Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One story – many different tales

By Amy Calhoun

Romeo and Juliet is deemed one of the greatest love stories of all time. Shakespeare’s play has inspired all forms of art. The story has been told

In film

In music

In opera

And, in ballet

Shakespeare crafted a story full of action, intrigue and romance which lends itself to the grace and beauty of ballet. From a pas de deux between Romeo and Juliet to the sword play between Tybalt and Mercutio, the re-telling in ballet form is just as emotionally intense as the spoken words of the play. Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score combined with Marius Petipa’s stunning choreography creates a breathtaking backdrop for the Russian National Ballet Theatre to tell the tale of the star-crossed lovers.

Experience this incredible love story with us at the MAC on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nuts about Nutcracker

by Amy Calhoun

It’s that time of year again…my husband has hung the lights, the kids and I decorated the tree and the excitement of December 25th permeates our home. As an added bonus we are looking forward to attending the MAC’s holiday offering of von Heidecke’s Chicago Festval Ballet The Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky’s recognizable score (which I’m sure you’re already humming) is a staple of many holiday ads and jingles, but to hear it in its entirety performed by a live orchestra is a treat in itself. The MAC’s own New Philharmonic under the direction of Kirk Muspratt will add the rich accompaniment to the beauty of the sets and costumes.

And then there are the dancers. From the sweetness of the youngest dancers performing as mice to the practiced Clara to the grace and beauty of the Sugar Plum Fairy, every dancer displays an affection and appreciation for the holiday tradition that is The Nutcracker.

Over the years, I have seen many performances of The Nutcracker and each year I still look forward with anticipation to the performance. I wonder if Russian choreographer Marius Petipa or Tchaikovsky every considered that The Nutcracker would have this kind of longevity? Here we are 118 years later delighting in a holiday tradition that has been celebrated around the world by generation upon generation.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holidays at the MAC

It's the most wonderful time of the year... so the song goes by Andy Williams.

I believe that music and dance are the best ways to feel and fill the spirit of the season.

Celebrating the season at the MAC in December:
Dec 3 - Suzy Bogguss
Dec 5 - DuPage Chorale
Dec 10 - Gavin Colyle benefiting the People's Resource Center
Dec 11 - Windham Hill Night Sky Essays: A Winter Solstice Concert
Dec 12 - New Classic Singers In the Sweet Mid-Winter
Dec 17-19 Von Heidecke Chicago Festival Ballet The Nutcracker
Dec 17-18 Hot Club of San Francisco Cool Yule
Dec 31 New Philharmonic Viennese Pops with an American in Paris Twist

Enjoy, share and cherish the holidays.

be well

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

People's Resource Center Collection

College Theatre’s A Christmas Carol Nov 26 to 28 at the MAC
In the spirit of the holidays College Theatre and the MAC will collect non-perishable food items for the People’s Resource Center.
Please bring items to the MAC lobby before any performance.
The MAC will continue to collect food until the PRC’s December 10 Holiday Concert with Gavin Coyle.
At the concert Ebenezer Scrooge himself will present an offering of food to the PRC.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Lesson of Charity

by Connie Canaday Howard

I’ve told this story before, but feel its presence very personally, in regards to the themes of A Christmas Carol.

My mother taught in my elementary school, though, at the time of the story I’m about to relate, she was not my teacher. I was quite small, first or second grade, and my mother was teaching fifth and sixth Science, Math and History.

Several times a week, we would have to go in very early, well before the first bus arrived at the building, and I was told to read or finish my homework quietly at the back of my mother’s room. My mother would leave, and be gone for several minutes, and then return and work quietly at her desk until the time that I could go to my own classroom, when she’d give me a hug and kiss and wish me a good day. I found these early mornings quite unnecessary, and one day complained loudly about them. That’s when my mother told me the story of another student, an older boy who she did not identify.

This young man came from a large family of very little means, and many of the teachers suspected that he might not be treated well. So, together they’d decided to purchase him a few changes of clothes, some soap and a towel. As this young man came on an early bus and was the first student to arrive at school, every morning one teacher would escort him to the boys’ gym, where he could shower in private and change into clean clothes, get a sack lunch packed by the teacher, and be in the classroom before another student arrived. At the end of the day, he changed back into his clothes from home, for his bus ride back. This was their small way of trying to make his life’s journey a little smoother; he came to school very dirty, and they suspected the sack lunch might, at some times, be his only daily meal. Though I never knew who this student was, I also never felt the need to complain about our early mornings again.

