Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Where does the nurturing come from?

If you were at my quartet's concert Sunday, you heard me mention Jeff Albert, as I've done a couple other times on this blog. I won't go into his whole bio here. Suffice to say we're friends, and he's a successful musician, based in New Orleans, in the fields of adventurously improvised and electro-acoustic musics.
There's more about Jeff and his projects at jeffalbert.com and openearsmusic.org.

Jeff has a blog, Scratch My Brain, where he recently posted about the compensation of practitioners of creative music as opposed to service music intended to bring the party (in whatever form the party may be). "Where does the money come from?" is a thought-provoking post with no real answers, per se, but it gets the ball rolling. Couple thoughts I have.

Firstly, as to how this translates to our small-town, southern college scene. You can probably replace "creative music" with "not rock or country covers" and have the same conversation.

Secondly, in a closing barrage of unanswered questions, he invokes morality:
"Do we, as audience members, have a moral obligation to financially support the artists whose work we enjoy? Do we, as artists, have a moral obligation to freely share our art with the world?"
For the first question, I lean toward yes.

I've never heard of audience members knowing how much a band is getting paid. For them to make some determination on how they can support the music beyond a cover charge, they would need to be let behind the curtain, which is inelegant at best. I can imagine a band saying on the mic, "We'll probably make about $300 tonight, and there are five of us, so if you like the music and want to support us..." Something like that may reveal--or at best infer, since it can be complicated--more about a club owner than he or she is willing to put out there.

A business savvy artist gets into selling recordings and other merchandise. Some artists will be discovered, as it were, and get bankrolled. Depending on many things, an artist may qualify for grants. They might also be able to apply for nonprofit status (or join some nonprofit arts co-op) and solicit donations. These sources can bring more money in, for sure, but I daresay many artists are emotionally and financially overwhelmed with the prospect of stepping into any of that. Many do, of course, to varying degrees, and here's where I think some consideration needs to be made.

In this US consumerist and capitalistic culture, we are rewarded for pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Some great artists will have business and administrative skills or will know how to collaborate with people who have them. Others won't. My fear is that a great artist who is unable to develop and execute a successful business model, whether due to a reclusive temperament, self-destructive tendencies, cultural misunderstanding, an inability to play with others, or nothing more than pure lack of motivation, will be ignored either forever or only revealed posthumously.

When that happens, my belief is that the fault is on the community as a whole, and not the individual artist. Business acumen should not have to be a prerequisite to a successful art career.

I'll plant my own forest of questions. Is this simply the nature of the business? Can presenters and audience alike be trained to nurture good art by socially awkward and organizationally challenged artists? And if so, who's going to do the training? For the purpose of audience support, can financial compensation become an accepted and expected part of an artist's public persona without alienating presenters?

As far as an artist's moral obligation to share art freely, I lean toward no, but that will have to be for another post.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I've Created a New E-mail Subscription List

Below (and hopefully somewhere else on this website) is a signup form to opt into my e-mail list. I will use it to promote my own projects and concerts, other concerts and productions I'm involved with (including A Little Lunch Music), my blog posts, and the community events I recommend. Frequency of e-mails: occasional. Rather than go through the form below, you can also e-mail me at patrick@luncharm.net and I can add you. Enjoy!

Subscribe below to Patrick's Everything List

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Patrick McCurry Quartet To Perform Jazz at Museum (12/2013)

Me. Photo by Lesley Foote.
On Sunday, December 15, at 2:00 PM I'll be bringing my quartet to the new Sunday programming effort at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Joining me will be Taylor Pierce on guitar, Sidney Simmons on bass and David Zuwiyya on drums. We'll be doing an hour-or-so concert in the museum's Martin-Perricone Auditorium. Admission is free. Here is a link to the Eventbrite page for the concert. The Sunday programs at the museum have actually been pretty well attended lately, so if you're going, click that Eventbrite link to reserve a seat.

Three days before, on December 12, Taylor and I will play without Sidney and David for the museum's Thursday after-hours activities (event page). For that, we'll be out in the lobby area playing for the café diners and other visitors. The food at the Museum Café is comforting, delicious and surprisingly affordable for the quality.

Jazz's definition is pretty hotly contested among people who care, which is not really a lot of people. But for me, it means improvisation, personal expression through composing and arranging, and groove, all with an ear to the gumbo of musical traditions that have developed since the early 20th century. Jazz is an art form and also a dance music. And since people figured out that it is, in fact, art, it has become something equally appropriate, and as such equally awkward, in the club as in the concert hall.

What I bring to the table promises to continue that awkwardness, and I hope appropriateness. I'm developing a book of works with music that crosses over and borrows from other genres. There is one piece I've marked "psychedelic gospel rock" and another "country jazz waltz," and we're figuring out how to bring it all together with the perspective of the jazz musicians in this community.

On April 23 of this year, we performed at The Gnu's Room when it was still in Auburn. Below is a recording from that date of the first performance of my piece, "Two Live Oaks." It is dedicated to the Toomer's Oaks that were cut down earlier that day. Personnel on the recording is the same as the upcoming December 15 concert except that Patrick Bruce played guitar.

When you come, expect jazz standards for sure, especially on Thursday. Also know that, especially on Sunday, we'll be bringing new music to the table, born and nurtured here on the plains and informed by our collective culture.

Auburn Knights Expands Its Swing-Dance Tradition with Christmas Swing Dance Tonight (12/6/13)

The AKO performs "Come Fly with Me" at its alumni reunion in 2010.
The video is from Jeremy Leff's YouTube channel.
Last year, the Auburn Knights Orchestra started what I honestly thought was a tradition that was pretty unlikely to "have the leg," as it were. That was its 2012 Homecoming Swing Dance, and I was extremely happy to be wrong. Unlike some football teams, it's first attempt was good, and the event drew over 400 people all the way out at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National.

Since then, the 83-year-strong big band has done a Valentine Dance and a second Homecoming Dance, both wildly successful. And tonight the group has planned a Christmas Swing Dance at the Clarion Inn and Suites Ballroom at 1577 S. College St. in Auburn from 7-11 PM. That's where the Auburn Knights Alumni Association used to have its reunions.

The group's website is not updated with tonight's concert information, but here's a link to the Facebook event, which has at the moment 265 confirmed guests. Free swing dancing lessons will be offered during the first hour. Tickets are $10 at the door.

The Performance
The Auburn Knights Orchestra performing at the 2012 Auburn Knight Alumni Association Reunion.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Martha's Trouble to Present "Christmas in Your Town" Shows on December 5, 7, 13 and More

Jen and Rob Slocumb are the pop-folk duo Martha's Trouble.
Awesome sweater, Rob!
Martha's Trouble is a pop-folk duo with a national fan base whose members, Jen and Rob Slocumb, live in our community. I recently posted about MT here. They love doing Christmas concerts, have a holiday CD and are offering their music through a novel effort called Christmas in Your Town. It involves small venues, home concerts and an internet performance.

Note local show dates 12/5 in Auburn and 12/7 and 12/13 in Opelika. Concerts are free, and we have the opportunity to support the effort through crowdfunding with premiums!
See more in the news release below.


Martha's Trouble Christmas In Your Town show in your area:

Fri. Dec 13
The Cultural Arts Center of East Alabama
1103 Glen St
Opelika, AL 36801
(334) 749-8105

Martha's Trouble & Friends Annual Christmas Concert featuring Martha's Trouble + Dave Potts + Muse

Tickets: FREE
Time: 7:30pm



Martha’s Trouble To Continue
Annual Christmas Shows Tradition
With The Help Of Fans Via PledgeMusic

Husband-and-wife duo Martha’s Trouble (Rob and Jen Slocumb) will be coming to your town for their 8th annual traditional Christmas show in December. With a new and exciting twist, the pair is reaching out to fans for funding help in keeping the “Christmas In Your Town” shows free to attendees via PledgeMusic. (Here is the link to the Pledge Music Campaign: http://www.christmasinyourtown.com.) In addition to shows in the Opelika/Auburn, Birmingham, and Hamilton, Ontario markets, Martha’s Trouble is also planning a StageIt show for fans to watch around the world.

Says Jen: “These shows really are special to us and to our community. We get to play some of our favorite Christmas songs, share a beautiful evening together, and it's a great way to get into the Christmas season.

“The ‘Christmas In Your Town’ concert is a concert for the community that is made possible by the community and we need your support. We would like to make all of the Christmas concerts we do free for the community, something we all do together to spread the Christmas cheer.

