Author: Tanya Maki

Meckler to Headline Two Major Jazz Festivals

Director of Jazz Studies Adam Meckler to Headline Two Major Jazz Festivals: Coe College Jazz Summit and the Augustana Jazz Festival

Adam Meckler, Michigan Tech’s Director of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music, a gifted trumpet player, composer, and music educator, has been tapped to headline not one but TWO big national jazz festivals in the next seven days: First, he will head to Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the largest annual jazz festival in Iowa, the Coe College Jazz Summit, Thursday, Feb. 27 – Saturday, Feb. 29. More than 90 high school bands participate, and he will be coaching the high school bands for the first few days of the festival. Meckler then will rehearse and perform as the featured guest artist with the Coe College Jazz Ensemble, doing a mix of his compositions and other big band music for their finale concert on Saturday, February 29. Then on Monday, Meckler will travel to Sioux Falls South Dakota for the Augustana College’s 46th annual Jazz on the Upper Great Plains Festival, set for March 2-3, 2020, in Augustana’s Hamre Recital Hall. The festival features Meckler and host of PBS’ Sound Field, Arthur “L.A.” Buckner. 

LA is one of the top drummers and educators in Minneapolis, and is gaining national recognition for his drumming and his work with PBS. Interestingly, LA is a former student of Meckler’s at McNally Smith College of Music, his previous teaching position. LA and Meckler will be performing Meckler’s compositions with the Augustana University Jazz Ensemble after a few days of tag-team coaching area high school groups who attend the festival.

For more information about both festivals, concert dates, and tickets, please visit their websites: 

http://www.public.coe.edu/~wcarson/summit.htm

http://www.augie.edu/arts/camps-festivals-and-competitions/46th-annual-jazz-on-upper-great-plains-festival


Tech Theatre Company Presents “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!”

The Michigan Tech Theatre Company will perform the longest-running cabaret musical in history, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” for seven performances. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 20-22) and Wednesday through Saturday, (Feb. 26-29) in the McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center.

Based on the book by Joe DiPietro, with music by Jimmy Roberts, the musical takes on the comedic side of love and marriage, painting a series of vignettes about relationships through the tumultuous dating scene, road trips, marriage, kids, and all the other troubles couples face.

 “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” has been making auiences around the world laugh and cry for twenty-four years. It tackles the goofy, embarrassing, unspoken truths of relationships with a collection of short stories that span as many different lives. The musical has been translated into 17 languages and performed in over 34 countries. Act one shows the panic, disappointment and excitement of the search for the right someone. Act two reveals the stress of in-law visits, kids, car trips, and all the other adventures couples thought would be different for them. Upbeat from the beginning, the show builds laugh upon laugh until the bittersweet moments before the final curtain.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call 906-487-2073, visit mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office, or at the McArdle Theatre the night of the show. 

Note: This show contains adult language and situations.


Fiesta! Comes to the Rozsa

Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center and Department of Visual and Performing Arts are pleased to present a family friendly event of music, storytelling, puppetry, and more. The Superior Wind Symphony presents a concert of original Latin American music by celebrated Guatemalan composer Raúl López Colibrí. The compositions are arranged by Director of Bands Mike Christianson with children’s choir direction by Amanda Plummer.

The show doesn’t stop there—Local poet, formerly of Guatemala, Hugo Gordillo will present his collection of children’s poetry on which the music was based, in a pre-concert party hosted by Hugo Gordillo and Christ Alquist, with crafts, storytelling, and more fun, in the Rozsa lobby, making this truly an event for the whole family.

Poems and children’s stories will be read in both Spanish and English, and the entire evening will be the culmination of work by poets, Spanish language professors, theatre and fine art professors, and local and Guatemalan poets, writers, artists, musicians, and students.

The pre-concert “fiesta party” begins at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a live shadow-puppet performance during the concert presented by Patricia Helsel.

Colibrí is a Guatemalan musician, composer, puppetry artist, and music educator. He has produced six albums of children’s music, a children’s radio theatre, and several musical books for children. He often hosts workshops on creativity, music, puppetry, and theatre to share his skills with the world. He hopes to extend this collaboration with Michigan Tech artists for a long time. The music he composed for Fiesta! will also be performed by the Guatemalan Symphony Orchestra in Guatemala City this and next year. The concert will be accessible via live-streaming, and a concert CD will be created to mark the cultural exchange.

