Music director – The Free Music Directory http://thefreemusicdirectory.com/ Wed, 18 May 2022 00:06:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/cropped-icon-32x32.png Music director – The Free Music Directory http://thefreemusicdirectory.com/ 32 32 “We’re back in business” – Scottish Opera unveils 60th anniversary season https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/were-back-in-business-scottish-opera-unveils-60th-anniversary-season/ Wed, 18 May 2022 00:06:57 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/were-back-in-business-scottish-opera-unveils-60th-anniversary-season/
Scottish Opera has included the current season revival of Thomas Allen’s Don Giovanni under the 60th anniversary banner PIC: James Glossop

“We’re back in business,” insists Scottish Opera chief executive Alex Reedijk, who recently returned from London where his company enjoyed a week-long rerun of its popular production Gondoliers at the Hackney Empire. “Our big mission now is to persuade our Scottish public to return to at least pre-Covid levels. I am delighted that they have appreciated and supported the models we have adopted during the pandemic. I think we are all much more weather resistant.

The other reason it’s heartbreaking is that a full 2022-23 season, announced this week, marks Scottish Opera’s 60th anniversary. Emerging from the throes of Covid, armed with responses to the challenges it posed, and after a decade-long period of artistic and fiscal reset after near financial ruin, it bears all the hallmarks of an optimistic and positive company about his future.

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Reedijk readily admits there is a “populist” emphasis on the new season, which continues to balance the now-accepted reduced diet of large-scale productions with increased activity in more disparate locations and settings.

In June and July, for example, the focus is on the pop-up open-air operas that have done so well during the pandemic, with tours in Scotland of three half-hour shorts – distillations of Rossini and by Mozart (A Little Bit of Barber and A Little Bit of Figaro) plus Be A Sport, Spike by Karen McIver, written (for the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow) for primary school children.

In August, Reedijk hopes to repeat the success of Falstaff from last year, staged in the car park of Scottish Opera’s production studios, this time with six walking performances of Bernstein’s satirical comedy operetta Candide in a adjacent larger site, New Rotterdam Wharf. Jack Furness leads a cast that includes William Morgan, Susan Bullock and a community choir of 100 people.

As for more regular theatrical productions, music director Stuart Stratford feels the mix is ​​perfect, ranging from Mozart (Scottish Opera has included the current season’s revival of Thomas Allen’s Don Giovanni under the 60th anniversary banner ) and Bizet to Puccini and Osvaldo Golijov.

“It’s the perfect time to do Golijov’s Ainadamar,” says Stratford, not least because it will be the Scottish premiere and the first fully staged UK production of the spirited tribute to the theme. from the Argentine composer’s flamenco to the liberal anti-fascist Spanish poet and playwright. Fredrico Garcia Lorca.

As with Breaking the Waves (2019) by Missy Mazzoli and Greek (2017) by Mark-Anthony Turnage, it is a co-production with Opera Ventures. Olivier Prize-winning choreographer Deborah Colker makes her operatic debut as a director. “Deborah is known for the physicality and gritty nature of her work. She is very Latin. It will also be a wow moment for the dance community,” promises Stratford.

Reedijk is also excited about a new production of Puccini’s Il trittico, the first-ever production by his three actors, both because of a cast that includes veteran stars such as Karen Cargill and Louise Winter and the presence of Sir David McVicar as director. “It’s a huge undertaking, Puccini’s Ring,” says Reedijk. “Expect a classic McVicar production.”

Carmen is also returning to the stage repertoire, led by John Fulljames, previously responsible for Nixon in China, Scottish Opera’s last pre-pandemic production. Among its cast are Scottish Opera’s latest line-up of emerging artists: Zoe Drummond, Lea Shaw, Osian Wyn Bowen and Colin Murray. Their involvement reflects the tremendous recent success, past and present, of the company’s talent scouting program.

“Our investment in these artists, especially during Covid, has had a huge payback for everyone,” says Reedijk. “He is held in such high regard that over 400 people applied for the audition process last December.”

Two “operas in concert” complete the 2022-23 programme: Massenet’s impassioned French Revolution opera, Thérèse, at the Lammermuir Festival and in Perth; and a healthy Verdi pic’n’mix, The Verdi Collection, touring Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

And the Covid legacy? “You know, it was a useful exercise for us. By necessity, we learned to think and act faster,” says Stratford. “Then there was the realization that we could create an audience through the screen,” adds Reedijk. A global audience of 250,000 watched the recent screening of Gondoliers on BBC 4. “Covid pump primed stuff like that. Opportunities are available to us. »

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How the South Dakota Symphony Became One of America’s Boldest Orchestras https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/how-the-south-dakota-symphony-became-one-of-americas-boldest-orchestras/ Mon, 16 May 2022 10:03:57 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/how-the-south-dakota-symphony-became-one-of-americas-boldest-orchestras/

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, the musical pride of Sioux Falls, has an annual budget of $2.3 million, which is microscopic by the standards of America’s top orchestras. The Chicago Symphony spends more than that each year on Riccardo Muti’s salary. Nevertheless, the South Dakota Symphony is bolder and savvier in its programming than all but a handful of American ensembles. Delta David Gier, Music Director of the SDSO, recently won the Ditson Conductor’s Award, which Columbia University gives to notable advocates of American composers. The quote called Gier “the model of the engaged leader.” His group is the model of a committed orchestra.

