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These Christian Colleges Are Taking On Today’s Hot-Button Social Issues - Forbes

An organization of Christian colleges has shown a willingness to tackle social issues, often taking ... [+] stances that differ from those of some notorious evangelical leaders. getty A group of Christian colleges is pursuing an agenda of pressing social issues, including immigration, criminal justice, and racial/ethnic diversity. It’s an ambitious set of policies, and it’s noteworthy because the stance of these colleges is in marked contrast to the ultra-conservative narrative associated with the evangelical church’s recent embrace of the right-wing, nationalist politics of Donald Trump. The colleges are members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), an organization comprised of about 180 institutions worldwide, with approximately 140 in the U.S. Representing 37 different Protestant denominations, CCCU schools enroll over 500,000 students. You can view the full member list here. All CCCU schools have missions defined as Christ-centered, rooted in the hi

Spotswood High School Music Program To Hold Virtual Band Concert -

Spotswood High School Music Program To Hold Virtual Band Concert -

Spotswood High School Music Program To Hold Virtual Band Concert -

Posted: 10 Dec 2020 12:46 PM PST

SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Like so many celebrations and performances during the coronavirus pandemic, Spotswood High School's annual Winter Concert is going virtual this year. The concert will begin airing via a YouTube link tonight at 6:30 p.m. and will continue to be available for people to enjoy online. Spotswood High School Band Director Sarah Carino-Koza and her music students have been busier than Santa and his elves trying to put together the virtual winter concert.

"This year's concert has a similar theme to years' past in providing our audience with both holiday tunes and selections from multiple genres," Carino-Koza explained. "Due to the virtual nature of how we've been running the majority of our rehearsals, our focus needed to turn primarily towards individual performances, which has allowed the students to have much more ownership over the repertoire that is being performed."

Having a virtual concert instead of the traditional performance in the Spotswood High School Cafetorium presented the veteran band director and her young musicians with some unique challenges.

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"There were so many more moving parts to this virtual concert that an in-person concert," Carino-Koza said. "It would make your head spin! We have turned our focus towards individual skills and solo playing this year, given the circumstances. Students were given a great deal of choice with what they wanted to present as their contribution to this concert."

"Some chose holiday tunes, some chose music they feel a connection to and some used this as an opportunity to learn a song to which they wanted to dedicate some intentional time," she continued. "Students who selected to submit a solo performance did so by sending me a video of themselves playing/singing all or some of their selected work. Students who chose to perform a holiday tune did so by using our master video recordings to use as something to play with through their headphones while they recorded themselves playing their own parts."

"In the few short weeks that we were in hybrid instruction, we capitalized on our time together by recording these master videos to use as the foundation for the students who would ultimately need them to use as a guide," Carino-Koza added. "I then put these separate holiday performances into one ensemble performance that features the audio and video of each student so it looks and sounds at if they're playing together, despite being a part."

Carino-Koza was able to get inspiration from professionals and amateur performers who had utilized a similar process to put together virtual concerts. A professional musician herself, the longtime music educator and band director, needed to learn a new skill to make tonight's virtal performance happen; editing.

"Basically in order for this huge feat to go off without a hitch, the students needed to understand and execute both the musical and technical components perfectly," Carino-Koza said. "Then, once I had their video, I compiled them into the virtual concert format that folks are somewhat accustomed to experience."

The December 10 virtual concert will include a welcome, great music, closing remarks and of course, thank yous. What it will be missing is a Spotswood High School Winter Concert tradition; the "Sleigh Ride" finale.

"I have found through the last nine months that there is equal importance in both honoring past traditions and creating innovative solutions when those traditions cannot be carried out in the same way," Carino-Koza said.

Typically, the annual winter concert ends with seniors donning Santa hats and alumni hopping on stage with their instruments to join in with Leroy Anderson's classic holiday instrumental "Sleigh Ride."

"Our annual "Sleigh Ride" finale is one that is so much more than the tune itself," she added. "It represents 'coming home for the holidays' that so many of our alumni look forward to when they're finished for the semester and it zeroes in on our program as a unified ensemble with both Concert Band and Wind Ensemble performing together, which only occurs twice a year. Since we couldn't possibly replicate the meaningfulness of that experience in the virtual space, we're going to save it for when we can safely bring everyone back together. One thing's for sure, it will be the most rewarding rendition of "Sleigh Ride!"

