Friday, February 20, 2015


The saxophone/woodwind quartet Iron Toys announces a public release concert and party for their new CD to be held Saturday, February 28, 7 p.m. at the Happy Grape Wine Bar in Lexington, Ohio.   

Founded in 2004 in Cleveland Ohio, the woodwind quartet features the accomplished and highly respected musicianship of Howie Smith, Rich Shanklin, Tom Reed and George Shernit. With a diverse repertoire exploring classical music, jazz and related styles composed or arranged by members of the quartet, this recording also presents Jim McNeely’s engaging and challenging composition Three Conversations.  Major funding for the project was made possible by the Ashland University Faculty Development program and the Ashland University Department of Music. 

Tom Reed is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Ashland University, principal clarinetist of the Ashland Symphony Orchestra, and bass clarinetist with the Akron Symphony Orchestra.  He has performed regularly with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. Tom has also been soloist with the Akron, Mansfield, Clarence (NY) and Ashland Symphonies, and has recorded with the Akron Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Ferguson Jazz Orchestra.  His clarinet CD “Mutually Inclusive” was released in 2008. 

Rich Shanklin has recently retired from 31 years of teaching at the University of Akron.  He taught classical and jazz saxophone, coached saxophone quartets, and taught courses in Jazz Arranging, History of Jazz, and the Business of Music. He has performed with the Jazz Unit, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Akron and Canton Symphonies, the Blossom Festival Band, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and is a first-call woodwind doubler for dozens of musical pit orchestra performances at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. 

George Shernit received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory/Composition and a Master of Arts in Saxophone Performance from Cleveland State University.  As a freelance musician for 35 years, he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Blossom Festival Band, and numerous Broadway shows and entertainers.  He also toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and the road show of “Annie.”  For the past 28 years he has worked in the wholesale music business, including 7 years in Austin, Texas, as national sales manager for Jupiter Band Instruments. 

Howie Smith has presented concerts and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia, and has worked with musicians, composers and ensembles as varied as Anthony Braxton, Gary Burton, Dizzy Gillespie, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Elvis Presley, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Tone Road Ramblers.  His recorded performances are equally diverse and his extensive catalogue of compositions includes works for conventional big bands and combos; for string, wind and percussion ensembles; for electronics; and for mixed media.  Recordings of his work may be heard on the Philips, Polydor, Albany, Open Blue, Optimism and Sea Breeze labels. Smith is a professor emeritus at Cleveland State University, where he was the coordinator of jazz studies from 1979 to 2006 and served as chair of the Art Department from 2003 to 2007.  He has been an artist/clinician for Yamaha since 1971.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

AU Women's Chorus Performs at the Freedom Choral Festival

Under the direction of Dr. Marla Butke, nineteen members of the AU Women's Chorus sang at the Concept: Freedom Choral Festival on Saturday at OSU. This event featured 150 women from 14 choirs to create awareness of human trafficking.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guest Artist Recital Presents Mezzo-Soprano Sandra Ross

Mezzo-soprano Sandra Ross joins pianist Emily Grabinski to perform a guest artist recital on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. The concert program will include pieces by Debussy, Dvorak, Ives and Weill.  The recital is Free & Open to the Public.

Ms. Ross has appeared with numerous Opera companies including the Cincinnati Opera, Opera North, Cleveland Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Sorg Opera and most recently with the Ohio Light Opera. Internationally she appeared as Madame Giry in the German production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera. On the concert stage Ms. Ross has appeared as mezzo-soprano soloist in L.v. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Alexander Nevsky, W.A. Mozart Requiem and the Antonio Vivaldi Gloria as well as others.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dr. Reed Presents His 30th Annual Faculty Recital

Join Dr. Thomas Reed, Music Department Chair and Professor of Music, as he celebrates his 30th annual faculty recital at Ashland University on Sunday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall.

His first recital was held on on May 9, 1985 when he performed with pianist Jennifer Byers, trumpeter Doug Huey, and guitarist Kevin Miller.  The following year marked the first of many collaborations with pianist Liz Pastor. Every year after he designed a new program of music, working with old and new musical acquaintances in a variety of repertoire.

This year he will be joined by Susan Gregg, piano; and the Ashland Symphony Quartet including Michelle Abraham and Jane Reed, violin; Monica Reineck, viola and Miles Richardson, cello. The program includes pieces by J. S. Bach, Paul Creston, Astor Piazzolla and W. A. Mozart's Quintet.   Free & Open to the Public.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Junior Recital: Shayne Smith & Jessie Barnhouse

sax-with-musicJunior instrumental music education majors and saxophonists Shayne Smith and Jessie Barnhouse will present their junior recital accompanied by Sue Gregg, piano, on Thursday, Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall. Shayne is a graduate of Bellevue High School and Jessie graduated from Cambridge High School. They both study privately with Dr.Thomas Reed. The concert program will include pieces by Vivaldi, Paladilhe, Telemann, Singlelee and Bencriscutto. Free & Open to the Public.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Ashland University Department of Music and the American Eurhythmics Society (AES) will present a Eurhythmics Workshop for General Music and Choral Classrooms on Saturday, January 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ashland University's Redwood Hall.  

