We’ll have a link to full details in our Log Extra later this week, but we’re one week out from the UW-Green Bay Theatre and Dance program’s production of the charming comedy-drama Theophilus North, which opens at 7:30 p.m. next Thursday (Oct. 15) in the Jean Weidner Theatre. Performances are Oct. 15-17 and 21-24. Set in 1926 during the height of the Jazz Age, the play follows the character Theophilus North as he quits his teaching position in New Jersey and embarks on a quest for fun, adventure and a place in the world. When his broken-down car strands him in Newport, Rhode Island, he makes do by doing odd jobs in homes of the wealthy. It’s a Matthew Burnett play based upon the semi-autobiographical final work of Pulitzer Prize-winner Thornton Wilder. For ticket info.
Again, full detail in our upcoming issue, but next Thursday (Oct. 15) marks the return of the UW-Green Bay Music Program’s ‘6:30 Thursdays’ program. The two-piano duo/husband and wife team of Sylvia Hong and Michael Rector (of the faculty), winners of the Ellis Duo Piano Competition, will offer an attractive program illuminating the power of harmony and repetition to create intense musical effects.
Music from Prof. Brian Sutton’s original musical Searching for Romeo — in the form of the song “Come and Get Me, Here I Am” — will be heard Monday, Oct. 19, at Green Bay Southwest High School. The fall choir concert, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature the various choirs performing songs from musicals, TV shows, films, and in one case a video game. The Southwest choir director, Brandon Rockstroh, was also musical director and the male lead in the 2012 production of Searching for Romeo in the Jean Weidner Theatre in the Weidner Center. Fans of the show might notice that “Come and Get Me, Here I Am” wasn’t in the version of Sutton’s show staged on campus; the composer/playwright added it for the New York City theatre festival version of 2014.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay continues its “music from every angle” 6:30 Thursdays experience with a two-piano duo/ husband and wife team, Sylvia Hong and Michael Rector. They will be presenting “The Music Trance” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 15 in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay.
Hong and Rector are prize winners of the Ellis Duo Piano Competition and have concertized extensively in both the U.S. and abroad. Hong is Artist-in-Residence at Belhaven University; Rector is an assistant professor of music at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
In a program that illuminates the power of harmony and repetition to create intense musical effects, Hong and Rector will perform pieces by a stylistically diverse group of composers. Expression ranges from romantic yearning in Schubert’s Fantasy, to the architectonic force of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, and the developing ecstasy of John Adams’s Hallelujah Junction. The couple is committed to making the language of classical music vivid for people of all ages and backgrounds.
The “6:30 Thursdays” concert series is designed to connect campus and community to music in meaningful ways. Composers, performers and arrangers perform their work, offer commentary and lead discussion about diverse musical styles and the fact there are often multiple, varied ways to approach any given piece of music.
The 2015-16 “6:30 Thursdays” series features a wide array of musical styles and guest artists, including jazz, classical, contemporary, and “third-stream” music blending jazz and classical. All 6:30 Thursday events in Fort Howard Hall are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. Remaining 2015 concerts are:
• November 5 — “Travelogue” Marimba/clarinet duo Transient Canvas
• November 12 — “Piano Per Diem: 30 Piano Pieces in 30 Days” Pianists Holly Roadfeldt and Michael Rector perform compositions by Michelle McQuade Dewhirst
• December 3 — “Dragons, Stones and Circuses” Compositions by David Colson to be performed by UW-Green Bay faculty and friends
Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday (Oct. 9) at 11 a.m. for the spring Weidner Center concert by singer/songwriter and blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa. For more on the show and ticket availability.
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.