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by Mike Telin

WILSON-Anne

Music programs play a vital role in the life of church congregations. For many, church music programs provide people of all ages with the rare opportunity to actually participate in the arts on a regular basis. And many surveys have shown that an active and engaging music program is one of the things that attracts people to a church, and keeps them coming back.

But without a doubt, it is the dedicated music directors that are the lifeline of the music programs. Church music directors work tirelessly to keep the programs vibrant and relevant to the wishes and desires of a congregation. For 25 years Anne Wilson has been the musical lifeline to Forest Hill Presbyterian Church where she has served as organist since 1989 and Director of Music since 1993. 25 years in one place? “Forest Hill is a good fit for me, it’s very progressive and interested in Social Justice issues,” Wilson said during a recent conversation. “We’ve also had really good leadership so I’ve been quite content.”

On Friday, May 9, beginning at 7:30 pm, the community is invited to attend a free celebration in honor of Anne Wilson’s 25 years of service to Forest Hill’s music ministries. Read the rest of this entry »

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by Daniel Hathaway

Michael Praetorius

Michael Praetorius

Well before the more pietistic style of Lutheran church music that Johann Sebastian Bach wrote at Leipzig in the second quarter of the eighteenth century came the Italian-influenced, Renaissance style of Michael Praetorius, the subject of Jeannette Sorrell’s well-crafted and expertly performed Christmas Vespers with Apollo’s Fire, which began a four-concert run at Trinity Cathedral on Friday evening before moving on to three different venues around town.

You could hear the difference in approach in Philip Nicolai’s Wachet auf! Everyone knows the glorious, equal-note setting that ends Bach’s cantata of the same name. Not so familiar is the early form of the chorale tune with its dancelike, uneven rhythms, nor its delightful and ornate elaboration by Praetorius from his 1619 collection Polyhymnia caduceatrix. The latter, already bursting at its seams with exuberance, was decorated even further by Apollo’s Fire’s violinists and cornetto players (Olivier Brault, Johanna Novom, Kiri Tollaksen and Nathaniel Cox), who could barely force themselves to arrive at the final chord at several cadences. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Ferguson-PaulI’m kind of all over the map right now,” says trombonist, educator composer, arranger and band leader Paul Ferguson. In addition to serving as associate artistic director of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and director of jazz studies at Case Western Reserve University, Ferguson’s current projects include commissions from the University of Michigan Jazz Ensemble and the Nordonia Junior High Jazz Band, and he has recently finished arranging the twelve trio sonatas by Henry Purcell for three trombones or any three bass clef instruments as well as some sacred music for jazz ensemble.

He is also putting the finishing touches on arrangements for rock singer Todd Rundgren, who will be performing with the Akron Symphony later this month. But this Friday, August 16, Paul Ferguson will put on his performer’s hat when he brings his Quintet to Tremont’s Lincoln Park for a free evening of jazz beginning at 7:00 pm. Part of the Arts in August series, the concert is presented in collaboration with the Tremont West Development Corporation and Arts Renaissance Tremont (ART). Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

ISRAEL-ShacharIt’s a fine thing when your business doubles from one year to the next. In June of 2012, when Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal trombonist Shachar Israel launched the Cleveland Trombone Seminar, the week-long event brought seventeen trombonists to the Cleveland State University campus for master classes, workshops and performances. This year CTS expects thirty-four participants and associates. “We’re extremely happy with the response,” Israel told us last week in a cell phone conversation while he was enroute to Penn State to rehearse and play a recital. “This year they’re coming from as far away as California and ages range from 18 to 45. Thirteen out of the seventeen from last year were going to come back, though two eventually had to back out. Return customers were not something we were planning on, but we seem to offer something they want and need.”

This year’s seminar, which runs from June 8 through June 16, is a day and a half longer and two new faculty members have been added. Read the rest of this entry »

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