Music

Former students to gather to honor legacy of late BGSU band director Mark Kelly

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION They called him “The Chief,” and at 10:30 a.m. June 23, 101 of his former students will play at Bowling Green State University’s Kobacker Hall in his memory. Mark Kelly, who directed the BGSU bands from 1966 to 1994, died in November 2017 at the age of 91. The BGSU College of Musical Arts will host the memorial service Saturday. His daughter, Karen Kelly, brought together dozens of alumni and former students of her father to perform together as a band at the service. Capt. Ryan Nowlin, assistant director of the “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, will conduct the band during its performance. Karen Kelly ’75, ’82 is touched that so many alumni are coming back to the University to pay their respects to her father. “It speaks to the interest Dad maintained in the life and careers of the students, whether they continued in music, or completely different careers, away from music,” said Kelly, who was the band director at Van Wert (Ohio) High School for 34 years. “Outside of music, the careers included Air Force pilots, business entrepreneurs and scientists. His leadership was not music education specific.” Before Mark Kelly came to BGSU, he taught high school band at his alma mater in Centerville, Iowa, for several years. Three of his students from that time period will play in the memorial concert. Others are traveling from Washington D.C., Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire and Texas. Alumni performing Saturday include Lisa Welling Baker ’84, flute, a retired Shelby (Ohio) High School band director whose daughter is a twirler with the Falcon Marching Band; George Edge ’79, oboe, retired Grove City (Ohio) band director; Roger Kantner ’88, bassoon retired member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band; Patty Ruckman ’90, clarinet, New Bremen (Ohio) choirs; Stan George ’80, alto sax, Perrysburg (Ohio) Schools; Ray Novak ’83, trumpet, retired (Toledo) Whitmer High School band director; Amy Horn ’89, French horn, retired member of “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band; Dale Laukhuf ’67, trombone, retired Bath (Ohio) Local Schools; and Jeff Macomber ’75, euphonium, Missouri State Southern University. “To say that Mark Kelly made a meaningful contribution to BGSU as director of bands is an understatement,” said William B. Mathis, College of Musical Arts dean. “His influence and legacy is felt in the College of Musical Arts every day as students rehearse in Kelly Hall, through the Mark S. Kelly Band Scholarship and through lives and careers of the hundreds of students that he taught and mentored. “Anyone who knew Mr. Kelly knows of his caring personality, high standards and incredible passion for bands, music education and, most of all, students.” Kelly also will play bass clarinet with the band as it performs some of her father’s favorite songs. “It reflects the mutual…

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Solungga Liu performs musical treasures at Mother’s Day recital at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Solungga Liu remembers the day well. A hot, rainy afternoon in her native Taiwan, and she was bored. So she randomly pulled a score from the shelf in her studio. It was the music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. She did not know his work much beyond his piece “The White Peacock.” She sat at her piano and began to sight-read through the music. She played through the entire book. “Right at that moment I couldn’t stop,” she remembers. “I fell in love with his works.” That passion for the music of Griffes, whose work sits at the intersection of Romanticism and Impressionism, will be on display Sunday at 3 p.m. when Liu performs a Great Performances recital in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Great Gallery. The program will include Griffes’ transcription of “Les Parfums de la nuit,” the second movement of Ravel’s orchestral piece “Iberia,” a piece she premiered after its discovery. Music by Cesar Franck and Amy Beach, another little appreciated American composer, will also be on the program. Two years after Liu’s discovery of Griffes’ music, she recorded “The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan: The Piano Works of Charles Tomlinson Griffes” on Centaur Records. By that time Liu had joined the faculty of the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. The Toledo concert will be similar to the one she presented last November at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. It was there that the Debussy transcription had been discovered. Liu said that Griffes, who was born in Elmira, NY, had studied for four years in Berlin. He heard an early performance of Debussy’s “Iberia.” He was so taken with the piece, that he faithfully transcribed its intricacies for solo piano. Back in the United States he taught music at the high school in Tarrytown, NY, a job he hated. But it did give him access to New York City. He traveled to the offices of the publisher G. Schirmer, and played his transcription for two people there. That was, Liu said, the only public performance of the work. Copyright issues seemed to have scuttled hopes for publication, and the manuscript disappeared. Griffes seemed on the verge of a professional breakthrough when he died at 35. Griffes scholars, Liu said, assumed the manuscript was lost. Then in 2016 it turned up in the vast archives of the Library of Congress. Excited by the discovery, officials approached Liu to perform it. The program is filled out with Beach pieces, more Griffes, and Franck’s monumental “Prelude, Chorale and Fugue.” Like the other pieces on the program the Library of Congress holds the manuscripts. “The big purpose to give the concert was really to promote the manuscript collection,” Liu said. “When they asked me to premiere this piece, I couldn’t sleep for…


