Music

Trumpeter Kevin Cobb returns to his BG roots with American Brass Quintet

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When trumpeter Kevin Cobb takes the stage with the American Brass Quintet next week it won’t be the first time he’s played brass chamber music in Bowling Green. The Bowling Green native got a chance to play with the Tower Brass as a teenager. His teacher was Marty Porter, a member of the quintet. Now he’s returns as a member of one of the world’s most esteemed brass ensembles. The American Brass will be in residence at Bowling Green State University Wednesday, Sept. 20 through Friday, Sept. 22. The ensemble’s visit will be capped with a free concert in Kobacker Hall Friday at 8 p.m. The visit is part of the Hansen Musical Arts Series. Cobb, 46, joined the 57-year-old ensemble in 1998. The American Brass sets itself off from more popular quintets, the Empire and the Canadian, by its dedication to playing only music written for brass in five voices, Cobb said. Early on, he said, there was “a split” between members who wanted to play ragtime and other accessible forms, and those who wanted to focus exclusively to brass quintet repertoire. The latter faction won. That means it plays early music and contemporary music. From the beginning, the American Brass has been active in commissioning music by new composers. The ensemble also sets itself apart by using a bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. The founders felt that the bass trombone’s lighter sound was more akin to the sound of a cello in a string quartet and was truer to the textures of early music that was scored for three…


Local acts at home on art festival’s Main Stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent Media In celebrating its 25th year, the Black Swamp Arts Festival is putting local talent center stage. Each day this weekend, a local act will open up on the Main Stage. Opening up the festival on Friday (Sept. 8) will be Matt Truman Ego Trip with a show at 5 p.m. Saturday, the BiGBand BG kicks things off at noon followed by Toledo bluesman Bobby G at 1:20. (Read profile. ). And Tom Gorman returns for his 25th year on Sunday. Truman’s no stranger to the festival. In recent years it’s been his children who have been involved, including performing with the Horizon Youth Theatre. “The kids love it.” But in the festival’s early years, a teen-aged Truman performed. In 1995 it was with the Jinkies on the Community Commons Stage, and then a couple years later he was on the Main Stage with Jackie-O. The details of those long-ago gigs are faint, except he remembers with Jackie-O playing with the sun in their faces. Not a common situation for a bar band. Truman is a veteran of the local music scene. Growing up outside of Pemberville he and his brother Ted were involved in various groups that played on the Bowling Green scene. Truman started playing saxophone in fifth grade band and guitar about the same time. Early on they played in various garage bands. They even had a dual-well cassette player which they used to record. “That’s when you realize it’s easier to be an original band than a cover band,” he said “That way you don’t have to play things above your…


Nikki Hill ready to rock the Black Swamp Arts Festival to the end

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nikki Hill is no stranger to Bowling Green. Since she and her husband, guitarist Matt Hill, first hit the road as a duo in 2012, they’ve stopped here twice. Once for a show at Grounds for Thought, just as they were pulling their band together and then in 2014 in prime time Friday on the Main Stage at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Unfortunately, the festival audience just got a taste of her sound, as she was upstaged by a storm. What listeners missed was a sound that mixes soul with hard rock and taste of classic rhythm ‘n’ blues, all built on a gospel foundation. Hill got her start as a child in North Carolina singing in church choir. “That’s about the best training you can get. It’s a great place to develop your voice,” she said before her 2014 festival performance. She also experimented with punk and even old-time music. She didn’t intend to become a professional musician. She was working as a physical trainer. But her husband a professional musician heard something special in her voice, something they could share with a broader audience. That’s exactly what they’ve endeavored to do since 2012. Since her festival show, Hill has released her second recording “Heavy Heart, Hard Fists” in 2015. The recording is another stop on Hill’s evolution as a songwriter. That’ll be on display when Hill closes out the festival on the Main Stage Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Cole Christensen who co-chairs the festival’s Performing Arts committee said they were happy to book her. ”We always like to end…


