Music & Entertainment
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Nate Lawrence   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 14:11
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June 17th, POLYRHYTHMS brings piano Great Willie Pickens; the same Willie Pickens who performed five years ago at the very first Third Sunday Jazz Workshop & Matinee event. A celebrated educator performer, Pickens returns to the Redstone Room, in the RME on the corner of 2nd & Main, Davenport, IA, to see where his jazz demystifying teachings have taken us 66 Third Sundays later. Third Sunday Jazz Events begin with a workshop at 3 pm and is followed by a matinee concert from 6 – 8 pm.

“As our inaugural performer, Mr. Pickens set the bar for artistry and teaching at the Third Sunday Jazz Workshop & Matinee series”, said Nate Lawrence of Polyrhythms.  “Generous in sharing the benefit of his experience, his counsel imprinted upon us the importance of providing top quality content and to not insult the kids by dumbing it down.  How could we go wrong?”

A piano powerhouse, WILLIE PICKENS began his career on Eddie Harris’ 1961 national hit record, Exodus, since then playing with James Moody, Roy Eldridge, Max Roach, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Elvin Jones, Joe Henderson, Quincy Jones, Bunky Green, Ira Sullivan, Wynton Marsalis, and so many more. But instead of joining the national and international jazz scene, Willie chose to make his home in Hyde Park, becoming a public school teacher, an active member of the Hyde Park Union Church, and a mentor to scores of upcoming musicians. Just passing his 81st birthday, Pickens is more in demand and playing better than ever. The Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich writes that Willie’s intense dramatic performances result from his “large and complex chords, his great splashes of color and dissonance in the right hand and his barrelhouse octaves in the left.” Pickens is joined by Ron Wilson on bass and Manuel Lopez III on drums.

Pickens was born into a Milwaukee family that valued music. Willie’s mother, herself an amateur pianist, saw to it that Willie’s emerging talent was developed by encouraging his formal study of the instrument. His stepfather, an avid jazz fan and alto sax player, introduced him to the music of Art Tatum via the radio; as there were few jazz venues in Milwaukee.  Pickens also discovered the likes of Nat “King” Cole and Bud Powell—artists that would have a profound influence on his musical development.

In 1954, Pickens earned a teacher’s certificate from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee and went on to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, in 1958, to receive his B.S. in Music Education.  Ultimately, Willie’s love of jazz would drive his musical career. Having “caught the bug” playing with saxophonist Bunky Green and pianist Billy Wallace, Pickens moved to Chicago as soon as he’d finished his degree. “Chicago was where the action was,” he says, and started his baptism by fire in the city many regarded as the hub of the jazz piano world.

Although Pickens met with moderate success as a young musician, he married and started a family in 1959 and quickly realized that “if you’ve got kids, you’ve got to be sure how much money is coming in every week.”  Since then, Willie has had distinguished dual careers as a performer and educator: he has served as band director for Lindblom and Wendell Phillips high schools and as Chair of the Department of Music at Phillips; he started Kenwood Academy’s first jazz band; he has also directed the City of Chicago’s All-City High School Band and taught at the American Conservatory of Music.  Today, he continues to teach piano part-time in the Northern Illinois University’s jazz program and serves in the Ravinia/Chicago Public School Jazz Mentors Program.

At 81, Pickens continues to be one of Chicago’s most in-demand pianists for visiting artists.  He has performed several times at the famed Chicago Jazz Festival, to rave reviews, and has been the featured pianist on impresario Joe Segal’s Jazz Cruises.  He has also performed with fellow pianist Marian McPartland, both in concert and on her well-loved NPR show, “Piano Jazz”.

Polyrhythms Third Sunday Jazz Matinee & Workshop Series at the RME’s Redstone Room is scheduled for, June 17th, and features an all-ages workshop at 3 pm, followed by the matinee performance from 6-8 pm.   Admission to the workshop session is Free for Kids, $5 for adults.  General admission for the 6 - 8 pm concert is $10 or $15 for reserved seating.  For ticket information, call Polyrhythms: 309 373-0790.  For more information, visit our website:

Sunday June 17th, Doors open at 5:30 pm.  Come and experience great jazz with the legendary Willie Pickens Trio “live” at the Redstone Room.

Polyrhythms Third Sunday Jazz Series is made possible with major support of the Riverboat Development Authority, the Scott County Regional Authority, and the RME as well as the support of AT&T, the Doris & Victor Day Foundation, West Music, Davenport Clarion Hotel, KALA, IL Senator Mike Jacobs, Peeples Heating & Air Conditioning, the Austin Family Charitable Fund, Greatest Grains, Skylark Recording Studio and DJ Mixxin Mel.


Nova Singers & Friends Present: Out of the Ordinary -Remembering Brian Nelson PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Nova Singers   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:43

Nova Singers will kick off their 27th Season with their third “Out of the Ordinary Concert: Remembering Brian Nelson” on Sunday, June 10 at 4:00 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, 1600-20th Street, Rock Island, Illinois. Current members, alumni, and friends of Brian Nelson will perform everything from classical to gospel to Shakespeare, from sing-alongs to limericks. Brian Nelson began his career with Nova Singers in their first season, 1986-87.

Our concert represents the eclectic musical taste of Brian Nelson. The audience will enjoy hearing songs from musicals such as “If I Were a Rich Man”, “Fugue for Tinhorns”, “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”, “If Ever I Would Leave You” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop”. The Prenzi Players will present a short scene in which Brian Nelson played the role of Falstaff. Three magnificent tenors will lead us in a few Kingston trio tunes. “Rock Island Line” will be presented in story and song. Classical cello and vocal pieces will round out the program. And, yes, there will be a limerick contest. The Nova Singers will be performing a piece from their latest Christmas CD as well as “Amazing Grace/ Promised Land” and the Moses Hogan favorite, “God’s Gonna Set This World on Fire”.

