Music & Entertainment
Nova Singers Opens 26th Season with Voices and Keys PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Nicole Andersen   
Monday, 03 October 2011 07:55

Nova Singers, under the direction of Dr. Laura Lane, presents two performances of Voices and Keys, Saturday, October 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Recital Hall, Knox College, Galesburg, and on Sunday, October 9 at 4:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, Moline.

 

Discover the stunning blend of piano and choir in Nova Singers’ 26th season opener.  These concerts feature the dramatic and virtuosic Mid-Winter Songs by Morten Lauridsen, a set of five songs that revolve around a common winter motif. Also included in the program are several charming part songs by Schubert and Brahms, and American folk songs, all featuring dazzling accompaniments.  Joining Nova Singers for these opening concerts is guest pianist Ashlee Mack.

 

Specializing in contemporary music, pianist Ashlee Mack has performed solo and chamber music with new-music organizations such as the Society for Chromatic Art, Vox Novus (New York City), New Music Forum (San Francisco), and the Iowa Composers Forum. She has given recitals across the United States, in Germany (Breisach and Freiburg), and Italy (American Academy in Rome). Her performances of Odds and Ends by Robert Morris and For Milton by Christian Carey will be featured on an upcoming CD commemorating Milton Babbitt. Her recording of James Romig’s Transparencies was recently released on Navona Records (distributed by Capstone). Mack earned her degree in piano performance at Bucknell University where she studied with Lois Svard. She has furthered her studies with pianists Michael Adcock (Washington, DC) and Alan Huckleberry (University of Iowa). Mack is currently the Coordinator of Piano Instruction at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Nova Singers, a professional vocal ensemble under the direction of Dr. Laura Lane, hopes to share this fantastic listening experience with you.  Nova Singers is known for bringing a wide variety of choral music to its audiences, and for the spirit and charm the singers impart to their music.  Dr. Lane has been serving the greater Galesburg and Quad-Cities communities for over twenty-five years, bringing her passion for music and expressive singing to audiences and singers alike.

 

Tickets for this concert are available through Nova’s office and at the door.  Admission is $16 for adults and $12 for seniors.  Students are admitted free of charge.  Voices and Keys is sponsored by OSF St. Mary Medical Center. Nova Singers’ 2011-2012 season is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. For information about tickets, recordings, or other Nova Singers performances, please call Nova Singers at 309-341-7038 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Information is also available at www.novasingers.com.

 
PRESS RELEASE: JIM BRICKMAN CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION RETURNS TO DAVENPORT NOV 28 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Melissa Kucirek   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:37

Jim Brickman’s A Christmas Celebration (www.JimBrickman.com) hits the road for the Holiday Season once again with an evening of dazzling solo piano, vibrant vocals, and the warmth and humor that has made this concert a seasonal tradition for the past fifteen years. The five-time Platinum-selling pianist and songwriter, in addition to featuring favorite holiday music, will introduce fans to his upcoming album releases, All is Calm and Romanza.

Jim returns to Davenport, Iowa, on Monday, November 28, at the RiverCenter Adler Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Reserved seating costs $67 (includes meet and greet), $47, $37 and $27. Applicable fees may apply. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 9. Purchase tickets at the Adler Theatre Box Office (136 E 3rd Street), all Ticketmaster outlets, via phone at 800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com.

Once more this year, sold-out audiences will experience the romance and spirit of the holidays in an unforgettable evening of music, laughter and memories. Jim and his special guests, singers Anne Cochran and Benjamin Utecht, plus electric violinist Tracy Silverman, will blend fan favorites and seasonal classics with brand-new Brickman compositions.

“It's my favorite time of year,” Jim says, “and celebrating across the country with fans and friends makes it that much more special.”

To complement the tour this fall, Jim will release two Target exclusives: All is Calm, a CD that celebrates the warmth of the holiday season; and Romanza, a disc filled with romance and inspiration from Italy. Please check www.JimBrickman.com regularly for more information.

About Jim Brickman

Jim has revolutionized the sound of solo piano with his pop-style instrumentals and star-studded guest vocals. Jim’s lineup of collaborators include such gifted singers as Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Gerald Levert, Michael W. Smith, Kenny Loggins, Carly Simon, Herb Alpert, Michael Bolton, Sara Evans, Donny Osmond, Olivia Newton-John, Blind Boys of Alabama, and Five American Idol Finalists.

Since the 1994 release of his debut album No Words, Jim Brickman’s romantic piano sound has made him a marquis name among contemporary instrumental hit-makers. His signature style of playing and songwriting has also brought him six Gold- and Platinum-selling albums, the most charted Adult Contemporary hits of the decade (30), two Grammy nods (in 2003 and 2009), two SESAC “Songwriter of the Year” awards, a Canadian Country Music Award and a Dove Award (presented by the Gospel Music Association).

Jim is a strong supporter of Public Television, and has had four PBS concert specials: Jim Brickman at the Magic Kingdom —The Disney Songbook (2005), My Romance, An Evening with Jim Brickman (2000), Love Songs and Lullabies (2002) and Beautiful World (2009).