The SDSO celebrated its centenary this season, in an ambitious way. The list of composers included not only Beethoven, Grieg and Tchaikovsky, but also Stephen Yarbrough, David M. Gordon, Jessie Montgomery, Anna Clyne, George Walker, Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate and Malek Jandali. A concert was dedicated to Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion; another featured works by student composers from the Lakota and Dakota tribes. (The orchestra has a series called the Lakota Music Project.) The season concluded with a program consisting of Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra”; “The Great Gate of kyiv”, extract from “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky; and “An Atlas of Deep Time,” a sprawling new score by John Luther Adams. I flew in for the occasion, having long admired the group from afar.

The program would have tested any top orchestra. The SDSO, which deploys nine full-time musicians and a wide range of freelancers, has struggled in places. Still, the performances were never less than commendable, and the game’s focused energy outweighed any concern for precision. Also, I have seen very few concerts where a classical music organization seemed so integrated into its community. During some announcements from the stage, Jennifer Teisinger, the orchestra’s general manager, asked former members of the ensemble to stand. In a crowd of over a thousand people, dozens stood up. Nothing like this could have happened in New York, Los Angeles, London or Berlin.

The SDSO’s founder was conductor, violinist and composer Marie Toohey, who started it when she was still in her twenties, after a period of study in Germany. One of the few female conductors to ever play such a role, Toohey died tragically young, at the age of thirty-two. At first, the orchestra consisted of students from Augustana University, Sioux Falls; later it was known as the Augustana Town & Gown Symphony, then the Sioux Falls Symphony, before choosing its current name in 1977. In 1999, it took up residence at the Washington Pavilion, an arts venue and science center downtown.

Sixty-two-year-old Gier arrived in 2004. He had gained attention at an early age with the New York Philharmonic, serving as assistant conductor and conducting concerts for young people. When he was trying out for the SDSO job, he gave an interview to Sioux Falls Chief of Argus in which he expresses his enthusiasm for living composers. The title was “orchestras need contemporary music, says conductor.” Gier thought he had squandered his chances, but he was hired anyway. In its first season, each concert featured an American composer who had won the Pulitzer Prize. As Gier told me, he felt that skeptical listeners might feel reassured by the Pulitzer’s imprimatur. “The idea was ‘You don’t have to take my word for it,” Gier said.

There was resistance all the same. When John Corigliano’s uncontroversial Second Symphony appeared on a program, a donor threatened to withdraw his money. Gier, unsure of what to do next, called Chad Smith, who was then the artistic administrator of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is now that orchestra’s general manager. The LA Phil had faced a similar setback during its decades-long road to renovating its repertoire, particularly in the early years of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s tenure. Smith told Gier he shouldn’t back down from his beliefs; rather, he should ensure that the staff and the orchestra spoke the same persuasive language. Gier told me: “You have to know how to respond to complaints. Because people will complain. They will complain about your Berlioz! It is a philosophy of reckless stubbornness, and over time it tends to disarm the opposition. In Sioux Falls, audiences began to fall in love with some of the new stuff and learned to tolerate the rest.

Adams first visited Sioux Falls in 2016, when the orchestra performed his symphonic work “Become Ocean,” which had won the Pulitzer two years earlier. Although Adams is now based in New Mexico, he lived for decades in Alaska and played percussion in the Fairbanks Symphony. In a public conversation with Gier, Adams said the spirit of the SDSO won him over and also reminded him of his own past: “I’m used to bold orchestras outside of cultural capitals who don’t know what they are . not supposed to be able to do.

“An Atlas of Deep Time” is the latest in a series of large-scale pieces in which Adams evokes elemental landscapes; in addition to “Become Ocean”, these include “In the White Silence”, “Become Desert”, and “Ten Thousand Birds”. The new work evokes the vastness of geological time – “deep time”, as John McPhee dubbed it in his book “Basin and Range”, which grew out of articles that appeared in this magazine in 1980. “Atlas” is approximately Fourty-five minutes; if the score were mapped against the lifespan of the Earth, each minute would equal one hundred million years. The formal structure is modeled on the topography of the basins and mountain ranges of western North America, with its incessant alternation of mountain uplifts and desert plains. Five orchestral aggregations unfold in sequence, gathering strength and then calming down.

The ensemble is divided into six spatially distinct choirs. At the Washington Pavilion, strings and percussion were placed together on stage; four groups of bronzes and winds occupied balconies on the right and on the left; trumpets and trombones thundered in the back. An ever-changing pattern of overlapping tempos conveys the complexity of geological stratification. Harmony, likewise, is governed by shifting stacks of intervals. In the middle of each “scale” section, the chords take on a snowy tonal grandeur. The “pools” are interludes of quivering rest, with bursts of drums running through shimmering string textures.

Many of these elements are familiar from “Become Ocean”, which has mesmerized audiences around the world. “Atlas” is a steeper, denser, more unsettling score, too laden with seismic tension to send listeners into a trance-like state. It may take time to find the best way to present it. At the dress rehearsal, I sat in the orchestra; at the show, I was in the mezzanine. Neither perspective was ideal. Below, the balcony choirs seemed a little distant. Above, the sound was more immersive, though a phalanx of eight French horns obliterated everything else. Both times, darkness prevailed in the climaxes. A recording was made in the room the next day; this will undoubtedly bring clarity.

