Arts and Entertainment

Lionface one acts find comedy & drama close to home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News That coffee shop could be in Bowling Green. That comic convention could be in Columbus. The Lionface Productions one-act plays – all three written for the troupe – have a sense of familiarity viewed through a different lens. The Lionface production of one acts opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the rehearsal hall behind the Performing Arts Center in the middle school. The show continues Friday and Saturday. Guests should enter through door M, near the patio area to the south of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $7 and $5 for students. Two of the plays were presented at a Wednesday night dress rehearsal. (The third “The Amazing Red Diamond” written by Jesse Koza got an early run through because of a scheduling conflict.) “Every Seven Years or So,” written by J. Benjamin and directed by Christina Hoekstra, traces the arc of the friendship between Eric (Cole Stiriz) and Fiona (Kathryn Gonda) from being artistically inclined and insecure high school students into young adults when the issues that first drew them together still resonate. We meet them mid-conversation as Eric is telling Fiona how his father, the high school art teacher, caught him in flagrante with another boy in the ceramics studio. The story sets up the relationship between Eric and Fiona as friends with no romantic interest. It also helps introduce the character of the father, as a fellow dreamer, who is never seen, but casts a shadow on the action. Stiriz and Gonda have good chemistry as friends so close they know just how to grate on each other. Eric is high-minded, and a snob. Fiona is interested in writing fantasy, which Eric mocks as these “fairy stories” and considers selling out. On a dare they push each other into new artistic territory that influences the way their lives unfold. The play addresses real life issues faced by creative people as they struggle to survive and find their muses. The characters also struggle with their relationship to home, and where that is. Fiona leaves for New York, while Eric becomes an advocate for the local Toledo scene. Benjamin manages to weave these topical concerns into sharp dialogue, and includes a tragic plot twist. Nothing tragic happens in “Pros and Cons” written by Rin Moran and directed by Griffin Coldiron. Here a quartet of roommates head off to a comics convention. They each have an agenda. Amy (Gabby Thomas) is a diehard fan girl, who reminds us at every turn that fan is short for fanatic. She gets the first shriek. “You guys! Guys! Guys! We’re actually here. It’s more amazing than I imagined.” Owen (Rory Gallagher) is intent on locating a guy dressed as Capt. Kirk, who he met and fell in love with the previous year, only to lose his number at a McDonald’s. Camdon (Nicole Tuttle) wants to meet her favorite author, the heart throb David Garth Laimon (Scott Stechschulte). Then there’s poor Jeremy played by Allie Levine, who is secretly in love with Camdon. Jeremy is the one always getting left behind, wondering off on his own. Complications ensue with Amy ending up working as an organizer of the convention and Camdon losing her driver’s license. All this plays out with near encounnters and miscommunications. Heather Hill and…

Jody Madaras show, ‘All Hands on Deck!’ opens in Branson

Fresh off a three-year national tour, having played to sold-out audiences across the country, The Dutton Family Theater in Branson, Missouri, has announced “The All Hands on Deck! Show” as part of its 2016 lineup. The popular, All-American Roadshow and Radio Broadcast reproduction opened March 17. “The All Hands on Deck!  Show” is an All-Singing, All-Dancing, All-American 1942 Roadshow & Radio Broadcast reproduction filled with the songs, dances and laughs that America has loved for 70 years. Directed and choreographed by Jody Madaras, “The All Hands on Deck! Show” is a fun-filled, true-to-life reproduction of the kind of USO show Bob Hope and Jack Benny would have taken to the troops 65 years ago: classic humor and great music from those special days of road shows, war-bond drives, and radio broadcasts.  Early versions of the show were staged in Perrysburg in 2011 and as part of July 4th celebrations in Bowling Green in 2013. “The All Hands on Deck!Show” boasts over 40 classic Big Band hits in original arrangements including: “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe,” “I’m In The Mood For Love,” “Pennsylvania Polka,” “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Any Bonds Today?” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “God Bless America,” “Deep In The Heart Of Texas,” “Thanks For The Memory” and a Military Medley that salutes America and its servicemen and women. “The All Hands on Deck! Show” features Broadway veteran Jody Madaras (creator, Ted Crosley), Valerie Hill (Betty Blake), Rachel Saad (Daisy Maxwell), and Trevor Dorner (John Handley), and the rich sounds of the LIVE 9-piece Hollywood Victory Caravan Orchestra (featuring some of Branson’s finest musicians) , classic commercials, tight harmonies, impromptu skits, and 42 of the greatest American songs ever written. “The All Hands on Deck! Show” offers a musical message for all Americans with a full-circle patriotic salute celebrating the American way of life; reminding us of a time when our country was fully united. “The All Hands on Deck! Show” was born of a heart filled with gratitude and patriotism. Creator and star Jody Madaras wanted to write a show that would say “Thank you” to the greatest generation – the men and women who served our country during WWII and The Korean War – and also remind Americans of a time when our country was truly united. Madaras also wanted to create something to stir the hearts of all Americans, especially the upcoming generation, to unite in patriotic support of the greatest nation of all time. Madaras said: “This new 1940’s show is very special to me – I spent nearly four years writing it.” The Ohio farm boy knew he wanted to say something important. “We are reminded every day that our country has challenges. I wanted to write about patriotic unity, what’s right about our country, and thank our veterans in a musical way. I know how much these songs mean to them, and I have discovered as we have toured across America how much they inspire audiences of all ages. I want everyone to leave our show feeling a little better and happier about our country.” For inspiration, Madaras used the Hollywood Victory Caravan – (a group of famous film stars who toured America by train in 1942 selling war bonds) – as the setting for his new show. Mr. Madaras adds:…