Young jazz composer unveils adventurous project at museum concert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jazz from a new generation will be featured at the Toledo Museum of Art Friday when Bowling Green State University grad Galen Bundy presents his Project 206 in concert. The concert will mark the release of composer and keyboardist Bundy’s first recording “Struggle is Joy.” The show is Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the museum’s Glass Pavilion. Bundy, 24, will be joined on stage by some of his peers from the area Ben Wolkins, trumpet,  David Mirarchi, alto and baritone saxophones, Johannes Ronquillo, bass, and Travis Aukerman, drums. Together they explore free jazz within an electronic soundscape. Some of the music, Bundy said, is highly structured, and through composed. Other pieces adhere to the traditional heads-solo format typical of mainstream jazz. He was influenced by the use of electronics by jazz artists Donny McCaslin and David Binney. The sound of Project 206 has echoes of Miles Davis’ early electronic experiments, the free jazz of Ornette Coleman, and the genre-defying work of Flying Lotus. They grow out of Bundy’s experience at BGSU where some of these pieces were conceived. A jazz piano major he did collaborate with musicians in the university’s fertile new music scene. The Project 206 also reflects his love of film music, particularly that of Hans Zimmer that “mirrors live action with a lot of fast changes.” Bundy selected his fellow musicians for this project who could handle the musical and technical challenges. That includes Mirarchi, currently a student at BGSU. He and Bundy played in the university’s top big band and in small ensembles. Aukerman and Ronquillo are products of the…


Birds of Chicago come home to roost at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News JT Nero seems to have his head in the clouds when it comes to bands. He used to lead a band called JT and the Clouds, and that has morphed into Birds of Chicago. The music that band produces, though, is firmly rooted on land, an earthy sound that emerges from the fertile soil of the American musical landscape, gospel, folk, country, and more. And his songs are given voice by Allison Russell, who possesses a voice more than equal to the task of inhabiting the songs’ varied terrains. They’ve dubbed their sound “secular gospel,” and the tag fits. The music is redolent of the spirit and the streets. It has its shadows and foreboding, lightened by moments of joy. Local music lovers will get a chance to experience the sound when the Birds of Chicago alight at the Black Swamp Arts Festival for two sets on Saturday, Sept. 9. The Chicago-based band will perform at 1:30 p.m. show on the Family Stage before moving over the Main Stage for a 4:30 p.m. set. Nero said the festival has been on his radar for a number of years. That’s not surprising. Raised in Toledo, he started playing at venues in Bowling Green in the 1990s with The Rivermen. He moved to San Francisco. That’s where he first met Russell, who was based in Vancouver, British Columbia, through mutual friends on the music scene. Russell was working with her band Po’ Girl. After Nero moved to Chicago, they remained in touch. JT and the Clouds would host them in the city hooking them up with…


The Hiders emerge from “batcave” to rock out at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Hiders are really something of homebodies. When asked about the band’s touring, founder William Alletzhauser said “we haven’t been touring a lot lately.” Families, day jobs, businesses, and other musical commitments makes hitting the road problematic. “We temper our expectations in that department.” Instead they work their home scene in Cincinnati, and continue to produce recordings on their own studio, “the batcave,” that are heard around the world. “For us it’s more about the adventure of writing and recording. That’s what’s most exciting.” So getting a chance to see The Hiders at the Black Swamp Arts Festival should be a treat for music lovers. The Hiders will play on the Main Stage Friday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m. before heading down to Howard’s Club H for an after-hours show. Alletzhauser said labeling the band has proved tricky, given it has elements of folk and psychedelia, mixed with country and classic rock, telling dark stories from the Americana underbelly. To Alletzhauser that all just means The Hiders is a rock band, true to what that meant in the 1970s, not that the band sees itself as a throwback. Rather it’s a contemporary amalgamation of Alletzhauser’s musical history. That goes back to getting a hand-me-down guitar that his older sister decided she didn’t want. As a teenager in the 1980s, Alletzhauser go involved in Cincy’s burgeoning hard core scene. “We liked the idea having a band,” he said. That meant writing their own songs. He continued writing as he moved from band to band, culminating with Ass Ponys, an alt country outfit that toured nationally….


