Music

Arts beat: A night of song benefits La Conexion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When singer-songwriter Richard Shindell moved to Argentina, his wife’s homeland, he did what you’d expect a singer-songwriter to do: he wrote a song about it … in Spanish. That was one of the songs he sang Monday night at a house concert hosted by Greg and Linda Rich as a benefit for La Conexion. He acknowledged that “Que Hago Ahora” was written in elementary Spanish to an audience that included a number of native Spanish speakers, such as Beatriz Maya, a native of Argentina and executive director of La Conexion. Shindell said he realized just how elementary his Spanish was as he penned the song, so he wove his deficiencies in grammar into the lyrics, one of the few songs ever written that refers to the subjunctive case. It seemed appropriate to have an American living abroad help raise money for La Conexion, which helps immigrants to this area. That coincidence was not the reason he was there. He was there because he’s an expert enough to write a song, in a language foreign to him, and refer to the subjective case. He’s a strong enough writer to pick up an image of a bird flying off in the horizon while a wave crushes a sand castle and turn it into a ballad. He’s a strong enough musician to back his voice with atmospheric strings that provide fills, strums, bell-like resonances, and percussive accents. And Shindell is a good enough storyteller to weave these pieces together into an engaging evening of entertainment When his host Greg Rich, himself a songwriter, referenced the country song “Good Year for the Roses” in one of the three songs in his introductory set,  Shindell opened his set with the song itself. Rich’s song was about how he had mistakenly included this classic breakup tune in the playlist for his and Linda’s wedding reception. “Good Year for the Roses” was playing as they entered. Shindell quipped looking at his own setlist that the theme could very well be songs inappropriate for wedding receptions. He didn’t stint on the heartbreak. Not with “Are You Happy Now?” set on Halloween, when his lover has abandoned him for another man taking the trick-or-treat candy with her. The heartbreak wasn’t only about romantic love. “All Wide Open” tells of a drug addict daughter showing up at her father’s house before Thanksgiving, wanting another…


Local organist to perform in Fayette

Submitted by ED DULING Ed Duling will be the featured performer at the last concert of the Fine Arts Season on Sunday, March 18, at 3 p.m. at the Fayette Opera House in downtown Fayette, Ohio. The event will center upon hymns (music and words) and other concert and church music of four generations of the Wesleys, starting with the father of John and Charles, founders of Methodism, and extending to Samuel Sebastian Wesley. Coshocton native, Ed Duling, a semi-retired music education professor, is the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green and is nearing 50 years as an organist or choir director in churches in several Ohio areas. He continues to teach part-time for Kent State University’s online MMME program and holds interests in church history, rural life, and sheet music, and local history.  This program will marry two of Dr. Duling’s interests in history and music as he is currently serving as president of the United Methodist Historical Society of Ohio.  This special concert will focus upon the reed organs that have been restored by Don Glasgow, a talented restorer of reed organs, including a seldom-seen three-manual (and pedal) Mason and Hamlin (ca. 1890), salvaged in pieces from a Toledo carriage house, and now powered by an electric blower. Duling will also play upon the 19th-century Alexandre and Sons harmonium, probably built in Paris. This pre-Easter concert will also showcase the histories of the Fayette and the West Franklin United Methodist Churches and will include the pianists and organists for these two area churches. The audience will be invited to sing some of the well-known Wesleyan hymns with organ and piano accompaniment.  Refreshments will be served in the lower level pavilion of the Opera House after the concert. Tickets may be purchased at the door and will cost between $10 and $12.