“How? We’ve teamed up with PledgeMusic to give fans some really cool stuff in return for pledging and help in funding. At the PledgeMusic campaign page, fans will find a whole range of exclusive items -- from signed copies of our Christmas albums to sponsoring a show! When they ‘pledge,’ not only can they get an exclusive and the digital download of the music, but they’ll also get special access to more cool stuff like videos from the rehearsals for the tour, behind the scenes pictures and updates while traveling, and maybe even an unreleased Christmas track or two, only for pledgers.

“We’re really excited about this new experience and are hoping the fans will continue to be a part of it. We want ‘Christmas In Your Town’ to continue year after year with the idea that the fans are part of it!”

2013 Christmas In Your Town - Full Schedule
Dec 5 - One Eighty Wellness Spa - Auburn, AL
Dec 6 - Hart & Soul Coffee Co - Homewood, AL
Dec 7 - A Lebanon Christmas - Opelika, AL
Dec 8 - StageIt Concert - on your computer!
Dec 11 - Baytowne Wharf Holiday Concert Series - Destin, FL
Dec 13 - Cultural Arts Center of East Alabama - Opelika, AL
Dec 14 - OPEN for Pledge Music exclusives
Dec 21 - Coach & Lantern Upper Coach Room - Ancaster, ON


For more information, please contact:
Krista Mettler, Skye Media / krista.mettler@skyemediaonline.com

Saturday, November 16, 2013

World-Class Talent Tackles Beethoven at “A Little Lunch Music” (Review by Lorna Wood)

Pictured are Boris Abramov and Tzu-yi Chen Performing
at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art on November
14, 2013.
Lorna Wood is a violinist, writer and educator living in Auburn, Alabama. This fall, she attended A Little Lunch Music's presentation of Boris Abramov and Tzu-yi Chen's Beethoven Project. The three-part miniseries covered all ten of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas. I rolled it out at this link. I asked Lorna to write a review of the performances. Below is what she sent in. Lorna will be performing her own solo recital for Lunch Music this Thursday (11/21).

Abramov and Chen will perform Part III again at Canturbury Court in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 21 at 3:30 pm EST.


At noon on select Thursdays this past fall, the “A Little Lunch Music” series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum has been privileged to present Boris Abramov, violin, and Tzu-Yi Chen, piano, both international prize winners, in three programs covering all ten of Beethoven’s violin and piano sonatas. Each of these pieces stands as a masterpiece in its own right, with a full range of emotion and drama and technical demands to match. To successfully perform all ten requires exceptional maturity, technical control, and ensemble skills.

Although Abramov and Chen are in their twenties, they proved more than equal to the demands of this complex repertoire. Both possess superb technical skills and a respect for the music that has led to a careful working out of each passage and its place in the work as a whole.

Particularly remarkable was the ensemble in the many rapid and rhythmically intricate passages where violin and piano play at the same time. Without sacrificing tempo a bit, the pair not only played the notes precisely together, but also phrased together, so that despite the differences between the two instruments, they united in unfolding Beethoven’s musical ideas. This effect was possible because of Abramov’s precise intonation and powerful sound, and the delicacy of Chen’s touch, which created a clear, nuanced tone that almost never overwhelmed the violin, despite the inherent difficulties of balancing the two instruments.

Masterful execution of stormier passages set off the more lyrical ones, but the contrast was further enhanced by the variety in their tone. Abramov’s carefully considered placement of the bow between bridge and fingerboard gave him a broad range of sound from brilliant to gossamer light, while Chen admirably overcame the piano’s inherent resistance to legato, creating flowing melodies that rivaled the violin’s line. Voicing was also well executed in the piano, as the melody always emerged from the texture, while accompanying voices were kept subordinate, maintaining balance with the violin.

Most impressive, however, was the overall sense that both of these fine musicians had thought through the architecture of each piece, and indeed of all ten sonatas as a whole, and thought it through together. Clearly much communication occurred both onstage and in rehearsal to give each section the appropriate character, to deliver it as an ensemble, and to convey the structure of each work clearly to the audience. This seemed especially true in the first concert, where the massive, stormy Sonatas 1, 7, and 9 (the “Kreutzer”) were lucidly conveyed with precise ensemble and a shared concept of the role of each passage in developing the whole work, but Abramov and Chen delivered the sunny lyricism of the “Spring Sonata,” for example, with equal conviction.

Is there more to be done? Of course playing these sonatas, like re-reading great novels, is an ongoing project of discovery. In an interview after the concerts, Chen expressed how much ensemble playing has added to her understanding of music as a collaborative activity, for even a solo pianist must collaborate in the sense of melding her ideas with the composer’s as much as possible. Both performers look forward to working out their shared interpretation of these sonatas further in future, and, they hope, collaborating on new ventures as well.

It was heartening to see more and more people at each of these performers’ three concerts. I cannot wait for more, and I hope that the Auburn community will be equally elated by the opportunity to hear these world-class players interpreting musical masterpieces.


Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer who has taught violin and viola in Auburn since 1994. She is concertmaster of the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra and the Auburn Community Orchestra and is a member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Her students have gone on to study at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, the University of Michigan, and Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, among others. Lorna holds a Ph.D. in English from Yale University and has published articles on children’s literature and the American Renaissance, as well as poetry in Untitled, with Passengers. She is a reader for Gemini Magazine.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Soprano and Auburn Native Kathleen Buccleugh Performs Tomorrow (11/13/2013)

Kathleen Farrar Buccleugh
Mary Jo Howard sent me this as an invitation from the Auburn Music Club. Buccleugh is pronounced like "Buckley."


On Wednesday, November 13, Kathleen Buccleugh, soprano, will perform for the Auburn Music Club at the Nunn-Winston house at Kiesel Park (520 Chadwick Ln.). Pianist is Laurelie Gheesling. Members gather around 9:30 with the program beginning at 10:00. Visitors are welcome. There is no charge.

Kathleen, an Auburn native, first performed for the Club as a high school student. She went on to earn her Bachelor and Master of Music at the University of Alabama. She has continued her study privately and in prestigious summer opera programs. It was my privilege to have had her as a high school student--an excellent one, at that.

"Kathleen Buccleugh is now an accomplished young artist with a performance history reflecting her versatility in opera, oratorio, operetta and recital repertoire." (quote taken from her website, kathleenfarrarbuccleugh.com)

You will, no doubt, wish to go to her website to read more and HEAR this excellent young professional who, already, has performed the Mozart roles of Despina and Susannah. The Music Club programs are usually no more than 30 minutes in length.

Mary Jo Howard

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Lunch Music and Other Pictures Posted

Due to what I would like to think are nesting instincts, but what are probably more like avoidance tendencies as I prepare for my jazz-quartet show in December at the museum (free concert, 12/15 at 2:00 PM in the Martin-Perricone Auditorium), I have been catching up on months and months of pictures, mostly from A Little Lunch Music concerts, and posting them to my Flickr account.

If you poke around on there, do note that some of the pictures were taken by other people. The musician Knox AUtonomous took the ones at Eighth & Rail for the Khari Allen Lee concert, a non-Lunch-Music event in October. Lesley Foote took all of the pictures of the Woodfield Trio and of the James Houlik concert back in 2011. Below is a selection from recent posts. I give some of mine titles because I do.

Contrasted Media
Contrasted Media (pictured is Katie Holmes)

With Intent (pictured is Marc Karam)

Untitled by Lesley Foote (lesleyfoote.com - pictured are me and Angel Negrin)

Untitled by Knox AUtonomous (knoxau.com - pictured is David Zuwiyya)
The Performers
The Performers (pictured is pianist Ben Harris and baritone Matthew Hoch)

Heels (pictured is Nicole Agostino)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Auburn Folk Favorite Dave Potts Plays Spicer's Tonight (11/1/2013)

Below is from Bailey Jones who runs the Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series.


Dave Potts (www.davepotts.com) is a longtime Sundilla favorite, and is also one of the newest members of the staff at Spicer's Music, where he teaches classes in Songwriting, and Musicianship. And Friday night he'll be showing off his musicianship chops--and songwriting chops, too--when he plays at Spicer's. Showtime is 7:00 PM, and admission is $10; it's just $5 for Spicer's students. Spicer's will provide plenty of comfortable seating; you can bring a cooler full of whatever you like.

