Category Archives: Michigan Tech News

Mike Christianson in the news!

Michigan Tech’s very own Michael Christianson in the news. A great review of his Lincoln Center appearance with the legendary Fred Hersch two weeks ago.

“…Mike Christianson‘s trombone proved to be an indispensable voice, covering the low-middle ground with strength.”

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/fred-herschs-leaves-of-grass-at-jazz-at-lincoln-center-fred-hersch-by-dan-bilawsky.php


Music-O-Rama: Celebrating Musical Variety at Michigan Tech

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 8.32.41 AMPlease join us for Music-O-Rama, an annual musical variety concert, celebrating the diversity, history, and variety of music at Michigan Tech. Performers from all of the major Michigan Tech music ensembles:  Jazz Lab Band, Superior Wind Symphony, Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, Michigan Tech Concert Choir, and AstroSax; will appear throughout the hall, playing music from around the globe:  From America to  Latvia, France to Mexico, Brazil to Italy.

The concert will begin on a patriotic note with Igor Stravinsky’s arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner, for band and choir. Then enjoy more band and folk music selections including Yankee Doodle, Old Man River, and a Brazilian folk song, Samba-lelê, to stir memories and evoke bygone days. The Department of Visual and Performing Arts presents Music-O-Rama on Saturday, September 30, at 7:30 PM in the Rozsa Center.

This concert features performances from all of the auditioned music ensembles at Michigan Tech and shows how talented our students are.  Music-o-rama has become an audience favorite for the past number of years for its fast pace and varied repertoire.  I know that the audience will love the show.” There will be something for every musical taste, with composers including Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Ottorino Respighi, and Arturo Márquez.  The concert will end with the Superior Wind Symphony and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra combining for a performance of “The Pines of the Appian Way” from Respighi’s Pines of Rome. — Jared Anderson, associate professor of music, director of choral activities, and chair of vpa

Superior Wind Symphony, from their 2016 concert "Be Here Now. Mike Christianson, Director of Bands, conducting.
Superior Wind Symphony, from their 2016 concert “Be Here Now”. Mike Christianson, Director of Bands, conducting.

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 (906) 487-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or the night of the show at the Rozsa Box Office, which opens two hours prior to performances.


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.


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.


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.


VPA in Michigan Tech News

Art and Science Join Hands to Prevent Bird-Window Collisions
February 2, 2016
Tech Alumnus Helps Create Award-winning Video Game
January 25, 2016
Michigan Tech Rises in NSF Research Expenditure Rankings
December 2, 2015
From Meru to Mavis: Something for Everyone at the 41 North Film Festival
October 16, 2015
Neves Conducts in China
August 7, 2015
Soundscape Brings an Auditory Aesthetic to Forestry Atrium
January 15, 2015
The Day of Pictures
December 20, 2014
2D Designs Become a 3D Reality on the Tech Trails
December 11, 2014
German Exchange Programs Broaden 3 Tech Students’ Horizons
November 4, 2014
Students Researching How to Prevent Bird-Window Collisions
November 3, 2014
Quantifying the Qualitative: Tony Orrico’s Artistic Works Push the Envelope of Art and Science
March 6, 2014


Rozsa Center Season Tickets Now on Sale

Rozsa Center TicketingThe Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts has announced a 2013-2014 season that includes 25 performances, ranging from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the Tony-award-winning modern spinoff,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; the Keweenaw Symphony and the Superior Wind Symphony;  a jazz cabaret, a Christmas concert, Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S Pinafore. The lineup includes films, music, lectures, plays comedy and dance.

Season tickets are on sale now through Aug. 31. Two season ticket packages are available. A full season ticket package offers 30 percent off the single-ticket price of all 25 shows. A “pick 6” package is also available.

Read more at Michigan Tech News.