Indigo Girls to perform with Toledo Symphony, June 1

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Grammy award-winning Indigo Girls—iconic duo Amy Ray and Emily Saliers—will come to Toledo on June 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. for a one-night-only Spotlight Event at the Stranahan Theater to perform some of their greatest hits including “Closer to Fine,” “Power of Two,” and “Galile” —all with full orchestra in a new sonic experience. Sara Jobin will lead the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for her final performance as Resident Conductor in this program of folk and symphonic music. Three decades after releasing their first album and countless U.S. and international tours later, the Indigo Girls continue to make waves on the music scene. They remain the only duo with top 40 titles on the Billboard 200 each decade since the 1980s. In 2012, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray began collaborating with orchestrators to create larger-than-life arrangements that combine the original instrumentation with a full orchestra of musicians, fusing together folk, rock, pop, and symphonic music into one. They have performed with more than 50 symphonies across America to date and will perform with the Toledo Symphony for the very first time in June. “The Indigo Girls have achieved a new and raw experience all over again without sacrificing any of the emotional qualities that defined their music over the years,” said Felecia Kanney, Director of Marketing for the Toledo Symphony. “It’s incredible. Together, they totally unleash the full power of symphony orchestra, performing with our musicians as opposed to in front them, and you will definitely hear that in their arrangements that are more akin to the music of John Williams’ film scores as opposed to music of Bach or Haydn.” “When I hear the symphony come in, it’s a convergence of a lot of feelings,” says Emily Saliers, according to the Indigo Girls website biography (indigogirls.com). “First, you can’t believe your good fortune that it’s really happening, and then you’re hit with the power of this enormous, full orchestra coming from behind you. Even when we play by ourselves now, I can’t perform these songs without hearing the orchestra in my head.” Indigo Girls will take place Friday, June 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Stranahan Theater. Tickets are available at toledosymphony.com or by calling the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 419-246-8000.