BG native Maria Sampen returns home to perform recital at Toledo Museum

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maria Sampen and violin did not get off to the best start. As a 4-year-old Suzuki student, she stepped on her violin. It was an accident. She says. Her parents decided maybe she should take piano lessons. She did eventually find her way back to her original instrument. Now Sampen teaches violin at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington, and she performs around the world as a soloist with orchestras and smaller ensembles. Until January she hadn’t presented a solo recital in the area since she graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1993. She and pianist Thomas Rosenkranz played the first of two concerts titled “Brahms in Context” at the Toledo Museum of Art. The second concert will be presented Sunday at 3 p.m. in the museum’s Great Gallery. The concept for the concerts is to play all Johannes Brahms’ pieces for violin and piano and pair them with contemporary pieces, and in one case a piece by Clara Schumann, a friend and possible unrequited love interest of Brahms. The idea for the recital first germinated first in China. In 2015, Sampen had traveled to teach and perform at Szechuan Conservatory in China with her parents John Sampen and Marilyn Shrude, both members of the faculty of Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. Sampen needed a pianist and her parents suggested their BGSU colleague Rosenkranz, who was in Chengdu on sabbatical. The concert went well. So well in fact that several months later Rosenkranz contacted Sampen with the idea of performing the Brahms pieces in a recital with contemporary works. Performing with Sampen, had led him to reconsider the music of Brahms, which he had previously “never warmed up to,” he said. At the January concert he explained he discovered innovations and rhythm subtleties “under the surface” of the music. Rosenkranz suggested the museum’s Great Performances series as a good venue for the performance. That performance included William Bolcom’s jazzy Violin Sonata No, 2. Sampen knows Bolcom’s work well from her time as an undergraduate and doctoral student at the University of Michigan where he teaches. Sampen has frequently performed his violin concerto. On this Sunday’s recital the duo will play Brahms third sonata and his scherzo as well as Alfred Schnittke’s First Sonata for Violin and Piano, one of the most popular post-World War II violin sonatas. Sampen…


Community band features saxophone soloist Stan George

From BOWLING GREEN AREA COMMUNITY BAND A Sax-Sational! Mid-Winter Concert is presented by the Bowling Green Area Community Bands this Sunday, March 18 at 4 p.m. Featuring saxophonist Stan George, a  Bowling Green resident and Perrysburg Schools’ music educator, the bands offer a great variety of music guaranteed to chase away the winter blues. Stan George is a second-generation music teacher; his father, Jim George, will share the stage with him on Sunday. Stan has performed around the area, nationally and internationally as both a jazz and classical artist. He has been a member of the former Ohio Air National Guard Band of the Great Lakes “The Triple Nickel”, the professional saxophone quartet Sax Fourth Avenue and many appearances as  guest soloist with area bands and orchestras. Currently, George has an active schedule performing with the Toledo-based swing band Hepcat Revival. For Sunday’s performance, Stan will perform two works with the BGACB Concert  Band: Gunther Schuller’s tribute to the 1920s era saxophone pioneer Rudy  Wiedoeft entitled “Saxophobia” plus a virtuosic arrangement of the well-known Hungarian folk tune “Czardas.” BiG Band BG, the jazz band of the BGACB program will offer three selections at the midpoint of the concert, all of which will feature the saxophone. The band’s saxophone section is highlighted with “Four Brothers”, a tune synonymous with the innovative big bands of Woody Herman and “Sticks”, often associated with the great saxophonist Cannonball Adderly. The BiG Band BG closes with the ballad “Body and Soul”, with Stan George returning in a solo role. In celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, the BGACB has been programming his compositions on each concert this season. For the Mid-Winter event, the Concert Band is playing “Make Our Garden Grow” from the Bernstein musical Candide. Several programmatic works are scheduled, including de Meij’s ‘Aquarium,” Patrick Russell’s “Drive!” and a circus-style march” The Stormchasers” by Robert Sheldon. The BGACB performs in the Bowling Green Schools’ Performing Arts Center, 530 West Poe Road, Bowling Green. The facility is fully accessible to those with physical challenges and there is ample parking. The BGACB performs a six-concert schedule throughout the year, including two outdoor concerts in the Bowling Green community. The conductors of the BGACB are Thomas R. Headley, Catherine Lewis, Concert Band and William Lake conducts the big band. This concert is free. Donations are welcome, to support the BGACB, which is a 501c3 non-profit.


