Category Archives: Announcements

Yearning to Breathe Free: Free Outdoor Band Concert on the Rozsa Lawn

Bring your lawn chairs, bring your blankets: The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts is proud to present “Yearning to Breathe Free,” a free outdoor concert put on by Michael Christianson, Michigan Tech’s Director of Bands, with performances by the Superior Wind Symphony, in which they will celebrate the music of great composers who emigrated to the United States. Come spend a beautiful fall evening full of band music on Sunday, September 24th, 7:00 PM, on the Rozsa/Walker lawn. If it rains, the show will be inside, in the Rozsa Center.

According to Christainson, “Many of the great composers of iconic American band music came to the United States from overseas. They were drawn by the words of Emma Lazarus, inscribed in 1883 on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

We will perform mostly original works for winds by great composers who were immigrants to the US: Irving Berlin, Antonin Dvorak, Sergei Prokofiev, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Percy Grainger, Chen Yi, Tania Leon , plus a Sousa march dedicated to his overseas friends! Bring your blanket, your dinner, and spread out on the lawn as you enjoy a classic Band moment with Michigan Tech’s Superior Wind Symphony! Concert starts at 7:00PM, sunset starts at 8:01.”

For more information please visit us online at mtu.edu/rozsa


Mike Christianson Plays the Lincoln Center this Weekend

Mike Christianson, left, with the Superior Wind Symphony.
Mike Christianson, left, with the Superior Wind Symphony.

 

Mike Christianson plays trombone at the outset of this mini-documentary…

 

 

Michael Christianson, Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts Director of Bands, will perform in “Jazz at the Lincoln Center” with the legendary Fred Hersch, Kurt Elling & Kate McGarry in a performance titled “Leaves of Grass,” in the Appel Room at the Lincoln Center in New York City, this Friday and Saturday, at 7:00 PM and 9:30 PM nightly.  Christianson, trombonist and fifth generation band leader, came to Michigan Tech from New York City in 2012. Originally from Fargo, ND, Mr. Christianson moved to the NYC area to become a low brass performer after finishing his degree in Moorhead. He has built a varied, interesting and successful career as a musician, recording, touring, and performing with the greatest musicians of his time: From Ray Charles to Philip Glass. He has also performed in over 30 Broadway shows, is an active participant in the NYC free-lance scene where he established the Gotham Wind Symphony, continues to make special new music performances including Philip Glass’ The Bacchae in Central Park, Henry Brant’s Orbits for 80 trombones at the Guggenheim, and Anthony Braxton’s Composition #19 for 100 tubas at the World Financial Center.

Notable accolades for Mike’s performances include:

“Among the instrumental high points: …Mike Christianson’s plunger-muted trombone on ‘My Lovers Suffocate Me’”. -Don Heckman- Los Angeles Times

“…superb Tricky Sam is now plunger-muted trombone by Mike Christianson.” -Marc Meyers- All About Jazz (CD review)

“…trombonist Mike Christianson playing elegant solos, …” –           Will Stewart- Ann Arbor News

“…top honors for the brass section go to Mike Christianson, whose sexy growl highlighted “Part X: My Lovers Suffocate Me”…” -Greg Haymes- Albany Times Union

According to the Lincoln Center, “Originally premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2005, Leaves of Grass celebrates the life and poetry of the American bard Walt Whitman, whose work redefined American poetry and had a significant, life-affirming impact on Hersch. In this Appel Room performance, vocalists Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry will reprise their acclaimed roles from the original project, presenting Whitman’s words with grace, emotion, and a lyrical sweetness that would have made Whitman proud. An eight-piece ensemble, featuring trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, trombonist Mike Christianson, multi-reedist Bruce Williamson, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, cellist Jody Redhage, bassist John Hébert, and drummer John Hollenbeck, will assist them in evoking the sweeping melodicism for which Hersch is renowned. It’s been over 160 years since Whitman wrote his epic masterwork, “Song of Myself,” which forms the centerpiece of Hersch’s Leaves of Grass, and its messages seemed almost alien in our society at the time. Now, its promotion of unapologetic love for one’s true self, appreciation of the present, wonder at the miracle of nature, and the openhearted love of all beings is especially timely and important. It is a powerful and unique experience to witness this profound poetry spun into song by one of today’s leading musical visionaries.”  For more information about the Leaves of Grass event, please visit Jazz at the Lincoln Center online at jazz.org