It's always a special night when Dave Potts takes the stage, and the stage at Spicer's is a nice one! So come on out and hear Dave Potts Friday night; it's the perfect cure for the post-Halloween blues, the end-of-Daylight-Savings-Time blahs, or anything else that might be ailing you. And if nothing is ailing you, it's a perfect way to keep the good times going!

Bailey Jones

Monday, October 28, 2013

Classical Guitar Faculty from Troy University Performs at Goodwin Hall Tonight (10/28/2013)

Robert Gibson
Below is from Joseph Ikner, guitar instructor at Auburn, about a guitar recital tonight.


Guitarist Robert Gibson performs at Goodwin Recital Hall tonight (10/28) at 7:30 PM. The Auburn Guitar Society and the Auburn University Department of Music are excited about hosting an evening of guitar music by composers from Paraguay, Russia, Spain and the U.S. Click here for the AU music calendar event page which includes the full program.

Goodwin Recital Hall, Auburn University
7:30pm // $10 general admission // $5 student

Dr. Robert Gibson is a dedicated performer, teacher and advocate of new music. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at venues around the United States as well as in Mexico and Italy. Dr. Gibson has also performed as a soloist with several orchestras including the San Antonio Symphony. As a proponent of new music, Robert has worked at length with composers on writing for the guitar and has performed world premiers for the music of Donald Grantham, James Norman, Traci Mendel and Sir Anthony Hopkins to name a few. In addition to performing as a classical guitarist, Robert has also performed extensively on electric guitar in many diverse styles such as Rock, Country, Broadway, Contemporary Christian and Jazz. Click here to read more.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Summary of Events: Thursday through Sunday (10/24-10/27, 2013)

So far for October, I have blown my posts-per-month rate out of the water, and mainly because of the last week of posts about events this weekend. I'll summarize. My apologies for whatever I've missed. Go poke around the links on my Event Sources page to see what else is happening.

Today (Thursday, 10/24) from noon to 1:30 PM, pianist Tzu-yi Chen and violinist Boris Abramov will return to A Little Lunch Music, a series I coordinate at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. There's more about Tzu-yi and Boris and their three-part Beethoven miniseries at this previous post, and there are some poster images at this one. I have a tab on this site for the series, but we're phasing that out. The museum's page for the series is here.

Tonight (still Thursday, 10/24) there are three things going on that I've mentioned. Click here for a post about the great band, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, playing the Cultural Center of East Alabama with The Saint Johns. Click here for a post about the Broadway touring production of Mamma Mia at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts. And click here for the first post about Almeda Trio's concert at Goodwin Hall, and there's another post here.

Then for tomorrow (Friday, 10/25) we have a post interviewing Martha's Trouble to talk about the Duo's United Tour at Spicer's Music featuring them, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway. The same night, Sundilla will host Small Potatoes at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and I posted about that here.

And then for Sunday (10/27), there's a post about bluegrass singer Laurie Harris performing at her CD release party at The Auburn Guitar Shoppe. I did not post about the 1922 classic silent film, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror playing at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art Sunday at 2:00 PM and then again on Halloween (10/31) at 5:00 PM. Museum's film page is here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors Play Opelika Thursday (10/24/2013)

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors (online at drewholcomb.com) will perform tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/24) in Opelika at the Cultural Center of East Alabama* for Cottonseed Studios' new series, Cottonseed Live. The show will start at 8:00 PM. Get your $15-apiece tickets online through the Arts Association of East Alabama, whose website lists the other acts in this new series here.

Two recent articles have highlighted Cottonseed Live. They are "Cottonseed Live brings new music to area" by Carla Nelson of The Corner News and "Folk rock band Dawes coming to downtown Opelika" by Jeffrey Moore of The Auburn Plainsman.

Some very interesting facts from the bio of Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors:
  • Since 2005, Drew has sold more than 85,000 records and played more than 1,500 live dates
  • He has toured alongside acts such as The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, Los Lobos, Needtobreathe, Susan Tedeschi, and North Mississippi Allstars
  • Good Light, the album currently being promoted through this tour, debuted #84 on the Billboard Top 200
  • The music video for the first single, “Good Light”, has been featured on VH1, CMT Pure, & E! News
  • The band has had over 40 placements on 10 different television networks, including “How I Met Your Mother”, “Criminal Minds”, “Nashville”, “Parenthood”, & “Justified.”
  • They’ve been featured in USA Today, American Songwriter, Paste, and Huffington Post
They are kind of a big deal, write great songs, and have compelling onstage personalities.

This band has lots of professionally produced music videos to watch, and they are emotional and entertaining. But I embedded a live performance above to give some confidence in how high I think the quality of the concert Thursday will be. The Saint Johns will also perform, and I don't have any time to check them out. Visit their website at thesaintjohns.com for more.

There will be a pumpkin carving contest from 5:00 to 7:30 before the concert. The three pumpkins judged to be the best by the Neighbors' front man and woman, Drew and Ellie Holcomb, will win prizes for their carvers. The first 30 people to show up will receive a free pumpkin. After that, organizers say it is BYOP, and you must provide your own carving tools.

There will be a food truck, and Overall Company will be vending its artisan pops. You can bring your own booze.


*The Cultural Center of East Alabama at 1103 Glenn Street is not the same thing as the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts at Opelika High School, 1700 Lafayette Parkway. We had a problem with this when I was promoting a jazz concert back in April. In fact, since the Cultural Center used to be the Miriam Brown Elementary School, Cottonseed is going so far as to call it by a cooler name, the Brown School Music Hall, though this is probably not city-sanctioned. Mamma Mia (see a previous post) will be at the OCPA.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Folk/Pop Duos Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway Perform Friday at Spicer's Music (10/25/2013)

"...we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else." -Martha's Trouble

On Friday, October 25, from 7-11 PM CT, Spicer's Music in Auburn (2140 E. University Dr. - buy tickets) will host the Duo's United Tour featuring three nationally exposed folk/pop duos. They are Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway. Beki wrote about the collaboration on her website here. Embedded above is a playlist with videos by all the bands. Below are a few questions I posed to Rob and Jen Slocumb, the Opelika couple that is Martha's Trouble.


Patrick McCurry: You appear locally on a regular basis. Do you run into what I call the Prophet-in-his-own-hometown syndrome? In other words, as a band with exposure throughout the US and into Canada and some very popular tracks like "Anchor Tattoo," "Waverly," "Some Peace Tonight," and "A Prayer For a Broken Heart," can you compare building a fan base nationally to doing it locally?

Martha's Trouble: Certainly we see some of that, especially now that we have been in the area for eight years. You know, before we lived in the Opelika area, we would sell out two nights at Eighth & Rail on a tour through the southeast. That's one of the reasons we put roots down here [because of how supportive the community was] when we were doing a show in town.

For us, building something on a more national scale was easier for us, for the simple fact that we wanted to be on the road and were willing to sacrifice whatever we needed to to accomplish that. And for many years we feel we were successful at that. And that has carried us a long way, in that now that we are home a lot more raising kids, we can still put out an album and generate some national attention.

PM: Where is your new material coming from, and how have you seen it evolve from the first music you put out there?

MT: The songs are still coming from the same place they always have in that we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else. I think what is evolving is our style and intention on the song.

For example, one of the more recent songs we have written is a song called, "Prayer For a Broken Heart." This song came out of watching a press conference of a widow talking about the kidnapping of her husband and pleading for his safe return. This was a tragic murder that happened in Jen's hometown, Ancaster, Ontario. It's a heart wrenching story and we were just trying to capture the emotion and questions that everyone was asking.

PM: Your recent CD was a lullaby project (A Heart Like You), and you've said elsewhere that you never expected to do a children's album. How did the project change the way you create and present music for grown-ups?

MT: Well, the lullaby CD didn't really change the way we create and present music for grown-ups, really. It was something that we intentionally decided to do and so we put a specific time and energy into the CD without creating other music at the time. It was very intentional even though it wasn't expected.

It was something that was inspired not only by having kids of our own, but our fans having kids. People would tell us that they play our music for their kids or their newborn baby and it got us thinking that if kids were responding to our music then how cool would it be to have something specific for them that their parents would enjoy.

PM: You are on tour with two other duos. What are these other bands like, and how did you get connected with them? 