Bernard Woma

From Rebecca Skinner Green It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that Bernard Woma, long-time friend of BGSU, passed away on Friday (April 27) in Kentucky. Many of you know Bernard and/or attended or participated in his performances, workshops, and guest performances. His troupe Saakumu had already left for Ghana, and he had intended to follow mid-May. However, his battle with cancer was simply too much for him. He was a consummate performer, and performed non-stop until only a couple of days before he passed away, including having performed here at BGSU just two weeks prior. (Click for story.)On stage he was energized and empowered, by the music, the dance, the performance, the audience. He truly loved what he did and it lifted him up, and as it did everyone around him. He touched the lives of an incredible number of people, in Ghana, across the US, and beyond. As Master Musician for the country of Ghana, who toured with the National Dance company of Ghana, Bernard was a talented musician, educator, performer, who was hard working and full of life — an ambassador for Ghana, its music and dance, and its culture. He founded the Dagara Music Center in 2000, in consultation with BGSU professors Steven Cornelius and Rebecca L. Green, with BGSU students being the first set of students to stay at the center after it was built. BGSU has either taken students to Bernard’s center in Ghana or invited Bernard to our campus 16 times in the last 18 years–the connections run deep. Sections of the interior walls of the DMC have been painted by various groups who have come to study there. BGSU’s painting, done by Gordon Ricketts, figures prominently. Cornelius, Green, and Ricketts have taken and/or sent students from BGSU and beyond to the DMC nine times since 2000, studying xylophone, drum, flute, and dance, as well as batik, weaving, blacksmithing, painting, pottery, and drum-making. The experiences there were life-changing. Because not everyone could travel to Ghana, Woma toured the United States every year, first by himself and later with Saakumu, bringing their exuberant music and dance to audiences big and small, young and old. They entertained and informed at concert halls, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, libraries, and more. All the while, Woma earned a BA in International Studies (with minors in History and Arts Administration) from the State University of New York at Fredonia (2008), and two MA degrees in African Studies and Folklore & Ethnomusicology at Indiana University (2012 and 2015). He gave 110% all the time, whether it be a performance for a packed house at Carnegie Hall with Yo Yo Ma, playing in conjunction with Maya Angelou, performing for Queen Elizabeth II or Nelson Mandela, welcoming President Clinton to Ghana, giving private lessons to President Obama’s children…


Rock show at Alehouse to benefit The Cocoon

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Debbie De Steno never met Cat Lambert face to face. They were Facebook friends who shared an interest in the local music scene. Then Cat was off social media, and Steno learned just a few days after they’d last been in contact that Lambert had been beaten to death by her husband. De Steno and others on the music scene wanted to do something. So De Steno pulled a benefit together at the Alehouse in the Woodland Mall. Music Against Domestic Violence was born with the proceeds going to help Lambert’s family. De Steno decided to make the benefit an annual affair.  So this Saturday (April 21) the fourth benefit will be held at the Alehouse from noon to midnight. The proceeds now benefit The Cocoon Shelter. The benefit is also to raise awareness about domestic violence, an issue people hesitate to talk about. For De Steno seeing the movie “The Burning Bed” was her first exposure to the physical and emotional realities of domestic abuse. The benefit will include a raffle and 50/50 drawing   with kids karaoke from noon to 2 p.m. The kids will turn the mic over to a lineup of local bands. Starting with Bliss at 2, each band will play about a 90-minute set. Other bands in order of appearance will be: Blue Ticks; 16-year-old guitar phenom Brad Tober and the Outsiders; BG high rockers Mindless Matters; Midnight Moses; and closers, AmpWagon. The first year De Steno played with the band Second Wynd, but she finds it too much to run the show and also be part of it. Still her love of music is at the heart of the event. As a kid growing up in New Jersey she picked up the guitar her older sister abandoned. She dreamed of being the next Pat Benatar. She’s been playing music ever since. Just picking up her guitar and picking a few notes helps her recharge. Music takes you away from everyday troubles, she said. “It gives you hope.” And that’s why it so fitting as a way to raise money so “The Cocoon can get resources to help people.”  


