Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Mini-Celebration of Brahms Opens the 32nd Delaware Chamber Music Festival

By Christine Facciolo


The Delaware Chamber Music Festival (DCMF) opened its 2017 season on Friday, June 16 with a celebration of the music of a composer many find difficult to love: Johannes Brahms.

Indeed, the “Brahms problem” never seems to go away. Over and over, we hear complaints that his music is “too romantic,” albeit not excitingly romantic like Chopin or his mentor Schumann. At the same time, he’s charged with being too intellectual and not sensuous enough.

One thing, however, is certain: Brahms’ oeuvre occupies a unique position in the history of Western music. Looking Janus-like both to the music of the past and towards the innovations of future generations, Brahms’ music has shaped our understanding of composers from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to the present-day.

Violinist and DCMF Artistic Director Barbara Govatos has curated a series that acknowledges the tensions between modernism and tradition. Each of the four concerts offers a master work by Brahms as well as works by Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Stravinsky and others.

The level of playing was extremely high. The Festival Quartet — Govatos, Che-Hung Chen, viola, Hirono Oka, violin — includes musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Guest artists for the first weekend of concerts included pianists Marcantonio Barone, Julie Nishimura and Natalie Zhu.

Friday evening’s program opened with a performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Piano Trio, a nod to the Festival’s theme “Strings and Keys.” Like Scriabin, color and visual imagery figure prominently in her compositional process. This two-movement work attempts an aural depiction of the colors “Pale Yellow” and “Fiery Red.”

Govatos, pianist Natalie Zhu and cellist Clancy Newman delivered a performance that truly highlighted character of the movement titles: subtle and relaxed for the first, energetic and rhythmically decisive for the second. Perception is personal but if audience response was any indication, both musicians and composer succeeded in achieving the two vastly contrasting moods.

Violist Che-Hung Chen then joined Govatos and Newman in a performance of the Serenade in C major for String Trio by Hungarian composer Erno Dohnanyi. Dohnanyi became a devotee of Brahms while studying at the National Hungarian Academy of Music. Brahms would later promote the fledgling composer’s first published composition, the Piano Quintet in C minor.

Govatos and company offered an impressive performance of the Serenade characterized by a warm tone, a relaxed demeanor and the ability to search out the subtler aspects of the score.

Zhu rejoined the ensemble following intermission for a performance of Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G minor. The work premiered in Hamburg in 1861 with Clara Schumann at the piano. It was orchestrated in 1937 by Arnold Schoenberg who would call Brahms “the reluctant revolutionary” for the way he developed his thematic material, techniques for which Schoenberg himself would become famous.

The ensemble gave a reading that conveyed both the sweetness and simmer of the first movement; the introspective character of the second and the dreamy grandness of the third. The Hungarian, Rondo finale was pure fire, the rhythmic and metric complexities so meticulously executed that the audience rose to its feet with gasps of delight and thunderous applause.

Sunday’s program opened with the Fantasie in F minor for piano, four hands by Franz Schubert. Not a bad choice, since Schubert was one of Brahms’ favorite composers, so much so that he cast the aforementioned piano quartet in the Schubertean mold.

Schubert was after the Mozart the major composer of original four-hand piano music. The Fantasie comes from the last year of the composer’s life. It consists of four movements of unequal proportions. Guest pianists Julie Nishimura and Marcantonio Barone played as one entity, making very clear the architecture of the piece yet never obscuring the wonderful niceties like Schubert’s amazing sense of harmony and canonic writing.

Govatos and Barone did justice to the passion and pathos of Francis Poulenc’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, a work dedicated to the memory of Spanish poet, playwright and theatre director Frederico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Although Poulenc railed against a “prima donna” violin above an arpeggio piano accompaniment, he followed Brahms’ example in this work by giving each instrument a challenging yet balanced part.

Govatos, Barone and cellist Clancy Newman concluded the concert with a rendering of Brahms’ Piano Trio, No. 2 in C major. The three musicians gave the work the disciplined and coordinated interaction its complex lines demand and judging by audience reaction, achieved the desired result.

The Delaware Chamber Music Festival continues Friday, June 23, 7:30pm and Sunday, June 25, 3:00pm at Wilmington Friends Lower School. A Saturday, June 24, 4:00pm FREE Jazz Concert will also be performed at the Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew, in collaboration with the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency Program (Jonathan Whitney, Director. For full details, visit www.dcmf.org.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spending a Midsummer Night in Arden

By Guest Blogger, Mike Logothetis
Mike Logothetis grew up in North Wilmington, performing in school and local theater productions. He lives in Newark, but you can find him wherever the arts are good.


This June, the Arden Shakespeare Gild continues its 100-year tradition of homegrown performance with one of the most popular and enduring of The Bard’s comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While the production was slated to play outside in “The Field,” rain unfortunately moved the show inside Gild Hall on the night of my review. While no essence or execution was compromised, I wish I could have witnessed the sprite-ly fairies dancing in actual grass among the magical woods of Arden. I couldn’t imagine a better setting for this play…honestly!

But inside the cozy confines of Gild Hall, the audience was introduced to the entire cast as the actors entered the theater singing Over The Hills, which is the marching song of the Arden Players. An accompaniment of lute/mandolin and flute offered a musical arm to the production and added depth to certain scenes.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream invites the audience into three distinct spheres: An enchanted forest, a noble court in Athens where two sets of lovers prove that “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and the workaday world of a semi-professional acting troupe. In proper Shakespearean style, these three worlds eventually collide with hilarity, wit, and romance.

The play consists of several interconnecting plotlines – linked to a celebration of the wedding of ruling nobleman Theseus (Lee Jordan) to Hippolyta (Jessica Jordan) – and run simultaneously through the outlying forest.

The play opens with Hermia (Emma Orr) being in love with Lysander (Colin Gregory Antes) and resistant to her father Egeus' (Christopher Wright) arrangement to marry her off to Demetrius (Henry Moncure IV). Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Theseus, whereby a daughter must marry the suitor chosen by her father or face death. Theseus offers her another choice: lifelong chastity outside of matrimony. Strong-willed Hermia dislikes both options.

In a parallel plot line, Oberon (Lee Jordan), king of the fairies, and Titania (Jessica Jordan), his estranged queen, have come to the forest outside Athens. The mischievous Oberon calls upon “shrewd and knavish sprite” Puck (Kirsten Valania) to help him formulate a magical essence derived from a rare flower. When the concoction is applied to the eyelids of a sleeping person, that person falls in love with the first living thing he perceives upon waking. Oberon hopes that he might make Titania fall in love with a beast of the forest and thereby shame her back under his influence. It should be noted that the in-life married couple of Lee and Jessica Jordan have wonderful on-stage presence and chemistry.