MT: Yes we are touring with Naked Blue (website), a husband/wife duo out of Baltimore, & Beki Hemingway (website) a husband (Randy) /wife duo out of Denver. We've known both couples since early 2000's. There is a folk venue in Chicago, Uncommon Ground, that we were pretty much a mainstay at from 2000-2005. During that time Beki & Randy were based in Chicago and were very involved in that scene. Uncommon Ground took a few of the artists that were regulars and showcased us at the Folk Alliance Conference in Vancouver.

Naked Blue we've known for about the same length of time. We first met Jen & Scott when we were doing some dates on the east coast and played a folk room in Baltimore. Since then we have done a few other tours with them. In fact, we first brought them to Opelika around 2007 when we were running the Star Songwriter's Series.

PM: As your hometown community, how can we support you as you tour, leverage air play, and sell CDs around the world?

MT: It is so important to have support from our community. That means coming out to our shows, telling your friends to come to our shows, sharing our music with family or friends that haven't heard it before, buying our lullaby CD for baby shower gifts, calling local or satellite radio to request an MT song, giving a review online of our music. There are so many little things that one can do that make a huge difference for us. We need our local community's support!

PM: I'll add to that using e-mail and our social media channels to sing their praises to our friends around the country and the world. Martha's Trouble has a Facebook page, a twitter feed, a YouTube channel, a tumblr deal, an instagram thingy, and a website at www.marthastrouble.com with an e-mail list you can subscribe to. If you like the music, if you like to support local stars on tour, or if you care about Rob and Jen, then share videos, pictures, audio and news any way you can, and come out to the concert Friday night!


Sundilla Presents A Series Favorite, Small Potatoes, Friday (10/25/2013)

The Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series is presenting Small Potatoes on Friday, September 20, 2013, at 7:30 PM at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The address is 450 E. Thach Avenue, Auburn. Admission is $12 at the door and $10 in advance at Mama Mocha's Coffee, Spicer's Music, and on the series' website, www.sundillamusic.com. Below is from Bailey Jones, who runs the series.


The Spuds are back in town! Yes, it's time to welcome back Small Potatoes, after a far-too-long absence. (Given the number of people who mentioned at the last show that Small Potatoes were their favorite Sundilla act ever, I'm feeling lucky that I scheduled this one before the angry mob armed with pitchforks showed up at my front door. I probably would have opened it, too, thinking that they were just the best group of trick-or-treaters ever.)

Unfamiliar with The Spuds? Keep reading...

Nineteen years ago, Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso, the Chicago area duo known as Small Potatoes, decided to hit the road. “In one year, we quit our jobs, bought a house, bought a car, and became fulltime folk singers–
not exactly the greatest combination, financially speaking, or what most people would call a sound business model. We didn’t throw darts at a map, but we might as well have.”

Read more on Sundilla's website.

Mamma Mia opens East Alabama Arts Series Thursday (10/24/2013)

Below is from an article on oanow.com about Thursday night's performance of Mamma Mia. I think this is the production's website, but they don't list the tour schedule.

This will open the 2013-14 season of the East Alabama Arts Association, which will include three other musical-theater-themed shows. Here's EAAA's event page for Mamma Mia with a link to buy tickets. The Mark Harmon mentioned in the article is not the actor from the CBS TV show, NCIS, though I have it on good authority that he is super nice to talk to.


The iconic songs of Swedish pop group ABBA have lived on for decades, and area residents will get a chance to hear those songs weaved through a show that promises to give its audience a good time.

“Mamma Mia!” opens The Arts Association of East Alabama’s 2013-2014 Performance Series on Thursday, Oct. 24. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. CDT at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts.

Read more of "Musical classic opens Arts Association of East Alabama’s season" by Tonya Balaam-Reid

Almeda Trio Audio, oanow.com Article

A couple posts back, I mentioned Almeda Trio's upcoming performance on Thursday (10/24). The Opelika-Auburn News did an article on it today. Below is the link.

At right is an audio-only YouTube post of the trio's performance of Astor Piazzola's "Invierno" from Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas. Visit almedatrio.com for more music samples.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tallassee's Laurie Harris Will Release Radiation Room Studio's First CD Project Sunday (October 27, 2013)

Laurie Harris is a bluegrass gospel singer based in Tallassee, Alabama, who is releasing a CD this weekend at The Auburn Guitar Shoppe. Below is a track with three clips from the CD. She has a beautiful voice that immediately drew me in. Under that, I've included what store owner Tom O'Shea recently posted on the store's Facebook page. Read more about Laurie and order her CD from her website at www.laurieharrismusic.com.

Great news, everybody!

At 2PM, Sunday, October 27th, we're hosting a CD release party in honor of Laurie Harris's new album, Back to the Mountains.

Laurie's record is the first release from our own recording studio, Radiation Room Studios, here in the Auburn Guitar Shoppe!

So come on over and celebrate Laurie's great achievement. She'll do some picking and singing--you owe it to yourself to hear her stunningly beautiful country voice! Her version of "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" might be the very best you'll ever come across.

We'll have food and other refreshments--AND we'll be giving away a brand new guitar, a Recording King "Dirty Thirty" dreadnaught acoustic!

Stop by the Shoppe to sign up for the drawing!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Cleveland's Almeda Trio to Perform 10/24/2013 at Goodwin Hall

Cellist Ida Mercer, pianist Robert Cassidy and violinist
Cara Tweed make up the Almeda Trio.

On October 24, 2013, at 7:30 pm, at Auburn University's Goodwin Hall, the Almeda Trio (http://almedatrio.com) from Cleveland will perform the first concert of the 2013-4 season of the Auburn Chamber Music Society. Formed in 2008, Almeda is in residence at The Music Settlement in Cleveland, whose founder, social activist Almeda Adams, is the trio's namesake. Its instrumentation is the traditional violin, cello and piano.

The Auburn Chamber Music Society does not have a website, but here is a link to a PDF of this season's brochure which includes concerts in February and March, 2014. Below is a blurb about Thursday's concert from president Virginia Transue, who will happily tell you anything more you need to know about the concert if you call her at (334) 887-9379.

UPDATE (10/22/2013): I just did another post about this performance with a link to an oanow article and some embedded audio.


The Almeda Trio will play in Auburn this coming Thursday evening at Goodwin Hall on AU Campus, 7:30 pm. A shuttle will commence running at 6:30 pm from the parking lot at the corner of S. College and Samford. AU Music Department Chair Sara Lynn Baird warns that concerts are selling out this year, so be sure to come early to get a seat. The program will be unusual and particularly beautiful: Bedřich Smetana's Trio in G minor, Sergei Rachmaninoff's Trio Elegiaque, Joaquin Turina's Circulo, and Joseph Haydn's Gypsy Rondo.

This opens the FORTY NINTH season of THE AUBURN CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY. It has been a splendid half-century of bringing some of the biggest dogs of the genre to Auburn. Not a day goes by that I don't hear on NPR at least one group we have hosted. Season tickets are available now for $65, general admission to the concert is $25, college students $10, younger students free. Again, get there early!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Poster Images for Chen-Abramov's Beethoven Project (fall 2013)

Columbus pianist Tzu-yi Chen sent me some poster images for her Beethoven Project in which she and violinist Boris Abramov are playing all ten of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas in the span of three months. I say that to people, and no one gets wide-eyed and says, "Whaaa!?" which is weird. I posted about it here. Below are the images for printing and distributing in Atlanta, Columbus and Auburn/Opelika. The first one has only October dates. I'll try to post an update here for November when I get them. You need to hear at least one of these concerts. The first one in September was terrific. Click on images to enlarge.

UPDATE (11/6/2013): Here is a link to a PDF of the November poster.

October Poster
Bios and pics

With Khari Allen Lee, New Orleans Jazz Comes to Goodwin Hall and Eighth & Rail (Oct 18-19, 2013)

Khari Allen Lee performing his composition "At-One-Ment." Auburn alum Victor "Red"/"Brother" Atkins, III, is on piano in the video.
New Orleans saxophonist and composer Khari Allen Lee will be appearing in Auburn/Opelika for two nights. For the first, Friday, October 18, he'll bring his band, the New Creative Collective, for a performance at Goodwin Recital Hall on campus at Auburn University. That band will include New Orleans heavies David Pulphus on bass, Geoff Clapp on drums and Meghan Swartz on piano. Joining them and creating live art during the performance will be artist and percussionist Marcus Akinlana. The concert will include Khari's own music and original music from his bandmates. Some is featured on his 2012 CD, Conscious Evolution. Tickets are $10, $5 for students.

