BGSU College of Musical Arts

Student quintet adds a touch of brass to BGSU graduation

By ABBY SHIFLEY BG Independent Correspondent “I see the graduate brass quintet as this great bridge for the university, and the town, the College of Musical Arts with the university. It’s one of the few musical ambassadors in the College of Musical Arts,” Andrew Pelletier, faculty director of the quintet and BGSU professor of horn, said. In three out of four BGSU commencements, the graduate brass quintet will be performing music ranging from “easy listening” to the National Anthem. BGSU Firelands’ commencement will be the only ceremony to miss out on the music. The quintet has some jazz music prepared, and simple, catchy tunes that audiences can listen to comfortably in the background. “Stuff that puts you in a good mood,” Pelletier said, which is appropriate considering many graduates and their friends and families will be in high spirits during the ceremony. The quintet performs at the commencement ceremonies in both the fall and spring, has a full concert performance each semester and has professional recording sessions at the end of the semester. These high quality recordings can be used by the students professionally later in their lives. The quintet started in 2013.  It was “born out of necessity,” Pelletier said. Before the graduate brass quintet existed, the commencement involving College of Musical Arts graduates was done by one of the BGSU bands, and the other commencements were done by non-BGSU ensembles. However, the president’s office wanted to switch over to BGSU ensembles only, and because commencements were moved to the Stroh Center from Anderson Arena, a group smaller than the Concert Band or Wind Symphony was needed because of the  lack of space. “It was an opportunity for us in the CMA to kind of go into partnership with the university,” Pelletier said. It was a chance to not only provide music for commencement but also create a graduate-level ensemble that brings in some of the best brass students in the country. The quintet has also performed at the Toledo School of the Arts and the Toledo Museum of Art, and presents concerts and hosts master classes when high school honors band come to BGSU. That further contributes to its “CMA ambassador” reputation. “They’re a good public face for the college in the community,”…


Two music faculty recognized for excellence

Two faculty members, Myra Merritt-Grant and Elaine Lilies, in the College of Musical Arts were honored recently during the 2019 Faculty Excellence Awards. Merritt-Grant honored for teaching excellence Professor Myra Merritt-Grant’s dual focus on vocal technique and conveying the character and message of text has successfully helped her mentor hundreds of vocal students since 1995. Her passionate approach to building confidence in performers and extra, late hours of vocal coaching for recitals and performances have earned her the title of Professor of Teaching Excellence.  Bowling Green State University bestowed the title upon her at the 2019 Faculty Excellence Awards on April 16. The honor is designated for BGSU faculty members who hold the rank of full professor and whose extraordinary achievements as effective teachers in their discipline or in interdisciplinary fields deserve special recognition. Merritt-Grant will hold the title for three years and receive an annual stipend of $5,000, which includes $2,000 per year for professional development. Merritt-Grant received her bachelor’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music and her master’s from the Catholic University of America before making her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1982. As a full professor on the voice faculty in the Music Performance Studies Department at the College of Musical Arts, she has used her deep knowledge of healthy singing techniques, repertoire and musical styles, languages and performance tradition to give her students a transformative learning experience. Her dedication to bringing out the artistry and musicianship in her students caught the eye of her nominator, Dr. Laura Melton, Department of Music Performance Studies chair. “A large part of teaching excellence in music performance is building confidence in performers, and Ms. Merritt’s expertise in developing the careers of young singers does exactly that,” Melton wrote in her nomination letter. “In her 23 years in the College of Musical Arts, her students have won many competitions and awards including the National Opera Association Convention Vocal Competition and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition,” Merritt-Grant’s former student Tammie Bradley made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2017 following her three-year residency in the Lindemann Young Artist Program. In 2018, Bradley was featured in the title role of “Aida” for the Opéra Nationale de Lorraine in Nancy, France. According to Melton, “These are…