Hugo Gordillo is a prolific poet and the author of Fiesta!, a children’s poetry collection and the inspiration for this musical event. First published in 2013, Gordillo wrote the collection while sitting in the parks of Guatemala City, listening to children playing games and singing songs. The book includes a story about the friendship between a drum and a flute; birds who play musical instruments; magical flowers; and a monkey who is always playing tricks. He is an award-winning journalist and the founder of the PEN Writers’ Center of Guatemala, an organization for supporting journalists, writers, and editors.

Helsel, who is developing puppets for the event, hosted a summer puppetry workshop at the Copper Country Community Arts Center to prepare for it. Participants young and old worked with her to create shadow puppets, dancing flowers, and “el torito del fuego,” (a “little bull of fire”). The bull is part of many Guatemalan celebrations and will make an appearance in the concert. VPA faculty member Lisa Gordillo and her Contemporary Sculpture students helped to develop the concert bull puppet.

Tickets are on sale now: $13 for adults and $5 for youth, or no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call (906) 487-2073, visit mtu.edu/rozsa, or in person at the Central Ticketing Office. Tickets are also available the night of the show at the Rozsa Box Office two hours prior to performances.


Backstage Jazz Cabaret Friday and Saturday

Michigan Tech’s newest director of Jazz Studies, Adam Meckler, presents another backstage jazz experience at the Rosza Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, January 24/25. Student jazz combos and a few guest artists will play pieces from across the genre’s history, dipping into traditional jazz, hard bop, funk and more. The Rozsa’s main stage will be converted into a classic jazz club complete with café tables and refreshments. The club atmosphere will help the bands guide you through this colorful history and flex their creative muscles, telling the story of the art as it has evolved through time.

“Our four Jazz combos will perform music by artists such as Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, Thundercat, Louis Cole, Roy Hargrove, Snarky Puppy and more. We will transform the stage into a classic jazz club atmosphere. Enjoy some drinks and popcorn while you soak it all in!” – Adam Meckler

This will be the first home show for the Jazz Band after they toured Chicago. In early January, the Michigan Tech Jazz Lab Band went on a road trip down to Chicago to play with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, one of Meckler’s other many projects, at the fast-growing Chicago performance and art space, the Fulton Street Collective. The Lab Band opened the first set for the orchestra, which plays Meckler’s own original compositions. The new director says the experience was a paradigm shift for the band; he believes the group is now reaching a new level of music since experiencing the big city jazz scene.

Meckler joined the Michigan Tech Visual and Performing Arts faculty as the Director of Jazz Studies in the fall of 2019 after a decade-long career playing, writing, and teaching music out of Minneapolis. The Adam Meckler Orchestra’s debut album was listed on 2014’s Best Jazz Releases by iTunes. As a freelance trumpeter, he has worked with artists like The Temptations, The Four Tops, Cory Wong of Vulfpek, and other big names. 

Tickets are on sale now: $15 for adults and $5 for youth, or no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call 906-487-2073, go online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the SDC or go to the Rozsa Center box office within two hours prior to the performances. 

In the News: Michigan Tech to hold Jazz Cabaret concerts


Student Awards at KCACTF

Last week, Visual and Performing Arts students attended the Kennedy Center / American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF Region 3) in Madison, WI. A number of our students did well at the festival.

Sage Moser, Reece Parsons, and Moira Van Loon were all finalists for the KCACTF unrealized regional sound design competition.

Maddy Hunt was the winner for realized design (for sound design for in Michigan Tech’s production of Eurydice) and will have an expenses-paid trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC for the national festival. While at the festival she will have opportunities for feedback from professional theatrical sound designers and she will compete for other national awards.


Ken Steiner Memorial Benefit Concert Friday

When longtime local resident Ken Steiner suddenly passed away three years ago, family, friends and the entire community came together for a memorial to celebrate all the lives he touched through his decades of good work to make the Keweenaw, and the world, a better place.

From a long list of friends playing the music to the majority of area restaurants where he worked providing food, there was an overwhelming outpouring of love, support and goodwill. Above all, there was a strong sense that the work Ken championed, the positive energy and creative spirit he inspired, would continue, carried forward by those who knew and loved him.

