Abby Paskvan delivers with the nation watching

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The day after singing the National Anthem on a national stage, Abby Paskvan was still soaking it all in. The Bowling Green singer delivered the anthem at the opening of Wednesday night’s session of the Republican National Convention. The performance was broadcast on several networks including PBS. She said her rehearsal earlier in the day was also broadcast nationally on Fox News. Paskvan said she was “a little nervous” and as a result it was “not my best performance.” There’s “always room for improvement,” she added. Not that anyone listening could tell. Those who missed it can hear it at: “I really love that song, and it was a cool environment to sing it in,” Paskvan said. “You have to love that song.” And the audience doesn’t matter. Asked by Jerry Anderson of WTOL I she’d sing for the Democratic convention if asked, she said, of course. “It’s so much fun. I’m not thinking about who I’m singing for. I’m just in the moment.” The performance just before 8 p.m. capped what Paskvan, 20, called a “crazy day.” She and her parents, Brian and Becky Paskvan, left Bowling Green at 10 a.m. to go to Cleveland. They arrived, via a backway, without incident and settled into a hotel where they waited for the transportation that would bring them to Quicken Loans Arena where the convention is being held. The level of security was high, she said. They had to pass through three security checkpoints before they even arrived at the gates of the arena. She had her run through and that went “great.” Then it was off for hair and makeup. Afterward she and her family got “to chill” and take in the atmosphere and the speeches. She felt that vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, was the best speaker. “He killed it.” Paskvan said she was confused at first about the negative reaction to Sen Ted Cruz’s speech until someone explained the crowd was angry that he didn’t endorse Donald Trump. She was surprised to hear someone booed. Paskvan said she was overwhelmed by all the greetings and compliments flowing her way over the social media. The Fox video of her performance quickly garnered 20,000 views. The family arrived back in Bowling Green in the early morning hours of Thursday morning, and now she’s slipping back into her normal life. The Bowling Green State University junior has a couple interviews for Wednesday, but otherwise she’s planning a birthday party for a friend. Next week she’ll be back at her summer job at Thrivent Financial in Perrysburg, after the office gave her the week off. Looking further down the road, Paskvan is considering a career in music.  A marketing major, she said she’d normally think twice about an entertainment career but given “all the recognition and support I’ve gotten it makes me think: ‘Could I make this a career?’ More and more, I’m thinking, ‘yes.’” If she did, she sees herself shifting from Southern gospel into more contemporary Christian, which has a fan base closer to her own age. “That’s where I would head.”

Zak Vassar named Toledo Symphony president & CEO

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA TOLEDO — The Toledo Symphony Orchestra announced today that Zak Vassar has accepted the position as the Symphony’s President and CEO with a start date of July 18. Board Chairman Randy Oostra and George Chapman, head of the search committee, led the executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. “Zak has the energy, personality and experience to build an enhanced TSO business model, drive strong development, and promote collaboration throughout the community,” Chapman said. “We look forward to working with Zak as he builds on the tremendous work by Bob Bell and Kathy Carroll in leading the TSO into the future. He will be an innovative leader who will drive our efforts to become the leading regional orchestra in the nation.”Over the last 15 years, Vassar has built an extensive career conducting domestic and international market research for Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial firms alike. “After an extensive search process, we are pleased to have found a local candidate who met our hopes of finding a dynamic leader that will lead TSO into the future,” Oostra said. “Zak brings the TSO an excellent background in business, marketing, and participative management, which coupled with his longstanding passion and commitment to the TSO and local arts prepares him to be an exceptional leader.” “I am thrilled to come to this organization that has meant so much to me for over 20 years,” Vassar said. “I see great potential to build upon the strong history and reputation built by my predecessors and look forward to working with the entire organization.” A graduate of Boston College with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Music History, Vassar credits his summer internships with the Toledo Symphony for inspiring his Thesis, Keeping the Music Playing: Marketing Classical Music in the 21st Century. While a Vice President at Fulcrum Research Group, Vassar was engaged as a consultant for the Toledo Symphony, conducting an online study with Toledo Symphony subscribers, single ticket buyers, donors, and non-donors to make recommendations for patron engagement and TSO programming. This research filled gaps in the marketing strategy and established baselines for existing marketing effectiveness. Most recently, Vassar was senior Vice President at Communica, Inc. There he developed research analytics capabilities to serve Communica’s vast portfolio of for-profit and non-profit clients. Notably, he has adapted his for-profit consulting experience to create new marketing solutions for non-profit organizations. He recently completed a large-scale engagement for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. This work recommended new strategies to optimize patron engagement, attendance, and fund-raising. Since returning to Toledo in 2008, Vassar has continued to advocate for arts and culture in our region. He serves on the board of the Toledo Opera and is an active member of the Toledo Club and Rotary Club of Toledo. Zak and his family live in Old Orchard.