Still, the premiere looked like a great occasion. As often with Adams, I had the feeling of entering a physically palpable space, in which the mind can wander. Gier imagined the rugged expanse of the Black Hills in western South Dakota. My thoughts went out to Willa Cather, who grew up in Nebraska, about two hundred and fifty miles to the southwest. In a famous passage from “Mon Antonía”, Cather gazed at the endless vistas of the plains and wrote of the joy of being “dissolved in something complete and great”. The sonic vastness of “An Atlas of Deep Time” offered the same eerie pleasure. ♦

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Salina Symphony of Kansas appoints new music director https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/salina-symphony-of-kansas-appoints-new-music-director/ Thu, 12 May 2022 17:35:25 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/salina-symphony-of-kansas-appoints-new-music-director/
(Photo credit: Bruno Fidrych)

Over the orchestra’s 67-year history, Yaniv Segal will only be the third musical director in the organization’s existence. He was chosen from more than 100 applications, after five concerts each conducted by a different candidate.

Segal will be involved in the planning for the 2022/2023 season and looks forward to leading the package. “I was immediately impressed with both the capacity and the potential of the Salina Symphony,” he said. “I enjoyed working with the orchestra and appreciated their desire to achieve excellence. Additionally, I felt that the broad base of community support and strong administrative team created an ideal environment to produce transformational artistic experiences. I can’t wait to get back to town and get to work sharing our love of classical music! »

“Yaniv is a gifted conductor with a wealth of experience both on and off the stage,” said Executive Director Adrienne Allen. “The way he embraced the community during the research process was truly impressive.”

Yaniv Segal is laureate conductor and artistic advisor of the Chelsea Symphony, former assistant conductor of the Naples Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and has assisted the New York Philharmonic.

He has performed with numerous orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Kansai Philharmonic, the Sinfonietta Cracovia and the Beethoven Academy Orchestra.

In 2020 Segal collaborated with Sergei Prokofiev’s grandson, composer/DJ Gabriel, and released a new album Beethoven reinvented with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Released on NAXOS, the album featured Beethoven-inspired contemporary music arranged and written by Segal and Gabriel.

As a composer, two years ago, Yaniv wrote Harmony games. Commissioned by the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, the piece introduced school-aged children to the orchestra while connecting music and math. During the 2021-22 season, Yaniv’s works and arrangements have been performed by the Reno Philharmonic, Ashland Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapid Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Norwalk Symphony.

A graduate of Vassar College and the University of Michigan, he also studied with Lorin Maazel and Kurt Masur, and continues to benefit from the mentorship of international conductors Leonard Slatkin and Andrey Boreyko.

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Kokandy Productions will present CRUEL INTENTIONS: The Musical of the 90s https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/kokandy-productions-will-present-cruel-intentions-the-musical-of-the-90s/ Tue, 10 May 2022 18:03:27 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/kokandy-productions-will-present-cruel-intentions-the-musical-of-the-90s/

Kokandy Productions kicks off its tenth anniversary season this summer with the Chicago premiere of Cruel Intentions: The ’90 Musical, an alluring and fun show filled with nostalgia, laced with 90s hits including No Doubt, Jewel, Britney Spears, Garbage and much more. Created by Jordan Ross, Lindsey Rosin and Roger Kumble and based on the Roger Kumble film, Kokandy’s production is directed by artistic associate Adrian Abel Azevedo (he/him) under the musical direction of Isabelle Isherwood (her) and choreography of Laura Wild (she she).

Cruel Intentions will play June 9 – August 7, 2022 at The Chopin Theater (Studio), 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at kokandyproductions.com. The press opening is Sunday June 12 at 5 p.m.

The cast includes David Moreland (he/him) as savior and manipulator Sebastian Valmont, Maddison Denault (she/her) as Kathryn Merteuil, the “Marcia F*cking Brady of the Upper East Side” and Kelcy Taylor ( she/she) as “paradigm of chastity and virtue” Annette Hardgrove. Anabella Oddo (she/her) and Elizabeth Lesinski (she/her) will play Cecile Caldwell and her mother Bunny, with Lucas Looch Johnson (he/him), as Ronald Clifford, Cécile’s cello teacher. Rounding out the cast are Joshua Pablo Szabo (he/they) and Jimmy Romano (he/him) as Blaine Tuttle and Greg McConnell.

The Manchester Prep set includes Niki-Charisse Franco (she/her), Justin Gray McPike (they/them), Jaxson Smith (he/him) and TJ Tapp (she/her). Swingers include Grace Bobber (she/they) and Erika Rose (she/her). Additional casting TBA.

Based on the acclaimed hit film starring Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical is the ultimate homecoming party. Masters of their elite prep school in Manhattan, Sebastian and Kathryn have placed a mischievous bet. As their vengeful crusade takes its toll on the students of Manchester Prep, the two evil half-brothers become entangled in their own web of deception and unexpected romance in this raucous jukebox throwback, featuring new takes on familiar ’90s jams from No Doubt, *NSYNC, Garbage, Goo Goo Dolls, TLC and more.

“School is out and Kokandy is so ready for a cruel summer!” comments producer art director Derek Van Barham. “We couldn’t be more excited for audiences to celebrate this fun and flirty show with us. Get ready to indulge in all your guilty pleasures: being back in the theater, jumping into 90s jams and toast to a movie we’ve seen. too many times to count!”