Arts beat: BGSU series inspires museum exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Exhibits now at the Toledo Museum of Art, pose the questions: What does art sound like? Or what does music look like? Earlier this month the museum opened “Everything Is Rhythm” in the New Media Gallery. The exhibit pairs contemporary paintings with musical selections. The exhibit was inspired EAR/EYE, a collaboration between the museum and the Bowling Green State University College of Music Arts. Those concerts feature students in the doctorate in contemporary music program performing live in the museum’s galleries.  The concept is the same — music is selected to reflect a specific work of art.  “Stay Awake” by Elizabeth Murray on display in “Everything Is Rhythm” For “Everything Is Rhythm,” the music is recorded. Hans Hofman’s evocative “Night Spell” from 1965 is complemented by a segment from Miles Davis’ improvised score for the Louis Malle film “Elevator to the Gallows.” Scott Boberg, manager of programs and audience engagement, said the juxtaposition of the jazz wail of Davis’ trumpet with the vibrant darkness of the painting drew a “wow,” from the museum’s director, Brian Kennedy. The exhibit, curated by Boberg and Halona Norton-Westbrook, director of curatorial affairs, features 14 paintings. In front of each is a station in which the visitor can plug headphones and listen to a selection of music.   “In some instances, the composer and artist were known to one another and shared a direct connection, while in other instances, the selected musical composition and art work share ideas, approaches or aspects such as rhythm, texture or basic structure. In some instances, the art work and music paired with it are separated by decades,” Boberg said.  This is intended to engage the viewer in contemplating the connection, Norton-Westbrook said. That linkage doesn’t get any tighter than the pairing of Agnes Martin’s meditation on shades of white, “#18,” painted in 1995 with Harold Budd’s 1996 piece dedicated to the painter.  Last fall Budd visited the museum and BGSU to perform and discuss his work. Judit Reigl’s tribute to Bach’s Art of the Fugue is paired with a selection from that music that was performed by a string quartet from the Toledo Symphony in the museum earlier this year. The op art of Victor Vasarely is set…


New music from BGSU trio to help spread awareness of The Cocoon & its work

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News A few years ago Natalie Magaña needed the help of the Cocoon, which is “committed to ending domestic violence and empowering those affected by it.” Now Magaña, who is a graduate student in flute performance at Bowling Green State University, wants to return the favor. Composer Chace Williams (image provided) The Emanate Trio will perform a benefit concert, “Sign in the Window,” Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. at St. John XXIII on Route 25 in Perrysburg. Other members of the trio are Emily Morin, piano, and Madalyn Navis, violin. The trio will perform  a composition, “Sign in the Window,” composed by fellow graduate student Chace Williams specifically for the concert. They will also perform their own arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango’ as well as music by Nino Rota, Mel Bonis, and Bohuslav Martinu Magaña said she and Navis play in the liturgical band at the church. They talked about forming a chamber group that could do benefit concerts for local causes. In January with Morin they formed Emanate Trio, and they started brainstorming about causes they may assist. About that time she saw a story in BG Independent News about The Cocoon wanting to find new ways to promote their services. “I experienced things in my personal life,” she said. “I reached out to them a couple years ago. When I read they were looking for new ways to raise awareness of their services it was little personal to me and close to home, I thought this would be awesome.” So Magaña approached the Cocoon with the idea.  Cocoon staff will be on hand to meet with people during the reception following the concert.  Magaña also reached out to her friend Chace Williams, a first year graduate student in composition, to write a piece for the concert. She first heard his music before he came to BGSU, and she was drawn to his music even then.  For inspiration Williams turned to a poem by Eavan Boland, “Domestic Violence.” Williams said he was struck by a butcher shop’s sign that Boland quotes: “please to meet you meat to please you.” Williams said “that line inspired the whole form of the piece.” He said he walked away from the composition at one…


Music experience offered at BGSU for kids with sensory processing challenges

From DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC EDUCATION, BGSU COLLEGE OF MUSICAL ARTS This Saturday, April 6, BGSU will be hosting a Sensory-Friendly Musicking Experience for children with sensory processing challenges. This event will include both music-making and an interactive concert, facilitated by undergraduate student Emma Stumpf in cooperation with her faculty advisors Dr. Lisa Martin and Dr. Alicia Mrachko. Various accommodations will be available for event participants, including noise-reducing headphones, fidgets, puzzles, and more! There will be two sessions, both held in the Conrad in the Wolfe Center on campus. The first session, from noon to 1 p.m., is for students that prefer more guidance and structure. The second session, from 1:15-2:15 p.m., is for students that prefer more independence and exploration. This event is free and open to all ages, and siblings are invited, as well. Videos and information about all of the day’s activities are available on the website, https://tinyurl.com/sfmusicking. Pre-registration is required and is also accessed via website. Registration closes at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 5. 