St. Tim’s Discovers features local jazz duo of Dickey & Lemle

From ST. TIMOTHY’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH The concluding concert of the 2017-18 season of St. Tim’s Discovers presents two well-known Toledo jazz musicians.  Saxophonist Mark Lemle and pianist Eric Dickey are performing a program featuring music from their new recording, “Wind, Stone and Ivory”. The Sunday, March 18 performance offers a great variety of jazz styles, including tunes by Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Thad Jones, Keith Jarrett and Michael Brecker. Dickey and Lemle, both area natives, are familiar to audiences from many venues. Mark Lemle has performed with the Toledo Jazz Orchestra, the Toledo and Adrian Symphonies, Ramona Collins and Line One and the Homewreckers among others. As a vocalist, Mark has been heard with the Toledo Diocesan Choir, Christ the King Church choir and the Toledo Opera Chorus. Lemle also is the owner of Lemle’s Piano Services, a full-service piano repair and restoration business. The St. Tim’s performance will utilize a completely restored Steinway series “O” grand piano for which Mark was the lead technician. Eric Dickey has performed and composed in a vast array of genres, including classical, jazz, Broadway and liturgical music. Locally, Eric has performed with the Toledo Symphony, the Adrian and Northwest Michigan Symphonies and the Perrysburg Symphony. His jazz performances include collaborations with trumpeters Clark Terry and Terence Blanchard, Al Jarreau and Peter Erskine. Currently, Dickey is the music director at Community of Christ Lutheran Church in Whitehouse and performs extensively as a freelance musician. Beginning at 3 p.m., the concert will be held in the sanctuary of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 871 East Boundary Street, Perrysburg, Ohio.  St. Tim’s Discovers is dedicated to bringing classical music to communities throughout Northwest Ohio. The performance is free and open to the public; doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m.  St. Timothy’s is fully accessible with plenty of convenient parking. Information on all upcoming events in the series is available at www.saint-timothy.net.  


Renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw to sing & teach at BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Soprano Dawn Upshaw, a five-time Grammy Award winner, is devoted to sharing her compelling love of music along with her tremendous vocal talent with people the world over. Now she returns to Bowling Green State University to present a public recital and work with BGSU voice students. With her will be her longstanding collaborator, pianist Gilbert Kalish, who will accompany her in performance and teach master classes to piano students. Except for the recital, all events are free and open to the public.Gilbert Kalish Upshaw and Kalish’s performance will begin at 8 p.m. March 18 in Kobacker Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are just $7 for adults and $3 for students, thanks to support from the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies, sponsor of their BGSU residency. All tickets will cost $10 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, by calling 419-372-8171, or purchased online. The concert will open with a selection of songs by Franz Schubert. Also on the program will be songs by Charles Ives, Bela Bartok, William Bolcom, Rebecca Clake, and Sheila Silver. Kalish will perform Ives’ “The Alcotts, from Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass.” “Dawn Upshaw’s visit to Bowling Green State University is an opportunity for our students to experience a singer of international stature live in concert,” said Christopher Scholl, an associate professor and coordinator of voice in the College of Musical Arts. “Ms. Upshaw is also well known for her passion to develop young artists. Her interaction with our students will be a priceless experience for our aspiring young professionals. The voice faculty and students are eagerly anticipating a residency filled with new concepts and professional inspiration.” Upshaw made her first appearance on the Kobacker stage in November 1998 as part of the former Festival Series, which brought world-class performers to campus. During the McMaster residency, Upshaw will hold voice master classes from 4:30 to 6 p.m. March 19 in the Marjorie Conrad, M.D. Choral Room at the Wolfe Center, and again from 2:15 to 4 on March 20 in the same room. In addition, she will hold a question-and-answer session from 1 to 2 March 20, also in the Conrad Choral Room. Kalish will present a piano master class from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. March 19 in Bryan Recital…