The production team includes Mara Ishihara Zinky (she/him, set designer), Uriel Gómez (he/him, costume designer), G “Max” Maxin IV (he/him, lighting designer), Mike Patrick (he/him, his/her designer), Katie Gallegos (she/her, property designer), Kirsten Baity (they/them, privacy designer), Emily Marazzo (she/her, manager), Erik Strebig (they/them, production manager), Kendyl Meyer ( they, assistant stage manager), Leo Aranda (he/him, assistant lighting), Brennan Urbi (he/they, casting associate), Scot Kokandy (he/him, executive producer) and Derek Van Barham (he/him, artistic director producer).

PERFORMANCE DETAILS:

Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical,

Created by Jordan Ross, Lindsey Rosin and Roger Kumble

Based on the film by Roger Kumble

Directed by artistic associate Adrian Abel Azevedo

Musical direction by Isabelle Isherwood

Choreography of Laura Wild

Cast (in alphabetical order): Maddison Denault (she/her, Kathryn Merteuil), Niki-Charisse Franco (she/her, together), Lucas Looch Johnson (he/she, Ronald Clifford), Elizabeth Lesinski (she/her, Bunny ), Justin Gray McPike (they/them, together, Blaine u/s), David Moreland (he/him, Sebastian Valmont), Anabella Oddo (he/she, Cecile Caldwell), Jimmy Romano (he/him, Greg McConnell, Sebastian u/s), Jaxson Smith (he/him, together, Greg u/s), Joshua Pablo Szabo (he/they, Blaine Tuttle), TJ Tapp (he/she, together, dance captain), Kelcy Taylor ( she/she, Annette Hardgrove)

Swings: Grace Bobber (she/them, Kathryn/Bunny u/s) and Erika Rose (she/her, Annette/Cecile u/s).

Location: The Chopin Theater (Studio), 1543 W Division St. in Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday June 9 at 7 p.m., Friday June 10 at 7 p.m. and Saturday June 11 at 7 p.m.

Press performance: Sunday June 12 at 5 p.m.

Regular race: from Thursday June 16 to Sunday August 7, 2022

Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.; Sundays at 5 p.m.

Tickets: Previews $25 (with code “PREVIEW”). Regular class $40. Students/seniors $30. There will be a limited number of $15 tickets available for students and performers for each performance. Tickets are currently available at kokandyproductions.com.

About the artists

Adrian Abel Azevedo (director, he/him) is an independent director, producer and teaching artist in the Chicagoland area, originally from Southern California. He has worked in this community for over 10 years and is an artistic associate at Kokandy Productions. He is an alumnus of Columbia College Chicago. He has directed, produced and taught for Chicagoland theater companies including Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Steep Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Kokandy Productions, Teatro Vista and Music Theater Works. Upcoming: Zorro the Musical at Music Theater Works, the world premiere of Aztec Human Sacrifice at CityLit Theatre, RENT at Porchlight Music Theatre. Follow him on IG: @adrian_abel_directs.

Isabella Isherwood (music director, she) is originally from Chicago and has been performing in clubs and venues across the city since she was 14 years old. As a pianist, singer and conductor, she has had the pleasure of sharing her music in many places. throughout Chicago, including The Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club, Constellation Chicago and Winter’s Jazz Club. At age 16, Isabella was a featured performer at the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival with her quartet and was featured again two years later with the Isabella Isherwood Trio. In addition to her music, Isabella is also an actress on stage and screen. In addition to her active performing career, she has served as a vocal coach, accompanist, keyboardist, and musical director in shows for Chicago’s vibrant theater community. She studied at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and Roosevelt University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. Additional studies include Janet Hickey, Frank Caruso, Jeremy Kahn, Sachal Vasandani, Darmon Meader, Pharez Whitted, Steve Houghton, and Jon Deitemyer. In addition to several film credits, three international performance tours and a series of concerts with the CSO, she has performed for artists such as Cyrille Aimee, Emmet Cohen, Ulysses Owens Jr., Dave Stryker, Jim Snidero and Rufus Reid. She is a proud member of the Jazz Orchestra of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and is an active member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago’s Women’s Jazz Leadership Initiative.

Laura Savage (choreographer, she/she) has served as associate choreographer and dance captain at the Marriott Theatre, Paramount Theater and Drury Lane Theatre. She is a Jeff nominated actress and has starred in over 35 productions across the Chicagoland area. Laura also appeared and choreographed on Fox’s hit show EMPIRE. Coming soon: Zorro at Music Theater Works and Rent at Porchlight Music Theatre. @lauramsavage www.laura-savage.com

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and engaging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists and raising the profile of Chicago’s non-Equity musical theater community. .

The company’s artistic staff consists of Derek Van Barham (production art director), Scot T. Kokandy (executive producer) and Adrian Abel Azevedo & Leda Hoffman (artistic associates). The board includes Preston Cropp, Katherine Smith, Allison Hendrix, Scot T. Kokandy and Katie Svaicer.

For more information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.

]]> Torrington School Music Programs Recognized for 22nd Consecutive Year https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/torrington-school-music-programs-recognized-for-22nd-consecutive-year/ Sat, 07 May 2022 10:06:24 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/torrington-school-music-programs-recognized-for-22nd-consecutive-year/ TORRINGTON — The city’s school music programs are once again being recognized as among the Best Communities for Music Education — for the 22nd year.

the NAMM Foundationan arm of the National Association of Music Merchants, chose 738 school districts from 44 states for the designation, which is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement “in efforts to provide music access and education to all students,” according to its members in a statement.

This is certainly the case in Torrington, where students start learning the basics of music in kindergarten and, when they reach primary school, become part of a group of performers who can continue through high school. , if they wish.


