From country sounds to German chamber music and Chinese acrobats, Live on Stage 2011-’12 concert season to offer international flair, multiple genres of entertainment – season tickets now on sale
• L&T staff report
Live on Stage is kicking off its 2011-’12 concert season with the announcement that season tickets are now on sale. This year’s concert series will present five live acts from all over the world. Season passes will be available until May 28, but for those who purchase season tickets prior to May 9 (or at the door) get to attend the Bonus Concert for new members featuring Jim Witter – the Piano Men.
Adult season tickets are $50, while family passes are $125 (Parents and children living at home). Students season passes are just $25.
People can make checks payable to “Live on Stage” P.O. Box 1526, Liberal, KS 67901-1526. The membership card will be prior to first fall concert.
For more information or season tickets, call Mike Brack (Liberal) at (620) 482-0466; Saundra Koochel (Liberal) at 624-6357; Gerald Sandusky (Beaver, Okla.) at (580) 625-4659; Suzanna Lyles (Hooker, Okla.) at (580) 652-2224; Chris Berry (Beaver) (580) 625-3334; Lucy Bromwell (Plains) at (620) 563-7297; Gladys Renfro (Hugoton) at (620) 544-8741; and Jean Ann Foster (Liberal) at (620) 655-6795.
This season’s five concert include the following:
7:30 p.m. Oct. 4
Music. Theater. Comedy. Passion.
To describe Deborah Henson-Conant is nearly impossible. She’s a cross-genre, blues-flamenco-Celtic-funk-folk-jazz dynamo. She tells tall tales with the ease of a stand-up comic. She solos and wails like a rock guitarist. She turns music into theater and theater into something lyrical. See her once and you’ll never look at the harp the same way again.
She performs in symphony halls as a soloist with major orchestras, and she plays intimate shows in clubs, festivals and theaters internationally. She has toured with the Boston Pops, opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, jammed onstage with Bobbie McFerrin and offstage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and starred in the PBS special Celtic Harpestry. She’s been featured on shows ranging from CBS’ Sunday Morning and NBC’s Today Show to NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and the Food Network’s Warped, and interviewed by hosts and journalists including Scott Simon, Susan Stamberg, Studs Terkel, Charlie Rose and Joan Rivers.
Her DVD and CD project with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Invention and Alchemy, received a Grammy nomination and is appearing on PBS stations nationwide. The project features her one-woman show with 80-piece orchestra. The DVD is a full-length concert program – a multi-camera, surround-sound disc, shot in hi-definition – with more than 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes features. It has an Emmy-winning director, Grammy-winning sound engineers and a program of symphonic music theater that brings Deborah’s show closer than the front row.
Deborah’s audiences are as diverse as her music: musicians who want to see what it takes to create a unique musical style along with fans of all ages who want to be both moved and entertained. The front rows of her concerts are often filled with families – parents who want their children to see firsthand what it means to passionately follow your own creative path.
Deborah Henson-Conant: a prolific composer, a revolutionary player and a performer of irrepressible spirit.
The Indigo Ensemble
7:30 p.m. Nov. 8
The Indigo Ensemble from Berlin, Germany, is a chamber music quartet with a non-traditional instrumentation consisting of violin, guitar, bass & piano. The girth of their repertoire encompasses four continents and three centuries. The aural possibilities of the group are enhanced by the fact that all the musicians play multiple instruments. Their first USA tour took place in October 2010.
Guitarist Seth Josel has become one of the leading instrumental pioneers of his generation. He has concertized throughout Europe as well as the US, Canada, Israel and Japan, and he has been a guest performer with leading orchestras and ensembles, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Southwest German Radio Orchestra, the South German Radio Choir, the DSO Berlin and the Schönberg/ASKO Ensemble of Amsterdam. In recent seasons he has been guesting regularly with KNM Berlin, Ensemble SurPlus of Freiburg as well as with the Basel Sinfonietta. He is a member of the Amsterdam-based electric guitar quartet, Catch.
Johannes Neupert, from the former East Germany, is a virtuoso violinist with the added capacity of being at home within a broad spectrum of musical styles. From Schubert to Swing to Sting, Joe is an idiomatic Wunderkind (even though he’s over 30!)
Double bassist, Peter Nelson, who is originally from South Carolina, has lived in Germany for the last 24 years. As of last year he has lived longer in Germany than in the United States. [How old is Mr. Nelson now?] In addition to being principal bassist of the Thuringian Philharmonic, Peter is an active chamber musician and teacher. He also loves to jam on electric bass in multiple styles in the clubs of Leipzig. For Live on Stage, he has performed and moderated hundreds of concerts throughout the US with his group, the Thüringer Salonquintett.
Pianist extraordinaire, Rafael de Torres, is originally from Granada, Spain. He now lives and works as a concert pianist in the Germany cultural city of Weimar, home to Goethe, Schiller, Bach & Liszt. Chamber music is his passion, which he applies to any keyed instrument. He is far and away the youngest member of the Indigo Ensemble, but he does have permission to come on tour.
Though recently founded, the members of the Indigo Ensemble have been collaborating with one another throughout Germany for many years. Peter and Johannes have been playing together regularly for the past 19 years. Peter has known and played with Seth before their German residencies. In 2008 Rafael was introduced to the group. What started as sporadic musical encounters evolved into an eager exploration of world chamber music with four committed friends who share one huge common denominator: to make intimate, fun, exciting music without borders, always searching and reaching to connect with each other and the audience.
