UW-Green Bay’s Jazz Fest 47 features The Ryan Frane Trio and Green Bay Jazz Orchestra

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s music tradition Jazz Fest will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Cofrin Family Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. It is the 47th annual jazz musical festival at the University. The event will feature The Ryan Frane Trio and the Green Bay Jazz Orchestra.

Since its inception more than four decades ago, UW-Green Bay’s Jazz Fest has drawn middle- and high-school students from across the region for a day of ensemble performances and clinic and master clinic sessions. This concert will feature a few of the top area high school groups with judge-soloists, followed by a professional big band of the very best jazz musicians in Northeast Wisconsin.

This year, Jazz Bands from Evansville, Green Bay East, Shawano, West De Pere, Denmark and Two Rivers high schools, as well as Pulaski Middle School, will perform. The Ryan Frane Trio features Mike Baker on drums and UW-Green Bay alumni musicians Ryan Frane on piano and Mike Rens on bass. The newly formed Green Bay Jazz Orchestra will be playing the music and arrangements of UW-Green Bay music professor and alumnus John Salerno.

Tickets for Jazz Fest 47 are $14 in advance and $17 at the door. The event is free for all students. For additional ticket information, call (920) 465-2400 or visit http://www.weidnercenter.com/events/jazz-fest-47/.

Green Bay Jazz Orchestra members

Ken Barite, Laurie DeVillers, José Encarnación, Jennifer Johnson, Steve Johnson, Tim Albright, Eric High, Nick Keelan, Andy Zippered, John Daniel, Adam Gaines, Marty Robinson, Brent Turney, Mark Urness, Mike Malone, Bill Salak, Stefan Hall, Frank Salermo and Rissel Peguero.

Adjudicators and soloists for the event

John Daniel, Tim Albright and José Encarnación, Lawrence University; Adam Gaines, UW-Green Bay; Steve Johnson, freelance artist, Green Bay and Marty Robinson, UW-Oshkosh.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap on campus, Saturday

A while back, country music star Ronnie Milsap had to reschedule his Weidner Center appearance when he received news of his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Well, the time has now arrived for the popular singer, pianist, songwriter to make good on his promise to Green Bay area fans. He’ll play the Weidner at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 21). Tickets are available. 

Travelogue features marimba/clarinet duo Transient Canvas in next 6:30 Thursdays

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s fall concert series 6:30 Thursdays continues November 5 with “Travelogue” featuring the marimba/clarinet duo Transient Canvas. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay.

Transient Canvas is a unique duo with Amy Advocat on bass clarinet and Matt Sharrock on marimba. They have been blazing their own trail in the world of contemporary music since 2011 and have premiered over 50 new works in four years. They have been inspired by travel and influenced by the people they have met along the way.

“We love to travel. It’s really the best part about being a musician… meeting new people, seeing new sights, eating new food. After all, everyone — especially artists — are shaped by the people they’ve met, the places they’ve been, and the experiences they’ve lived.”

Transient Canvas performs almost exclusively works written for them. Their mission is to provide a blank slate or canvas for composers to explore while simultaneously making bass clarinet and marimba a new standard ensemble. They perform the works of living composers and are always looking for innovative ways to connect with new audiences.

UWGB Professor Michelle McQuade Dewhirst’s composition, shenpa, will be premeired in the November 5 concert. Other innovative composition titles include Fabrication 10: Itch, TELE, Branches, Lumba-Lumba Hijau, and Nostalgia Variations.

The 6:30 Thursdays concerts provide an innovative experience to connect the campus and community through music in meaningful ways. The 2015-16 series features a wide array of musical styles and guest artists. All 6:30 Thursdays are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.

Remaining 6:30 Thursdays performances in 2015:
November 12 Piano Per Diem—30 Piano Pieces in 30 days: Pianists Holly Roadfeldt and Michael Rector
December 3 Dragons, Stones, Circuses: David Colson, composer, music performed by UWGB faculty and friends

The 1923 Fund is the generous sponsor of the 2015-16 season of 6:30 Thursdays. Contact Linda Parins or 920-465-2944 for more information.

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What a weekend! Alumni Days in photos

What a weekend! A special 50th Anniversary Alumni Days gave UW-Green Bay alumni and friends a chance to reunite with the campus community October 16 and 17. Among the highlights: about 70 alumni joining the UWGB Music students and faculty in concert, excitement at the Kress with the Green Bay athletics teams, mini-Bayfest in Phoenix Park, alumni musicians, affinity groups, a Habitat for Humanity reunion and build, resurrection of the BlueWhale Coffeehouse and so much more. See some of the best images here and thank you to alumni Dan Moore, Jena Richter, Sue Bodilly and adopted alumnus Kimberly Vlies for the fantastic photos!

Click to advance slideshow
UW-Green Bay Alumni Days, October 16 and 17, 2015

Reminder: Rector and Hong piano duo tonight at Weidner


The Music program continues its “6:30 Thursdays – music from every angle” series with a two-piano duo/husband-and-wife team, Sylvia Hong and Michael Rector, presenting “The Music Trance” at 6:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Oct. 15) in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Hong is artist-in-residence at Belhaven University; Rector is an assistant professor of Music at UW-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 Franz Schubert’s “Fantasy,” to the architectonic force of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” and the developing ecstasy of John Adams’ “Hallelujah Junction.” Admission is free; donations are welcome.

Sounds of ‘6:30 Thursdays’ concert series feature Sylvia Hong and Michael Rector

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

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UW-Green Bay welcomes ‘amazing singers’ for International Vocal Competition, Oct. 9-11

vocal-competition-imageLovers of opera and classically trained vocal performance will have the opportunity to hear top young talent from across the nation and beyond when the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay hosts a prestigious international music competition Friday through Sunday, Oct. 9-11.