In keeping with a little bit of the "Sleigh Ride" tradition, many seniors popped on a Santa hat when they made their performance videos.

The following Spotswood High School musicians will be performing in their last winter concert this evening: Alexis Faust, Madison Faust, Jada Fenner, Abby Johnson, Ashleigh Kreski, Ben Leiby, Shannon Longmore, Julia Masucci, Joe Perkins, Skylar Provell, Sammy Rios, Emma Savarese, Jason Schwartz, Max Swiderski and Bobby Wehrle.

With all the trials and tribulations of putting together a virtual concert, it would have been easy to just cancel it due to the pandemic. However, Carino-Koza felt it was even more important in today's challenging world to have the show go on.

"Our performances each year are important moments for the community to come together and celebrate the arts, the hard work of our students and the crucial need for expression through music," Carino-Koza said. "Beyond that, we as musicians, need to work towards something. We need to feel as though the practice that we're putting in will eventually be shared and presented in a way that showcases both our effort and our love for the performing arts. Most of us, including myself, are not as motivated to practice unless we have some sort of goal that we're working towards. Sure some folks will get up and run every day because they enjoy it, but if you know that you're training for a marathon, you have that extra incentive to really push yourself when you're feeling least like putting in those miles."

"The challenge of trying to capture the essence of music performance through a screen cannot be overstated, " Carino-Koza added. "While I do think we've somewhat come to terms with our reality and what is and isn't possible, we are still overcoming the technical divide each day. Faulty internet, broken microphones and speakers and occasional Zoom crashes have been real hurdles. It has also been difficult to work one on one with freshmen who I have not yet seen or heard play in person. We're developing a great relationship as partners in music, but once we are able to be in the same place to refine their sound, we'll be able to really soar to new heights."

The link for Spotswood High School's virtual Winter Concert goes live on YouTube tonight at 6:30 p.m. Art students are also being showcased on December 10. A link to the high school's virtual Winter Art Show will become available on the Spotswood High School website at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday as well. Typically, the art show would be going on the same time as the musical program in the cafetorium. Both music and art departments again highlight their work in the spring.

University of Cincinnati's CCM Launches a New Livestreaming Performance Series, CCMONSTAGE Online - Cincinnati CityBeat

Posted: 10 Dec 2020 09:06 AM PST

On Friday, Dec. 11, the CCM debuts CCMONSTAGE Online, a series of free, digital concerts featuring students and faculty both onstage and behind the scenes.

Screen Shot20201210At10 56 15AMPhoto: YouTube screengrab

On Friday, Dec. 11, the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music debuts CCMONSTAGE Online, a series of free, digital concerts featuring students and faculty both onstage and behind the scenes.

CCM students returned to the Clifton campus for the fall semester, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of all live performances. Plans for livestreaming CCM's stage shows began over a decade ago but — propelled by the urgency to maintain CCM's presence locally and internationally — the project recently went into hyper-drive.

"It's a genuine collaborative venture," says Curt Whitacre, CCM's director of marketing and communications. "Our faculty and administration want to ensure that students have opportunities to perform and to be involved in the production side while being in compliance with CDC guidelines."

So CCM turned to John Massey, a 2003 graduate of the E-Media program and a highly regarded video professional and co-owner of MasseyGreen AVP, an award-winning video and photography company. Massey and his partner, Matt Green, recruited a full video crew to record the streaming concerts and performances with high-quality production values. The crew includes CCM E-Media students.

Four programs were recorded this semester (in advance of their air dates, just like the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has done for its streamed concerts from Music Hall). The conservatory's Dec. 11 program features CCM's Philharmonia performing Respighi, Mozart, Ravel and Julia Perry in the Corbett Auditorium, CCM's largest venue. The second CCMONSTAGE livestream is the Ariel Quartet, CCM's ensemble-in-residence, with two members of the CSO/CCM Diversity Fellowship Program. The third episode features CCM's chamber choir (singing in masks), led by Joe Miller, the recently appointed head of choral studies. The fourth episode is a mixed-repertoire dance concert.

Much had to be worked out for the Dec. 11 show. Over 60 musicians make up the CCM Philharmonia but far fewer will be seen in the livestream. In compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, no more than 50 participants could be in the hall, including performers, stage and tech crews.