Working on A Christmas Carol, in this lovely adaptation, this story again came back to me. I’ve always loved Dickens, and I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all tried to be “as good a friend…” as Scrooge exemplifies, after his enlightenment. A truly optimistic, some would say na├»ve hope… but it’s mine, nonetheless.

Join us for A Christmas Carol:
Friday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 27, 2 and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2 and 7 p.m.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On finally becoming an American citizen - and patriotism

by Kirk Muspratt

After having lived in the United States of America for most of my adult life, at 8 a.m. Monday, November 15th, at the homeland security building in Chicago, I will finally be sworn in as an American citizen! It has been an extremely long, time-consuming, expensive process with many other kinds of visas, much time with the best immigration lawyers, many letters of recommendation from important and busy people, several background checks, finally a green card which is extremely difficult to obtain, a biometrics exam, an interview, and a written and verbal exam.

I think on the tests they try to trick you – because the lady asked me if I had ever been a prostitute! However, in studying for the exams I learned much about the USA and became enriched in delving into what made America, America.

I found that I had been incorrect my whole life in thinking that the Columbia was the 2nd longest river in America - it is the Missouri. I had believed that senators were elected for 4 years and I learned that it is really 6. I had no idea that there were 435 congressmen in the House of Representatives.

More importantly, I learned about the federalist papers of 1787 and all the writings that Madison and Hamilton worked through to explain and clarify the constitution to the people of that time. One realizes how vital all of these aspects of rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of speech were to these people. It is arresting to revisit the truth that those people, from all their great lands across the sea, did not have these rights before coming here. They were coming here to begin something completely untested and yet ringing true to all of them.

I am now able to take the pledge of allegiance. It is not corny to be a patriot.
Becoming an American citizen is serious. I will be a patriot and when called to serve on a jury, I will.When I have now for the first time, the opportunity to vote, I will. The homeland security lady, in my interview, asked me:
“If the country calls you to wash dishes and scrub floors, would you do so?" I said: "yes", I will."

Perhaps though, since I am a musician, I can help to contribute something else as a patriot.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Joshua Roman - a phenom and kindred spirit

by Kirk Muspratt

In the past two weeks, in disparate places, I have found myself thinking about the phenom of Josh Roman.

I was in Peoria working with high school students in a district string festival … urging them to use the right part of their bow, asking them to consider the speed of the bow, the weight in their bow … asking them to change their bowings at times - to get that great crescendo .....
I watched them struggling with and conquering some of these complex challenges of playing a string instrument.

On the way home, I was thinking about them working so hard and them caring. They are in the middle of the middle of Illinois - not in Paris - not in downtown Boston - and they love the viola and they are enchanted with classical music.

I started thinking about Josh. He was from "the middle of the middle" of America. Oklahoma. In fact, he did not even have a cello teacher for the first 10 years of his studies. Indeed, he did take his cello to his lessons but he only had a violin teacher to teach him - his older brother and sisters' violin teacher. Therefore, his teacher would show him what he himself would do on the violin - and then little Joshua would turn it all backwards and figure out how to do it on the cello.
And - Josh "made it!"

Boy, did he make it!

Then, a week later, I was walking along Broadway in New York City, after having just judged the finals of the Concert Artists Guild competition. Such an amazing wealth of talent in these finals. A marimba player from Japan, a quartet from Britain, a pianist from Australia… And I would have voted for almost any of them to be the grand prize winner. They were all so wonderful.

Yet - only one of them would go home the winner and the other 12 finalists … Well, I worried more about them as they all richly deserved to be performing out in the world. I worried as I walked home, would they each "make it?" What could I do to help them?

As I walked along Broadway, I again started thinking about Joshua from Oklahoma, how hard he must have worked, what kind of gift God must have given him, how difficult it must have been for him to "make it" in a world now where every nation in the world is sending super artists to the stage.