Abby Paskvan booked to sing anthem at GOP convention

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The National Anthem is Abby Paskvan’s favorite song. The 20-year-old singer has been performing “The Star Spangled Banner” since she was 8, when she opened a Bowling Green State University basketball game. On Wednesday, July 20, she’ll have the chance to perform it on her biggest stage yet, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (She is scheduled to sing at 7:45 p.m.) And she’s thrilled. “I’m super excited,” the Bowling Green resident said. She was already considering going to the convention as an observer. She has several friends involved in organizing events in conjunction with the convention, so she was hoping a get tickets. Paskvan said she’s interested in politics and with a national convention nearby “it would be awesome to see it up close.” To be able to sing there is “a once in a lifetime experience.” She expects to take the stage at about 7:45 p.m. She will sing without accompaniment. She assumes she was approached by convention officials because someone heard one of her previous performances, such as her recent appearance at a Cincinnati Reds game. She has sung the anthem at numerous sporting events, including the National Tractor Pulling Championships. “It’s my favorite song to sing,” Paskvan said. “It takes a lot of power.”  That’s a quality she’s had since she first appeared in public as a little girl with an astonishingly large voice. The singer was confident enough that when organizers asked if she wanted rehearsal, she at first deferred. They convinced her to take a trial run in Quicken Loans Arena. Her approach to singing the anthem is to stick to its roots. Sing the melody with no embellishment and “not over sing… not adding your own twist that it’s not supposed to have.” Paskvan is a junior studying marketing at BGSU. More and more, she said, she is considering making music a career.  Her business training, she said, will help her manage that career. She has studied voice for about six years with Tina Bunce. “I would definitely not be where I am without her,” she said. She hopes to fit in a lesson before her convention appearance. The young singer already has a thriving career as a gospel singer. She is a regular at Christmas in the Smokies in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and has also performed at Dollywood, Gatlinburg Gathering, and on a Carnival Cruise to Alaska. Paskvan, the daughter of Brian Paskvan and Rebecca Martin-Paskvan, has five recordings to her name, with a sixth on the way. Those recordings have had steady airplay on Christian radio and have earned her a number of honors.

Teen musician Grant Flick having fun fiddling around the country

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Musician Grant Flick, 17, has gone from being the talk of the town to earning plaudits in national roots music circles. A few years back he was jamming with guitarist Frank Vignola, when the New York-based jazz recording artist, was playing a show at Grounds for Thought. This spring when Vignola brought together his favorite young guitarists for a showcase in Salt Lake City, he made sure Flick and his violin was on the bill as well. Flick, who also plays mandolin and tenor guitar, continues to gig locally with Acoustic Penguin and as a duo with his father, Don Flick. He’s also spreading his wings with his own trio of fellow string prodigies Ethan Setiawan on mandolin and Jacob Warren on bass. The trio, billed as New Branch, with vocalist Sadie Gustafson-Zook, will perform at the Red Wing Roots Festival this summer. Local audiences will get a chance to get a taste of Flick’s trio when the band plays the Black Swamp Arts Festival. That trio will have string wizard Josh Turner on subbing for Setiawan who will be off studying in Valencia, Spain, at the time. For all the whirlwind activity of his career one thing remains constant for Flick: “I still do it for fun. That’s the main reason I do it. I wasn’t going after this as a career; I was going after it because it was fun. And that’s still the reason I do it. I enjoy it.” Flick met Turner, Setiawan and Warren at the American String Symposium, a select gathering of the best roots music strings players under 22, hosted by the Savannah Music Festival. At the event players have time to collaborate and work on original music. The trio, Flick said, plays all their own tunes. Flick has expanded his musical arsenal. He often plays a five-string violin, which extends the range of the fiddle down into the viola register. He also plays the mandolin and, more recently, the tenor guitar. That instrument, like the mandolin, has the same tuning as violin. He recently taught at a national tenor guitar workshop. These instruments provide different colors when playing with the trio or in a duo with his father. Having a Main Stage show with his band at the festival is a special treat for him. He’s played the festival’s acoustic stage several times with Acoustic Penguin. More memorable were the chances to hear and meet those he admires. Just a couple years after he took up violin, he got a chance to hear the renowned Cajun band BeauSoleil and meet the band’s fiddler and founder Michael Doucet, one of the pioneers of the roots music scene. Last September he got to hang out with the members of the Rhythm Future Quartet. He went to all the band’s shows including a late night bar gig. Rhythm Future is returning to the festival this year. Flick started playing violin in fifth grade orchestra at Conneaut. About a week after his introduction to the instrument, his father, a guitarist, taught him a few blues scales and some basic bluegrass tunes, including “Boil That Cabbage Down.” “He just took off on his own,” Flick said. And he hasn’t slowed down. He studied with several teachers and still takes lessons when…

