Archive for ◊ April, 2009 ◊

• Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

The Ithaca Community Orchestra’s 2009 Spring Concert for Families and Children

Sunday, May 3rd at 4:00 pm at the First Baptist Church in Dewitt Park, downtown Ithaca

On Sunday, May 3rd, the Ithaca Community Orchestra (ICO) will be celebrating the arrival of Spring with a children’s concert at 4pm at the First Baptist Church in Dewitt Park, downtown Ithaca. The concert will showcase Raya Lee Then’s “Fiddler Crabs,” a musical story about friendship between two young crabs. Then will narrate her story to Johann Sebastion Bach’s music, including portions of the Concerto for Violin in E Major and Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor. The violin soloists, who represent the two crab children, will be local and nationally known violinists Judy Hyman and Laurie Hart. The ICO will also perform Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and selections from Charles Gounod’s Petite Symphonie.

For this event the ICO will be collaborating with the Family Reading Partnership of Tompkins County and the Tompkins County Public Library. Cal Walker, on behalf of the Family Reading Partnership, will kick off the program with his narration of Karla Kuskin’s The Philharmonic Gets Dressed. The story, combined with a power-point presentation of Marc Simnot’s illustrations, creatively details how musicians prepare for a performance . After the concert, The Bright Red Bookshelf will be collecting gently used children’s books to give to families who want them.

Raya Lee Then, the author of “Fiddler Crabs,” has written and narrated musical stories for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s youth concerts, including “The Magic of Mozart,” “Dora’s Dream” and, most recently, “Erie Canal.” A writer and lecturer about music who has a private piano studio, she has been assistant librarian for the Buffalo Philharmonic. Judy Hyman is a founding member of the Ithaca area alternative rock band The Horse Flies and has recorded and toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe with both The Horse Flies and the pop singer Natalie Merchant. She has performed with orchestras and string quartets, composes music for film, and teaches. Classically trained, Laurie Hart is also a fiddler who specializes in Irish, Scandinavian, French, and American dance music. She performs across the U.S. and Canada at contra-dances, concerts, weddings, festivals and dance weekends and has taught at Ashokan Northern Week,
Ithaca College, and Suzuki institutes.

The Family Reading Partnership of Tompkins County is a non-profit community organization made up of caring individuals and groups that have joined forces to “create a culture of literacy” throughout the Ithaca area. The organization strives to publicize the fact that the ability to read, write, and communicate clearly will define a child’s future success in life.

The Ithaca Community Orchestra is a non-professional group which supports community musical education through the rehearsal and performance of orchestral repertoire. Now in its eighth season, the ICO is committed to presenting concerts for the general public, which include appearances at community events and festivals, as well as performances at local residential institutions.

The ICO’s music director, Cayenna Ponchione, will lead the Orchestra with help from Bryan Lilley, assistant Conductor. The concert is made possible with a generous donation from The Sorel Organization, as well as with grant support from the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County. As always, this ICO event is free and open to the public, but donations will be very gratefully accepted. For more information, please call 607-592-8374 or email

You know Laurie Hart and Judy Hyman as northern and southern fiddlers, respectively. Now you can hear them together playing a tradition they have in common from way back when: baroque violin music, with a fun twist.

On Apr 29, May 3, May 6, you have three chances to hear the show:

Ithaca Community Orchestra Spring Children’s Concert, all ages welcome.
Featuring author/narrator Raya Lee Then, violinists Judy Hyman and Laurie Hart, and music director Cayenna Ponchione

The Fiddler Crabs, a charming story entwined with exerpts of J.S. Bach’s E major concerto, E major partita, and D minor double concerto,
PLUS a little fiddling surprise by Laurie and Judy, as well as Gounod’s Petite Symphonie and Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice (yep, the one from Fantasia).

Sunday, May 3, 4:00 p.m., First Baptist Church, Dewitt Park, Ithaca NY, reception to follow.

Wednesday, May 6, 6:00 pm, Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca NY

Also there is an open rehearsal at Lakeside Nursing home on Rt. 96 in Ithaca on Weds. April 29 at 7:30pm if you can’t make the other performances.

Definitely May 3 will be the most exciting, with some extra personnel including the dynamic harpsichordist Dorian Bandy. We did some coaching in baroque performance practice with Cornell emeritus professor Sonya Monosoff, and between that and our fiddle backgrounds, you may be surprised by our approach!

Hope to see you there.

Newsflash: Judy and Laurie will play the entire Bach Double Concerto (without the story) at the Grassroots Festival Sunday morning July 19 with GrassRoots Orchestra as well!


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• Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Healthy Food For All Benefit Concert

Benefit Concert for Healthy Food For All

at Castaways Sunday, April 26th 3 p.m.

