Music

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

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival will feature a mix of new and familiar acts. That’s not unusual. That they feature veterans and newcomers is also par for the course. That those act will come on the wings of critical plaudits, well that goes without saying. Probably the biggest change on the festival’s music scene is one most people may not notice, and that’s as it should be. Kelly Wicks, one of the festival’s founders, is stepping down from his role as chair of the performing arts committee. Taking on that key role are Cole Christensen and Tim Concannon, two long-time festival volunteers who’ve worked with Wicks. “We’re not reinventing the wheel,” Christensen said. “It’s about preserving the great traditions of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. We’ll continue to feature local regional national and international talent and also to give people acts people don’t get to see. The festival has reputation for having great music, and we’re going to keep that.” That means performers whom festivalgoers have never heard of before will be their favorites after the second weekend in September. After a few months of learning the ropes (with Wicks offering some advice), most of the main stage slots are booked for the festival that kicks off Friday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. and closes Sunday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. It’s been bookended by the blues. The festival opens with the Tony Godsey band, a regional blues band that’s set to release its aptly title “Black Swamp Territory,” a collection of 10 original tunes. Closing will be an old friend, Michael Katon, the…


Jazz acts ready to jam at Toledo Botanical Garden

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


Sun sets the stage for Art in the Park

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News All kinds of artists turned out for Bowling Green’s second annual Art in the Park in Simpson Garden Park. Artists were drawing, painting, doing needle work. Adult and budding actors staged shows. Performer Nick Zoulek blew saxophone; Michiko Saiki blew bubbles. And, of course, there were those who expressed their artistic inclinations by snapping photos with their smart phones. Jacqueline Nathan, president of the Bowling Green Arts Council, said the Art in the Park was a success, drawing at least as many attendees as last year’s inaugural event. Sunny weather in the 80s certainly helped. Aaron Pickens, of Grand Rapids, was painting a line of arbor vitae. Painting outdoors is way of taking a break from his highly detailed and realistic paintings of toys. Those can take 500 hours to complete. But if painting outdoors is fun, it’s serious fun. Painting outdoors is a challenge. There’s so much detail, he said. “You have to learn what to leave out. The landscape taught me how to paint.” Denise Carter was working on a rag rug that will serve as a wall hanging. She pulled brightly colored fabric through the weave of a coffee bean sack. The fabric became flowers, but Carter wasn’t depicting the blossoms in front of her. For her working outside was enjoyable because the colors were so much brighter in the full sun. Nearby in the amphitheater the sun served as stage lighting for theater. The Black Swamp Players offered the all-too-topical political satire “The Spot” about the filming of a candidate’s television commercial. The one-act play cast light on a process…


Start a new chapter by learning to play ukulele at library

From Wood County District Public Library Book groups and ukuleles take center stage at Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., BG) in the library’s upcoming adult programming for the week of June 13 – 19. Events are free and open to all. Monday, June 13 · Kristin Wetzel leads the Page to Table cookbook discussion group meeting at 6:30 pm in the Carter House. This month’s meeting focuses on “Food Network Stars.” Participants, may bring a dish prepared from a cookbook by their favorite Food Network chef, along with a copy of the recipe, noting any changes made. The library will supply flatware and dinnerware. Tuesday, June 14 · The library’s Diversity in America book group, led by Jim Litwin meets in the 1st Floor Meeting Room to discuss Sally Denton’s American Massacre. Thursday, June 16 · Coffee Talk book group, led by Kristin Wetzel, holds its annual “Book to Film Day” in the 1st Floor Meeting Room. At 10:00 am the group will discuss Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Following a break for lunch, the group resumes its meeting at 1:00 pm to watch the book’s critically acclaimed film adaptation (Oscar nominee Best Film and Best Screenplay, Nick Hornby), featuring Saoirse Ronan (Oscar nominee, Best Actress). Sunday, June 19 · Ukulele playing is taking the area by storm, thanks in no small part to the Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp (GRÜBS). If you have a ukulele and are looking for a fun, friendly, and helpful group to explore your instrument with, join members of the GRÜBS at 3:00 pm this Sunday in WCDPL’s 1st Floor…


Music duo: Expect some unexpected fun at Grounds show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sitting down in Grounds for Thought with Michiko Saiki and Rob Wallace to chat about their upcoming concert, the conversation takes an unexpected turn. Saiki, a vocalist and pianist, said in her improvised performances she aspires to the kind of profound humor experienced in the work of the writer (and BG eatery namesake) Samuel Beckett. Wallace notes that the connection is apt. Their performances like Beckett’s writing can “very intense but funny.” A short discourse on the intersection of music, language  and humor ensues. Still, Wallace said, audiences “don’t need to have all these references.” “You don’t need to understand it to like it,” he continued. “There’s a great deal of audience interaction. This is going to be fun. … It’s not going to be complicated or over your head.” When Saiki and Wallace perform, the music is infused with language, words emerge from lines created on the spot.  The music infuses the words with surprising meanings, and the words help shape the musical lines. Saiki and Wallace will present a free concert of improvised duets Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m. in Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. Bowling Green. Asked how they will prepare for Thursday’s show, Wallace laughs. For each performance, he said, they bring all their musical experiences to the table. What happens next is anyone’s guess. For Saiki those experiences go all the way back to her childhood in Japan. She studied classical piano, but wanted to be a pop, rock or jazz singer. So her parents sent her to America where she could study jazz singing. She…