Toledo Symphony’s Music Under the Stars returns to zoo

From TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Mercy Health, and the Toledo Zoo are joining forces again to continue a six-decade-old tradition of providing fun family entertainment in a relaxed setting: Music Under the Stars, a free series of concerts on four summer Sunday evenings in July in the Zoo’s Amphitheatre. Each of the 7:30 p.m. concerts, produced by the Toledo Symphony and performed by the Toledo Symphony Concert Band, features a special theme: July 10: American Portraits July 17: Fun and Games July 24: Just Dance July 31: Broadway Showstoppers Conductor Bruce Moss, director of band activities at Bowling Green State University, returns for his third summer. Guest artists will include the Toledo Symphony School of Music, Glass City Steel (the steel drum band from Toledo School for the Arts), Manhattan Dance Company, Toledo Choral Society, and the Ballet Theater of Toledo, among others to be announced. Masters of ceremonies will be Tony Geftos of WTVG (13ABC) and Jerry Anderson of WTOL. “By offering free family-oriented events for the public to enjoy; not one but two, local treasured gems, the music of the Toledo Symphony Concert Band at the venue of the Toledo Zoo not only enriches lives, it truly enhances the overall health and well-being of the community,” said Imran Andrabi, M.D., Regional President and CEO/Chief Network Integration Officer, Mercy Health – Toledo. “Mercy is proud to be the title sponsor once again for this year’s Music Under the Stars concerts.” “The Toledo Symphony Concert Band is honored to be an integral part of this wonderful summer tradition, which started in the late 1930s, before it was called ‘Music Under the Stars.’” said Keith McWatters, the Symphony’s general manager and a Concert Band percussionist. “There is nothing quite like it in the nation: a warm summer evening with your family and friends, set in the beautiful Toledo Zoo Amphiteatre complete with the sound of fabulous music –and it’s free! “For anyone who has had the experience, we look forward to seeing you again,” McWatters said. “For anyone who has not yet enjoyed this tradition, please join us this summer.” “The Zoo is very proud to continue a more than six-decade summer tradition with the 2016 season of Mercy Music Under the Stars presented by The Andersons with support from Huntington, Taylor Automotive Family, and Welltower, Inc.,” said Jeff Sailer, the Zoo’s executive director. “Community collaborations like this help make the Toledo Zoo the fun-for-the-whole-family destination that the region has come to know and love. Together with the Symphony and our sponsors, we invite everyone to come out and enjoy the beautiful live music in the amazing ambiance of our historic Amphitheatre at sunset!” The Amphitheatre opens for seating at 6:30 p.m. Concert admission is free. Parking at the zoo is free to zoo members. Parking is $7 for non-members and $15 for buses and campers. Refreshments are available. Also, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority will continue its “Music Under the Stars Shuttle” service. Patrons who arrive at any TARTA Music Under the Stars Shuttle Park-N-Ride location at 6:30 p.m. can board a bus for a direct round-trip ride to the Zoo’s Broadway entrance. The Park-N-Ride locations are: St. Luke’s Hospital in Maumee, Centennial Terrace in Sylvania, Kroger’s in Waterville, and the Miracle Mile Shopping Center and…