Meanwhile, Lysander convinces Hermia to elope, which she confides to friend Helena (Jessica Fields). Desperate to win the love of Demetrius, Helena tells him about the plan and he follows the lovers into the woods with plans of killing Lysander. Not wanting to miss her chance at love, Helena chases Demetrius, who rebuffs her attempts at wooing him away from Hermia.

Secretly observing Demetrius hurling cruel insults at Helena, Oberon orders Puck to spread some of the magical potion on the eyelids of the young Athenian man. Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius and administers the juice to the sleeping Lysander. Coming across him, Helena wakes him while attempting to determine whether he is dead or asleep. Lysander immediately falls in love with Helena. Oberon sees Demetrius still following Hermia and becomes enraged. When Demetrius goes to sleep, Oberon sends Puck to get Helena while he charms Demetrius’ eyes.

Upon waking, Demetrius sees Helena and now both young men are in avid pursuit of her. However, she is convinced that her two suitors are mocking her, as neither loved her originally. At this juncture, Jessica Fields brings Helena’s confusion and anger to the forefront in several engaging arguments and rants. She started as a subservient maiden, but roared to life as a dominant woman using choice couplets and deft body movements to pull the audience towards her sympathies – a strong performance.

Of course, Hermia is now at a loss to see why her lover has abandoned her. The four quarrel with each other until Lysander and Demetrius become so enraged that they seek a place to duel to prove whose love for Helena is greatest. Oberon orders Puck to keep Lysander and Demetrius apart and to remove the charm from Lysander so Lysander can love Hermia again, while Demetrius will continue to love Helena.

All the while, Peter Quince (Henry Moncure III) and his fellow “Mechanicals” Nick Bottom (Dave Hastings), Francis Flute (Gene Dzielak), Robin Starveling (Sean McGuire), Tom Snout (Tom Wheeler), and Snug (Allan Kleban) plan to put on a play for the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. Bottom, who is playing the main role, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate others by suggesting he play three key roles himself. Dave Hastings shines in his role of Bottom and steals most scenes he’s in. Quince sets rehearsal for a clearing in the forest. (Where else?!)

At rehearsal, bombastic Bottom is noticed by a hidden Puck who transforms his head into that of a donkey. Titania, having received the love-potion, is awakened by Bottom’s singing and immediately falls in love with him. She lavishes him with the attention of her and her fairies, in which he revels. After some time Oberon releases Titania, orders Puck to remove the donkey's head from Bottom, and arranges everything so Helena, Hermia, Demetrius, and Lysander will all believe they have been dreaming when they awaken in the morning.

Theseus and Hippolyta arrive and wake the sleeping lovers, who are now properly coupled. Egeus demands and arranges a group wedding in Athens, which would be a perfectly acceptable way to end A Midsummer Night’s Dream; however, Shakespeare gives his audience a good deal more in the form of a “play within the play” performed by Quince’s men.

Back in Athens, Theseus, Hippolyta and the four lovers watch the six actors perform the tragedy Pyramus and Thisbe. The performers are so terrible playing their roles that the guests laugh as if it were meant to be a comedy. The audience in Gild Hall laughed mightily throughout the show, but this micro-play had us all in stitches.

After all the other characters leave, the excellent Kirsten Valania as Puck “restores amends” and suggests that what the audience experienced might just be a dream. If it was, it was a good dream.

Director Tanya Lazar muses: “It is always the language that draws me to a play selection – and A Midsummer Night’s Dream has some of Shakespeare’s most lyrical lines. For instance, Duke Theseus speaks of the ‘lunatic, the lover and the poet’ as one being, and Lysander mourns the loss of his true love with, ‘So quick bright things come to confusion’. I was also drawn to a comparison between Midsummers, a comedy, and Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy. Indeed, the ‘play within the play’ performed by the Mechanicals is a new and often hilarious take on that revered tragedy.”

The cast also included Eric Merlino as Philostrate plus Alexandra Rubincan, Olivia Hayward, Julien Eppler, Sophia Eppler, and Amalia Slattery as assorted fairies. I would be remiss to omit the wonderfully witty and informative call to intermission – read in rhyming iambic pentameter.

This year’s production is a salute to the talented veterans who have performed in Arden for many years and a nod to the next generation of actors who continue this grand tradition.

A member organization of the Arden Club, the Arden Shakespeare Gild is dedicated to including everyone with an interest in Shakespeare, both as audience and as participant. The Gild produces one of Shakespeare’s plays each summer in the open-air Frank Stephens Memorial Theater in Arden. Each winter the members direct a Young Actors Workshop for kids from age 6 through high school. The Gild also sponsors lectures, readings, and social activities throughout the year.

Remaining performances are June 22, 23 and 24 at 7:30pm. The shows take place outside at the Frank Stephens Memorial Theater (aka The Field Theater) adjacent to the Arden Village Green. Performances move to Gild Hall in the event of rain. Call 302.475.3126, Mailbox 4 to reserve your tickets or go to www.ardenshakes.com for online ordering. Prices are $12; $5 children 12 & under.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wilmington Artist's "Bridge to Success" Unveiled with 8th Avenue Collective Group

This post courtesy of guest blogger, Jasmine Brown, Jasmine is the owner of 8th Avenue Collective Group, a creative agency based in Wilmington. 

Haneef Salaam is a rapper from Southbridge in Wilmington. His music is uplifting and motivating, which makes anyone be able to relate to it. We suggest playing his debut album Bridge To Success first thing in the morning while getting ready for the day. It will certainly change your perspective. 

On Thursday, June 15, the room at ArtzScape was filled with Haneef’s family, friends and supporters. People from all walks of life came to check out Haneef Salaam and his inspiring music. Light refreshments were served to guests as they sat and listened to Haneef’s curated selections from his album. The night was broken up by two intermissions, raffles and interviews. Overall, it was a relaxing event with people networking, mixing and mingling over great food and even better music.

“Stop acting and reacting in chaos.”
            --- Haneef Salaam

“If you keep doing what you always did, then you’re going to keep getting what you always got.”
            --- Haneef Salaam


8th Avenue Collective Group is a creative agency that helps artists, makers and doers create and share in their communities. They provide a digital and physical platform for creatives to network and broaden their horizons in order to reach goals and maximize potential. Its next event is Paint & Chill on Friday, June 30, 2017, at 5:00pm. It will be a relaxed evening of painting. No instructor, so guests can paint what they wish as they listen to music and enjoy light refreshments. Location is Artist Ave Station, 800 N. Tatnall Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

Wilmington's Summer in the Parks Turns 5

This post comes from a release courtesy of The City of Wilmington...


Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and The Grand Executive Director Mark Fields today announced details about the fifth season of Summer in the Parks, a series of interactive cultural experiences provided free in Wilmington’s neighborhood parks. The program, a collaboration between the City and The Grand, will feature more than 60 events in 13 parks and public spaces across the city.