I thought how much I admired him and how much I was looking forward to working again with this kindred spirit.
Joshua Roman performs with New Philharmonic and Kirk Muspratt on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5 and 6 at 8 p.m.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How Does COD Referendum Impact the MAC?

On November 2 , College of DuPage will ask the voters of District 502 for permission to extend its bonding authority in the amount of 168 million dollars. A portion of that money would be earmarked for the renovation and refurbishment of the McAninch Arts Center.

We think that friends of the MAC should understand what we would do with approximately 22 million dollars.
  • Replace a 25-year old roof and HVAC system
  • Refurbish the Mainstage
    o Replace 25 year old seating,
    o Improve acoustics,
    o Become more Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant
  • Renovate Photography and Motion Picture/ Television instructional areas to match technology and program demand
  • Update existing classrooms with smart technology
  • Renovate existing space into dedicated dance and theatre rehearsal rooms
  • Address general storage and classroom issues resulting from twenty years of program growth

In short we will take care of a building that is committed to artistic and cultural pursuits.

The College recently updated its Facility Master Plan which is available at

COD Referendum Fact Sheet

Be well,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So You Think You Can Play

by Amy Calhoun

Are you a musician? Do you want the world to see you play? Are you looking for a chance to perform internationally? Here is your chance to shine.

After a successful inaugural performance in 2009 with cellist Joshua Roman, the YouTube Symphony is again taking audition videos for the March 2011 performance at the Sydney Opera House. Michael Tilson Thomas will again conduct the performance and the CSO’s composer-in-residence Mason Bates has composed “Mothership” specifically for this international event.

Invitation from Joshua Roman.

So start practicing, submit your video by November 28 and maybe you, too, could be a part of one of the most awesome orchestral events in the world.

In the meantime, join us at the MAC when we welcome Joshua Roman back to the stage with New Philharmonic and maestro Kirk Muspratt on Nov. 5 and 6.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bigger and Better at COD

by Michael Folker
Applied Music Coordinator

Student Music at COD….it just keeps getting better and better….bigger and bigger.

I’ve been associated with the music program at COD for over 20 years. Wow….can it really be that long?

During my time with the music program I’ve seen most of the ensembles and recital offerings start from ground up. I personally started the Percussion Ensemble many years ago back in the old portable buildings by building K. They no longer exist but I still refer to them as the old “army barracks”.

When we moved into the MAC, I again initiated an ensemble figuring on an enrollment of about 5 or 6. Thus, I assumed we could meet and rehearse in my studio. However, the first semester had around 14 sign up and we quickly realized that there was no way we would be meeting in my office. We regrouped and started officially in the large rehearsal room. Our first concert was given in the lobby of the Arts Center. Now, we’re on the mainstage.

Last spring’s Percussion Ensemble concert hit a new high in attendance…nearly 150. My former instructor from DePaul University attended the concert and commented that he had never seen that many people attend a percussion ensemble concert. Likewise, he and his wife commented that it was one of the most enjoyable percussion concerts they’ve ever attended. That truly speaks volumes not only for the percussion ensemble at COD but also for the caliber of all of our musical offerings.

Over the years we’ve been treated to wonderful performances by the guitar ensemble, chamber orchestra, jazz ensembles, choirs and now our new Faculty Showcase series.

What many may not know is that we also offer noontime recitals 2 to 3 times per semester. One of the newest is the student voice recital. This came about from the fact that we have so many talented student performers that we couldn’t fit them all in just one “end of the semester” recital. I recall the last time we tried to do that. Nearly a 2 ½ hour recital marathon. To their credit, almost everyone in the audience actually stayed to the end. I realized it was time for me to create a new program and thus initiated the vocal recital.

It’s always a treat to hear the variety of styles, repertoire, and talents. Many of our students have gone on to professional careers in music. I’m always delighted to receive a phone call, email, or even personal visit from one of my own past students who has gone on to make it in the music biz. That’s a wonderful testimony to what we do here. I know I speak for all of our faculty when I say how proud we are to see these kids go on to carve out a successful career in music.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's a WHOA moment

By Amy Calhoun

I have a 5-year-old son and I recently showed him this video of Diavolo.