Khari and the band will do a masterclass at Goodwin Friday at 2:00 pm. Akinlala will do a visual art masterclass in Biggin Hall, Room 326, also at 2:00 pm.

For the second date on Saturday, October 19, he'll conjure a New Creative Collective out of the local soil at 8th & Rail in Opelika. This date will feature music from jazz's standard repertoire and other tunes Khari knows will stir up the collective creativity of a group of friends from back in the day when he was at Auburn University and a member of the Auburn Knights. The Opelika show will feature Patrick Bruce on guitar, David Zuwiyya on drums and Jason DeBlanc on bass. $7 cover.

Check last Sunday's Opelika-Auburn News for a feature on Khari leading the Community/Arts section.

For more about Khari, go to http://khariallenlee.com/

In the interest of taking as little time as possible doing my posts, thereby hopefully getting more on the blog, I'm not going back to hyperlink the band members of the New Creative Collective to their websites, but you can search their names and find Grammy awards, pro-gear endorsements, African art installments, festival credits and more.

See you there!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sundilla Presents Tokyo Rosenthal Friday, 9/20/2013

The Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series is presenting Tokyo Rosenthal on Friday, September 20, 2013, at 7:30 PM at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The address is 450 E. Thach Avenue, Auburn. Admission is $12 at the door and $10 in advance at Mama Mocha's Coffee, Spicer's Music, and on the series' website, www.sundillamusic.com.

Rosenthal's lyrics are sometimes storytelling and sometimes political, and seem to have a common thread of being inspired by struggle. His voice reminds me of Roy Orbison's, and his honest craft keeps true to the time-honored tradition of rabble-rousing American folk musicians. His song, "Love Won Out," a great blues with a strong hook, deals with gay marriage and is a good example of this. UPDATE (9/18/2013): I stumbled on this tweet and followed it through to Italian guitarist Manguss's ReverbNation page. Looks like he'll be supporting Rosenthal Friday night.

Below is the beginning of a post about Rosenthal on Sundilla's website. There's a link for the rest of it. While on the site, read singer Dan Navarro's case for support. The series is unique, not only to our area, but also to those who perform for it. Like the art music I usually write about, most of Sundilla's performers are dedicated to the sound and preservation of a particular genre of music, in this case folk, though not always that, specifically. Artistically, Sundilla is an institution worth whatever we can do to make it stronger.


“Rosenthal can draw you into his lyrics much the same way that James Taylor and Don Henley can”.

“Take Jackson Browne’s personal confessions and wrap them in Kris Kristofferson’s world weary tales of broken relationships and you have an idea of what to expect from Tokyo Rosenthal.”

“This is Americana with real teeth in the lyrics.”

This and more is what the critics are saying about Tokyo Rosenthal. But it wasn’t an overnight trip. Hardly, as “Toke” has spanned the music scene for three decades. But it was in 2007 when recognition finally reached him through the recording of his CD, ”One Score And Ten”. Read more...

UGA's Connie Frigo to Perform for A Little Lunch Music, September 19, 2013

On Thursday, September 19, 2013, from noon to 1:00 pm, saxophonist Connie Frigo will perform with pianist Greg Hankins at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art as part of its A Little Lunch Music series. I know Connie because of her association with the New Century Saxophone Quartet and its Artist in Residence position at the Wildacres Saxophone Retreat led by my teacher and mentor James Houlik. I have heard Connie play with tremendous power and with equal finesse. She holds great respect in the concert-saxophone community, and I am overjoyed that she is coming to play for us. Her performance is being sponsored by Marvin and Susan Price. For more about the series, click here.

Connie Frigo
Saxophonist Connie Frigo has worn many hats as a soloist, chamber musician, teacher, columnist and founder of festivals. Highlights of her career include six years with the premier U.S. Navy Band; seven years touring nationally with the New Century Saxophone Quartet; a Fulbright scholarship to the Netherlands; and faculty positions at the Universities of Tennessee and Maryland. In 2011, she joined the University of Georgia as saxophone professor. At UGA, she is working with psychologists from the Torrance Center for Creativity to measure creativity’s impact on classical music performance. In 2012, Connie formed the ROC Ensemble, a 9-piece band with the purpose of performing in non-traditional settings such as corporate business meetings, to demonstrate how musicians and business professionals can benefit from each other’s insights and work. Her performance degrees are from Ithaca College, University of Illinois, Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the University of South Carolina.

Greg Hankins
Greg Hankins, a Virginia native, is an active freelance collaborative pianist based in Athens, Georgia. He has performed with members of the Atlanta Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Knoxville Symphony, Sotte Voce Quartet, Georgia Brass Band, and faculty of the University of Georgia. As a jazz pianist, Greg has performed in venues such as the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and at festivals such as the University of Northern Colorado’s Jazz Festival. He serves on the faculty of the New York State Summer School of the Arts’ School of Choral Studies in Fredonia, New York. His teachers include Richard Zimdars, Eric Ruple, Joseph Trivette, Gabriel Dobner, Chuck Dotas and Wells Hanley. He earned a Master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University, both in piano performance.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Venezuela Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster to Perform for A Little Lunch Music, September 12, 2013

UPDATED 9/5/13 - On Thursday, September 12, 2013, from noon to 1:00 pm, the Lopez-Tabor Duo will perform at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art as part of its A Little Lunch Music series. Sponsoring the performance is OLLI at Auburn and Nick & Carolyn Davis. Please read the impressive artist biographies below and visit the duo's website for audio samples and video links. This promises to be a very exciting performance. For more about the series, click here. The performance will be held in the Martin-Perricone Auditorium.

I'd just like to highlight and repeat here that the violinist performing on this date for our little series is the concertmaster of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra. Please excuse me while I type a bunch of undignified exclamation points.


Michelle Tabor and Alfonso Lopez of the Lopez-Tabor Duo
The Lopez Tabor Duo, Alfonso Lopez, violin, and Michelle Tabor, piano, have performed and toured together in the southeastern U.S. and Venezuela since 2004. Alfonso Lopez is one of the most prominent and versatile musicians of his country. He holds the important position of concertmaster of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra, the national and principal orchestra. He is also a conductor, teacher, and composer. Michelle Tabor grew up in Venezuela and now lives in Tallahassee, FL. She holds doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in music from Florida State University, the University of Denver, and Tulane University. You can find more information and videos of live performances of the Lopez Tabor Duo on their website: lopeztaborduo.embarqspace.com

Extended Biographies

Alfonso Lopez, violinist, conductor, composer, and teacher, is one of the most versatile and prominent musicians of his generation in Venezuela. He is the concertmaster of the Venezuela Symphony Orchestra (OSV) which, as the national symphony, is the oldest and the principal orchestra of the country. He regularly conducts the OSV several times each season, is the conductor and music director of a youth orchestra that plays Venezuelan folk music, and is often a guest conductor of other orchestras. He is a professor of violin at the Emil Friedman School, the outstanding private musical and general educational institution in the country. Mr. Lopez received his high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan; then completed a B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) and an M.A. (Highest Honors) in music from the University of Michigan. He has also received advanced musical training in Austria and England. His principal violin teachers were Emil Friedman, Julia Bushkova, and Paul Kantor. As a concertmaster, he has performed with various orchestras in international festivals, the chamber orchestra Virtuosi de Caracas, and the Camerata Criolla. He has performed as a soloist with the OSV on several occasions. He is a founding member and first violinist of the Friedman String Quartet, an ensemble that has performed many times in the most important concert halls in Caracas. His orchestral work, Caribe Pirana, was premiered in 2000 by the OSV, with Juan Carlos Nunez conducting. His String Serenade (2007) has been performed in Russia (world premiere), Belarus, the U.S., several Latin American countries, and was premiered in Venezuela with himself as conductor of the OSV in 2008. Outside of Venezuela he has concertized as a soloist in Spain, Italy, the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Michelle Tabor, pianist, holds B.F.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in piano and theory from Tulane University in New Orleans, the University of Denver, and Florida State University, respectively. She has also pursued her research interests in Latin American art music of the twentieth century and has published articles about the Argentinian composers Alberto Ginastera and Juan Carlos Paz in the journal, Latin American Music Review of the University of Texas Press. She has presented lecture/recitals and research papers at national and regional meetings of the College Music Society (CMS), regional meetings of the American Musicological Society, and at an international conference on Latin American music held in Chicago, IL in 1993, where she presented an invited paper. She served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Southern Chapter of the CMS from 1997 to 1999, and during the fall semester of 1999 was a Visiting Assistant Professor of music theory at Florida State University. Since 2000 she has concentrated more on performance. In 2001 she presented a series of recitals in Caracas, Venezuela with flutist Dr. Karen Garrison, a member of the music faculty at Auburn University, AL. With Venezuelan violinists, she has performed recitals in the southeastern U.S. during numerous tours since 2000; and with these violinists has presented lecture/recitals at national and regional meetings of the CMS. She has performed with Alfonso Lopez in the U.S. and Venezuela since 2004. In Caracas, Lopez and Tabor have performed in prominent chamber music series and festivals such as Pro Musica de Camara, the Friedman Festival of Chamber Music, and the series Recital con la Sinfonica at the Asociacion Cultural Humboldt. Dr. Tabor grew up in Caracas and lives in Tallahassee, FL.  

