Assistant Professor Michael Rector will perform Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F with the Green Bay Civic Symphony as part of their season-opening concert at the Meyer Theater on Saturday (Oct. 3) at 7:30 pm. The program also includes Brahms’s Symphony No. 3. For ticket information and more.
If ever a joyous reunion can be
Let us share what we’ve gained and lost in between
We’ll find that the years, both kindly and cruel
Have failed to put distance between you and me
And a joyous reunion it will be on Friday, October 16, 2015, when the friends of the former BlueWhale Coffeehouse gather at the Shorewood Golf Course Clubhouse for the return of Claudia Schmidt, Mark Dvorak, Skip Jones and Randal Harris. The event is in celebration of both Alumni Days and UW-Green Bay’s 50th anniversary celebration.
While the reunion cannot take place in the original Shorewood Club building that housed the BlueWhale Coffeehouse (it was torn down years ago), the concert will take place nearby in what was formerly the Shorewood Annex, directly across the sidewalk from where the former Shorewood Club stood.
And while there won’t be the knotty pine paneling, large stone fireplace, well-worn couches or frost-covered windows that gave the coffeehouse its unique ambiance, the original BlueWhale sign (painted by Mike Tincher and Teresa Bargielski in the late 1970’s) will grace the stage. It was rescued from a dumpster after the Club was torn down, and has been hanging in a barn in Bowler, Wis. for the last 35 years.
The showcase artist of the evening will be Schmidt, one of the premiere performers from the BlueWhale days, now an international performer known for her lively folk, jazz and blues and playful humor.
Schmidt, a student at UWGB for a time, played her 12-string guitar and dulcimer to standing-room-only crowds for many years, and went on to a remarkable career traveling the world as a folk singer and spoken word performer. The master of ceremonies for the evening will be folk singer Jones, a UWGB alumnus and BlueWhale regular. He will be joined by Harrison, a remarkable jazz violinist from Madison and Dvorak, a member of the faculty at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and popular guitar and banjo player who has toured throughout the Midwest and East Coast.
Many alumni have fond memories of Saturday evenings at the BlueWhale — in the 70s and early 80s considered one of the premiere folk music venues in the upper Midwest. Artists from all over the country would come through on tour, playing at Café Extempore in Minneapolis, then at the BlueWhale in Green Bay, and then on to venues in Madison or Chicago.
Some of those acts became folk music icons (Utah Phillips, Bill Staines, Gordon Bok and John McCutcheon all played at the Whale) and many others achieved regional and national acclaim (Greg Brown, Paul Cebar and Jones, among them).
It wasn’t just the music that drew students and community members to the BlueWhale, however. There was something magical about the place in its heyday — the music, the fireplace and the fellowship all flowed together to create a warm and friendly gathering place for a particular crowd of people who shared some common values and interests — the environment, folk music, art and social justice.
As that crowd reunites on Friday October 16, perhaps a few pounds heavier and with a little more gray, maybe a little of that magic can be recreated.
Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for socializing and reminiscing. The public is asked to bring memorabilia from the BlueWhale days (posters, programs, handbills, photos, etc) to share, and perhaps contribute to the UWGB archives. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. Price of admission is $15 (cash or check only—no credit cards), or free to those purchasing an Alumni Days admissions bracelet (entrance for two for $25) for all Alumni Days activities.
Feature written by Mike Stearney, a former BlueWhale patron and former UWGB Dean of Enrollment Services
Composer and Associate Professor of Music Michelle McQuade Dewhirst is just past the halfway point of her Piano Per Diem project. During the month of September, she’s writing a new work for solo piano every day. The 30 pieces will be performed at the “6:30 Thursdays” concert series event on Nov. 12. In the meantime, you can read about each day’s piece and see the score at her website.
Congratulations to the faculty/alumni band Gypsy Trip, which made its Artstreet debut in downtown Green Bay on Saturday with a late morning/ midday set. Their debut CD, Alt-Nostalgia, is now available for purchase.
Ronnie Milsap has been invited to the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony this Oct. 25, and subsequently he will be unable to perform at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on that date. Milsap’s concert has been rescheduled, however, to Saturday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. Previously issued tickets will be honored at the Weidner Center on this new date and time. Those unable to attend Ronnie Milsap’s performance on this rescheduled date, will receive a refund upon receipt of returned tickets. The deadline to return tickets for refund is Oct. 19. Please contact Ticket Star or the Weidner Center with any questions. Single tickets for Ronnie Milsap, along with the other shows in the 15/16 Performing Arts Season, go on sale to the general public Friday, August 14 at 11 a.m.
Since giving up his job as a truck driver in 2002, Tim Hawkins has been crafting a family-friendly comedy show that has won him a national following. His standup act includes music — parodies of everything from Dylan to Aldean to insightfully weird original songs — and delves into the perils of marriage, parenting, and homeschooling. Tickets for his Weidner Center performance, at 7 p.m. this Sunday (July 19) start as low as $24. For more.
Congratulations to Associate Prof. of Humanistic Studies Brian Sutton, whose original musical comedy Searching for Romeo is now officially published by Stage Rights Press and available at the Createspace Store and other online portals including Amazon. Sutton received a contract for his play after its five-show run at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2014. He has continued to tinker with the material since he premiered the piece in July 2012 at the Jean Weidner Theatre at the Weidner Center on campus. The comedy re-imagines Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of the “losers,” Paris and Rosaline, who achieve what eternally eludes the more famous couple: a happy ending. Although Sutton’s academic specialty is neither creative writing, theatre nor music, colleagues praised his early drafts of both script and music, and encouraged him to produce the show. New York City critics who saw Romeo at the festival predicted it could do well as a high school, college or community theatre production. (Sutton notes that the script offered for purchase does not include audio of the show’s music; if potential buyers at UWGB or elsewhere want to hear the songs as performed, he’ll email mp3 recordings as attachments.)
Announced at the June 24 reveal, UW-Green Bay students, faculty and staff will have center stage in the Weidner with main-stage performances of “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” November 19-20. UWGB Music and Theatre programs are highlighted exclusively in a two-page spread in the Weidner’s 2015-16 season guide.
Tickets remain for downhome comedian Rodney Carrington’s show at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at the Weidner Center. He’s described as a multi-talented comedian, actor, and writer who has recorded eight major record label comedy albums selling over 3 million copies. He formerly starred in his own TV sitcom “Rodney,” which ran for two seasons on ABC. The show is billed for mature audiences. See ticket info.
Don’t forget: Saturday night at the Weidner, at 7:30 p.m., Alan Safier stars in Say Goodnight Gracie, the hit Broadway play that invites you to spend a hilarious, heart-warming evening in the uplifting company of George Burns, whose career spanned over 90 years of American entertainment history.