Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Madrigal Sales Begin Monday, Sept. 25

Tickets for the 42nd Annual Madrigal Feaste go on sale to the public on Monday, September 25 at 12 p.m. Patrons are reminded that this is a very popular event and the box office will be incredibly busy. For immediate service, the box office recommends purchases online at www.ashland.edu/tickets which does include higher processing fees. Patrons can also go in person to the box office window located in the lobby of Hugo Young Theatre at the corner of College Avenue and Grant Street or call the box office at 419.289.5125. Please be advised that phone lines are expected to be busy. Discounted tickets for children can only be purchased directly through the box office and not online.

Ashland University Department of Music produces the annual Madrigal Feaste which is slated for Wednesday through Sunday, November 29 - December 3, 2017. All performances begin at 6:30 p.m. in Redwood Hall.

Directed by Dr. Rowland Blackley, director of choral activities, the Madrigal Feaste is a dinner theater based in sixteenth-century England with constant entertainment provided throughout the evening. The Ashland University Chamber Singers perform ceremonial music, Christmas carols and madrigals while the Madrigal Players present a new comedic play along with improvisational theatrics. Fanfare trumpeters, the Court Jester, Butler and Wenches round out the cast. Performer costumes are designed as authentic reproductions of period apparel; and the four-course meal culminates in flaming bread pudding.

The 2017 Madrigal Feaste Chamber Singers feature Corey Turpin and Hannah Wise as the King and Queen, along with the members of their royal court including Drew Berlin, Sami Eron, Gracie Fumic, Elisha Hofer, Rachel Kelly, Jacob Markley, Seth Morrison, Jacob Poiner, Anna Rivero, Cole Rucker, Emily Sycks and Rebecca Young. Jessica Dupee will serve as the Jester leading her cast of Players including Ivey Buffenmyer, Nik Demers, Tristan Peterman, Maya Rickard, Jake Riley and Will Taylor. The court butler will be played by Jacob Ellis.

Tickets for the event are $28 for adults; $24 for groups of 10 or more; and $18 for children under 12. A special $11 ticket is available to Ashland University students for the Wednesday performance only. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available upon request at the time of ticket purchase. Due to preparation of meals, tickets are not available at the door.

Friday, September 1, 2017

2017-2018 Arts Guide Released

The College of Arts & Sciences at Ashland University has released its annual Arts Guide which highlights multiple arts events for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Arts Guide offers a comprehensive view of the Ashland University Theatre season, Department of Music recitals and special events, and Coburn Art Gallery exhibitions. Arts patrons are encouraged to use the Arts Guide as they plan their cultural events as a one-stop reference guide which includes events from August 28 to May 18.

Inside the Arts Guide, patrons will find descriptions of each event, information about the University's various venues, ticket prices and ordering information.  The publication also lists various Web and Facebook pages for patrons to visit throughout the year for up-to-date schedules including additions and changes which occasionally occur with live events.

Highlights of the Arts Guide include:
  • Department of Music's 42nd Annual Madrigal Feaste and Maplerock Jazz Festival along with many recitals and concerts performed by the University's award-winning students, highly acclaimed faculty and world-renowned visiting artists.
  • Ashland University Theatre's season themed "Building Bridges" reminds us to think of, respect and care for others and those who may not be like ourselves. From the ancient Greeks in the classic drama The Trojan Women, to today's young adults trying to navigate the blurry line between the virtual and real worlds in the new play Leveling Up, and the fantastical and magical world of Dr. Seuss in the musical Seussical - the theatre season will provide opportunities to better understand ourselves and others with performances that encourage dialogue about challenges in our world today.
  • Coburn Gallery's exhibitions focusing on the work of nationally known contemporary artists as well as Ashland University art faculty and students in various mediums including sculpture, drawing, found objects and more.
  • Art experiences for high school students through the Pursue Your Passion Day with the Departments of Music and Theatre, and the art studio experience with the Art Department.
For a copy of the 2017-2018 Arts Guide, contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu. The Arts Guide can also be accessed online at www.ashland.edu/tickets, or at any of the department Web pages or Facebook pages. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Area Chorus & Community Concert Band Announce Fall Schedules

Two community music ensembles at Ashland University [Ashland Area Chorus (AAC) and Ashland Area Community Concert Band (AACCB)] announce their fall schedules including rehearsals, concerts and membership requirements.