Tzu-yi Chen with Boris Abramov: A Little Lunch Music, September 5, October 24 and November 14

A series favorite, pianist Tzu-yi Chen will return to A Little Lunch Music for three performances during the fall 2013 season. She will be collaborating with violinist Boris Abramov to present the first of a three-concert miniseries that will feature all ten of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas. The duo will bring its Beethoven Project to us on September 5, October 24 and November 14. The concerts will be in the Martin-Perricone Auditorium of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

UPDATE (11/6/2013): For those with a place to put them up, this post has posters for the events.

At the time of this post, these performances are yet unsponsored, though some have made verbal commitments. UPDATE (9/4/13): The September 5 performance is being sponsored by Nick & Carolyn Davis and Michael Golden. Another sponsor has verbally committed to the October 24 performance. The one on November 14 has a partial commitment, and at the moment lacks $200. UPDATE (10/16/13): The October 24 performance is being sponsored by Marjorie Newman, Lorna Wood & Donald Wehrs, and Phyllis Stanaland. The November 14 performance is being sponsored by Wild Birds Unlimited (Facebook page for Auburn store) and Phyllis Stanaland. For more about the series or about helping out with this presentation of Beethoven Project, click here. A Little Lunch Music concerts are free to the public. Tzu-yi and Boris are gratefully dedicating these performances to Mrs. Marjorie Newman.

For information about music instruction by these performers, please contact the International Friendship Ministries' Arts Academy at (706) 653-0097.

Tzu-yi Chen
In 2006, pianist Tzu-yi Chen joined the ranks of some of history’s greatest musicians when she received the Premier Prix upon graduation from the Paris Conservatory. Her recent awards include first prize in the Georgia Music Teachers Association upper college level (2013), first prize in the Atlanta Music Club Scholarship Competition (2012), first prize in the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music’s concerto competition (2012), and fourth prize in the Darmstadt International Chopin Piano Competition (2009). She is currently staff pianist at the Schwob School, Piano and Violin Instructor in its Preparatory Division, and co-founder of the International Friendship Ministries’ Arts Academy. She holds two graduate degrees from the National Karlsruhe Music University and an Artist Diploma from CSU where she studied under Van Cliburn gold medalist Alexander Kobrin. Ms. Chen has been invited by Distinguished Concerts International New York to debut at Carnegie Hall in October 2014.

Boris Abramov
Since 2001, violinist Boris Abramov has received annual scholarships and prizes from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, and in 2005 won second prize in Israel’s Rising Star national music competition. At age 16, he served as concertmaster of the Israel Youth Philharmonic Festival, having begun studying the violin at age seven with Stella Zlatkovsky. During his undergraduate studies at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, Boris was awarded First Prize at the 2008 Music Teachers National Association competition in Denver, won a special prize at the 2009 Pablo de Sarasate International Violin Competition in Spain, and was a three-time winner of CSU’s concerto competition. He recorded his first CD in 2008 with acclaimed guitarist Chad Ibison. Boris holds a Bachelor’s degree (Cum Laude) and an Artist Diploma Certificate from CSU where he is currently in the Master’s program as graduate teaching assistant to Professor Sergiu Schwartz.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sundilla Presents Act of Congress this Friday (8/23/13)

The Sundilla Acoustic Concert Series is bringing the band Act of Congress to Auburn again this Friday (8/23) at the series' regular venue, the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 450 E. Thach Ave. The video at right shows off the band's folk voice, but it is also fluent in serious contemporary pop, which it deftly pulls off acoustically using its folk instruments. Showtime is 7:30, and admission is $15 at the door, $12 if you buy them early at Spicer's Music, Mama Mocha's Coffee, or online at sundillamusic.com. Below is part of an article (and a link to the full article) from Bailey Jones, Sundilla's producer.

I could say all sorts of great things about Act of Congress-- and I will-- but the best thing that can be said is what many of YOU said the last time they were at Sundilla: "This is the best concert I have ever been to." Yes, we heard that quite a bit two years ago, probably more than we have ever heard it before, or since. (Only Lipbone Redding might have elicited more "best concert ever!" comments. Now think about those who are NOT on that short list, and you get a good idea of just how good these guys-- and girl-- are.)

No one this young should have a resume this impressive. How impressive? Well, consider this: following their Sundilla appearance, they have one more public appearance before heading off to do an eight-shows-in-eight-days tour of... the United Arab Emirates. Not impressed? They have also played in Bali, Thailand, East Timor, Palau, Australia, and the Philippines. Not bad for some kids from Birmingham who have been together for six years or so. (read more)

Archive - Spring 2013 A Little Lunch Music Schedule (photos)

This post archives the spring 2013 schedule for A Little Lunch Music, a weekly series of free concerts at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, Alabama. At the time of this post, I am working on an updated schedule for fall 2013 which will shortly be posted on my Lunch Music Schedule tab. There is talk of moving the series schedule to the museum's website, jcsm.auburn.edu, so if you can't find it here on my site, try over there.

Spring 2013 Schedule - A Little Lunch Music
Artist bios are below this schedule.

January 17: smooth-world-Gospel-jazz pianist David Banks and friends (website)
~Sponsored in part by Bette Wegener

January 24: pianist Tzu-yi Chen
~Sponsored by Ruth Wright

January 31 (11:50-1:10): Pangaea Chamber Players (website), violinist Sylvia Wehrs with pianist Susan Hoskins
~Sponsored by Nick and Carolyn Davis (Pangaea) and Richard and Anne Amacher (Wehrs/Hoskins)

February 7: pianist Jeremy Samolesky
~sponsored by Malcolm and Ruth Crocker

February 14: violinist Robin Scott with cellist Ahrim Kim
~sponsored by Carol and Gene Bramlett, Paul and Margaret Kouidis, Taylor and Lucy Littleton (in memory of Louvica Davis)

February 21: clarinetist Evan Lynch and flutist Alina Windell; additional music from percussionist Doug Rosener and saxophonist Patrick McCurry
~sponsored by Jim and Sue Haygood

February 28: pianist Barbara Acker-Mills
~sponsored by Jim and Sue Haygood

March 7: The Woodfield Trio, Variation I, with guest saxophonist Angel Negrin
~sponsored by Jim and Sue Haygood

March 14: Spring Break (no performance)

March 21: Nathan Davis (website)
~sponsored by Gene and Phyllis Stanaland

March 28 (11:50 - 12:50): the Eagle Saxophone Quartet and the Tiger Saxophone Quartet, each with percussionist Andrew Sykes
~sponsored by Jo Krebs

April 4: pianist Julia Tucker
~sponsored by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University (website)

April 11: harpist Cindy Harris with flutist Patrick McCurry; additional music from pianist Christina Fallows
~sponsored by Betty & Bob Hare and Linda and Seth Anderson

April 18: S. Raj Chaudhury and the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble

April 25: vocalist Marc Karam
~sponsored by Gary Mullen

May 2: soprano Christina Burroughs with pianist Nicole Agostino
~sponsored by a friend of the series

May 9: guitarist Katie Holmes
~sponsored by Jeff and Carol Jakeman

May 16: Mary Slaton
~sponsored in memory of Carol Kent by her husband George 

Artist Bios in Alphabetical Order (in progress)

DR. BARBARA ACKER-MILLS holds a PhD in psychology and a Master of Music in piano from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She played Prokofieff's 3rd Piano Concerto with the SUNY Binghamton orchestra after winning its concerto competition. While at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dr. Acker-Mills studied with acclaimed performer and pedagogical award winner Barbara Lister-Sink who said that Acker-Mills “demonstrated admirably at Salem that a petite frame is no deterrent to commanding and powerful playing.” Dr. Acker-Mills teaches in the music department at Auburn University, has a private teaching studio, and is a member of The Woodfield Trio.