Art song competition has performers singing in tongues

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Nine singers, each with a trusty pianist by their side, sang their hearts out in a smorgasbord of languages Saturday night. The nine duos were performing in the finals of the Conrad Art Song Competition in Bryan Recital Hall, of the Moore Musical Arts Center. True to the rules of the event, each singer had to tackle songs in at least four languages — French, German, Italian, and English. For some even that wasn’t enough. The graduate division winners, soprano Mickey Miller and pianist Humay Gasimzade, added a song in Swedish. The undergraduate division winning duo of baritone Nick Kottman and Emily Morin performed a Russian song in the semifinals earlier on Saturday. And Nigerian mezzo soprano Eunice Ayodele brought a taste of her home to the competition by performing a song in Yoruba. She and pianist Jiamo Zhang placed third in the graduate division. The two winning duos, though, opened their sets in the finals in English, colloquial English at that. Miller and Gasimzade came out with Cheryl Francis-Hoad’s “Rubbish at Adultery.” In some decidedly PG-13 language, the song’s narrator explains to her overly sensitive lover that he is failing at cheating.  Miller played up the roll. Each of her darts hitting its mark. “It’s such a joy to perform,” she said of the song.  Kottman and Morin opened with “Nude at the Piano,” in which the singer laments having been abandoned by his lover, and left with the piano he cannot play. In the finals, the competitors choose their first piece, and then the judges selected one or two more for them to sing. “I was afraid they weren’t going to choose it,” the baritone said explaining why he and Morin opened with the comic number.  “I really enjoy  the different dynamics in it. I go from being angry to sad.” He moves around, plopping himself on the edge of the piano bench, interacting with Morin. “I get to do a little more than park and bark,” he said. Morin enjoys the piece as well. The music is knotty and difficult, a  peek into the character’s tortured psyche. “I really like the harmonic language, and the way it fits with the text and all the little gestures…


BGSU Jazz Week headliner Dayna Stephens has a musical vision all his own

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens wants students to know that  all the technical information and trickery they are learning are just tools. Those tools need to be applied “to more accurately, more clearly, telling whatever story they have inside  of them.” The New York-based musician will visit Bowling Green State University next week as the headliner for Jazz Week. He’ll play with the jazz faculty on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall and on Friday at with the Jazz Lab Band  I in Kobacker Hall. Thursday’s show is free. Friday’s concert is a ticketed event. Asked during a telephone interview what he tries to convey to students, he said he tells them “not to focus too much on the technique.” They need to tell  “an engaging story” in “a unique voice.” Stephenson said he forged his own voice — a burnished, well ripened sound — by listening to saxophonists as diverse as swing legend Lester Young and jazz fusion master Michael Brecker.  “I love them both,” he said. “Having those two big influences is bound to produce something a little different.” Stephens, 40, has been recognized by Downbeat magazine as one of the music’s Rising Stars. David Bixler, the director of jazz studies at BGSU, said that he invited Stephens to campus on the recommendation of a student, though has also heard with Stephens perform shows with pianists Kenny Barron and Fred Hersch.  Stephens’ ears are tuned to the other musicians he’s working with regardless of what instruments they play or whether they are masters such as pianist Barron or players younger than himself. “I’m still trying to understand what drummers do,” he said. “The attempt will also lead to unique ways of expressing myself.” Known as a saxophonist, he has also performed professionally as a bassist.  That’s been essential to his approach. “Having people relying on your beat makes your sense of rhythm stronger.” That firm sense of time is important whether he’s in the rhythm section or the frontline. Also playing bass  taught him the value of using simpler melodic ideas. “You can’t play everything you play on a saxophone.” Listening has been at the core of his musical growth. “My dad pointed out he…