Each week, Summer in the Parks will feature cultural programs on a fixed schedule in eight city parks, including Haynes, Tilton, Holloway, Woodlawn, Prices Run, Barbara Hicks, Judy Johnson, and the Helen Chambers Playground. In addition, each week will feature a more traditional concert during the early evening. While The Grand serves as producer for the innovative program, it draws on a wide variety of artistic talent from Wilmington and the region.

“The partnership between the City and The Grand has produced unique and outstanding programs which children and families have enjoyed for the past few years,” said Mayor Purzycki. “We are pleased to present another summer of fun, entertainment and interactive opportunities in our City parks.”

All of the Summer in the Parks activities are designed to be more than presentations or performances by including some component of audience participation or interactivity, such as storytelling, theater, art, music, dance, and crafts. Summer in the Parks will showcase a total of 191 individual artists this summer representing 32 cultural organizations and groups. A full schedule of daytime and evening activities can be found on The Grand’s website.

Pamelyn Manocchio, The Grand’s Director of Community Engagement, is the producing coordinator for Summer in the Parks. “These seven weeks represent some of the most creative, engaged people from the arts community. All of them are dedicated to the idea of taking art out of our theaters and studios and right into the heart of these neighborhoods. We’re not asking the people to come to the art. We’re bringing the art directly to the city residents.”

“We’re extremely proud of this program,” said Fields, “for what it does for the city’s youth and families, but also what it demonstrates about the highly collaborative arts community we have created through the years. Summer in the Parks is a testament to the dynamic contribution the arts makes to the city all year long.”

Summer in the Parks 2017 Schedule: June 26-August 10 (no programs July 4)
Weekday Mornings 9:30-10:30am 
  • MONDAY: Haynes Park (N. Franklin – W. 30th & 32nd Streets) 
  • TUESDAY: Woodlawn Park (4th & Ferris Streets) 
  • WEDNESDAY: Tilton Park (N. Franklin – W. 7th & 8th Streets) 
  • THURSDAY: Helen Chambers Playground (N. Madison & W. 6th Streets) 
Weekday Afternoons 12:00-1:00pm
  • MONDAY: Barbara Hicks Park (Bradford & B Streets) 
  • TUESDAY: Holloway Park (N. Lombard & E. 7th Streets) 
  • WEDNESDAY: Prices Run (BBW Park at N. Locust & E. 23rd Streets) 
  • THURSDAY: Judy Johnson Park (N. Dupont & W. 3rd Streets) Evening Events for Families 6:00-7:30pm
Evening Events for Families 6:00-7:30pm
  • WEDNESDAY 6/28: Union Park Gardens (S. Bancroft Parkway & S. Sycamore Street) Elbert-Palmer Drum Line & Diamond State Concert Band 
  • THURSDAY, 7/6: DCH Urban Farm (E. 12th & Brandywine Streets) Antony & Friends 
  • THURSDAY, 7/13: Haynes Park (N. Franklin – W. 30th & 32nd Streets) Christina Cultural Arts Center 
  • THURSDAY, 7/20: Tilton Park (N. Franklin – W. 7th & 8th Streets) Dance4Life 
  • THURSDAY, 7/27: Judy Johnson Park (N. Dupont & W. 3rd Streets) Pristine Raeign 
  • THURSDAY, 8/3: Kosciuszko Park (Sycamore & S. Broom Streets) Richard Raw Productions 
  • FRIDAY, 8/4: Stapler Park (W. 16th & N. Union Streets) Wilmington Ballet 
  • THURSDAY, 8/10: Elbert Park (S. Buttonwood & D Streets) Atiba Music & Carib 
Featured artists include: Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, ASCAB Capoeira Delaware, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Contemporary, Delaware Shakespeare, First State Ballet Theatre, FLYOGI, Found Art Fun, GCJ Uniques, Griots Wa Umoja, Illstyle & Peace, Janina Williams World Music, LaFate Gallery, Maya Belardo Music, Minas, Music School of Delaware, Philly Vibes, Pieces of a Dream, TAHIRA, Walt the Street Dog, Warm Hugs Good Hearts, Wilmington Drama League, Yoco Knit Shop.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Art Museum Kicks Off Summer with Thursday Happy Hours

This post comes from a release courtesy of Delaware Art Museum...

To kick off summer, the Delaware Art Museum is hosting Happy Hours every Thursday --- June 29 through September 14 --- from 5:00-7:00pm on the Museum's back terrace in the Copeland Sculpture Garden or in the Thronson Café during inclement weather. Drinks and food specials will be provided by Toscana, the Museum's exclusive caterer. 

Special themed Happy Hours will take place on select dates throughout the summer. On June 29, July 6, and July 13, guests will enjoy local musician Seth Tillman on vocals and acoustic guitar. On July 27, the Museum will host a special Game Night featuring bean bag toss, Jenga, and other outdoor games. On August 31, visitors are invited to bring their four-legged friends for Doggy Day Happy Hour, with special dog treats included. All dogs must be leashed during the event.

Visitors are also invited to enjoy the special exhibition The Original Mad Man: Illustrations by Mac Conner (on view June 24-September 17) and retro-inspired cocktails Thursday evenings. This comprehensive and lively installation explores the work of one of America's original "Mad Men." McCauley ("Mac") Conner (born 1913) created advertising campaigns for a variety of products during the decade when the advertising industry was at its height and centered on Madison Avenue.

Mac Conner's illustrations for leading women's magazines such as Redbook and McCall's animated a wide range of popular literature, from romantic fiction and detective stories, to topics of import such as Cold War anxiety and juvenile delinquency. His work is a "time capsule" of an era when commercial artists helped to redefine American style and culture.

Always on view are the Museum's renowned collection of British Pre-Raphaelite art and the spectacular collection of American art and Illustration.

The Thronson Café is open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Thursdays, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., and Sundays, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 


Monday, June 12, 2017

Finally, Some American Idiots with Something to Say (or Sing)

By Guest Blogger, Dan Sanchez
Dan holds a BA in Theatre Production from the University of Delaware and has studied theatre around the world. Dan has worked extensively both onstage and behind the scenes across the Mid-Atlantic Region with theaters such as Three Little Bakers, The Candlelight Theatre, the Philadelphia Theatre Project, The Milburn Stone Theatre and Phoenix Festival Theater. 

“If you don’t like sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, and cursing, you’re in the wrong show,” said Wilmington Drama League's Stage/Production Manager, Kathy Buterbaugh during her Saturday, June 10, curtain speech. “This is a 90-minute show without an intermission; so I hope you have three beers because once this thing starts, it just goes!”

And, boy, does it! Based on Green Day’s 2004 album American Idiot, Director Chris Turner brings the show to life on the Wilmington Drama League (WDL) stage with a cacophony of song and dance in a story of love, loss and redemption.

