Category Archives: Music

“Orchid Ensemble” Performs Saturday

maxresdefaultJoin us for a concert featuring the renowned Canadian group “Orchid Ensemble,” who will join conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber singers, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 1) in the McArdle Theatre, on the second floor of the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

Established in 1997, the JUNO-nominated Orchid Ensemble is comprised of Lan Tung on the erhu/Chinese violin, Yu-Chen Wang on the zheng/Chinese zither and Jonathan Bernard on percussion.

The ensemble blends ancient musical instruments and traditions from China and beyond, creating a beautiful new sound. They have embraced a variety of musical styles to thier repertoire, ranging from the traditional and contemporary music of China, world music, new music to jazz and creative improvisation.

The energetic yet endearing performance style of the ensemble consistently intrigues and delights its audiences. Acclaimed as “One of the brightest blossoms on the world music scene” (Georgia Straight), the Orchid Ensemble has been tirelessly developing an innovative musical genre based on the cultural exchange between Western and Asian musicians.

Students from conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers will join the ensemble for three selections in the concert.

Tickets are on sale now, $22 for adults, $6 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.


50 Years of Great Jazz at Michigan Tech

Don KeranenCelebrate “50 Years of Great Jazz at Michigan Tech — The Gold Standard” at the annual Don Keranen Memorial Concert, the final jazz concert of the performance season, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (March 25) at the Rozsa Center. There will be a reception following the concert in the Rozsa Lobby.

According to Mike Irish, director of jazz studies at Michigan Tech, “Don originated the Jazz Lab Band in 1967, and since then, it has grown into one of the most respected non-major jazz programs in the country. We have so much to be thankful for from these 50 years. We hope that you enjoy this evening’s concert on many levels. Please join us for a reception in the Rozsa lobby following the concert.”

Tickets for the Don Keranen Memorial Jazz Concert are on sale now, $22 for adults, $6 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 Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. The Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Marimba Concert and Poetry Night

A background of marimba and malletsWhat is a Marimba? Think of a very large wooden xylophone, the national instrument of Guatemala.

The Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents Guatemalan writer Hugo Gordillo, and collaborator Zach l’Italian, who will read selections of Gordillo’s new poems (in Spanish and English) in a “Marimba Concert and Poetry Night” at 6 p.m. Thursday (March 23) in the Rozsa lobby.

This event was developed in collaboration with Michigan Tech music students and conducted by Mike Christiansen, Michigan Tech’s Director of Bands. The Marimba Concert and Poetry event are free and all are welcome.

The Michigan Tech Marimbist Band will play several marimba selections, arranged by Christianson. This event is the closing reception for “ChickenBus: a U.S. Guatemalan Experience,” a Rozsa gallery exhibit by Lisa Gordillo.

Several poems in Hugo Gordillo’s collection inspired the art in this exhibit. The exhibit will be open before and after the concert.


Michigan Tech Choirs Present Benefit Concert: Music for a Sacred Space

4b28237239a321097593c2690bd79a0921788025Join the Michigan Tech Choirs for an evening of sacred choral music presented in its natural habitat, the local treasure that is the magnificent space of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden. The concert will feature music of many different countries and cultures, with devotional music ranging from South Africa, Germany, England, Canada and 19th-century America.

The Michigan Tech Concert Choir and conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, Jared Anderson, conductor, present “Music for a Sacred Space” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19th, St. Joseph’s Church, Lake Linden.

Free-will donations in any amount are welcomed.


Rozsa Gallery A Space Presents “ChickenBus: A U.S. — Guatemalan Experience”

Antigua - Guatemala - January 24, 2013: Traditional Guatemalan local "Chicken Bus" station in Antigua, Guatemala. It is located behind the busy street market in Antigua.What is a ChickenBus? A chicken bus is a bright, loud, jostling work of public transportation in Guatemala.

The Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts present the Rozsa Gallery A Space show, “ChickenBus,” featuring work by VPA faculty member Lisa Gordillo.

“ChickenBus” is the first U.S. exhibit of works inspired by Gordillo’s long-term collaboration with Guatemalan artists and writers. The exhibit will run from Saturday (Feb. 25) to Friday, March 24 and will travel to Guatemala this summer

There will be an opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 25), including a conversation with Gordillo at 6 p.m.

There will also be a second event, a “Marimba Concert and Poetry Night,” developed in collaboration with Michigan Tech music students and conducted by Mike Christiansen (VPA), Michigan Tech’s Director of Bands, at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 24 in the Rozsa lobby.

This is a special concert and poetry reading that will combine marimba music with readings by Gordillo’s husband, Guatemalan writer Hugo Gordillo, whose collections, “Trench(era)” and “Para Escapar de la Muerte,” were key inspirations for “ChickenBus.”


Winter Carnival Concert Celebrates Movie and Video Game Music

4c37abffaf2081582a05746c0fc6e90a01802732The Rozsa Center welcomes the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) in a special Winter Carnival Matinee concert titled “The Greatest Movie and Video Game Music,” at 2 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 11).

The KSO partners with Winter Carnival in a celebration of the greatest movie and video game music. “We wanted to present a pops concert of music that everyone knows and loves,” says KSO Music Director, Joel Neves. “Filmgoers will enjoy the music to ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and the original ‘Star Wars’ suite.

“Gamers will absolutely love the themes to ‘World of Warcraft,’ ‘Super Mario Bros’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It’s got something for everyone.”  The concert is dedicated to the memory of Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in several ‘Star Wars’ films. Fisher died on Dec. 27 at the age of 60.

The performance is an official event of the Michigan Tech 2017 Winter Carnival. Tickets are on sale now, $19 for adults, $6 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 Rozsa Box Office the afternoon of the performance.  Note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Jazz Musicians on tour!

Picture1From Bruce Seely, Dean of the College of Sciences and Arts:

Every January, jazz musicians from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts visit schools around the upper Midwest to carry the word about the importance of music, while at the same time giving many people another important reason to know about Michigan Tech. Mike Irish, director of the jazz programs and the key inspiration to the jazz musicians here, has coordinated the January tours for many, many years. This 2017 tour spanned January 3-6 and included concerts at Munising, Newberry, Roscommon, the State Theater in Bay City, Bay City Central and Bay City Western high schools, and Harrison. Just for good measure, the Jaztec group played an evening gig in a restaurant in Bay City.

I have had several students ask about the programs that your school has to offer outside of music clubs since this event.

The music directors and principals of the schools where our students play often tell me they were blown away by these performances. Predictably, they are impressed by the quality of music from performers not pursuing music degrees. Mike has this special knack for cultivating and guiding student musicians for whom jazz becomes a passion. Putting this outcome on display helps the local music educators make the case for the value of music in small and sometimes cash-strapped schools. The high school students see the passion and commitment of jazz musicians drawn from every major on Tech’s campus, conveying the powerful message that it is possible to be both a musician AND a great student in the demanding fields of study offered at MTU. Michigan Tech appears in an amazingly good light by showing our commitment to educate the whole person and our effort to integrate all areas of knowledge and learning.

The director of bands at Harrison captured the full impact of these visits. He told me he was “delighted at how excited [Tech’s students] were to perform, being that our show was the last one on their tour and it was awfully early in the morning! What a special group of musicians they all are to perform so amazingly well before 9:00am! …The entire group stayed for awhile after the performance to talk to our band students, who were so very grateful for the time with them. They answered all of the students’ questions and were very patient with students who have never been enrolled in a music course. Not one performer rushed to pack up their materials. They showed our students so much respect by carving out a great deal of time to educate them. I have had several students ask about the programs that your school has to offer outside of music clubs since this event…. Please keep these types of programs a possibility for our area high school students! Your school has gained many fans through this wonderful experience that you have generously provided to us.”

