Aquila “Murder on the Nile” at the Rozsa

83820a4d79f71c191f67df1bcdec76017e507834Start with air raid sirens. Add WWII BBC broadcasts. Sprinkle on morse code and British actors during the time of Nazi-occupied Europe and you’ve got the 25th Anniversary National Tour of the acclaimed off-broadway Aquila Theatre Company, who are bringing Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Nile” to the Rozsa Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 27).

“Murder on the Nile,” by one of the greatest mystery writers in world literature, features a masterful whodunit and Aquila’s clever signature style. Aquila’s production is set in the early 1940s during World War II at the BBC Home Service studios in London. Air raid sirens were a regular occurrence in London during this time as Great Britain was on constant alert to bombings by Germany. Members of the theatre troupe have arrived and are preparing for a live radio broadcast of “Murder on the Nile,” but another air raid has prevented the full cast from assembling and yet, the show must go on—somehow.

In Agatha Christie’s own staging of her famous novel, “Death on the Nile,” a paddle steamer is cruising the legendary Nile River in 1940’s Egypt. The passengers aboard are abuzz when the famous heiress, Kay Ridgeway, and her penniless new husband, Simon Mostyn board the ship.

Class, money, and reputation are all at stake in one way or another for the passengers and before they know it deceit, theft and murder quickly make waves on the river.

Spurned lover Jacqueline De Severac, protective uncle Canon Pennefather, a troubled German Doctor and a host of colorful and mysterious characters add to the drama and suspense of this classic Agatha Christie mystery.

Who can be trusted? Who holds the truth? Who is a suspect? Whodunit? Aquila Theatre brings its innovative touch to this deliciously dangerous murder mystery, with brilliant direction, superb acting, thrilling physicality and stunning designs. Aquila’s “Murder on the Nile” will be a classic all over again.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $10 for youth, no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech Fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the SDC Central Ticket Office or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. (Note: the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances).

By Bethany Jones

Visiting Artist Sarah Hewitt Presents a Lecture “The Rise of the Feminine: She Vows”

SarahThe Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts present a lecture by visiting artist Sarah Hewitt entitled “The Rise of the Feminine: She Vows” at 5 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 25) in the Rozsa Lower Level atrium.

Hewitt’s exhibit, “Flats and Rounds,” is on display in the Rozsa A-Space Gallery through Nov. 18. Hewitt is creating a weaving installation on-site in the Rozsa Lobby now through Wednesday. This lecture, installation and gallery exhibition are free and open to the public.

A-Space Gallery and Rozsa Lobby hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. This lecture is presented as part of the VanEvera Distinguished Lecture Series.

By Bethany Jones

Backstage at Rozsa Celebrates 50 Years of Jazz at Tech

9d3fd38403e31e207286e7b17e99edcab2f979fc (1)Backstage at the Rozsa” again opens its doors to the groovin’ sounds of big band jazz to celebrate the 50th year of Jazz Studies at Michigan Tech.

The Research & Development Big Band and the Jazz Lab Band will present a program featuring both the old and new—vintage and contemporary. A wide variety of tunes will be featured; Latin, mainstream, funk, ballads, rock and swing.

The Rozsa stage becomes a pop-up jazz club, and the intimate club atmosphere is a perfect setting for the Research & Development  (R&D) Big  Band and the Jazz Lab Band to loosen the reins on creativity and capture the flow of jazz!

Join Jazz Studies Program Director Mike Irish and the Michigan Tech Jazz ensembles for Jazz Showcase, “Backstage at the Rozsa” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Oct. 21-22).

According to Irish, “There will be two ‘Backstage Jazz Series’ again this year, culminating in a finale concert on Saturday, March 25, featuring both big bands, guest artists and a return of the always popular Alumni Jazz Band.”

Elaborating about the history and excitement of Jazz, Irish says “Jazz was  born in the ‘tonks and joints’ of Storyville in New Orleans, and has always found a home in the small but lively entertainment venues throughout the  world—the “speakeasies” of Chicago, the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan, Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, Birdland in New York, Ronnie Scott’s in London, the Town Tavern in Toronto, the  A—Trane in Berlin, the Shaft in Istanbul, the Blue Note and Vanguard in New York and the Orpheum in Hancock.”

Irish says “Jazz is now enjoyed and practiced all over the world, and is  one of America’s greatest cultural exports. So sit back, and immerse yourself in the music. In the words of jazz legend Art Blakey, ‘Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.'”