Grammy-winning composer and pianist Fred Hersch, who has been described by the New York Times as “a master who plays it his way” will travel to Houghton in March 2018. The Rozsa Center will present a film based on his life titled “The Ballad of Fred Hersch” on March 22, and The Fred Hersch Trio will perform on the Rozsa stage on March 24th. For tickets and more details about the Fred Hersch events at the Rozsa Center, please visit mtu.edu/rozsa.


Work of Katie Hargrave in Rozsa Gallery

Who owns the wind? The leaves on the trees? When a paper company cuts down a 75-year-old tree, or a landowner clears brush for a better view of the lake, how is an entire ecosystem affected? What ethical, cultural and social questions are raised?

Artist Katie Hargrave, a professor of art at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, explores these questions in her exhibition, “It’s nothing personal (space).

The exhibition opens at the Rozsa Center’s gallery A-Space, on Friday, Sept. 22. “It’s nothing personal (space)” is an exploration of the competing ideas of ownership and stewardship as they relate to public and private land, trees and deserts, and individual and corporate voices.

Inspired by a road trip to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, the site of militia protests during the winter of 2016, the exhibition includes fiber, audio, video and drawings.

A reception which features a discussion of her work by the artist will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. The reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. The show will remain open through Nov. 11. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 8 p.m. Saturdays.


Rozsa Calendars for 2017-18 Season Now Available

20170911_122723Rozsa Center calendars for the 2017-2018 season are now available — both full-size wall calendars and the handy pocket/desk calendars!

Featured this year are 12 Rozsa Presenting Series events, more than 33 Visual and Performing Arts events including music, theater and visual arts and the ever-popular 41 North Film festival.

Season Ticket Packages are on sale now, with the best discounts available on all the season has to offer! There are four Season Ticket Package options this year, offering savings of 18 to 37 percent off single-ticket prices.

Single-ticket sales begin Sept. 1. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Central Ticket Office (SDC), at 7-2073, or visit our website.

You can pick up one of each or both at the Rozsa Center or at any of the more than 120 local Houghton and Hancock businesses who display and distribute them each year.

For Michigan Tech faculty and staff, we would like to make it easy for you to get your copies of the calendars. If you would like a calendar delivered directly to your campus mailbox, please click on this link and fill out the google form. We will gladly send a calendar to you in inter-campus mail.


Corn Husks in the Rio San Juan

Recent Michigan Tech Grad Joins Visual Art Faculty as Artist in Residence in Guatemala

Gordillo and Fisher installing a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River).
Gordillo and Fisher installing a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River).
Rio San Juan Dia 2
Gordillo and Fisher preparing to install sculpture in the Rio San Juan.

Lisa Gordillo, assistant professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech, traveled to  Quetzaltenango, Guatemala for her recent exhibition at the Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos from July 15-Aug. 1, and also worked on an installation for Tierra Adentro, the International Poetry Festival of Aguacatan, where she created a sculpture in the Rio San Juan (San Juan River). Hannah Fisher, ‘17, who graduated with a minor in Visual Art, joined Gordillo to help with the river sculpture (which involved sewing corn husks together in the water!), and to join the Aguacatan Poetry Festival also as an artist in residence. The river sculpture, called Chuchos del Rio, was created to be part of a conversation about immigration, as part of the poetry festival.

The exhibit in Quetzaltenango, titled “Prohibido Orinar Aqui,” was developed from Gordillo’s spring exhibit, “ChickenBus,” in the Rozsa Gallery, and as Gordillo reports, was very well attended and received. She thanks all of the Michigan Tech students who both helped with the development of the work in the spring, related to Chicken Bus, and the outcome of that work which traveled with her as a part of the “Prohibido Orinar Aqui” exhibit.

