Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Only One Place in Auburn: Lunch Music Series Begins September 1

On Thursday, September 1, pianist Dr. Joshua Pifer will perform at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art from 12-1 PM. This is the first performance in the fall 2011 series, A Little Lunch Music.

Dr. Pifer (pictured at right) is the new piano lecturer at Auburn University. An international performer and educator, he specializes in new works, Japanese composers and the music of Alexander Tcherepnin. He holds degrees from Wittenburg University, Miami University and the University of Southern California.

This informal concert is free to the public and has been graciously sponsored by the law firm of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Mattson and Thompson in Auburn. For more about sponsorships, read below and on the lunch music schedule page here.

There is only one place in Auburn where you can go almost every week at lunchtime to hear the best local, regional and international concert soloists and chamber groups perform. If you went, you would hear them showcase composers like Ravel, Ewazen, Beethoven, Bolling, Corelli, Lizst, DuFay and more.

There is only one place in Auburn where you can have an unreasonably good lunch from a gourmet menu prepared by chef Ursula Higgins. If you went, you would enjoy dishes like pear and brie panini, yellow tomato gaspacho, blueberry salsa salad, pulled pork barbecue wrap, wine pairings and more.

There is only one place in Auburn where you can go and see, in a bright and reverently significant space, pristinely displayed fine art exhibitions. If you went, you would take in prints by Munch, Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons, drawings by Audubon, sculpture by Chihuly, Chinese ceramics, multimedia by Scherer and Ouperov, works by southern artists like Dale Kennington, a band poster collection and more.

You've probably figured out what I'm about to tell you.

Thursday (9/1) will mark the opening of 2011's fall season for A Little Lunch Music. That's what we (I'm involved) call the weekly music series I mentioned before. If you come, you can dine at the Museum Café, which has the lunch menu I mentioned before. Both of these things will happen at the very same reverently significant space that I mentioned before. That would be Auburn University's Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

Come and join us for what will be the beginning of not just another lunch music season. This will be the opening of the series's next chapter. Starting this fall, we are offering individuals and businesses the chance to sponsor a music performance.

As a sponsor, you would more strongly support and encourage your community's local art musicians. You would allow us to increase the audience by publicizing the series to more people. And you would make it possible for us to host regional and even worldwide performers.

The concert and the fine art exhibitions are free. The gourmet lunch is very reasonably priced.

See you there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Me at Hamiltons on 8/29, Jazz Birthday Party at Piccolo, September Preview, More

On Monday (8/29), I'm at Hamilton's on Magnolia in Auburn with guitarist Patrick Bruce. Come have dinner and drinks and listen to jazz from 6:30 - 9:00 PM. It's a great venue for a small group, or a duo in this case, and the martinis are half price on Mondays.

Jazz at Piccolo, Ariccia

Thursday night (8/25), the Jane Drake Trio plays at Piccolo in Auburn. Personnel is bassist Sidney Simmons and pianist Jonathan Lynn.

On Friday and Saturday, Piccolo will celebrate its second birthday. Click the flyer embedded at right to enlarge. It says, "The celebrations will begin each evening at 5pm with $1 small plates from our brand new menu plus delicious cocktails and craft beers." Jazz will start at 8:00 PM both nights and end at 11. On Friday (8/26), it will feature Kenyon Carter (sax); Tim Chambliss (drums); Coleman Woodson, III (piano); and Mike Beshara (bass). On Saturday (8/27), Chambliss and Beshara return with La'Roy Bodiford (sax) and Kermit Orr (piano). Since the football season is starting soon, weekend jazz will take a break on home-game days, but Jane's group will continue each Thursday.

Sunday (8/28) at Ariccia will be its weekly jazz brunch from 11-2. Featured this week will be The Jack Dresher Trio which is usually Jack on bass with Sam Fredericks on drums and Joe Thomas on piano.

The Loft in Columbus, Jam in Montgomery

Friday (8/26) In Columbus at The Loft, Jan Hyatt & Friends will perform from 7-9 PM EASTERN TIME. Hyatt is a vocalist (here's her MySpace page) and co-founder of the Columbus Jazz Society. She'll sing with saxophonist Stanley Murray, pianist Tom Chadwick, bassist Edward Robinson and drummer David Morgan. The Loft has been listing its jazz events on its online calendar, but I just checked, and they're gone again. You can find a reliable listing for its Friday night jazz shows on the bottom-right of the Columbus Jazz Society's website. And I just noticed, happily, that the Society is mentioning Piccolo's Friday and Saturday jazz on its site. Don't forget Thursday night.