Originally conceived as a rock-opera by Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong, the band had always intended for this music be performed on stage a la The Who’s Tommy, and used their 2004 album release as a sort of demo. Flash forward to September 2009: The show is running at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California. It was then transferred to the St. James Theatre on Broadway where the musical officially opened on April 20, 2010. The show closed on April 24, 2011 after 422 performances.

The musical won two 2010 Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. It was also nominated for Best Musical that same year but lost out to Memphis. In 2011, the Broadway Cast Recording of American Idiot won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

The basic storyline of American Idiot is flimsy but familiar: Three young suburbanite kids get bored/feel trapped with their mundane lives 
– as well as mommy and daddy’s rules  and decide to break free.

Subsequently, one (Will, played by William Bryant) stays home after finding out his girlfriend, Heather, is expecting. Another (Tunny, played by Ben Long) joins the military and is shipped off to war. And, in a role originated by and named for Wilmington native Johnny Gallagher, Jr. (Original Cast of Spring Awakening. TV & Film: The Newsroom, 10 Cloverfield Lane) is Brandon Zebley as Johnny, who yearns to break free and live a less than humdrum life, ultimately turns to drugs.

Rounding out the cast of Wilmington Drama League production is an energetic bunch of local talent: Alexander Cook, Gina Dzielak, Kendra Eckbold, Marion Jackson (Heather), Daulton Mahley, Darby McLaughlin (Whatshername), Ty Pride (Extraordinary Girl), Felipe Rocha, Chrissy Stief and Shane Wilson.

Tony Delnegro’s interactive set features multiple levels, a plethora of flatscreen TVs, graffiti, and gives a sense of an urban everywhere and a dystopian nowhere, providing an ample playground for the shows many locales. Combined with smart lighting design by Aaron Cook and Brian Kavanaugh, this production also employs two projectors focused on the walls of the house to immerse the audience in a world of ever-changing imagery 
– by Banksy, a city skyline and more – to set the mood perfectly.

The choreography by WDL perennial Dominic Santos manipulates tribal-like movements and punk-rock head-banging to evoke the angst and feelings of disenfranchised young adults.

Standout performances among the talented cast come from the ladies opposite of our main character trio; Marion Jackson as the pregnant and disappointed Heather; Darby McLaughlin as the sultry vixen Whatshername; and Ty Pride as the Extraordinary Girl. Each of these young ladies have angelic voices that effortlessly soar through each song they belt.

The real highlight of this show, however, is the band who rocks out on this non-stop wave of music with the energy and vigor of an actual Green Day concert. But, of particular note, is Music Director/Band Leader, Caty Butler. This young talent takes the stage for the first time in American Idiot as the enticing smack dealer St. Jimmy, a role traditionally played by a man and one she only stepped into a week before opening. Butler outright owns this role and commands the stage with her vocal prowess. I look forward to watching her continue grow as a musician and wait with baited breath to see her onstage as an actor again.

Though I did over hear an older patron ask, “What the hell did I just watch?” after the show, I would say that’s a good indication that this ain’t your NaNa’s Broadway and highly recommend checking out the charismatic production of this high-concept rock-opera before it’s gone.

American Idiot at the Wilmington Drama League runs through June 18. Tickets are available via the Drama League website www.WilmingtonDramaLeague.org or via phone at 302.764.1172.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ladybug Festival Announces Chase As Presenting Sponsor

This post content comes from a press release from Gable Music Ventures...

The sixth annual Ladybug Festival, celebrating women in music, is getting a boost from the local business community as Chase has agreed to serve as the presenting sponsor for the event.

Festival organizers Gable Music Ventures say the support is one of the reasons an expansion is possible for this year. “This support from Chase demonstrates their commitment to the revitalization of Wilmington. With this additional support we are able to expand the event to include a second day, which enables us to hire more independent artists and bring more business into downtown Wilmington,” says Jeremy Hebbel, co-owner of Gable Music Ventures. 

Gayle Dillman, founder and owner of Gable Music Ventures, says that this support from Chase speaks to the company’s direct support of the businesses on Market Street, independent artists, and other small businesses that participate in the event. “The support that Chase is putting into this event will allow us not only to physically grow the event, but will provide much needed advertising and marketing dollars so that more residents of the city of Wilmington know the event is happening, and that it is free for all to attend." 

“With more than 3,000 employees working in Downtown Wilmington, Chase is committed to supporting the city’s efforts to bring fun-filled cultural activities downtown,” said Jenn Piepszak, CEO of Chase’s credit card business. “We’re also thrilled to be able to be involved in such a diverse event.”

In addition to the support of Chase this year, other key players in the business community fund the event which allows for Gable Music Ventures to offer up so much entertainment at no cost to attendees.  Sponsors this year include previous funders ShopRite, City of Wilmington Mayor’s Office, the 2nd & LOMA neighborhood, Downtown Visions, Trellist, AAA MidAtlantic, and InWilmington.  

New sponsors this year include Chase, Capital One, ResideBPG, Lyons Insurance, and Lyft which is the exclusive transportation sponsor offering discounted rides to festival attendees.  
“The City is pleased to support this year’s festival because it provides an important entertainment venue for Wilmington residents and visitors to our wonderful City,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “My thanks to all of the musicians, organizers, sponsors and supporters who have helped to grow the Ladybug Festival each year.”

See theladybugfestival.com

Monday, June 5, 2017

New Project Melds Passion for Arts & Animals

Information in this post comes from a post from Delaware Humane Association...

Photo courtesy of Delaware Humane Association.
Calling all local artists! Delaware Humane Association (DHA) is looking to display pet-related art (but pet-related themes are not required) in its new storefront adoption center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

The goal is to display and sell works onsite, with a portion of sale proceeds benefiting DHA. An exhibit opening or reception could be a part of the submitting artist's agreement.

Delaware Humane Association will display a different artist's work for varying periods of time. If you are interested or know someone who may be, please contact DHA's Adoption Center Manager Jody Rini at JRini@delawarehumane.org.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Unleash the Artist WithIN You -- A City-Wide Photo Contest

Info in this post courtesy of original release from the City of Wilmington and inWilmingtonDE.com...

inWilmington Marketing Group, in partnership with the City of Wilmington, announces the #UnleashWithIN Photo Challenge, a 12-week Instagram-based contest which runs from Monday, May 15 through Sunday, August 6 and culminates with a public art exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary on Friday, September 8.

Participants are given one prompt: “What does Wilmington unleash within you?” The contest is open to all ages and skill levels and participants are welcome to submit entries in any style of photography. Giveaways will also be awarded to randomly selected participants throughout the duration of the contest (restaurant gift certificates, concert tickets, spa services, entertainment packages, etc.).

To enter, individuals simply need to share a photo taken in Wilmington on Instagram using the #UnleashWithIN tag. The public is encouraged to follow #UnleashWithIN for updates and to vote for their favorites photos by showing them some “love”. The three most popular images each week will receive extra entries into the giveaway drawings.