Beginning Monday, August 28, Ashland Area Chorus rehearsals are held on Monday evenings from 7-8:45 p.m. in Room 242 of the Center for the Arts. Initially meeting on Tuesday, September 12, the Community Band rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Center for the Arts' Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall.

Entering its nineteenth season, the AAC is dedicated to a mission of learning great music and singing it beautifully. The chorus is open to all singers from Ashland and surrounding counties and includes Ashland University faculty, staff and students as well as other singers from the wider community. Though no formal audition is required for membership, AAC members must be pitch accurate (sing 'on key') and be able to learn and perform their parts successfully. Previous choral experience is helpful.

AAC's theme this semester is Sing We and Chant It! Music from the Heart of England, featuring madrigals by William Byrd, Thomas Morley and Orlando Gibbons, and sacred works by Thomas Tallis, Imogene Holst, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. In addition to performances in AU's Fall Choral Concert on October 29 and Festival of Lights on December 10, the Ashland Area Chorus will be singing an extended prelude and service music at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland on Sunday, December 3 at the 5:30 p.m. Mass.

The Ashland Area Community Concert Band begins its twenty-fifth season and is for those that loved playing in band in high school or college and want the opportunity to play again. Performances for the ensemble this fall include a performance at the University with the Ashland University Concert Band on Saturday, December 9.

Requirements for membership are the ability to play a wind or percussion instrument (no need to be a virtuoso); an interest in playing for enjoyment; desire to play a wide variety of music for the public; an interest in meeting new people who share a common interest and availability for rehearsals on Tuesday evenings.

Membership in AAC and AACCB is open to all adults. Students still in high school may also participate with the permission of the ensemble's director.  A nominal membership fee of $25 for adults and $15 for high school students is requested and payable by the fourth week of rehearsals to continue participation in either ensemble for the semester. The membership fee is payable at the Ashland University Box Office via phone at 419.289.5125 or online at www.ashland.edu/tickets by clicking on the "Buy Single Tickets" icon.

For further information, contact the Chorus’ director Libby Slade at eslade@ashland.edu or (419) 685-5460; or Community Band director Leonard Salvo at lsalvo@ashland.edu.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Choir Tour to Germany Featured in Accent Magazine

The 2017 spring choir tour to Germany is featured in the fall issue of the Ashland University alumni publication, The Accent Magazine. The article travels with the choir from their departure from the Detroit airport to their arrival in Frankfurt, and then to Berlin where they performed their first concert. The tour continues to Wittenberg, birthplace of the Reformation, where AU choir alumna Stephanie Rickel Woods (2011) attended one of their concerts. The choir also went to Eisleben, Martin Luther's birthplace, and Leipzig where Johann Sebastian Bach composed and worked for most of his career. The visit to Germany ended with an unexpected tourist day in Frankfurt.

As summarized by music education major Jacob Poiner (Wellington, Ohio), “Choir is more than just the music…Choir is about the friendships and relationships just as much. Getting to experience such a fairy tale trip in the country where my family heritage lies with my friends was a life changing trip.”

You can view the full article online at issuu.com/augraphics/docs/accent_mag_fall17/5.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lewis Named Director of Bands

Joseph Lewis, Jr., has been named the Director of Bands at Ashland University where he will direct the Ashland University Eagle Marching Band and the Ashland University Symphonic Band. He received his Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education and Music Performance (Bass Trombone) in 2006 from The Ohio State University and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University in 2015. Prior to his appointment at Ashland University, Mr. Lewis was the Director of Bands at Northeastern Local (Tinora) Schools in Defiance, Ohio. His performing experience includes playing bass trombone with The O’Jays, The Temptations, The Toledo Jazz Orchestra, The Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra, The Rick Brunetto Big Band, and The Joey Thomas Big Band. Mr. Lewis is also a Chief Warrant Officer in the Ohio Army National Guard and the Commander of the 122nd Ohio Army National Guard Band in Columbus, Ohio. “Chief” Lewis has been a member of the 122nd Army Band since 2000 and is currently serving.