Toledo Symphony, musicians reach contract agreement

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

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

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival will feature a mix of new and familiar acts. That’s not unusual. That they feature veterans and newcomers is also par for the course. That those act will come on the wings of critical plaudits, well that goes without saying. Probably the biggest change on the festival’s music scene is one most people may not notice, and that’s as it should be. Kelly Wicks, one of the festival’s founders, is stepping down from his role as chair of the performing arts committee. Taking on that key role are Cole Christensen and Tim Concannon, two long-time festival volunteers who’ve worked with Wicks. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Christensen said. “It’s about preserving the great traditions of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. We’ll continue to feature local regional national and international talent and also to give people acts people don’t get to see. The festival has reputation for having great music, and we’re going to keep that.” That means performers whom festivalgoers have never heard of before will be their favorites after the second weekend in September. After a few months of learning the ropes (with Wicks offering some advice), most of the main stage slots are booked for the festival that kicks off Friday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. and closes Sunday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. It’s been bookended by the blues. The festival opens with the Tony Godsey band, a regional blues band that’s set to release its aptly title “Black Swamp Territory,” a collection of 10 original tunes. Closing will be an old friend, Michael Katon, the Boogieman from Hell (Michigan, that is). At one point, Katon had played Howard’s Club H more than any other performer. He was a regular at Christmastime, playing Christmas Eve, the blues equivalent of the Magi. In the past decade, though, he’s mostly been booked across the pond. Christensen said that Katon is excited to be returning to Bowling Green. On Saturday night he’ll return to his old haunts with a free show at Howard’s. In between Godsey and the man from Hell, there’ll be more blues, reggae, bluegrass and all sounds Americana. Christensen is especially excited about Mariachi Flor de Toloache, an all-female mariachi band out of New York City. The Latin Grammy nominees add a contemporary touch to the venerable Mexican genre while staying true to the ache and passion of the music. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys is a booster of the Flor de Toloache. The mariachi band has toured with him, serving both as an opening act and augmenting his own backup band. Mariachi Flor de Toloache will play the Saturday dinner set at the festival. The festival will also welcome home-grown talent to the Main Stage, when Grant Flick and a trio assembled for the occasion kicks off the music on Saturday noon. Flick, 17, from Bowling Green, has been setting the Americana and swing scene on fire with his fiddle and tenor guitar work. He’ll be joined by another teen string virtuoso Josh Turner from New York City and bassist Jacob Warren from Ann Arbor. And opening Sunday’s show will be another homegrown talent when Corey Baum brings his band Croy and the Boys  from Austin, Texas to perform. String virtuosity will be well represented. Another…

Jazz acts ready to jam at Toledo Botanical Garden

From TOLEDO BOTANICAL GARDEN TOLEDO – The Toledo Botanical Garden will present another season of Jazz in the Garden starting July 7 and continuing through Sept. 8. The Thursday night concerts run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Scheduled to perform are: • July 7, Toledo Jazz Orchestra • July 14, Gene Parker • July 21, Straight Up • July 28, Cakewalkin’ Jass Band • Aug. 4, 6th Edition • Aug. 11, Ramona Collins • Aug. 18, Kelly Broadway • Aug. 25, Mike Lorenz • Sept. 1, Quartet Bernadette • Sept. 8, Soul Hustle Tickets are $10, $5 TBG members and kids under 12 are free. Season passes are $80 adults and $40 TBG members. Parking Main parking at Bancroft entrance with free trolley across garden. Handicap only at Elmer entrance. A barbeque baked goods for sale on grounds. Guests may bring food, wine and beer.

