Fall 2018 Public Events
Tickets available September 12, 2018
La Patronal is a unique brass band from Lima, Peru. Rooted in the tradition of ‘fiestas populares’ or town fairs common in rural villages across Latin America, La Patronal honors these gatherings, which celebrate tradition through fireworks, dancing, and religious images.
La Patronal members are direct descendants of rural musicians from Peru, and use this knowledge of folk culture in combination with their formal music studies to preserve their heritage while also bringing it to the present. Their lively performances encourage audience participation and dancing with contagious percussion and vibrant brass and winds.
La Patronal brings their performances to life through the incorporation of visual aspects of ‘fiestas populares’, including masks and traditional dance. Their music is perfect for festivals or other highly interactive events.
This engagement of La Patronal is funded through:
Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
CERA (11203 S. 12th Ave. E., Kellogg, IA 50135)
Bus transportation will be provided from the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, limited parking is available on-site.
Tickets available October 1
The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus is a large-scale puppet spectacle that explains and teaches riot and rebellion against intolerable situations with the help of state of the art paper-mache weaponry and the appropriately riotous Bread and Puppet Brass Band.
B&P director, Peter Schumann, says of The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus: “Tigers roar, apes drum their chests, horses neigh, and celestial grasshoppers teach ICE agents the basics steps of grasshopper rebellion dancing. A paradise investigation team analyses the earthlings’ relationship to paradise, while major representatives of Mother Earth attend a festive Puerto Rican dance of liberation from natural and political disaster.”
After the performance Bread and Puppet will serve its famous free sourdough rye bread with aioli, and Bread and Puppet’s “Cheap Art” — books, posters, postcards, pamphlets and banners from the Bread and Puppet Press — will be for sale.
Bread and Puppet comes to Grinnell as part of a rare 14-week tour across the continent and back with The Grasshopper Rebellion Circus and two other programs.
Fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, the Hot Sardines are on a mission to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world.
In the last two years, the Hot Sardines have been featured at the Newport Jazz Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival, have sold out NYC venues from Joe’s Pub to Bowery Ballroom and more than 150 tour dates from Chicago to London, and have released two albums on Universal Music Classics to critical raves and a No. 1 slot on the iTunes Jazz chart in the U.S. and internationally.
Bandleader Evan Palazzo and lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The unlikely pair — she was a London School of Economics-educated travel writer who grew up in France, Canada and the Ivory Coast, he was a New York City born and raised actor who studied theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia—bonded over their love for Fats Waller. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, they began playing open mic nights and small gigs and by 2011, they headlined Midsummer Night Swing at New York’s Lincoln Center.
The Hot Sardines’ self-titled debut album, named by iTunes as one of the best jazz albums of 2014, spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, debuting in the top 10 alongside Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. The accolades began pouring in for the band: Downbeat called The Hot Sardines “one of the most delightfully energetic bands on New York’s ‘hot’ music scene,” while The London Times praised their “crisp musicianship” and “immaculate and witty showmanship,” declaring them “simply phenomenal.”
“We found ourselves in the perfect place at the perfect time,” says Evan. “As we explored this 100 year-old jazz, we began to look at it as a journey forward, not so much as a look back. This is music for today, not a museum piece.”
In the hot jazz movement, The Hot Sardines stand apart for the innovation, verve and sheer joy they bring to music, both new and old. “It’s a really cool time to be making music,” Elizabeth says. “Especially if you’re making music that started its life 100 years ago.”
Wall Theatre, 7:30 pm
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind opened at Stage Left Theater in Chicago on December 2, 1988. Conceived and directed by Greg Allen, the show was written and performed by an eight-person ensemble and billed as “an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 Plays in 60 Minutes.” The show promised an emotional and intellectual roller-coaster of ideas and images ridden at break-neck speed by a participating audience.
Greg Allen and the ensemble created the formula for Too Much Light… from an amalgam of different influences. In typical post-modern fashion, a theory was borrowed from here, a form was stolen from there. From their namesakes, the Italian Futurists came the exultation of speed, brevity, compression, dynamism, and the explosion of preconceived notions. From Dada and Surrealism came the joy of randomness and the thrill of the unconscious. From the theatrical experiments of the 1960’s came audience interaction, breaking down all notions of distance, character, setting, and illusion. Finally, from the political turmoil of the 1980’s came a socially conscious voice and a low-tech, “poor theater” format. This Neo-Futurist aesthetic, embraced by an ensemble of highly dedicated, talented writer/performers, became Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind.
In the spring of 1995, three one-time Chicago Neo-Futurists and two brand new recruits ventured to Manhattan to perform T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B. They opened first at the emerging H.E.R.E Theater and then moved to the raw energy of Ludlow Street’s Todo con Nada. A sixth member was added to the New York company, and Greg Kotis premiered his play, Jobey and Katherine. This New York run of Too Much Light lasted just over two years until the supplies ran low and the ensemble was scattered to the winds (the ‘winds’ being various remarkable projects including Urinetown: The Musical, raising families, and many other amazing things too numerous to mention here).