The International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition takes place in Fort Howard Hall of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, located on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay. Admission is free, and the public is welcome to attend at any point during the competition’s three rounds — opening, semifinal and final.

The 2015 edition of the every-other-year competition is the 13th since its inception in Montreal, Canada, in 1991. This is the first year Green Bay will host the finals, a change based in part on a history of success as a preliminary venue. UW-Green Bay has hosted opening rounds six straight times since 2003.

“We’re thrilled to welcome the finals to Green Bay. This competition has a great history, and our audiences have really enjoyed being able to hear amazing singers from around the world,” says UW-Green Bay Music Prof. Sarah Meredith Livingston, director, who with community patron Sharon Resch, producer, is organizing the weekend’s events.

The competition schedule (subject to change) is as follows:

• Friday, Oct. 9 — Preliminary Round 10 a.m. – noon
• Saturday, Oct. 10 — Semifinal sessions beginning at 10 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Oct. 11 — Finals, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (closing reception, 3 p.m.)

“This is a competition that showcases the beauty of the Czech-Slovak repertoire,” Meredith Livingston says. “It also provides a chance for promising young singers to further their careers, and it demonstrates to our local voice students what can be possible when talent, training and dedication come together.”

A total of 19 male and female vocalists have entered to take part in the Green Bay preliminary rounds. (Preliminaries will also take place in Montreal, earlier the same week, with contenders vying to advance to Green Bay for the semifinals.)

The list of entrants here includes vocalists from New Jersey, California, Ohio and Massachusetts as well as several each from Michigan and Illinois, and one from Kronberg, Germany. Competitors from Wisconsin are Sarah Butler, soprano, Milwaukee; Talia Nepper, lyric soprano, Franksville; Elena Stabile, soprano, Appleton; and Ian Toohill, tenor, Shorewood.

The winner of the International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition will receive $5,000 Canadian and be featured in recital at a later date at the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic. The event offers a total of seven cash awards including $2,500C for second place and $2,000C for third.

The first-place finisher in the 2013 competition, Ukrainian-born soprano and University of Michigan graduate Antonina Chekhosvkya, now tours professionally as an opera, symphony and solo recitalist. Within months of her 2007 title, Simone Osborne, now with the Vancouver and Canadian Opera companies, became one of the youngest winners (at age 21) of the famous New York Metropolitan Opera auditions. The 2003 top prize winner, Jan Martiník, is today a featured performer with the Berlin State Opera.

The distinguished panel of international jurors for the 2015 competition includes Alois Jezek, artistic director of the Dvorak International Voice Competition, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic; Ales Kanka, Prague Conservatory; Prof. Victor Yampolsky of Northwestern University; Maestro Gildo Dinunzio, assistant conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, New York; and Alain Nonat, artistic director of Théâtre Lyrichorégra 20,, Montreal, and the competition’s founder. Also serving as jurors will be UW-Green Bay’s Meredith, herself an accomplished vocalist and Fulbright honoree for her performance and academic work primarily in the Czech-Slovak repertoire, and Seong-Kyung Graham, music director and conductor for the Civic Symphony of Green Bay.

Singers will be accompanied, for the seventh consecutive time at the Green Bay site, by pianist Tim Cheek, a professor, Czech diction specialist and vocal coach at the University of Michigan.

Nonat and others created the Montreal competition in 1991 to commemorate the 150th celebration of renowned composer Antonin Dvorak’s birth. Today, the event continues to promote the Czech and Slovak vocal repertoire for young singers, while fostering exchanges of young musicians and specialists between North America and the Czech Republic, as well as Slovakia.

It is expected that Bořek Lizec, counsel general of the Czech Republic in Chicago, will be on hand for the presentation of awards at the reception following the Oct. 11 finals.

The final round begins at 10 a.m. in the Weidner’s Fort Howard Hall, only a few hours ahead of that day’s noon kickoff across town at Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers will host NFL rival the St. Louis Rams.

“People everywhere know about Green Bay and world championship performances in football,” Meredith says. “It’s nice to be able to add to that, in our own way, by bringing an international competition in music to this community, and showcasing these talented vocal performers.”

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Chorale and Concert Choir take the stage Saturday night


The UW-Green Bay Chorale and Concert Choir will be joined by community artists in performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, in the Cofrin Family Hall at the Weidner Center. Featured will be music from a wide variety of composers, including Thomas Morley, Hans Leo Hassler, Orlando Gibbons, Moses Hogan and others. Associate Prof. Randall Meder conducts both the Chorale and the Concert Choir.

Wednesday’s Jazz Ensemble concert spotlights students, Slovak trio

The UW-Green Bay Music program will spotlight student Jazz Ensemble I and the visiting professionals of the Nothing But Swing Trio in a public concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 11) in the University Theatre. Nothing But Swing is a jazz trio from Slovakia. Band members are Klaudius Kováč, piano; Róbert Ragan, double-bass; and Peter Solárik, drums. Jazz Ensemble I under the direction of Associate Prof. John Salerno will perform “It’s Just Talk, ‘Dreamin’ Out Loud,” “La Llama Azul” and “Spain.” Following the break, Nothing But Swing Trio will perform with selections announced from stage. For ticket info and more.

UW-Platteville trio to play no-cost concert Nov. 12

UW-Green Bay Music will welcome Driftless Winds, a UW-Platteville faculty woodwind trio, for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Weidner Center’s Jean Weidner Theatre. It is free and open to the public. Driftless Winds consists of founding members Corey Mackey (clarinet), Galit Kaunitz (oboe) and Jacqueline Wilson (bassoon). All three are on the music faculty at UW-Platteville. For more information on the trio and its program, check out our news release.