Sunday night (8/28), 1048 Jazz and Blues will hold its weekly jazz jam from 9:30 PM  - 12:30 AM. 

Coming up...

The fall calendars are starting to bulge with activity. Below are some September events. There are more out there than the ones I've listed. These are just the ones that I think people should go to, that I would like to go to, or that involve me in some way. Should I do this on Google Calendar or something? Look at 'em. It's getting ridiculous.

Auburn, Opelika

9/1 - pianist Dr. Joshua Pifer at the Jule Collins Smith Museum
9/Thursdays - Jane Drake Trio at Piccolo
9/Sundays - Jazz brunch at Ariccia
9/8 - The Woodfield Trio at the Jule Collins Smith Museum
9/8 - Texas Guitar Quartet recital at the Jule Collins Smith Museum
9/15 - clarinetist Gary Smith and pianist Nicole Agostino at the Jule Collins Smith Museum
9/16, 9/17, 9/30 - jazz at Piccolo
9/18 - AU Community Orchestra Concert at Opelika Sportsplex Ampitheater
9/18 - organist Brian King's recital at Auburn First Baptist Church
9/22 - unconfirmed surprise world-class (no joke) recital at Jule Collins Smith Museum
9/22 - AU Music Faculty Showcase Concert at Goodwin Hall
9/25 - AU Community Orchestra Concert at Kiesel Park
9/28 - trombonist Matt Wood and pianist Jeremy Samolesky's recital at Goodwin Hall
9/29 - TBA lunch music recital at Jule Collins Smith Museum

Montgomery, Columbus, Lagrange

9/1 - double bassist, jazz bassist Alex Pershounin recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/2 - Solar Quintet at The Loft (Columbus)
9/Sundays - Jazz jam at 1048 Jazz and Blues (Montgomery)
9/7 - movie: Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton Play the Blues at Rave (Montgomery)
9/11 - Columbus Jazz Society hosts Dallas Smith on woodwinds at the Liberty Theatre (Columbus)
9/12 - concert/jazz pianist Willis Delony recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/14 - clarinetist Julia Heinen recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/15 - Montgomery Symphony Orchestra pops concert at Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Montgomery)
9/15 - classical guitarist Jason Vieaux recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/19 - clarinetist Lisa Oberlander with pianist Yien Wang recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/20 - tuba recital with Andrew Miller and pianist Yien Wang at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/23 - tenor saxophonist James Houlik with pianist Vahan Sargsyan recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/24 - electroacoustic composer Elaine Lillios recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/25 - CSU music faculty recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/26 - classical guitarist Andrew Zohn recital at RiverCenter (Columbus)
9/29 - "Weird Al" Yankovic at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center (Montgomery)
9/29 - CSU Orchestra with The Met's horn section concert at RiverCenter (Columbus)
10/15 - LaGrange Symphony Orchestra auditions

Atlanta, Birmingham, Montevallo

9/3 - New Trinity Baroque plays Bach and Corelli at St. Bartholomew's EC (Atlanta)
9/6 - LeBaron Trio recital at LeBaron Recital Hall (Montevallo)
9/11 - Atlanta Saxophone Day at Emory University (Atlanta)
9/16, 9/17 - Alabama Symphony Orchestra plays Wagner, Liszt, Strauss (Birmingham)
9/20 - Alabama Symphony players do Mahler's piano quartet at Brock Recital Hall (Birmingham)
9/22, 9/23, 9/25 - Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays Beethoven 9, Ring excerpts for opening concert (Atlanta)
9/25 - Superjazz big band concert at Brock Recital Hall (Birmingham)
9/26 - Joseph Ardovino plays trumpet recital at LeBaron Recital Hall (Montevallo)
9/30 - Alabama Symphony Orchestra plays Copland, Mozart at Alys Stephens Center (Birmingham)
9/30 - Alabama Symphony Orchestra plays Copland, Mozart, Meyer at Alys Stephens Center (Birmingham)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Help Montgomery Symphony's Cello Fellow Make Strings Stronger for Alabama's Kids

Laura Usiskin holds the cello fellowship with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and has been active playing and teaching in the Auburn community as well. She is founding an instrumental music program that will start in Montgomery, Alabama's elementary schools. At right is the Montgomery Music Project's first promotional video.