In 2004, the Neo-Futurists broadened their horizons yet again from the Second City to the City That Never Sleeps (or at least, to its neighboring borough). On April 2, 2004, an almost entirely new cast of ten ripped into the first performance of Too Much Light at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope. After an initial six-month run in Brooklyn, they moved back to Manhattan to the Belt Theater then back to H.E.R.E., followed by the Cherry Lane, and since 2005 have based out of the East Village in the historic Kraine Theater.
In 2017, the New York Neo-Futurists, in conjunction with the companies in Chicago and San Francisco began delving into a new weekly Neo-Futurist show. With 43 years of collective history performing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, the ensembles are now collaborating on the next chapter of their late night productions, experimenting in Neo-Futurism in their new ongoing weekly show, The Infinite Wrench.
In New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and beyond, the Neo-Futurists continue to expose and explore new artistic territory, all consistent with the original mission to create interactive, highly personal, emotionally and intellectually challenging art for the general public.
Tickets available March 6
Euphor is an old time string band featuring American roots music.
Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries.
Born into a prominent line of Moorish griot (West African praise singers, poets and musicians) Noura began her career at age 13 as a supporting vocalist with her step-mother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba. From a very early age, she was trained in instrumental and vocal technique by her grandmother, Mounina, mastering the ardine, a harp reserved only for women, and singing at weddings with family. Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, Noura's father, was similarly an important teacher, himself a seminal figure in Mauritanian music who devised the first system for Moorish melodic notation and composed many works popularized by his wife, Dimi. Seymali sparked Noura’s compositional instincts and encouraged her earliest experimentations with fusion music. Reared in this rich and transitive music culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania's most adventurous young artists.
Fueled by the exploratory sound of her husband Jeich Ould Chighaly’s emotive psych guitar lines, Noura and Jeich formed their first "fusion" band in 2004 after working together for many years as a duo in the local traditional circuit. Jeich, a master of the tidinit (aka. ngoni, xalam), brings the force of yet another important line of Moorish griot to bear, adapting the tidinit's intricate phrasing to a modified electric guitar with heroic effect. His unique sound, mirroring Noura's vocal lines and refracting their melodies into the either, was born out of years of practice presiding over wedding ceremonies where solo guitar or tidinit directs the dance. In parallel to his work with Noura, Jeich remains one of Nouakchott's most sought after guitarists within the griot community until present.
Though performances at major venues like globalFEST (USA), Festival-au-Desert (Mali), Roskilde (Denmark), The Barbican (UK), Summerstage-Central Park (NYC), The Kennedy Center (DC), WOMEX (Spain), and Lowlands (Netherlands) and collaborations with artists like Damon Albarn, Baaba Maal, Tinariwen, Spoek Mathambo, Oumou Sangare, and Shabazz Palaces the band is actively exposing Mauritanian roots music to the world. In a rare merger of cultural authority and experimental prowess, Noura Mint Seymali applies the ancient musical traditions of the griot with a savvy aesthetic engagement in our contemporary moment, emerging as a powerful voice at nexus of a changing Africa.
Sebring Lewis, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts
Tickets available mid-April
Come along as Tamino and Papageno embark on a quest to save the kidnapped Princess Pamina at the command of the evil Queen of the Night. With the help of a magical flute and set of bells, their journey leads them to Sarastro's temple where a series of trials and tests await them. This 90-minute family friendly production is sung in English and full of some of Mozart's most famous tunes!
For over 32 years OPERA Iowa has created magic in rural schools, city classrooms, cafetoriums, community centers, concert halls and gymnasiums, offering over 875,000 young people and adults a quality arts experience today while building new enthusiastic opera audiences for tomorrow.
As the state's largest and most expansive program in arts education and one of the most innovative programs of its kind, Des Moines Metro Opera's 12-week award-winning, regional arts education tour features comprehensive study guides, curriculum-based workshops, master classes as well as live musical performances designed specifically for young people and families.
The eight-member OPERA Iowa Troupe features young professionals from across the country who are committed to inspiring their audiences through quality, live theatrical experiences.
Co-sponsored by the Music Dept.
Isabelle Demers is Organ Professor and Head of the Organ Program at Baylor University in Texas, where she teaches organ and courses in the organ curriculum. A native of Québec, she is rapidly becoming recognized as one of North America’s most virtuosic organists. Her concert at the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists, in Washington, D.C., was received with great acclaim not only by critics, who deemed it “one of the most outstanding events of the convention.” (The American Organist), but also by the standing-room-only audience, which called her back five times. A review of her concert for the joint ISO-AIO convention in 2010 said that “she enchanted the entire audience with her virtuoso performance,” leaving the entire congress in an atmosphere of “Demers fever.”