Wayne Splettstoeszer, who led the music program at Torrington High School for 26 years, leads a team of educators throughout the school district. At THS, he works with choir director Connor Sullivan.

“We had an extra supportive administration, who really see the value of music education for our students,” Splettstoeszer said. “We just had our district band concert for grades 4-12, and 382 kids performed, from Forbes, Southwest, Torrington Middle School and Torrington High School. We have 217 children in the elementary school orchestra. It is a great accomplishment.

In the K-3 program, Nancy Ritter leads the music program at Torringford Elementary School and Tim Brandt leads the program at Vogel Wetmore. Ashlee Hyatt teaches music at Southwest; Michelle Castellano teaches music at Forbes; and Moll Brown leads the choir of these elementary schools.

At Torrington Middle School, Tia Ward conducts the orchestra and Andrew Skinner the orchestra. The director of the TMS group is Daniel Hodgkins.

“Our music programs are a major achievement,” Splettstoeszer said. “We have a sustained program with a lot of support not just from the schools, but from the community.”

Splettstoeszer said music teachers are a tight-knit group that work well together, which makes the programs they offer even more appealing to students. On top of that, Grants Writer and Community Outreach Coordinator Donna Labbe was successful in securing additional funding for music lessons and instruments for the programs.

“She did a tremendous job for us,” Splettstoeszer said.

He said they were also able to use ESSER funding — federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act for schools.

The pandemic has understandably halted music programs at every grade, but Splettstoeszer said the return to in-person classes, rehearsals and home practice has resumed, with many students happy to be reunited with their friends.

“We have our big pop concert on May 26, with chamber and concert choirs; we have the Memorial Day Parade coming up,” he said.

And the group will perform at the THS graduation ceremonies in June.

“The community, parents and other groups in the city also understand the value of our programs and want to be part of it, music,” he said.

According to NAMM, “Music education research continues to demonstrate the educational/cognitive and social benefits of children making music. In a series of landmark studies conducted by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University, a link was found between students in community music programs and lifelong academic achievement…in another study , the benefits of early exposure to music education have been found to improve how the brain processes and assimilates sound, a trait that lasts into adulthood.

School districts are invited to complete an annual survey reviewing their music programs, which is how they are chosen as recipients of the Best Communities for Music Education. The survey asks about staff, funding, classroom attendance, instruction time, facilities, community music-making programs, and whether the programs are well supported.

“We basically have to explain how we do it, and that’s quite complicated,” Splettstoeszer said. “We submit lesson plans. They want us to show how we integrate technology into our programs, for example. They want to know how we have continued to develop our programs.

Receiving recognition is always an honor, Splettstoeszer said.

“Of course to be nominated year after year like that is wonderful,” he said. “We’ve received this 22 times, more than any other school district in Connecticut.”

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Review: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Zach Theater – Arts https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/review-somebody-loves-you-mr-hatch-by-zach-theater-arts/ Thu, 05 May 2022 09:04:35 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/review-somebody-loves-you-mr-hatch-by-zach-theater-arts/

Nathan Jerkins as Mr. Hatch in Zach Theater’s production of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro)

It’s strange and a little disorienting that Zach Theater’s revival of Someone loves you, Mr. Hatch, which takes place during Valentine’s Day, opens in April and ends in May. It’s like staging a Nativity play in August. But idiosyncratic planning is the least of the initially off-putting adjustments that turn Eileen Spinelli’s beloved children’s book – a delightful 11-minute bedtime read – into an hour-long stage production.

The story features Mr. Hatch, a lonely small-town recluse who lives a yawning life until he receives a mysterious candy box for Valentine’s Day with an anonymous note that reads: “Someone loves you”. The note fills his heart the same way a view of the similarly worded mural on the side of Jo’s Coffee in SoCo fills ours. For Mr. Hatch, his journey to find his secret admirer becomes a worldview awakening – a celebration of friendship and social connection with a healthy dose of life lessons on kindness.

Returning from the first production of this COVID-reduced show in 2020, Paul Sanchez as Mr. Smith, the newsstand operator; Amber Quick as Mrs. Todd, the grocery store operator; and, on opening night, Stella Frye Ginsberg as Melanie, Mrs. Todd’s teenage daughter (with Chloe Van De Graaf and Lila Gonzalez playing the part in other performances). Nathan Jerkins joins the cast as Mr. Hatch.

Except for a few changes to the original book – including the infusion of seven songs by composer/children’s theater lyricist George Howe, accompanied by pre-recorded music – Allen Robertson’s adaptation stays true to the story. But Robertson, who is also the show’s director and music director, takes a more radical approach to storytelling.

Upon entering the Kleberg’s in-the-round performance space, it is immediately clear that no attempt has been made to replicate the whimsical illustrations in Paul Yalowitz’s book or to capture his creative vision. The artist made wonderful use of the base colors of Crayola crayons in his images and portrayed Spinelli’s characters as if they were vintage vinyl Colorforms cutouts glued to flat landscapes of a park, a grocery store and the humble home of Mr. Hatch. For this production, the black box theater is unadorned except for an actual black box in the center of the stage, and the only colors to be found are the muted colors of Christina Montgomery’s signature costumes, which are worn by the actors mingling with the crowd before the show begins.