An active soloist and chamber musician, pianist NICOLE AGOSTINO has performed recitals across the U.S. In 2011 she toured the southeast as a guest artist giving recitals and lectures on J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations and has recently recorded the work. Nicole is a doctoral candidate in performance at Florida State University. She holds a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music, both in performance, from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She currently teaches music at Southern Union Community College and is a staff pianist at Auburn University. In 2008, she held a piano faculty position at the renowned Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.

The AUBURN INDIAN MUSIC ENSEMBLE comprises students in a semester long class where they learn fundamentals of Indian classical and semi-classical music. This music is based on the system of ragas (melodies) and talas (rhythms). The vocal performances of the group feature a variety of traditional instruments such as harmonium (organ), tabla (drums) and tanpura (drone).

DAVID BANKS has recently returned to the world of music, blending of the fervor of Gospel and the musical improvisation of jazz. Dr. Banks is a classically trained musician with over 45 years’ experience in musical styles including jazz, Gospel, R&B, country, and top-40. He has opened for or played with such greats as the Yellowjackets, Ramsey Lewis, BB King, Shirley Caesar, The Hawkins Singers, the Duke Ellington Orchestra (Mercer Ellington), Roy Ayres, the Bar-Kays, Maynard Ferguson, and many more. Dr. Banks is currently an assistant professor at Tuskegee University and is married to Barbara Banks. A 1999 Auburn University graduate, he served as course instructor, advisor and director of the AU Gospel Choir as a graduate student.

CHRISTINA BURROUGHS, lyric soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Alabama and a Master of Music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Christina has performed leading roles with California Theatre Center, Theatre West Virginia, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Opera Birmingham, BluePrint and Ensemble Parallele in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and the San Jose Symphonic Choir. Past roles include: Die Zauberflöte (Pamina), Così fan tutte (Despina), La Bohème (Mimì), La Calisto (Giunone), La Traviata (Violetta), Le Nozze di Figaro (La Contessa), The Phantom of the Opera (Carlotta), Proof (Claire), Into the Woods (Rapunzel), The Tempest (Miranda), and Soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem and Bach’s Matthaus-Passion. Christina is a native of Wetumpka, a proud alumnus of Edgewood Academy, and former Miss Lynx 1995. She is currently a Voice Instructor at Faulkner University, and teaches voice privately as well.

Trained in classical and semi-classical traditions of North Indian music, DR. S. RAJ CHAUDHURY has been performing and teaching college students for over 20 years. He has directed Indian music student ensembles at UCLA, Kansas State University, Christopher Newport University and now at Auburn University. A vocalist by training, Dr. Chaudhury plays harmonium, tabla, and tanpura. In 2009, Chaudhury became the Associate Director of Auburn Universtiy's Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and has a background in physics education.

Among pianist CHEN TZU-YI’s many orchestra credits are performing with the Philharmonie Baden-Baden, the Saint Petersburg Symphony and the Utah Symphony. In June 2012 she performed Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto in Taiwan with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra. Her awards include first prize at both the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Piano Competition and at the International Piano Competition of Mauro Paolo Monopoli in Italy. She has appeared as a recitalist throughout Taiwan and in broadcasts in Hong Kong and Germany. She earned a master's degree and taught at Karlsruhe Music University in Germany and studied at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris for Music and Dance. Miss Chen is currently an Artist Diploma student at Columbus State University on full scholarship. She studies with Alexander Kobrin.

Inspired by natural phenomena and the abstraction of simple stories, NATHAN DAVIS "writes music that deals deftly and poetically with timbre and sonority" (NYTimes).  His music has been commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Claire Chase, Calder Quartet, Yarn/Wire, Steven Schick, La Jolla Symphony Chorus, Miller Theater, and the Ojai Festival (for eighth blackbird and sound sculptor Trimpin), and presented at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, and at festivals around the world.  He has received awards from Meet The Composer, Fromm Fund, Copland Fund, Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, MATA, ASCAP, and the ISCM.  CDs of his music include The Bright and Hollow Sky, one of TimeOut NY's top 10 classical albums of 2011.  As a percussionist, he is a core member of ICE and has premiered hundreds of pieces, working with luminaries and fostering emerging composers.  He has recorded for the Nonesuch, Tzadik, Mode, Kairos, New Albion, and Bridge labels.  Also a dedicated instructor, Nathan has teaches percussion and leads ensembles at Dartmouth College.  An Auburn native, Nathan lives in NYC with his wife, actress Sylvia Milo.   www.nathandavis.com

The EAGLE SAXOPHONE QUARTET is an Auburn University Department of Music chamber group. Soprano saxophonist Sarah O’Keefe from Kennesaw, Georgia, is a junior in zoology with a focus on biodiversity and conservation. Alto saxophonist Eric Shaw is a senior in aerospace engineering from Hoover, Alabama. Tenor saxophonist Logan Pouncey and baritone saxophonist Tyler DeCastra are freshmen in music education. Logan is from Mobile, Alabama, and Tyler is from Homewood, Alabama. The group is under the instruction of saxophone instructor Dr. Michael Pendowski.

As a child, CINDY HARRIS always wanted to play the harp. Her musical beginnings included teaching herself to play a small organ. Then, she advanced to the accordion, the actual instrument her mother played in her German high school marching band. Mostly self-taught, Cindy played the organ for local venues and in church while she was growing up in Ozark, Alabama. Not until years of marriage and a family did her “harp dream” become a reality when her husband Jim purchased a Musicmaker kit and built a 36-string walnut harp that she used later with the orchestra at Lakeview Baptist Church and for weddings, banquets, and at bedsides. She studied with harpist Suzie (Brown) Ballam, formerly of Auburn, and has participated in Southeastern Harp Weekend (2005, 2009) and Liturgical Harp Retreat in Amicalola Falls, Georgia (2007). She is a member of H’arpeggios, a local harp ensemble. Cindy currently performs on a Lyon and Healy Chicago 40 pedal harp.

KATIE HOLMES is a fifteen-year-old classical guitarist and pianist. A freshman at Auburn University at Montgomery, she has been playing guitar since the age of four, studying privately since age seven with Dr. Andrew Zohn of Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. She has won guitar competitions in Georgia and North Carolina, and received the Presidential and Honors Scholarships at AUM. She has performed as a percussionist with the Prattville Pops, and as a pianist with the Prattville Community Chorus, as well as playing guitar for musical events hosted by First Presbyterian Church in Prattville. She currently serves at the pianist for First Presbyterian Church in Montgomery. Katie plans to attend Columbus State University in fall 2013 to study at the Schwob School of Music.

Pianist SUSAN HOSKINS is a native of Georgia and a graduate of Auburn University. She is on faculty at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, and freelances in the Columbus area.  She has a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied solo piano with Lita Guerra and collaborative piano with David Garvey, long-time pianist with the great Metropolitan Opera singer Leontyne Price. Upon graduation, she worked as a vocal coach and accompanist at the “Mozarteum” Hochschule fur Musik in Salzburg, Austria. As a collaborative artist, she has played recitals and concerts as well as national and international competitions in Germany, Austria, France, the Czech Republic and the United States.  She and her husband have recently returned to the Columbus area as he retires from a 21-year career in the US Army.

Dr. MARC KARAM is an associate professor of Electrical Engineering at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and a member of the French Alliance of Montgomery. An American citizen, Marc was born in Lebanon in 1969, immigrating to the United States in 1992. His knowledge of classical French songs stems from the fact that Lebanon has historically been very open to French culture. Marc grew up listening to French, English, and Arabic songs. His major language at school and college was French. Marc has a fondness for French “oldies,” such as songs by Yves Montand, Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Lucienne Boyer, Tino Rossi, Charles Aznavour, and Jacques Brel. Marc has recorded four CDs, religious in nature, focusing on the prayers of the Rosary. His recordings are interspersed with religious hymns, some composed by him, others drawn from the great treasury of Sacred Art. Marc has presented his CD’s live in the context of prayer concerts at churches in Montgomery and Mobile.