Small ensembles compete for cash & bragging rights at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the list of winners in hand Connor Nelson didn’t waste any time making the announcement everyone was waiting for. He’d been in this situation many times before, the flutist said. So he announced the 10th class of winners in The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts Chamber Music Competition. Nelson with fellow faculty member Susan Nelson coordinated this year’s event. The event was founded by Douglas Wayland in 2007 to give instrumentalists a chance to hone their skills in a way only having to perform before a panel of judges and having their performances ranked among their peers will do. The event now bears the name of the founder, who died in November, 2013. The Wayland competition is sponsored in his honor by Pro Musica. The competition took its place with the Competitions in Music for concerto soloists and the Conrad Art Song Competition for vocalists and pianists. So this weekend, musicians in ensembles of three to six members competed. Each is coached by a faculty member or graduate student. This year eight undergraduate ensembles with 26 musicians and seven graduate ensembles with 28 musicians competed. The semifinals were held Saturday. For both rounds panels of outside musicians were brought in to judge. Four undergraduates and three graduate finalists were selected to move on to Sunday’s final round where they performed up to 18 minutes of music. The finals got underway with a torrent of saxophone sound from Enohpoxas, that is “saxophone” spelled backwards – the names of the ensembles are often as fanciful as the music played. As in the past contemporary music dominated the repertoire. There was even a heavy sample of rock ‘n’ roll when the undergraduate trio Pitnix performed “Techno-Parade” by Guillaume Connesson. During the piece pianist Varis Vatcharanukul drummed on the strings of the piano with a toothbrush. The trio put on a lively show with flutist Samantha Tartamella swaying like a wood nymph as she played. “Yes we pride ourselves on moving together,” she said after the performance. Pitnix, which also includes clarinetist Stephen Dubetz, won the top undergraduate prize for their efforts. They were the only ensemble other than a saxophone quartet to win. Top graduate prize went to the Gravity Quartet with Kendra Heslip, soprano saxophone, Julie Kuhlman, alto saxophone, Chi Him Chik, tenor saxophone, and Chris Murphy, baritone saxophone. Enohpoxas – Brianna Buck, soprano saxophone, Seth Bowser, alto saxophone, Logan Hostetler, tenor saxophone, and Ian Semanovich, baritone saxophone – received the second place award. Girisa Quartet – Chris Delouis, soprano saxophone, Yufei Zhang, alto saxophone, Helen West, tenor saxophone, and Garrett Tanner, baritone saxophone – won second prize in the graduate division. “You made our job very difficult,” said George Pope, University of Akron, who along with Christina Dahl, Stony Brook University, and Anthony Elliott, University of Michigan, judged the finals. “Everyone played wonderfully.” Members of the first place ensembles each receive $200 and those in the second place ensembles receive $100. The winning ensembles will perform Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Manor House in Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., in Toledo, and April 3 at 3 p.m. in the Great Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art. Also on April 1 at 10 a.m. they will perform on WGTE-FM…

