship at London’s Garden Museum in 2011, she earned a doctorate at the University of Manchester. Her doctoral research centered on the history of collecting…


Teen musician Grant Flick having fun fiddling around the country

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Musician Grant Flick, 17, has gone from being the talk of the town to earning plaudits in national roots music circles. A few years back he was jamming with guitarist Frank Vignola, when the New York-based jazz recording artist, was playing a show at Grounds for Thought. This spring when Vignola brought together his favorite young guitarists for a showcase in Salt Lake City, he made sure Flick and his violin was on the bill as well. Flick, who also plays mandolin and tenor guitar, continues to gig locally with Acoustic Penguin and as a duo with his father, Don Flick. He’s also spreading his wings with his own trio of fellow string prodigies Ethan Setiawan on mandolin and Jacob Warren on bass. The trio, billed as New Branch, with vocalist Sadie Gustafson-Zook, will perform at the Red Wing Roots Festival this summer. Local audiences will get a chance to get a taste of Flick’s trio when the band plays the Black Swamp Arts Festival. That trio will have string wizard Josh Turner on subbing for Setiawan who will be off studying in Valencia, Spain, at the time. For all the whirlwind activity of his career one thing remains constant for Flick: “I still do it for fun. That’s the main reason I do it. I wasn’t going after this as a career; I was going after it because it was fun. And that’s still the reason I do it. I enjoy it.” Flick met Turner, Setiawan and Warren at the American String Symposium, a select gathering of the best roots music strings players under 22, hosted by the Savannah Music Festival. At the event players have time to collaborate and work on original music. The trio, Flick said, plays all their own tunes. Flick has expanded his musical arsenal. He often plays a five-string violin, which extends the range of the fiddle down into the viola register. He also plays the mandolin and, more recently, the tenor guitar. That instrument, like the mandolin, has the same tuning as violin. He recently taught at a national tenor guitar workshop. These instruments provide different colors when playing with the trio or in a duo with his father. Having a Main Stage show with his band at the festival is a special treat for him. He’s played the festival’s acoustic stage several times with Acoustic Penguin….


Assessing the State of a 240-year-old Nation on its birthday

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Between the last blast of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and the first blast of Bowling Green’s fireworks display, BG Independent News roamed through the crowd Sunday night to ask people how they were feeling about the state of the United States during the celebration of its 240th birthday. The responses ranged from upbeat to concerned, from pithy to expansive. Here’s what we heard: Chip Myles, of Bowling Green, disputed the naysayers who paint a negative picture of the state of America on its 240th “I think we’re far better off than people realize. How many people can gather freely throughout the world, like we do?” he said. “Everything we hear is negative. The economy is not what it was, sure, but it’s still good.” Myles did voice one complaint: Philanthropists focus some of their wealth on helping Americans in need. There is no need for people in America to go hungry. “I wish they would help some of our own here, they have so much.” David Hupp, a 1964 BGSU alumnus who lives in Sylvania and returned for Sunday’s fireworks, sees the nation at turning point. “I think we’re at a crossroads. We have two candidates that are running that both have a lot of negatives. One is certainly being supported by special interests. The other one only has his self-interests.” One may need to be pardoned, and the other has no tact, he added. “One may take us to war and that scares me.” The presidential election will be tough, but the nation will remain strong. “This country has survived much worse.” Curtis Bennett, of Kenton, gave the nation a solid “poor” rating and listed off the negatives. “The economy. You don’t make enough money to support your family. The crime rate has gone through the roof. And drugs have taken control,” said Bennett, whose wife has family in Portage. “When we were growing up, it took a community to raise a child.” Now many communities have lost their way. As proof, he said a spectator was stabbed during the fireworks he attended Saturday evening in Indian Lake. But Bennett isn’t giving up on the nation. “There’s always hope,” he said. Sandra DeSteno, of Bowling Green, is anxious as the nation prepares to elect a new president. “It’s a little scary going into the political season. I think we’ve made huge progress in the last couple…