“All Hands on Deck” brings a sense of purpose to its celebration of WWII generation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Jody Madaras, the song and dance man from Pemberville, created the musical “The All Hands on Deck Show” as a celebration of the World War II generation. The show brings together more than 40 hits from the era, tied together by a plot about a USO troupe. The show has found a home in Branson, Missouri, when it is not touring the country. As the members of that generation pass from the scene though, Madaras said he’s finding fans from an unexpected cohort. “We’re seeing a lot of Vietnam veterans,” he said. “The whole show is about unity. The Vietnam veterans I’ve spoken to and gotten to know have a yearning for unity.” The country was not a unified when they were sent to war, he said. Now they see this show about their parents’ generation as providing a sense of what they miss and long for. “All Hands on Deck” will return to the Valentine Theatre in Toledo Sunday, March 4, for a 2 p.m. matinee. Click here for tickets. https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/7156800/all-hands-on-deck-toledo-valentine-theatre “In six years I’ve personally learned a lot about our country just meeting these people,” said Madaras.  “One of thing I’ve learned that I didn’t know early on is that in 1942 every American had a purpose. Every citizen had a purpose. Every citizen felt like they could contribute to the country. “That could be the key to our future,” he said. It’s something his generation – he just turned 47 – could learn from and emulate. “That idea of every American having a purpose, I don’t think we have that kind of mindset.” That comes through in the songs, he said, especially the Rosie the Riveter. The famous image of the bicep flexing worker flashes on the screen. “These are women with a purpose; that’s powerful.” Madaras hopes the show, which he co-created, “in some small way” reminds people of the need for unity and a sense of “contributing to something greater than our own specific interests.” That may be a lesson for some of the show’s younger listeners. He said he’s seeing young families attend with their children. The parents want the kids to know these songs, and hear them performed live with a real orchestra. The show continues to evolve, Madaras said. He’s added another level of media. Photos are projected as a back drop behind the songs. So…


Soprano Dawn Upshaw with pianist Gilbert Kalish to perform & teach at BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Soprano Dawn Upshaw, a five-time Grammy Award winner, is devoted to sharing her compelling love of music along with her tremendous vocal talent with people the world over. Now she returns to Bowling Green State University to present a public recital and work with BGSU voice students. With her will be her longstanding collaborator, pianist Gilbert Kalish, who will accompany her in performance and teach master classes to piano students. Except for the recital, all events are free and open to the public. Upshaw and Kalish’s performance will begin at 8 p.m. March 18 in Kobacker Hall at Moore Musical Arts Center. Advance tickets are just $7 for adults and $3 for children, thanks to support from the Helen McMaster Endowed Professorship in Vocal and Choral Studies, sponsor of their BGSU residency. All tickets will cost $10 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in the Wolfe Center for the Arts, at 419-372-8171, or online at bgsu.edu/the-arts. “Dawn Upshaw’s visit to Bowling Green State University is an opportunity for our students to experience a singer of international stature live in concert,” said Christopher Scholl, an associate professor and coordinator of voice in the College of Musical Arts. “Ms. Upshaw is also well known for her passion to develop young artists. Her interaction with our students will be a priceless experience for our aspiring young professionals.  The voice faculty and students are eagerly anticipating a residency filled with new concepts and professional inspiration.” Upshaw made her first appearance on the Kobacker stage in November 1998 as part of the former Festival Series, which brought world-class performers to campus. During the McMaster residency, Upshaw will hold voice master classes from 4:30-6 p.m. March 19 in the Marjorie Conrad, M.D. Choral Room at the Wolfe Center, and again from 2:15-4 p.m. March 20 in the same room. In addition, she will hold a question-and-answer session from 1-2 p.m. March 20, also in the Conrad Choral Room. Kalish will present a piano master class from 2:30-4:30 p.m. March 19 in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Center. In addition to his performing partnership with Upshaw, he had a famed, 30-year partnership with the late mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani, and was the longtime pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players. Highly regarded as an educator, he is a Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University and was on the faculty at the Tanglewood Music Center for many years. As a musician,…


Top BGSU musicians put their heart into concerto performances

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Long before the winners of the Competitions in Musical Performance step on stage in front of the Bowling Green Philharmonia, they need to strike up a relationship with the composition to which they want to devote a chunk of their lives. That means hundreds of hours of practice, then additional hours rehearsing with an accompanist before the December competition where they have their short time on stage during the semifinal and finals rounds until they hear the full force of an orchestra at their back. On Sunday at 3 p.m. that work will come to fruition on the Kobacker Hall stage during the annual Concerto Concert. Four musicians, two graduate students and two undergraduates, were selected from a field of 87 competitors back in December. Pianist Zhanglin Hu will open the concert with one of the war horses of classical literature. The sophomore piano performance major will perform the first movement of Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto. Hu said he and his teacher, Robert Satterlee, selected the piece because its grandeur and majesty fit Hu’s style. Having the support of the orchestra only accentuates those qualities, he said. “With the orchestra you can hear a lot of different voices,” he said. “The orchestra produces a richer sound.” That means as a soloist he must invest “more and more energy into his playing.” Hu said that he enjoyed working with the conductor Robert Jay Garza III, who brought his own ideas to the table. “The concerto is the story between the orchestra and piano,” Hu said. Saxophonist Andrew Hosler has a much smaller ensemble behind him for Walter Mays’ “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Ensemble.” The ensemble has a dozen winds, strings, percussion, and organ. Hosler said some string parts can be doubled to make the orchestra larger but he and conductor by Alexander Popovici opted to stay with the original, spare orchestration. The piece, the sophomore explained, requires great interplay between the ensemble and the soloist. It does not have an actual meter, instead the performers have freedom to determine how long each segment can take, so he finds himself adjusting his tempo to match the flow of the ensemble. He heard part of a recording of the piece played by his teacher John Sampen, who commissioned it in 1974. Hosler knew he wanted to perform it. “Only a handful of people have played it,”…