Ohio Humanities Presents Ohio Chautauqua in Rossford

From ROSSFORD CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU   History comes to life  in Rossford June 28 through July 2 when Ohio Humanities brings its  Ohio Chautauqua 2016 tour to Rossford. The theme for 2016 is “The Natural World” featuring chemist Marie Curie, Iroquois leader Cornstalk, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, President Theodore Roosevelt, and zoologist Dian Fossey. Building on the 19th-century tradition established on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake, Ohio Chautauqua is a five-day community event that combines living history performances, music, education, and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind cultural event the entire community will enjoy. Daytime activities feature stimulating adult programs and hands-on workshops for youth hosted at the Rossford Library, 720 Dixie Highway. Each evening, family, friends and visitors gather as live music fills the air in Veterans Park at the Marina, 300 Hannum Avenue with convenient parking and buses from Rossford High School. Then, a talented performer appears on stage, bringing a historic figure to life through personal stories and historic detail. This enriching and delightfully entertaining experience is perfect for every generation. With its warm, nostalgic vibe, this truly unique experience is sure to open minds and start conversations. A daily schedule can be found online at www.VisitRossfordOhio.com or www.OhioHumanities.org. Sponsors of Ohio Chautauqua 2016 in Rossford, Ohio include Ohio Humanities, the Rossford Convention & Visitors Bureau, ProMedica Bay Park Hospital, Lake Erie Living Magazine, Welch Publishing, Wood County Cultural Arts Grant, TARTA, Northwestern Water & Sewer District, the Rossford Business Association, Meijer Rossford, Costco Perrysburg, Camping World, the City of Rossford and the Rossford Library. Daytime Programs Rossford Public Library 720 Dixie Highway, 
Rossford. Programs for youth begin…


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

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This tale of global cultural connections begins with a car ride. Thomas Rosenkranz was talking with his friend and fellow pianist Nathanael May, the founder of the SoundSCAPE festival in Maccagno, Italy. They like the town in the Lombardy region in northwest Italy bordering Switzerland. They trusted the people they worked with and the musical and housing facilities were good. SoundSCAPE, now 10 years old, had developed a reputation as a top festival for contemporary music, and they wondered if they could extend their stay by tagging on another, separate piano festival. So the Maccagno Piano Days Festival was born last summer. Rosenkranz, a piano professor at Bowling Green State University, said their discussions turned to who would to study at the festival. “Where are most of the pianists coming from nowadays who want to do these kind of things, come to Europe to study, and can afford it? They mostly come from China. That’s what we realized.” Rosenkranz, who has spent the past year in China, has establsihed ties to that country. When he was on the faculty at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, he frequently traveled to Taiwan to teach and perform. When he came to BGSU seven years ago he was part of a delegation of faculty sent to China by Dean Richard Kennell of the College of Musical Arts to perform and recruit. “When we were there I fell in love with it,” Rosenkranz said. He’s been returning ever since. This year he focused on establishing links to the major conservatories throughout the country, an effort made possible by…


Simpson Garden site for open air celebration of the arts

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green Arts Council is hoping to establish a new event on the city’s arts calendar. Friday, June 10, the council along with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Ave., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. This is the event’s second year. Art in the Park is intended as a low key summer night’s excursion, said Jacqueline Nathan, president of the arts council. “The original thought was it’d be plein air (open air) painting and music in the park. “The arts council wanted to have some signature event and work with the community.” Paintings will set up their easels throughout the park, capturing the early summer beauty in paint. In its second year, the event has added elements. This year, thanks to the sponsorship of the Montessori School and the Parks and Recreation Department, there will be interactive activities for children organized by the Montessori staff. Adults will also have a chance to work on a community stain glass project with the guidance of noted stained glass artist Gail Christofferson. The finished work will be displayed at the community center. Theater will be presented in the amphitheater. The Black Swamp Players will present a short one-act play, “The Spot,” by Steven Dietz at 5 and 6 p.m. “The Spot” is a satirical look at how political campaign managers approach their candidates’ TV commercials. Horizon Youth Theatre will present an excerpt from its upcoming musical production “Honk!” at 5:30 and 6:30. The show is a modern adaptation by Anthony Drewe of the Hans Christian Andersen story…