Adults experienced with children’s theater manners know this might be a good time to arm their little ones with a big bag of gummy bears and themselves with a gummy of a different variety to pass the next hour that is no-frills, low-budget manufacturing. However, the show begins with the performers playfully addressing the audience directly and casually engaging them in conversation, and it’s apparent that the lack of bells and whistles focuses all of our attention on these talented actors and their brilliant performances. .

Everyone does a stellar job of fleshing out their characters, nailing their beautiful harmonies, and creating a joyful play. But Jerkins’ subtle and very moving depiction of Mr. Hatch, both before and after his spiritual transformation, is something truly special. The same goes for Ginsberg’s abundantly charming handling of the show’s narrative duties and orchestrating the abundant audience participation in the production, which includes clients briefly playing minor characters. On opening night, one of the highlights was when the audience member called in to be the postman broke down in tears when he broke bad news to Mr Hatch late in the show. She, Ginsberg, and most of those present cried for the rest of the production.

In short, this is a tight professional production that will hold a child’s attention for an entire hour and keep adults engaged and entertained alike. But for those who are put off by no-frills theater with a lesson plan, at odds with public displays of emotion, and in fear of being called upon to perform something they’re not, this medical edible is always an option.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Zach Theater

The Kleberg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside, 512/476-0541
zachtheatre.org
Until May 22
Operating time: 1 hour.

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“Little Women” premieres in Iron County on May 13 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/little-women-premieres-in-iron-county-on-may-13/ Tue, 03 May 2022 22:01:00 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/little-women-premieres-in-iron-county-on-may-13/

IRON RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) — Tragedy and love between four sisters during the American Civil War. An Iron County theater group performs the popular show “Little Women” on stage.

“Little Women” is a coming-of-age story about four sisters during the American Civil War. The Iron River West End Players have been rehearsing this show for two months.

“On the evenings when we are not there, we meet in groups and we train together. We go through our lines, our songs and make sure everything is perfect,” said “Little Women” manager Jason Mattson.

Mattson says the biggest hurdle was that the rental scripts and music arrived three weeks late due to delivery delays. The 16-member cast had to put in extra time to catch up.

“It was a bit of a struggle. We were doing things on our phones, but we managed to make it work. Christina, our music director, played all of our songs on the piano for us, and we were still able to do a lot even with the delay in getting our scripts,” said Marly Mattson, the actress who plays Meg March.

Mattson says her character, Meg March, is a lot like her.

“It’s really easy for me to dive right into my character and be myself at the same time,” Marly Mattson said.

Mattson has been playing with the West End Players since he was nine years old. She has performed over a dozen shows. One of the newer cast members, Faryn Rice, uses older cast members as mentors.

“They’re all super helpful. The graduate, Ellie, we’ve become really good friends. Everyone’s so friendly and we’re all pretty close,” Rice said.

Rice plays Beth March. The show cost around $2,000 to put together. Nearly $1,600 was used for royalties alone. The rest of the budget is used for everything else.

“We try to keep our production costs as low as possible. We get a lot of donations from the community and supplies from different companies that want to donate and get involved in the show in some way. We were able to keep that cost below $400,” Mattson said.

Although delayed by late script delivery, the show is scheduled to premiere on time Friday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Windsor Center in Iron River. Audiences can still catch the show on May 14 at 6:30 p.m. CT, and again on Sundays at 2 p.m. CT. Tickets are sold at the door.

Copyright 2022 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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Feel Like a Kid Again – South Bend Symphony Orchestra Delights Morris Crowd with Tribute to John Williams https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/feel-like-a-kid-again-south-bend-symphony-orchestra-delights-morris-crowd-with-tribute-to-john-williams/ Mon, 02 May 2022 04:34:00 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/feel-like-a-kid-again-south-bend-symphony-orchestra-delights-morris-crowd-with-tribute-to-john-williams/

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – The South Bend Symphony Orchestra wrapped up its pop music streak last night at the Morris Performing Arts Center with an extraordinary performance.

The Symphony Orchestra dedicated last night to the music of world-renowned composer John Williams, who has composed the music and served as music director for more than a hundred films.

With May 4, also known as Star Wars Day, just around the corner, it seemed only fitting that they would pay homage to the living legend who created the Star Wars, Harry Potter, ET, Jaws soundtracks. , Jurassic Park, etc. many more fan favorites.

“Music is the soundtrack to our lives, as music director Alastair (Willis) said, and it’s true. I mean, we grew up with Star Wars, and sometimes people don’t realize the quality of the music behind the image they’re looking at, so it’s a great opportunity. I think people talk about what the American sound of orchestral music is; it’s John Williams. It’s Star Wars, it’s ET, it’s all these great movies, and yes, there are movies, but it’s also amazing music,” said Justus Zimmerman, Executive Director of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. .

Mr. Williams has received 22 Grammys, four Golden Globes, five Emmys, seven British Academy Awards (BAFTA) and numerous gold and platinum records.

If one word could describe Saturday night’s performance, it would be nostalgia.

After the show, 16 News Now asked South Bend Symphony Orchestra violinist Forrest Miesse what she thought of the performance: “This is actually my first (concert) in South Bend. I’ve never played here before, and it was a great start because the music was so exciting and so passionate and popular with everyone. His music is not at all easy to play, but we like to play it, we like to practice it, which is not always the case with modern music, and it was just a great experience for us.

A happy coincidence last night; John Williams recently turned 90 and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra is about to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

For more information on the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Click here.

Copyright 2022 WNDU. All rights reserved.