With every leap, he exclaimed “Whoa!” I enjoy sharing these “whoa” moments with him and this Saturday the two of us will be in attendance to see Diavolo on the MAC stage. He won’t see any nuances in the performance. He won’t notice the way the music fits with the movements. But, he will feel the thrill of watching the performers leap through the air and I will get to see that look of amazement spread across his face.

Not every 5-year-old is ready to see Diavolo or sit through what we deem an adult performance. But the western suburbs offers many areas where you can share a “whoa” moment with your child. Check out any of these places or go to your own favorite spot and create fun memories with your child this weekend.

Morton Arboretum
Brookfield Zoo
DuPage Children's Museum
Kuiper's Family Farm
Sci-Tech Museum
Your neighborhood park
Naper Settelment
St. Charles Scarecrow Festival
Your local library
Kline Creek Farm

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I've Got a Secret

by guest blogger Janey Sarther

The MAC is hosting Frank Warren on Tuesday, Oct. 5 for a presentation of his work “Post Secret.”

It wasn’t until the MAC booked this show that I became aware of this phenomenon of sharing secrets via postcards which started in Nov. 2004

And now I must admit – I look forward to his weekly posting of secrets. But my intrigue makes me question my impulse to want to know about such things that people have chosen to keep private. Why do we have secrets? Why do we desire to know other people’s secrets?
One could argue that secrets are detrimental to our health, and if so then why this fascination to know others’ dirt?

I don’t have any answers, other than to share that I’m grateful for Frank’s work.
I’m grateful that this artist has designed a simple technique to allow anyone to be an artist.
I’m grateful that this creative process offers a chance to cleanse your soul.
I’m grateful that this forum for sharing allows others (such as myself) to engage with these secrets and feel alive in knowing about others.

I’m hopeful that Tuesday night brings a bonding experience at the COD like none other.Tuesday evening is a chance for someone to laugh with others, a chance to cry with others, a chance to share in the realization that “you are not alone in the world – someone else feels or has experienced it too.”

For me that is what this performance and Frank’s work is all about – finding community and connection, and using the perfect tool to do so – Art.

PostSecret Video

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giving Back by Kirk Muspratt

Hello Friends!

This past week was the VERY first national "ARTS IN EDUCATION WEEK!” This summer, Congress passed Resolution 275 stating that the second full week in September would now be designated as a week to recognize and focus on the value of arts in our schools.

Bravo to Congress!

For all of the musicians of NEW PHILHARMONIC and the staff of the MAC, we, too, want to do our part in GIVING BACK to our wonderful community, supporting music in the schools in Illinois, supporting young people, helping families to learn about and enjoy music together.

Ergo - our very first concert of the season!

Are you bringing your son and daughter and/or grandson and granddaughter to the concert? Think of it! It could be generation 1, generation 2, and generation 3 - all sitting together enjoying PETER AND THE WOLF!

I like that image very much and think what a meaningful and joyous time that would be for a family.

Ohhhhhh - maybe you are saying: "Peter And The Wolf? That's for kids!" YUP! - it sure is. ...and the cartoons I am going to show up on the screen before the concert, have the most fun wolf you ever did see. (actually - the hunters may be the funniest.) They should tickle you pink.

And yes - if your granddaughter is 6 years old - perhaps in the intro I have written with the slides - she will learn the oboe is a woodwind instrument and the sound of that oboe portrays the duck in the story.

However, for the adults too - it IS Prokofiev!

Genius Prokofiev. The Prokofiev that uses Leitmotivs to tell us a dramatically apt and attractive story.It is mature Prokofiev of 1936; the Prokofiev that had just finished writing ROMEO AND JULIET; the Prokofiev that had escaped to the west but decided to return to his mother Russia and live behind the iron curtain. It is a Prokofiev whose life is full of tragedy and a man living through the depression in the Soviet Union; but a man who finds it within himself to enchant us with the beauties of orchestra music and a captivating fairy tale for children and adults alike.

So - yes -on the first half of the concert we are playing PETER AND THE WOLF and we hope it helps brings more families to the concert and it supports awareness and appreciation of music for all generations.

The second half of the program is made so the pieces are not too long at all and they are extremely accessible. Finlandia and Forza del Destino are a blast. They give us a chance to show off the virtuoso chops of our wonderful musicians.

