Places November/December 2010
A preview of Performing Arts at Johnson County Community College www.jccc.edu/TheSeries
DRUMLine LIVE beatlegras JIGU! Thunder Drums of China ® LeAnn Rimes Naturally 7
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake LeAnn Rimes
Christmas Bells Are Swingin’
DRUMLine Live brings marching band to stage
DRUMLine Live is not your Big 12 halftime show. Put together a drum major, five dancers and 33 wind and percussion players assembled from Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the Southeast, and suddenly halftime becomes the reason to pack the auditorium. Created by the team behind the hit movie Drumline, DRUMLine Live brings the style and energy of the HBCU marching band tradition to Yardley Hall at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5. With riveting rhythms, bold beats and ear-grabbing energy, DRUMLine Live is a synchronized musical showcase. Incorporating original compositions and soul-infused interpretations of Top 40 hits, group performances range from colorful, choreographed routines to heavy doses of drum riffs and cadences. DRUMLine Live is doing for “band heads” what television’s Glee is doing for “choral geeks.” Musically talented as well as physically athletic, these high-stepping players are at last receiving the attention they deserve. Their music is intense and emotional, founded in traditional brass and percussion compositions mixed with R&B, Motown, swing, hip-hop and even gospel music. The two-act program reflects those styles. HBCU was established after the Civil War, but some institutions date back to 1837. Their primary purpose was to educate freed slaves. The
first great expansion in black higher education came after the war during the period of Reconstruction. It was in these bastions of higher education that the tradition of the show-style marching band was born. The tradition began more than 60 years ago at Florida A&M University, which has been long considered the nation’s preeminent black college marching band school. HBCU marching bands began, as most do, as support for the college football team. They have since grown into a sport of their own, featuring characteristic high stepping, funky dance rhythms and exciting musical repertoire. Celebrations of HBCU marching culminate in competitions such as the Big Southern Classic and Bayou Classic. These competitions, which draw audiences of roughly 60,000 fans each, are a testament to the popularity of the sport. But it is only recently, with films such as Drumline, that this tradition has begun to capture the imagination of the American public. Don P. Roberts, musical director of DRUMLine Live, continues to serve as instrumental music coordinator for the Dekalb County School System and chief consultant of the Metro Atlanta Battle of the Bands. Roberts has led bands to perform at major events such at the Centennial Olympic Games and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tickets $36, $46
Band adds bluegrass twist to Beatle classics The band beatlegras was born when Dave Walser, George Anderson and Milo Deering completed a successful studio project playing Beatles songs with bluegrass arrangements in 2004. Luckily for audiences, the three world-class musicians have moved from the studio to live stage, performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in Polsky Theatre.
he now plays occasionally for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He has also played with such notables as Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Woody Herman to name a few. His jazz album Faces was listed for a Grammy Award in the spring of 2003, and he is much in demand for his smooth jazz and R&B sound.
Imagine the music of the Fab Four shaken up with infusions of bluegrass and jazz and topped off with a classical twist. The result: a satisfying musical cocktail called beatlegras.
Walser says “When I first asked George to be in beatlegras, he said he didn’t really know anything about playing bluegrass on the bass. I said, ‘Great! You’ll be perfect!’”
“This isn’t your same old Beatles band,” says Walser, founder of the innovative group.
Deering is a virtuoso player of stringed instruments, including the mandolin, fiddle, guitar and dobro. He is in constant demand as a session player and also as a composer, recently recording with Don Henley. Milo has toured and recorded with LeAnn Rimes (four platinum records) and other well-known artists. You’ve probably heard his fiddle playing on the infamous Motel 6 theme song ("We’ll leave the light on for you"), which he also co-wrote. He even graced the silver screen in a cameo in Hope Floats, a movie with Sandra Bullock.
A fan of the classic quartet since he first saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show, Walser was inspired to create beatlegras after seeing McCartney’s Back in the U.S. tour in 2002. “I thought it would be fun to get some great musicians together and play all acoustic versions of Beatles songs. Hooking up with George and Milo was the best thing that could happen. Each of us adds a little something different to the mix,” Walser said.