Tickets for “Backstage Jazz at the Rozsa” are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. Note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

Tech Theatre’s “Silent Sky” Opens Tomorrow

VPA_AuditionsMichigan Tech Theatre Company’s first production of the new academic year, “Silent Sky,” opens tomorrow at the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

In “Silent Sky” playwright Lauren Gundeson tells the story of astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt. The play blends the discovery of how to measure the universe with the essence of the discoverer’s life story.

Set against the turmoil of the cry for social justice at the beginning of the 20th century, the chronicle of Leavitt counterpoints the power of a passion for work with the desire for love and family.

Join Tech Theatre for a play that contemplates the life, challenges and contributions to our understanding of the universe. Leavitt discovered the first way of measuring the universe, to demonstrate that heavens were larger than the Milky Way, the limit of creation in her day.

“Silent Sky,” will be performed six times over two weeks, Thursday – Saturday, October 13 – 15 and again Oct. 20 – 22, in the McArdle Theatre. Performance time is 7:30 p.m. each night.

According to Director Roger Held, “In spite of the confusion of everyday life with family, making a living, paying taxes, enduring schedules, surviving deadlines, coping with aged vehicles, navigating love and sex, being immersed in political realms of all kinds (science, arts and academia included) peopled with an over-abundance of unpleasant and damaged souls, we are buoyed by the passion for doing difficult things: Henrietta Leavitt is one of us; persons who throw a net, gathering in pieces of some realm of endeavor, envisioning the pattern of relationships within the flotsam they’ve caught and teasingly calculating an understanding of some small piece of a greater puzzle.”

Tickets are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticket Office in the Student Development Complex or the night of the event, one hour before show time, at the McArdle Theatre Box Office.

by Bethany Jones

Pep Band Pre-Celebrates “50 Years of Be-striped Peppiness!”

173b3e1ec83385f368cc1ed7a32a5ab773e62927The Michigan Tech Huskies Pep Band pre-celebrates 50 years of be-striped peppiness in its inimitable concert style at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct.) in the Rozsa Center.

Not yet experienced the sound and sight sensation that is the Huskies Pep Band? They are a true sensory extravaganza. The Huskies Pep Band is a Michigan Tech point of pride and one of the most lauded pep bands in the Midwest. Members dressed in “bumble-bee” stripes perform at concerts, athletic events, parades and special events all around Houghton and support Michigan Tech teams on the road as well.

The Huskies Pep Band is a nationally-known Division I pep band of nearly 250 members that performs at all home football, basketball and hockey games.

The band was selected as the host band to the WCHA Final Five Tournament in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

What can you expect at the concert? According to Director of Bands Michael Christianson (VPA), “… As the Huskies Pep Band becomes ‘almost golden’ as a ‘scramble band,’ they are ‘concerned’ about their ‘legacy’ of ‘music-making’ and ‘stylish dress’ and their ‘failure to yet achieve the gold.’ Please join us in our concert/therapy session as we loudly and flamboyantly try to work out ‘our issues’ in ‘our own special way'”

Tickets for Almost Golden at the Rozsa Center are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex.

by Bethany Jones

Grammy Winner Jerry Blackstone To Conduct Honors Choir Festival

fac5e5d9a73ad485410d1448022185a7f3ee9731The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and the department of visual and performing arts (VPA) presents “Honors Choir Festival” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

The concert contemplates the forces of nature and weather in its many forms; springtime, a thunderstorm, a prairie fire and the Schoolchildren’s Blizzard of 1888.

The Choirs of Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra welcome singers from Northern Michigan University and upper peninsula high schools to perform Ēriks Ešenvalds’ “Whispers on the Prairie Wind,” under the direction of Jerry Blackstone, the Grammy Award winning director of choral activities at the University of Michigan. The KSO will also present Beethoven’s Symphony no.6 in F Major (Pastoral), conducted by Jared Anderson.

By Bethany Jones

The 41 North Film Festival Returns to the Rozsa, November 3-6

8211c62a8316cf34e651bd9d7c6e7a565ddd41edFrom a family’s unique intervention into the silent world of autism to six intrepid young entrepreneurs building startups in Detroit, the 41 North Film Festival offers human stories that engage, inform, inspire and uplift.

Over the course of four days, the festival features more than 20 acclaimed films from around the world, as well as music, prizes and other special events.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams will be in attendance for the screening of “Life, Animated,” the documentary based on Suskind’s best-selling memoir “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism.”

Award-winning editor, and Michigan native, Jason Zeldes will present his directorial debut film, “Romeo Is Bleeding.”

Detroit Free Press Executive Video Producer Brian Kaufman will be joined by Rolf Peterson (SFRES) and John Vucetich (SFRES) for a panel discussion following the screening of his film “Predator/Prey: The Fight for Isle Royale Wolves“.

