Music

Library sets holiday hours; Ukulele Club meets, Dec. 18

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY WCDPL (Bowling Green and Walbridge libraries and the Bookmobile) will be closed in observance of Christmas from Friday, December 23 through Monday December 26. Regular hours resume on Tuesday, December 27. The library will also be closed system-wide to observe the New Year’s holiday on Sunday, January 1 and Monday, January 2, 2017. Regular hours resume Tuesday, January 3. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Sunday, December 18 at 3 pm: Calling all ukulele enthusiasts looking for a friendly and helpful group to play ukulele with. Look no further–to participate in our Ukulele Club’s jam session, all you need is a ukulele and sense of adventure. Song books and music provided at the jam. RSVP appreciated (419-352-5050), but not required. 1st Floor Meeting Room. For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5104.


BGSU students musical mastery on display in 50th Competition in Musical performance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When musicians stepped onto the stage of Kobacker Hall late last week to perform in the annual Competition in Musical Performance, there was not much of an audience. A panel of five judges from outside BGSU sat in the center of the hall. Maybe a few more people, friends and fellow musicians, sat toward the back. The stage was starkly lit, and the only company performers had on stage was an accompanist and maybe a page turner for the accompanist. The performers themselves had no pages to turn, no sheets of music to hide behind. They and their practicing over the past few months stood exposed. Every year for the last 50 years, Bowling Green State University undergraduate and graduate students have stepped forward to exhibit their musical mastery. This year 69 student musicians competed for four awards, two each for undergraduate and graduate. They performed Wednesday through Friday with eight finalists returning on Saturday. “This is definitely the ultimate test of everything they need to achieve artistically,” said Nermis Mieses, BGSU professor of oboe who coordinated this year’s event. Each undergraduate performer must play up to 15 minutes of music for their instrument or voice and band or orchestra.  Each graduate student can play up to 20 minutes. The music must be memorized. The competition is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists. This tests the student’s discipline and artistry, as well as “how they handle themselves when they are performing,” Mieses said. Saxophonist Piyaphon Asawakarnjanakit said the most important thing about a competition is it forces the musician “to work more and more.” The first-year graduate student from Thailand said he knew he would participate as soon as he heard about the competition. After his Thursday afternoon performance he conceded he made a few mistakes, still “I’m happy to play my music.” Flutist Aldulfulyne Padmore, another first-year graduate student, came away happy with her performance. “I think I did very well,” she said. “It’s the best I’ve played the piece.” She said she decided to play the concerto by Otar Gordelli because she had studied it before.  She knew she wanted to participate in the competition as a way of adjusting to the greater demands of graduate study. Using a familiar piece allowed her to focus on the nuances and musicality more than just the notes. And Padmore likes the concerto because it alternates between “schmaltzy” passages and jazzy passages that sound like Gershwin. Her teacher Conor Nelson interjected that Padmore achieved such a high level of performance while working 27 hours a week for food service at the university. Nelson said the competition is “an incredible opportunity for students to have feedback from outside judges.” He said “it forces you to prepare in all sorts of new ways and potentially can lead…