Sun sets the stage for Art in the Park

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News All kinds of artists turned out for Bowling Green’s second annual Art in the Park in Simpson Garden Park. Artists were drawing, painting, doing needle work. Adult and budding actors staged shows. Performer Nick Zoulek blew saxophone; Michiko Saiki blew bubbles. And, of course, there were those who expressed their artistic inclinations by snapping photos with their smart phones. Jacqueline Nathan, president of the Bowling Green Arts Council, said the Art in the Park was a success, drawing at least as many attendees as last year’s inaugural event. Sunny weather in the 80s certainly helped. Aaron Pickens, of Grand Rapids, was painting a line of arbor vitae. Painting outdoors is way of taking a break from his highly detailed and realistic paintings of toys. Those can take 500 hours to complete. But if painting outdoors is fun, it’s serious fun. Painting outdoors is a challenge. There’s so much detail, he said. “You have to learn what to leave out. The landscape taught me how to paint.” Denise Carter was working on a rag rug that will serve as a wall hanging. She pulled brightly colored fabric through the weave of a coffee bean sack. The fabric became flowers, but Carter wasn’t depicting the blossoms in front of her. For her working outside was enjoyable because the colors were so much brighter in the full sun. Nearby in the amphitheater the sun served as stage lighting for theater. The Black Swamp Players offered the all-too-topical political satire “The Spot” about the filming of a candidate’s television commercial. The one-act play cast light on a process where the best kind of authenticity is the totally fake variety. Horizon Youth Theatre offered up an excerpt from their upcoming musical “Honk!” The open air setting seemed quite fitting for the mother duckling played by Sky Frishman to sing about the trials and joys of being mother to a feathery brood. She lamented that her husband was largely absent. She might as well have mated with a decoy, she said. Not all the action was outside. Inside glass artist Gail Christofferson was guiding volunteers, young and old, in the creation of a stained glass mural. Participants glued small irregular pieces of glass onto 20-by-20-inch frames. The finished work will eventually hang in the lobby of the community center. Right now, the project has enough funds for 25 panels, Christofferson said, but she is hoping it can raise enough money for 50. The project is a collective effort. Some of the panel designs were done by Bowling Green High School art students. Among those helping were members of Wood Lane’s Aktion club who helped sorting the glass pieces and setting up. She’ll also be at the movies in the park events July 19 and Aug. 9, and then will visit various community organizations giving as many people as possible a hand in the project. When done it’s will help shade the center’s lobby from the intense sunlight. And some folks will be able to look up and see a reminder of a sunny Friday afternoon spent in Simpson Garden communing with nature and art.

Start a new chapter by learning to play ukulele at library

From Wood County District Public Library Book groups and ukuleles take center stage at Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., BG) in the library’s upcoming adult programming for the week of June 13 – 19. Events are free and open to all. Monday, June 13 · Kristin Wetzel leads the Page to Table cookbook discussion group meeting at 6:30 pm in the Carter House. This month’s meeting focuses on “Food Network Stars.” Participants, may bring a dish prepared from a cookbook by their favorite Food Network chef, along with a copy of the recipe, noting any changes made. The library will supply flatware and dinnerware. Tuesday, June 14 · The library’s Diversity in America book group, led by Jim Litwin meets in the 1st Floor Meeting Room to discuss Sally Denton’s American Massacre. Thursday, June 16 · Coffee Talk book group, led by Kristin Wetzel, holds its annual “Book to Film Day” in the 1st Floor Meeting Room. At 10:00 am the group will discuss Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Following a break for lunch, the group resumes its meeting at 1:00 pm to watch the book’s critically acclaimed film adaptation (Oscar nominee Best Film and Best Screenplay, Nick Hornby), featuring Saoirse Ronan (Oscar nominee, Best Actress). Sunday, June 19 · Ukulele playing is taking the area by storm, thanks in no small part to the Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp (GRÜBS). If you have a ukulele and are looking for a fun, friendly, and helpful group to explore your instrument with, join members of the GRÜBS at 3:00 pm this Sunday in WCDPL’s 1st Floor Meeting Room. All skill levels are welcome; all you need is a ukulele and sense of adventure. Due to space limitations, RSVPs to the Adult Services department (419-352-5050) is appreciated, but not required. For more details about these and other programs for adults at WCDPL, call the library at 419-352-5050.