The Hart of the matter: Jazz saxophonist shares passion for music at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Antonio Hart first took the stage at Bowling Green State University, he had some stern advice for the music students in the audience. Ask me questions. Citing his experience playing with some of the greats in jazz, he said students needed to take advantage of having him among them for a while. Then he played demonstrating the mastery students could aspire to. That was Wednesday night when Hart performed with the jazz faculty, arriving shortly before from Thailand. He was in town through Thursday before leaving on an early morning flight back to New York before heading back east to China. Hart is a man on the move, squeezing as much as he can during his sabbatical from Queens College in New York City where he teaches. Still when Adonai Henderson took him up on his offer to ask a question Thursday after a coaching session with small bands, it was as if time stopped. As the crew reset the Kobacker stage for the Lab I rehearsal and concert, Hart sat at the piano and gave Henderson a lesson. During the session before, Hart had drilled the quintet Henderson was a part of on the proper execution of the melody to Charlie Parker’s “Scrapple from the Apple.” It’s a bebop standard many fans and even players may take for granted. Something to set the stage before the improvisation. But Hart brought such notions up short. It’s the beginning and end of a tune that stays with the listener. He spent a good half hour with group, on how to articulate each phrase of the melody, giving proper weight the key notes, gradually playing louder to the point where two high notes pop out. Now after the session, Henderson approached Hart. He wasn’t exactly sure he knew how to phrase the melody. Hart had him go over it, and then do a scale exercise to work on his point. They may very well have been in a private studio, not a concert hall with a dozen or so people working and milling about. This is what drew Henderson, from Cleveland, to study jazz, the sense of “being so thoroughly inside the music.” And Hart gave him a new way to realize that feeling. Hart knows the importance of education. He grew up in inner city Baltimore. Just as he was getting ready to go to high school, art and music were cut from the curriculum. “That was going to be a drag for me because that was the only reason I dug school,” Hart said in an interview, “because it wasn’t happening education-wise.” He had a friend who was attending the Baltimore School for the Arts and helped him get an audition. He got in though he was aware of deficiencies in his training. “I was very behind academically,” he said. “There’s stuff still I have to learn.” Hart said he sometimes he gets frustrated with the college students he teaches. “Sometimes I get upset with them because they have all these facilities and materials that I didn’t have, and they don’t practice, they don’t take advantage of them.” He has to step back and realize “everybody doesn’t have the same intensity I have.” Still he wants them to see how passionate he is…

Opera director, teacher & administrator to visit BGSU

Longtime opera stage director, administrator and teacher Jay Lesenger will bring his expertise and experience to Bowling Green State University students in the College of Musical Arts March 21 and March 22 as part of the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies. Lesenger, who is familiar to Toledo audiences from his staging of last season’s Toledo Opera production of “Madama Butterfly,” will give master classes, work with students on building their resumes and auditioning, and provide insight into the music business. All his classes and presentations are free and open to the public. On March 21, he will present an introduction and master class from 3:30-6 p.m. in the Conrad Room at the Wolfe Center for the Arts, and a master class from 7-10 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. On March 22, he will hold a resume session from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kobacker, a session on the music business and auditioning from 2-4 p.m. in Kobacker, a master class from 4-6 p.m. in the Conrad Room, and another from 8-10 p.m. in Kobacker. Lesenger has produced and directed more than 200 operas for New York City Opera, Chautauqua Opera Company, and multiple other companies throughout the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia. Through his 40-year career, he has directed a range of operatic genres, from classical to bel canto to works by contemporary composers. A well-known teacher of acting for singers, he recently joined the guest faculty of the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. He has also taught in the School of Music opera faculties at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University and has directed productions for the Julliard, Mannes, and Manhattan Schools of Music as well as at Indiana University and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Lesenger is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and other vocal competitions. He holds a master’s degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Music and Theater from Hofstra University. Helen and the late Harold McMaster established the endowed professorship in spring 2000. Helen McMaster, a longtime Perrysburg resident, has supported the arts at BGSU for many years. In 1992 she served as honorary chair of BGSU’s Campaign of the Arts, to which the McMasters donated $150,000. Past recipients of the endowed professorship have included Marilyn Horne, The Thirteen, Fredric West, and Samuel Ramey.