“One of the best things to me about the Beatles,” says Deering, “is that they weren’t afraid to think outside of the box. Neither are we.”
A longtime Dallas musician, Walser owns and operates Blue Moon Recording and Post, where most of the beatlegras CDs were recorded.
With 50 songs in its repertoire, beatlegras is working on its fourth album.
Anderson has been playing classical upright bass since junior high, which
JIGU! Thunder Drums of China® ‘touches the drum,’ touches the soul Hailing from the Shanxi Province in China, JIGU! Thunder Drums of China ® brings the culmination of thousands of years of Chinese musical tradition to modern audiences at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12, in Yardley Hall. JIGU! (pronounced jee Goo) means to “beat or touch the drums” and the performers in this troupe do just that plus singing, dancing and performing on other Chinese wind and percussion instruments. More than a drum concert, each choreographed piece tells a story and immerses the audience in Chinese cultures. “JIGU! is much more than a wild percussion concert. Like Riverdance or Belly Dance Superstars, the show presents a tradition that’s foreign to most who are not Chinese.” — Kalamazoo Gazette. China has a long and rich theatrical history dating back 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty, and good Chinese theater must show the real struggle of humans to succeed and survive as well as display the trials and joys of living. The fundamental belief of Chinese theatergoers is that theater should be an illusion of life. Scenes celebrate ancient battles, vignettes about mythical characters, legendary fables and elements of nature (Dogs Chasing Ducks, Sounds of Rolling Walnuts, Garden City Gathering). Colorful stage lighting and
JIGU! Thunder Drums of China
traditional costumes underscore the two-hour performance. The award-winning group of 28 drummers comes from 28 villages within the Shanxi Province (northern part of the People’s Republic of China) and range in age from 18 to 30. Their families have passed down their skills from generation to generation. One of the performance scenes portrays Shanxi emperor Li Shimin of the Tang Dynasty, who is still celebrated for his drum and percussion orchestra. In China, music is written for percussion instruments, and each type of drum has a specific style. In Chinese opera, the bangu (single-headed frame drum) player directs the rest of the orchestra. A large gong creates a stately and imposing atmosphere. Dramatic effects and an atmosphere of mystery can be achieved with the addition of the tanggu (a medium-sized barrel drum) and the muyu (a woodblock or slit drum). Other popular Chinese percussion instruments are the lion drum, luo, bo, gu and bianzhong (a collection of bronze bells). JIGU! Thunder Drums of China ® is award-winning family entertainment with music so intense that you feel it in your soul. Tickets $18 youth, $22
Country music star LeAnn Rimes comes of age At age 28, LeAnn Rimes has been in the country music business 14 years. We first knew her as the pretty teenager with the incredible voice who burst on the national scene with the hit Blue. Along the way country music’s sweetheart has turned a little sassy while maturing as a vocal artist, songwriter and actress. The talented country music star will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, in Yardley Hall. Rimes’ performance will be an all-acoustic concert, showcasing her vocal excellence and signature tunes — How Do I Live (Without You), Can’t Fight the Moonlight and ‘Til We Ain’t Strangers Anymore (originally recorded with Jon Bon Jovi). With a rise to fame at age 13, Rimes is the youngest person to win a Grammy (1997) since Tanya Tucker (1972). Since her Blue debut, she has continued a successful career as a singer with multiple awards (two Grammys, three Academy of Country Music, one American Music, one Country Music and 12 Billboard Music awards) and as an actress (Coyote Ugly and Northern Lights). Rimes has placed more than 40 singles on American and international charts. Through the years, her styles have ranged from country to inspirational tunes to country pop and back to country. Fans welcomed the debut of her newest single, John Anderson’s 1983 Swingin’, at the 2010 Country Music Television music awards in June. Swingin’ is the cover song for Lady and Gentleman, the country artist’s 11th album consisting of Rimes’ favorite classic country love songs, all originally recorded by men (scheduled for release in October as of this writing). News about Rimes’ career and life is widespread on a CMT blog, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, iLike and her official website. Rimes, however, says she doesn’t read the tabloids. Tickets $40, $50 $100 (orchestra pit, which is almost sold out)
