Music

Mariachi Flor de Toloache skirts tradition with intoxicating Latin mix

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mariachi Flor de Toloache has ruffled some feathers as the all-female ensemble has taken flight on the Latin and alternative music scenes. Though rooted in the mariachi tradition, founder Mireya Ramos is not afraid to tweak that tradition by incorporating music from outside its boundaries and jazzing up its presentation. In a recent telephone interview, Ramos said that after a CNN segment on Flor de Toloache, some of the comments posted on line were “nasty.” “It is a tradition passed on through generations,” she said. “You have families that are all mariachi, and we’re women. We don’t wear skirts. We have caused some controversy.” But those criticisms are more than balanced out by the plaudits. Ramos said she was especially pleased with the reaction from fans in Los Angeles. “They really love it,” she said. “They say, ‘oh, great, this is something new!’” And the band has caught the attention of rock crowds as Flor de Toloache has toured with Black Keys’ singer Dan Auerbach’s new band, The Arcs. Auerbach’s fans may not know exactly what to make of them at first but are captivated in the end. Local mariachi aficionados and other music fans will have their own chance to weigh in when Mariachi Flor de Toloache performs a Main Stage set at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6:15 p.m. Earlier that day they will play on the Community Stage at 1 p.m. and then the Family Stage at 2:45p.m. Ramos grew up in Puerto Rico. Her father who is Mexican (her mother is Dominican) played mariachi, but Ramos a violinist didn’t start performing the music herself until she moved to New York City to study 15 years ago. The first gig she landed was with a mariachi band. “It was quite an experience,” she said. “I came from Puerto Rico, played with Mexicans and learned a lot about the music and lot about the culture.” What she didn’t see was other women playing mariachi. She decided that having an all-female band, especially one from New York with it burgeoning Mexican population “would be a cool thing.” So in 2008, taking a name from an intoxicating flower, she founded Mariachi Flor de Toloache. The first call she made was to her friend and collaborator Shae Fiol, a singer-songwriter and guitarist. Fiol remembers thinking: “Wow, I’ve never played mariachi.” But…


Music finds Suitcase Junket’s Matt Lorenz in the oddest places

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Music has a way of finding its way into Matt Lorenz’ life. The creator of the eclectic one-man band Suitcase Junket started his musical adventure when his music-loving parents adopted an old piano. Lorenz also found the guitar that gave birth to Suitcase Junket. He found his own version of throat singing after taking a South Indian cooking class. He finds the suitcases that give the band its name and serve as percussion instruments at yard sales. He finds his lyrics in nonsense syllables he shouts while practicing. From these rescues from the world’s musical dog pound, Lorenz creates his Swamp Yankee sound, a space age take on roots music. Suitcase Junket will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Sunday, Sept. 11, on the Main Stage at 12:30 p.m. and on the Family Stage 2:45 p.m. Lorenz oddball approach to music making comes in part from his childhood fascination with how things work. He remembers once convincing a babysitter to let him disassemble the telephone. Both his parents were teachers – his mother homeschooled his sister and him – and were “pretty good sports.” “My parents started taking me to the dump so I could bring home random things to take apart,” Lorenz said. His parents also brought home a free piano. His sister, Kate, who is a few years older started getting lessons. “I couldn’t stay away from it,” Lorenz said. So he started taking lessons. “My parents never played, but were huge music lovers and the house was always full of music. They were into the idea of us picking up those skills, so they were very supportive.” He attended Hampshire College in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley from 2000 to 2004 and studied experimental composition and adaptive music design. For one project he and another student designed a pulley system that allowed a drummer who’d had his right leg amputated continue to play the bass drum on his kit. They expanded on that to develop a system to allow a double amputee to play drum set. In 2005, he and his sister started a band, and when their drummer quit, he decided to put all his moving around on stage to use and provide the percussion for their group. Those levers and pulleys come in to good use with Suitcase Junket. That project started when he rescued an old moldy guitar and…


