Ragtime, Gary Kelley, and More for October & November IAS

Oct 4, 2017

Autumn in the air brings many exciting Iowa arts events to the state. The October and November IAS features:

·         Paul Wierson delving into the upcoming Ragtime In Randall festival north of Ames

·         UNI Instructor of Percussion, Matthew Andreini, sharing details about the Iowa Composers Forum’s “Hammers & Mallets” Fall Concert Series

·         Music Director Kim Noftsker speaking on Philippe Lefebre’s organ concert at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Davenport

·         Thomas Robbins, executive director at the University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center, outlining the Center’s 5th Anniversary concert series

·         Dr. Bernard McDonald, Associate Professor of Music and Opera Chair at Simpson College, revealing Simpson College Opera’s upcoming production of Handel’s Acis & Galatea

·         Rosemary Beach, one of the Founders of the Cedar Falls Authors Festival, giving us the inside scoop on the Festival’s October author Bess Streeter Aldrich, and author Jim O’Laughlin and his class presenting a production of Bess Streeter Aldrich’s The Woman Who Was Forgotten

·         Executive Director of the Des Moines Metro Opera, Michael Egel, outlining the Opera’s 2nd Stages Series and their upcoming November performances of As One

·         Award-winning Iowa artist, Gary Kelley, filling us in on his October exhibit at the Hearst Center for the Arts showcasing his illustrations for Ruth Vander Zee’s dustbowl book, “Next Year,” plus his artwork for a scary Nachtmusik concert with the wcfsymphony

Paul Wierson delves into the upcoming Ragtime in Randall festival in Randall, IA north of Ames. Bob McNutt, who started a piano tuning business in Clarion, happened upon the town of Randall by chance and fell in love with it.  He bought and restored a beautiful old Victorian home in town and filled it with grand pianos.  He began hosting small concerts and musical gatherings in his home and in the community. He had a few of the pianos on rollers and would roll them down the streets of Randall to different performance locations. Each year the festival features special guests who come to the community to perform and lead seminars on ragtime. This year’s guests include Brian Keenan, Rod Biensen, and Daniel Souvigny.

UNI Instructor of Percussion, Matthew Andreini, shares details about the Iowa Composers Forum’s “Hammers & Mallets” Fall Concert Series. Andreini and pianist Sean Bodkin, both professors of music at the University of Northern Iowa, will perform music by Scott Eiklenborg (student at Wartburg College), Ben Hippen (Decorah resident), Brooke Joyce (Luther College Composer-in-Residence), Logan Larson (Luther College graduate), Lisa Neher (faculty member at Coe and Grinnell Colleges), and Jillian Whitaker (UNI graduate). The concert will be performed twice. The first performance will take place at the Cedar Rock House, a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home, in Quasqueton, on Saturday, October 7 at 5 pm., and the second at the Porter House Museum in Decorah, on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm.

Music Director Kim Noftsker speaks about Philippe Lefebre’s organ concert at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Davenport. Lefebre will perform on St. Anthony’s brand new Noack Pipe Organ. At the age of 16 Philippe began studying the organ, three years later, at the age of 19 he was appointed lead organist at Arras Cathedral. In 1985, he assumed the post of head organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, where he is still employed. He has received many awards throughout his career and is recognized as one of the greatest improvisers of his time. He performs regularly in Europe, Japan, Russia, the Eastern countries and in the United States, including with the LA Phil. The recital showcasing the new organ takes place Sunday, October 15th at 3 p.m.

Thomas Robbins, executive director at the University of Dubuque’s Heritage Center, outlines the Center’s 5th Anniversary concert series. The series includes performances by University of Dubuque alumnus Tony Danza, The Official Blues Brothers Revue, illusionist Vitaly Beckman, musician and actor Jeff Daniels with the Ben Daniels Band, and more.

Dr. Bernard McDonald, Associate Professor of Music and Opera Chair at Simpson, talks about Simpson College Opera’s upcoming production of Handel’s Acis & Galatea. The two-act opera tells the mythological love story of Acis & Galatea originally found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Their love is challenged by the jealous cyclops Polyphemus, who crushes Acis with a boulder. Galatea, a sea-nymph, uses her powers to change Acis into a river spirit and immortalizes the two of them together forever. Simpson College Opera performs the opera at the Blank Performing Arts Center’s Pote Theatre on October 27th – 29th.

Rosemary Beach, one of the Founders of the Cedar Falls Authors Festival, gives us the inside scoop on the Festival and author Bess Streeter Aldrich. Aldrich was a Cedar Falls-born author who wrote more than 100 short stories and several novels. She graduated from the Iowa State Normal School (now known as the University of Northern Iowa) in 1901. Author and UNI Professor of English, Jim O’Laughlin, and his class present a “Prairie Home” style production of Aldrich’s 1926 short story, “The Woman Who Was Forgotten.” The Cedar Falls Authors Festival celebrates National Novel Writing Month in November.

Executive Director of the Des Moines Metro Opera, Michael Egel, outlines the Opera’s 2nd Stages Series and their upcoming November performances of As One. The chamber opera tells the story of Hannah, the sole transgender protagonist, who endeavors to resolve the discord between herself and the outside world. Audiences will experience Hannah’s youthful challenges growing up in a small town, her struggles with family, her discovery of a larger LGBTQ community and her inspiring journey of becoming true to herself. Inspired in part by the life experience of award-winning filmmaker Kimberly Reed and her film Prodigal Sons, the opera’s rich libretto, evocative melodies and lush harmonies make it a heartfelt and truly unforgettable work.

Award-winning Iowa artist, Gary Kelley, fills us in on his upcoming exhibit at the Hearst Center for the Arts. The exhibit showcases his illustrations for Ruth Vander Zee’s dustbowl book, “Next Year.” The book tells the story of a boy named Calvin and his family as they navigate their lives in the Midwest prairie during the Dust Bowl. Gary also discusses his collaboration with the wcfsymphony for their upcoming concert, “Gary Kelley’s Nachtmusik,” for which he provided newly-illustrated images to accompany Mahler’s Nachtmusik.