Weekend shows celebrate Howard’s Club H musical legend

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Steve Feehan and Tony Zmarzly bought Howard’s Club H earlier this year, it was with the intent of reviving the venerable night spot as a top local music venue. The fruits of those ambitions will be evident this weekend. Blues rocker Michael Katon, who played the club regularly from 1982 through the early 2000s, will return for a show Friday. Then on Saturday at 10 p.m. a crew from WBGU-TV will be on hand to tape a triple bill of younger acts – Tree No Leaves, Indian Opinion and Shell. “Howard’s has always been a music venue, a place to hear live music with a bar to go with it,” Feehan said. “We want to foster a community as much as we can. That’s what’ needed in this day and age.” And that’s what Howard’s was in its heyday. The bar traces its genesis to 1928 when Fred Howard opened a candy shop where the Wood County Library now sits. Legend has it, Feehan said, that the candy store also fronted a speakeasy that was popular with college football players. When Prohibition ended, Howard’s became a bar. The details of that and other stories are hard to pin down, he said. That’s part of the fun. “After we took ownership, then we realized what we had,” Feehan said. People would walk through the door, and share lore of the club, which moved across the street in the early 1970s. “We almost felt more like curators than owners.” Both Zmarzly and Feehan experienced that history as teenagers playing in bands at Howard’s. Feehan played piano with the Madhatters and Zmarzly is still active as a drummer and guitarist in AmpWagon. Feehan remembers crossing paths with Katon back in the 1980s. After a hiatus of more than 10 years, Katon returned to the club during this year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. He played a late night Saturday show at the club before closing the festival on the Main Stage. He was glad to be back, Katon said, in a telephone interview. Howard’s was packed just as it was in the old days. Katon, who tours extensively in Europe, said he’s played clubs in England that hosted Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Black Sabbath, and The Animals. Those clubs had a well-worn, lived in feel. “Same with Howard’s,” he said. The BG club is one of his favorite places to play. He even said he’d buy it and play there all the time, before reflecting on just how hard it is to run a club. “I hope some of the kids coming in appreciate something funky and lowdown. …The funkier the better in my book,” he said. That’s true of his high-powered blues rock sound as well. Howard’s is similar to the clubs where he first heard…


Everyone gets into the act at Arts X

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Arts X a surprise awaits the visitor around every corner. An actress in a shimmering gown and dramatic blond wig, steps forward to sing “Let It Go.” One of the Living Statues in the lobby of the Wolfe Center, she’s been waiting her turn as other characters have stepped forward to offer a song or monologue. Look up and there’s a pair of eyes projected overhead. Big Sister is watching. As the audience settles for a performance in the Donnell Theatre, someone says she has just posed for a Vogue cover. Two comedians come careening down the hall on the second floor of the Wolfe Center, making a harried entrance into the Heskett dance studio. Do you know there’s an art exhibit, they exclaim. It’s part of the act; we’re all part of the act. There’s always something to see and hear and do at Arts X, and that means there’s always something to miss. There’s always someone new to meet, or an old friend to greet. With the end of the semester looming, and finals and holiday festivities just ahead, artists, performers, writers and their fans took time out to celebrate. Arts X drew hundreds to the Bowling Green State University School of Art and the Wolfe Center Saturday night. The annual event is part art fair, part music and theater festival, part holiday party. Arts X organizers have been tweaking its presentation since the start. This year the Bowling Green Philharmonia offered a prelude of holiday music in the Donnell before the hubbub officially ensued. The theme “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights” tied in with the featured guest artists Violet and Fortuna, storytelling acrobats. They performed two shows in the Donnell, sections from their work-in-progress, “Laces.” The piece combined a disembodied voice emerging from the dark to set the scene, a house in Toledo’s Old West End. The scenes introduced the audience to the home’s inhabitants. There was a very tall man, the original owner. There were stuffed toys left behind in a trunk. There was a lesbian couple who made the property bloom with plants and company. These stories were played out with circus arts – aerial work, acrobatics, clowning, tightrope walking. In the most dramatic instances the duo of Erin Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston hung high above the Donnell stage, muscles taut, twisting in light and shadow. Auxwerks, a dance company from Ann Arbor, swept through – literally in one scene – offering impressionistic transitions between the scenes. Pop Culture Professor Montana Miller added a few high flying stories of her own about her girlhood when she felt miscast as a human. She wanted to fly, and she pursued that, always falling just shy of realizing her dream. She took to the air in the Donnell using aerial acrobatics to…


