Bowling Green State University will launch its Jazz Week series Monday, April Fool’s Day. But this is no joke: A solid week of public concerts will show off the College of Musical Arts’ broad approach to preparing the next generation of performers and educators in America’s own musical art.
The highlight of the week will be the appearance on campus of South African trumpet phenom Hugh Masekela in an 8 p.m. Festival Series concert Wednesday in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center.
Masekela, 73, grew up in South Africa during its often violent equal rights struggles. Perhaps his saving grace was to be noticed by Father Trevor Huddleston, who provided the young man with a trumpet and, as it turned out, a ticket to a career which continues to thrive on an international scale. The Afro-Jazz sound developed in the 1950s with Masekela as a major proponent and innovator in the Jazz Epistles, a South African band.
In 1960, Masekela left his homeland and began a 30-year period of exile, studying at the Manhattan School of Music and discovering and being discovered by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and others. He worked with and learned from Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.
By 1963, Masekela had recorded his debut album, “Trumpet Africaine.’’ His 1968 single, “Grazing in the Grass," moved to the top spot on the music charts and won him a Grammy. By then, he was in Los Angeles, hanging out with hippies and artists in that scene.
Since then, he has released more than 40 albums and worked with artists including Harry Belafonte, The Byrds, Miriam Makeba, Herb Alpert, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon. “Graceland,’’ Simon’s groundbreaking album on which Masekela is featured, just marked its 25th anniversary.
In 1990, Masekela returned to South Africa, to help celebrate the fall of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. The BGSU concert kicks off an 18-city tour promoting Masekela’s latest album, “Playing@Work.’’ He’ll be joined onstage by Abednigo Zulu, bass guitar; Frances Fuster, percussion and backing vocals; Randal Skippers, keyboards and backing vocals, and Lee-Roy Sauls, drums and backing vocals.
Tickets are $12-$38 at 419-372-8171 or www.bgsu.edu/festivalseries.
Jazz Week also includes these free public concerts, all in Moore: small jazz ensembles, 8 p.m. Monday, Bryan Hall; vocal jazz ensembles, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Bryan; BGSU jazz faculty with guest drummer Peter Erskine, 8 p.m. April 4, Bryan; BGSU Jazz Lab Band with Erskine, 8 p.m. April 5, Kobacker Hall. For more information, visit www.bgsu.edu/arts.
The Toledo School for the Arts Spring Instrumental Concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday in the Attic Theater of the School, 333 14th St. Tickets are $4-$6 at 419-246-8732, extension 226.
The University of Toledo’s annual Spring Festival of New Music, April 3-5 at the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall, will be headlined with blues musicians from Cleveland.
Concerts by student and faculty are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday and April 4, with special guests Mary Martin, guitarist, pianist, and vocalist and Betsy Marshall, guitarist and vocalist, giving a free public concert at 8 p.m. April 5.
“We’ll be bringing a little bit of spring to Toledo,” Martin said. “It will be elegant and casual.”
The final installment of Owens Community College’s series, American’s Music: A Film History, is to take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Way Public Library, Louisiana and Indiana avenues, Perrysburg. A performance by the Hand Hewn String Band will open the free public event, followed by screening of High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music. Matt Donahue of the BGSU Popular Culture department will wrap up the evening with a lecture. Information: 567-661-7956.
Longing for a bit more Erin go Bragh? Drop by the Stranahan Theater Tuesday for a 7 p.m. show by Celtic Woman, a quartet of vocalists and fiddlers who will perform traditional Irish songs and original numbers. Tickets are $32-$102 at 419-381-8851.
The student symphony from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., will perform at 7 p.m. April 5 in Adrian High School Auditorium, 785 Riverside Ave., Adrian. Ruth Lion will conduct works by Mozart and Rimsky-Korsakov during this free public concert.
Monday Musicale will present its monthly recital at 1 p.m. Monday in Epworth United Methodist Church, 3177 Valleyview at Central Avenue. Performers will be vocalists Barbara Kondalski, Norma Kelling, and Eileen Towse; pianists Wendene Shoupe and Barbara Foote; flutist Connie Alleshouse, and cellist Gloria Heacock. The event is free.
University Musical Society will present Darius Milhaud’s Oresteia of Aeschylus, an operatic trilogy performed by the University of Michigan Symphony and choirs and the UMS Choral Union, the Orpheus Singers, and smaller ensembles at 7:30 p.m. April 4 in Hill Auditorium. Kenneth Kiesler will conduct this massive work.
Based on the plays by Aeschylus, the only trilogy in Greek drama to survive from antiquity, it was set to a percussive, dramatic score by Milhaud at the request of Paul Claudel, poet, who translated the work from Greek to French. The three parts tell the violent history of the royal family of Argos. Singing will be in French with English subtitles. The work is rarely performed in its entirety. This performance will be recorded for international release.
Tickets are $10-$60 at www.ums.org or 734-764-2538.
The Toledo Opera announces its summertime Opera Camp for students ages 8 to 22, to take place June 13-21. Morning and afternoon sessions geared for groups 8 to 14 years and 15 to 22 years will be held at the opera headquarters, 425 Jefferson Ave.
For more information, call 419-255-SING.
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