"We spent countless hours over the spring and summer figuring out ways we could safely do these performances," Whitacre says. "We worked out spacing, the use of masks, the use of Plexiglas screens, air circulation and sanitizing surfaces. We also partnered with UC Health on a study of HEPA filters' efficiency in clearing the air of particulates. That led to installing HEPA filters installed in our performance spaces.

"It was a herculean and campus-wide effort to make sure we provided the safest environment possible."

You can sense the palpable joy in the performances and in the words of the students themselves. Episodes include brief interviews with students who are visibly emotional about their experiences.

More digital episodes will be recorded during the next semester, but opera and especially musical theater present unique challenges still being worked through. Singing poses a high risk for spreading aerosols; soprano Angel Blue stood 20 feet away from the orchestra when she performed with the CSO in October. That's even more difficult for musical theater productions that call for large vocal and instrumental ensembles as well as intimate duets.

For the shows, instrumentalists and vocalists adapted to wearing masks, not sharing music stands and using Plexiglass dividers as well as the constant presence of videographers and audio techs capturing their performances. Having an experienced team, many of whom are CCM alums, proved invaluable in navigating the recording sessions.

"Things we take for granted, like mic placement, had to be rethought and they were so helpful and inspired the students working with them," says Whitacre.

He also notes that CCM's theater design and production department collaborated on the choral and dance episodes and will be participating in the upcoming livestreams, as will E-Media students.

"Creating visuals for a digital platform is its own challenge and the students came up with really creative designs," he says. "The silver lining in this pandemic is that it's providing some really cool learning opportunities for our students. Although there's no substitute for a live performance, there's no question that digital livestreaming will be increasing as we move forward."

Major support is from ArtsWave and CCM Power. Whitacre also credits CCM dean Stanley Romanstein with helping to secure underwriting for CCMONSTAGE Online.

Performances last no longer than an hour and can be watched on CCM's website and its YouTube channel. Closed captioning is included.

Following CCM's January fundraiser A Movable Feast, programs will be broadcast in two- to three-week intervals, avoiding conflict with CSO livestreams, and will be available "without expiration."

Whitacre says that livestreaming plays to CCM's strengths and will continue to expand after pandemic restrictions ease.

"CCM is such a comprehensive arts school. We have programs in E-Media and an in-house theater design and production program with experts on the faculty and these emerging student artists, as well as our alumni. They've got state-of-the-art gear to experiment with, the possibilities for a Classical music piece or any performance piece expand when you bring those elements."

CCMONSTAGE Online launches 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Performances can be viewed at or on CCM's YouTube Channel.

'Persevering through Adversity': On 250th Anniversary of Beethoven's Birth, Virtual Festival featuring American and Chinese Musicians to Showcase How His Legacy is More Relevant than Ever - GlobeNewswire