BG Area Community Band has plenty to celebrate

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Area Community Band has an added reason to be in a celebratory mood this holiday season. The band is marking its 10th year. It was about 10 years ago that several area musicians, including then Bowling Green High band director Thom Headley and Nick Ezzone, a retired educator and conductor of the North Coast Concert Band, started meeting to discuss the formation of a community band. The ensemble was launched early the next year. So the theme Rejoice! is doubly appropriate for the band’s upcoming concert. The Bowling Green Area Community Band and the BiG Band will perform a free concert Sunday, Dec.11, at 4 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The concert will be conducted by Catherine Lewis, the band’s assistant director. She joined five years ago, recruited by Headley, who now directs the band. The program took shape when she found an arrangement of the 16th century hymn “Gaudete,” which means rejoice. In selecting repertoire, she said, “I’m always trying to find something that pushes everyone in the group.” On this concert it is “The Eighth Candle,” a fantasy on Hanukkah themes by Steve Reisteter. After what Lewis called “a very prayerful” opening for the woodwinds, the piece shifts into a vigorous rhythmic section that has the band negotiating through different musical meters. Headley, who was conducting a recent rehearsal, was intent on making sure the band brought out all the harmonic and rhythmic subtleties of the piece. Lewis said that’s important. Playing challenging music makes the band experience more fun for the members and lifts the musicianship of the entire band.  And that translates into deeper playing on everything the band plays. Also on the program will be arrangements of traditional fare including “Carol of the Bells,” “Greensleeves,” “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High” featuring hand bells and popular Christmas songs from the 1950s. The band will play music from the movie “The Polar Express” and conclude with Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival.” The membership of the band has a range of skills. The ensemble has more than a dozen current or former band directors in its ranks. That includes Lewis who said she was glad to get a chance to pick up her bassoon again when she joined five years ago. Others are avocational musicians, many who hadn’t played their instruments much or at all since they were students. Diane Rausch Huffman, a lawyer by day and flutist with the community band, said between the time she was first chair flutist in the Napoleon High School Band, and when she joined the community band about eight years ago, the only time she’d get her flute out was around Christmas to play with family members. “The first year was pretty much work in progress,” she said. “You…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar through Dec. 9

Dec. 1—The International Film Series concludes with the 1977 film “Neokanchennaia P’esa Dlia Mekhanicheskogo Pianino (An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano),” directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. From Russia’s most well-known contemporary filmmaker, an intriguing story of former lovers who meet at a pre-revolutionary country estate. Casual conversations on social issues and the music of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Donizetti supply background to a Chekhovian treatment of returning past love. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Dec. 1—Creative writing students in the bachelor of fine arts program will present their work. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Dec. 1—World Percussion Night features multiple styles including performances by the Taiko, Afro-Caribbean and Gamelan ensembles. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Dec. 3— BG Philharmonia will perform a Holiday Concert to kick off the 12th annual ArtsX events. The performance will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Dec. 3—The 12th annual ArtsX will take place from 5-9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts, including the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries, where student and faculty artists and performers show off their talents to the community. The evening includes works from the College of Musical Arts, the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, the Creative Writing Program, the Dance Program, and numerous other organizations, along with holiday shopping. Free Dec. 3—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition opening reception will be held from 5-9 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries located in the Fine Arts Center as part of ArtsX events. Free Dec. 4-14—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Dec. 4— The University Choral Society performs Handel’s “Messiah” with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in the Peristyle at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St. in Toledo. The performance begins at 2 p.m. Call the Toledo Symphony Orchestra box office at 419-246-8000  for ticket information. Dec. 5—BGSU’s Wind Symphony will give a chamber concert at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Dec. 4-14—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center….


Arts X reaching for new heights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Erin Garber-Pearson has performed several times at Arts X at Bowling Green State University. The former teacher in the School of Art feels right at home at the festival that brings all the arts on campus together. Her own work blends sculpture, video, storytelling and aerial acrobatics. That’s a perfect fit for Arts X with its mélange of art sales, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, all colored by a certain level of tom foolery. When Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston perform at Arts X as Violet and Fortuna on Saturday, Dec.3, the acrobatic storytellers will take the work to new heights. The work-in-progress “Laces” involves two solo and two duet pieces.  The duets require the performers to fly higher. Working as a solo aerialist is challenging enough but working together requires a heightened sense of communication and trust, Garber-Pearson said.  The duo has been working on the duets for three years. Arts X is “a good time to show” what they’ve been working on. The works fits right in to the theme of Arts X 2016:  “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights.” The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is preceded at 4 p.m. by a holiday concert by the Bowling Green Philharmonia in Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Arts X is a free public event. Violet and Fortuna will perform two 20-minute shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre. They will be joined by dancers from Auxwerks in Ann Arbor. Also BGSU faculty member Montana Miller will perform. According to the university, the former circus aerialist “will present a personal narrative of the truth behind the romantic image of flight based on her 25-year career as a professional aerial acrobat, from trapeze artist to high diver and now as a competitive, world record holding skydiver. She also will perform a piece to convey her journey through movement using aerial rings that she used to fly on 20 years ago.” Violet and Fortuna’s “Laces” tells the 100-year-old story of house in Toledo. Given Garber-Pearson’s work can’t fit it into one box, Arts X is ideal venue. “For me, it’s an opportunity to show my work to a diverse audience interested in the arts. I like it that it’s the whole campus… all the arts coming together for one event.” Garber-Pearson’s involvement in circus goes back to her graduate school days. She was introduced to them by her partner. She would create large kinetic sculptures that could be worn and set on fire. Then she learned skills such as fire eating and stilt walking and started performing. She choreographed “a giant sculptural dance and interaction between sculpture and performers” for a Day of the Dead procession. “It was one of the most exciting performances,” she said, because it was…