Musical dreams come true at BGSU Concerto Concert

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News For Mei-Yi Wang performing the first movement of Sergei Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with at the Concerto Concert at Bowling Green State University is a dream come true. Wang  is one of the winners in the College of Musical Arts’ annual Competitions in Musical Performance.  Last December 69 students vied for the chance to perform a concerto with the BG Philharmonia.  Wang first heard the Prokofiev concerto when she was in junior high school in Taiwan. “It was so amazing. The piano, the orchestra, the sound was very fantastic. So I’m dreaming I should play this piece someday.” That time will come as Wang and three other competition winners will perform with the Bowling Green Philharmonia, Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Tickets are available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling the box office at 419-372-8171. Other soloists are: Flutist Alec Porter, a junior, performing three movements from John Corigliano’s “Pied Piper Fantasy.”Saxophonist Johnathan Kierspe, a second year graduate student in music performance, performing Marius Constant’s Concertante for Saxophone.Erin Redick, a third year student from Fletcher, who will perform Emmanuel Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings Also, receiving top prizes at the competition were: composer Emilio Jose Gonzalez who will have his piece performed at next fall’s New Music Festival, and Ariel Magno de Costa, who received the Virginia Marks Collaborative Piano Award. Erin Redick will perform Emmanuel Séjourné’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings at the Concerto Concert. Redick describes herself as shy and a percussionist who doesn’t like to play loudly even though she started in music because she wanted to be in a rock band. Third year student from Fletcher said she decided to compete this year because “it would force me out of my comfort zone. … I’m a more reserved player. This has broken me out of my shell.” Emmanuel Séjourné’s concerto, Redick said, is accessible. “It’s just tonal enough that it’s easy to listen to, but it’s challenging at the same time.” Her teacher Daniel Piccolo had her listen to three possible concertos to prepare for the competition. It was only after she’d made her choice that she found out that the Séjourné piece was the one Piccolo expected her to select. The percussion…


Apollo’s Fire to bring the spirit of Bach’s coffeehouse to BGSU’s Kobacker Hall

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back when Bach’s music was new, the composer and other professional and student musicians would hang out at Cafe Zimmermann, a coffee house in Leipzig, Germany, to play the latest sounds. Apollo’s Fire, a Baroque music ensemble based in Cleveland, will take listeners back to that time in the mid-18th century when it presents “A Night at Bach’s Coffeehouse” Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. The free performance is part of Apollo Fire’s three-day residency presented by the Dorothy E. And Duwayne H. Hansen Musical Arts Series (https://www.bgsu.edu/musical-arts/events/residencies/hansen-musical-arts-series.html). During the residency the ensemble will hold open rehearsals and master classes for flutists and string players. The BGSU visit will feature an 11-member version of the ensemble, which was founded by Jeannette Sorrell 26 years ago. Kathie Stewart, the ensemble’s flutist, has been a collaborator and friend of Sorrell since before she started Apollo’s Fire. The two musicians met at Cincinnati Conservatory, where both were pursuing graduate work. Sorrell was studying harpsichord and conducting, and Stewart was working on a doctorate in flute performance. In Cincinnati, Stewart discovered her love of Baroque music. In the course of her studies, Stewart had played music from the history of flute from early music through contemporary. Her attention always seemed to return to the Baroque period. While later music tends to be “messy,” she said, “Baroque music is calm and clear. It gets messy enough, but then it all resolves.” By this time, Stewart said she was working hard on her instrumental studies. “But I wasn’t loving it.” The conservatory had a Baroque flute.  She took the instrument into a practice room to try to play music by Bach and Telemann. “It was horrifying,” she said. She found a book to guide her, and with that she applied herself to the period instrument.  “I tried things that were awkward and didn’t make sense on modern flute. They made perfect sense on the Baroque flute. I learned from the instrument what Baroque music was all about. Finally I was able to play the music I really loved on the instrument it was written for,” Stewart said. “It revived my appreciation for the flute in…


BGSU celebrates joy of piano with Dubois festival & competition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University will welcome 23 top teenage pianists from as close as Toledo and as far as Taiwan as well as guest performer and judge Marina Lomazov for the David D. Dubois Piano Festival and Competition, Feb 1 through 3. The festival was established in 2008, and since then more than 200 pianists have come to campus to compete for the top prize of $3,000. The young pianists already have impressive resumes, often having won other competitions. Several have performed on “From the Top” on National Public Radio. The semifinalists have been selected through a preliminary round in which video recordings of applicants are screened. Each contestant must prepare a program of 20-30 minutes in length that includes pieces from three of the four major periods — Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary. One of the pieces must be a movement from a Classical sonata. The semifinal round will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center with the finals taking place Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m. The winners are announced shortly after the last pianist performs. Lomazov will be on campus throughout the festival. On Friday, Feb. 1 she will present a master class with students in the College of Musical Arts from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall. On Saturday, Feb. 2 she will perform a free recital at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall. Tickets for the recital are $7 and $3 for children and non-BGSU students in advance from https://itkt.choicecrm.net/templates/BGSU/. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Students with BGSU ID card, and the festival participants will get in free. On Sunday morning, she will join two BGSU faculty members to judge the finals. All tickets are $10 the day of the performance. Lomazov is no stranger to competitions. She launched her career with prizes in several international events. Her performing has drawn praise from critics around the world. Talk Magazine Shanghai described her performances as “a dramatic blend of boldness and wit.” A native of Ukraine, Lomazov emigrated to the United States in 1990. She had studied at the Kiev Conservatory where she became the youngest First Prize Winner at the all-Kiev…