This year, the Rozsa Center, Michigan Tech’s Dining Services, Visual and Performing Arts Department, Roy’s Pasties & Bakery, Mu Beta Psi, Fifth & Elm Coffeehouse, and the Bonfire Bar & Grill, want to extend that spirit and goodwill by hosting the third annual benefit in Ken’s honor for his favorite charity: Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

The event, from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday (Jan. 10) in the Rozsa Center Lobby, will feature good food, a cash bar, and once again a host of Ken’s friends and former bandmates making the music.

Ticket prices are: $20/donation of your choice. 100% of ticket sales will be donated in Ken’s name to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

Musicians featured:

  • 6:30 p.m. — The Steve Jones Trio
  • 7:15 p.m. — Keweenaw Brewgrass
  • 8:15 p.m. — Bob Hiltunen All Stars
  • 9:15 p.m. —Uncle Pete’s All-Star BBQ Blues Band with special guest John Peiffer

To purchase tickets, call 906-487-2073, go online, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC). Tickets will also be available at the Rozsa Box office on the evening of the benefit.


Trombone Choir Holiday Concert Thrusday

The Michigan Tech Trombone Choir will present its annual December concert at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 12) in the Rozsa Center lobby. As always, the event is free of charge.

The Trombone Choir is a volunteer ensemble of non-majors that meets in the fall semester for one hour each week, culminating in this performance. We have 16 players this year and are excited to bring you the following program:

  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Mvt. 1- Mozart/Forbes
  • Back to the Fair- Trad. arr B. Reichenbach
  • Salvation is Created- Chesnokov arr. M. Christianson
  • Christmas Suite- Steve Tyler
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear- R.S. Willis/T. Pederson
  • Achieved is the Glorious Word- Haydn/D.G. Miller
  • Mira- J.J. Johnson/arr. M. Christianson
  • Passacaglia- Lauren Bernofsky
  • Tiger Rag-arr. Jack Gale
  • Suite of 5 Carols- arr. Wilbur Collins

This performance, like all Michigan Tech performances this year, should also be available via video and audio streaming.


Michigan Tech Choirs and KSO Present Mozart Requiem Saturday

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) and the Combined Choirs of Michigan Tech present Mozart’s “Requiem”, one of the most beloved masterpieces in the choir/orchestra repertoire.

Unfinished at the time of Mozart’s death, the work was finished by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr. Featured in the film Amadeus, it is one of the most highly recognized pieces of Western classical music. The choirs and orchestra will also perform Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” another beloved work in the choral/orchestral canon.

The concert will feature guest soloists Karen Beacom (soprano), Sandra Loy (alto), Robert Skylis (tenor), and Nathan Herfindahl (bass). Join us for Mozart Requiem, Saturday (Dec. 14) at 7:30 pm, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

The Michigan Tech Concert Choir is composed of 60 voices from the college community, with 24 singers comprising conScience. The concert will feature Leslie Dukes on the organ for three numbers, accompanying the concert choir, and will also have a number of acapella performances.

Founded in 1970, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra. The KSO is a college-community ensemble comprising Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community musicians. Most of the musicians pursue something other than music as a career, with engineers, scientists, mathematicians, educators, and retirees filling the roster. Students occupy about 60 percent of the orchestra; none are music majors.

The KSO presents four to five concerts per year—including choral-orchestral, opera, ballet, and pops—in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

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 906-487-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.

Note: The Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Famed Radio Show “Selected Shorts” Comes to the Rozsa Stage Saturday

The Rozsa Center is pleased to present an evening of warmth, holiday cheer, and storytelling by the tour of Public Radio International’s hit radio show “Selected Shorts” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 7).

Selected Shorts, a weekly public radio broadcast, has a simple approach: great actors read great fiction in front of a live audience. The acclaimed national radio program airs on 150 public radio stations in 29 states, attracting over 300,000 listeners each week through the live show and podcast. Featured actors include Mike Doyle, Boyd Gaines, and Kirsten Vangsness. Part of this special evening of storytelling will include a showcase reading on stage by one of the featured actors of a local writer’s “UP Winter Story” who is the winner of the “Selected Shorts Story Contest.”