Starting this fall (2011), the program will send highly trained teachers to elementary schools throughout Montgomery to give instruction in violin, viola, and cello, as well as in general musicianship, theory, orchestra, and more. On Saturdays students from all sites will meet in a central location for further instruction.

Laura says that due to the extreme lack of string programs in the Montgomery schools (public or private), the number of kids who play stringed instruments is very small. The program will help to ensure the future of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and to enrich the lives of children in our state's capitol. I am in support of anything that can make stronger Alabama's contribution to the centuries-long, history-making legacy of this music.

Laura has played beautifully here in Auburn at the museum and The Gnu's Room and has subbed for our regular cellist with The Woodfield Trio at Behind the Glass for a photography show. Most recently, she gave us a recital at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. She's a smart woman, with a degree from Columbia in neuroscience and behavior, and music degrees from Julliard and almost Yale (ABD, I think). She seems perfect to spearhead a program like this. Her personal bio reveals a passion for music, and I have seen her with children like a cool aunt, drawing them into the art with an almost startling familiarity.

Support this program. Give through the Montgomery Music Project's page on IndiGoGo. As of today, it needs about $2,300 to reach its initial goal of $9,000 by September 4. This money will go toward buying and repairing enough instruments to allow 40 children to participate. The IndiGoGo page also gives suggestions for in-kind ways you can help.

Click here for the program's website, and click here for a Montgomery Advertiser article by Kym Klass about the program (from July 24, 2011).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tyrone Jackson in Columbus, Alexei Romanenko in Montgomery, and More

There's been too much personal stuff going on for me to fully flesh out an events post this week. Plus I spent too much time on that audition post that about 2 people will find useful. So, at the bottom of the post is the "coming up" section of last week's event post with just a few details and additions.

Serious Jazz Piano in Columbus

Thanks to YouTube user, Teefus3, the embedded video at right is of Tyrone Jackson (website) playing at the Riverbend Festival with the Dan Baraszu Quartet. The Columbus Jazz Society is bringing him in for their monthly concert at the Liberty Theatre. He'll be performing with saxophonist Michael Hoskins, bassist Alexander Pershounin and drummer Justin Chesarek. Jackson is serious. Below is from an email that Jane Drake just sent me.

Sidney and I were talking about going to the Columbus Jazz Society concert on Sunday go and hear a really fine pianist. Tyrone Jackson, the guest star at CJS, is a friend of mine, and I really like his playing. I know he's bringing a good group with him.

We worked together a few times in Atlanta. The last time was recording a live session at the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios in Atlanta...2006, I think. Interestingly, another fine pianist and good friend, Victor Atkins was one of Tyrone's teachers. Tyrone is from New Orleans.

She also suggested that the Auburn Knights cancel their rehearsal this Sunday and all go over to hear Jackson. I wholeheartedly agree. It would be time better served. I just checked the portal and your next gig is not until the latter part of September. You'll be fine. I think if you bring your horn to jam afterwards, admission is free.

World Class Cello in Montgomery

Cellist Alexei Romanenko (website) performs Saturday (8/13) at 7:30 PM at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension (spartan event page). The email from the Montgomery Symphony tells me to contact Rebecca B. Taylor at the church for more information.


8/11 - was Jane Drake Trio at Piccolo
8/12 - was La'Roy Bodiford at Piccolo
8/13 - Kenyon Carter at Piccolo with pianist Geoff Hayden and drummer Tim Chambliss
8/14 - Jazz brunch at Ariccia with the Jack Dresher Trio
8/15-16 - Auburn Community Orchestra auditions

Montgomery, Columbus, Lagrange

8/12 - was Rusty Taylor and Friends at The Loft (Columbus)
8/13 - cellist Alexei Romanenko at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension
8/14 - Columbus Jazz Society hosts pianist Tyrone Jackson (Columbus)
8/14 - Sunday jazz jam at 1048 Jazz and Blues (Montgomery)
9/29 - "Weird Al" Yankovic at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center (you got a problem?)
10/15 - LaGrange Symphony Orchestra auditions


8/12 - Bela Fleck and the Flektones at Delta Classic Chastain Park Ampitheater8/14 - Michael O'Neal Singers perform Bach to Broadway at Roswell UMC
8/16 - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with the ASO at Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre
8/2 - 8/30 - Auditions for The Michael O'Neal Singers
8/9, 8/11 - Atlanta Sacred Chorale auditions
9/3 - New Trinity Baroque plays Bach and Corelli at St. Bartholomew's EC
9/11 - Atlanta Saxophone Day at Emory University

Auditions Coming Up Very Soon for Area Orchestras

The five orchestras around here are advertising openings in their ranks.

