Category: Music

KSO to Perform Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Tomorrow

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra in the lobby of the Rozsa

The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, its director Joel Neves, and special guest conductor Xun Sun bring you a captivating evening of orchestral masterworks, including Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” and Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “Symphony No. 4.”  The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 29) in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Since 2001, Xun Sun has been director of Orchestral Activities at Southern Utah University where he conducts the University Symphony Orchestra and String Ensemble and teaches courses in both conducting and playing music. He has conducted the Henan Symphony Orchestra, Anhui Symphony, Hunan Symphony, Hubey Symphony Orchestra, and the world-renowned China Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Sun comes from Taiyuan, China, where he began showing his musical talents at a very young age. When he was 11, he began training at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, an intensive education that led him to further studies in the United States. He earned his Master’s degrees in Instrumental Conducting and Violin Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his Doctoral degree in Education from Teacher’s College in Columbia University. He continues to play, conduct, and educate at Southern Utah University today.

Neves and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra have been awing the Midwest with music ranging between orchestral masterworks, choral-orchestral, music theatre, ballet, opera, and pops since its founding in 1971. It is made up of Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community members, and is one of five symphony orchestras around Lake Superior.

Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for children, or no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. To buy your tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online, or in person at the Central Ticketing Office or Rozsa Box Office.

Please note: The Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours prior to performances.


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


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


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.


Annual Huskies Pep Band Concert Tomorrow

Pep BandThe Huskies Pep Band Annual concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Oct.. 30) in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. This year’s concert is “Respite for the Spitball” or AKA “Stop the Insanity? Never!“

The Huskies Pep Band presents one concert every year in the lovely Rozsa Center, complete with stripes, horns, cowbell and their usual hijinks. The Pep Band is conducted by Michigan Tech’s director of bands Mike Christianson. The title surrounds the theme of “doing things the rest of the world may prefer the Pep Band cease doing,” similarly to how the spitball was outlawed in baseball, but some pitchers, “grandfathered in,” were allowed to continue the questionable practice.

There will be Huskies Pep Band SWAG available for purchase at this event. Yes, that’s right, the very SWAG that is no longer allowed to be sold at games will be at a lower price than you could get from the Bookstore.

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 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. Note, the Rozsa box office is only open one hour prior to the performance.


Harmonie Sacre: KSO in Concert Tomorrow

Marble statue with Harmonae Sacrae textThe Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) returns to the historic Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lake Linden for “Harmonie Sacre,” an all-German program of sublime religious works. The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Oct. 25) at 701 Calumet St. in downtown Lake Linden.

The KSO, under the direction of conductor Joel Neves, joined by Guest Conductor Brandon Matthews, presents a program of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” Brahms’ “Saint Anthony Variations” (“Variations on a them by Haydn”), and “Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin.”

The concert also features Mendelssohn’s “Reformation Symphony” (Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op 107). Mendelssohn composed the symphony in the winter of 1829-30, completed the work in April, and conducted the first performance on Nov. 15, 1832, in Berlin. The score calls for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and contrabassoon, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani and strings. In 1830, the Lutheran Church was marking the 300th anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, a fundamental document of the Protestant faith. Mendelssohn decided to participate in the celebration by writing a grand symphony incorporating Martin Luther’s chorale “Ein’ feste Burg” (“A Mighty Fortress”).

Founded in 1970, the KSO is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra. It 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 both the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, and In St. Joseph’s Church.

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 door of the church the evening of the performance. Note the ticket staff will be present at the church only one hour prior to the performance.