I will grant you that the Tristan and Isolde is longer - and much more weighty and involved - certainly has LEITMOTIVS eh??!!

Besides -- you are an audience with great expectations and if I do my job well, and with the musicians giving 101%, we want to be able to take you on a journey that at one point is the playful, Russian PETER AND THE WOLF and later in the concert we bring you to the nexus of one of the most searing, intense musical statements of late German Romanticism.

You will want to know, too, Emanuele, our assistant conductor, is going to conduct the Brahms Academic Festival Overture. He is a very talented young man and certainly deserves opportunities to conduct. (He and his wife just had their first baby - Davide - so I need to push his career as much as possible too right now! He tells me that little Davide is drinking up ALLLL the milk in Chicagoland!)

Emanuele is not only going to conduct OUR orchestra but added onto this will be the gifted string students of the Adlai Stevenson High School Orchestra. Stevenson High is one of only 5 schools in America selected to receive the 2010 John. F . Kennedy Center For The Arts - Distinction In Arts Education Award. This coveted award is considered one of the highest honors for any high school arts education program in the nation. In the entire state of Illinois in the past 12 years, only Neuqua Valley High School and the Chicago Academy for the Arts have ever been awarded this honor.

This ties in completely with - GIVING BACK. These deserving students will have the chance to join our professional musicians, work at a new and different niveau , and grow with the same kind of superior experiences that each of us in the orchestra were afforded as we matured in our studies. Hopefully, too, this encourages the parents and teachers of these young people and is a thrill for the young artists who are joining us.

If your grandson joins you for the concert, he will see high school students up there on stage at the end of the concert and perhaps he will decide it would be great to play the cello too.

I look forward to seeing you all at the concert!

(I now have to change hats and go study for my American immigration test. I have had a green card now for many years but last year, I thought it was time now to attempt to be a citizen of the country I have been educated in, have lived in for so many years, and where I make my living and try to help make art flourish. It is not easy to legally become an American citizen. I am in the last stages now and I have to memorize lots and lots of American history. Wish me luck, ok? )

Oh - and please tell me afterwards at COOKIES WITH KIRK - which cartoon you thought was the most fun will you? The wolf is a gas, but I do think that the hunters will have your chuckling even more.

Hoping to, GIVE BACK.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Last Days Before Singles On Sale

A lot of our friends have taken advantage of subscription sales to get in early and select great seats. We announced the other day that favorite Weird Al is coming back this month. It's another reason folks can pick three shows, save some cash and get the best seats. Regardless on Aug 11 single tickets go on sale for all. We're looking forward to a great year.

be well

Saturday, July 31, 2010

MAC Renovation

You may hear discussions about a possible referendum for the College of DuPage - a No Tax Rate Increase Referendum. As our last referendum sunsets the community college that serves 30,000 plus students is considering asking that we carry a new referendum into the future so that the investment all of us have made in COD is maintained and moves forward to keep up with the times.

What would it mean for the MAC and its 25 year old building?

Dated teaching facilities in Photography, Motion Picture and Television would be updated.
The addition of a new ticket office to better serve patrons.
New energy efficient HVAC and roof.
New seating in the Mainstage and better ADA compliance.
Addition of dance and theatre rehearsal space to the building.
New smart teaching space in the building.
Renovation of the Studio Theatre with the addition of flexible seating.
and more opportunities...

If you have any questions - let me know.

be well

Saturday, July 17, 2010

MAC 2010-11

We have rolled out a great season for you - Taj Mahal, Karla Bonoff, Diavolo, Hot Club of Cowtown, Ramsey Lewis, Cherish the Ladies, and much much more. Subscriptions are on sale now - single tickets go on sale August 11. We'll be announcing a special addition to the season in the coming week - an old favorite who our friends will love to see back at the MAC.

be well

Saturday, May 8, 2010

End of Season - Thanks

We've come to the close of another wonderful season. Kathy Mattea performs on Sunday evening, a special Mother's Day treat for your favorite mom, and Buffalo Theatre will run On Golden Pond through the end of the month.

We have enjoyed putting this season together and seeing thousands of patrons come through our doors week after week. We will announce the 2010-11 season in June which happens to be our 25th anniversary season. Although I've only been around for 4 years the doors opened in 1986 and it has been growing ever since.