BGSU Lively Arts through Dec. 5

Nov. 29—Undergraduate and graduate piano students will perform at 7 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Free Nov. 29—Percussion ensembles will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 30—The Early Music Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Dec. 1—The International Film Series concludes with the 1977 film “Neokanchennaia P’esa Dlia Mekhanicheskogo Pianino (An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano),” directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. From Russia’s most well-known contemporary filmmaker, an intriguing story of former lovers who meet at a pre-revolutionary country estate. Casual conversations on social issues and the music of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Donizetti supply background to a Chekhovian treatment of returning past love. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Dec. 1—Creative writing students in the bachelor of fine arts program will present their work. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Dec. 1—World Percussion Night features multiple styles including performances by the Taiko, Afro-Caribbean and Gamelan ensembles. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Dec. 3—Ensembles of the BGSU College of Musical Arts will perform a Holiday Concert as part of the 12th annual ArtsX events. The performance will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Dec. 3—The 12th annual ArtsX will take place from 5-9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts, including the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries, where student and faculty artists and performers show off their talents to the community. The evening includes works from the College of Musical Arts, the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, the Creative Writing Program, the Dance Program, and numerous other organizations, along with holiday shopping. Free Dec. 3—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition opening reception will be held from 5-9 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries located in the Fine Arts Center as part of ArtsX events. Free Dec. 4-14—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition will be on display in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries in the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Dec. 4— The University Choral Society performs Handel’s “Messiah” with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in the Peristyle at the Toledo Museum of Art, 2445…


BGSU pianists tickled to play the ivories in public library atrium

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Concerts in the Wood County Library Atrium can take patrons by surprise. They may be perusing the stacks for a novel to read, or hanging out in the Children’s Place when the strains of Bach or Beethoven come wafting through the stacks. Pianists from Bowling Green State University will present another in a series of piano recitals in the atrium Tuesday, Nov 29, at 7 p.m. The concert is presented by the piano department in the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts and the library and features graduate students. “It’s turned out to be a good collaboration,” said piano faculty member Thomas Rosenkranz, who is coordinating the concert. “It’s great for our students who get to play not just for their peers” but for people from the community in a situation “where people may be walking around.” “It’s not like a concert situation. That’s good. Those kinds of experiences are great.” “It’s like a promenade,” said Mikhail Johnson, a pianist who performed on an earlier library recital. As someone who aspires to a career as a touring performer and composer, it’s necessary, he said, to play for variety of audiences and in a variety of venues. “People in different places react to music differently. It’s nice to experience that first hand.” The people who show up at the library are different than those who would attend a recital at Bryan Recital Hall, he said. And the atrium has a very different sound than other concert halls. “The acoustics in the atrium are very live,” Johnson said. “As a performer that informs the way you perform. You may want to take a fast piece slower because of how bouncy the sound is. That’s very informative … not every space is the same.” Nor, Rosenkranz noted, is every piano. Pianists must learn to adjust to a variety of instruments. Johnson said the atmosphere in these recitals is more relaxed than those on campus. The performers only play one piece, rather than the entire program. Afterward they get to socialize over cookies with audience members. “Many times you don’t get that direct feedback,” he said. “It’s a very nice experience.” Johnson will not be performing on this recital, but he plans to attend. Music students support each other. “There’s a real sense of community” among the students and faculty at BGSU, he said. Rosenkranz said the faculty give a number of students a chance to perform, especially those who may not have had as many opportunities in the past. On the Tuesday program will be music by J.S. Bach, Ludwig Von Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Alexander Scriabin, Alberto Ginestera, and Sergei Prokofiev. Performing will be: Phanuwat Sripramodya, Zhanxiang Zhang and Yongtong Tan, from the studio of Laura Melton; Siyan Tao and Xinran Wang, from…