Music duo: Expect some unexpected fun at Grounds show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sitting down in Grounds for Thought with Michiko Saiki and Rob Wallace to chat about their upcoming concert, the conversation takes an unexpected turn. Saiki, a vocalist and pianist, said in her improvised performances she aspires to the kind of profound humor experienced in the work of the writer (and BG eatery namesake) Samuel Beckett. Wallace notes that the connection is apt. Their performances like Beckett’s writing can “very intense but funny.” A short discourse on the intersection of music, language  and humor ensues. Still, Wallace said, audiences “don’t need to have all these references.” “You don’t need to understand it to like it,” he continued. “There’s a great deal of audience interaction. This is going to be fun. … It’s not going to be complicated or over your head.” When Saiki and Wallace perform, the music is infused with language, words emerge from lines created on the spot.  The music infuses the words with surprising meanings, and the words help shape the musical lines. Saiki and Wallace will present a free concert of improvised duets Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m. in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Bowling Green. Asked how they will prepare for Thursday’s show, Wallace laughs. For each performance, he said, they bring all their musical experiences to the table. What happens next is anyone’s guess. For Saiki those experiences go all the way back to her childhood in Japan. She studied classical piano, but wanted to be a pop, rock or jazz singer. So her parents sent her to America where she could study jazz singing. She ended up at a small liberal arts school in Oklahoma, Northeastern State University. The school didn’t have jazz vocal courses, so she continued her classical piano studies. Saiki has also been interested in avant garde music since childhood. She was fascinated by strange combinations of notes, but didn’t know what it was or what to call it. For her it was “creepy” music. “I always picked things that had a more unique sound to it.” She mentioned this to her Japanese piano teacher, but studied Chopin and Beethoven. In Oklahoma, though, when professors learned this student had an interest in new music, they rushed to fill the gaps in her knowledge. They inundated her with recordings of Milton Babbitt, Steve Reich and other masters. This is where she learned about the composer and philosopher John Cage and avant pop icon Yoko Ono, who would shape her future work. Still her piano studies didn’t get any more contemporary than 20th century pieces by the likes of Sergei Prokofiev and Alberto Ginastera. This interest in contemporary music brought her to Bowling Green State University. When Saiki saw all the university’s offerings in new music, especially the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music, she figured “there must be a great scene.” So she came here five years ago to get a masters in piano performance, studying with Laura Melton for three year years. She continued on with the doctoral program, which she is almost finished. She’s also studied with Thomas Rosenkranz and this past year with Yu-Lien The. Now she’s following her husband, Zach Seely, a composer, conductor and guitarist, to Leipzig, Germany, where he is studying after getting a masters in…

Ohio Humanities Presents Ohio Chautauqua in Rossford

From ROSSFORD CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU   History comes to life  in Rossford June 28 through July 2 when Ohio Humanities brings its  Ohio Chautauqua 2016 tour to Rossford. The theme for 2016 is “The Natural World” featuring chemist Marie Curie, Iroquois leader Cornstalk, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, President Theodore Roosevelt, and zoologist Dian Fossey. Building on the 19th-century tradition established on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake, Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day community event that combines living history performances, music, education, and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind cultural event the entire community will enjoy. Daytime activities feature stimulating adult programs and hands-on workshops for youth hosted at the Rossford Library, 720 Dixie Highway. Each evening, family, friends and visitors gather as live music fills the air in Veterans Park at the Marina, 300 Hannum Avenue with convenient parking and buses from Rossford High School. Then, a talented performer appears on stage, bringing a historic figure to life through personal stories and historic detail. This enriching and delightfully entertaining experience is perfect for every generation. With its warm, nostalgic vibe, this truly unique experience is sure to open minds and start conversations. A daily schedule can be found online at or Sponsors of Ohio Chautauqua 2016 in Rossford, Ohio include Ohio Humanities, the Rossford Convention & Visitors Bureau, ProMedica Bay Park Hospital, Lake Erie Living Magazine, Welch Publishing, Wood County Cultural Arts Grant, TARTA, Northwestern Water & Sewer District, the Rossford Business Association, Meijer Rossford, Costco Perrysburg, Camping World, the City of Rossford and the Rossford Library. Daytime Programs Rossford Public Library 720 Dixie Highway, 
Rossford. Programs for youth begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 28: Dan Cutler: Prehistoric People—How Primitive Were They? Wednesday, June 29: Susan Marie Frontczak: Once Upon a Time—Frankenstein Thursday, June 30: Dianne Moran: Animal Researchers Friday, July 1: Chuck Chalberg: Roosevelt as a Hunter & Explorer Saturday, July 2: Susan Marie Frontczak: Storytelling: Science and Engineering through Stories Programs for adults begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 28: Dan Cutler: How the “Skin Trade” Changed Traditional Native Values Wednesday, June 29: Susan Marie Frontczak: Does a Clone Have a Soul – or – Grappling with the Monster Thursday, June 30: Dianne Moran: Dian Fossey, Passionate Mountain Gorilla Researcher and Defender Friday, July 1: Chuck Chalberg: Roosevelt’s Character and Roosevelt as an American Character Saturday, July 2: Susan Marie Frontczak: Marie Curie—What Almost Stopped Her Evening Performances Rossford Veteran’s Memorial Park and Marina 300 Hannum Ave., 
Rossford Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28: Susan Marie Frontczak as Marie Curie Wednesday, June 29: Dan Cutler as Chief Cornstalk Thursday, June 30: Susan Marie Frontczak as Mary Shelley Friday, July 1: Dianne Moran as Dian Fossey Saturday, July 2: Chuck Chalberg as Theodore Roosevelt Live local music at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 28 – Acoustic Penguin – Old time fiddle tunes along with some jazz and swing tunes. Wednesday, June 29 – The Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp – A vocal/ukulele quartet that plays all kinds of music – from Bertolt Brecht to Harry Belafonte to James Brown to the Beatles and beyond. Thursday, June 30 – The Root Cellar String Band – Old time music of pre-1940’s rural America and the southern Appalachian mountains. Friday, July 1 – Tim Tegge – A lyrical…

