Monday, February 26, 2018

Contribute to Lincoln's own Choral Continuum

Lincoln Choral Artists are a wonderful group of dedicated singers on the Lincoln choral scene--and their annual fundraiser is taking place on Sunday, March 4, at 4:00pm. LCA concerts feature themes varying from this season's Retrospective - Music of and Inspired by the Renaissance to last year's Sowing the Seeds of Music in Nebraska. It's clear that LCA does a great deal not only with their own music but by bringing other artists and ensembles together.

This year's fundraiser continues the season's theme of A Choral Continuum, this time with Music that Envisions the Future, as LCA President, Curt Butler shared with LincolnCMN:
Sunday's presentation is planned to be a one-of-a-kind concert event, along with a fund-raiser to enhance LCA's ongoing ability to promote the arts. The repertoire for this concert event moves from the somewhat dark lyrics of Genesis' "In the Air Tonight" (when do you ever get to hear a choral performance of Phil Collins?) and Toto's "Africa," into the contemplative "MLK" by U2, "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen and on to the uplifting "Make Them Hear You" from the musical Ragtime, and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Paul Simon. Also in the mix is an Eric Whitacre EDM piece with multimedia and chorus. Featured guests are also joining the fun. Every bit of it is destined to be a musical highlight!
Jason Horner, choral director, says that what makes LCA special is that it "brings some of the best singers and talented community members together to create unique choral experiences...we are made up of a diversity of people that each offer their own gifts to create excellent music." Horner says highlights of Sunday's show include "special guests UNL's Boots and Cats, an all female vocal pop group."

Both Horner and Butler agree that one of the best memories they have with LCA was this season's fall concert which was the Retrospective portion of the Choral Continuum featuring guest ensembles Dulces Voces and the Early Music Consort. Horner shared that: "It was so incredible to sing music in what music scholars think is the original performance setting, with period instruments, and multiple choirs singing across the gulf of a church sanctuary. The setting was gorgeous at St. Thomas Aquinas on the UNL campus. The music was thrilling!" while Butler agreed especially with the location being "a beautiful space!"

Horner explains the idea behind the 2017/2018 season theme of A Choral Continuum, it "uses the idea of time and space to have a conversation of how we observe and perform choral music in the world." Having looked to the past in the fall, for the fundraiser show, "we are looking to the future." Some ways to envision the future are by "using video and audio tracks to tell stories as well as engage the audience in many ways with food, a silent auction, and an opportunity to dance." Of course, even no one would want to miss the final part of the Choral Continuum taking place in April, "we will join forces with Abendmusik and the Nebraska Brass Band to perform music that features music about music and offers the opportunity to the audience to see whats' happening in the present with community music organizations.

Butler loves that LCA "represents a multi-generational cross section of Lincoln and surrounding area singers who all share the same passion -- to encourage promotion of the arts, and to participate in the presentation of beautiful, meaningful musical experiences. To feed the soul!" 

Enjoy and support the work of all those who sing and work behind the scenes in LCA this Sunday at their fundraiser by buying tickets here and keep in mind that, as Butler sums it up:
 ". . . rhythm and harmony permeate the inner part of the soul more than anything else . . ." -- a quote attributed to Plato -- at least according to the world wide web!!  For sure, wise people, for a very long time, have known how significantly music impacts the human existence.  Music feeds the soul.  Lincoln Choral Artists has been in the business of promoting the arts and feeding the soul with vocal music for nearly four decades.  Along the way, LCA projects have provided collaborative opportunities and venues for young singers;  garnered support through mentorship and assistance with local causes;  offered a morale boost for residents of retirement centers;  enhanced the importance of commemoration of significant local, national and international events -- among many, many other things.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

TrumpetFest: Benefit CSS and celebrate the trumpet

This Sunday, February 11th, there's an opportunity to hear great trumpet music and support the work of Catholic Social Services (CSS) by attending TrumpetFest at Pius X High School. Featuring local trumpeters Darryl White, Kevin Murray, Maria Pytlik, and more, this annual event is in memory of Mac McCune and Dennis Schneider. A free-will offering is collected for the benefit of CSS.
Sun. Feb. 11, 2018 from 3:00-4:30pm at Pius X High School

Kevin Murray, the event organizer and lifelong lover of trumpet, shared with LincolnCMN what the inspiration for TrumpetFest was:

"A friend told me that without CSS counseling, his son would not still be alive. I was on the golf fundraiser committee that is in August, so I decided to start something in the winter to help. Since I was always looking for some place to play myself and I knew most of the locals, I decided to have a Trumpetfest."
The best shows, according to Murray,  "were when Mac and Denny were playing with us." Now, the show is in honor of these local trumpet legends. 