Musical specters come to life in string quartet concert on campus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Spektral Quartet lived up to its name when it performed a Music at the Forefront concert Monday at Bowling Green State University. The Chicago-based quartet summoned plenty of specters with its ghostly, translucent sounds. The program included two pieces, Hans Thomalla’s Bagatellen and the formidable Third String Quartet by Beat Furrer. Both robbed the graves of bygone composers to create pieces that entranced and intrigued listeners. Little of the music was made using traditional violin sounds. Both pieces called for the virtuosity of unlikely techniques. The string players – Clara Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello – summoned snaps, crackles and pops from their instruments. Those sounds, though defying conventional notions of tunefulness, were strangely captivating. In Bagatellen, made up of nine brief episodes, Thomalla used odd bits of classical quartets by Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn to construct the piece. Not recognizable melodies, but a scale, or a harmony part or a trill. These wafted through the work. Thomalla exploited silence, and near silence, and the hint of silence, and very, very soft sounds to draw listeners in. At one point, the musicians bowed their instruments without making contact with the strings. At other times, they rubbed the bodies of their violins with the bows and then stroked the tuning pegs. The slightest sound from the audience, even the scratching of a pencil on a program, crackled loudly. When the piece ended, it resolved not on any harmonic tonic but in silence. Furrer’s quartet also called for inventive uses of the instruments (though the part where the cello string breaks was spontaneous). In introducing the piece, violinist Wulliman explained the piece evoked “a half-submerged consciousness coming to life” as “a strange, neurotic landscape.” It was a tangle of sound effects patched together, the bits returning obsessively. The composer mixes, matches and folds the fragments and effects trying to exhaust all possible permutations. Then a sad chorale theme emerges. A song of lost love, Wulliman said at the outset of the piece. Its sadness seeps into this forbidding modernist environment. Are we still wandering as the piece ends much as it began? The audience seemed a bit dazed. Then they roused themselves, invaded the stage, studied the music still on the stands, to try to discover just where they had been.

BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, March 16–30

March 16—Jazz Week continues with a performance by the BGSU College of Musical Arts jazz faculty. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 17—The Visiting Writer Series features Lynn Emanuel, author of multiple volumes of poetry including “Oblique Light,” “The Dig,” “Then, Suddenly” and “Noose and Hook.” Her reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free March 17—The International Film Series features a 2007 film from Pakistan, “Khuda ke Liye  (In the Name of God).” Director Shoaib Mansoor follows the lives of three young Pakistanis in Britain, Pakistan and the U.S. pre- and post-9/11. The film explores the radicalization of youth, rise of extremist mullahs, Quranic law and U.S. Homeland Security’s use of torture. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free March 17—BGSU’s Jazz Lab Band I is joined by guest artist Antonio Hart on alto sax. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are $3 for students and children and $7 for adults. All tickets are $10 the day of the concert. To purchase online, visit, or call the box office at 419-372-8171. March 18—Three ARTalks will be presented by the BGSU School of Art as part of the Ashel and Dorothy Bryan Residence. Painter Paul Beel, a 1993 BGSU graduate, will speak at 2:30 p.m. in 204 Fine Arts Center. Graphic designer Nathan Hendricks will speak at 3:30 p.m. in 111 Olscamp Hall. Nathaniel Stern, interactive artist and writer, will speak on “Ecological Aesthetics” at 4:45 p.m., also in 111 Olscamp Hall. Free March 18—The Chamber Jazz Ensembles will perform during Jazz Week in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. The performance begins at 8 p.m.Free March 19 —The Ashel and Dorothy Bryan Residence continues in BGSU’s School of Art with a conversation titled “Where Next? The Future of Art (School/Work/World)” featuring painter Paul Beel, graphic designer Nathan Hendricks and interactive artist and writer Nathaniel Stern. The discussion will begin at 4 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free March 19-April 3—The BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition opens with a reception from 6-8:30 p.m. March 19 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries at BGSU’s Fine Arts Center, and continues through April 3. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free March 20—The spring Sunday Matinee Series begins with “Hearts of the World” (1918), directed by D.W. Griffith. Griffith tells a story of British and American participation in the First World War. The film starts the namesakes of the Gish Film Theater, sisters Dorothy and Lillian Gish. The screening is in memory of Dorothy Gish’s birthday, March 11, 1898, in Dayton, Ohio, and includes an introduction by film historian Jan Wahl. It begins at 3 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free March 22—Winners of the Doug Wayland Chamber Music Competition will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Manor House in Wildwood Metropark, 5100 W. Central Ave., in Toledo. Free March 22—Prize-winning pianist Kevin Chance will perform as a part of the Guest Artist Series. He has appeared…