Piano festival connects the dots from Bowling Green to China to Italy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This tale of global cultural connections begins with a car ride. Thomas Rosenkranz was talking with his friend and fellow pianist Nathanael May, the founder of the SoundSCAPE festival in Maccagno, Italy. They like the town in the Lombardy region in northwest Italy bordering Switzerland. They trusted the people they worked with and the musical and housing facilities were good. SoundSCAPE, now 10 years old, had developed a reputation as a top festival for contemporary music, and they wondered if they could extend their stay by tagging on another, separate piano festival. So the Maccagno Piano Days Festival was born last summer. Rosenkranz, a piano professor at Bowling Green State University, said their discussions turned to who would to study at the festival. “Where are most of the pianists coming from nowadays who want to do these kind of things, come to Europe to study, and can afford it? They mostly come from China. That’s what we realized.” Rosenkranz, who has spent the past year in China, has establsihed ties to that country. When he was on the faculty at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, he frequently traveled to Taiwan to teach and perform. When he came to BGSU seven years ago he was part of a delegation of faculty sent to China by Dean Richard Kennell of the College of Musical Arts to perform and recruit. “When we were there I fell in love with it,” Rosenkranz said. He’s been returning ever since. This year he focused on establishing links to the major conservatories throughout the country, an effort made possible by his ability “to speak a little Mandarin.” Those connections help bring Chinese musicians to the Maccagno festival. “We geared it to this huge population of pianists in China,” he said. “We also have a competition because the Chinese like that sort of thing. It’s a good excuse to get better. Even if they don’t win it doesn’t matter. This process of trying to better yourself is very important.” This year, 40 pianists ranging in age from 12 to 35 will attend to study with seven faculty from the U.S., Italy and China. The youngest participants must come with their parents. The chance, he said, to study and visit Italy “is part of how we market it.” “Who doesn’t want to go to Italy?” The featured guest artist is Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli, a concert artist and professor of piano at the Bari Conservatory. Enrollment is double what it was in the inaugural year. Of the 40 attending this year, 35 are from China with the rest from the U.S., Japan and Germany, he said. The low student-teacher ratio is intentional. “We don’t want faculty to be working all the time,” Rosenkranz said. “We want them to enjoy Italy.” Each faculty member teaches a few hours in morning, presents one master class during week and performs one concert. “We want all the students to play for everyone.” As a faculty member both at SoundSCAPE and the piano festival, Rosenkranz said, “it’s jarring and fascinating to deal with contemporary music and then the next week everyone’s playing standard repertoire.” Still, he said, “music is music. Jazz or classical you just get at it a different way.” The Chinese passion for classical music…