Whitehorse rides into arts fest for Sunday sets

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland started out as musical collaborators playing in bands together and working on each other’s projects. “Our relationship was strictly professional … for weeks,” Doucet quipped. “Our relationship was very close, very intimate early on. We found each other.” That was about 14 years ago, and now Doucet is talking on the telephone with their 3-year-old son in the background. He wants a boat ride, Doucet said. For years, Doucet and McClelland continued on their separate careers as solo artists and “hired guns,” though they worked together as much as they could. Then six years ago, tired of their schedules pulling them apart, they formed Whitehorse, a musical act informed both by their long musical and personal relationship Whitehorse will perform at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday Sept. 11, at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage and then at 2:45 as the penultimate act on the Family Stage. Reflecting on those early years, Doucet said “our musical lives were very confused.” They were including each other so much in their own bands that when their schedules didn’t allow them to play together, their fans would ask where the missing party was. They also toured together with fellow Canadian Sarah McLachlan. Doucet had been backing the star for a while. As McLachlan’s backup singers came and went, he suggested he knew someone. “She rolled her eyes and told me: ‘I’m not hiring your girlfriend,’” Doucet recalls. Then a backup singer left just as McLachlan was heading off on a short tour with Pete Seeger. She relented. McClelland joined the band…


Stars align at BGSU as College of Music welcomes famed guest artists

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts has some special acts in the wings. Lindsay Gross, the college’s manager of public-community relations, can’t help but show her own enthusiasm for what’s in store for the coming academic year – five internationally acclaimed artists who will share their gifts with the community. And all the events related to these residencies are open to public for free. Why wouldn’t Gross be excited? She’s a jazz bass trombonist, and the first guest in September is the American Brass Quintet, a pioneering ensemble that uses bass trombone, not tuba, as its lowest voice. And closing run of guest artists during Jazz Week in late March will be Maria Schneider, the most esteemed living composer for large jazz ensemble. Schneider has won Grammys not only for her jazz work but also for her arrangement on David Bowie’s song “Sue.” And for her collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, who will visit BGSU a week before she arrives. Visits scheduled are: American Brass Quintet, residency Sept.20-22, with a concert Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Jazz guitarist John Scofield, Sept. 30, a master class and concert at 8 p.m. as part of the two-day Orchard Guitar Festival that starts Sept.29. Opera composer Jake Heggie, keynote lecture at 8 p.m. on Oct. 22 and residency Oct. 23-24, as part of the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Mind Series. Vocal superstar Dawn Upshaw, recital March 18 at 8 p.m. and residency March 19-20, as the Helen McMaster Professorship in Vocal and Choral Arts. Maria Schneider, residency from March 28-30, with a concert March…


Molsky’s Mountain Drifters to take the sound of the Appalachians to new heights at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Bruce Molsky first dug into old-time mountain music, he was a college dropout. He’d gone off to Cornell to be an architect and instead he ended up washing dishes in the bar and grille that hosted old-time music sessions. Having started playing folk music in his native New York, he joined in. “The old-time music really resonated with me,” Molsky said in a recent telephone interview. “It still does.” Some 40 years later, the 62-year-old fiddler, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has formed Molsky’s Mountain Drifters with two musicians half his age, but with the same devotion to that evocative mountain sound. Alisson de Groot, who plays claw hammer banjo, and Stash Wyslouch, guitar, are college graduates. Both attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where Molsky, describes himself as “primarily an ear player,” teaches in the Roots Music Department. Now it’s Molsky’s turn to pass on all he learned from the old-timers he jammed with. Molsky’s Mountain Drifters will play two sets at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Sunday, Sept.10. They’ll perform on the Main Stage at 2 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. show on the acoustic stage. Molsky said he’s looking forward to coming to Bowling Green. “I like those kind of festivals that have the public walking around going from place to place and enjoying the town.” The social aspect of the music is part of what attracted him. “As a folk musician you better be the kind of person who enjoys meeting new people,” he said. Growing up in the Bronx, he listened to the radio since he was…


