Jazz for the Holidays on Performance

On December 2, 2018, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center invited a quintet of talented local musicians to play a special holiday show on the Starr Center stage. “Jazz for the Holidays” comprised a wide assortment of Christmas music arranged for their easy jazz style.

The group included Emily Austin and Dianna Cole as featured vocalists. Tim Austin played drums, Carl Cole played piano, and Andrew Cole was on bass.

The show was recorded in its entirety and will be aired on the December 20th episode of Performance.

Performance airs Sunday nights at 7:00 pm and features complete concerts from local venues, including the various stages of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. If you’re interested in finding out when an artist will air on the show, check our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter.

Lydia Bruhn Concert on Performance

On December 2, 2019, the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center invited local musician Lydia Bruhn to play an intimate concert at Emerson House. Lydia Bruhn has a master’s degree in horn performance and has played with a number of ensembles and orchestras around the region. In the small space of Emerson House, Lydia was accompanied by pianist Lisa Miller and her husband Andrew Bruhn on trumpet.

The concert was recorded in its entirety and will be aired on the December 13th episode of Performance. Performance airs Sunday nights at 7:00 pm and features complete concerts from local venues, including the various stages of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. If you’re interested in finding out when an artist will air on the show, check our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter.

A Shining Night of Barber on Performance

Samuel Barber (1910 – 1981) was an American composer. He won the Pulitzer Prize for music twice: for his opera Vanessa (1957), and for his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1962). Adagio for Strings has been called “the saddest classical work” and was played following the deaths of Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. On November 1, 2019, Rulee Stallmann organized a concert for the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, featuring local musicians playing a selection of Barber’s repertoire on the Main Stage.

Rulee began the concert accompanying soprano Sarah Simmons as she sang “Sure on this Shining Night”. Matt Guschl performed Canzonette for Oboe and Strings Op. 48. A string quartet made up of Rachel Handlin and Paul Zafir on violin, Betty Lewis on viola, and Michael Beert on cello accompanied bass-baritone Joel Ross for “Dover Beach Op. 3”.

The second half of the concert featured a choral version of “Sure on this Shining Night” with sopranos Rachel Handlin and Sarah Simmons, altos Debra Dew and Margo Stedman, tenors Tim Anderson and Joe Sweeney, and bass singers Timm Adams and Joel Ross. Joel Ross and Rulee Stallmann combined their talents on one piano keyboard to play elements from “Souvenirs: Ballet Suite Op. 28”.

Probably the highlight was a complete performance of Barber’s opera “A Hand of Bridge”. The opera clocks in at around nine minutes long and featured Rulee on piano while Timm Adams, Tim Anderson, Sarah Simmons, and Margo Stedman played cards and sang of delights and regrets. Finally, cellist Mike Beert returned to the stage to play a solo version of “Sure on this Shining Night”.

The concert was recorded in its entirety and will be aired on the August 2nd episode of Performance. Performance airs Sunday nights at 7:00 pm and features complete concerts from local venues, including the various stages of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. If you’re interested in finding out when an artist will air on the show, check our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter.

LADAMA Featured on Artist Spotlight

LADAMA is a band made up of four women from four different countries.  Lara Klaus is from Recife, Brazil, Daniela Serna is from Bogota, Colombia, Maria Fernanda Gonzales is from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and Sara Lucas is based in New York City in the United States.  They began working together when they met as part of the OneBeat Program.  Their debut record – LADAMA – went to number one on the iTunes and Amazon Latin Music charts.

The members of LADAMA spoke with Bob Francis for the Artist Spotlight program.  They discussed their music, along with their goals to empower women and young people around the world through music-based workshops.  The LADAMA episode will air Saturday, August 1 at 7:00 am with a rebroadcast on Sunday evening, August 2 at 6:00 pm.

LADAMA performed on the Main Stage of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center on Friday night, November 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm.  The concert was recorded in full for an upcoming episode of Performance.

Interested in staying up to date on featured musicians on Artist Spotlight? Fill out this form to stay in touch.