7:30 p.m. Jan. 30, 2012
In the music business, overnight success can sometimes take a decade or two. In the case of Torontonian Mark Masri, this is true. Performing since the age of five, he has been building his career through writing music for film, television and other singers. Now, one of the hardest working men in the business is about to get his big break. North America audiences have been discovering that Masri’s soulful tenor is one of the finest voices of his generation; and coupled with his tall, dark and handsome appeal, he is poised for international stardom.
In addition to his incomparable vocals, Mark is a piano player, songwriter and producer.
He co-wrote all but one of the original songs on his latest release LA VOCE (Green Hill/EMI). For the rest of the repertoire, he chose a virtuosic array of songs in six languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. As the son of a Lebanese father and Anglo Saxon mother, and with his ease of performing this array of international songs, he exemplifies the new face of Canada-multiculturalism at its best.
Since 2008, Mark has guest appeared on numerous US tours with Jim Brickman, and was featured on his Beautiful World PBS special. Masri has treated audiences to his renditions of popular radio hits, but also to his spine tingling vocals on Italian art songs such as “Caruso”.
The Boston Globe describes him as “…melting the hearts of female audience members like warm chocolate,” and The Cincinnati Enquirer said “Mark’s ‘Caruso’ thrilled the audience.” Steven Reineke, one of America’s foremost Pops Orchestra conductors said, “Mark Masri is one of those rare finds with an astounding and sensuous tenor voice, wonderful poise and warm stage presence, not to mention his movie star good looks. He is one of my new favorite singers that I will work with time and time again!”
Fraser Walters of the Canadian Tenors says, “Mark has a stirring combination of a golden voice and world-class song-writing skills.”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 2012
When Guy Penrod walks into a room, his rugged distinction is immediately noticed. Despite his formidable presence – a tall frame offset by trademark long, gray locks – it’s the genuine smile that gives him away, hinting at stories to be told, songs to be sung, and a man whose heart is just as distinctive as his appearance.
The move holds great promise, considering a lineage of prolific vocalists – Steve Green, Larnelle Harris, David Phelps and Michael English, among others – who have launched successful solo stints from the group.
However, this track record wasn’t Guy’s motivation to step out on his own. As a husband and father of eight children who are growing up in a world that’s quickly abandoning its moral compass, Guy carries a heavy burden for these matters. Indeed, his rally cry for a return to traditional values and a faith-honoring society is clearly articulated on his Servant Records/Gaither Music Group debut, Breathe Deep.
“I will be forever grateful to the Gaither Vocal Band and the fans around the world who have loyally supported me all these years,” says Guy. “Their encouragement has given me wings to fly solo, and I couldn’t be more excited about my new music. It’s my desire that my longtime fans will wholeheartedly embrace these new songs, and I’m also looking forward to making many more friends as we share this music with an even broader audience.”
Breathe Deep is a decidedly country record, but it’s one Guy feels both Vocal Band followers and new fans alike can embrace. “I don’t see myself jumping from one genre to another. I want to blur the line, not jump the fence. There’s a large base of folks that love country music and go to church on Sunday. I believe they’ll connect with what we’re doing. I’m hoping that all these people will come with me on this new chapter of my life and music.”
“I believe country is one of the best genres of music from which to tell the American story,” he says. “A country song has the ability to tell a story with the potential for the positive. Songs can literally become modern-day parables on how to live life. In fact, there’s a lot of ‘gospel’ on the 13 songs we recorded – not my answers, but God’s way wrapped in everyday language with a country feel.”
Born in Abilene, Texas, the son of a preacher, Guy grew up in church with a desire to somehow impact the world. “I learned pretty early in life that music was a good vehicle for me,” he recalls. He nurtured the gift of music growing up by singing in church and at school, and Guy recalls his mom and dad telling him the story of standing him up on a folding chair as a 3-year-old for his debut solo of “Fill My Cup Lord.” From there, the powerful voice that would grow through experiences in school plays, and singing with local groups and theater productions, would lead subsequently to a vocal scholarship to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He then taught music at a private school in Georgia before he opted to head back into vocal performance and move to Nashville with his wife, Angie.
Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats
7:30 p.m. April 26. 16, 2012
For more than 25 years, the amazing performances of The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats® have been the perfect high-energy attraction for hundreds of Universities and performing arts centers. Under the artistic direction of International Asia, Inc. and produced by IAI Presentations who also produce The Peking Acrobats® and JIGU! Thunder Drums of China®, this company flawlessly interprets the precision and grace of an art form honed by centuries of training and disciplines of Chinese acrobatics.
Their multi-faceted and multi-cultural production features dazzling acrobatic displays, formidable feats of daring and balance, explosive energy, brilliant costumes, with a touch of Chinese comedy. These daring maneuvers and death-defying acrobatic acts will have your audiences clamoring for more.
Some of The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats’ numerous TV appearances include the Family Channel’s “Home & Family Show,” hosted by Christina Ferrari, KTLA’s “Good Morning LA,” and New York One News. They have also appeared on CNN, where they were interviewed by Christiane Amanpour, as well as Calgary’s “Big Breakfast” morning show on the A-Channel in Canada.
They have met many celebrities and dignitaries over the years, including President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Roslyn.
The Shangri-La Chinese Acrobats also had the honor of performing at the USA Olympic Swim Team’s Golden Goggles Gala and reprised their performances for that organization at the recent USA Swim Team’s Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.