St Paul Lutheran Hymn and Organ Festival

SUBMITTED BY ST PAUL LUTHERAN CHURCH On August 27 at 4:00 pm, St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Rochester, Ohio, will present a hymn festival to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Dr. Martin Luther wrote to Albert of Mainz and presented his 95 Theses on the power and efficacy of indulgences. This hymn festival also acknowledges the 50 year journey the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church have taken in moving from conflict to closer communion. Special guest at the festival is organist Tom Gerke, who was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul and became an organist during high school at Christ Lutheran Church, Dowling. While attending Capital University in Columbus, he continued studying organ for two years with Professor David Britton and two years with Dr. William Haller. In May 1970, while a junior in college, Gerke won a competition for organists under age 25 in greater central Ohio sponsored by the Columbus Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Having earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Math Education from Capital and Ohio University, Gerke taught math in the Columbus area for 35 years and recently retired. He has continued as organist of All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington, where he has played for 41 years. Gerke is a member of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians and serves as treasurer of the Columbus Chapter. He is also Dean of the Columbus Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and President of the Ohio Chapter of the Palatines to American German Genealogy Society. With Mayor Gustava Oberhouse, he…


Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers ready to plug into the energy at the Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News To celebrate the 25th year of the Black Swamp Arts Festival, the performance arts committee wanted to bring back some favorite performers from years past. Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers certainly fill that bill. The band played town several times including sets at the 2010 and 2011 festivals that had listeners buzzing. That feeling is mutual. “I love Bowling Green,” Dopsie said in a telephone interview. “The people, the town, the atmosphere, I mean it’s like New Orleans part 2. It’s awesome.” That’s high praise coming from zydeco royalty. Dopsie is the younger son of zydeco legend Alton Rubin, who performed as Rockin’ Dopsie. His sons have adopted the “Dopsie” moniker as their own. Dwayne Dopsie’s other brothers also perform keeping their father’s old band alive. Dwayne Dopsie literally learned accordion and zydeco at his father’s feet. His father would be at home, having gotten off the road, and would be cleaning his instrument getting ready for the next show. “He always taught me,” Dopsie said. “‘I want you to play it the right way.’ … One thing he always showed me is zydeco is not what you hear, it’s what you feel.” This set him up on his future course.  “This is what I want to do. I wanted to follow my father’s footsteps because I always heard it.” But he doesn’t replicate his father’s music. “I probably have a little more aggressive style.” The young Dopsie had the advantage of hearing not just his father’s music, but that of Clifton Chenier as well as the sounds his own contemporaries are making….


University Choral Society auditioning singers for new season of Bach, Brahms & Christmas music

BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS An exciting season is ahead for the Bowling Green State University Choral Society. Bowling Green State Bach Cantata No. 80, the Brahms Requiem, and a new, festive holiday concert titled “Joyous Sounds” are all being planned. Auditions for community members of the choral society will be held on the evenings of Aug. 15 and Aug. 22. Community members who would like to participate in the UCS should sign up for an audition time online at http://bit.ly/2f7Z5Pd. Those auditioning should bring a piece to sing. The first rehearsal of the season will begin at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 in 1040 Moore Musical Arts Center at BGSU. This year’s performance schedule includes: Oct. 29, 4 p.m.  – J.S. Bach Cantata No. 80 “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) with soloists Chelsea Cloeter, Ellen Scholl, Christopher Scholl and Lance Ashmore, the chancel choir of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and a chamber orchestra at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 315 S. College Drive, Bowling Green Nov. 28, 7 p.m.  – “Joyous Sounds: A Yuletide Celebration” with the BGSU Graduate Brass Quintet and organist Michael Gartz at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green April 22, 3 p.m.  – Brahms “Ein deutsches Requiem” (A German Requiem) with the BGSU Philharmonia in Kobacker Hall on the BGSU campus.