NCNW hosts Women’s Empowerment Concert

Submitted by NCNW of BGSU The National Council of Negro Women Inc, Bowling Green State University Section, was established Spring of 2008. NCNW serves its national purpose and mission which is to lead, develop, advocate, inform, and unify the African American Women of Bowling Green State University’s campus and its surrounding communities as they support their individual, family, and societal efforts and lifestyles. NCNW implements our mission through bi-weekly meetings, community service, workshops, annual events, awareness and fundraising. NCNW hosts a variety of events to fulfill our organizational purpose and mission. This Saturday we will be hosting our first big event, which is our 8th Annual Women’s Empowerment Concert. This year our theme is “Evolution of a Black Woman: More Than a Stereotype.” Our concert is unique because it consists of students using their special talents to empower woman through rap, dance, song, spoken word, etc. This year we have some hardworking students with very raw power performing. The second portion of the concert is dedicated to a special guest performance. This year, R&B singer Cree and her live band from Detroit, Michigan will visit Bowling Green State University giving us an exclusive and uplifting performance. There will also be food, drinks, interactive games, a live DJ, other women’s organizations and raffle for exclusive art pieces of black women donated from different artists in many different states. Concert will be November 19, 2016 from 6-9PM in Oslcamp 101. Tickets can be purchased in the student union this week from 11-3PM and at the event. Tickets are $3 for students, $5 for non-students, and $1 for NCNW members. To receive a discounted ticket, guest are allowed to bring in a canned good or feminine product to receive $1 off the ticket price. Donations will be given to the Cocoon Shelter in Bowling Green, Ohio. If you have any additional questions regarding the concert, feel free to contact myself or the chair of this event Khadirah Hobbs at khobbs@bgsu.edu.


Sweet things to taste, hear, & read on tap at library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Concerts, a holiday cookie bake-off and tasting, and an author visit help usher in the season at Wood County District Public Library (251 North Main St., Bowling Green). Give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, and stop by the library for these programs. Tuesday, November 29, 7 pm. Students in piano studies at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts return to the WCDPL Atrium for another virtuoso concert. This last concert in the BGSU Fall Concert Series at the library features selections from the work of nine master composers, including that of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms, as well as the work of Alexander Scriabin, Gabriel Fauré, Alberto Ginastera, and Sergei Prokofiev. Sunday, December 4, 2 pm. The Great Holiday Bake-off takes place in the Library Atrium. Bakers and cookie tasters are needed! Tasters are invited to come and sample cookies, then vote on their favorites. To enter the bake-off, bakers are asked to bring 2 dozen cookies and their recipe. Multiple cookie entries are accepted, how ever bakers should a recipe for each type of cookie type. For purposes of determining contest winners, bakers will be divided into 2 categories: 12-years-old and younger and 13-years-old and older. Saturday, December 10, 1 pm. Meet the Author, Tom Lambert. 1st Floor Meeting Room. Imagine acquiring a house guest known to you only as “Earl”. All the evidence before you suggests that Earl in fact may be America’s beloved—albeit long dead–humorist and author, Mark Twain. Who is this person really? That’s the question bedeviling Tom in Living with Earl. Tom Lambert, a life-long resident of Bowling Green comes to WCDPL to talk about his debut novel, Living with Earl. Book signing to follow Mr. Lambert’s talk. These programs are free and open to all.For more information, contact WCDPL at 419-352-5050 and find details at wcdpl.org/calendar.  