Twenty-four images from the #UnleashWithIN Photo Challenge will be displayed during the exhibition, determined by Joe del Tufo of Moonloop Photography. On the evening of September 8th, an expanded panel of judges, including local artists and city officials, will review the images from finalists and help determine, along with a public vote, the ultimate winner of the Unleash WithIN Photo Challenge. The GRAND PRIZE winner receives their own future Art on the Town (Art Loop) exhibition, plus an entertainment & shopping package from restaurants, retailers and performing arts organizations throughout the City of Wilmington.

“As someone who lives, works and plays downtown, I know how truly inspiring Wilmington is to its residents, workers and visitors,” says campaign manager Brianna Hansen. “With this contest we hope to encourage the public to unleash their photographer within and help us tell our community’s beautiful story. From wonderful access to the arts and delicious culinary delights, to a thriving tech scene and encouraging entrepreneurial community—Wilmington has something for everyone.”

“We encourage everyone to participate in this contest and exhibition, because it is another way for all of us who care about our City’s future to reinforce with the world that Wilmington is a city where people enjoy life and appreciate all of the amenities that the city has to offer,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “In Wilmington, you are in the middle of it all where people come to live, work and have fun.”

For the latest updates visit: inWilmingtonDE.com or follow @INWilmDE and #UnleashWithIN on Instagram (and Facebook).

Closing the DSO Season with Love from Russia

By Christine Facciolo

The Delaware Symphony Orchestra (DSO) brought down the curtain on its 2016-17 Classics series on Friday, May 12 with a robust Russian program that included Stravinsky’s Ode, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concert No. 3 featuring soloist Sergei Babayan.

DSO Music Director David Amado assured the audience that the program was curated well in advance of the 2016 elections and was not meant to reflect events taking place on the international stage.

Delaware audiences don’t get to hear enough Russian music performed, so this was a real treat to hear it played with the kind of fervor and genuineness that were on display in The Grand Opera House.

Rachmaninoff has a reputation for writing dark, sultry and impossibly difficult piano music. The Third Concerto in particular is often considered to be the Mount Everest of Romantic pianism, an image long cemented in the public mind thanks to its appearance as a major plot device in the 1996 film “Shine,” based on the life of pianist David Helfgott.

Soloist Sergei Babayan was born in Armenia into a musical family. He trained at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory and has performed in some of the world’s most foremost venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London.

Babayan offered a multidimensional reading that revealed the depth of both composer and artist. His bass notes thundered on demand and there was no shortage of dynamic punch but there were also moments of ecstatic passion and quiet repose. The DSO for its part provided either gentle support or a rousing call to arms. The communication between soloist and conductor was obvious.

The DSO also gave Amado 100% in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 which followed the intermission. The first movement received an urgent performance yet one that was imbued with an appreciation of the composer’s balletic grace. The second movement was played in the manner of a song without words, allowing Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous melodies to soar. The string exhibited a pizzicato virtuosity in the brief scherzo while the finale crackled with plenty of rhythmic acuity from the strings and the woodwinds in their exchanges leading up to the various appearances of the “big tune.”

The program opened with Stravinsky’s Ode. Commissioned to mark the passing of Natalie Koussevitzky, the work manages only a fleeting elegiac tone in the bustling opening Eulogy. That element is reserved for the concluding Epitaph. The central Eclogue offers the most interesting music. Recycled from an abandoned “Jane Eyre” film project, this section features brilliant wind writing with its lively contrapuntal hunt motif nimbly executed by the DSO horns.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Crazy for Candlelight's New Production

By Guest Blogger, Mike Logothetis
Mike Logothetis grew up in North Wilmington, performing in school and local theater productions. He lives in Newark, but you can find him wherever the arts are good.



The Candlelight Theatre’s exhilarating and tight production of Crazy for You is a joy to experience and may change some misconceptions about local dinner theaters.

After recent extensive upgrades, The Candlelight Theatre has improved its technical and culinary abilities plus its overall infrastructure. It’s an old, comfortable building with a spiffy new interior, delicious buffet, attentive staff and, oh yeah, top-notch performers. Remember, it all boils down to the product on stage and Crazy for You delivers in spades.

This 1992 musical, with book by Ken Ludwig, takes songs by George and Ira Gershwin and ties them together in a tale about a Broadway dreamer who finds romance, drama and purpose in a small Nevada town.

Director and choreographer Dann Dunn takes the timeless music of the Gershwins and makes it a hugely enjoyable and modern experience. Dunn’s staging and choreography feel exceptionally fresh. In number after number, you find yourself watching the dance steps with unusual attention because Dunn makes them so arrestingly interesting. The cast is versed in several dance styles, but tap dominates, in a good way – think of all the clip-clop and bang-bang of the Old West.

The show begins with Bobby Child (Nate Golden) – the rich son of a New York banking family who yearns to perform on Broadway – being unceremoniously rejected by impresario Bela Zangler (Max Redman).  Searching for more from life, Bobby is torn between unloving commitment to his longtime fiancee Irene (Kaylan Wetzel) and loyalty to his mother (Susan Dewey), who demands that Bobby continue doing her bidding in banking. One such mission is sending Bobby to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on the rundown theater there. The town has seen better days, but Bobby’s excitement at seeing the theater – and meeting last-girl-in-town, Polly (Madison Buck) – makes him sympathetic to the locals’ desire to revitalize their town.

Saloon proprietor Lank Hawkins (Anthony Connell) tries to convince Polly’s stubborn father Everett (Barry Gomolka) to sell him the theater before Bobby Child’s bank takes it. Lank also has eyes for Polly and isn’t pleased that a romantic rival has come to town in the form of a city slicker.

Bobby and Polly sow the seeds of love through two classic songs (Could You Use Me? and Shall We Dance?). The former showcases the genius of Ira Gershwin’s wordplay, while the second highlights a beautiful melody that is typical of George Gershwin.

Bobby realizes that if he forecloses on the Gaiety Theater he will lose the girl of his dreams.  He comes up with the idea of putting on a show to pay off the mortgage.  Polly agrees to this plan until she finds out what he is really doing in town and suspects deception. Heartbroken, Bobby decides to produce the show anyway, but disguised as Mr. Zangler. Deeply hurt, Polly expresses her loneliness in Someone to Watch Over Me – a lovely performance by Ms. Buck.

A few days later, The Zangler Follies Girls appear like a mirage in the desert, which excites and invigorates the men of Deadrock.  Rehearsals for the big show don't go so well, but upbeat Bobby changes all that with the song Slap That Bass – a rollicking musical number where dancers become musical instruments.