Blind Boys of Alabama brings sound rooted deep in the American soul to Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Blind Boys of Alabama are ready to pull listeners up by their roots at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The festival has always celebrated American roots music in its 25 years. But no other act can match the depth of the roots of the Blind Boys of Alabama. The band got its start as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers in 1938 at the Talladega Institute for the Negro Deaf and Blind in Alabama, and has been sharing the uplift of gospel music ever since. They quit school to tour and later were renamed the Five Blind Boys of Alabama as a way to gin up competition with a similar group that was dubbed the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. The band scored its first hit with “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine” in 1948. Starting when he was 9, lead singer Jimmy Carter has been along on the entire journey. (Another founder Clarence Fountain records with the ensemble but is unable to tour.) The Blind Boys of Alabama will perform on the Main Stage of the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Saturday, Sept.9, at 8 p.m. Over the years, the rhythms underneath those tight five-part harmonies have evolved, integrating funk, soul, blues, even rap. The vocals, though, have remained true to the band’s roots, said long-time member Ricky McKinnie. “Our voices are what make us the Blind Boys,” he said. “The Blind Boys believe in good harmony. As long as we can keep the harmony as tight as it is, the better off we are.” McKinnie, who sings second tenor and occasionally plays drums,…


Music marathon at Toledo Museum to mark centenary of composer Lou Harrison, Aug. 12

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, in conjunction with Bowling Green State University, will celebrate the centenary year of Lou Harrison with a music marathon from noon until 10 p.m. on Aug. 12. Harrison (1917-2003) – a composer, environmentalist and gay icon – began his own musical revolution more than 50 years ago, and is considered the godfather of the influential world music movement, particularly its popularity in the West. His more than 300 compositions written for symphony orchestra, ballet, small chamber ensembles and soloists incorporate western, eastern and custom-made instruments. “We welcome opportunities to host fascinating, innovative performances for our visitors, and this year’s music marathon celebrating Lou Harrison is no exception,” said TMA Programs Manager Scott Boberg. The schedule includes chamber music, a documentary film about Harrison and a demonstration of gamelan, the traditional Indonesian ensemble of mostly percussive instruments used widely in Harrison’s compositions. The marathon culminates with a Peristyle concert at 7:30 p.m. featuring Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion performing two concertos: The Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra featuring Grammy Award-winning soloist Paul Jacobs, and the Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra with soloist Todd Reynolds. Harrison is best known for challenging the traditional music establishment with his explorations of new tonalities and propulsive rhythms and his ground-breaking use of percussion. His contemporaries and colleagues included composers John Cage, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Leonard Bernstein; Living Theater founder Judith Malina; and choreographer Merce Cunningham. Beyond his myriad musical accomplishments, Harrison was also recognized and received multiple awards as a political activist. Merwin Siu, artistic administrator of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra…


Bobby G brings taste of Delta blues to Howard’s

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Robert Gray first got hooked on the blues listening to sound standing outside the juke joint in his native Winterville, Mississippi. He and his friends didn’t have the money to get in so they absorbed the sounds that wafted from the homespun club. “We just loved what was going on,” he said, “so we would try to sing, just walking down the road singing. That’s when I first got it.” That was years before Robert Gray began Bobby G, the blues singer. Bobby G, now 73, will perform Saturday, July 15, at 7 p.m. at Howard’s Club H in downtown Bowling Green with Curtis Grant Jr. and the Midnight Rockers. Cover charge is $5. Bobby G will also perform Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The performance celebrates the release of “Still Sanding” on Third Street Cigar Records. This is the bluesman’s first full-length album, and it’s giving the world – it’s charting in Italy, Australia, and elsewhere – its first taste of Bobby G. John Henry, a local blues impesario said, the bluesman is “a treasure.” Because Gray stayed around home, raised two children with his wife, and didn’t go out on the road and experience the hardships and bad habits that so often entails, “he’s well preserved.” His voice is clear, with a sweet high range, though he can growl when the tune demands it. That’s all on display on “Still Standing,” a set of originals written by Johnny Rawls. Before all this could transpire and he could take that love of the blues to the stage, he needed…