Maestro Goldstein Wants You

The Auburn University/Community Orchestra (ACO) will hold auditions on all orchestral instruments on August 15 and 16, 2011, from 3-6 PM both days. You can also arrange another time to audition by contacting Dr. Howard Goldstein directly. Find audition details here.

The orchestra is an Auburn University and City of Auburn joint, so chairs are open to anyone, not just AU students. It's a volunteer orchestra, except for the students, I guess, who have to pay tuition to be in it.

In kind of a symphonic baptism by fire for me, I played principal flute during most of its spring 2010 season. We did Dvorak's Eighth Symphony of all things, which is heavy on flute solos. I played tolerably well, and am indebted to Maestro for putting up with me.

Though AU's string program is small but growing (I hear there's a new cello teacher), and most of the community players are amateurs, Goldstein does not pull any punches, either when choosing music or when leading auditions. And he knows the music, speaking about it with ease as if it were a constant companion.

There are good players in the community who are not in the orchestra. If you're one of them, audition. The group holds rehearsals weekly, and then there are usually a couple of dress rehearsals before each of the 2 or 3 performances per season (fall and spring). If you're wondering whether you have time, you don't. Audition anyway.

Here is the group's page on the city's site, and here is more about Maestro. You can support it by donating to the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. The embedded video above is of the ACO performing the final movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 2. Thanks to YouTube's Grundgestalt for uploading it.

String, Horn, Bassoon Openings with LaGrange

On September 15, 2011, The LaGrange Symphony Orchestra will audition for all strings plus third and fourth horns, and second bassoon. For more, here is the audition page on the orchestra's website. The Georgia group invites other instrumentalists to audition for possible subbing, but they don't hear saxophonists. Rehearsals are concentrated on the Saturday to Tuesday periods before the Tuesday night performances.

LaGrange will do five subscription concerts between October and April, two pops concerts in February as well as two children's concerts in February, one being in Langdale, Alabama. This is not a volunteer group. The community there funds it well, so it pays its performers.

Columbus Needs Principal Cello, Second Horn

Another professional orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (Georgia, not Ohio) is holding auditions for principal cello (8/26) and second horn (8/27). It's people need to know you're interested by August 19, 2011. Like LaGrange, it also auditions its subs, including saxophonists, and will do so on those same days. It works similar to LaGrange, with four rehearsals and a performance in a three-day period. There are eight subscription concerts plus some chamber-group work in the schools through its Orchestra Up Close program. Learn more by visiting the orchestra's audition page.


The Montgomery Symphony Orchestra does not publish information about its audition process. To know more, you should contact the front office directly. Here's its contact page. This is a volunteer orchestra with some great outreach including an internationally acclaimed concerto competition for young people and a robust fellowship program. As a member, you would have opportunities to play with some incredible musicians.

The Big Guys Need Seconds

Anyone who would want to pursue the empty chairs in these two programs likely already knows about the openings. But for the sake of completeness, I'll write about it.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra (website) needs a second flutist. The $40K+ salary for the flute position requires, among other things, that you know some music from Dvorak's aforementioned Eighth Symphony. Here's the link. Auditions are September 6-7, 2011. Incidentally, the group also needs a librarian.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (website) is looking for a second/utility trombonist and a second oboist. Unfortunately, the dates for sending résumés are just past, though according to the website, the auditions are yet to come. Its librarian, or one of them, needs an assistant. Other jobs posted are Telemarketing Associate, Professional Learning Music Teaching Artist, Marketing Manager, Assistant Principal Librarian and Development Coordinator. I have not contacted anyone to see if any of these administrative positions listed have been filled. Here's the Jobs and Auditions page from the orchestra's site.

Friday, August 5, 2011

La'Roy Bodiford at Piccolo NOW, Shutup n' Clap Represented at The Gnu's Room

I'm running behind on my event posts this week, so I hope it's not because of me that you missed 11-year-old Jackie Evancho singing in Atlanta with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (event page) or the Bill Perry Trio at The Loft in Columbus.

But all is not lost. Troy's La'Roy Bodiford will be at Piccolo tonight (Friday, 8/5) from 8-11 PM, so there's still time. He's a great player. I wrote more about Piccolo and the players this weekend in my last post.