Naturally 7 is new vocal wonder With their rich harmonies, an unbelievable ability to replicate instruments and a stage presence that can be felt in every seat of the house, Naturally 7, an award-winning septet with a distinct a cappella style, will amaze and charm fans at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in Yardley Hall. Kansas City audiences are already familiar with the group as it brought the house down and onto their feet as the warm-up act for Michael Bublé at the Sprint Center in June. Today Naturally 7 are Roger Thomas (musical director, arranger, first baritone, rap), Warren Thomas (percussion, guitar, clarinet, third tenor), Rod Eldridge (first tenor, scratching, trumpet), Jamal Reed (fourth tenor, electric guitar), Dwight Stewart (second baritone), Garfield Buckley (second tenor, harmonica) and “Hops” Hutton (bass). Their seven-part harmonies artfully blend gospel, jazz, R&B, hip-hop and even classical vocal genres (like Motown). The origins of the group date back to New York City in 1999 when Roger Thomas started the group with his brother, Warren, and five other talented singers. Having been in and out of several traditional male groups over the years, Roger developed an affinity for a cappella sounds and a unique ability to create distinct harmony arrangements. When invited to sing at a major a cappella competition in New York, they won and moved on to the nationals.
The idea evolved, and the other band members found unique aspects of their own voices to determine which member would be which instrument, giving birth to the term “vocal play.” What makes Naturally 7 unique is that every instrument sound is created from the human voice. There are no actual drums, guitars, horns or flutes. Rather instrument sounds are created by the band members’ vocals. The band has recorded five albums – Non Fiction (2000), the aptly titled What Is It (2003), Christmas … It’s a Love Story (2004), Ready II Fly (2006) and VocalPlay (2010), featuring duets with Grammy Award-winner Michael Bublé (Relax Max) and German Superstar Xavier Naidoo (Wild vor Wut). March 2010 saw them join as special guests with Bublé on his Crazy Love world tour. The phenomenal talent of these unique young men makes them one of the Naturally 7 wonders of the world. Join members of Naturally 7 for a master class on Friday afternoon. For information, call 913-469-8500, ext. 4221. Tickets $30, $40
Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 was going to be an a cappella group or a traditional band, Roger had a novel idea: they could be both. He remembered as a child, his brother Warren always wanted a drum set, but their mother told him “no” because it was too noisy. So Warren learned to make drum sounds, with different ways of making the kick, toms, snare, cymbals and other drum sounds, to compensate for not having real drums to play. Roger approached Warren with the idea from their childhood, and asked if he could become the band’s drummer, so to speak, to accompany Naturally 7 on up-tempo songs.
PAS serves ‘Cupcake’ story with music and sprinkles The Omaha Theater Company brings to life Laura Numeroff’s beloved children’s book, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, at 9:45 a.m. and noon Tuesday, Nov. 16 in Yardley Hall. Based on Numeroff’s If You Give a … book series, this production adds music to the antics of Cat, his human friend Laura and the full circle of “misadventures” leading back to cupcake sprinkles. The Omaha Theater Company is the third largest professional children’s theater in the nation, with its programs reaching more than 700,000 people each year in Omaha and on national tour. The Omaha Theater Company’s National Tour is one of the largest in the country, with productions touring to more than 65 venues in 25 states each year. Tickets $5
Performing Arts Events J o h n s o n
C o u n t y
C o m m u n i t y
C o l l e g e
November 2010 Sunday
1 *Sarah Tannehill, soprano Ruel Joyce Recital Hall noon Recital Hall
*Megan Birdsall Quartet Jazz Series noon Recital Hall
21 *Godspell JCCC music and theatre department 2 p.m. Polsky Theatre
India Nite India Association of Kansas City 4 p.m. Yardley Hall $12 (age 4 and above)
*Godspell 20 JCCC music and theatre department 7:30 p.m., Polsky Theatre Naturally 7 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $30, $40
Box Office: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday • Call 913-469-4445 • Tickets are required for most events in Polsky Theatre and Yardley Hall. Programs, dates and times are subject to change. Discounts are available for music, theater and dance students. PAS Administrative Office: Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday • Call 913-469-4450 • A request for interpretative services
December 2010 Sunday
must be made 72 hours before a performance. Call the ox office at 913-469-4445 or TDD/TTY 913-469-4485. Persons with disabilities who desire additional support services may contact services for patrons with disabilities, 913-469-8500, ext. 3521, or TDD/TTY 913-469-3885.