For Garrison Keillor, the time is right to part company with “A Prairie Home Companion”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News It’s not like Garrison Keillor hasn’t left me before. Back in 1987, he deserted “A Prairie Home Companion” to go to Denmark in pursuit of an old flame. Then he came skulking back two years later. Said he’d changed. Took up residence in New York City, the metropolis he’d dreamed about as he read The New Yorker back in Minneapolis. Now the show had a grander moniker, “American Radio Company of the Air.” He drew on New York talents, including those from Broadway, notably Walter Bobbie who went on to direct a smash revival of “Chicago.” Keillor himself sang more, engaging in duets with a dazzling rotation of female vocalists. When that show moved back to Minnesota, it still carried some of its cosmopolitan airs. A year later it returned to its maiden name and has been faithful to its listeners in the intervening decades. Now the show hit the road and high seas. Traveling more to Hawaii and Iceland. Tonight (July 2), the last “A Prairie Home Companion” with Keillor as host will be broadcast on public radio stations across the country, including WGTE-FM in Toledo. Maybe it’s telling that the show was done in the Hollywood Bowl, far removed from its prairie roots and is a rare recorded original broadcast. The last live broadcast was last weekend from the tony environs of Tanglewood in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems less momentous than the 1987 departure. That show was a must listen and extended well beyond its scheduled closing time. This season has been more of an extended fade out, a fade to black for many local listeners given WGTE has announced it will stop broadcasting the show after Saturday. My waning interest as the show ends mirrors my slow acceptance of it. I remember hearing a bit of it back in 1980 or so. It hadn’t been airing nationally all that long. The clip I heard struck me as nostalgia for a better time that never was. Still like a mosquito it was buzzing in the air. I remember hiking on Camel’s Hump with a group of University of Vermont researchers who were gathering water samples to study acid rain. They were talking about the News from Lake Wobegon. It took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about. Oh, that show, I realized….


WGTE-FM will cease broadcasting “A Prairie Home Companion”

WGTE-FM will cease broadcasting “A Prairie Home Companion” after host Garrison Keillor’s farewell show Saturday (July 2). Keillor who founded the show on Minnesota Public Radio in 1974, and it was later distributed nationally by American Public Media. He announced last year that he would be retiring as host and is turning those duties over to musician Chris Thile, who has hosted several shows this season. While Saturday’s show from the Hollywood Bowl is the farewell broadcast, Keillor’s last live show was Saturday, June 25, from Tanglewood in Massachusetts. In a letter to WGTE members programming director Brad Cresswell wrote: “Based on the feedback from listeners, we have decided to discontinue airing ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and add four new programs to our weekend schedule.” In the show’s traditional 6 p.m. Saturday time slot WGTE-FM will place the music show “Mountain Stage,” a show from West Virginia Public Radio that features live performances by newcomers and veterans in a variety of musical genre from traditional folk to world and synth pop. The station will also add “The Moth Radio Hour” starting Sunday, July 10, at 2 p.m. and  “Snap Judgment” starting Sunday, July 10, at 3 p.m. filling in for the time slot filled by the “Prairie Home Companion” repeat from the night before. Also, “Travel with Rick Steves” will premiere Sunday, July 3, at 6 p.m. that fills a slot occupied by a second broadcast of “The Best of Car Talk.” The beloved car advice program will continue to be broadcast on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Cresswell concluded: “These new programs will add a more global perspective and new musical genres to our schedule and we hope that listeners will enjoy them.”