Among other feature films included this year are “All These Sleepless Nights,” (Marczak, 2016), “Operator” (Kibens, 2016), “Kedi” (Torun, 2016), “Do Not Resist” (Atkinson, 2016), “Death by Design” (Williams, 2016), “A Stray” (Syeed, 2016) and “Sonita” (Maghami, 2016), which won both the 2016 Sundance Audience and Grand Jury prizes for World Cinema Documentary.

Now in its 12th year, the festival continues to be free and open to the public. Major Sponsors include the Humanities department, the Visual and Performing Arts department, the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Student Affairs and Advancement, Pavlis Honors College, the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series and the Parents Fund of the Michigan Tech Fund.

Learn more about the films, events, sponsors and how to reserve your ticketonline. For more information email

by Erin Smith

Music O Rama: Celebrating John and Biruta Lowther

82783a59e1337c6e3ea2a469b341525360d6b160The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents “Music O Rama” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

“Music O Rama,” an annual musical variety concert, will be held this year in honor of a couple that has spent many years participating in the Arts at Michigan Tech. This concert is sponsored by John and Biruta Lowther, in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. The Lowthers and their family took part in many of Michigan Tech’s various music ensembles.

The celebration will feature performances by conScience, Superior Wind Symphony and Jazz Lab Band. According to John Lowther, “We wanted to celebrate our 50th anniversary and express our appreciation to the music department for the years of music our family has enjoyed. I played in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra for a number of years. Our son played in the Pep Band and sang in the Concert Choir. Biruta and I enjoyed singing together in the Concert Choir.”

Tickets are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Calumet Theatre Box Office.

by Bethany Jones

Helskinki Chamber Choir Presents World Premier of ‘State of the Union’

HKK-2011-8616The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents “State of the Union” performed by the Helsinki Chamber Choir, on Sunday, October 2, 7:30 PM.

“State of the Union” (SOTU), by Eugene Birman and Scott Diel, is a 40-minute operatic work for twelve voices, a bold new opera addressing the pressing political and environmental issues of our time.

According to the Rabbit Island Foundation,The opera condemns no one and everyone, yet its finale doles out redemption to those open to it. SOTU is four characters – the environment, the rich, the middle class, and the poor – meeting and interacting over seven movements. It reflects a belief that many of our problems stem from how we view and treat one another. As a society we too often equate wealth with wisdom, and poverty with personal shortcomings. This work pushes forward the genre of classical music and also advances the medium to underscore a new subject: humanity’s relationship to its natural environment in the context of modern society.”

According to Birman, “SOTU’s relationship to the very beginning of opera is quite strong, in that opera was invented as a genre for communicating revolutionary ideas. But political and conventional limitations on the form were nevertheless too limiting, so it was quickly subsumed into ‘music as entertainment’. SOTU is commentary on that role, for while the piece will be entertaining, I see its purpose as bringing opera back to what it was meant to be… as a Gesamtkunstwerk with a specific purpose, not just one that brings together art forms for the delight of audiences. I think that the genre needs this shake-up because it has, with each new addition, become more and more anachronistic and baroque—ultimately, irrelevant and silly.”

The opera was conceiveEugene_and_Scottd in 2015 while Juilliard-trained composer Eugene Birman and librettist Scott Diel spent sixteen days on Rabbit Island. Part opera seria, part satire, SOTU considers environmental crisis, economic inequality, and the general obliviousness of society’s confused march forward.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir is the leading vocal group from Finland, and one of the most notable contemporary choirs in all of Europe. Rabbit Island, a 91 acre forested island in Lake Superior three miles east of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, is held under a conservation easement granted by the Keweenaw Land Trust, and supports programs fostering science, art, preservation and recreation. Rabbit Island is a laboratory for artists to consider the modern relationship between art and the environment, and this is what Birman and Diel have done.

Birman and Diel will present their work, State of the Union (SOTU), in its world premier tour first in Marquette, Michigan, on the campus of Northern Michigan University, then on to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts in Houghton, MI then Interlochen, Michigan, and culminating in New York City. SOTU has been brought to life thanks to generous support from the Rabbit Island Foundation, Northern Michigan University’s Northern Nights concert series, DeVos Art Museum, the Finlandia Foundation, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the U.P. Beaumier Heritage Center.