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

DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nick Zoulek’s music for solo saxophone involves working with many people. The saxophonist-composer builds his work on collaborations with dancers, artists and filmmakers. From those collaborations grew the music that will appear on his first CD, “Rushing Past Willow.’ The recording of his original compositions for solo saxophone will be released on the Innova label later this summer. Videos of some of the pieces can be seen on www.youtube.com/zouleksax. While the recording will be music only, Zoulek, a student in the Doctor in Musical Arts in Contemporary Music program at Bowling Green State University, wanted to capture the passion that led to the creative process. The videos juxtapose the sound of Zoulek’s saxophones, alto, tenor, and the elephantine bass, with images of light sculpture by Erwin Redl, animation by John Simmons, who works under the name Simsies, and dancers. “The music came first,” Zoulek said in a recent interview.  “But it was inspired through so many visual memories, so many collaborations and improvisations, I wanted to capture those moments.” The compositions all grew from the practice of improvising that has been a central part of Zoulek’s playing dating back to his lessons in high school. He remembers that toward the end of his lesson his teacher would pick up his saxophone or sit at the piano and just say “here we go.” “I didn’t realize that was unusual,” Zoulek said. “I was very fortunate to have had teachers who were well versed in free improvisation and at the same time the classical and jazz traditions.” As a student of jazz, he learned “bebop change running” and…


BGSU faculty among Ohio arts award winners

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Three members of the Bowling Green State University faculty have received $5,000 Ohio Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council. The awards are recognition by the artists’ peers for a body of work. Among this year’s recipients are writers Theresa Williams and Lawrence Coates, both of whom teach in the Creative Writing program, and composer Mikel Kuehn, of the College of Musical Arts. Coates, who has received recognition for his novels set in his native northern California, said it was good to receive recognition from Ohio, where he has lived and taught for 15 years. While his novels are most often set in the past and focus on the history of California, his stories often have Ohio locales. One, “Bats,” a piece of flash fiction, won the 2013 Barthelme Award. “People really seem to like the stories I set in Ohio,” he said. He included a few of those in his application. Still “when I write novels I tend to go back to where I feel home is,” he said. “As a teacher as well as a writer I hope to inspire my students to write great fiction set in Ohio,” he said “I hope my students take on that work.” Coates said he plans to use some of the grant to finance the research on forthcoming projects, including a novel set in the years after the Gold Rush. He has to travel to archives to find some of the material he needs. “Not everything is on the internet,” he said. Williams said she will spend her grant on needs closer at hand –…


Thank You, Mr. Brown

The following is a reflection piece written by Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, who sang in the Memorial Choir to honor Jim Brown. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green was nearly full for Jim Brown’s Celebration of Life service Saturday morning. I scanned the crowd as people filed in, looking mostly for those I remembered from high school. We sat in the section to the right of the pulpit with other members of the Memorial Choir. Stacey (Timmons) Higgins from the Class of 1990 was sitting on my left; Amanda Gullufsen, a fellow graduate of the Class of 1991, was on my right. Both had been Madrigal Singers with Mr. Brown in High School and had traveled with him to the former Soviet Union as it was crumbling. I had been in regular Choir my 10th – 12th grade years, singing such memorable pieces as “I Sing The Body Electric” (from FAME) and the Rutter Requiem. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Brown had known John Rutter personally. My husband, John Zibbel, had graduated from BGHS some years after me and had been fortunate enough to be a student in the first Humanities Class co-taught by Mrs. Dianne Klein (Former English / Creative Writing) and Mr. Brown in their last years teaching before retirement. John’s class in the 98-99 school year was themed “Making The Midwest Home.” They traveled by bus to Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In speaking about the Humanities class, Mrs. Klein stated that due to the closeness that the groups experienced from traveling around the country together, the students became family to Mr. Brown as much as his own blood relatives. John’s classmate…


Emily Freeman Brown honored as Professor of Creative Arts Excellence

BGSU Office of Marketing & Comunications There have been many high notes during Dr. Emily Freeman Brown’s 33-year career at Bowling Green State University. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in music performance studies, has been named the 2016 Professor of Creative Arts Excellence. The title is conferred upon members of the faculty already holding the rank of professor and who have established outstanding national and international recognition through research and publication or creative/artistic achievement in their disciplines. The title is for a period of three years with an annual stipend of $5,000 — a $3,000 salary stipend and $2,000 for professional development. Brown serves as director of orchestral activities and professor of orchestral conducting in the College of Musical Arts, a position she has held since 1989. “Dr. Brown’s record of creative activity is stellar in every way and she maintains a national and international profile as an orchestral conductor and music educator,” said a letter of nomination, composed by a committee of Drs. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president; William Mathis, chair of music performance studies; and Marilyn Shrude, professor of music composition. “The quantity of her creative output is remarkable and the quality and prestige of her work has only grown through the years.” Last year, Brown released a book, “A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor,” published by Rowman and Littlefield. Guest conducting appearances make up the majority of her creative work, the nominators said. “Her record in this regard would qualify her consideration of this award by itself,” they said. “Her new book, publications and presentations and associated scholarship throughout her career are significant and lend…