Theater & research a natural fit for Chautauqua

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News History feels right at home in Rossford. Ohio Chautauqua presented by the Ohio Humanities council set up its tent this week along the Maumee, to present five nights of living history. It opened Tuesday night with Susan Marie Frontczak bringing the pioneering scientist Marie Curie to life on the stage. It continues with presentations every night through Saturday. Dressed in a black dress Frontczak took the audience from Curie’s childhood in Warsaw under the rule of the Russian czar to her scientific lab in a Paris apartment she shared with her husband. Along the way Frontczak was careful to make the science as clear as possible for those, she said, who had never studied chemistry or had studied it so long ago they had forgotten it all. She told Curie’s story with a few gripping details, occasionally injecting humor. Learning to cook as a young wife was “my most mysterious science experiment.” When Curie’s family had to take in 10 young male students as boarders, she declared “that’s when I learned to concentrate.” As with all the presenters, Frontczak has to be an actor who captures the audience’s attention and engages their imaginations. She has to be a writer who can encapsulate a notable life story within 50 minutes. And she has to be a scholar who must research her subject and master that research not only to create an accurate script, but also to be able to answer audience members questions both in character and out of character. On Tuesday Frontczak demonstrated how she could extemporize in character as she carried on exchanges with the audience. At one point, someone asked about the death of Curie’s husband. Without faltering, Frontczak described the circumstances of his death and Curie’s deep grief in the months afterward. As a researcher, she explained, that Curie was well accepted by her fellow scientists. Most importantly she was supported in her work by her father and her husband, who insisted the Nobel Prize be awarded in both their names, not just his. Dan Cutler, who appears Wednesday as Cornstalk (Hokoleskwa), a Shawnee Indian chief, said people have approached him about becoming living history actors, and when he tells them about the research involved they are shocked. The Chautauqua programs put that research to use during the day. Each day of the program one performer presents a workshop for children…


3B to present “Little Mermaid” in Maumee, July 21-24

Submitted by 3B PRODUCTIONS 3B Productions will present “Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the Musical,” July 21 through July 24 at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. Performance schedule is: Thursday July 21 – 8 p.m. Friday, July 22 – 8 p.m. Saturday, July 23 – 2:30 p.m. . Saturday, July 23 – 8 p.m. Sunday, July 24 – 2:30 p.m. Conversations with the cast and crew immediately follow each performances. Tickets are $15 general seating. For tickets, visit www.3Bproductions.org, or stop in at The Maumee Indoor Theatre. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” is a  love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable includes the songs “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.” Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull, and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Joe Barton will direct this Disney classic at the intimate Maumee Indoor Theatre He will be supported in bringing this vision to the Maumee Indoor stage by musical director Jennifer Bollinger, choreographer/assistant director Bob Marzola, and scenic designer Jesse Bernal. Maumee High School’s Joelle Stiles joins the cast of “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” as Ariel, having last been seen in 3B Productions, “Legally Blonde.” An honor student, a member of Select Choir, and a member of Panther Productions Drama Club, Joelle was a dancer for ten years at Dance Expressions with classes in tap, ballet, and jazz. She has been performing in musicals since she was 11 years old and has been in over 20 productions, including “Shrek the Musical,” “Children of Eden,” and “Into the Woods.” She also has worked behind the scenes on lights, sound, backstage, and has stage managed, and in “The Sound of Music” (Maria) at Maumee High School. “This is an incredible opportunity, who doesn’t want to play a Disney princess. It’s a dream come true.”, said Joelle. Sarah Matlow plays the evil sea witch bent on taking control of the ocean by manipulating…


Toledo Symphony’s Music Under the Stars returns to zoo

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Mercy Health, and the Toledo Zoo are joining forces again to continue a six-decade-old tradition of providing fun family entertainment in a relaxed setting: Music Under the Stars, a free series of concerts on four summer Sunday evenings in July in the Zoo’s Amphitheatre. Each of the 7:30 p.m. concerts, produced by the Toledo Symphony and performed by the Toledo Symphony Concert Band, features a special theme: July 10: American Portraits July 17: Fun and Games July 24: Just Dance July 31: Broadway Showstoppers Conductor Bruce Moss, director of band activities at Bowling Green State University, returns for his third summer. Guest artists will include the Toledo Symphony School of Music, Glass City Steel (the steel drum band from Toledo School for the Arts), Manhattan Dance Company, Toledo Choral Society, and the Ballet Theater of Toledo, among others to be announced. Masters of ceremonies will be Tony Geftos of WTVG (13ABC) and Jerry Anderson of WTOL. “By offering free family-oriented events for the public to enjoy; not one but two, local treasured gems, the music of the Toledo Symphony Concert Band at the venue of the Toledo Zoo not only enriches lives, it truly enhances the overall health and well-being of the community,” said Imran Andrabi, M.D., Regional President and CEO/Chief Network Integration Officer, Mercy Health – Toledo. “Mercy is proud to be the title sponsor once again for this year’s Music Under the Stars concerts.” “The Toledo Symphony Concert Band is honored to be an integral part of this wonderful summer tradition, which started in the late 1930s, before it was called ‘Music Under the Stars.’” said Keith McWatters, the Symphony’s general manager and a Concert Band percussionist. “There is nothing quite like it in the nation: a warm summer evening with your family and friends, set in the beautiful Toledo Zoo Amphiteatre complete with the sound of fabulous music –and it’s free! “For anyone who has had the experience, we look forward to seeing you again,” McWatters said. “For anyone who has not yet enjoyed this tradition, please join us this summer.” “The Zoo is very proud to continue a more than six-decade summer tradition with the 2016 season of Mercy Music Under the Stars presented by The Andersons with support from Huntington, Taylor Automotive Family, and Welltower, Inc.,” said Jeff Sailer, the Zoo’s executive director. “Community collaborations like this…