Southern Avenue is Israeli bluesman’s street of dreams

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Growing up in Israel, blues guitarist Ori Naftaly dreamed of Memphis. He’d listen to the LPs. He decorated his room with the images. He read the stories. Now when he performs with his band Southern Avenue and looks over at his bandmates, he realizes he’s living that dream. In Tierinii Jackson he has found a true “church girl” whose soulful vocals “give me goosebumps.” In her sister Tikyra Jackson he has the drummer of his dream who delivers a soulful groove. In Daniel Mckee, he has bass player rooted in the fertile musical soil of Memphis. So on the bandstand sometimes he wonders: “How did I get here? This is pretty amazing.” Southern Avenue will bring its Memphis-based soul and blues sound to the Black Swamp Arts Festival for a Friday, Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. Main Stage set. Naftaly’s journey started with his father, an avid music fan. His father had a large record collection. He had a friend at a record store and though him got the latest music magazines. In Israel, Naftaly explained, only American hits are available. His father dug deeper into the roots, and shared that knowledge with his guitar playing on. Naftaly had a following in his native land. He was “an ambassador” for the blues, he said. Then he had the opportunity to be an ambassador for his country, representing Israel in the International Blues Competition in Memphis. He was “weeded out,” Naftaly said. He was up against 50-year-olds who grew up on the music. But the experience was invaluable. The reception he received was good enough that he decided to return the following summer. It was an expensive proposition getting a visa and settling in Memphis, and he knew he had three years to establish himself or his artist’s visa would not be renewed. He toured with his own band, but he said he never liked being out front. He went through six different singers, because “you don’t want to hear me sing.” Then another musician in Memphis told him about Tierinii Jackson. She was singing around Memphis, but didn’t have the chance to sing her own music. He fell in love with everything about her presentation. And Tierinii told him about her sister the drummer. “These girls were so dynamic and so much fun,” he said. They finished out the dates already schedule for the Ori…


John Brown’s Body celebrates reggae’s roots & future

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The reggae band John Brown’s Body has hardly been molderin’ since its last appearance at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in 2003. The band delivered a percolating set of reggae that had the crowd on its feet and dancing, and then the band’s horns joined the closing act Chubby Carrier for a raucous jam that had members of the audience dancing on the stage. In the intervening years, says drummer Tommy Benedetti, the band has continued to evolve. “Any good band is on a journey,” Benedetti said in a recent telephone interview. John Brown’s Body will perform on the Main Stage, Friday, Sept.9 at the festival. For John Brown’s Body that evolution starts back in Ithaca, New York, with a band called The Tribulations, founded by Kevin Kinsella and Elliot Martin. Benedetti first heard them when he was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston and became a fan. He then took over the drum chair in the band’s last year and a half. About 20 years ago, John Brown’s Body emerged from the remains of The Troubadours. The band took a “rootsier” approach. Kinsella was the main songwriter at that point. He wrote what Benedetti called “almost country reggae.” Tunes with strong harmonies and bridges that could easily be played just on guitar. But he also added the horn lines that are part of John Brown’s Body’s signature sound. Those horns are and were an integral part of the band, Benedetti said. European promoters have approached JBB about touring with a smaller ensemble, but the band isn’t interested. They want their fans to get the full experience. Benedetti said he recalls being disappointed in hearing some classic reggae outfits who replaced their horns with “cheesy keyboard sounds” for some live shows. That full experience also means traveling with their own front of the house engineer. “He’s a part of the band,” Benedetti said. That means the band can deliver the full sonic experience heard on the records in live performance. “We always bring the full experience,” he said. That sound went through a major change when Kinsella left the band in 2006, and Martin assumed the lyric writing duties. “Elliot has a more futuristic, more cutting edge,” approach Benedetti said. “The band evolved into a little heavier, kind of edgier vibe. … It’s a lot more dubbed, heavy on the…


Delta Saints to bless arts festival with healthy dose of rock ‘n’ roll

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News What does it take to bring a rock ‘n’ roll band from dorm room sessions to the stages of the world? About a 1,000 shows and just as much bourbon. That’s what Ben Ringel attributes the success of The Delta Saints to. When the band plays the 10 p.m. set for the Friday show at the Black Swamp Arts Festival Sept.9, he wants the audience to come away with one impression: “I’d love it if people left and said ‘we really saw this great rock ’n’ roll band.’” Not that he feels the Delta Saints have reached perfection. It’s a continuing learning process, he said. “We try to learn something every night,” he said. “Three-quarters of the lessons we learn are ‘don’t do that the next time.’” That sense of lifelong learning is not surprising for a band that got its start at a college, Belmont University in Nashville. In 2007, Ringel and several other students who had transferred into the college bonded together.  They shared a bit of an outsider attitude, coming from different schools and parts of the country. Ringel was born in Louisiana, but lived in Seattle, before going to Nashville. Bassist David Supica came from Kansas. They and a couple other guys were “all pursuing music, both in school and as a passion.” “We needed an outlet for it, needed friends to drink beer with. It really took off from there.” They wrote songs together, and then with enough for a setlist, they started playing the first of those more than 1,000 shows. The band’s members – Ringel, vocals, guitar; Nate Kremer, keyboards and guitar; Dylan Fitch, guitar; Supica, bass; and Vincent Williams, drums – all bring their own stylistic predilections to the Delta Saints mix. Ringel brings a background listening to the blues and playing in jam bands while co-founder Supica was more into soul and funk. Williams came up playing gospel and hip-hop. Fitch and Kremer have a diversity of influences ranging from the Allman Brothers to the Beatles. All these ingredients get mixed in as the band gathers for writing sessions. A song may start with the line of lyric or a bass groove, or inspiration from another band’s song, and grow from there. With “everyone coming at it from different directions” blending is not always smooth. The members may differ on what the final feel of the song…