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Broadway musicals abound with Player’s Guild of Dearborn’s ‘Anything Goes’ and Fisher’s ‘The Band’s Visit’ and ‘Anastasia’ – Daily Tribune https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/broadway-musicals-abound-with-players-guild-of-dearborns-anything-goes-and-fishers-the-bands-visit-and-anastasia-daily-tribune/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 22:10:55 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/broadway-musicals-abound-with-players-guild-of-dearborns-anything-goes-and-fishers-the-bands-visit-and-anastasia-daily-tribune/

Broadway musicals abound on local stages, with the Player’s Guild of Dearborn presenting its pandemic-delayed production of “Anything Goes” and the Fisher holding back-to-back Broadway tours, with “The Band’s Visit” closing May 1. and a May 5 opening for “Anastasia.”

COLE PORTER’S ‘ANYTHING GOES’ OPENS AT DEARBORN PLAYERS GUILD

Cole Porter’s musical, “Anything Goes,” which the Dearborn Players Guild had on its Spring 2020 schedule when the pandemic hit, opens a long-awaited three-weekend run May 6 at the theater, 21730 Madison to Dearborn.

Set on an ocean liner from New York to London in 1934, stowaway Billy Crocker is in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Two other passengers on board aid Crocker in his quest: nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and public enemy number 13, Moonface Martin.

The show featured Cole Porter’s popular songs “Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, and “I Get a Kick Out of You”.

Brian Townsend conducted the show, with musical direction from Richard Alder.

The cast includes: Carissa Lokken as Reno Sweeney, Alex Quinlan as Billy Crocker, Josh Beurer as Moonface Martin, Madeline Bien as Erma and Meg Pace as Hope Harcourt.

John Lamb plays Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, with Leslie Garber as Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Bill McCloskey as Elisha Whitney, Steve Nazarek as Captain, and Jeff Graham as Commissioner.

Rounding out the company are Rebecca Borsodi, Tim Carney, Lauren Danke, Dylan Hart, Jeff Lokken, Kristen Pagels, Mo Thomas and Sam Volpe.

Townsend said making “Anything Goes” is equal parts excitement, enthusiasm, nerves and pressure.

“This is our biggest production since the pandemic caused us to shift focus and gradually return to live theater,” he said. “Our goal is to make the show enjoyable from start to finish, not only paying homage to its role in music history, but also ensuring the kind of performance the Players Guild of Dearborn is known for.”

Townsend said the music is contagious and he ends up singing the tunes from the show the day after rehearsal.

“With Cole Porter’s music, mistaken identities, mismatched loves and more tap dancing than you can shake a martini, I think audiences will have a really enjoyable experience,” he said.

Music director Richard Alder said the show had a strong cast.

“They’re fun, responsive to management and determined to put on a really good show,” he said. “The characters are full of humor, and our actors bring it out.”

Beurer, who was part of the 2020 cast that was impacted by the pandemic, said it sometimes seemed like the show would never open.

“It’s surreal to come back and pick up where we left off,” he said. “Somehow I feel like nothing has changed, but when I look around all of our masked faces in the club room, I’m reminded that the whole world has changed.”

Beurer said one thing that hasn’t changed is the Guild’s commitment to the magic and power of live theater.

“Being part of the Guild’s first full music production since the pandemic feels like a victory lap,” he said. “We are recovering the sense of normality that we lost two years ago.”

Beurer said playing Moonface Martin allows him to make people laugh.

“Moonface is pure comic relief,” he said. “It’s so liberating to completely lose myself in the complete and utter ridiculousness of Moonface.”

Beurer said that although the show was funny, it lasted because it has so much heart.

“The story celebrates romantic love, the unconditional support of a good friend, and the powerful community bonds we create for ourselves,” he said. “So, I hope audiences have fun and can come away with a reminder of the special connections in their own lives.”

Carissa Lokken is also delighted to be back on stage after such a long break.

“The cast and crew enjoy every minute of rehearsal together,” she said. “The idea of ​​being able to sing and dance again for our customers is exhilarating.”

She said her character, Reno Sweeney, is the opposite of her own personality.

“Becoming this confident woman with all this moxie has been a challenge, but that’s what I love,” she said. “It’s a dream role for me and I’m thrilled to play it.”

Well said Erma, an attractive and silly character, is fun to play.

“I love finding ways to give his personality more depth than his ‘boy toy’ persona,” she said. “Keeping the Jersey accent can be tough, but practice makes perfect.”

Bien said it was exhilarating to be back on stage.

“I think audiences will get their fair share of laughs with this show,” she said. “There are so many goofy characters and a lot of heckling.”

The show runs at 8 p.m. May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 and at 2:30 p.m. May 8, 15, and 22 at the theater, 21730 Madison St. in Dearborn.

Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 313-561-TKTS or going to playersguildofdearborn.org.

Michigan actor Joe Joseph, who plays Egyptian police band member Haled in ‘The Band’s Visit,’ now plays at the Fisher Theater, grew up in Southfield and graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School and the University of Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Evan Zimmerman)

LOCAL ACTOR AT THE CASTING OF “THE BAND’S VISIT” AT THE FISHER THEATER

The Tony Award-winning musical ‘The Band’s Visit’, which runs at the Fisher Theater until May 1, has a local connection in the cast: Joe Joseph, who plays band member Haled, grew up under the name of Joe Dimuzio (Joseph is the son of his mother’s maiden name), grew up in Southfield, attended high school at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in Detroit, and graduated from the University of Michigan.