For best seats, order early. Call 913-469-4445 or buy tickets online www.jccc.edu/TheSeries for tickets and
7 *Johnson County Chorus 3 p.m. Yardley Hall
11 American Youth Ballet The Nutcracker 2 and 7 p.m., Yardley Hall $18, $15 students and seniors
Purchase live online
*Johnson County Chorus 3 p.m. Yardley Hall
Friday 3 Christmas Bells Are Swingin’! 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $30, $40 B&G $5 off
information. Service fee applicable.
beatlegras 8 p.m. Polsky Theatre $25
12 *Godspell 13 JCCC music and theatre department, 7:30 p.m. Polsky Theatre
LeAnn Rimes 7 p.m. Yardley Hall $40, $50, $100
DRUMLine LIVE 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $36, $46
JIGU! Thunder Drums of China ® 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $18 youth, $22
16 If You Give a Cat a Cupcake 9:45 a.m., noon Yardley Hall, $5
*Jeffrey Brown, piano Ruel Joyce Recital Series noon Recital Hall
*Chamber Choir and MadRegalia 7:30 p.m. Polsky Theatre
*JCCC Jazz Nights 7:30 p.m. Polsky Theatre
*KU Vespers on the Road 7:30 p.m. Yardley Hall reserve tickets at box office
JOHNSON COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE 12345 COLLEGE BLVD OVERLAND PARK KS 66210-1299
NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Johnson County Community College
Kenton’s tunes are a gift to jazz fans Merry Christmas, jazz fans. The Boston Brass and Brass All-Star Big Band are here to provide a welcome holiday concert with selections arranged by jazz legend Stan Kenton in Christmas Bells Are Swingin’ at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, in Yardley Hall. Artists Insights, presented by Bill Everett, musicologist, University of Missouri-Kansas City, begin at 7 p.m. Sponsored in part by the JCCC Brown & Gold Club. For this holiday show, the five-member Boston Brass teams ups with nine all-star brass players from around the globe to perform as the Boston Brass and the Brass All-Star Big Band. The ensemble of all brass (trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas with jazz rhythm section) features the signature big-band arrangements of Kenton classics, both secular and sacred, like White Christmas, Greensleeves, a Motown Jingle Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in a setting that will delight audiences of all ages. One of the busiest brass bands around, Boston Brass will be 25 years old in 2011. The ensemble’s lively sense of humor engages the audience in a friendly atmosphere. The Boston Brass is today composed of Jose Sibaja, trumpet; Jeff Conner, trumpet; Chris Castellanos, French horn; Lance LaDuke, trombone/
euphonium; and Andrew Hitz, tuba. The Boston Brass has been featured on The CBS Early Show, and National Public Radio’s Performance Today and has recorded diverse albums from Latin Nights to classical music in Within Earshot. Famed tubist and producer Samuel J. Pilafian conducts not only the magnificent virtuosos of the Boston Brass but additional players from around the world such as Jens Lindemann, Jeff Nelsen, Chris Cooper (formerly of Canadian Brass), Scott Hartman (formerly of Empire Brass), Scott Thornberg and Mark Frost (from the Brass Band of Battle Creek), Dan Hostetler (formerly of Dallas Brass), and many more to complete the Brass All-Star Big Band. Kansans have a special kinship to Kenton (1911-1979), a Wichita native, pianist, composer, arranger and American jazz bandleader. While Kenton experimented widely as a band and orchestra leader, he remains famous for his “progressive jazz” and swing periods. His legacy, the Kenton style, permeates big-band education today, and his music had enjoyed resurgence in recent years. Tickets $30, $40 (B&G $5 off)