This special event is a fund-raiser that will support the Nova Singers’ 27th Season.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students are free. Tickets will be available

at the door. For more information, please contact Nova Singers at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 309-

341-7038 or visit Nova Singers Facebook page!

Concert Announcement: Guy Penrod coming to the Adler Theater! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by New Anthem   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:08

Guy Penrod

Adler Theatre, Davenport

7:30 p.m. Friday, July 13

Reserved tickets ($18, $24 & $30) on sale today: Friday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets will be available at the Adler Theatre Box Office,, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or at select Ticketmaster outlets. The Adler Theatre is located at 136 East Third Street in downtown Davenport.

Penrod’s latest recording, Hymns, debuted at #1 on Nielsen Soundscan’s Southern Gospel retail chart and #5 on the Current Contemporary Christian chart following its release in March. His 2010 Dove Award-nominated release, Breathe Deep, continues to be a benchmark for country recordings within the Christian marketplace, featuring successful mainstream country and southern gospel radio singles.

A 2011 Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee, Penrod made his Grand Ole Opry debut last year.  Prior to his solo career, Penrod spent 14 years with the GRAMMY® and Dove Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band.

For more information:

Rock the Grove - Saturday June 9, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by New Anthem   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:06

Long Grove Christian Church

202 South 1st Street

Long Grove, Iowa 52756

Free admission!

Free food, games, kids fun starts 5:00 pm.

Show starts 7:00pm

With guest: Steve Ernst

Quick Artist Agency presents:

Photoside Café

No tickets needed!

Bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

In case of bad weather, event will be held inside the church.

More information:

or call 563-570-8638


Who is Photoside Cafe?

Photoside Cafe is an aggressive, acoustic, rock band from Chicago, IL that is most often compared to the likes of Dave Matthews with an edgier sound.
The foursome met at Greenville College, a school noted for its music program, and have already created a solid fan base throughout the Midwest; playing on multiple stages in such notable music festivals as Ichthus Fest and Cornerstone Festival. They have shared the stage with several rising artists including Toby Mac, Relient K, and Switchfoot.
The chemistry within the group is outstanding, and it shines onstage. Each member brings elite individual talent into the mix, making the final product the perfect combination of talent and creativity. With their blazing songs and lyrics, Photoside Cafe blends all the right elements to create an ambiance that is nothing short of remarkable.
"Once again Photoside did a fabulous job at Cornerstone Festival this summer. For the first time we gave them a spot on our Mainstage and they didn't disappoint. this band continues to impress me with their musicianship, stage presence, and attitudes (and after 38 years in the music business I have grown pretty picky). I can't wait to work with them again next summer. I highly recommend this group and I am confident you and your crow will love them." -John Herrin, Festival Director of Cornerstone Festival 2010
"Photoside Cafe is an Ichthus Festival favorite. They have a great sound that appeals to a wide audience-- but it doesn't blend in with all the rest. They have a great sound with thoughtful lyrics. And they're great musicians who always leave the audience wanting more. We've become big fans of Photoside Cafe and believe you will too." Mark Vermilion, CEO of Ichthus Ministries


Who is Steve Ernst?

Steve Ernst is an extremely talented and musically diverse worship leader from Davenport, Iowa, who leads Jesus Country, the region's only weekly country western worship service, at St. John's United Methodist, and also leads contemporary worship at First Baptist Church. Steve's ability to play across all musical styles, including rock, folk, jazz, blues, country, and ballads... from fingerpicking to power chords... gives him unique access to Christian music. In 2006, Steve Ernst was the acoustic guitarist for the Festival of Praise Band that opened the Casting Crowns show for 10,000 people at LeClaire Park in Davenport.

See and print the flyer!


News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Jared Johnson   
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 14:57
Jeff vom Saal, Executive Director of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, has announced his intention to leave his employment with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. Jeff, his wife Robyn, and their two children will be moving to the San Francisco area at the end of this summer, where Robyn will be taking on an expanded role with her current employer. In a letter to the Board of Trustees, Jeff vom Saal said, “This has been a very difficult decision for my family to make, as we have been delighted with our time in the Quad Cities.”  Jeff is currently exploring several employment opportunities in the orchestra industry near San Francisco.

Jeff vom Saal was named Executive Director in 2007, during the Music Director search that brought Conductor Mark Russell Smith to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra. During Jeff’s tenure as Executive Director, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra has expanded its annual concert offerings, including recently two free public performances during Red, White, and Boom! The QCSO’s Masterworks series has also increased its subscriber base by 20%. This time period boasts many memorable artistic achievements such as Midori’s residency, the multi-media performance of The Planets, and most recently Mark Russell Smith’s production of War Requiem. “Ultimately, being a musician myself, I’m probably most proud of the personal relationships I’ve been able to develop with our orchestra,” said Jeff vom Saal. “We’ve been able to maintain good communication and transparency through some tough financial times and even union negotiations.”

“The Board is sorry to hear of Jeff’s decision, but we are also very excited for Jeff and his family,” said Board of Trustees President Julie McHard. “We’ve accomplished a lot as an organization during Jeff’s time with us and his will be a tough act to follow.” The Board of Trustees’ executive committee has begun meeting to plan for a search to replace vom Saal.

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