Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's Goin' On (Part 3) This Weekend 5/01-03

Another very busy weekend around these parts and, trust me, this posting won't cover all the good things happening in Middletown.

If you hemmed and hawed about purchasing tickets to the Greater Middletown Concerts Association's Friday night presentation of "La Traviata", it's too late. GMCA's chief mover & shaker Barbara Arafeh and her devoted minions went out and sold every seat in the house, all 700 or so in the Performing Arts Center inside the new Middletown High School. To join the waiting list, call 346-4887.

The Friends of the Russell Library hold its "Bag Book Sale" this weekend (but not Sunday) during regular Library hours (9 a.m, - 6 p.m. Friday, 9 - 5 Saturday, 9 - 8:30 p.m. on Monday.) Great values abound along with much fine reading. Call 347-2528, ext 135 for more information.

The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main Street, presents an evening of "Gypsy jazz" when the trio known as Ameranouche plays on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Composed of Richard "Shepp" Sheppard (lead guitar), Ryan Flaherty (rhythm guitar), and Xar Adelberg (double bass), the trio has been charming audiences with its fine acoustic music since 2004. The music is a blend of flamenco, French chanson, American soul music, bop, and more. Their 3rd CD, "La Foule" has just been issued and they'll be playing many of the tracks on this evening. For more information, go to

Friday at 12:30 p.m., Buttonwood Tree director Anne-Marie Cannata will be my guest on "Best of the Valley-Shore", heard on both WMRD-AM 1150 and WLIS 1420-AM. We'll chat about plenty of upcoming events but especially the "Tribute to Susan Allison" on Friday May 8.

Wesleyan will be a busy campus on Friday. At 5 p.m., the new exhibition in the Zilkha Gallery opens at 5 p.m. with a reception and Curator Talk. "Global Warning: Artists and Climate Change" is a large scale show that aims to "increase awareness of climate change through challenging content that is laced with poetry and aesthetic power." Included in the show are works in a variety of media from the past three decades by Marion Belanger, Lorraine Berry, Diane Burko, Nancy Cohen, Helen and Newton Harrison (one of their works, "The World Ocean is a Great Draftsman", is pictured above), Chris Jordan, Aviva Rahmani, Lenore Malen, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Frances Whitehead. The exhibition, part of the University's "Feet to the Fire: Exploring Global Climate from Science to Art" initiative, will be on view through May 24. Gallery hours are 12noon - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (12noon - 8 p.m.on Fridays.)

Also part of the "Feet to the Fire" programming, Native American composer Barbara Croall has been commissioned to compose a new work on global climate change that will be performed by the Wesleyan University Orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Roy Wiseman, at 8 p.m. Friday in Crowell Concert Hall. According to the website, Croall is Odawa and balances her time between work in outdoor education rooted in traditional Anishhinaabe teachings and composing music. She has been actively performing and composing for Anishhinaabe musical instruments and for European classical instruments since 1995. Her music for soloists, small and large chamber ensembles, symphony orchestra, film, dance and theater have been premiered internationally and across Canada." The program will also feature works by the winners of the Wesleyan Orchestra Concerto Competition. The event is free and open to the public.

Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Patricelli '92 Theater, the student choreographers from the Wesleyan Dance Department present the Spring Dance Concert. For ticket information, call 685-3355 or go online to

The Fishbone Cafe, 120 Court Street, presents the "Sweet Sue" Terry Quartet Friday at 8:30 p.m. Joining the fine saxophonist (a graduate of the Hartt School of Music) will be Michael Musillami (guitar), Joe Fonda (bass) and George Schuller (drums.) For more information, call 346-6000.

Saturday events include The Wesleyan Collegium Musicum performing at 7 p.m. in Memorial Chapel, High Street. The WCM is an ensemble "dedicated to exploring and performing the diverse vocal and instrumental repertories of the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods of European music." This fine performance is free and open to all.

The Buttonwood Tree welcomes the trio of Ben Ross (harmonica), Phillip Greene (keyboards) and Shula Weinstein (cello, guitar) for an evening of blues, classical music and more. The Saturday performance begins at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 347-4957.

Sunday, there will be a "Chamber Music Extravaganza" at 2 p.m. in The Russell House, 350 High Street. Students of Anthea Kreston and Jason Duckles (2/3rds of the wonderful Amelia Piano Trio) will perform and the free event is followed by a reception for all.

At 7 p.m. in the World Music Hall, one can enjoy the Spring Taiko Concert, featuring students of Mark H Rooney of Odaiko New England. If you've not experienced Taiko drumming, it's both brash and subtle, alternately thundering and precise. For ticket information, call 685-3355.

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