Simpson Garden site for open air celebration of the arts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Arts Council is hoping to establish a new event on the city’s arts calendar. Friday, June 10, the council along with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Ave., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. This is the event’s second year. Art in the Park is intended as a low key summer night’s excursion, said Jacqueline Nathan, president of the arts council. “The original thought was it’d be plein air (open air) painting and music in the park. “The arts council wanted to have some signature event and work with the community.” Paintings will set up their easels throughout the park, capturing the early summer beauty in paint. In its second year, the event has added elements. This year, thanks to the sponsorship of the Montessori School and the Parks and Recreation Department, there will be interactive activities for children organized by the Montessori staff. Adults will also have a chance to work on a community stain glass project with the guidance of noted stained glass artist Gail Christofferson. The finished work will be displayed at the community center. Theater will be presented in the amphitheater. The Black Swamp Players will present a short one-act play, “The Spot,” by Steven Dietz at 5 and 6 p.m. “The Spot” is a satirical look at how political campaign managers approach their candidates’ TV commercials. Horizon Youth Theatre will present an excerpt from its upcoming musical production “Honk!” at 5:30 and 6:30. The show is a modern adaptation by Anthony Drewe of the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Ugly Duckling.” Musicians will be stationed and strolling throughout the garden. Performing will be the Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp (GRÜBS) with Sheri Wells-Jensen, Jason Wells-Jensen, Anne Kidder and Geoff Howes and the Root Cellar Band featuring Lucy Long and friends. Also playing will be students from the Bowling Green State University’s Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music. Derek Emch, clarinet, and Michiko Saiki, vocal, will perform “Hmmm, Nah.” Performing solo will be Nick Zoulek, saxophone, and Aaron Hynds, tuba. Biggby’s and arts council members will provide refreshments. Nathan said that the event was scheduled for a Friday evening so “people could come after work and would be a nice evening stroll.” This event is sponsored by Bowling Green Arts Council and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation with additional support from Montessori School of Bowling Green and the BGSU Fine Arts Galleries and BGSU College of Music.

Nick Zoulek’s music for saxophone alone has the sound of togetherness

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nick Zoulek’s music for solo saxophone involves working with many people. The saxophonist-composer builds his work on collaborations with dancers, artists and filmmakers. From those collaborations grew the music that will appear on his first CD, “Rushing Past Willow.’ The recording of his original compositions for solo saxophone will be released on the Innova label later this summer. Videos of some of the pieces can be seen on While the recording will be music only, Zoulek, a student in the Doctor in Musical Arts in Contemporary Music program at Bowling Green State University, wanted to capture the passion that led to the creative process. The videos juxtapose the sound of Zoulek’s saxophones, alto, tenor, and the elephantine bass, with images of light sculpture by Erwin Redl, animation by John Simmons, who works under the name Simsies, and dancers. “The music came first,” Zoulek said in a recent interview.  “But it was inspired through so many visual memories, so many collaborations and improvisations, I wanted to capture those moments.” The compositions all grew from the practice of improvising that has been a central part of Zoulek’s playing dating back to his lessons in high school. He remembers that toward the end of his lesson his teacher would pick up his saxophone or sit at the piano and just say “here we go.” “I didn’t realize that was unusual,” Zoulek said. “I was very fortunate to have had teachers who were well versed in free improvisation and at the same time the classical and jazz traditions.” As a student of jazz, he learned “bebop change running” and transcribed solos by jazz masters, and played jazz gigs throughout his undergraduate studies. Zoulek, 28, grew up in Menomonee Falls near Milwaukee. His family was not musical. His father worked in the family heating and plumbing business and was assistant fire chief, and his mother worked in health care. “Just a hard working family,” he said. “That’s something I’ve always admired.” His brother, Tim, is an artist and one of his collaborators. Zoulek was exposed to the avant garde fringes of jazz early on. As a junior high student, he was searching the local library’s collection for recordings of saxophone and came across Anthony Braxton’s seminal solo recording “For Alto.” “At first didn’t understand it,” he said. But still he found it “cool and interesting.” The record is a compendium of extreme saxophone sounds – growls, squeaks, wails – called extended techniques. He also discovered those saxophonists who came after Braxton, Ned Rothenberg and John Zorn. Later at a local record store known for its quirky stock, he discovered “Visions in Metaphor” by John Sampen, now his teacher at BGSU. Hearing that as well as the instruction from Matt Sintchak, his teacher at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, encouraged Zoulek to pursue the adventurous path he was headed down. “Somewhere mixed with improvisation, a classical background and multimedia, that’s where all this comes from.” At first, he said, he sought to imitate Braxton and other saxophonists. “The sound really resonated within me. … If you play it so long, it becomes part of you, and your identity becomes invested in these songs.” In high school, he began to work on mastering the technique of circular breathing. This allows a horn player…