And I mentioned it before, but there will be a couple of upstart young'uns playing at The Gnu's Room in Auburn. They're Jake Roland and Ansley Newman, and they're from the band, Shutup n' Clap. It's an indie pop group out of Opelika who recently won an Atlanta a Lagrange competition. I'm trying to get a couple more details about that, and will update this post if I do. Here's the band's website. Right now, its strengths are its songwriting, its uncluttered arrangements, and a not-bad-at-all guitar soloist with some clear influences. Their innocent young faces don't hurt.

UPDATE: They won a 9-band battle of the bands contest in Lagrange, Georgia. It was judged by the members of the Lagrange-bred, grammy-nominated pop band After Edmund, whom I'm pretty sure I don't like as much as Shutup n' Clap, but what do I know about pop music?

The Sunday (8/7) jazz jam at 1048 Jazz and Blues in Montgomery should be up and running as usual on Sunday night from 9:30 PM to 12:30 AM. I believe there's a $5 cover. We need one of these in Auburn-Opelika.

Coming up...

8/11 - Jane Drake Trio at Piccolo
8/12-13 - Jazz at Piccolo
8/14 - Jazz brunch at Ariccia with the Jack Dresher Trio
8/15-16 - Auburn Community Orchestra auditions

Montgomery, Columbus, Lagrange
8/12 - Rusty Taylor and Friends at The Loft (Columbus)
8/14 - Sunday jazz jam at 1048 Jazz and Blues (Montgomery)
8/14 - Columbus Jazz Society hosts pianist Tyrone Jackson
9/10 - LaGrange Symphony Orchestra auditions
9/29 - "Weird Al" Yankovic at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center

8/12 - Bela Fleck and the Flektones at Delta Classic Chastain Park Ampitheater8/14 - Michael O'Neal Singers perform Bach to Broadway at Roswell UMC
8/16 - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with the ASO at Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre
8/2 - 8/30 - Auditions for The Michael O'Neal Singers
8/9, 8/11 - Atlanta Sacred Chorale auditions
9/3 - New Trinity Baroque plays Bach and Corelli at St. Bartholomew's EC
9/11 - Atlanta Saxophone Day at Emory University

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jane Drake Trio Playing RIGHT NOW and a Bit about Auburn's Piccolo

Tonight (Thursday, 8/4), right now, the Jane Drake Trio is playing Piccolo, the nightclub part of the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center, until 11 PM. I've embedded some really good audio from her on this post. I don't yet have the word about who is playing on Friday and Saturday this week, but there will be jazz. UPDATE: See end of post.

The normal format at Piccolo is a regional headliner, usually a saxophonist, with two other sidemen. Sometimes there's a quartet. It's always worth hearing, and the way the room is laid out, the setting is as intimate as you want to make it. Go just to listen and be 5 feet from the music, or go to have drinks with friends and have jazz as your backdrop. There's a little menu to order from. It's good food. The pizza is delicious. The picture here I stole from the hotel's Flickr page. If you don't see it, it means I should have asked for permission first, which I should have.

Ariccia is the hotel's restaurant. They do a weekly jazz brunch on Sundays from 11-2. I think guitarist Patrick Bruce will be playing this week. I'll try to confirm and get back to you. (UPDATE: Yes. With bassist Jason Deblanc and pianist Coleman Woodson, III.) All this jazz is coordinated by Four Star Music, Tim Chambliss's endeavor. He's a great drummer whom you will see playing if you are any kind of regular to these events.

More to come.

UPDATE: Friday (8/5) will be saxophonist La'Roy Bodiford from Troy. Saturday (8/6) will be Atlanta saxophonist Taylor Kennedy. Also, if you want to be on the email list for jazz and other events at the hotel, go to its newsletter page and sign up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Will Shutup n' Clap! Put Opelika on the Map?

Saturday (8/6) at 7:00 PM, Jake Roland and Ansley Newman, from the indie pop band Shutup n' Clap! will perform at The Gnu's Room in Auburn.

There are these teenagers from Opelika. They have a band. It's an indie pop band. And its songs have real hooks. And its musicians can play just exactly well enough to make it interesting. And the website is perfectly simple. And the videos are well-produced in a fun-candy mis-edited jumbly way.

Will someone else please listen and look and tell me I'm not crazy? They seem to have a real point of view. They might be good. I'll go out on a limb and say, yes, they are good. I've embedded a video from their YouTube channel.