Posted: 10 Dec 2020 01:37 PM PST

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y., Dec. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This month, the U.S.-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music is convening leading Chinese and American musicians, performing artists, and other cultural institutions to present "China Now Music Festival 2020: China and Beethoven", a week-long worldwide virtual festival that explores, showcases, and commemorates the legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven, with a focus on the many ways that China has embraced, interpreted, and enthusiastically appreciated the composer and his works. All events are online, free, and open to the public around the world, with registration available at
The third edition of Bard's annual festival, dedicated to promoting an understanding and appreciation of classical music from contemporary China, will feature a series of musical and scholarly online events premiering daily from Dec. 11 to 18, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the week of Beethoven's birth in 1770. Select events will also be broadcast in partnership with the Violin Channel, the premier online news source in the classical music industry.Celebratory events to commemorate the anniversary of Beethoven's birth have been planned all around the world, but nowhere more so than in China, where for over one hundred years Beethoven has enjoyed great popularity among audiences of all ages, as his perseverance in the face of adversity and his musical genius resonated in a nation searching for a way forward. Today, in a year upended by a global pandemic, this spirit of triumph over hardship increasingly resonates not just in China, but around the world. When theaters, concert halls, and orchestras found themselves unexpectedly shuttered for much of the year, many planned celebrations were put on hold or re-imagined. But as China and others begin to reopen, Beethoven once again takes center stage. This re-imagined virtual festival will provide a window into celebrations happening in China today, as well as exploring Beethoven's legacy as a heroic figure during the changing politics of the 20th century and China's oscillating affiliation with Western classical music.Featured participants include: Jindong Cai, Artistic Director, China Now Music Festival, and co-author of Beethoven in China, considered to be the definitive work on the subject; Leon Botstein, President, Bard College; Tan Dun, composer, conductor, Dean, Bard College Conservatory of Music; Shanghai Symphony Orchestra; China National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra; Bard College's The Orchestra Now; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Shanghai Youth Philharmonic Orchestra; Wu Man, pipa; Shenyang, bass-baritone; Daniella Travaglione, child vocalist; Julie Smith Phillips, harp; Wu Weiqiao, violin; Diana Borshcheva, piano; Xu Miao, ruan; Qi Yiduo, piano; Sheila Melvin, author; Jennifer Lin, filmmaker; Ryan Fleur, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Ambassador Nicholas Platt; Asia Society of Northern California; China Institute; and more.
Festival highlights include:
A concert and lecture tracing the story of Beethoven's ascent into the cultural imagination of China through discussions with music scholars and musical interludes from the U.S. and China. (Dec 11)An exciting and imaginative evening of musical interpretations of Beethoven with Chinese accents, presented by world-renowned artists including bass-baritone Shenyang, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, composer/conductor Tan Dun, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra Now, and musicians of the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music. (Dec 13)A peek into the Chinese market for all things Beethoven, including a musical based on Beethoven's life, a play describing how his music became known in China, and an 'immersive multimedia Beethoven experience' exhibition at the Shanghai Concert Hall. (Dec 14)A concert to celebrate Beethoven's birthday with the illustrious Shanghai Symphony, the oldest orchestra in China, featuring a selection of recent performances of some of Beethoven's most iconic symphonic and chamber works. (Dec 15)Early access to the new documentary Beethoven in Beijing, which follows the Philadelphia Orchestra on their first historic trip to China in 1973 and chronicles the opening of China to Western classical music since the end of the Cultural Revolution. Includes a discussion with the filmmakers and special guests who will look at the future of culture and diplomacy through classical music. (Dec 16 and 17)A landmark performance of Beethoven's complete Egmont, his musical setting of the 1787 play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a new production by the China National Center for the Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing, with narration in Mandarin Chinese. (Dec 18)
For festival registration and complete details, visit  
More About Beethoven's Influence in China: Beethoven's historical importance in China is extensive. Students returning from abroad introduced Beethoven to China first in 1906, and he remained a durable part of Chinese life in the decades that followed. He became an icon to intellectuals, music fans, and party cadres alike, and played a role in major historical events from the May Fourth Movement to the normalization of U.S.-China relations. He inspired intellectuals like Lu Xun and Cai Yuanpei, who considered him a role model for his dedication to principles of humanity and aesthetic taste. As a man who refused to bow to royalty, Beethoven was celebrated in the early days of the revolution before his music was forbidden in the cultural upheaval of the 60s and 70s. After the Cultural Revolution, 'Beethoven fever' would sweep the country, presaging his present-day popularity.
Full Festival ProgramDecember 11, 2020, 7:30pm EST
China's Sage of Music (Concert/Lecture)
The festival's opening event traces the story of Beethoven's ascent into the cultural imagination of China. Bard College President Leon Botstein shares remarks on Beethoven's universal appeal and enduring relevance, followed by performances by Bard's The Orchestra Now and the Shanghai Youth Philharmonic. Host Jindong Cai, the artistic director of the festival and the director of the US-China Music Institute, will provide the historical context for the festival.
December 12, 2020, 8pm EST
Beethoven in China (Webinar in Mandarin Chinese)
China Institute's Renwen Society hosts Jindong Cai in a webinar discussion in Mandarin Chinese of his book Beethoven in China: How the Great Composer Became an Icon in the People's Republic.
December 13, 2020, 7:30pm EST
Beethoven Made in China (Concert/Lecture)
Experience an exciting and imaginative evening of musical interpretations of Beethoven with Chinese accents, presented by world-renowned artists including bass-baritone Shenyang, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, composers Tan Dun and Yu Jingjun, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra Now, and musicians of the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music. Hosted by Shenyang and Jindong Cai.
December 14, 2020, 7:30pm EST
Beethoven is Us (Producer's Expo)
Host Jindong Cai and guests will offer a peek into the Chinese market for all things Beethoven, including a musical based on Beethoven's life, a play describing how his music became known in China, and an 'immersive multimedia Beethoven experience' exhibition at the Shanghai Concert Hall.
December 15, 2020, 7:30pm EST
Shanghai Symphony: Night of Beethoven (Concert)
Celebrate Beethoven's birthday with the illustrious Shanghai Symphony, the oldest orchestra in China, featuring a selection of recent performances of some of Beethoven's most iconic symphonic and chamber works, specially selected for the China Now Music Festival.
December 16, 2020, 7:30pm EST
Beethoven in Beijing: an American Orchestra's Journey (Private Film Screening)
Get early access to the new documentary Beethoven in Beijing, which follows the Philadelphia Orchestra on their first historic trip to China in 1973 and chronicles the opening of China to Western classical music since the end of the Cultural Revolution. In collaboration with History Making Productions, the Wharton School, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
December 17, 2020; 8pm EST
Building Bridges through Music: Beethoven in Beijing (Roundtable Discussion)
Hosted by Asia Society of Northern California and moderated by author Sheila Melvin, this discussion with the filmmakers Jennifer Lin and Jindong Cai, plus guests Ryan Fleur, executive director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Ambassador Nicholas Platt— looking at the future of culture and diplomacy through classical music.
December 18, 2020, 7:30pm EST
Egmont in China (Orchestra Concert)
The 2020 China Now Music Festival closes with a landmark performance of Beethoven's complete Egmont, his musical setting of the 1787 play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in a new production by the China NCPA Orchestra in Beijing. With narration in Mandarin by Sun Qian, and featuring soprano Song Yuanming, the concert was recorded live at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on November 12, 2020, conducted by Lü Jia.
About the US-China Music InstituteThe US-China Music Institute was founded at the Bard College Conservatory of Music in 2017 by conductor and classical music scholar Jindong Cai and Robert Martin, a cellist, philosopher, and the founding director of the Bard Conservatory. The Institute's mission is to promote the study, performance, and appreciation of music from contemporary China, and to support musical exchange between the United States and China. It is the most comprehensive institution for Chinese music in the West, with unprecedented degree programs and research and performance opportunities for students, artists, composers, and scholars around the world.
About the Bard College Conservatory of MusicRecognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, the Bard College Conservatory of Music is guided by the principle that young musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their greatest potential. The mission of the Conservatory is to provide the best possible preparation for a person dedicated to a life immersed in the creation and performance of music. The five-year, double-degree program combines rigorous conservatory training with a challenging and comprehensive liberal arts program. All Conservatory students pursue a double degree in a thoroughly integrated program and supportive educational community. Graduating students receive a bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. At the Bard Conservatory the serious study of music goes hand in hand with the education of the whole person. Founded in 2005 by cellist and philosopher Robert Martin, the Conservatory welcomed the composer Tan Dun as its new dean in the summer of 2019. Visit Bard CollegeFounded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard's campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson Valley. It offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music degrees, with majors in nearly 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 159-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow's thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit media inquiries and to request interviews, please contact Marc Smrikarov at .