Clarinetist EVAN LYNCH is currently an instructor with the Auburn University Music Department. He has performed as a soloist nationally and internationally, including performances in Belgium and China. Mr. Lynch holds a Bachelor of Music from Arizona State University and a Master of Education from Auburn University. While at ASU, he served as principal player in the wind ensemble, sinfonietta orchestra, symphony orchestra, and clarinet choir. While at Auburn University he served as principal player in the Symphonic Winds and the Auburn Community Orchestra. Solo competitions won include the Western District Music Competition hosted by Kappa Kappa Psi in 2006 and 2007, the ASU undergraduate clarinet studio solo competition in 2007, and the Drum Corps International Individual and Ensemble clarinet solo competition in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The music of saxophonist and flutist PATRICK MCCURRY crosses boundaries between jazz and classical, pop and art, secular and sacred. Born and raised in Alabama and having returned home to Auburn, Patrick blogs in support of good music in and around his community. He coordinates a weekly art-music series, A Little Lunch Music, at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Patrick performs with a chamber group, The Woodfield Trio, and holds a Masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. There, his instructor and mentor was James Houlik, international concert saxophone maestro. He studied jazz improvisation, composition and arranging while earning his undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans.

Concert saxophonist ANGEL NEGRIN has performed as an orchestral saxophonist with the Alabama Symphony, Youngstown (Ohio) Symphony, Greenville (Pennsylvania) Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh Opera Center in works by Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky, Ravel, Gershwin, et al. In addition to performing as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Angel has presented masterclasses and lectures at the university level. He has served on the faculties of Samford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Montevallo, and Birmingham-Southern College. Angel received the Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh where he studied applied saxophone with James Houlik, chamber music with Stephen Pollock, and applied oboe with James Gorton and Scott Bell. He went on to receive the Master of Music degree from Youngstown State University while studying saxophone with Dr. James Umble. Other principal teachers include Dr. Connie Frigo, Robert Faub, and Terry Millard.

Formed in 2012, the PANGAEA CHAMBER PLAYERS is a new group working to expand the boundaries of traditional chamber music. Comprised of flute, oboe, cello, and piano, the ensemble performs both traditional and contemporary works.   Most recently, they have recorded a CD, Purple Line, which will be released under the Blue Griffin label. Purple Line features works for flute, cello, and piano by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), Phillipe Gaubert (1879-1941), Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), and Ned Rorem (b. 1923).  In addition to their recording, the Pangaea Chamber Players have performed these works, among others, at a number of universities including Oklahoma State University, the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and Kansas State University. Members of the Pangaea Chamber Players include Virginia Broffitt, flute, Celeste Johnson Frehner, oboe, Meredith Blecha-Wells, cello, and Jeffery Brown, piano.

Dr. DOUG ROSENER is currently Associate Professor of Percussion and Associate Director of Bands at Auburn University. He has performed with orchestras including the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sinfonia of Colorado, the Colorado Ballet Company Orchestra, The Colorado Springs Symphony, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and the Columbus (Georgia) Symphony. Dr. Rosener has recorded CDs with the North Texas Wind Symphony, North Texas Chamber Players, the Colorado Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and has been a regular drummer with professional musical theater companies. He has served as an adjudicator at Percussive Arts Society International Conventions as well as high schools and universities nationwide, and has been a featured clinician at the Society’s Days of Percussion events in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Alabama. He received his Bachelor's degree from Penn State University, his Masters from the University of North Texas, and his Doctorate from the University of Colorado in Boulder. 

Known for his passion for both solo and collaborative piano performances, JEREMY SAMOLESKY, a native of Manitoba, Canada, has appeared in concert as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, Austria, China, Malaysia and Singapore, including a recital at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., which was broadcast on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” Samolesky achieved the rare distinction of graduating with two doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He studied Piano Performance and Literature under the direction of Barry Snyder and Accompanying and Chamber Music with Jean Barr. He also holds the Master of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Washington and the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Area Coordinator at Auburn University, where he has been teaching since fall 2007.

Violinist ROBIN SCOTT holds the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra’s violin fellowship. He is concertmaster for that group as well as for the New York Classical Players. Recent highlights include debuting with the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and touring with Musicians from Marlboro. Among his top awards are winning the 2010 California International Young Artists Competition. As a soloist he has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, France’s Orchestre National de Lille and others. He has performed with Indiana University's "Violin Virtuosi," touring France and appearing at Carnegie Hall. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory and completed an Artist Diploma at Indiana. AHRIM KIM is principal cellist with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and currently holds its cello fellowship. She is a founding member of the Klimt Trio, awarded the Harvard Musical Association’s Arthur Foote Award in 2011. Her honors include the Cassado Prize at Japan’s Gaspar Cassado International Cello Competition. She has performed at Alice Tully Hall, the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Kennedy Center, and as soloist with the Boston Pops, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and others. She has performed with the New York Classical Players and will soon be touring with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Before college, Kim studied at Juilliard and holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music.

MARY SLATON is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier piano-lounge soloists. Over the years, she has entertained many with her extensive knowledge of popular music. Among Memphis venues, Mary has performed at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. In Atlanta, she has played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club and  others. At home in the Auburn-Opelika area, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club and the Marriott have featured her. Mary holds piano degrees from Memphis State University and from the University of Montevallo. She teaches privately and at Southern Union Community College.

ANDREW SYKES from Tempe, Arizona, is currently a sophomore studying percussion performance at Auburn University. He has played in groups such as the Mesa Community College Band and Percussion Ensemble, the Macy’s Great American Band that plays in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Phoenix Youth Symphony which includes side by side performances with the Phoenix Symphony. While at Auburn, he has played in the Auburn Marching Band, the Concert Band, the Symphonic Band, the Auburn Community Orchestra, the jazz combo, and the Jazz Band.

The TIGER SAXOPHONE QUARTET is an Auburn University Department of Music chamber group. Soprano saxophonist Orie Cecil is a junior in aerospace engineering from Hazel Green, Alabama. Alto saxophonist Joshua Gillen and tenor saxophonist Franz Cau are sophomores in music education. Joshua is from Opelika, Alabama, and Franz is from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Baritone saxophonist Wade Allen is from Huntsville, Alabama, double-majoring in music performance and business. The group is under the instruction of Dr. Michael Pendowski.

Auburn native JULIA TUCKER entered Auburn University at age 15 after playing piano for eight years. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano Performance studying with Dr. Jeremy Samolesky. She is assistant organist and a scholarship singer at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Auburn, choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church, and a Choral Scholar at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. She will be attending Syracuse University in Fall 2013 as a graduate teaching assistant pursuing a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance.

At 18, violinist and Auburn native SYLVIA WEHRS is a junior at Columbus State University. There she has been awarded a scholarship to study violin with Distinguished Turner Chair, Sergiu Schwartz. Ms. Wehrs has won the Music Teachers National Association competition in Alabama at the junior and senior levels and placed first with the Alabama Music Teachers Association in both violin and piano. She was a winner in the Auburn Community Orchestra's concerto competition and has played with that group since she was eight. She now performs with the Columbus and LaGrange Symphonies, as well. Growing up in Auburn, Ms. Wehrs studied violin with her mother, Dr. Lorna Wood, and with Patricio Cobos. She also studied piano with Dr. William Summerville, Dr. Wayne Moore, and Dr. Jeremy Samolesky of Auburn University. For the past three summers, she has participated in the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Active in solo and chamber recitals as well as with orchestras, flutist DR. ALINA WINDELL has performed with the Lagrange Symphony Orchestra, the South Florida Symphony, the Lynn Philharmonia, and the Bloomington Camerata Orchestra. She has participated in music festivals such as the National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland, the Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy, and the Duxbury Music Festival. Dr. Windell completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance and Pedagogy with Christina Jennings at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She studied with renowned flutist Carol Wincenc while pursuing her Masters degree at Stony Brook University. She earned her Bachelors degree from Indiana University. Dr. Windell currently teaches both music at Southern Union Community College and flute privately.

Based in Auburn, Alabama, THE WOODFIELD TRIO was formed in 2009 to be a regular performing chamber group for A Little Lunch Music, the weekly free-concert series at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in Auburn. Its members are saxophonist and flutist Patrick McCurry, who coordinates the series, and pianist Barbara Acker-Mills. The group’s original personnel included series founder and cellist Charles Wright. The trio continues to appear with a guest cellist, and occasionally invites others to perform. Repertoire includes music for traditional piano-trio, pieces for flute and basso continuo, and music adapted or composed for its instrumentations. Patrick holds degrees in chamber music and jazz. Barbara holds a Ph.D in psychology, leads a private studio and teaches music at Auburn University.