For a long time we have known that students are Tech’s best ambassadors, but the jazz players are the best. Their dedication is outstanding, as shown by their schedule on just the first day. They departed the SDC at 6:30AM, played a concert in Munising at 10:00, another at Newberry that afternoon, and then rode the bus south of the bridge to their overnight stay near Roscommon. It certainly helps to be young and energetic! And that energy explains why we these tours will continue. But we should remember that the players gain as much from the visit as their audiences. So we owe the students and Mike a big thanks for their continued excellence and commitment. They represent Michigan Tech and the college very well. Well done!

Bruce Seely

February 8, 2017

Photos below are courtesy of Michael Robb (Ohno Design in Bay City), father of bass player, Tristan Robb.

Picture1

Jazz lab band at the Historic State Theater in Bay City. Originally constructed in 1908 and remodeled most recently in the early 2000s, the acoustics are exquisite, as the audience of 600 discovered.

 

 

 

 

Picture2

Mike Irish in “full teacher mode” at the State Theater, Bay City. “I love sharing stories about the band, MTU, and the pieces that we are playing! I guess it shows.”

 

 

 

 

Picture3The drummer is Libby Welton, a December 2016 MTU grad in Mechanical Engineering. She started her first job in Wausau, WI immediately after the tour was over.

 

 

 

 

Photos from Bay City Public Schools SPOTLIGHT, January 13, 2017.

Picture5 Picture4

 


From Stevie Wonder to the Count Basie Orchestra

6d0ad8e0a28cd2be005229a55d2f4839342a878aDid you know that as a child prodigy, Stevie Wonder signed with a Motown record label at the age of 11? That after the death of Count Basie, the Pontiac, Michigan native Thaddeus Jones took over the leadership of the legendary Count Basie Orchestra? That students majoring in engineering, chemistry, forestry and business currently also perform in a wind ensemble and take classes in music composition at Michigan Tech?

The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and Department of Visual and Performing Arts are proud to present the Superior Wind Symphony in a concert titled “Michigan Music.” The performance will be led by Michigan Tech’s Director of Bands, Michael Christiansonat 7:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 3) in the Rozsa Center.

According to Christianson, “Michigan Music is a collection of music by Michigan composers, arrangers and communities for wind band. The range of music includes a classic march, Bach for clarinet choir, a piece for hand clappers, powwow music, a piece that captures the inner mind of a single dancer, several beautiful ballads, a joyous Motown tune and a modern Rag.”

Michigan Composers featured will be Pulitzer Prize winner William Bolcom; Grammy Winner Stevie Wonder; Thad Jones; Warren Benson; George Kenny; and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Tickets for “Michigan Music” 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 or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance. Please note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

By Bethany Jones


Backstage Jazz Celebrates “50 Years of Jazz” at Michigan Tech

23247406793_6d17059fcc_kBackstage at the Rozsa” again opens its doors to the groovin’ sounds of small-combo jazz to celebrate the 50th year of jazz studies at Michigan Tech.

There will be three student ensembles: Jaztec, Momentum with a combination of funk and fusion; AstroSax; and one special guest ensemble: The Dan Fuhrmann and Tim Havens Duo, here for their second guest appearance at Michigan Tech.

The Rozsa stage will become a pop-up jazz club, and the intimate atmosphere is a perfect setting for some funk and fusion and even some standards from these four ensembles.

Join Jazz Studies Program Director Mike Irish and the Michigan Tech Jazz ensembles who bring to life the great sounds from throughout the years. Hot and steamy to cool and mellow.

Join us in Club Rozsa and enjoy the intimate atmosphere reminiscent of the birthplace of jazz. Backstage at the Rozsa is at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Jan. 27/28).

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.”

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 at 7-2073, online, 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). Unable to make the performance? You can Listen Live starting at 7:30pm.