Weekend Arts Round Up, December 10, 2020 - Georgetowner

Posted: 10 Dec 2020 08:17 AM PST

Author photo by Nina Subin. Courtesy Penguin Random House.

Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight, Dec. 10 — and it's the last day to register for Temple Shalom's virtual bake-along. On Tuesday, Politics and Prose will welcome Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia and ESPN's Jesse Washington, co-author of legendary Hoyas coach John Thompson's new autobiography. Also book-related: Planet Word is calling all crossword lovers! For details, click on the headings below.

GALA Hispanic Theatre: Online Film Festival

The theme of GALA Hispanic Theatre's online film festival, running through Dec. 13, is Latin American innovation. Available for viewing: the documentary "La Mami," set in the bathroom of Cabaret Barba Azul in Mexico City; "Los Sonámbulos (The Sleepwalkers)," about a teenage sleepwalker; "Três Verões (Three Summers)," a comic portrait of contemporary Brazil; "Vendrá la Muerte y Tendrá Tus Ojos (Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes)," in which lovers retreat to a cabin when one gets a terminal diagnosis; "Las Mil y Una (One in a Thousand)," about a young woman's LGBT awakening in northern Argentina; "Sanctorum," in which a boy searches for his mother in a region torn by drug-related violence; and "El Fantasma del Convento (The Phantom of the Monastery)," a 1934 Mexican horror film directed by Fernando de Fuentes. All films are in Spanish or Portuguese with English subtitles. Tickets are $8 per film and festival passes are $50.