Fisher was interviewed about her sculpture work, which appeared in the Equal and Opposite Show, in the Rozsa Gallery “gallery b” in 2016, and talks about her other art projects. She says “I was really influenced by Andy Goldsworthy. I really appreciated how he uses materials found in nature and manipulates them in ways not seen in nature. Nature is a big influence in my life.”  Listen to the interview on SoundCloud. It is 06:28 minutes in length.

According to Gordillo, “[Hannah and I] laughed a lot (and caused a lot of laughter) making our installation in the river. That work included filling our hotel showers with corn husks, then transporting them all to the river, then transporting them back, and finally (!) sitting in the river to sew them all together, with lots of onlookers asking an even larger batch of questions.”

Gordillo was also sculptor-in-residence at Tierra Adentro, the International Poetry Festival of Aguacatan, Guatemala. This year’s festival was dedicated to immigrants and displaced people. Gordillo and Fisher also created a migrating book as part of the festival.


Auditions for Two Tech Theatre Plays Sept. 6 – 7

Michigan Tech’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts’ Tech Theatre Company will hold auditions September 6 – September 7th in preparation for their first two plays of the 2017-18 performance season.  Auditions will be held at 7:00 PM each evening, those who wish to participate are asked to arrive 15 minutes early, at 6:45 PM. The auditions are open to anyone, and include opportunities for students and community members to perform in plays that will be held in the McArdle Theatre. The plays are Picasso at the Lapin Agile, by Steve Martin, and Fires in the Mirror, by Anna Devere Smith.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile  (McArdle)

Play run dates are October 12 – 14 & 18 – 20. Picasso at the Lapin Agile auditions will be in the McArdle Theatre, on Sept. 6 & 7, 7:00 PM. Play summary: Steve Martins’ thoughtfully comedic look at the 20th century. Sitting down for a few drinks at the Lapin Agile major and imaginary figures of the 20th century join us and in an evening we live through the perspective shifting experience of the 20th century. A century in an evening that makes it impossible to experience reality in the same way ever again. For questions regarding Picasso at the Lapin Agile, please contact Christopher Plummer, cplummer@mtu.edu, 906-487-3282.

Fires in the Mirror (McArdle)

Play run dates are November 15 – 16 & 30 – December 2. Auditions for Fires in the Mirror will be in Room 210 across the hall from the McArdle Theatre, Sept. 6 & 7, 7:00 PM. Play summary:  How can these things happen?  A child is hit by a car while playing on the sidewalk.  In retaliation, a young man is stabbed to death.  A community turns inward upon itself, neighbor set against neighbor.  Can an out of balance world be set right?  Anna Devere Smith interviewed members of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights Community and using their own words assembled a retelling of their solemn road from hate and violence to understanding.  At once poignant and colored by powerful feelings, Fires in the  Mirror is an unusual evening of theatre taking us to the heart of disaster and understanding and bringing us home safe.  For questions regarding Fires in the Mirror, please contact Roger Held, rheld@mtu.edu, 906-487-3283.


Play the Cello? Love to Sing? Join a Music Ensemble at Michigan Tech!

The music ensembles at Michigan Tech will hold annual ensemble auditions from August 30 – September 7th in preparation for the 2017-18 performance season.  The ensembles include opportunities for students and community members to perform band, choral, jazz, and orchestral literature in concerts from September 2017-April 2018.  Some ensembles only include students and others are open to participants from the community.

Michigan Tech Choral Auditions (Walker 209C)

Audition times are available on the following days:

  • Wednesday, August 30, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Thursday, August 31, 1:00pm-5:00pm
  • Friday, September 1, 8:00am-12:00pm
  • Tuesday, September 5, 9:00am-12:00pm
  • Rehearsals begin on Wednesday, September 6

Please prepare a vocal solo that highlights your voice.  Use our signup spreadsheet to sign up for a 20-minute audition appointment. Contact Dr. Jared Anderson (jaredand@mtu.edu) for more information. For general information on the choirs at Michigan Tech visit our Choirs page on the VPA Music website.