Mike Doyle has appeared on screen in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Green Lantern, A Gifted Man, Jersey Boys, The Invitation, Conviction, Odd Mom Out, The Accidental Wolf, The Romanoffs, Narcos: Mexico, City on a Hill, and New Amsterdam. Recent stage credits include The New Century at Lincoln Center and Betrayed with the Culture Project. Doyle wrote and directed the forthcoming romantic comedy Sell By, starring Kate Walsh, Patricia Clarkson, and Scott Evans.

Boyd Gaines is a four-time Tony Award-winning actor for his roles in The Heidi Chronicles, She Loves Me, Contact, and the 2008 revival of Gypsy. Additional Broadway credits include Cabaret, Twelve Angry Men, Journey’s End (Tony nomination), Pygmalion, Driving Miss Daisy, and An Enemy of the People. He has also appeared in numerous films, including Fame; Porky’s; The Sure Thing; I’m Not Rappaport; Lovely By Surprise; No Pay, Nudity; and The Independents. His television credits include One Day at a Time, L.A. Law, Fraser, The Good Wife, and American Odyssey. Gaines can currently be seen in the film The Goldfinch.

Kirsten Vangsness is best-known as Penelope Garcia on the CBS drama Criminal Minds; however, she can be found in other places, including a few podcasts (Selected Shorts and Voyage to the Stars), the film noir spoof Kill Me Deadly, and Curtains, the animated short she created, which will be released in 2020. She was nominated for Playwright of the Year by LA Weekly and is a company member of Hollywood’s Theater of NOTE. Vangsness recently returned from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where two of her plays, Mess and Cleo, Theo and Wu, were performed at Assembly Rooms. In her spare time, Vangsness buses tables at the Blinking Owl Distillery, which she co-owns, in Santa Ana.

To enhance the holiday mood of the evening, a handbell choir will play in the Rozsa lobby prior to the show. Tickets to Selected Shorts are on sale now: Adult: $22.00, Youth: $10.00, and Michigan Tech Students at no charge with Experience Tech Fee. Tickets are available by phone, (906) 487-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box office the night of the show. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours before performances.

This event is made possible with funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.


‘Stars of American Ballet’ Comes to Houghton

Acclaimed Dancers of the New York City Ballet at the Rozsa Saturday

Ballet at the Rozsa Center is always a major event. This year, the Rozsa is proud to host a very special performance of “Stars of American Ballet,” bringing the nation’s top ballet dancers from the New York City Ballet to the Rozsa stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26).

“Stars of American Ballet” travels to cities nationwide and offers top-notch choreography with principal and soloist-level dancers from major American companies. Founded and directed by New York City Ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht, who works alongside Executive Director Andrew Robertson, “Stars” also sponsors dance education programs, consisting of masterclasses, pre-performance lectures and community outreach projects, to build better awareness and overall experience with the art form.

This event is made possible with funding from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Crane Group.

With performances billed as “An unapologetic showcase of virtuosity.” —The Boston Globe and “An intoxicating evening even for the non-dancers” — The Pittsburgh Star-Tribune, the event promises sheer athleticism and beautiful artistry by principal dancers, soloists and members of the corps de ballet from the New York City Ballet: Daniel Ulbricht , Brittany Pollack, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Unity Phelan, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Alec Knight, and Baily Jones. Featuring works by Balanchine, la Cour and Knight.

There will also be a master class for local dancers, held at the Superior School of Dance when local dancers will have the opportunity to work with “Stars of American Ballet” dancers on Saturday afternoon. For more details about the master class, contact the Rozsa Center administrative offices at 906-487-2858.

Tickets to Stars of American Ballet are Adult: $25.00, Youth: $12.00, and Michigan Tech Students no charge with Experience Tech Fee, and are available by phone, 906-487-2073, online in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box office the night of the show.

Please note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours before performances. Also, in celebration of World Ballet Day on Wednesday, October 23, the Rozsa Center will offer a special limited-time “Buy One Get One Free” ticket promotion, for one day only: From 11:59 p.m today (Oct. 22) to 11:59 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 23)  Use “BalletDay” promo code and select at least two tickets, to receive one free. This applies to both adult and youth tickets, and there is no limit on the number of BOGO tickets purchased.