We are particularly excited to welcome the Helsinki Chamber Choir to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where a large percentage of residents can trace their roots back to Finnish immigrants.  In the U.P. we proudly celebrate Finnish language, culture, sauna, surnames and, of course, sisu.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir (Helsingin kamarikuoro) was founded in 1962 as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir and assumed its current name in 2005. It is currently Finland’s only professional chamber choir. The choir’s Artistic Director from 2005–2007 was Kimmo Hakola. Since 2007 Nils Schweckendiek has been responsible for the group’s artistic planning. While its wide-ranging repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to the present day, the Helsinki Chamber Choir is particularly highly regarded for its work with new music. The choir regularly commissions new works and has given over 50 world premieres in the seasons since 2005, as well as more than 30 Finnish first performances. The choir appears frequently at major Finnish music festivals and collaborates with orchestras and Baroque and contemporary music ensembles. Recent touring has included concerts in Russia, Estonia and Belgium.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s concerts are regularly broadcast on radio and television, both nationally and internationally. Particular highlights have been televised performances on the international cultural channel ARTE of Michael Haydn’s Requiem in 2006 and Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Vigilia in 2013.

The Helsinki Chamber Choir’s recording of Magnus Lindberg’s Graffiti (with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo) was nominated for a Grammy in the contemporary music category in 2010. During its days as the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir, the group recorded a number of CDs for the Ondine label, including Rautavaara’s complete works for mixed a cappella choir. The choir’s most recent appearance on CD is in the world premiere recording of Veli-Matti Puumala’s opera Anna Liisa (to be released in May 2015). A number of other recordings will appear in the near future.

Since 2012 the Helsinki Chamber Choir has been a member of Tenso, the association of European professional chamber choirs.

The Finnish Radio Chamber Choir’s principal conductors were Harald Andersén, Kaj-Erik Gustafsson, Ilmo Riihimäki, Eric-Olof Söderström and Timo Nuoranne. Alongside Nils Schweckendiek, in recent years the choir has worked with conductors including Kaspars Putnins, Fredrik Malmberg, Eric-Olof Söderström, Andres Mustonen, Olari Elts, Rachid Safir, Tim Brown, Anne Azéma, Aapo Häkkinen, James Wood and Rinaldo Alessandrini.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Central Ticket Office (SDC), at 906-487-2073, or go online at

By Bethany Jones

First A-Space Gallery show of the 2016-17 Season September 30th

KMcCloud_Img2_99 Bird CallsThe Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents the first Rozsa A-Space Gallery show of the 2016-17 Season: Flats and Rounds, an exhibition of the work of two artists, Kathleen McCloud and Sarah Hewitt.

Flats and Rounds opens with a public reception on Friday, September 30, from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM, and will continue through November 18. The reception is free and open to the public, and gallery hours are MondayFriday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Saturday from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Hewitt will also create a weaving installation on-site, in the Rozsa Lobby, from October 20 – 26th. A public lecture by Hewitt to discuss her work further will be held in the Rozsa on the evening of Tuesday, October 25.

This exhibition brings together many genres of art; installation, painting, weaving, printmaking, papermaking and sculpture. Combinations, permutations and someplace in between both two-dimensional (flat) and three-dimensional (round) works of art challenge the labels the viewer places on artists and artworks. VPA Assistant Professor and A-Space gallery manager Lisa Gordillo elaborates: “Hewitt and McCloud explore single and multi-dimensional space, gender mythology, and cultural storytelling in this exhibit.”

Kathleen McCloud, a visual artist currently living in Santa Fe New Mexico, works in painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation mediums. McCloud writes, “My paintings and print-based paper constructions expand upon history and the mythologizing that insinuates into the cultural story over time. I reconfigure the characters into a variety of relationships and environments to create globalized narratives that address current events and the replay of history.

The melting pot of characters is reflected in the diverse materials used to make them, which include mixed papers, fabric, plastic and wax. As in fairy tales and myths, these paper characters appear as enchanters- both ephemeral and powerful transformers. Their territory is the borderlands between the known and the unknown, raising questions about home and what it means to be connected a this time.”

Sarah Hewitt is an artist who currently lives in New York but calls northern New Mexico and mid-coast Maine home. Her work has been exhibited throughout the country. Upcoming exhibitions include Kindred Beasts at the Everson Museum, and Flats and Rounds. Hewitt has received awards and residencies from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Vermont Studio Center, Purchase College/SUNY, Quimby Colony and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Hewitt describes her work this way:

She vows
To make plastic art
Redefine plastic art
To make you love plastic art
To challenge and bewitch you with what you think is formal or plastic
To make you bow to her craft
Redefine craft
To weave
To weave your mind
To weave your mind into confusion
To drag you into the sacred without your consent

For more information please contact Lisa Gordillo, Assistant Professor, Visual and Performing Arts, 906-487- 3096,

Read more at Tech Today, by Bethany Jones