Young at art: Youthful pianists display prodigious gifts at Dubois competition at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No one landed a quadruple Lutz at the 2018 David D. Dubois Piano Competition Sunday. That wasn’t the only difference between the kind of athletic competition seen globally and that held in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University. There were no cheering throngs, just a handful of listeners. But then no one flopped. No gold medals are handed out. But the winners collect checks, and all participants, even those who applied but didn’t make the semifinals are eligible for BGSU scholarships. Collecting the $3,000 top prize, was 16-year-old Raymond Feng, of Rochester, NY. Isabelle Liau, 16, of Novi, Michigan, placed second collecting $2,000 and bettering on her third place performance in last year’s competition. Third, $1,000, went to 13-year-old Angelina Ning from Charlotte, North Carolina. To compete classically-trained pianists in grades 8 through 12 (age 18 or younger) must prepare a 20-30 minutes long program of music from the last 500 years or so, with music from at least three stylistic periods, Baroque through contemporary. One piece must be a Classical Era sonata – Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and their contemporaries. All must be memorized with the exception of pieces composed after 1945. Though most finalists played a contemporary piece, none took advantage of that exception. The only music visible was on the judges’ table in front Robert Satterlee, of the BGSU piano faculty, and the guest artists Ursula Oppens and Phillip Moll. Behind them sat Laura Melton, also of the piano faculty, who was the driving force behind bringing the event here, and continues to direct it. Robert Swinehart, who represents the Dubois Trust, said that staging the festival at BGSU was a wise decision. He attends every year, and every year, he said, the field of pianists improves. “This is a phenomenal event.” He was a close friend of David Dubois for 20 years, he said. Starting as a high school math teacher, Dubois applied his knowledge to management systems beyond education in books, speeches and consulting. He also loved music, and sang in the National Cathedral choir. He wanted his estate to benefit young musicians, Swinehart said. That took the form of the competition at BGSU as well as organ scholarship at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. “He would be a very happy man to see how well the money is being used for the further education of…


Camaraderie is a reward for pianists at competitions, guest artist Ursula Oppens says

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the 25 competitors in the David D. Dubois Piano Festival and Competition at Bowling Green State University this weekend will not have a spot in the winner’s circle. They won’t share in the monetary prizes, nor the recognition. That doesn’t mean, said guest artist and judge Ursula Oppens, that they won’t gain something. Certainly there’s the discipline and focus performing in such a high level competition brings. They also may very well find friendship. Oppens, who will be one of the judges in Sunday’s final round, said even as a young pianist growing up in New York City in the 1950s, she didn’t know many pianists. “Being a pianist is solitary.” When pianists do get together they can form close bonds. Just how close and enduring those bonds can be will be on display Saturday night when Oppens and childhood friend Phillip Moll, also a festival guest artist and judge, will perform music for two pianos. The Dubois competition begins Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall with a master class with the guest artists. It continues on Saturday with the semifinal round in which 25 pianists from around the country will perform, and concluding Sunday morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. with the final round. The Dubois attracts teenage pianists from around the country. The performance level is high, with the semifinalists boasting impressive resumes of triumphs in other competitions. They will be competing for awards of $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second, and $1,000 for third. Oppens said as a judge “mainly I just try to let go and see how exciting and wonderful I feel the music is.” She said that “winning gives a person a great deal of confidence. Not winning shouldn’t destroy it.” And the recognition that comes with victory helps when advancing in the musical world. Her former teacher Rosina Lhevinne said “she wants her students to do competitions so they will practice on Saturday night instead of going to the movies.” The competitions themselves, Oppens said, are social occasions. “This is a way to hang out and make friends.” Oppens and Moll met when they were both studying with Leonard Shure. They attended the music festival in Aspen, Colorado. Their friendship continued when he went to study at Harvard and she attended nearby Radcliffe. They will reprise a performance of W.A. Mozart’s Concerto…