Other artistic endeavors include a weekly radio show, Your Weekend with Jim Brickman; two best selling books, Simple Things and Love Notes; performances at Carnegie Hall and at the White House; as well as standing-room-only concerts from Spain to Thailand. Jim supports several charitable foundations for children, including Autism Speaks, Camp Heartland, and UNICEF, and has a scholarship foundation in his name at his alma mater, The Cleveland Institute of Music.

 

About Benjamin Utecht

With a microphone in one hand and a Super Bowl ring on the other, Benjamin is making his touring debut with Jim Brickman in A Christmas Celebration. Since retiring from the National Football League in 2009, he has sung the National Anthem for both President Bush and at the Cincinnati Reds’ 2010 home opener. He’s had the honor of performing with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (conducted by the legendary Erich Kunzel), the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Sandi Patty (gospel music’s most-awarded female artist of all time). Look for Benjamin’s holiday album, Christmas Hope, which will be released in October, 2011.

About Anne Cochran

Anne Cochran has had the good fortune to perform at  Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, and her now-classic single “After All These Years” was a Top 5 hit. She has happily shared the stage with Jim Brickman, Collin Raye, Donny Osmond, Dave Koz, Tracy Silverman, Jeff Timmons, Kristy Starling, Mario Frangoulis, Michael Feinstein, Mike Eldred, Wayne Brady, Michael Bolton and Linda Eder.

 

About Tracy Silverman

Tracy Silverman has redefined the violin with his instantly recognizable trademark sound. Lauded by the BBC as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” the Juilliard graduate’s groundbreaking work with the six-string electric violin has forever transformed violin playing, much as Hendrix did with the electric guitar. Tracy produced and performs on Jim Brickman’s hit CDs Simple Things, Love Songs and Lullabies, Escape and Homecoming, and appeared on all four of Jim’s popular TV specials.

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Feature Film about Homeless Man, To Donate Half of Film’s Profits to Homeless. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Becky Adams   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:14
Hi, I wanted to let you know about a movie we're working on.  The film is called “The Guitar Player”.  The story is about a homeless street performer who gets a second chance in life but struggles with his painful past.  It seems only fitting that a film about someone who is homeless in a bad economy, will be funded by the public.  That is the intention of the filmmaker Michael Stein.  He has created an elaborate fund raising campaign to finance the film and intends on giving half his profits to homeless causes.  In this day and age where film companies are taking what they can get, it seems like a grand gesture.

The film scheduled to be shot January 9th in Los Angeles.  Due to the content and the film’s cause many contributions have been made but the production still lacks liquid funds, so the filmmakers decided to raise funds publicly.

The Guitar Player is based on a fictional character named Robert Shiller (a.k.a “Robert Shiller The Killer”) a seventeen year old champion high school wrestler in a small town in Northern California. One week before the state championship, Robert accidentally killed his best friend and team mate, during practice. The loss of his friend and the social stigma in a small town was more than he could bear, so he ran away from home, grabbing only what he could fit in his wresting bag and his best friend’s guitar even though he did not know how to play.  Our story begins twenty years later with Robert living on the streets.  The screenplay was written by the director Michael Stein.

Stein has a knack for making lower budget films with a larger budget look and feel.  His last film, “Love Hollywood Style” starred Faye Dunaway, Andy Dick, Coolio and Stephen Tobolowsky and has become a cult comedy classic.  Stein’s, first role came when he was cast by his friend Paul Thomas Anderson to play the lead role of Dirk Diggler in the original short film “The Dirk Diggler Story”, that later became the feature film “Boogie Nights” which Michael Appears in as well.

“Getting funding has always been a struggle”, Stein says.  “The past several years in Hollywood have seen a major change.”  "They are not handing out movie deals like hotcakes the way they use to in the 90s."  It’s been four years since Stein made his last film.  The problem was self funding a film in a bad economy along with the obligations of supporting his family.  He knew about crowd funding websites like kickstarter.com but did not feel that any of his scripts would go well with a crowd funding concept.  He then came up with an idea that he felt would be with the right vehicle.  A film that would be funded 100% by the public about someone who is homeless and the earnings of the film benefiting homeless causes.

The film’s production is contingent upon the funds being raised.  The film’s kickstarter campaign also has a high concept.  One of the packages, a thirty five hundred dollar pledge allows businesses to promote their products at each of the premieres, which will be in several major cities, including L.A. and New York.  Another package, a ten thousand dollar pledge includes “An Event for a Day” where one thousand tarps will be donated to a local homeless shelter and a screening in a movie theater in the city of your choice, all being promoted in honor of the pledge contributor.  There are many other elaborate incentives built around the premieres and promotion of the film.  Tricks of the trade Stein learned working with Peter Guber and John Peters on movie promotions when he was a twenty years old nightclub promoter.

The minimal funding goal for the film was set at one hundred and fifty thousand.  A typical low amount is always set for projects on kickstarter due to their “all of nothing” policy.  Stein and the Line Producer Aimee Flaherty hope to break the kickstarter’s funding record for a film, which is approximately half a million.  Once funding is in place, Stein hopes to sell the film to one of the larger film companies and donate fifty percent of his profits to the homeless.