This is a good time to mention the quality of the sets, costumes and props. Envision Productions has created a wonderful, dynamic stage with open spaces for large dance numbers, but also a sense of intimacy. Amanda Gillies’ props are right in tune with what Mr. Dunn is trying to get from the show and characters. Chairs, pickaxes and even plungers are used within intricate dance routines and comedic interludes. The costumes, designed by Tara Bowers and Timm Cannon, are period correct and allow for fluid movement. It’s all seamless, which is how scenery and props should work in a big production-style musical.

I’d also like to recognize the vast and capable chorus of showgirls and cowpokes who enliven the show with pithy dance steps, robust singing, and solid acting. Michelle Affleck (Louise), Julianna Babb (Betsy), Nicole Calabrese (Patsy), Nicole Lewin Mariash (Sheila), Jenna Rogalski (Elaine), Kristen Smith (Vera), and Erin Michelle Waldie (Mitzi) are wonderfully joyous as the Zangler Follies Girls.  Down-on-their-luck cowboys Zachary DeBevec (Wyatt), Daniel Irwin (Pete), Chris Millison (Sam), Christian Ryan (Jimmy), and Devon Sinclair (Moose) bring life and personality to the otherwise dead town.

Back at the Gaiety Theater, optimism reigns with the show ready to wow any and all comers.  However, Polly has fallen in love with Bobby’s impersonation of Bela Zangler (Embraceable You) and Irene makes a surprise visit to town.

Opening night arrives with the cowboys-turned-actors and showgirls in high hopes (Tonight's the Night!). Sadly, everyone is frustrated to discover that the only people to arrive are British guidebook writers Eugene (Topher Layton) and Patricia Fodor (Lindsay Mauck).  What begins as disappointment changes into the realization that the show has reinvigorated the once-sleepy town.  The company celebrates with a lively rendition of I Got Rhythm while the real Zangler stumbles unnoticed into the town as the first act ends.

While all of the performances are solid, Nate Golden shines in the lead role. Golden is a physically deft, lively, and funny guy with singing and dancing chops to entertain audience members of all kinds. Simply put, Golden is a triple-threat of song, dance and acting.  For me, the highlight of the show came early when Bobby’s fiancee Irene and mother Lottie argue over him and his loyalties to them. In a vivid daydream, Bobby imagines himself dancing with the Follies Girls and joins them in a rousing rendition of I Can't Be Bothered Now.

Act Two kicks off in Lank’s saloon with Bobby professing his love to Polly. Unfortunately, she’s still in love with the man she thinks is Zangler. Bobby is about to convince Polly that he has been impersonating “Zangler” when the real Zangler stumbles into the saloon looking for Tess (Kimberly Maxson) – one of his dancers for whom he carries a torch.

Zangler finds Tess, but refuses her request to produce the show and save the theater. Tess storms off and the drunken Zangler bemoans his fate. Bobby, dressed like Zangler, appears and the two men act as mirror images of each other – lamenting their lost loves in the humorous What Causes That.

The next morning, Polly sees the two Zanglers and realizes what has happened. Flustered, Polly leaves for the town meeting to discuss the future of the theater. Irene comes to Bobby in one final attempt to make him go back to New York with her, but Bobby rejects her, and states his love for Polly. Immensely frustrated with Bobby, Irene seduces Lank with the seductive Naughty Baby.

Bobby is all for trying the show again while Polly and most of the townsfolk think they should abandon the venture. The Fodors enter and implore the dejected townspeople to keep a Stiff Upper Lip, but by the end of the song, only Polly, Everett, Bobby and Tess still think the show should continue.

Will the magic of the old Gaiety Theater save it from its demise? Can Deadrock recover its old majesty? Does true love triumph? You’ll have to visit Ardentown to find out! I will add that the Finale is a wholly satisfying grandiose song and dance number that had the Opening Night audience on its feet multiple times. It’s so good, you’ll “...feel something down in [your] basement.”

The action at the theater doesn’t stop at Crazy for You and other musicals. The venue also hosts monthly trivia and comedy nights. Operations Manager Dan Healy is emcee for Monday night Quizzo matches, which pit the Jeopardy!-loving set against one another in team trivia. Food trucks are on site and drinks are served. The Candlelight Comedy Club invites you to the theater for an evening of food, drinks, and laughs. Local, regional, and national comics come to entertain on a fairly regular monthly basis. The next Quizzo is on May 15 and the Comedy Club is open on May 18.

This production of Crazy for You runs through June 25. Tickets are $33/person or $60/couple. While most show are on weekends, there are some mid-week matinee performances.

There’s lots of fun activity happening in Ardentown…“Who could ask for anything more?”

Friday, May 12, 2017

"&" -- The 2017 University of Delaware MFA Graduate Thesis Exhibition

By Amy Henderson
Amy Henderson is a local artist and owner of Rebel Cow Marketing, LLC. 

Untitled, 2017 by Molly Walker. Photo by Morgan Hamilton.
Each year, the University of Delaware graduates 10 students from their esteemed Master of Fine Arts program, and The Delaware Contemporary is currently showing their thesis work.  I was fortunate enough to enjoy a guided tour of this exciting exhibition by Morgan Hamilton, Curatorial Fellow at The Delaware Contemporary.

Untitled, 2017 by Molly Walker. Photo by Morgan Hamilton.
Encompassing both Dupont Galleries, this large collection of works immediately engages the senses.  From a special projection room featuring a digital video by Eddy Rhenals-Narvaez to Abby Daleki's fabric sculpture with accompanying sound, this impressive show offers painting, sculpture, video, and even a water feature.  There is something for everyone, including a wall-sized video exhibit of the north pole of Saturn juxtaposed with scenes from Earth (created by Juan Pablo Cardenas).  Don't miss this experience!  Congratulations, Class of 2017!

The exhibition runs May 5 through June 11, 2017 at The Delaware Contemporary, 200 S. Madison Street in Wilmington.  Admission is free.  Suggested donations are: $10 for adults and $5 for children under 18. 

See www.decontemporary.org.





Thursday, May 4, 2017

OperaDelaware’s Spring Festival has become a valuable tradition

This post is provided courtesy of the original article from WHYY Newsworks...
OperaDelaware’s Spring Festival has become a valuable tradition, a highly anticipated event that draws opera buffs from well beyond the borders of the First State.

Last year’s inaugural event paired the East Coast premiere of Franco Faccio’s long-forgotten opera Amleto with a performance of Verdi’s Falstaff.

This year’s festival is dedicated to one composer only — Giaochino Rossini in celebration of the 225th anniversary of his birth. But this is no run-of-the-mill tribute as OperaDelaware has paired works that not only illustrate the serious and comic sides of this most influential composer but one — Semiramide— that rarely gets an outing.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE>>>

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

University of Delaware Hosts a Mendelssohn Marathon

By Margaret Darby
The Music Department of the University of Delaware has put on some amazing concerts over the years. Their latest Mendelssohn Festival with The Calidore String Quartet as visiting guest artists is an ambitious undertaking with all of the published string quartets of Felix Mendelssohn and his Octet for Strings, performed with UD's Ensemble-in-Residence, Serafin String Quartet.