Student singing association to host benefit trivia night, Feb. 28

From BGSU CHAPTER OF STUDENT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TEACHERS OF SINGERS Bowling Green State University’s current chapter of SNATS (Student National Association of Teachers of Singers) was formed in the  fall of 2017 by Rachael Cammarn, second year graduate student and current president, Adelle Blauser, senior and current secretary, and Autum Jordan, senior and current social chair. They began to work on the chapter the summer beforehand. SNATS comes from the National Association of Teachers of Singers (NATS), which is a national professional organization and includes both performers and teachers of voice. Their mission statement is as follows: “To encourage the highest standards of the vocal art and of ethical principles in the teaching of singing; and to promote vocal education and research at all levels, both for the enrichment of the general public and for the professional advancement of the talented.” While BGSU has had chapters in the past, this is the first active SNATS chapter in at least three years. We have 12 official members (who all pay dues). The current vision of our chapter in its inaugural year is not only to establish an environment for growth in knowledge and practice of voice performance, but also to create a community in which students are enabled to proactive creativity, leadership, and outreach. We have held four official events so far: Meet & Greet with the singers of The Toledo Opera’s “Pearl Fishers,” A Panel Presentation With The Resident Artists of The Toledo Opera, “Death by Aria” Recital, and a Career Presentation by Cleveland Opera Theater’s Megan Thompson. All of these events have had non-member attendance and participation. Upcoming events include: SNATS Trivia Night, a Masterclass with Elizabeth Baldwin, and a Guest Lecture on vocal health with Dr. Ronald Scherer. SNATS Trivia Night will take place on Wednesday, February 28 from 6-8 p.m. at Ziggy’s in Bowling Green. The trivia will be written by musicology graduate student, Alexis Scangas and will include trivia customized to singers and musicians. Ziggy’s will be donating 10 percent  of their proceeds back to SNATS. Prizes have been donated by local businesses and organizations and include: two complimentary tickets to the world premiere of “I Dream” by The Toledo Opera, two complementary tickets to any performance by The Toledo Symphony, two compeimentary tickets to any performance (excluding “Wicked”) at The Stranahan Theater, two day passes to The Toledo Zoo, Gift Certificates to Campus Pollyeye’s,…


Mantra sextet to perform new work for percussion at BGSU concert

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Percussion sextet Mantra Percussion returns to Bowling Green State University for a concert at 8 p.m. Feb. 19 in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. The group’s performance is part of the Music at the Forefront series sponsored by the University’s MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, and is free and open to the public. Committed to honoring the past and expanding the future of percussion music, Mantra Percussion brings to life new works for percussion by living composers, collaborates with artists from diverse genres and styles, and questions what it means to communicate music with percussion instruments. The group engages new audiences by challenging the standard concert format through evening-length events that look toward a grander artistic vision. Their BGSU performance will feature new works by Aaron Siegel, Lesley Flanigan, Tristan Perich and Michael Fiday. After co-commissioning Michael Gordon’s evening-length percussion sextet “Timber,” they gave the work’s United States premiere in October 2011 at BGSU and subsequently toured the work internationally. They also gave the New York premiere of “Timber” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival in December 2012. Since forming as an ensemble in 2009, Mantra Percussion has been featured throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including the Bang on a Can Marathon, Duke Performances, the Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, National Public Radio, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Drogheda Festival in Ireland, the Ecstatic Music Festival and the Ecstatic Summer Festival, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Right Now Festival in South Korea, Vancouver New Music and numerous others. Over the past eight years, Mantra Percussion has commissioned and/or premiered more than 40 new works for percussion ensemble. Mantra Percussion has been hailed by the New York Times as “finely polished . . . a fresh source of energy” and by TimeOut New York as “forward thinking.” The group was praised by The New Yorker and TimeOut New York for presenting one of the 10 best classical performances of 2012. They recorded one of Time Out New York’s Ten Best Classical Albums of 2011,  Siegel’s “Science Is Only a Sometimes Friend,” on Lockstep Records,” Fiday’s “Hands On!” on Innova Records, and in 2016 released a double CD album, “Timber Remixed/Timber Live,” on Cantaloupe Music with 12 remixes of the piece by some of the leading electronica artists today, including  Squarepusher, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Tim Hecker, Fennesz, Oneohtrix Point Never, Hauschka and more. Music at the Forefront is an annual concert series featuring performances by accomplished and innovative performers of contemporary music.