Monday, June 26, 2017

On a European Tour with the AU Choir

Every four years, under the direction of Dr. Rowland Blackley, Ashland University Director of Choral Activities, the Ashland University Choir elects to spend their spring break on a European tour. Blackley emphasized, “There are many reasons that the University Choir travels to Europe every four years, but one of the most important is that the students get to sing choral music in the types of venues where it sounds best, and where it was meant to be performed."

For eight days in early March, the 2017 destination was Northern Germany to correlate with the observance of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. With the Reformation primarily beginning in Wittenberg by Martin Luther, many sites important to Luther and the early Reformation were included in this tour along with visits to other historical and cultural sites such as the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial and cities influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn. Accordingly, the choir performed in Berlin, Wittenberg, Eisleben and Leipzig.

From the Motor City to the Old Country 
With a flight from Detroit to Frankfurt on the first day, the second day began with a short flight to Berlin for a two-night stay. 

“All the students on the trip were born after the Berlin Wall fell, so the tour guide emphasized and expanded on that history and its impact on everyone at the time,” Blackley explained. 

On the first day in Berlin, the group visited the Reichstag (meeting place of the German parliament), the Brandenburg Gate, the famous “Checkpoint Charlie” (best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War), the Berliner Dom (Cathedral), and enjoyed a river cruise of Germany's dynamic capital.

The Berlin Dom (Cathedral) was one of the many sites visited
by the AU Choir on their first day of sightseeing in Germany.
On day two in Berlin, the choir toured Museum Island, a vast museum complex and a UNESCO World Heritage Site including the Pergamon Museum, which contains three world-class art collections. They saw the Nikolaikirche, the oldest church in Berlin, the Holocaust Monument and then had some free time on the Unter den Linden, the best-known and grandest street in Berlin.

The choir performed their first concert in Germany that evening at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a famous landmark of western Berlin. It was built between 1891-1895, but badly damaged during a bombing raid in 1943. The current structure was attached to the damaged spire and grand floor of the old church.

Home of the Reformation & an AU Alumna
The AU Choir poses with the Martin Luther statue outside
of Stadtkirche (Town Church) in Wittenberg.
On day four of the tour, the choir travelled to Wittenberg for a guided walking tour with a visit to the Lutherhaus (home of Martin Luther for most of his adult life), and then to the Stadtkirche (considered the mother-church of the Reformation) where the choir gave a mid-day concert. They then visited the Schlosskirche, which became the center of the Reformation when Luther affixed his famous 95 theses to the door in 1517. The day concluded with a visit to the Melanchthon House, former home of the humanist, reformer and editor of the Augsburg Confession.

As chance would have it, AU Choir alumna, Stephanie Rickel Woods (B.A. Religion, 2011), was in Wittenberg at the same time as the choir. It is apparent that Ashland University had a major impact on her life, not the least of which, was meeting her future husband, David Woods (B.Ed Integrated Mathematics, 2012) in choir, after talking to him when they served together at the annual Madrigal Feaste.

Now in pursuit of her Ph.D. in Church History at Boston University (BU), Stephanie was travelling as a teaching assistant with a seminar group through BU that was visiting Reformation sites. When her group was in Eisleben, she saw a poster for the AU Choir performance later in the week. She emailed Dr. Blackley for their itinerary and arranged for the entire BU group to attend the Stadtkirche concert. Stephanie then joined the AU group for the rest of their Wittenberg tour.