Toledo Symphony, musicians reach contract agreement

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc., Board of Trustees approved a new three-year contract with Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s musicians at its year-end meeting on June 21. The musicians, members of the Toledo Federation of Musicians Local 15-286, approved the contract in voting conducted on May 21. The three-year contract takes effect on Sept. 1, 2016, and provides for a 2 percent raise on base salaries each year. It covers 60 contracted musicians, and extends to other musicians who are brought in to supplement the core group as needed. “The seasoned professionals of the Toledo Symphony are fundamental to the high quality of music produced across our entire region, so it makes sense for the association to invest in this important music asset,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica and board trustee chairman. “It is our responsibility to sustain the orchestra’s mission of preservation and education if we intend to continue to be the best regional orchestra in America.” “The TSO is currently facing many challenges and is in a period of transition in both its artistic and administrative leadership,” Garth Simmons, chairman of the orchestra’s bargaining committee and the symphony’s principal trombonist, said. “This new agreement demonstrates the shared commitment of the Board, musicians, and management to the long-term stability and growth of the orchestra.” Entering its 73rd season, the Toledo Symphony annually performs nearly 100 concerts in its Classics, Mozart, Chamber, Pops, and Family series, six operas, and neighborhood and regional shows. Additionally, members of the orchestra’s chamber ensembles perform in every elementary school in the Toledo Public Schools system, as well as in many other schools across Northwest Ohio. The symphony performs at the Toledo of Art Museum’s Peristyle, Lourdes University’s Franciscan Center, The Toledo Club, the Stranahan Theater, the Valentine Theater, Rosary Cathedral, and on occasion the Huntington Center. The symphony has performed at venues as far away as Bryan, Greenville, New Bremen, and Portsmouth, all in Ohio.


Jaume Plensa’s sculptures are in just the right place at Toledo Museum of Art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For sculptor Jaume Plensa, the placement of one of his sculptures is as important as the work itself. That’s especially true of his outdoor works. Still he described his visit to Toledo to consult about where to situate the work on the grounds of Toledo Museum of Art almost as a play date. He walked around with a few friends and two gardeners carrying flags. “I loved those guys with the flags.” Amy Gilman, the museum’s associate director and one of those in the group, asked him Thursday night why he decided to place one work, “The Heart of Trees,” up on a hill, instead of on the flat, where the museum had suggested. The world renowned artist said: “A kid loves to change things. If you say ‘down,’ then I say ‘up,’ and it’s not more complicated than that.” “You know my son,” Gilman quipped. The exchange was part of a public conversation held Thursday at the museum as part of the ongoing exhibit Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape, which continues outdoors and in the Levis Galleries through Nov. 6. In his introduction, Museum Director Brian Kennedy called Plensa “a most distinguished art practitioner in our world today.” “A very significant part of Jaume’s practice is public sculpture, creating moments for public engagement,” he said. Plensa’s work is on display around the world, including “the most extraordinary work he’s made,” the Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Plena said, in placing a work: “You are not thinking about the object in itself but what energy this object is spreading about. … The space is much more important than the work itself.” That was demonstrated in the siting not only of the Human Landscape works but in “Speigel (Mirror)” which sits on the edge of the museum’s 36-acre campus. When Plensa visited to consult on the installation in 2012, he made “important adjustments” to the initial site, Gilman said. She and exhibit designer Claude Fixler had originally envisioned placing “Speigel” on a small rise. But the artist wanted it brought down closer to the street. “I have a certain utopian idea of what is art’s relationship to society,” Plensa explained on Thursday.  “I think art should go to them and embrace the community.” On the hillock, “Speigel” was “in a certain way protected.” He knew museum officials saw the sculpture as a bridge to the…