New voice specialization blends science & artistry

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Proper use of the voice is both an art and a science, and a new master’s specialization program at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts strengthens both aspects. The interdisciplinary Master of Music in Performance: Specialization in Voice Science and Pedagogy combines coursework in music singing teaching and communication sciences and disorders. It is designed to prepare students to be not only better vocal performers and voice teachers but also to expand their career options. “There’s been an explosion of interest among music students who want to gain more science-based information about how the voice works,” said Dr. Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers, an associate professor of voice and opera. Rodgers has teamed with Dr. Ronald Scherer, Distinguished Research Professor of communication sciences and disorders in the College of Health and Human Services, to create the new master’s specialization. “The collaboration seemed like a perfect fit,” said Scherer, who has long provided support for BGSU vocal arts students. “Over the last 10 years there has been a global development of programs that combine serious performance and teaching skills with understanding of speech pathology. “Students will learn to discern what the voice is doing when it’s right and, when it’s not right, how to alter the production to make it right. ‘Knowledge is power’ in this field, and having it will make interventions more effective and efficient.” In addition to their vocal performance classes, students in the specialization program will take three courses in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders: a speech science class with a lab, a voice disorders class, and a research class with Scherer in which they will undertake a small project to learn how research is conducted. “Having this specialization will help make graduates even more employable,” Rodgers said. In addition to her teaching, she oversees the graduate student teaching practicums. Graduate student Crystal Lau, a soprano, is pursuing a second master’s degree, in speech-language-pathology. She graduated in May from the master’s of music in performance, specialization in voice science and pedagogy, program. Lau has firsthand knowledge of how a physical problem can affect the voice, having discovered that the reason she was not making as much progress as she expected with her vocal…


Band director from Stoneman Douglas High talks about the healing power of music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Last Valentine’s Day, the Douglas Stoneman High School Wind Symphony was rehearsing Vaclav Nelhybel’s “Symphonic Movement” when the killing started. A gunman had entered the ninth grade building across from the band room and was shooting. The code red lockdown was in place. The band students put away their instruments, left the music on their stands, and guided by the SWAT team left the building. Before that moment, what the band had on its mind was performing that piece in just a few weeks in Carnegie Hall during the New York Wind Band Festival. Now an expelled student had returned to the Parkland, Florida school and killed 17 staff and students, including two involved in the band program. The music stopped, but not for long. Alex Kaminsky, the band director at Douglas Stoneman High, visited Bowling Green State University Thursday to talk about his experience in the aftermath of the tragedy and to hear the premier performance of a composition written in response to the attack. In the afternoon, he spoke with the students in Lisa Martin’s Band Methods class. Bruce Moss, the director of band activities, arranged the visit. He called Kaminsky one of the best high school band directors in the country. While most directors would be happy to be asked to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic once, Kaminsky will be bringing the Stoneman Douglas Band there for his fourth appearance, an engagement secured before the shooting. Moss noted Kaminsky has taken bands from three different schools to the clinic. On Thursday Kaminsky told the class of future band directors that the day after the shooting, his pastor told him: “‘None of us understand this. … You are here for such a time as this.’” That statement weighed on Kaminsky. “I realized at that moment that everything I did or would do would affect the trajectory of the students with whom I had been entrusted. …  My role in their lives has been heightened to a level I’d never had to experience in the past.”  Among the victims were two ninth graders Alex Schachter, 14, a trombonist, and Gina Montalto, 14, a member of the color guard. Kaminsky’s son, Ethan, also a ninth grader, was not…


Band director from Stoneman Douglas High School to visit BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Alex Kaminsky, the band director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will visit Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts Nov. 29-30. The high school is the site of a February 2018 shooting, which left 17 dead and more than 15 wounded. Kaminsky uses music therapy to help people heal from this tragedy. Kaminsky’s visit will include four events open to the public, beginning with a talk at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29 in 1002 Moore Musical Arts Center. At 4 p.m., he will speak with members of the Falcon Marching Band and the Ohio Student Collegiate Music Educators Association Chapter in the Kelly Rehearsal Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. At 8 p.m. Nov. 29, the BGSU Concert Band will premiere a work written in honor of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $3 for students/children, $7 for adults in advance and $10 all tickets, day of the performance. BGSU students get in free with their ID. Tickets are available at BGSU.edu/Arts. Dr. Katherine Meizel, an associate professor of musicology in the College of Musical Arts, will interview Kaminsky at 9 p.m. Nov. 29 in Kobacker Hall in a talk-back session. Meizel recently helped release an album of young people singing their songs about the impact of gun violence and the need for change. The songs are part of an album called “Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest.”