Pokey LaFarge travels the byways of American music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Pokey LaFarge is a traveling man. Has been since his teens when he left his Illinois home, where his name was Andrew Heissler, to head west. He had his mandolin and his stories with him. He also took with him a love of music and history first nurtured by his grandfathers and put that together into songs he sang on the streets. He ate from trash cans. He slept where he could. Now leading his own six-piece band, he travels by bus and plane and eats good food. Still, he agreed, that this was busking in grand fashion. “Traveling has always been the essence, the heart, of what I do,” he said in a recent interview. LaFarge’s wandering ways will bring him and his band to the Black Swamp Arts Festival where he’ll perform a Main Stage show, Saturday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m. He’ll also perform on the Youth Arts Stage at 4 p.m. that day. His music is rooted in the music of the American heartland and in a time when jazz, country, blues, ragtime and vaudeville shared a cradle. And the stories his music tells are, too, reflecting the way we’re pulled into the future, sometimes reluctantly, but never able to surrender our past. Certainly things have changed, said LaFarge, who now calls St. Louis home. “A professional musician has a lot more responsibility, a lot more work,” he said. “But it’s better than sleeping in the ditch.” Some things haven’t changed. “My sense of curiosity that led me out into the world has not waned at all.” He’s still curious to hear new stories, learn new things, hear new sounds, and “just keep an open mind.” And being on the road fuels that curiosity. “I’m still traveling more than ever.” His artistic longings first poured out onto the page when he was a kid growing up in central Illinois. He was interested in literature and started writing stories, and then some of those stories took wing in song. LaFarge wanted to go beyond the music spoon-fed by mass media. So he picked up the thread of the blues and followed it. “I wanted to get under the surface and find out more where things come from. That’s a large network of music.” He hungered for the authentic, organic, acoustic sounds, music rooted in a place, whether the Delta, or West…


University Chorale holds open auditions

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University is pleased to announce open auditions for the 2016-17 season of the University Choral Society.  Highlights of the season will include performances of Handel’s “Messiah” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. John Passion.” The ensemble will perform “Messiah” with soloists and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on December 4 as part of the symphony’s regular season at the Toledo Museum of Art.  During the spring semester the University Choral Society will perform J. S. Bach’s landmark masterpiece the “St. John Passion” with tenor Christopher Scholl as Evangelist, a variety of soloists, and the BGSU Early Music Ensemble.  The St. John Passion will be performed at Toledo’s Hope Lutheran Church on Palm Sunday, April 9, and at Bowling Green’s First United Methodist Church on Good Friday, April 14. Mark Munson, Director of Choral Activities at BGSU, serves as the director of the University Choral Society.  During his tenure at BGSU he has led the Collegiate Chorale, A Cappella Choir and University Women’s Chorus. He is a past president of the Ohio Choral Directors Association and is currently president-elect of the Central Division of the American Choral Directors Association. The chorus rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 until 9:30 at the College of Musical Arts, with the first rehearsal scheduled for August 30.  Membership consists of BGSU students and community members from the greater Bowling Green area.  For more information and/or to schedule an audition, please call the college at 419-372-2188.  


The Sheepdogs: Rain or shine rockers

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Sheepdogs proved their rock ‘n’ roll mettle at last year’s Black Swamp Arts Festival. They took the stage as the closing act Friday night in a downpour that would have scared off many other artists. The Canadian quintet rocked out in the rain for a hard core crowd of several hundred that danced in the front of the stage, seeking refuge from the storm in the unrelenting backbeat and driving guitars. That’s just part of the deal when you’re a traveling rock ‘n’ roll band, said Ewan Currie, the lead singer and songwriter. “There’s a lot of sweat equity, a lot of travel, a lot of sucking it up… playing 10 shows in 10 days in unpredictable weather. That’s the price you pay for following the dream and playing in a rock ’n’ roll band.” The Sheepdogs will return to the festival this year as the Saturday night closing headliner. Currie hopes for better weather, but is ready to deliver “a good dose of rock ’n’ roll.” “We’ll come out with guns blazing,” he said. The festival runs Friday, Sept. 9. through Sunday, Sept. 11, in downtown Bowling Green. The band hasn’t had any off time since it last passed through Bowling Green. The Sheepdogs have been logging the miles in a tour to promote its latest album “Future Nostalgia.” The BG stop was at the beginning of a tour that will extend into November. That’s running close to 300 shows. “That’s missing a lot of weddings and other mundane life things,” Currie said. That’s being a rock ’n’ roll band. “The touring rock ’n’ roll band in 2016, we’re like the blue collar, working class musicians in a way,” he said. The music gets hardly any air play or coverage. “We’re almost like a boutique commodity.” But this is what Currie, his brother Shamus Currie, who plays keyboards and trombone, and bassist Ryan Gullen nd drummer Sam Corbett dreamed of growing up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They ditched their school band instruments, and learned rock listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, The Kinks and other 1970s groups popular in their parents’ youth. Starting as teenagers they wrote their own songs, but also played a lot of covers to learn all the tricks and turns of the trade. Those attempts at imitation morphed into their own sound. Blending two bands, The Sheep and The…