The cosmos is ready for its close up in Eric Zeigler’s exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The universe is on view in downtown Toledo. Or at least photographer Eric Zeigler’s vision of the universe, which includes: Galaxies of 100,000 stars, compressed into one small frame the size of a computer monitor. One of Pluto’s moons, the smear of light as good as anyone will likely ever see it. The rust on a meteorite in an image blown up 36-times its natural size. A computer image of neutrinos – subatomic particles so small 65 billion of them fit into a square centimeter – interacting. The exhibit “Under Lying” is now on view at River House Arts, 425 Jefferson St. The exhibit is open through July 30. For hours call 419-441-4025. The show will be part of Art Loop on July 21. The work, Zeigler explained, comes from his interest in astronomy that was sparked by a class he took at Bowling Green State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Photography in 2008. He’d been taking photos since his early teens, inspired by his grandfather. Above the television in his grandparents’ home was a landscape photo his grandfather had taken. And scattered around the house were copies of Popular Photography magazine. His grandfather, Zeigler said, was interested in optics, and during World War II maintained sights on bombers that flew missions over Germany. Young Eric was fascinated by the data included in Popular Photography. What did the shutter speeds and aperture opening numbers mean? “I was totally addicted to figuring all this stuff out,” he said. He set his family’s new digital camera on manual. That helped him understand shutter speed, but the optics weren’t advanced enough to really vary the depth of field much. Then at about 16, a friend’s family gave him a film camera. It all clicked. The son of a carpenter, who worked with his father, he first attended BGSU to study construction management. “That lasted one day.” Then architecture. Then, since he liked making furniture, he decided to try the School of Art. Zeigler discovered he could take a photography class. That’s when his interest took off. It led him to the San Francisco Art Institute for a Master’s of Fine Arts. Though living on the West Coast the focus off his work remained rooted in Waterville. “The Route 24 bypass coming through Waterville took a significant portion of my parents’ property,” Zeigler…


Perrysburg Musical Theatre lands “Big Fish” in impressive fashion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Staging the musical “Big Fish” is not a small task, and the Perrysburg Musical Theatre is up to it. The story, first a novel, then Tim Burton-directed movie, then a musical, is a sprawling father-son tale that blends uplifting fantasy with real-life drama. At the very big heart of the musical is the hero Edward Bloom (D. Ward Ensign), a small town salesman given to telling grand stories about his life that may be true, at least in some fashion. As he faces death, the world of those stories collides with real life. “Big Fish,” which is making its Northwest Ohio premiere, is being presented Thursday, June 23, through Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, at 2 p.m. in the Perrysburg High School auditorium. Tickets are $13. Visit http://www.perrysburgmusicaltheatre.org/. “Big Fish” is a great fit for the Perrysburg summer troupe. The show calls for a cast of more than 40, many of them young people. It exudes a sense of community whether in Bloom’s hometown or the circus he works for. The play’s technical demands are a challenge. The plot cuts back and forth between present and past, from a kid’s bedroom and a bewitched forest. The production, led by the creative team of C. Jordan Benavente, Julie Bermudez, Ensign and Nicole Spadafore with set design by Dave Nelms, pulls this off seamlessly. The high point being the daffodil-infused climax of the first act. The show is more than a visual wonder. As well as a large ensemble it demands three strong singing actors for the central parts of the  fantasist Edward Bloom, his wife Sandra (Elizabeth Cottle), and their son Will (Garrett Leininger). All have strong, expressive voices, and solid acting skills. And Cottle and Ensign effectively portray their characters from their teens into late middle age. Ensign needs to embody both the real life father, who can be overbearing, with the hero of his stories, who is resourceful and an underdog. Ensign draws a straight line from the man who was – at least as he tells it – and the man who is. He makes it believable that his wife  is so devoted, despite the fact that he’s frequently absent because he’s a traveling salesman and neglects his household duties. For her part, she seems bemused by his tales. Less forgiving is Will. From a young age (Isaac Bermudez), he’s…