SPLICE Ensemble brings heart & soul to electroacoustic music

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even music that relies on circuitry needs the human touch.  “It’s really that live concert that can make music live and breathe and survive the test of time,” said Keith Kirchoff, of the SPLICE Ensemble. “It’s the performer that’s going to take this music into the next generation.  We still need to go to concerts, and it’s this concert experience that’s driven by a compelling performer … that makes it an immediately relatable art form.” The SPLICE Ensemble will headline the SPLICE Festival  this week at Bowling Green State University. The festival convenes Thursday, Nov. 8 on the Bowling Green State University, and continues through Saturday, Nov. 10. SPLICE will perform a free concert on the last night at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. The festival is devoted to electroacoustic music. Kirchoff defines electroacoustic music as classical music using electronics that’s “designed for the concert stage, for concentrated listening, intentional listening as opposed to being in the background or for dancing.” The festival, Kirchoff said, is a mix of performances and workshops. “We wanted to create a ground where  the education is an intrinsic part of the festival.” The festival is one branch of the umbrella SPLICE organization. It started as a one-week summer institute, branched out into the festival, and soon will have an academy program. The ensemble grew out of the institute, Kirchoff said. SPLICE was launched about five years ago by composer Christopher Biggs and Kirchoff, a pianist. “I felt there weren’t very many, if any, opportunities for performers to become comfortable integrating electronics into their performances,” Kirchoff said. The ensemble is an outgrowth of the festival. Kirchoff and Biggs  “wanted to have a performance faculty that was really good at their instruments and really good at electronics.” That, Kirchoff said, turned out to be himself, Kirchoff and fellow institute faculty, Adam Vidiksis, percussion, and  Sam Wells, trumpet.  “We really enjoyed working together,” the pianist said. They realized that they had a distinctive sound. Only one composition existed for their particular instrumentation.They set about soliciting composers to write for them. That process was facilitated by the institute and the festival. The SPLICE Festival is in its second year. Last year it was presented at Western Michigan University…


‘Most Happy Fella’ at BGSU is a most wonderful show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” is a tricky devil of a musical. Or is it an opera? Loesser said it was a musical, and yet it is filled with soaring operatic moments to go along with the toe-tapping numbers.  The Bowling Green Opera Theatre has the talent to do justice to both genres. That will be on display this weekend when “The Most Happy Fella” is performed Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. For tickets click here. .Directed by Geoffrey Stephenson, the musical compresses the original three acts into two with the elimination of dance numbers. That puts the focus even more on the singing, and the cast comes through, which is no surprise to anyone who follows the sounds emanating from the College of Musical Arts. Leading the cast are Caroline Kouma as Rosabella and Nick Kottman as Tony.  They are an unlikely pair of lovers. The elderly vineyard owner sees her waiting table in a restaurant in San Francisco and falls in love. He leaves a note and keepsake indicating he’d like to develop a relationship. They correspond, and when she asks for a photo he’s afraid she’ll reject him because of his age, instead he sends a photo of the handsome itinerant foreman Joe (Luke Serrano). And when Rosabella — the name given her by Tony — finally  arrives at the Napa Valley vineyard, she finds the wedding feast all spread out and Joe waiting for her. Only then do Joe and Rosabella discover the deception. But not before a couple of the exuberant production numbers that make the show so enjoyable. This leads up the revelation that takes both Joe and Rosabella by surprised. She’s about to leave, despite Joe’s protestations that Tony may be a “grampa,” he’s a nice guy as shown by all his friends gathered to greet his bride. Then Tony arrives, on a stretcher, after his truck overturned. Knowing she has few options in life, Rosabella goes through what may be a deathbed wedding anyway, only to follow it up with an intimate indiscretion with Joe. Rosabella is at…