The Calidore Quartet was founded in 2010 while the members were in Los Angeles studying at the Colburn Conservatory. They discovered their potential as an ensemble when they first began to work on the Mendelssohn String Quartet, Opus 13, which was actually the composer’s first mature string quartet, although it was the second to be published.

The Calidore String Quartet.
Mendelssohn was 18 years old he wrote this quartet, and although his prowess as a pianist was well known, he actually played violin and viola quite well, so his composition for both instruments came from a thorough knowledge of how they were played. He, like Beethoven, put a lot of emphasis on the middle voices.

Both Estelle Choi, cello and Jeremy Berry, viola are able to bring these voices to the fore without dominating the ensemble’s sound. The first two movements of Four pieces for quartet, Opus 81 feature the viola leading the melodic chase, but the cello also has a big and dominant part in the Tema con variazioni which segues into a brief but thrilling Presto. Choi’s vibrant tone and acute attention to detail makes the harmony for the quartet work.

In all of the music of the first two days of the festival, the sound was so well blended that it seemed almost to be performed by a single musician. First violinist Jeffrey Myers, a tall and lanky man, leans into his violin, tilting his head to the left as if to hear himself better. But then he turns to the other players before lowering the sound of the violin as he plays in the low register, to just the point at which you can hear his soft melodic line over the others, who manage to play even softer at the end of the Allegro vivace of Opus 13. As the recapitulation of the theme (Mendelssohn’s short song: Ist es wahr?/Is it true?), the quartet diminishes the sound to the softest nothing as they reach the final chord.

When the two violinists Jeffrey Meyers and Ryan Meehan trade off the melodic lines in the Scherzo of the Four pieces for string quartet, Opus 81, it is impossible to tell who is playing. Their innate ability to match each other’s intonation and bowing make it sound like a single line of music. Each of them also have a solid sound in the low register of the violin which projects well, even at a soft dynamic.

The Calidore played the String Quartet Opus 44, No. 3 so fast that the sixteenth note patterns which come after the repeat in the Allegro vivace sound like trills — magically even and exciting. They played the fourth movement, Molto allegro con fuoco, with very big sforzandi, giving the entire movement a playful, roller coaster feel.

When they played the last quartet written by Mendelssohn, Opus 80, they talked about how he wrote this after his beloved sister Fanny died suddenly. He used this very beautiful piece as a metaphor of his grief, writing a wailing and sustained high B-flat for the first violin, which Jeffrey Myers managed to make a delicate cry of anguish.

Having a quartet of this caliber visit the Gore Recital Hall, with its fine acoustics for such intimate concerts, is a treasure. The Calidore have won impressive international chamber music competitions. They have a wide range of repertoire, including some dissonant and modern pieces like the Anton Webern Five Movements for String Quartet, Opus 5, which you can hear online here.

And if you miss the Mendelssohn Festival, the Calidore Quartet’s mentors, the Emerson Quartet, will appear at the University of Delaware on Sunday, April 30.

See www.music.udel.edu or call 302.831.2577.

A Dazzling ‘Circus’ Comes to Delaware Theatre Company

By Charles "Ebbie" Alfree, III

The Delaware Theatre Company (DTC) ends its 2016-17 season with the American premiere of the London smash hit family musical, Hetty Feather. Emma Reeves’ adaption of Jacqueline Wilson’s beloved book about a headstrong orphan girl’s adventure to find her true home will delight young theater goers. However, the mature themes of abandonment and loss in the story will also intrigue adult audience members.

The Cast of Hetty Feather. Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.
Hetty, played by the wonderful Clare O’Malley, is on a quest through Victorian England searching for her birth mother. Being an unwed woman during this time, Hetty’s distraught and sadden mother had no choice but to leave her infant daughter at London’s Foundling Hospital (a public institution for abandoned children).

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, Hetty is sent to a foster home in the countryside where she spends the first six years of her life. The headstrong heroine never loses her insatiable desire to find her birth mother, even though she forms a strong bond with her foster mother and three brothers. While living with her foster family, Hetty develops a keen imagination that will later serve her well.  

Hetty, like all foundling children, must return to the hospital following her sixth birthday. Under the stern supervision of Matron Bottomly (chillingly played by Michael Philp O’Brien), life at the hospital is cruel and unforgiving. Living in such harsh conditions, Hetty becomes even more driven to find her legitimate place in the world, but to get there she must go on a journey that will take her to bleak places where she must face tumultuous situations.
Photo by Matt Urban, Mobius New Media.
Director Bud Martin has created a charming, yet sinister, production that at times delights as well as frightens. His brilliant ensemble cast creates their characters on a circus set which provides a great juxtaposition to Hetty’s plight.
O’Malley and O’Brien — along with their stellar co-stars (Terry Brennan, Dave Johnson, Rachel O’Malley, and Karen Peakes) — have the daunting task to act their parts while performing circus stunts. For most of the show, the actors are hanging from flowing sheets or a ring that dangles above the center of the stage. It’s amazing how effortlessly they make it look to stay in character as they climb, swing and perform high above the stage.The cast is flawlessly costumed by Katie Sykes. Her understated costumes, some including a hint of a clown suit, not only capture the grim look of the poor during the Victorian period, but also let her circus set shine. The stage was built so the fantastic musicians (Liz Filios and Josh Totora) have an area to create mood music and flow easily in and out of scenes. In addition to playing their instruments, Filios and Totora provide the vocals for most of Bendi Bower’s score, leaving the actors to focus on their characters and circus stunts.
Hetty Feather isn’t your traditional family show or musical, but that makes it a special treat for the whole family. DTC recommends the show for children ages 7 and up. Hetty Feather runs through May 14. 

For tickets and additional information, call 302.594.1100 or visit www.delawaretheatre.org.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Artists Take Note: Choosing the Right Company to Move Your Art Supplies

By Guest Blogger, Aimee Lyons
Ms. Lyons created DIYDarlin to share her knowledge and serve as a forum to learn from other DIYers.


Photo via Pixabay.
Are you faced with the task of moving your entire art studio? If so, you probably have some questions about finding the right moving company for your supplies. Below are six proven steps to find the right professional movers for you.

1. Research Your Options 

Make your decision long before your actual move by starting the process at least a month beforehand. Research your options online and learn about moving companies in your community. Some of these companies may specialize in moving expensive or specialized equipment. Keep your eye on these businesses in particular. Make a list and carefully narrow it down to three or four moving companies.

2. Conduct Interviews 

From there, you’ll need to conduct interviews. These interviews can be with a manager or an expert mover. Either way, get in touch with someone who is familiar with the history and capabilities of the business. During your conversation, ask about specific equipment and how it should be handled. Take note of the methods and care each company is willing to provide. Ask how many movers will be available for your moving date, and how many of them have experience with art supplies. You should write down a complete list of questions and bring it during your interview so you don’t miss anything important.