Community band mixing art & music at Sunday concert

By BOWLING GREEN AREA COMMUNTY BAND On Sunday, March 20 the local community will be treated to a very special arts event in Bowling Green – a simultaneous band concert and gallery opening.  The Bowling Green Area Community Bands presents the first  Music Paints a Picture Concert,  in the spectacular Bowling Green Schools’ Performing Arts Center at 4 p.m. Featuring mixed media, photography, fabric arts and more, all of the displayed art has been created by the band performers themselves. The concert is the brainchild of assistant conductor Catherine Lewis, herself an award winning quilter as well as the highly regarded director of bands (retired) from Fremont City Schools. Ms Lewis has programmed entertaining and “visual” music selections that coordinate with the art work provided by the adult musicians in the bands. Fittingly, the concert opener is “Pictures at an Exhibition,” followed by dance inspired pieces  “Tango,” “A Two-Step: The Walking Frog”  and  “A Galop to End all Galops.” The entire clarinet section will dazzle the audience with the Leroy Anderson classic,  “Clarinet Candy.” Local artists include Kathy Bame, Portage:  quilted wall-hanging Sandra Dally, Portage:  sculpture, mixed media portrait, mixed media paper work Diane Huffman, Bowling Green:  3-D scarecrow figure Howard Williams, Woodville:  photographs Pat Williams, Woodville:  photograph, beaded cross stitch Patty Pickering, Bowling Green:  crocheted 3-D frog hat, crocheted scarf Jane Milbrodt, Bowling Green:  photograph Tom Milbrodt, Bowling Green: photograph Greg Predmore, Bowling Green:  clarinet sculpture Shelby Steinhagen, Grand Rapids:  large metal sculpture Dan Van Vorhis, Bowling Green:  photographs Sue Stokes, Weston:  cross stitch Steve Arnold, Bowling Green:  under water photography   The doors of the PAC will open at 3:30 with the gallery available both before and after the concert. Immediately following the concert, a reception will be held in the PAC atrium as a time to meet the artists. The BGACA is comprised of the concert band, directed by Thomas Headley and Catherine Lewis and the BG BiG Band, led by William Lake. This concert is free and open to the public; as a 501c3, the BGACB does accept donations. The PAC, located at 530 West. Poe Rd, Bowling Green, is accessible for those with physical challenges and has convenient parking.

Horizon Youth Theatre takes its show on the road… a necessity shared with others in BG thespian community

Horizon Youth Theatre is a troupe on the move… by necessity. The troupe is now in its 19th year of giving local children and teens the chance to be drama kings and queens, and it continues to be nomadic – at Otsego Elementary for its Festival of Shorts April 8, 9 and 10; holding drama classes at St. Mark’s in Bowling Green also that month; and in June presenting “Honk!” at the First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green. The location for the summer workshops is still a question mark. The troupe has had many homes over its lifetime from the soon-to-be-demolished theaters in University Hall on campus to whatever space has been available at the Woodland Mall. In a recent conversation a group of board members – President Karen Walters, Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, Alisa Suelzer and Haley Wilkins – said despite that peripatetic existence the troupe continues to provide theater experience to dozens of children. Since children participate in different ways, drama club to the full-blown productions, putting a precise number on how many children it serves is difficult. And the troupe is always recruiting. Still Walters estimated the participation has doubled in the last three years. “Our goal is education first, and we do that by putting on very high quality productions. But we’re not so much performance oriented as educational,” she said. Still the troupe knows how to put on a show as demonstrated by its participation in the Ohio Community Theater Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. and its collaborations with its partner the Black Swamp Players, including the recent production of “Seussical.” To do this, the board members said, they’ve had a lot of help from various segments of the community. They depend on the kindness of strangers. They appreciate that help. The mall management, Walters said, has gone out of their way to let Horizon use space rent free even doing set up for them. But recent changes there has meant there’s no room in the mall. At least for now. The Otsego school district stepped up when a previous arrangement with the Bowling Green school district fell through. “They bent over backwards” to make Horizon feel welcome, Walters said. They even allowed the troupe to stage two productions last fall, one of 6-12 year old and another for teenagers, even though the production schedules for the two overlapped. Though that may have taken a toll on parents with kids in both shows, it worked out well. “We’ve always been homeless, technically. Being nomadic and non-profit is naturally challenging,” Walters said. “This year has been especially challenging,” Suelzer said. An arrangement with Bowling Green State University several years ago looked like it would ease the troupe’s search for space. But even with a brand new Wolfe Center for the Arts, finding time when they could fit in proved difficult. After presenting a couple summer musicals in the Donnell, and a show in the choral rehearsal hall, Horizon was back looking for space. Walters also noted that the Donnell is not set up for individual performers to be mic’d, a necessity with young actors. When they learned the use would be even more restricted, Walters said, the board decided not to even ask. The troupe also has used the Performing Arts Center at the Bowling Green Middle School,…