Weschler's: Live Auction

On Dec. 11 at 10 a.m., Weschler's, located at 40 West Gude Drive in Rockville, Maryland, will hold a live Capital Collections auction. Among the lots to be offered: a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut lowbow, c. 1760-80, est. $3,000 to $5,000; "Cow (Yellow and Blue)" by Andy Warhol, est. $8,000 to $12,000; and an Edwardian platinum and diamond ring, c. 1910, est. $20,000 to $30,000. Weschler's is currently open by appointment only.

Levine Music: Online Master Class

Levine Music will present a free online master class with California-born jazz guitarist Julian Lage — a child prodigy, Berklee College of Music graduate and three-time Grammy nominee — on Dec. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. During the class, Lage will discuss and demonstrate technique, practicing and improvisation.

Dumbarton Concerts: Live-Streamed Performance

Dumbarton Concerts will live-stream a winter solstice concert featuring Helicon, Charm City Junction, the Ken & Brad Kolodner Trio and Scottish National Fiddle Champion Elke Baker on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. The program fuses Celtic dance rhythms with seasonal, Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, Appalachian, world and bluegrass music. A meet-the-artists session will follow the concert. Tickets are $26.

Russian Chamber Art Society: Online Performance and Conversation

Vera Danchenko-Stern, the Russian Chamber Art Society's founder and artistic director, will host the fourth installment of Russian Tea Time with Vera on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. This online event will include an encore presentation of RCAS's 2018 performance of a narrated, condensed version of Tchaikovsky's "The Queen of Spades," followed by a conversation with soprano Jennifer Casey Cabot, mezzo-soprano Susana Poretsky and tenor Viktor Antipenko. Tickets are $15.

Temple Shalom: Virtual Bake-Along

Participants in a virtual Hanukkah bake-along on Dec. 13 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. are asked to bring a donation for DC Diaper Bank that morning to Temple Shalom, 8401 Grubb Road in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where they can pick up a family activity kit (contact the temple to make an alternative arrangement). At the bake-along, Paula Shoyer, the Kosher Baker, will show them how to make blue-and-white cookies. The group will light the Hanukkah candles together at 5:30 p.m. Advance registration is required, with Dec. 10 the deadline to reserve a kit.

Signature Theatre: Online Play Reading

On Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., Signature Theatre will present a free online reading of "The Story of Walter" on YouTube, with a live discussion at intervals with Alabama playwright Audrey Cefaly and director Holly Twyford. In the play, Walter, the father of a spunky 7-year-old daughter, struggles to navigate the world of single parenthood.

Jackie: Virtual Cooking Class

Chef Jerome Grant of Jackie — an American bistro that pays tribute to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis — will lead a free virtual cooking class on Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. Participants must register for a time slot on Dec. 14 or 15 to pick up a complimentary box of ingredients and recipes at Crossing, 949 First St. SE. On the day of the class, live-streamed from the demo kitchen at Crossing, a new luxury building at Navy Yard, the group will cook berbere-spiced meatballs and couscous along with Grant.

Politics and Prose: Online Book Talk

On Dec. 15 at 6 p.m., Politics and Prose bookstore will present an online discussion about "I Came as a Shadow," Georgetown University men's basketball coach John Thompson's posthumously published autobiography, with co-author Jesse Washington of ESPN and John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University. Admission is pay-what-you-can, with purchase of the book encouraged.

Planet Word: Online Conversation

Planet Word, the new museum in historic Franklin School that explores the power, beauty and fun of language, will present "Crosswords and the People Who Love Them" on Dec. 17 at noon. Adrienne Raphel, author of "Thinking Inside the Box," will lead this free online conversation about where crosswords came from, how they're built and why we can't get enough of them.

Museum of Women in the Arts: Virtual Happy Hour

On Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m., the National Museum of Women in the Arts will host a virtual happy hour in honor of pathbreaking French American sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), who was born on Dec. 25. Art critic Amei Wallach, who made the documentary "Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress, and the Tangerine," will be on hand for this contribute-what-you-wish event, at which artworks and stories will be shared and participants will toast Bourgeois with a specialty cocktail. The museum, at 1250 New York Ave. NW, is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and students and free for age 18 and under. Masks are required, social distancing is in effect and visitors are encouraged to purchase timed-entry tickets in advance.