SO thanks for coming this past season. I'll be dropping some some confirmed artists names in the blog in the coming weeks.

Look for Kathy Mattea this Sunday
On Golden Pond now through May 30
Jazzfest Glen Ellyn July 10
BTE's Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune July 8 to 25

be well

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Orchestra Feeds

Kudos to Kirk Muspratt and the New Philharmonic this past weekend. Besides playing a beautiful concert which featured a commissioned work for harp and orchestra by Doug Lofstrom, they also helped families in need. Through the Orchestras Feeding America campaign, New Philharmonic patrons donated more that 800 food items which will go to project partner People's Resource Center for distribution. I encourage you to check out the People's Resource Center if you are unfamiliar with the good work they do in our community and think of them year round. Thanks to our always generous patrons and to the New Phil for feeding our spirits.

be well

Monday, March 1, 2010

Guest Blogger - Kirk Muspratt

What could be more classy, interesting, and in-touch than taking someone to a symphony concert? No matter whether you are taking your sweetheart, parent, child, sibling, neighbor, or BFF, inviting them to a concert of heart-pounding music is a complete winner of a choice.

AND – it’s TCHAIKOVSKY!! Yes, the same dude who wrote the 1812 cannon-blasting piece we love every 4th of July and who also wrote “Romeo and Juliet” and “Sleeping Beauty”. He is the apotheosis of romantic composers. Yeah, there were the Mendelssohns before him - - but by the time he wrote his 5th Symphony in 1888, they were longgggg gone and so very much has happened in the world, like two industrial revolutions.

What does that have to do with Tchaikovsky, you ask? By the 1870s men were working in huge factories getting wages, belong to unions, and thus they had a say in things; their opinions became important. Tchaikovsky’s audience that loved his music were no longer the rich land barons, but the common people of the new working class and their “Romantic” ideals.

I, myself, did not hear a piece of Tchaikovsky until I was about 16 years old, but, as a little boy, I liked him tons. Almost all of the children in my little town learned music history after school where we had to memorize lots of facts about the composers. Two of the facts I learned about Tchaikovsky were that he was born in a very tiny village at the base of a remote mountain in 1840, and later went away to the city and become a very famous musician. I thought, “I’m going to be just like that Tchaikovsky guy, eh?”

I also learned that Tchaikovsky was always very sad, struggling within himself, had secrets no one could know, and sadly, in the end, killed himself. This, plus the fact that there was a “phantom-type rich lady” who sent him large amounts of money, but refused to ever meet him; if I had known even a modicum of the meaning of the word “Romantic”, I would have thought him to be very much so.

So what could Tchaikovsky do for us ….this man so full of anguish and compelling melodies? I could answer the question this way: when the horn solo at the beginning of the slow movement of Tchaikovsky 5th begins, you will feel yourself change inside. You will look over at the person that you brought to the concert and think about who they are and who they are to you; you will either smile or grasp their hand – or shed a tear.

You will! It is the eternal, soul –felt gift of the music of Tchaikovsky that will make this all happen; that miracle, that thing inexplicable.

In addition to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, the concert will feature Doug Lofstrom’s world premiere “Concertino for Harp and Orchestra” performed by harpist, Kelsey Erdahl and Haydn, Symphony no. 88.

New Philharmonic Concerts on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6 at 8PM

Monday, February 15, 2010

Give us a Call

We just experienced another amazing weekend at the MAC. Buffalo Theatre's Love Song opened, we celebrated the culturally rich music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Mojo brought the Bayou to the burbs. We take seriously our mission to enrich the cultural vitality of our community. As funding tightens at the Arts Center we will depend ever more on patron support to keep the best artists on our stages and in our theatres.

Private funding makes up only a small portion of our budget (less than 5%). In the wake of reduced state funding for higher education, reduced funding from the Illinois Arts Council and other granting agencies, and the rising cost of producing great performances will need to increase that percentage of private support. We have great patrons, many of whom give generously to the MAC. We'll need their continued support and the support of new friends to ensure dance, jazz, blues, theatre, modern art and classical music have a place in the Western suburbs.