“The Band’s Visit” is the story of an Egyptian ceremonial police band that landed in Tel Aviv, expecting to be greeted by a representative of a local Arab cultural organization. When no one arrives, they try to buy bus tickets for the intended destination. However, due to one band member’s accent, they end up in the wrong town, in the middle of nowhere.

Despite their cultural differences and initial mistrust, the villagers welcome the group members stranded for the night. Meals, stories and music are shared, as the characters reveal their stories, laying bare their common humanity.

The remaining performances of “The Band’s Visit” are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 30, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on May 1 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit.

Tickets start at $35 and are available at the Fisher Theater box office and online at Ticketmaster.com.

“Anastasia – The New Broadway Musical” opens May 5 at the Fisher Theater in Detroit. (Photo courtesy of Jérémy Daniel)

‘ANASTASIA – THE MUSIC” TO PLAY THE FISHERMAN

“Anastasia – the New Broadway Musical,” which was scheduled to open May 3 at the Fisher Theater, will instead open May 5, due to a breakthrough COVID case at the company.

The show will take place in Detroit through May 8 at the Fisher Theater, 3011 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

In 1920s Paris, a young woman sets out to uncover the secrets of her past with the help of a con man and a former aristocrat, while trying to escape those who would harm her.

Tickets start at $39 and are available at the Fisher Theater box office and online at Ticketmaster.com.

HURON HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS “THE ADDAMS FAMILY” MUSIC

The Huron High School Drama Club presents the musical “The Addams Family” at 7 p.m. May 5-6 and 5 p.m. May 7 at the high school, 32044 Huron River Drive in New Boston.

Theater director Kimberly Waddell said the school was originally scheduled to produce the show in May 2020, when the pandemic put it on hold.

“The students are so excited that we’re back on stage and able to perform live for the audience,” she said.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students. To order online, go to hsd.booktix.com.

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Juni B. returns to the children’s festival https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/juni-b-returns-to-the-childrens-festival/ Sun, 24 Apr 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://thefreemusicdirectory.com/juni-b-returns-to-the-childrens-festival/ The St. Albert Children’s Theater returns with a musical suite.

When it comes to musicals, parents often stop and ask what makes a good introductory choice for kids. There are plenty of musicals out there, but where do you find shows that are age-appropriate for kids and appealing to parents?

As summer approaches, the International Festival of Children’s Arts is the hot spot in town. One show on the festival’s main stage that never fails to draw sold-out venues is the spring production of the St. Albert Children’s Theatre. This year, the youth troupe presents Juni B.’s Essential School Survival Guide.

Adapted from Barbara Park’s bestseller Juni B. Jones series, Juni is a brave kid who survived the first year and all of its pitfalls. Now a mature 2nd grader, she gets her friends to help write a survival guide for the next group of 1st graders. The hour-long sequel features crackling jokes, memorable songs, and the 22 fresh-faced actors ranging in age from nine to 19 creating fun for all ages.

This musical follows the troupe’s 2018 festival production titled simply Juni B. Jones The Musical. The show was sold out and featured Juni as a sweet and boisterous little first-grader who discovers that school has its hard times.

“She had this brilliant idea to develop a survival guide and got her friends involved. But she’s the only one who doesn’t know what to say,” said creative director Janice Flower.

Although Juni sparks the idea of ​​a guide, she develops writer’s block while her friends brainstorm ideas based on their interests. At some point, Juni realizes that she still has a lot to learn and that it’s okay to admit mistakes.

Choreographer Rachel Ironmonger has nothing but praise for the cast.

“It’s a very demanding ensemble piece. It’s non-stop. All the kids are in motion from when it starts until it stops,” Ironmonger said of the choreography.

17-year-old Kate Guile tackles the emotionally and physically demanding role of Juni.

“Her Juni is so innocent and a bundle of pure joy. She has that naughty side, but it’s sweet. She shows the beauty of children and their excitement. She wants to help, but not always in the best way. Kate is a wonderful person and she has a wonderful stage presence,” Ironmonger said.

Juni’s four best friends are: Lucille (Madelyn Harpikainen), an up-and-coming fashionista; May (Em Creswell), the teacher’s pet who goes above and beyond; Herb (Elliot Frankiw), a sweet, carefree guy; and Sheldon (Connor Woodley), an adorable, weird duck who has allergy attacks and likes to walk.

The triple-threat cast — performers who play, sing and dance — learned the upbeat 14-song score from composers Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrichan. Although the lyrics were easy to learn, the score is a challenge.

Musical director Janet Nichol added that the young actors worked hard to master the complex melodies and harmonies.

“In particular, the harmonies are very close. The notes are closer and more demanding. They are very tight. They require vocal dexterity and flexibility. More importantly, they require a good ear to hear what you’re singing in number groups. But they are very stubborn kids,” Nichol said.

Several highlights of the song are the Spanish sound Fabulous El Toro, a dream sequence with a bull; pop rock I have to get there as Juni rushes to the bus; and walking Parade of backpacks.

Nichol concluded by saying, “What I’m most excited about is the return to performance and half of the cast is brand new. This is a great opportunity for kids who think they want to do theater and would like to make it happen. There is singing, dancing, comedy. Go out and see for yourself. We would love to see you at our next audition.

Juni B’s Essential School Survival Guide June 2-5 at the new City Arts Space, 125 Carleton Drive, Unit 105. Tickets are $13 per person. You can order online at tickets.stalbert.ca or at the Arden box office at 780-459-1542.

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