Classical Movements: In-Person Concerts

Classical Movements will present two afternoon performances of "Hallelujah! Gospel & Choral Favorites with Camerata Baltimore" on Dec. 19 at 1 and 2:30 p.m. in the Secret Garden at the Rectory, 711 Princess St. in Alexandria, Virginia. The program of gospel music, spirituals and classical repertoire in celebration of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas includes "Hallelujah" from Handel's "Messiah," Saint-Saëns's "Christmas Oratorio" and works by John Rutter, Undine Smith Moore and Amy F. Bernon. Seating will be socially distanced and masks are required. Tickets are $45.

Jazz festival, Open Tone to bring holiday cheer with online ‘Winter Jubilee’ concert - Akron Beacon Journal

Posted: 11 Dec 2020 03:04 AM PST

Kerry Clawson   | Akron Beacon Journal

The Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival and Open Tone Music are pairing up to bring holiday cheer to virtual audiences this weekend with the concert "Winter Jubilee."

The ticketed event, which will premiere via Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo at 8 p.m. Saturday, will include pre-recorded holiday tunes by local jazz musicians as well as a livestream by concert producer Theron Brown and friends from the AVclub at Northside.  

Brown, a jazz pianist who founded Akron's annual jazz festival in 2016, will speak live with Chris Anderson of Open Tune Music, the show's presenter. Phil Anderson of the AVclub will run the tech side and the hosts will be taking questions from viewers on the Facebook chat. 

Viewers can also expect a live performance from the AVclub by a string trio comprised of Cleveland-area musicians Amber Dimoff, Virginia Ashley and Isabel Dimoff, who will play holiday tunes.  

The event is a fundraiser for Open Tone Music, which Anderson founded in 2010 to provide music education to underserved communities, mainly youth in Northeast Ohio. Open Tone became an official subsidiary of the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio in 2019.

Brown, 33, said proceeds from the holiday concert will help keep the nonprofit program going by providing instruments for the children, bringing artists in for future talks and master classes and continuing students' educational trips when the pandemic is over.

The free lessons with jazz professionals are invaluable for Open Tone students, said Brown, as are opportunities for their families to attend Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival concerts for free and for the young musicians to open up for headliners during normal times.

"I come from a small town (Zanesville) and I didn't have these mentors and I didn't have a Theron Brown to teach me piano," said Brown, an adjunct professor at Kent State University and University of Akron jazz studies graduate who is artistic director for the jazz festival.   

Saturday's "Winter Jubilee" continues the jazz festival's mission to bring music to the community and to give local musicians a platform to express themselves and be paid. The concert will cut between the live hosting at the AVclub and pre-recorded music-making by jazz musicians on the Akron Civic Theatre stage.

Brown said holiday song choices will be a surprise. Headliners will include local vocalists Reginald Bowens and Maria Jacobs of Cleveland as well as Durrell LeGrair of Akron. Phillip K. Jones II of Houston, a Cleveland native, will be special guest pianist and Brown himself will play with some of the vocalists.

The band of Northeast Ohio musicians includes drummer Zaire Darden, bass player Jordan McBride, guitarist Dan Bruce, tenor saxophonist Johnny Cochran, trombonist Anderson and trumpeters Tommy Lehman and Matt Garrett.

"Our musicans here are out of this world but it's kind of this midwest vibe where we're very humble and we work hard for what we do and our music is for the people," Brown said.

Concert producers and musicians followed COVID-19 protocols, recording at the Civic on a rotation and taking breaks between singers to air out the Civic stage. Musicians also had their temperatures taken twice upon arrival and were required to wear masks.

For this online concert, viewers will see a different vantagepoint of the Civic.

"We actually turned the stage around so that the people would be able to see the Civic but it was empty seats" out in the house, Brown said, "so it's kind of gonna have an aesthetic and mark this time of like, 'wow, these are what the pandemic era of concerts looked like.' " 

Open Tone Music students also will be featured in a virtual performance in "Winter Jubilee."

For tickets, which start at $25, see Sponsorship levels are set at $100, $500 and $2,000.

A redacted version of the show also will be available to view for free on Christmas Eve on the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival and Open Tone Music Facebook pages. 

Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or


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