Category: Announcements

Rozsa Receives Grant

Surround Sound Music Festival to Receive $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Grant

Libby Meyer (VPA), Director of Music Composition Program, and Mary Jennings, Rozsa Programming and Development Director, were awarded a $10,000 Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Surround Sound Music Festival.

The Surround Sound Music Festival is a two-day event that encourages audiences to listen differently. The festival will feature Audio Pharmacy, a Native American Hip Hop band, Evelyn Glennie, a world-class percussionist who has been deaf since the age of 12 and Vieux Farka Touré, a Malian blues guitarist. The Surround Sound Music Festival will take place April 3-4.

The purpose of the Challenge America grant is to support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. NEA has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects across the country. The Sound of Music Festival is one of 145 Challenge America grants included in this announcement. The Challenge America funding category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Each grant is for a fixed amount of $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression, The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like the Surround Sound Music Festival.”

—Mary Anne Carter, Arts Endowment Chairman

Puppet Workshops and Performance Open to Ages 6 and Up

A puppetry workshop will be held from 3 – 4:30 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 25) in Walker 208. We will be creating puppets for a performance with the Superior Wind Symphony at 7:30 p.m. February 15.

Puppeteers should be available to rehearse at the following times:

  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1
  • 3 – 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10
  • 8 – 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12

Contact Trish Helsel to reserve a spot, or for further information.


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.


Volunteer To Usher

Users posing for a photo in the Rozsa theatreThe Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts is looking for volunteer ushers to help with events in the new year. The Ken Steiner Memorial Fundraiser is 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, on the Rozsa stage. The Rozsa Center, together with the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Michigan Tech’s Dining Services, and other community partners are hosting an evening of great music and good food in Ken Steiner’s honor to benefit his favorite charity: Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. The evening will feature good food, a cash bar, and a host of Ken’s friends and former bandmates making the music, including Keweenaw Brewgrass and Uncle Pete’s BBQ Blues Band.

The U.P. North-South Music Festival: “Music from Both Ends of 41,” takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 in the McArdle Theatre; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 on the Rozsa backstage; and 3 p.m Sunday,  Jan. 19,  in the McArdle Theatre.

“Music from Both Ends of 41” is part of the Surround Sound Music Series. In addition to local, regional and national new music composers and performers, the Pulse New Music Ensemble from Miami, Florida will be heading North to present a concert of music by living composers in a festival of new music featuring concerts, workshops and masterclasses.

Volunteer ushers play an important role at the Rozsa, welcoming and assisting student and community visitors with every aspect of their experience at the largest performing arts venue in the region.

Volunteers are needed to greet and guide guests as they enter the building, take tickets and assist with seating in the theatre, answer questions about Rozsa facilities and programs, and help create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all Rozsa visitors.

No previous experience is necessary. Interested individuals can contact Samantha Hoover for more information, or go here to sign up to usher for an event at the Rozsa. We look forward to seeing you at the Rozsa in 2020.


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.