 Darryl White, trumpet professor at UNL, will perform at TrumpetFest along with members of the UNL trumpet studio. His favorite memories of past TrumpetFests were the chances to "make music" with Denny Schneider and Mac McCune. "I miss those guys," he shared, but as audience members get the chance to hear trumpet, White says that they can look forward to hearing "a variety of trumpets that the general public may have never heard before" and "the program selection will include all types of music ranging from classical, jazz, and original music written by some of the performers."

The best thing about the trumpet according to White? "It’s versatility for sure. It can sound as soft and sweet as child’s voice, as lyrical as operatic soprano voice and as powerful as the trumpets in heaven!" His performance of Sicilienne by Maria Von Paradis will be a moment of that sweet and lyrical side of the instrument while he'll also close with great improv.

Maria Pytlik will perform this year again as well: 
"I started playing the trumpet when I was seven years old, and the best part of playing the trumpet in my opinion is the ability to express emotion through the horn and make those listening feel the emotion that is being expressed. I first played for TrumpetFest when I was nine years old, and my favorite experience was listening to Mac McCune play When the Saints Go Marching In."
 Whether you choose to attend TrumpetFest to support the work of CSS, because you love the trumpet, or because you'd like to hear all the variety the instrument has to offer for the first time you're in for a treat!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Guitar and Flute: A Happy Meeting Bringing You an Evening of Music

A musical duo of guitar and flute will present a concert entitled Duo Primo on February 4th at 4:00pm at O'Donnell Auditorium on the Wesleyan campus (Tickets $10, Students $5, Free up to age10). Musicians Betsy Bobenhouse and Antonio Forgione spoke with LincolnCMN about the upcoming performance. 
Forgione is excited that:

"The concert will feature some of the best composers who wrote for flute and guitar, from Mauro Giuliani, who made by far the largest 19th century contribution with 22 compositions, to Astor Piazzolla, who dedicated to this ensemble the celebrated Histoire du Tango."

The duo met, according to Bobenhouse, "last April through mutual musical friends. We had both played flute/classical guitar repertoire in the past and were excited to do so again." With Forgione having moved from Italy in 2011, he said, I missed my friends flutists in Italy, but it was only by chance that I met Betsy and the excitement about doing a duo was immediate" since he'd played guitar since the age of 11 and flute was the first instrument that "gave me the feeling of a perfect match with the guitar."

With both members of the duo having played guitar/flute music before, there are carefully selected favorites as well as some that are new to them both such as a piece by Libby Larsen.

What brought them to a love of music and a life with their instruments?

For Forgione, "The guitar happened to be my instruments just by chance, after a gift from a friend. I would say that it really chose me rather than the contrary,"and he feels that classical guitar is the "'ultimate' guitar" because while "not many big names of the history of music dedicated their efforts to this instrument, [...] still what the classical guitar repertoire can offer is extremely fulfilling and second to none especially in the 20th century. It challenges the hands and the mind in directions that every young musician can find rewarding."

Bobenhouse had an early start and exposure to music since her "father played French horn in the Omaha Symphony for over 30 years and my sister joined OSO as a 'cellist when she was 18 years-old." But Bobenhouse chose the flute for its sound, and while she's been playing and teaching the instrument for years, the thing she loves the most is "starting a rank beginner; it is so much fun introducing children to the music, in general, and the flute, in particular. It doesn't matter to me if a student intends to pursue a career in music because music is for everyone!"

Music is indeed for everyone, and this performance is a perfect way to experience music for those who've loved it for years or those who are just discovering the beauty of music--especially the classical sounds of guitar and flute duo!