Traditional Irish music knows no season for Toraigh an Sonas

With St. Patrick’s Day just days away Toraigh an Sonas has a busy week ahead. On Saturday, the group of musicians, under the direction of Bob Midden and Mary Dennis, will perform at The Blarney Pub, 601 Monroe St. in downtown Toledo from 2 to 5 p.m. Then on Sunday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. the party moves to Dzia’s Irish Pub, 5131 Heatherdowns Blvd., Toledo. On Wednesday, the eve of the saint’s day itself, Toraigh an Sonas will hold forth at Logan’s Irish Pub, 414 S. Main St., Findlay. These are the musicians’ regular haunts, as is Stone’s Throw in Bowling Green, where they have played from time to time. St.Patrick’s Day also marks the anniversary of the 1993 debut of the Bowling Green Band Paddy’s Night Out, the forbearer of Toraigh an Sonas. Midden said that after members of that band moved away he and Dennis formed the band Toraigh. Midden, who says he has some Irish blood, took traditional Irish music to heart. It’s not just the lilting melodies and toe-tapping rhythms that captivate him. “It’s more based on a sense of community and bringing people together,” he said. “The tradition isn’t based so much on performance as much as an entertaining yourself. It rose from people entertaining each other based on what they could do.” So when he and Dennis found fewer musicians interested in playing the music, they decided to act. They started teaching others to play. They held “slow sessions” so those who only know a few tunes could get a chance to play with other musicians. Midden said probably 30 or 40 folks have participated in those slow sessions over the last few years. As they get more proficient and comfortable they join in the regular monthly sessions held at Blarney’s, or Dzia’s or Logan’s. As many as 10 musicians can show up to take the stage, sometimes it’s just Midden and Dennis – the construction on I-75 has taken a toll on attendance in Findlay, he said. A session “is as much a social event for the musicians as a performance,” Midden said. He hopes that sense of camaraderie extends to listeners as well. It’s a chance “to get people away from their televisions, get them out interacting with people, exchanging ideas.” Every session is different, Midden said. Each venue has its own ambiance, and who shows up to listen and play all affect the music. People don’t have to be Irish to enjoy the music whether they’re at the bar, or on the stage, Midden said. “You find people all over the world who love this music.”

Music of now intersects with classics in Spektral Quartet concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No matter the venue, the Spektral Quartet can always be found at the intersection of contemporary music and the storied sounds of the string quartet tradition. On Monday at 8 p.m. the Chicago-based string quartet will play a Music at the Forefront Concert, presented by the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music at Bowling Green State University. The concert will be in Bryan Recital Hall on the campus. The quartet, said violinist Clara Lyon, is interested in “creative ways of programming traditional repertoire at the same time as being part of the conversation about what’s next.” In some instances that means they will play a string quartet by Beethoven or another classical master on the same program as a newly minted composition. At Bowling Green, however, Spektral Quartet – Lyon and Austin Wulliman, violins, Doyle Armbrust, viola, and Russell Rolen, cello –is performing two contemporary pieces by Hans Thomalla and Beat Furrer. Both composers, Lyon said, are “heavily influenced by what people would call more traditional classical music, western art music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Both have an encyclopedic knowledge of that musical material, borrow from it occasionally and are very aware of their place in that quartet tradition.” Still the sound worlds they create are strikingly different. Thomalla in his Bagatellen, written for Spektral, creates nine short movements out of material culled from classical string quartets. He borrowed what he considered “unremarkable material,” a bit of a viola part from a Haydn quartet or a second violin line from a Mozart quartet. Lyon said the composer was “reticent” to tell even the members of Spektral where the material came from. Thomalla is also interested in “white noise,” particularly as expressed by the German term “rauschen,” which means “breathy and whispery,” Lyon said. “But it also has a different meaning as intoxicating.” All those meanings fit Bagatellen. The composer has the string players produce this white noise with a variety of techniques, changing the bow speed and bow pressure “to create different colors and different frequencies.” As the nine movements – “quick short little things” – start to play out “those musical materials will be much more present. Your ear will be able to identify them as something familiar. Over the course of that he fades out that material. You will hear glimpses of it but it will become more abstract, very fragile.” Lyon said the second piece on the program, Beat Furrer’s String Quartet No.3 is “a monumental work.” The single movement is 52 minutes long with no break. The members of the quartet felt it fit well with Thomalla’s Bagatellen and will give American audiences a chance to hear a piece little performed here. Furrer is “always trying to find new sounds on string instruments and then cataloguing them. … He has this library of sounds that he puts in different combinations like a patchwork quilt. It’s almost like he’s trying to create every possibility of these juxtapositions of sounds,” Lyons said. “It can be an overwhelming undertaking as a performer and listener,” she said. It calls for a different way of listening. “As a listener you are not really living in or participating in it as you are in a Beethoven quartet. As a listener you’re more observing and experiencing…