3. Weigh Pros and Cons 

Once you have answers from each moving company, weigh the pros and cons of each option. Which benefits are most important to you, and which matter less? Are there are cons that you consider deal breakers? Maybe you don’t want to work with a company that has little experience moving expensive artwork and equipment. You could also insist on a company that has specific movers that specialize in heavy pieces. Cross out any companies that have deal-breakers. Then, determine which two businesses have far more pros than cons. Move forward with these two in mind.

4. Find Referrals or Past Clients
Now that you’ve chosen two companies, you’ll want to do some additional research to make sure your artwork and supplies will be in capable hands. Look up reviews online or talk to past clients. You can also ask around town for information. If you hear negative reviews, don’t quit right away. Only walk away if you hear consistently negative reviews or a particular awful review from a credible source. Every company has at least one person in the “dislike” pile. Once you’ve spoken with a number of people, consider dropping a business and making your choice. If you can’t, move on to the next step.

5. Provide Inventory 

Next, you’ll need to provide a list of expensive or breakable items for each company to inspect. If they have any questions, comments, or concerns, let them know to contact you. This ensures the movers will know what to expect when they arrive on the big day. It will also give you a chance to gauge how much each business cares, based on their reaction to your list. This should help you make your final choice.

6. Make Your Choice 

By the time you choose a business, you should have at least a week left before the move. This will give the manager or employees time to go over your inventory. The time has come to finally make a decision. Which company has your best interests in mind and makes you feel the most confident about the moving process? Move forward with that business.

By the time you make it through this list, you should feel solid about your decision to hire a professional moving company for your artwork and supplies. Your equipment will be moved and ready for action before you know it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DSO Chamber Series Features Brass

By Christine Facciolo

Symphonies by Haydn and Schubert got a well-deserved reception at the penultimate concert of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra’s chamber series at the Hotel du Pont’s Gold Ballroom on Tuesday. March 21, 2017.

It was a trombone concertino by Swedish composer Lars-Erik Larsson, though, that piqued the interest of concertgoers. Little surprise there. Compositions featuring solo trombone are rarities on classical music programs. But the trombone has come a long way. No longer does it have to remain content to sit at the back of the orchestra idly counting rests. The repertoire for it has grown — albeit slowly.

Natalie Mannix, principal trombone for the DSO, was outstanding in this relatively obscure Mid-20th Century work. Her playing was sensitive and passionate; her tone noble and commanding. In the second movement, her instrument vocalized a soulful melody across a wide range of pitches and dynamics. The orchestra provided proper support. The third movement displayed a tongue-in-cheek humor: Its ponderous notes poking fun at the pompous blasts of the outer movements.

Schubert’s much-loved Symphony No. 5 in B flat needs no further introduction. Maestro David Amado’s intimate rendering harkened back to the kind of performance Schubert’s family orchestra might have given. The result was a clarity that revealed the composer’s often overlooked skills as a contrapuntist as well as the delightful writing for the horns. Cellos and basses were also given a real presence here. Add to that sensible tempos — has the trio section of the third movement ever been more lovingly played? — and the right touch of the dramatic and you had one of the most graceful and charming interpretations anyone could ask for.

The concert opened with performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 59 in A major (the Fire Symphony). This is indeed a fiery work, with many traits placing it squarely in the composer’s so-called Sturm und Drang group of symphonies: Driving rhythms, unusual harmonic schemes and sudden contrasts in orchestration and dynamics. Amado gave free rein to the horns, allowing them to deliver all the effects Haydn conjured up for them. Throughout the work, these spectacularly difficult parts were played by John David Smith and Lisa Dunham with remarkable accuracy and skill.

See www.delawaresymphony.org.

Monday, April 10, 2017

NYC Composer's Work Highlight of Diverse Repertoire from Mélomanie

By Christine Facciolo

Mélomanie, the critically acclaimed ensemble known for its provocative pairings of early and contemporary works, capped off its 2016-17 season with a program tilted a bit more toward the contemporary than usual.

Joining regulars Kimberly Reighley, flute; Christof Richter, violin; Donna Fournier, viola da gamba; and Tracy Richardson, harpsichord were guest artists Naomi Gray, cello and Joshua Kovach, clarinet.

Mélomanie performs at The Delaware Contemporary near the Wilmington Waterfront.
Photo by Tim Bayard.
Mélomanie also welcomed flutist/composer Bonnie McAlvin whose work Sandstone Peak received its World Premiere at this concert. McAlvin explained how her fascination with mountains — in this case the highest peak of the Santa Monica Mountains — inspired the composition. The work is in four movements: Illusion, Conversation, Throne of Sand and Everywhere at Once, throwing a nod to Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

McAlvin is a clever composer who skillfully adapts the serial technique to tell a story of illusion, erosion and feeling exposed. Throughout the composition, the row becomes dismantled and recombined reappearing in each movement in various guises and instrumental textures. The effect is one of fantasy and vulnerability.

Gray and Kovach combined their talents to perform Private Games by Israeli composer Shulamit Ran and Night Music by Parisian Nicolas Bacri. The former is a brief, jagged work full of disjointed gestures that somehow manages to convey a lyrical underpinning. The duo — both as an entity and as individuals — tossed off the fiendishly difficult passages with grace and ease.  They convincingly brought out the chill in Night Music, a non-lyrical piece that glumly muses suggestions of inimical fate.

Richardson, Reighley and Kovach collaborated in a charming performance of the Sonatine en Trio, Op. 85 by Florent Schmitt, the most important French composer you probably never heard of, according to self-styled Schmitt expert Phillip Nones, who offered his thoughts on the composer and the work.

Schmitt (1870-1958) had no affinity for atonality or neo-classicism. Instead, he composed lushly lyrical music bursting with a profusion of ideas. Nones noted that this particular work has also been scored for flute, clarinet and piano as well as violin, cello and piano. But the musicians noted, in a post-concert discussion, that the harpsichord gave the work a lighter, brighter tone.

The flute and clarinet combined to produce another interesting aural feature. At times they seemed to blend so thoroughly that resulting sound was neither that of flute nor that of clarinet but a seemingly altogether different instrument with a sound all its own.

Vittorio Rieti’s Variations for Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Cello on When From My Love by John Bartlet was written in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of composer Paul Hindemith. This was a charming performance of this delightful little work consisting of nine variations and a code. It was an apropos selection for a Mélomanie program, as it combined the baroque with the contemporary.

The musicians of Mélomanie gave a nod to the Baroque with a performance of Marin Marais’ Suite 6 n C minor (from Pieces en Trio 1692) which preceded the two halves of the program.


The ensemble’s final performance for the 2016-17 season will be a special Mother’s Day Brunch and Concert on Sunday, May 14. Tickets are available at www.melomanie.org