Musical friends release new recordings

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A couple recordings with local ties have recently been released. Master guitarist Skip “Little Axe” McDonald has visited Bowling Green on several occasions. Matt Donahue, in the Popular Culture Department at Bowling Green State University, is both a fan and supporter of McDonald and has hosted the guitarist, who grew up in Dayton and now lives in England, for stays in Bowling Green. The most recent visit was to perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. On a couple earlier occasions, McDonald played shows at Grounds for Thought. That’s where this CDm “One Man – One Night”  was recorded back in March, 2015. McDonald’s sound is an amalgam of the various colors of African-American music. At the heart is blues, jazz and gospel. He’s also played hard rock and, as a session player for Sugarhill Records, he backed Grandmaster Flash is the early days of rap. He’s blended this into a smooth mix that delivers pointed messages and hard truths. When he has the audience join him in singing “tear the system down,” he seems prescient to what many are feeling in the wake of the presidential election. And he reminds the listeners that they’ll encounter people they met on the way up again on the way down. All this is backed by guitar mastery so assured it doesn’t call attention to itself. McDonald programs his own bass and drums tracks to provide a steady pulsating groove. The freshness of his guitar lines always imbues the music with a sense of spontaneity. Especially poignant is “My Only Friend” about falling onto the wrong path, and being trapped there. “Sin,” he sings, “is my only friend.” The recording is available at Grounds as well as at Culture Clash Records in Toledo. Another recent release with Bowling Green connections is “Ken Thomson: Restless.” Issued on LP and also available as a digital download, “Restless” features pianist Karl Larson with cellist Ashely Bathgate. Larson was one of the first graduates of the Doctor in Contemporary Music program at Bowling Green State University. Now based in Brooklyn, he returned to town earlier this year with the trio Bearthoven. Thomson has been to Bowling Green as well. He brought his hybrid jazz quartet Fast/Slow to town in 2012. One of the striking characteristics of the title piece for cello and piano is how romantic it is. Bathgate’s cello soars over Larson’s piano. On the third movement they prowl together. “Restless” ends with a lament builds in intensity as harmonic tension grows between the cello and piano. This is salon music reimagined for the 21st century. On the second side, Larson goes it alone as Thomson explores the textures of the piano in “Me Vs.” The first movement has the pianist slamming out chords then setting a quiet, querulous line…


Black Swamp Fine Arts School expands music offerings with ensembles for kids & adults

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Both Sophia Schmitz and Betsy Williams discovered a passion for music at an early age. Schmitz, of Perrysburg, started playing violin at 3, and was gigging when she was 11. “My mom’s an artist and my family is very musical so I was surrounded by that.” Williams, the youngest of six children, grew up in northern Kentucky with a musical mother who had the entire family singing every morning. Schmitz started teaching when she was in high school, but even before that had a goal in mind. “Since I was 12 it’s been my vision to open a studio.” For her part as the youngest of six, Williams got a late start on violin lessons. The cost of lessons was an obstacle. Her mother had taught her piano and the musical basics. “I taught myself several instruments before I settled on violin.” Those experiences and passion have now taken shape in their new endeavors. Schmitz founded the Black Swamp Fine Arts School in January, realizing her dream of opening a studio. Williams teaches violin, viola and cello at the school. Both are graduate students in the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. As a BGSU undergraduate Schmitz had a minor in entrepreneurship, and in one class she had to put together a proposal for a business. When she started figuring out how much it would take to open a music studio, she realized she could make it work.  So last fall she met with lawyers and accountants, and with help pulled together a studio in space at 500 Lehman Ave. in Bowling Green where she could teach violin, piano and dance, as well as offer a space to other professional musicians associated with the university to teach. She’d already been teaching in the area, but finding a space for lessons was always a chore. Students are not allowed to use university facilities. Williams was teaching as well. She’d already been working with orchestra students at the Bowling Green High and Middle schools. Schmitz said most teachers rent space, similar to what stylists do in a salon. Others, including Williams and the two dance teachers, were hired as independent contractors. The school now has 10 teachers and about 100 music and dance students. Now they want to make that joy of music available to more children and adults with a new ensemble program. Williams initiated the project. The idea would be to have three ensembles. One will be a beginning ensemble for children 8 through 14, who may or may not be taking private lessons. The second ensemble would be for children who have been playing for at least a year. The third would be for adults who want to learn to play a string instrument. The classes are scheduled to start Jan….


