Category Archives: Music

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.


Rozsa’s Jennings Earns National Honor

Mary bw 6.1Jennings Earns National Honor for Strengthening the Rozsa Center’s Community Ties

Mary Jennings, Director of Programming and Development at Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, has earned a place among 25 national arts professionals chosen to participate in the third cohort of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Leadership Fellows Program.

This program invites arts professionals who show outstanding commitment to building collaborative processes in the performing arts to participate in a 20-month intensive Arts Leadership mentoring and training program. “The Leadership Fellows Program examines core questions around content and scope of leadership development for the performing arts field. It highlights, supports and helps participants understand and define the many reaches of leadership and its capabilities through peer-to-peer mentoring and creating a community of support,” says Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of APAP. In addition to a curriculum-based, five-day intensive at the University of Southern California (USC), the program focuses on the opportunity for participants to learn from and mentor each other over the course of the 20-month arc through annual gatherings at the APAP|NYC conference in New York City and continuous engagement in an online resource and discussion platform.

According to Jennings,

“To be a accepted into their national Leadership Fellows Program is a great honor and privilege. The Rozsa Center has long been an APAP member, and former Rozsa Directors have regularly attended their annual conference to find exceptional touring artists to bring to the Keweenaw as part of the Rozsa Presenting Series. The relationships and opportunities cultivated through our involvement with APAP have been invaluable to the efforts of the Rozsa Center to bring enriching, entertaining, and elite level performances to our Upper Peninsula audiences.”

This honor is no surprise to those working with Jennings at the Rozsa Center. While serving as interim Rozsa Director in 2014, then named Director of Programming and Development in 2015, Jennings created more than a dozen successful collaborative engagement activities. From backstage tours and master classes with local dance schools and the Russian National Ballet, to coordinating a Q&A for local media, Michigan Tech communications students and professionals with a senior editor of The Atlantic, to interactive displays in the Rozsa Lobby involving copper country youth robotics teams and Mind Trekkers during the Cirque Mechanics show in the finale of the 2017 Presenting Series season, she has invited many organizations and individuals to find common ground, across diverse fields, to make arts more integral to our community.

APAP Leadership Fellows Program

Building upon the program’s inaugural launch in 2015, the APAP Leadership Fellows Program’s goal is to expand the knowledge and proficiency among professionals in the performing arts field. Kenneth Foster, director of USC’s Arts Leadership Program, and Scott Stoner, APAP’s vice president of programs and resources, are co-directors of the Leadership Fellows Program. A core group of industry professionals will also lead the cohort and guide them through the program including: Dan Froot, producer/performance artist; Stephanie McKee, executive artistic director for Junebug Productions Inc.; Andre Perry, executive director of the Englert Theatre; Beatrice Thomas, multidisciplinary artist, artist coach and consultant; Cathy Zimmerman, creative consultant.

Cohort III (June 2017-January 2019)

  • Linsey Bostwick, senior producer, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi – New York, NY
  • Andre Bouchard, principal, Walrus Arts Management and Consulting, LLC – Vancouver, WA
  • Ben Cohen, senior agent, Cadenza Artists, Los Angeles, CA
  • Brett Elliott, executive director, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center – Old Saybrook, CT
  • Liza Green, associate director, NC State LIVE – Raleigh, NC
  • Leslie Hanlon, director of fundraising and marketing, Fine Arts Series at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University – St. Joseph, MN
  • Mary Jennings, director of programming and development, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts – Houghton, MI
  • Chanon Judson, associate artistic director and BOLD coordinator, Urban Bush Women Inc. – Brooklyn, NY
  • Joshua Kane, artist and founder, Wild Baboo Productions LLC – New York, NY
  • Leah Keith, manager of artists and attractions and booking agent, Opus 3 Artists – New York, NY
  • Damia Khanboubi, program associate, Junebug Productions – New Orleans, LA
  • Michael Liu, director of Chinese Community Initiatives, Flushing Town Hall – Flushing, NY
  • Sam Livingston, director, Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall – New York, NY
  • Miro Magloire, artistic and executive director, New Chamber Ballet – New York, NY
  • Stephen Manuszak, program director for international initiatives, Arts Midwest – Minneapolis, MN
  • Emily Marks, founder and director, Lionheart Youth Theatre – Austin, TX
  • Jack McLarnan, manager of Fine Arts Programs, Seattle Theatre Group – Seattle, WA
  • Heena Patel, founder and CEO, MELA Arts Connect – Edison, NJ
  • Ronee Penoi, associate producer, Octopus Theatricals – Princeton, NJ
  • Theresa Remick, managing director, Performance Center at Saint Mary’s University – Winona, MN
  • Sarah Rodriguez, associate director of Institutional Giving, Apollo Theater – Harlem, NY
  • Bonnie Schock, executive director, Sheldon Theatre – Red Wing, MN
  • Alexandra Rachelle Siclait, professional development program manager, Creative Capital – New York, NY
  • Daniel Singh, executive artistic director, Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company – Washington, DC
  • Dexter Story, artist in residence/production consultant, Community Coalition – Los Angeles, CA

The APAP Leadership Fellows Program is partly funded by the American Express Foundation, The Wallace Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information about the program please visit www.apap365.org.

About APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, based in Washington, D.C., is the national service, advocacy and membership organization dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts presenting field and the professionals who work within it. Our 1,600 national and international members represent leading performing arts centers, municipal and university performance facilities, nonprofit performing arts centers, culturally specific organizations, foreign governments, as well as artist agencies, managers, touring companies, and national consulting practices that serve the field, and a growing roster of self-presenting artists.

As a leader in the field, APAP works to effect change through advocacy, professional development, resource sharing and civic engagement. APAP is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization governed by a volunteer board of directors and led by President & CEO Mario Garcia Durham. In addition to presenting the annual APAP|NYC conference – the world’s leading forum and marketplace for the performing arts (Jan. 12-16, 2018) – APAP continues to be the industry’s leading resource, knowledge and networking destination for the advancement of performing arts presenting.


Bon Voyage: South Africa!

Map and Flag of South Africa. Source: "World reference atlas" [url=/search/lightbox/5890567][IMG]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3574/3366761342_e502f57f15.jpg?v=0[/IMG][/url]The Rozsa Center welcomes the choirs of Michigan Tech which will present their year-end concert, “Bon Voyage South Africa,” at 7:30 p.m. tonight (April 21).

The concert will feature music that has been prepared for the Michigan Tech Concert Choir international tour to South Africa.  According to Choirs Director Jared Anderson“The evening will include performances of sacred motets, African-American spirituals, American folk songs, music about the displaced as well as beloved songs from South Africa.


South American Symphonies, Spanish Jazz, and Afro-Cuban Rhythms: Michigan Tech Bands Present Music with Heat

Bali, Indonesia - June 5, 2013: Traditional Balinese Kecak dance white monkey Hanuman in fire at Uluwatu TempleThe two wind bands of Michigan Tech, Superior Wind Symphony and Campus Concert Band, will present their yearly combined concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (April 20) in the Rozsa Center.

This year’s theme is “En Fuego!” — a concert featuring music that is imbued with heat. Mike Christianson, director of bands, will first lead each band individually, finishing with the two combining into a “megaband” of 120 musicians.

According to Christianson, “The music is by composers who hail from exotic climes such as Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, France, Germany and Saginaw.” Music will range from South American symphonies, Spanish jazz arrangements, Afro-Cuban and Latin music, and even a favorite by Stevie Wonder.

Highlights include Handel’s “Overture from Music for The Royal Fireworks,” “Mambo in F” arranged by Cico O’Farrill, “Cucurrucucu Paloma” with a guest performance by Jared Anderson-voice, “The Maids of Cadiz” featuring guest Aaron Christianson on trumpet and favorites “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing,” by Stevie Wonder, “Amparito Roca” and “Malaguena.”

Tickets for “En Fuego!” 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. Note that the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


“West Side Story” Opens at Rozsa

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WLUC TV6 ran a story on the Michigan Tech Theatre Company’s production of “West Side Story.” The show opened last night at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts with additional performances tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Watch the TV6 story.

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra bring the musical “West Side Story” to the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. The legendary musical opens today with additional performances Friday and Saturday. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. each evening.

West Side Story” changed the very nature of American musical theatre. With music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a young Stephen Sondheim, the play was grounded in a distinctively modern sound with a passionately poetic statement — place where everyone can grow beyond the confines of hate and poverty, a safe and beautiful place.

A modern adaptation of a quintessential tale of star-crossed lovers, “West Side Story” isn’t performed often for a very good reason. According to director Patricia Helsel, “It’s simply a very difficult play to perform. The show requires many different dance styles ranging from jazz, to 50s “hipster beat,” to Latino and ballet. The music is also challenging with complex rhythms and styles for the ensemble, matched with a call for operatic technique for the young lovers. Overall, this is not your typical, run-of-the-mill golden era musical comedy.”

The subject matter is highly charged with racial tension, fear, hate and love — some pretty intense emotion that is intricately woven in textures throughout the play, taking the audience on a meaningful journey.

Comedy plays a matching role in the show, with memorable numbers like “Officer Krupke” and “America.”

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 the night of the event, one hour before show time, at the Rozsa Center Box Office.


“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.”