If you can help - give us a call. If your corporation can sponsor a series for kids that serves annually 10,000 - give us a call. If jazz or theatre is your thing - give us a call. If you value having an acclaimed contemporary art gallery in the burbs - give us a call. We are the community's arts center at the community's college - we're here for you, please be here for us.

be well

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Guest Blogger - Bryan Burke

We have just completed our technical rehearsal for Buffalo Theatre Ensemble’s upcoming presentation of Love Song by John Kolvenbach (opens Feb. 12th), and the long process of pre-production (we first met to discuss the production almost three months ago, and the play itself was selected for production more than a year ago), and rehearsal (which started five weeks ago) are coming to fruition as all the aspects of the show are finally being realized. As the play’s title implies, Love Song is concerned with the experience of love, and how it affects so many aspects of our lives when it is present, and, equally importantly, when it is not. The play also delves into our perception of love, and how our imagination is affected by love and how love affects our imagination. Our scenic designer, Galen Ramsey, has created a playing space that speaks directly to this aspect of the play, and Michael Moon’s evocative lighting design (as well as his sound design) effectively compliment and augment the scenic design. Seeing it all come together during tech was thrilling, and everyone (designers, cast, and crew) were pretty “wowed” by the cumulative effect. Speaking of cast, BTE ensemble member Sandy Smillie heads up the cast, and is joined by BTE newcomers Cortney McKenna, Kelli Walker, and William Green. The rehearsal process has been particularly gratifying for me due mainly to the fact that I have been able to witness this cast develop into a true ensemble, and I have been able to be a part of their funny, touching and ultimately inspiring work. They have been laughing a lot during the process (and not just at me), and I always take that as a very good sign. I believe their camaraderie and love for the play is reflected in the work that is being done onstage, and I certainly hope you come and listen to our “song.” We will be playing through Feb 28th in Theatre 2.

Bryan Burke
BTE Ensemble Member and director of Love Song

Loud & Rich

Two of our favorite artists are coming back to the MAC. Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson will play the MAC on Saturday, April 17 and we couldn't be more thrilled. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Feb 13 at 10 AM. If you are a subscriber or a friend call the box office today and get in early.

be well

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gracious Artists

I am always struck by how much artists give and how gracious they are.

We just had another amazingly diverse weekend at the MAC. One of the most prolific group of artists, Kronos Quartet, graced our stage on Friday evening. Saturday morning Justin Roberts brought his whimsical songs to thunderous applause from the sippy cup set. Paula Poundstone had all the answers for the post recession blues and sent hundreds out into the night wiping tears of laughter from their eyes.

All of these artists left it all on the stage and then when we thought they could give no more they stayed to talk and meet and greet. Kronos, David, John, Hank and Jeffrey, met with music students prior to the concert and then stayed afterwards to answer questions from the audience. One young woman had a particularly profound question about the point in a piece of music when it becomes transcendental. David Harrington made a point after the discussion to seek her out and tell her how much he appreciated her thoughtfulness.

Paula and Justin moved to the lobby after their performances visiting with fans and friends. Paula chatted with people until we looked around and she and I were the last two in the lobby. We quietly walked out together.

A performing arts center is only a building, but it becomes alive and unique when artists give of themselves night after night. My thanks to the gracious artists we present.

Keep your eyes out for guest bloggers in the future.

Be well

Friday, January 15, 2010

WInter Jazzfest in Swing

We are on the eve of the first WDCB/ MAC Winter Jazzfest. Actually the festivities began yesterday morning when some 600 plus school children dropped by the center to hear Tom Tallman and his big band perform KidJazz! The performance which focused on Duke Ellington was a smash and lots of smiling kids left the center humming on kazoos.

Tonight Orbert Davis, Ari Brown, and the Mambo Zombies take the stage and tomorrow Kurt Elling, Zvonimir Tot and Steve Ramsdell will perform. There is a Saturday AM performance of KidJazz so if you want to swing and blow a kazoo - stop by.

Jazz is such a rich part of American music. There was a panel this week of NEA Jazz Masters in New York where I was and I thought to myself we are so lucky to have great masters like Jimmy Cobb and Kenny Barron grace our stage, but we are also blessed to have young players like Ramsdell, Davis, and Elling swinging just as hard as the lions.

Special thanks to WDCB radio for being the home of Jazz in Chicago and our friend.

be well