BGSU Arts Events through Nov. 23

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Through Nov. 21—“The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit purports to be a re-creation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kramner’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Nov. 22—“Criminal Justice?” an exhibit by activist artists Carol Jacobson and Andrea Bowers, investigates the attitudes and biases embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system. Jacobson is an award-winning social documentary artist whose works in video and photography address issues of women’s criminalization and censorship. Bowers’ video “#sweetjane” and drawings explore the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio, rape case and the citizens whose activism resulted in two rape convictions. The drawings reproduce the text messages sent among the teenage witnesses to the assault on an underage young woman. “Criminal Justice?” is on view in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 9—The Faculty Artist Series continues with guitarist Ariel Kasler. Kasler has performed at venues and events as diverse as the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Grand Theater in London, Ontario, the Clore Center for Music and Dance in Israel, New Music from Bowling Green, the NASA regional conference in Urbana-Champaign, the Victorian College of Arts in Australia and Rutman’s Violins in Boston. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 10—The Visiting Writer Series features award-winning author Claire Vaye Watkins. She is the author of “Gold Fame Citrus” and “Battleborn,” which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Her reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Nov. 10—BGSU’s Wind Symphony and Middle School Honor Band will perform at 7 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 11—EAR | EYE: Listening and Looking: Contemporary Music and Art features BGSU doctoral candidates in contemporary music performing in response to works of art. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Toledo…


Mikel Kuehn takes listeners on walk through his musical landscape on new CD

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mikel Kuehn likes to take hikes. Oak Openings is a favorite location. He favors the wilder, natural environment to a more manicured landscape – “the messiness of nature… the entanglement of vines.” “To me, it’s really beautiful,” the composer said. That carries through in his compositions. They have a deceptive tangle of sounds, lines that stretch into the musical undergrowth reaching up, seeking light. As in nature, what may seem a disorder of trees, vines, leaves and their shadows, has an underlying order. In his compositions, Kuehn said, he wants listeners to go on a walk with him and appreciate the unruly beauty of nature. Kuehn, now on the cusp of turning 50, has just released his first CD devoted to his compositions. “Object Shadow” was released by New Focus Recordings in October. The recording features seven compositions, most written between 2004 and 2014. The outlier is the composition that closes the recording, “Between the Lynes,” which dates to 1994. This is the earliest piece in which he explores the textures and techniques evident in the later work. “It’s one of the first I’m happy with,” he said. “The pieces are all virtuosic,” Kuehn, who has taught at Bowling Green State University since 1998, said.  The performers are “all perfect.” The CD opening and closes with performances by Ensemble Dal Niente, a Chicago-based new music group. The opening “Undercurrents” features the entire 14-piece ensemble. The title piece, albeit in French not English, “Objet/Ombre,” features a 12-saxophone ensemble from BGSU with electronics that shadow their sounds. Another leading new music group Flexible Music appears on “Color Fields.” Three solo pieces for cello and electronics, guitar and marimba round out the program. Kuehn said he was able to record the CD thanks to a Guggenheim Foundation grant and an award from the Ohio Arts Council. Without that money, he said, “I never would have been able to do it.” Recording a piece for as many musicians as “Undercurrents” is especially costly, he said. “Undercurrents” was recorded by Dan Nichols in Chicago using 40 microphones. That provided a striking level of detail. When Kuehn traveled to Mount Vernon, just outside New York City, to work with engineer Ryan Streber, he had an array of sonic options. He and Streber, himself a Juilliard-educated composer, worked to realize the truest image of the piece. The mixing amounted to another step in the composition process. Streber was also give the CD as a whole a consistent sonic signature, though it was recorded in several different studios, including by Mark Bunce at BGSU. He was also careful about the order the pieces were presented, just as an artist would be about arranging a show. This, though, Kuehn realizes “people don’t listen in the same way,” seldom taking the time to…