The workshop will feature Brian Sweigart, chair of the Eurhythmics Department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, along with presentations by Jayne Wenner, The Ohio State University; Dr. Marla Butke and Rowland Blackley from Ashland University. 

Mr. Sweigart has taught Eurhythmics at many schools in Cleveland including the Cleveland Music School Settlement, Early Childhood Enrichment Center at Shaker Family Center, The Montessori School at Holy Rosary and Horizon Montessori.  His teaching has taken him to Maine, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Georgia and Kentucky where he has taught Eurhythmics to all ages. 

In addition to teaching, he performs as a percussionist in groups such as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra and the Percussion Plus Project. He  received his master's degree in Percussion Performance from Youngstown State University and earned his bachelor's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Percussion. Mr. Sweigart also attended Interlochen Arts Academy.

Workshop participants can register now with Dr. Marla Butke at with payment due at the workshop. The fee for the workshop includes lunch and is $75 or only $65 for AES members. For information about joining AES, visit

Monday, November 24, 2014

AU Instrumental Ensembles Offer a Variety of Free Concerts

The Department of Music at Ashland University is presenting four very different instrumental concerts the week after Thanksgiving which are all free and open to the public.  From two recitals each featuring multiple student chamber ensembles to the annual TubaChristmas and concluding with the Winter Festival Band Concert, music fans can enjoy live music performances all week.

Beginning on Tuesday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Elizabeth Pastor Recital Hall, the first recital of the student chamber ensembles will present a clarinet trio under the direction of Dr. Thomas Reed, as well as brass, string and trumpet ensembles instructed by Michael Metcalf, Jane Reed and Gary Davis, respectively.   On Wednesday, December 3, the featured ensembles will include a saxophone quartet directed by Dr. Reed along with a Jazz combo and the percussion ensemble led by Jeff Neitzke.

With two concerts on Saturday, December 6, the day begins with the annual TubaChristmas at 11 a.m. in Hugo Young Theatre. Patrons are advised that the times for this year's event are one hour earlier than in previous years. The concert is free and open to the public and area tuba, euphonium and baritone players are invited to perform. Musician registration will begin at 9 a.m. followed by a rehearsal at 9:20 a.m.  The registration fee for participating musicians is $10 and includes a 2014 TubaChristmas button.  The TubaChristmas carol book is also available for $10.00. Musicians are asked to bring their own folding stand.

TubaChristmas is an idea conceived by Harvey Phillips, Professor of Tuba at Indiana University. Mr. Phillips wanted to demonstrate to the public what a beautiful sound a mass ensemble of tubas and euphoniums could make and to provide an opportunity for fellow low brass players to celebrate the season with the community. TubaChristmas is dedicated to the memory of Mr. William J. Bell.  It’s a fun, holiday tradition the whole family can enjoy.

On Saturday evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre, the Winter Festival Band Concert will present the Ashland University Wind Ensemble directed by Ken Will, Ashland University Director of Bands, and the Ashland Area Community Concert Band (AACCB) under the direction of Leonard Salvo.

The 40-piece Ashland University Wind Ensemble is comprised of the outstanding wind and percussion players at the University and from the community.  The ensemble begins Saturday's concert with Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Flourish for Wind Band" followed by Percy Aldrige Grainger's "Irish Tune from County Derry" which is based on the Irish melody "Londonderry Air." The Wind Ensemble closes their portion of the program with Frank Ticheli's two movement piece "Cajun Folk Songs" featuring solo alto saxophone.

After a brief intermission, the 65-member Ashland Area Community Concert Band takes the stage. Established in 1993, the ensemble is designed for both university students and members of the Ashland community to continue their musical study and creative activity. The Community Band's program begins with the stirring opening fanfare, silver screen opulence and lush lyricism of Alfred Reed's "Alleluia!! Laudamus Te" followed by John Wasson's "Sea Song Fantasy" which is a medley of sea songs and chanteys, and "The Gallant 7th", a march by John Philip Sousa composed and dedicated to the 7th Regiment, 107th Infantry, of the New York National Guard. They conclude the program with two Christmas medley's including John Wasson's "In the Christmas Mood" and Warren Barker's "It's Christmas."