Superior Wind Symphony Auditions (Rozsa 208)

Auditions will be held Sunday, Sept. 3 from 10:00am to 9:00pm in the Band room. Please contact Dr. Michael Christianson (mchristi@mtu.edu) for more information. For general information on the Superior Wind Symphony please see our Bands page.

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Auditions (Rozsa 205)

Auditions will be held by appointment August 30 to September 5 in Rozsa 205. Please contact Dr. Joel Neves (jbneves@mtu.edu) for more information.

Michigan Tech Jazz Auditions (Rozsa 208)

Jazz auditions will be held by appointment during the first week of classes Tuesday, September 4 – Friday, September 7.  Audition sign up sheets and instructions will be located outside of the Visual and Performing Arts Department office (Walker 209) beginning on Monday, August 28.  Jazz rehearsals will begin on Monday, September 11, 2017. Please contact Mike Irish (mjirish@mtu.edu) for more information. For general information on the Jazz ensemble please see our Jazz page.


Welcome to the 2017-18 Rozsa Arts Season!

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Immerse yourself in the arts at Michigan Tech
Season Tickets on Sale August 1
Single Tickets on Sale September 1

What happens when you combine Chinese martial arts, dance and acrobats in “China Gold,” a dark and physical interpretation by PUSH Physical Theatre of the gothic tale “Dracula,” world-class modern dance “Ailey II,” and an award winning all-new play from LA Theatre Works about the last 24 hours of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, “The Mountaintop”? You get the Rozsa Visual and Performing Arts 2017/18 Season!

Welcome to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, the home of Visual and Performing Arts at Michigan Tech. The Rozsa Visual and Performing Arts 2017/18 Season is nearly here. Season Ticket Packages go on sale August 1, with the best discounts available on all the season has to offer!

Season tickets are available for a limited time only, so find out more today!

There are five Season Ticket Package options this year, offering savings of 20% – 40% off single ticket prices: A Full Season Ticket Package, a pass to all the arts at Michigan Tech! Enjoy the biggest discount available off the single ticket price on all Rozsa and VPA events. The popular “Pick 6” Season Ticket Package has returned, and is an even better value this year. New this year, we have both “Pick 3” option for people who want to get their discount now and pick their shows later, and have brought back the very popular new “Family Pack” option that will help you bring the whole family to a big show at an affordable price. We hope there is a package that works for you! Thank you to all of our long-time Season Ticket holders, we’re holding your seats.  For new Season Ticket buyers, welcome, we look forward to seeing you this season.

Not interested in a Season Ticket Package? Single ticket sales begin September 1, 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Central Ticket Office (SDC), at 906-487-2073, or visit our new webste mtu.edu/rozsa.

See the exciting variety of events produced and presented by the Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts.


An Unforgettable Journey

Michigan Tech choir members in front of a statue of Nelson Mandela, South Africa, May 2017.

The Michigan Tech Concert Choir, along with friends and family, spent two weeks sharing their music with the people of South Africa. What they received in return, was life changing.

In May, 45 members of the choir, along with 29 guests, embarked on a two-week concert tour of South Africa. The group traveled to Chicago on May 2 and boarded a plane the following day for the 25-hour trip to Pretoria. In addition to concert stops in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Soweto and Cape Town, the they spent three nights in the African countryside at the Cradle Moon Safari Lodge. The group ranged in age from 14 to 87 and included 12 current Michigan Tech students and 19 current or retired faculty/staff members among the singers.

The group performed a total of five concerts; at the University of Pretoria, Holy Cross Anglican Church in Soweto, Hillbrow Theatre in Johannesburg, Old Apostolic Church in Khayelitsha (Cape Town) and Phandulawazi High School, Mitchell’s Plain (Cape Town). In addition to the concerts, the choir participated in two church services and five choral workshops and exchanges with local choirs.

Michigan Tech Concert Choir Director Jared Anderson poses with a new friend during a visit to a South African school. The choir spent two weeks in South Africa in May.