AU Choir alumna Stephanie Rickel Woods captured this
photo of the choir’s performance in Stadtkirche
“Seeing the AU choir in Germany, I was intensely proud of my alma mater. When you go to a small school in the Midwest like Ashland, you don’t expect to see or hear big things about your school nationally or internationally. No one in my group had ever heard of Ashland, so they were ambassadors for a great school. Moreover, the sound of the choir resonating in the Stadtkirche was glorious. I had heard a concert there two days before and it didn’t compare to the beauty of the AU choir.  I have always been incredibly thankful for my time at Ashland, and seeing these students represent us so well made me even more proud. Sitting in the audience, I had multiple Germans come up and ask me where the group was from, and I enjoyed being able to tell them about Ashland. It was also an incredible taste of home in a foreign country. Hearing the choir made me feel like I was at home even in a foreign country.”

From Luther to the Masters of Classical Music
The highlight of the tour was singing at St. Thomas in
Leipzig where Bach served for most of his career. 
The next day began with westward travel to Eisleben to visit Luther's birthplace, as well as the house where he died in 1546. The choir performed that afternoon at the St. Petri-Pauli-Kirche (St. Peter and Paul Church), which is the church where Martin Luther was baptized in 1483. After the concert, the tour continued on to the musical city of Leipzig for a guided walking tour of the Old Town Hall, the Market Square, the Gewandhaus concert hall and the Bach Museum prior to the tour’s most exciting event at St. Thomas Church.

While the choir sang in four beautiful churches, all of historical significance, the high point was St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. This was where Johann Sebastian Bach composed, directed and taught music for most of his career.  On this sixth day of their tour, the University Choir performed a concert, including a major work by Bach in St. Thomas where Bach wrote most of his church music. 

The choir poses with the Bach statue outside of St. Thomas.
Following the Choir’s performance, Dr. Timothy Guenther, Adjunct Instructor of Music and University Organist, had the amazing opportunity to play a half-hour recital on the pipe organ in St. Thomas where Bach was the organist for 27 years.

Detour to Frankfurt
The scheduled itinerary for the final full tour day in Germany included Magdeburg, where Luther lived for some time as a schoolboy and later preached important sermons in St. John's Church, to be followed by a flight to Berlin for the final night of the tour.

During an unexpected trip to Frankfurt on the last day of tour,
some students took advantage of a river cruise.
(l-r: Jacob Poiner, John Margida, Melissa Haber,
Brian Nguyen Le, Sami Eron, Rebecca Young, Kayla Gowdy)
However, due to an employee strike at the Berlin airport that cancelled all of their flights, the tour company arranged for the choir to depart directly from Frankfurt instead. Although there was no time at the beginning of the trip to tour Frankfurt, this opened the door for students to complete their souvenir shopping, enjoy another river boat cruise and visit more historical sites in one of Germany’s major cities. It was an unexpected change with a positive benefit, and a great finale to a rewarding and life-changing journey for the choir and everyone that they reached.

As summarized by music education major Jacob Poiner (Wellington, Ohio), “Choir is more than just the music…Choir is about the friendships and relationships just as much. Getting to experience such a fairy tale trip in the country where my family heritage lies with my friends was a life changing trip.”

For more photos of the tour and to view a video of Dr. Guenther playing the Bach-organ, visit the website at Ashland.edu/Music or the Facebook page at Facebook.com/AshlandUniversityMusic.

This story will appear in the upcoming issue of the Accent Magazine.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Community Band Plays Fathers Day Concert

Once again, the Guy C Myers Memorial Band Shell will present the Ashland Area Community Concert Band under the direction of Leonard Salvo for its annual Fathers Day Concert on Sunday, June 18 at 8 pm. The concert will include patriotic favorites, Highlights from My Fair Lady as well as guest clarinet soloist Tom Reed on Cavallini's Adagio and Tarantella Solo for Clarinet and Band. The concert is free and open to public with freewill donations accepted. Held rain or shine, call the rain site hotline at 419.281.3018 after 5 p.m. the day of the concert to see if it is relocated to Hugo Young Theatre.