Piano stylist Michael Peslikis plays the music of the American experience

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Michael Peslikis describes himself as a piano stylist. He likes to play a variety of styles and that fluidity has served him well in his more than six decades as a professional musician. He played square dances at a dude ranch when he was 15. Played for silent movies, for musicals. He’s played ethnic music, his own Greek, and  Jewish, Irish, Italian, polkas as well as blues and ragtime – the soundtrack of the American melting pot.  He studied classical composition with Walter Piston at Harvard. This Wednesday Peslikis turns 80 in style. After 65 years as a professional he’s still intent on getting better. He’s flipped back the pages of time to return to the classical masters he studied as a youngster. You can still catch him around the area playing jazz and standards at Degage, serving up tunes for a brunch on holidays at the Hilton Garden Inn in Findlay, and jazzing up hymns at a church service on Sunday at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran in Toledo. Peslikis started out playing in his native Queens, New York. There was a piano in his home, and his father a Greek immigrant businessman had a few friends over to play some music from their native land. The young Michael bragged he could play that music on the piano. They dismissed him. He was undeterred. “I sat down and played it anyway, and they said ‘give him lessons.’” Despite this early display of keyboard skill, his early musical success was as a singer. He sang in an all-city choir. Traveling by train weekly for rehearsals. He assumed he would pursue singing, but he ruined his voice by straining to sing high parts after his voice changed. In high school he formed a small band that played dances. At 15 he got his chance for his first union job, a gig at Thousand Acres Dude Ranch in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. He was actually too young, so he had to get dispensation from American Federation of Musicians strongman James Petrillo. Peslikis got the card, and spent the next summers playing resorts in the Catskills, the so –called Borscht Belt.  A musician had to be flexible and skilled at switching gears. He played Jewish music and the Latin music that the Jewish customers loved. He learned “to cut a show,” playing for visiting performers, maybe an…


Festival’s other stages offer return of Hutchison & other musical delights (Updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival listeners will have one more chance to enjoy Barbara Bailey Hutchison, a singer-songwriter and entertainer extraordinaire. The festival’s performance committee has posted lineups for the festival’s Community and Youth Arts stages for Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11. The festival gets underway with music on the Main Stage and concessions, Friday, Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. Hutchison, a veteran performer, said last year that she was going to stop touring this year. She was leaving the stage to spend more time as an artist and arts educator. Hutchison played two well-received sets on the Family Stage. Those sets included her original songs – humorous and touching reflections on life, family and religion, covers of other alternative folk songwriters tunes, and a medley of her greatest hits – the jingles she sang for TV ads for Hallmark, McDonald’s and other corporations. The Grammy-winning artist also displayed a ready wit and ability in integrate what was happening on the street in the moment into her performance. Hutchison will play a 11L30 a.m. set Saturday on the Family stage and a noon set Sunday on the Community Stage. The Family Stage will also present Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated artist Tim Kubart. He’s a YouTube sensation as the “Tambourine Guy” on the Postmodern Jukebox. As in the past, festivalgoers will get second, even third, chances to hear Main Stage acts on the more intimate Community and Family stage settings. Top local acts from a ukuleles, Uilleann pipes,  to Japanese taiko drums also are set to perform. Teen fiddler Grant Flick’s trio is both a Main Stage act and a top local performer. He’ll perform on the Community Stage 4 p.m. Saturday following a noon set on the Main Stage earlier in the day. The lineup for the Community Stage, which is located in the atrium of Four Corners Center, is: SATURDAY 11 a.m., Toraigh an Sonas. Noon, Grand Ukulelists of the Black Swamp. 1 p.m., Mariachi Flor de Toloache. 2 p.m., The Rhythm Future Quartet. 3 p.m., Joe Baker Band. 4 p.m., Flick, Turner & Warren. 5 p.m. The Downtown Country Band. SUNDAY Noon, Barbara Bailey Hutchison. 1 p.m., Corduroy Road. 2 p.m., Croy and the Boys. 4 p.m., Ginkgoa. The lineup for the Family Stage, located in front of the Wood County District Public Library, is: SATURDAY 10:30 a.m., The Downtown Country…


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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHlHvix4YiM. “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….


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…


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…


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….


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…