Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Do you have "improvisation"?

On Saturday, our organization had the pleasure of hosting the trio Time for Three on our Kitchen Sink Series.  Violinist Nick Kendall said it best when he acknowledged that Kitchen Sink was an appropriate moniker to describe Time for Three’s music.  Just like the performance series, which includes “everything and the…” (since we do indeed have a sink in front of the theater), Time for Three’s music incorporates such a broad range of musical styles that it defies any particular genre definition.  Selections of the trio’s arrangements for Saturday evening’s concert included something of a mash-up of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” with Katy Perry’s “Firework,” U2’s “With or Without You,” some musical jokes in a thoroughly entertaining arrangement of Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance #5,” and a beautifully arranged finale of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Not only did the patrons get an exciting concert (truly, I loved being able to see many faces from where I was seated and this audience was *into* it!), but we were delighted to have Nick Kendall, Zach De Pue, and Ranaan Meyer sit down with a small number local musicians earlier in the afternoon for a discussion about composing and arranging.  The takeaways from this “meeting of the minds” can be crystalized into a few sound bites for me.  “Do you have improvisation?” (as if improvisation was a horrible disease!) was a humorous reference that emerged in discussing the sometimes systematic and creativity-stifling improvisation process.  And “getting in the Jeep” was an already-established reference the trio had for Kendall’s “off-roading” with a musical piece to take it to new, interesting places.

The round-table format for this discussion was a new venture for our organization.  We hope it can have great value to our local arts community to provide whatever resources we can to those in our community who are already doing great artistic and creative work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A classically-trained garage band?

What do you get when you blend classical music artistry with a love of jazz, bluegrass, pop, and just about every other music genre you can imagine?  You get the category-shattering trio Time for Three.

Time for Three had already made a name for themselves in the music world as a self-described "classically trained garage band" when they produced the music video "Stronger," demonstrating their commitment to bullying prevention.  This artistic effort is evidence that as artists and as human beings, Zach De Pue, Nick Kendall, and Ranaan Meyer stand for making a difference in the world through their music.  In the description of the video, they state, "We are Time for Three and this is our story -- the story of so many kids who every day face challenges to who they are and who they want to be: their dreams, their ambitions, their identity. This video is for you guys. Be strong. Stick with it. We did, and we are stronger for it."

The "Stronger" video was funded by fans through Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.  Read about some of the inspiring projects and ideas at www.kickstarter.com.

Time for Three violinist Nick Kendall has been (and will be again) a soloist with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra on the Sangamon Auditorium stage, but this Saturday's concert by Time for Three will be in the intimate Studio Theatre as part of the UIS Kitchen Sink series.  With a commitment to showcasing a broad range of skilled and eclectic artists, the Kitchen Sink series provides a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some outstanding artists.  We certainly look forward to Time for Three on Saturday evening.

Time for Three
UIS Studio Theatre
8 p.m. Saturday, January 19, 2013
Tickets: 217.206.6160

Monday, January 7, 2013

University to host Illinois House Inauguration

Many people associate UIS Sangamon Auditorium as the place where they saw a fantastic arts event, favorite musician or comedian.  That’s an identity that we embrace, and it is central to our mission as a performing arts presenting organization!

But also important to our work is that our venues – Sangamon Auditorium and the UIS Studio Theatre – host a variety of significant university and community events, everything from high school commencements (in spring 2012, we hosted six area high schools) to studio dance recitals, and from significant speakers and authors to governmental events.

On Wednesday, the inauguration of the 98th Illinois House of Representatives will take place at the University of Illinois Springfield in Sangamon Auditorium.  This will be the fourth House inauguration held in the hall, beginning with the 2007 inauguration when renovation of the house chamber caused a need for an alternate location.  The House enjoyed the space and the UIS hospitality so much that they’ve returned to UIS ever since then.

Hosting events like this is an additional important way we serve our campus and community with the resources available to us.  But you can bet we’ll be thrilled to get our performing arts hats back on after the Wednesday inauguration and work toward bringing you more of those fantastic arts events!

Here's a video about the most recent House inauguration held at the University of Illinois Springfield.