Little Big Band on Performance

The Little Big Band is a seven piece group from Rockford. The band consists of Cary Sheley (trombone), Ken Stein (tenor saxophone), Randy Schneeberger (trumpet), Ken Kilian (baritone saxophone), Tom Stein (piano), Guy Fiorenza (bass), and Dave Sterner (drums). On May 19th, 2019, the Little Big Band closed out the 2019 MPAC season with a concert at the Starr Center featuring mid-century jazz from the likes of Miles Davis, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.

The concert was recorded in its entirety, and will be aired on the July 5th episode of Performance. Performance airs Sunday nights at 7:00 pm and features complete concerts from local venues, including the various stages of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. If you’re interested in finding out when an artist will air on the show, check our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter.

WBOM Moves to New Studio

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two months of the MPAC season were canceled, and financial pressures forced the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center to put two of its buildings up for sale.  One of the buildings was 406 N. Main Street, where the WBOM studios were located. 

Over the last two months, WBOM has been moving to its new studio located in the Starr Center (415 N. Church Street).  The move has been difficult – both physically and emotionally – but it is now complete.  The new studio is now up and running.

WBOM began at 406 N. Main Street as a pair of empty rooms.  It completed its run there as four studios, filled with equipment and many, many memories.  The new studio – named “Studio V” to celebrate and continue the legacy from the old building – has the equipment now.  New memories will be forthcoming.

David Kalhous Featured on Performance

David Kalhous is an acclaimed pianist. On April 12, 2019, he played a concert on the Main Stage at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. He began the program with material from Beethoven and Czech Composer Leos Janacek. However the bulk of the concert featured works by Chopin. He played four pieces by Chopin during the main program and then performed two additional Chopin works as an encore.

The show was recorded in its entirety and will be aired on the June 7th episode of Performance. Performance airs Sunday nights at 7:00 pm and features complete concerts from local venues, including the various stages of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center. If you’re interested in finding out when an artist will air on the show, check our Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter.

Pangelic Duo Interviewed for Artist Spotlight

Harpist Faye Seeman and steelpan virtuoso Liam Teague make up the Pangelic Duo. They sat down with Bob Francis to talk about their unique musical partnership for the Artist Spotlight program.

Artist Spotlight features an interview with a musician or group and includes a deep-dive into their music. The Pangelic Duo episode of Artist Spotlight will air Saturday, May 9, at 7:00 am with a rebroadcast on Sunday evening, May 10 at 6:00 pm.

The Pangelic Duo will perform on the Main Stage of the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center on Friday night, May 15, at 7:30 pm. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets for the show.

Interested in staying up to date on featured musicians on Artist Spotlight? Fill out this form to stay in touch.

Rulee Stallmann Highlighted on Artist Spotlight

The work of American composer Samuel Barber will be featured in an upcoming performance – A Shining Night of Barber – on the Main Stage at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.

The organizer of the concert – MPAC Board Member Rulee Stallmann – sat down with Louise Brass to discuss what it takes to put a concert of diverse local musicians together. Their chat will be featured in an upcoming episode of Artist Spotlight.

The episode will air on Saturday, October 26, at 7:00 am and be rebroadcast on Sunday evening, October 27, at 6:00 pm.

A Shining Night of Barber is Friday night, November 1, at 7:30 pm. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Want to know who will be featured on Artist Spotlight? Fill out this form to get the latest updates.

Rockford Wind Quintet Interviewed for Artist Spotlight

The members of the Rockford Wind Quintet stopped by the WBOM studios to talk with Bob Francis about their music and their upcoming show at Emerson House. The conversation will be aired on the Artist Spotlight program on Saturday, October 5th at 7:00 am and rebroadcast on Sunday, October 6th at 6:00 pm.

The Rockford Wind Quintet will be playing Emerson House on Monday, October 7th at 5:30 pm. For more information about the show and order tickets, click here.

Interested in staying up to date on featured musicians on Artist Spotlight? Fill out this form to stay in touch.