Symphony’s North Star Festival celebrates music of African Americans

From the TOLEDO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Toledo has a rich history as a safe haven along the Underground Railroad, a 19th century network that helped many slaves escape to freedom. Toledo Symphony’s new North Star Festival highlights this local connection and celebrates the musical contribution of Black Americans throughout history. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will present this North Star Festival from February through April in a series of concerts and collaborations, presenting music by Black American composers and about Black American history—from songs brought over to America during times of slavery to more contemporary music that pays tribute to the brave men and women of the Civil Rights Movement. “Lift Ev’ry Voice: The Musical Legacy of the Underground Railroad” will take place February 15, for two performances at 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra along with additional community organizations will come together to explore Toledo’s Underground Railroad history through music. Special friends from the Lathrop House will be on hand to narrate and make history come to life. This program features a screening of the word-less storybook “Unspoken” by Henry Cole and a sing-along of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” This event is sold out. A Preschool Storytime will take place February 22, at 10:30 a.m. at the Sanger branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. This Preschool Storytime will feature musical guest, members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Free and open to the public. Registration required. Reaching for Our Stars will take place February 25, at 5:00 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra will perform a neighborhood concert in celebration of Black History Month. Tickets at St. Martin de Porres, 419-241-4544. An Instrument Petting Zoo will take place February 27, at 4:30 p.m. at the Kent branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Children will see, hear, and play a variety of orchestral instruments. Members of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony Youth Quartet will present music inspired by spirituals from the 1850s to present day. Free and open to the public. “A Conversation on Romance and Spirituals” will take place March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Toledo branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Merwin Siu, Toledo Symphony Artistic Administrator and Principal Second Violinist, will provide insights behind the programming of Romance and Spirituals, the…


CD relives memorable night that bluesman Luther Allison put Howard’s on the map

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back before Howard’s was Howard’s Club H. Back when it was on the west side of North Main Street. Back when it served liquor, beer, wine, and sandwiches prepared upstairs, and it also served a lot of colorful characters, some of whom lived in the rooms out back. What it didn’t offer was live music. That is except for when a college professor assembled friends and guitars for an impromptu hootenanny singing folk songs, some with decidedly blue lyrics. When the Wood County District Public Library bought the property in the late 1960s as a site for its new facility, the bar was displaced across the street to the former Modern Heating storefront, and then to the room next door. For Charlie Davis the long-time manager this was an opportunity. Yes, the place that opened Feb. 14, 1973, was nicer. The floors were level for one thing. “It was supposed to be more of a club atmosphere instead of just a watering hole,” remembers Tom Lambert, who had worked at the bar since returning home from the Army. It also had room for live music. Davis had been wanting to host bands, especially blues bands, for a while, and now he had his chance. He started booking acts including J.B. Hutto, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Dawkins, as well as locals including Diamond Reo (not the 1980s national act with a slightly different spelling). The music drew decent crowds until about 18 months later when Chicago bluesman Luther Allison came to town for a September weekend in 1974. Lambert was manning the sound booth. He brought along his reel-to-reel tape recorder and jerry-rigged a connection. He caught local history on tape. The first night’s crowd was modest, Lambert remembers. Allison came to party, and the room could hardly contain his energy. Davis remembers Allison getting up on the bar and walking down in true blues fashion, jangling the lights as he went. When he got to the end he didn’t stop. Trailing a long cord to keep his guitar plugged in, Allison headed out the door and ended up playing in the middle of Main Street. A night to remember. Lambert said that once word got out about Friday’s show, the bar was packed the next night. In the early morning hours of Sunday, Lambert played the tapes from the shows back to Allison and…