BGSU Arts Events through April 29

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At  the galleries  — The School of Art will host its second MFA Thesis Exhibition April 21-29 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center. The opening reception is at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20. Exhibitors include Fernanda Ruocco, Jacob Nolt and Ericsson De La Paz Lugo. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. All exhibitions are free and open to the public. The galleries are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the upper level of the Wankelman Gallery. For more information, visit bgsu.edu/art. April 19 — The International Film Series presents “Dear Pyongyang” (2005, Japan/South Korea, 107 minutes, directed by Yang Hong-Hi), with an introduction by Dr. Ryoko Okamura from the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Filmed in both Osaka, Japan, and Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2004, this deeply moving and intimate documentary features Zainichi (North) Korean immigrants living in Japan and their complex allegiances to family, host country, and their “fatherland.” A daughter interviews her parents as they return to Pyongyang to celebrate her father’s 70th birthday with her brothers. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 19-22 — The BGSU Theatre Department presents “The Threepenny Opera,” Bertolt Brecht’s “play with music.” Brecht turned John Gay’s 18th century “The Beggar’s Opera” into a biting commentary on the bourgeoisie and modern morality. Set in Victorian London, this tale of the outlaw Mack the Knife offers a socialist critique of a capitalist world. Advance tickets are $5 for BGSU students and $15 for other adults; all tickets the day of the concert are $20. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at 419-372-8171. The show opens at 8 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Additional performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 20 and 21, and 2 p.m. on April 21 and 22. See review. April 20 — The International Film Series presents “La Pirogue (The Dugout)” (2012, Senegal, 87 minutes, directed by Moussa Touré), with an introduction by Dr. Beatrice Guenther, International Studies program director. In this film, a group of African men leave Senegal in a pirogue captained by a local fisherman to undertake the treacherous crossing of the Atlantic to Spain where they believe better lives and prospects are waiting for them. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theatre, located in Hanna Hall. Free April 20 — The Concert Band and University Band will give a performance. Advance tickets are $7 for students and $10 for other adults; tickets the day of the concert are, respectively, $10 and $13. Tickets can also be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts. For more information, call the box office between noon and 5 p.m. weekdays at…


Bawdy “Threepenny Opera” takes the low & highly entertaining road

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shakespeare for Dummies teaches that certain comic and bawdy bits in the Bard’s plays were written to appeal to the groundlings crowded at edge of the stage. “The Threepenny Opera,” though bearing an elite pedigree as the brainchild of theatrical provocateur Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, is written through and through for the groundlings. This is bawdy, often crude by design, in-your-face entertainment meant to please those in the cheap seats. All of Bowling Green State University’s Donnell Theatre becomes the cheap sections when the Department of Theatre and Film presents “Threepenny Opera” opening tonight (April 19) and continuing through Sunday, April 22.  Shows are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8p.m., with matinees Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m. Visit for details  bgsu.edu/arts. Jonathan Chambers, directing Michael Feingold’s translation of Elisabeth Hauptmann’s script, doesn’t stint on the raw humor of the piece. Yes, “Threepenny” has complex political and aesthetic underpinnings, but the flashing of women’s underwear and even one actor’s bare butt take precedence. “Threepenny Opera” was conceived a satirical criticism of capitalism and the middle class. The milieu of the show is the underworld, but it’s all the underworld in the opera’s view.  After the ensemble led by Jenny Driver (Erica Harmon) introduces us to the opera’s antihero, Macheath (Kris Krotzer)  with the tune, “Mack the Knife,”, we meet  J.J. Peachum (Noah Froelich) who runs the beggars’  racket around London. If you want to beg you have to pay him a fee and share your earnings. One down-on-his-luck sucker finds this out when he is beaten by Peachum’s operatives. Peachum tells him he should be glad he could still walk. In “Peachum’s Morning Hymn,” Peachum laments that begging requires constant innovation. Human pity has a short shelve life. Even the four or five useful verses from the New Testament lose their appeal. He and his wife the grasping, conniving Mrs. Peachum (Kelly Dunn) have other concerns – their daughter Polly (Anna Parchem) has been cavorting with the thug Macheath, a Victorian Tony Soprano. To them their daughter is yet another commodity. But as Polly explains in “Barbara’s Song” she’s likely to go only so far with a respectable suitor, but will drop her panties for a poor, disreputable man. Her father, though, is intent on having Macheath arrested. The problem is the chief of police Tiger Brown (Jabri Johnson) is an old Army buddy of Macheath’s. They celebrate in “Soldier’s Song,” a caustic look at the military. Here as elsewhere the production plays up a homoerotic undertone. Johnson’s Brown watches out for Macheath, not just out of Army buddy loyalty. As much as Macheath pledges to be faithful to Polly, he’s a wandering dog and that leads to his downfall. He leaves a trail of jealousy in his wake especially between Jenny…