BG High welcomes area bands for adjudicated event this weekend

About 1,800 musicians from around Northwest Ohio will gather Friday and Saturday at Bowling Green High School to test their mettle in the Ohio Music Education Association’s band contest. So in addition to making sure they’re all tuned up and ready to perform their best, band director Bruce Corrigan, colleague Jeremy Sison and their charges as well as their parents, will also be on duty playing host to their counterparts from 34 bands in a six county area. It’s a big job, Corrigan said. Each band has to have a home room assigned. And then six spaces have to be set up to accommodate full bands – two rooms for warm up, two rooms for sight reading, and two spaces for performance. All those spaces must be fitted out with music stands, percussion instruments, and chairs. The high school borrowed music stands and percussion equipment from the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts, which is conveniently on break this week. Corrigan said other area band directors offered to help, but he said he didn’t want to inconvenience them when they were preparing for the event. The host band, Corrigan said, is responsible for handling all the paperwork involving the bands and adjudicators. Arrangements for hotel rooms for those judges must also be made. And then there’s all that traffic to direct. All this and more takes an army of volunteers, both adults and students. It’s been about 25 years, he said, since Bowling Green has hosted the Large Ensemble Adjudicated Event. For most of that time, Sylvania Southview has been the host. Corrigan said the school’s new Performing Arts Center prompted his decision to open Bowling Green’s doors up to the bands. “We have this wonderful facility, this beautiful performing arts stage. … It screamed, ‘let’s host this!’” He noted that the acoustical design for the Performing Arts Center was done by the company that did the work on Carnegie Hall. The event will get underway on that stage Friday at 4:30 p.m. when the Concert Band, conducted by Sison, will perform. The second performance stage will be set up in the high school gym. The Rossford band will open up that stage at 4:30 p.m. Friday performances go late into the night with the final bands taking the stage after 10 p.m. Corrigan will conduct the BG Symphonic Band on the PAC stage at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Performances continue through noon on Saturday. Based on the difficulty of music, bands are ranked from Class AA, most difficult, to Class D, the least. BG’s Symphonic Band is Class A, while the Concert Band is C. Those receiving a superior rating have the option of going on to the state event, but the timing often precludes BG and other bands from participating. Each band also does a sight reading session where they play music they’ve never seen before. Those sessions will be held in the high school and junior high school band rooms. The event is important to band directors and students alike, Corrigan said. “It is our assessment. It evaluates our performance skills, and it evaluates our sight reading skills. Both are very important. … The bottomline is it makes me step up my teaching, and the students step up to play at a higher level of musicianship….

BGSU School of Art sees new role for itself

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The School of Art at Bowling Green State University is changing by degrees. Last week the faculty senate gave unanimous approval to a change in the school’s core degree, the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Until now students have received their BFA in either two-dimensional art – drawing, painting, photography and printmaking – or three-dimensional art – sculpture, glass and ceramics. If approved by the university’s Board of Trustees later this spring, the school will offer just one BFA, regardless of discipline. That is just one change of several that marks a shift in philosophy in the school, said interim director Charles Kanwischer. “This is a big step for the school.” “We are a collection of disciplines. … We’ve been pretty good about maintaining the autonomy of those disciplines and giving students and faculty a lot of independence within them.” But forces are pushing them together, he said. For one, the media are blending together. Kai Lee Liu, the student who won best of show honors at the recent Undergraduate Exhibit, won the top prize with an installation that employed video with glass sculptures. Another of her pieces, which was also honored, was a sculpture made of ceramics that included a recording of the artist reading a poem. The disciplines “are bleeding together,” Kanwischer said. Enrollment in the traditional disciplines is declining, a trend seen nationwide. At the same time more students were enrolling to study digital art and graphic design. The changes do not affect the BFA in Graphic Design nor BFA in Digital Arts. The enrollment in the school is actually up. The change in degrees will give students greater flexibility as well as a more early exposure to the traditional disciplines. In the past, depending on what track students followed, they took introductory courses in three of four disciplines, now they will take introductory courses in five of the eight traditional disciplines – painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, metals and jewelry, glass and ceramics. “We’re giving students more choice across those disciplines,” he said. The change also increases the number of credits in art courses to get a BFA from 73 to 75. That brings in school in line with accreditation requirements. The change in the BFA, though, is just one. The changes in studio art requirements applies to those who receive a BFA in Art Education. They also received either a 2-D or 3-D degree, depending on their studio work. Those degrees are merging. Barbara Bergstrom, who chairs the art education division, said the changes also will allow art education majors to concentrate in digital art and graphic design. Also, the school is instituting three new art minors: art education, digital art, and photography. Bergstrom said that the art education minor is open to students outside the School of Art. While open to all majors, to date most of the response has come from the College of Education and Human Development, particularly early education majors. She sees the new minor as useful for those interested in community art education, working with the elderly or in nursing home settings or for arts commissions. She hopes the minor will lead to a BA in art education. This would also be for those in community art education, who want art training but don’t need to…

Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head take up residence at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mr. Potato Head has had a storied career. The pop culture icon has been a beloved toy, a movie star, a “Spokes-spud” for physical fitness and the Great American Smokeout. He’s encouraged consumers to buy Burger King fries and citizens to vote. Now, Mr. Potato Head and his wife, Mrs. Potato Head, have become Bowling Green State University Falcons. Thanks to a donation by Matthew Wilson, of Michigan, a collection Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys have taken up residence in the Popular Culture Library on campus. In February, Nancy Down, head of the Popular Culture Library, and Alissa Butler, a doctoral student in American Culture Studies, gave a talk at the Women’s Center on campus to discuss the history of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head and their roles in popular culture. Mr. Potato Head was born, the brainchild of inventor George Lerner, fully formed with bushy mustache in 1952. “Mr. Potato Head is the best friend a boy or girl could have,” the original ads promised, Down said. Mr. Potato Head was the first toy advertised on television. His wife arrived a year later followed by offspring, Spud and Yam. At first they were sold as disembodied features, noses, eyes, mustaches, hair, and shoes. Kids had to supply their own potatoes or other vegetable of their choice. The plastic body was introduced in 1964. The spud couple were epitomes of 1950s consumer culture. They had two cars – his with a boat trailer, hers with a shopping cart. They had a boat and a plane. They even had a train. “How many couples in the ‘50s had their own locomotive?” Down wondered. They stuck to the established gender roles. Mrs. Potato Head was her husband’s dutiful helpmate. She had her ever present purse, and fancy hat. He had a jack hammer, she had a feather duster. Though the accessories and detachable parts were interchangeable, the packaging was color coded to make clear which gender the toys were intended for, Down said. Only Mr. Potato Head was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2000, the third class of inductees. Given her character, though, his wife surely would have been proud of him, but would have cautioned him not to let it go to his head. By then the Potato Heads had emerged from the toy chest. He ditched his pipe for the Great American Smokeout. Urged people not to be couch potatoes for the Presidential Council for Physical Fitness and promoted the importance of voting to kids in a campaign sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Wal-Mart. He also appeared in political ads in the 1988 campaign after vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle famously misspelled “potato.” The Potato Heads landed a television show, but their most famous screen time came in the “Toy Story” movies. Mr. Potato Head, voiced by Don Rickles, played a major role in the first movie. He was, explained Butler, a fully formed, if static character. He was the “surly, sarcastic” member of the gang in Andy’s room (and the only licensed product), quick with a cutting remark, and always expecting the worst. Butler said that while not completely free of problems, the Pixar movies had a more enlightened view of gender roles than typical of…

BGSU Lively Arts Calendar, March 2-16

Thursday —The Visiting Writer Series features BGSU graduate and award-winning writer George Looney, author of “Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh,” “The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels,” “Open Between Us” and “Structures the Wind Sings Through.” The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Thursday —College of Musical Arts students in the New Music Ensemble will perform as part of the Small Ensemble series. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 14—TheMusic at the Forefront Series presents the award-winning Spektral Quartet. The string quartet will perform in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center at 8 p.m. Free March 15—As a part of Jazz Week, student vocal jazz groups will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free March 15—Tuesdays at the Gish continues with “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Cholodenko’s film focuses on the challenges of the married suburban life of a lesbian couple and their children’s search for the identity of their biological father. This is a touching and realistic film that shows how relationships change over time and how they can often surprise us. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Free March 16—Jazz week continues with a performance by the BGSU College of Musical Arts Jazz faculty. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free