The fund raising campaign is being held for fifty days and expires on October 21st.  Tarp drives will be held in 14 cities around the country in order to bring more awareness to the project.  The tarp drives consist of one thousand tarps will be handed out at homeless shelters for people that are living on the streets.

If you are interested in learning more about the film or how you can help, you can visit the website at: www.theguitarplayermovie.com or contact me directly at 310-281-6946.  We need all the exposure we can get! Thanks.

 
Nova Singers Announces 26th Season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Nicole Andersen   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:45

Nova Singers, led by award-winning conductor Dr. Laura L. Lane, is celebrating its 26th season of bringing the finest choral music to audiences in Galesburg and the Quad Cities.  This season features some wonderful extras, in addition to the superb 20-voice ensemble that the region has come to know and love.  Nova opens the season on October 8th and 9th with Voices and Keys, a program consisting entirely of the stunning blend of piano and choir, including the dramatic and virtuosic Mid-Winter Songs by Morten Lauridsen.  As a special treat for A Nova Christmas in December, Nova is releasing its newest Christmas CD!  In February’s Sun and Moon, Seas and Sky, Nova Singers returns to the simplicity of its 20 voices in a program that highlights the vast range of moods that the groups is able to create.  The season concludes in April with Drum Song, an exciting and unusual combination of voice and percussion, including everything from bass drum and cymbals to marimba and steel drums.

 

The full schedule of performances is as follows:

 

Voices and Keys, with Ashlee Mack, piano

Saturday, October 8, 7:30 p.m., Kresge Recital Hall, Knox College, Galesburg
Sunday, October 9, 4:00 p.m., First Congregational Church, Moline

A Nova Christmas
Friday, December 16, 7:30 p.m., St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport
Saturday, December 17, 7:30 p.m., First Lutheran Church, Galesburg

Sun and Moon, Sea and Sky
Saturday, February 11, 7:30 p.m., First Lutheran Church, Galesburg
Sunday, February 12, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport

Drum Song, featuring Nikki Malley, percussion

Saturday, April 14, 7:30 p.m., Kresge Recital Hall, Knox College, Galesburg

Sunday, April 15, 4:00 p.m., First Congregational Church, Moline

 

SEASON TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW - $48 for adults, $36 for seniors.

 

Subscribers to Nova's 2011-2012 Season receive four concerts for the price of three.

 

Individual concert tickets available at the door.  Adults $16, Seniors (65+) $112, Students Free.

Nova Singers, a professional vocal ensemble under the direction of Dr. Laura Lane, hopes to share this fantastic listening experience with you.  Nova Singers is known for bringing a wide variety of choral music to its audiences, and for the spirit and charm the singers impart to their music.  Dr. Lane has been serving the greater Galesburg and Quad-Cities communities for over twenty-five years, bringing her passion for music and expressive singing to audiences and singers alike.

For more information, call Nova Singers at 309-341-7038 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Information is also available at www.novasingers.com.  Nova Singers’ 26th season is partially sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

 
Bruce Robinson and Kelly Willis at Central Performing Arts Center PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Steve Lindner   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 07:47

Central Performing Arts Center, DeWitt, is excited to announce that on Saturday, October 15, at 7p.m. Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis will be performing a live show.

Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, married for 15 years and with 4 children, are the sweethearts of the Austin, Texas, music scene.

Both Robison and Willis have experienced successful independent careers.  Bruce, a songwriter at heart, has written a handful of songs that have topped the Country Charts:  Angry All of the Time, performed by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; Wrapped and Desperately, performed by George Strait; and most notably Traveling Soldier performed by the Dixie Chicks. All reached number one, with the exception of Desperately, which spent time in the top five.  Despite the commercial success of his songs Robison, born and raised in Bandera, Texas (pop 1,216),  stays true who he is as a person and a songwriter, with his songs reflecting his rural Texas roots.  Simple, but often poignant, Robison’s song can make you laugh out loud or bring a tear to your eye.  He writes songs with the insight and authenticity that can only be captured by someone who has true rural roots.

Kelly Willis is a talented performer songwriter and performer, as well. Willis has been a critically acclaimed roots music singer since recording her debut two decades ago, and is recognized as a new country and Americana pioneer. Her gifts as a songwriter and interpreter of songs has earned her loyal fans and constant critical praise. Her songs have been featured in several movies, including Thelma and Louise and Bob Roberts and she has had numerous appearances on Austin City Limits. One reviewer stated that when he dreams of country music he hears Willis’s voice, beautifully forlorn, strong and sultry, yet light.

Collectively, Robison & Willis are difficult to label.  Americana, Alternative Country, Austin Roots Country, does not matter, together they create an authentic style of music that touches the heart and is simply very good.

The Robison & Willis duo will be performing in the newly constructed, 800-seat Central Performing Arts Center, located at 519 East 11th Street in DeWitt.  Iowa, of Saturday, October 15.  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.  Reserve seating tickets are available online at www.midwestix.com.

 
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