Brigitte Reinke aims to attend American Institute of Musical Studies (Updated)

Updated on June 22: Brigitte Reinke reports she’s almost there with about $2,000 more n donations still to raise Brigitte Reinke, a soprano and Bowling Green High School graduate, is ready to start her professional career. She received her Master’s in Voice Performance with an emphasis in Pedagogy from Texas Christian University and her Bachelor’s in Voice Performance with a German minor from Bowling Green State University. She currently teaches voice lessons to undergraduate students at Southwestern Adventist University, is a section leader at First United Methodist Church in downtown Fort Worth, TX, and is in the beginning stages of launching her professional career. That got a boost with her acceptance to AIMS (American Institute of Musical Studies), a prestigious opera program lasts six weeks this summer in Graz, Austria. AIMS in Graz focuses on individual technical development and a professional, strategic approach to music as a profession The program offers Reinke the opportunity to work with world-renowned singers, coaches, agents, and directors—including her favorite artist and long-time idol, Barbara Bonney. “This program will provide opportunities that will jumpstart my career,” Reinke said. According to Reinke: “Bowling Green is where I discovered my love of the stage. I participated in plays, musicals, operettas, and operas with Horizon Youth Theatre, The Black Swamp Players, at Bowling Green High School, and at Bowling Green State University. The foundation of performance skills I learned in Bowling Green will carry me through AIMS, and I’m very thankful for that. AIMS is what I need now to get to the next level with professional skills and connections. Thank you all for your support over the years and for your continuing support.” She has previously performed in operas, operettas, and opera scenes as Pamina and die Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte) Just Jeannette (Too Many Sopranos), ein Blumenmädchen (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Yum-Yum (The Mikado), among others, and has performed as a soloist in various recitals and benefit concerts. her solo career as a soprano. Reinke has launched a fundraising effort to help her afford her travel to Austria and participation in AIMS. That included an April 24 recital in Texas. “The program has been gracious enough to grant me a $1,000 scholarship and a $250 work-study grant, but I am still in need of significant funds to attend this excellent institution,” Reinke wrote in a recent email. A letter supporting Reinke from the program states:…


Black Swamp Arts Festival music acts don’t skip a beat in time of change (Updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival will feature a mix of new and familiar acts. That’s not unusual. That they feature veterans and newcomers is also par for the course. That those act will come on the wings of critical plaudits, well that goes without saying. Probably the biggest change on the festival’s music scene is one most people may not notice, and that’s as it should be. Kelly Wicks, one of the festival’s founders, is stepping down from his role as chair of the performing arts committee. Taking on that key role are Cole Christensen and Tim Concannon, two long-time festival volunteers who’ve worked with Wicks. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Christensen said. “It’s about preserving the great traditions of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. We’ll continue to feature local regional national and international talent and also to give people acts people don’t get to see. The festival has reputation for having great music, and we’re going to keep that.” That means performers whom festivalgoers have never heard of before will be their favorites after the second weekend in September. After a few months of learning the ropes (with Wicks offering some advice), most of the main stage slots are booked for the festival that kicks off Friday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. and closes Sunday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. It’s been bookended by the blues. The festival opens with the Tony Godsey band, a regional blues band that’s set to release its aptly title “Black Swamp Territory,” a collection of 10 original tunes. Closing will be an old friend, Michael Katon, the Boogieman from Hell (Michigan, that is). At one point, Katon had played Howard’s Club H more than any other performer. He was a regular at Christmastime, playing Christmas Eve, the blues equivalent of the Magi. In the past decade, though, he’s mostly been booked across the pond. Christensen said that Katon is excited to be returning to Bowling Green. On Saturday night he’ll return to his old haunts with a free show at Howard’s. In between Godsey and the man from Hell, there’ll be more blues, reggae, bluegrass and all sounds Americana. Christensen is especially excited about Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi band out of New York City. The Latin Grammy nominees add a contemporary touch to the venerable Mexican genre while staying true to the ache and…