Michigan Tech Concert Choir Director Jared Anderson poses with a new friend during a visit to a South African school. The choir spent two weeks in South Africa in May.

Choir Director Jared Anderson, chair of the Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts says the choir also embarked on a pair of outreach activities. “We worked with the Amy Biehl Foundation in Cape Town, with pre-K through grade 12 students in an after-school program that included music,” he said. “At the Baphumelele Children’s Home, also in Cape Town, our group interacted with orphans, including many who are the victims of the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa.”

Anderson said the workshops and outreach activities were as significant experiences as were the concerts themselves. “We were able to interact with people who were in difficult situations, but they always had a smile and a great outlook. Something that we could all learn from. Our outreach and concerts all occurred in areas where most Western choirs never visit. We performed in the townships, in churches and schools in the middle of areas that dealt with a lot of poverty.”

Student Spencer Carlson of Royal Oak, Michigan, calls the experience “indescribable … this has changed my life in ways I never thought about before the trip,” he says. “Living, singing and dancing with the South African people, experiencing a bit of their life … I can’t formulate the words. I now have a little bit of Africa in me and I hope this feeling says with me for the rest of my life.”

Michigan Tech student Spencer Carlson learns some moves during the Michigan Tech Concert Choir's tour of South Africa in May.

Michigan Tech student Spencer Carlson learns some moves during the Michigan Tech Concert Choir’s tour of South Africa in May.

Anderson says the exchanges between the Michigan Tech singers and their South African hosts were indeed “life changing.”

“I can’t remember concert experiences that were more varied and exciting for our singers. The choirs that we collaborated with welcomed us with open arms and warm hearts. The choir will never forget the experience of singing side by side with people who sing with such spirit,” says Anderson.

Scott Sviland was impressed by the audience participation. “It was there from the first song on,” the chemical engineering major from Escanaba says. “It was in these moments where you really see how reserved American audiences are compared to audiences in South Africa.” Sviland says this was especially true when the Tech choir would sing a South African piece.

“I now have a little bit of Africa in me …” Spencer Carlson

“When we performed ‘Hlonolofatsa’ and once we started dancing, the crowd went wild. The audiences would make every single performance special and created a truly magical environment.”

Sviland was not alone in feeling the trip was about so much more than music. “The people of South Africa have taught me what it truly means to live life. The way many of them live without worrying what people thing of them is now something to which I now aspire.”

Anderson said each choir tour ends up being an incredible adventure, but there was something special about South Africa.

“Coming home from South Africa I saw things with new eyes. I know that I am a changed person and I know that many individuals in the choir feel the same way.”

Formed in 1980, the Michigan Tech Concert Choir is made up of Michigan Tech students, faculty, staff, retirees and community members. Since its inception, international touring has been an important part of the Concert Choir experience. To date, the choir has toured and performed in Mexico, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Russia, Dalmatia, China, and now South Africa.


Gordillo Presents Exhibit “Prohibido Orinar Aqui” in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Lisa Gordillo, Assistant Professor, Visual and Performing Arts, presents a new collection of sculpture and installation at the Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, July 15-Aug. 1. The exhibit, titled “Prohibido Orinar Aqui,” was developed from Gordillo’s spring exhibit, “ChickenBus,” in the Rozsa Gallery. The works of art in the exhibit are inspired by US-Guatemalan relations.

Gordillo is also sculptor-in-residence at Tierra Adentro, the International Poetry Festival of Aguacatan, Guatemala. This year’s festival is dedicated to immigrants and displaced people. Gordillo will create an art installation, titled “Caminante” (Someone Walking) along the Aguacatan river and a migrating book as part of the festival.

Antigua - Guatemala - January 24, 2013: Traditional Guatemalan local "Chicken Bus" station in Antigua, Guatemala. It is located behind the busy street market in Antigua.
Antigua – Guatemala – January 24, 2013: Traditional Guatemalan local “Chicken Bus” station in Antigua, Guatemala. It is located behind the busy street market in Antigua.