Who’s involved? Healthy Food For All, Castaways, Full Plate Farm posterCollective, Early Morning Organic Farm, Westhaven, Three Sisters Organic Farm, Kestrel Perch Berry Farm, Sweetland Farm Healthy Food For All has been subsidizing Community Supported Agriculture shares for low-income families in the Ithaca area for 4 years. This year we aim to put affordable, local, organic fresh produce on the plates of 100 families in our community. Come out and support local farms, local families and local music! Local fun!!  Band Line-up: Heehaw Nightmare, Evil City String Band, Pearls Basement, the Talktomes, Thousands of One For info please contact Katie Church or 342.7632
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Author: Eric_E
• Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

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Author: Margaret
• Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

What: emma’s revolution, Cornell Folk Song Society Concert
When: 8 pm, Saturday, April 25
Where: 165 McGraw Hall, Cornell Arts Quad

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution!” Whether or not pioneering feminist and human rights champion Emma Goldman actually made this declaration, it rallies the energy of activist songwriters Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow. These women create music for social and environmental change, delivered with dynamic harmonies, passion, irreverence, and a strong dose of hope. Their songs have become the anthems of peace and justice events around the globe: emma’s revolution has led songs at Camp Casey and the White House with Cindy Sheehan and CodePINK, at the School of the Americas Watch, in Santiago, Chile with Holly Near, on the frontlines of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, in the Korean DMZ, at the Gay Games in Vancouver, and at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where Pat’s 1995 song, “Keep On Moving Forward,” was the opening and recurring theme. “Peace, Salaam, Shalom,” composed a few days after 9-11, is sung around the world, and Pat’s “Swimming to the Other Side,” translated into at least seven languages, deserves a place in the Folk Song Hall of Fame. In 2002, they won the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest with “If I Give Your Name.” And they’ve been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and Pacifica’s “Democracy Now!”

If you think an evening with emma’s revolution might be heavy or self-righteous, think again! Pat and Sandy have that rare ability to inform and inspire without preachiness. Audiences call them “bold, profound, moving, hilarious, rockin’, and transformative.” Their skill with lyrics, tunes, voices, and instruments infuses the political heft of their songs with rare beauty, warmth, and joy. This is music-making that can turn tears to laughter, despair or cynicism to action. Their contagious motto is “One x 1,000,000 = change.”

Pat and Sandy have been co-writing and performing songs as emma’s revolution since 2001, but their separate musical careers go back a bit longer. Pat cut some musical teeth on board the Clearwater and had an early grounding in traditional Appalachian ballads, old-timey and bluegrass, and contra dance music. Sandy’s early love for Renaissance music and lute-playing shines through in her sweet, full contralto in counterpoint to Pat’s edgier alto.

Pete Seeger, who has been a big fan for many years, predicts: “The powers that be can control the media but it’s hard to stop a good song… Pat’s songs will be sung well into the 22nd century.” Don’t miss what Sing Out! describes as “The epitome of great contemporary political music.”

Tickets: $15 advance/$17 door; $3 rebate for members, seniors, teens. Cornell students $10/$12. Children 12 and under free. Tickets at Ludgate Farms, Ithaca Guitar Works, GreenStar, Small World Music, Bound for Glory, online <>. Info: 607-351-4763 or website.

–Margaret Shepard

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Category: Concerts  | Leave a Comment
Author: Lesley
• Friday, April 10th, 2009

The current show at the Kitchen Theatre is called ARCHAEOLOGY.  It is a world premiere by playwright Rachel Axler.  Axler’s day job is writing for tv - she was until recently the only woman writer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and is now writing for a new NBC sitcom, Parks & Recreation, featuring Amy Poehler.  But she started out in theater and is interested in that medium as well.

ARCHAEOLOGY features the youngest cast we’ve had at the Kitchen in a while.  Two actors are in their early twenties, and the other two are Ithaca College theater students.  It’s a funny, weird & wacky story that involves time travel and mathematics but is at the heart a story about 20-somethings finding themselves.

There’s not a whole lot of music in the show, though Ithaca College student Ben Truppin-Brown has made a cool soundscape for the play.  There was, however, a music video made!  Two of the characters in the play have a garage band, and they mention lyrics to one of their songs.  It just so happens that Jake Paque, an actor in the play, is also a musician, and he took it upon himself to write the song!  It’s a really infectious, fun tune, and it only seemed right that it should have a music video to go with it.  So we assembled the cast on the set, brought in a mannequin that features prominently in the play, and filmed a video.  It has pretty much nothing to do with the play, but it was a lot of fun to do and it does gives a sense of the young actors and zany world of the play.  You can take a look at it and read more about the play at

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Author: Mer
• Wednesday, April 08th, 2009
When Jeff got home Monday night, Ruth was stumbling and incoherent. He called an ambulance and got her to the hospital. Because of her youth, good health, no history of smoking, and slim build, no one was thinking of stroke. But that is what it was. Monday, March 16, Ruth Roland suffered a stroke affecting her speech, her leg, and immobilizing her right arm. By that Friday, friends in Ithaca were organizing a concert on her behalf, to help her and her family cope with the expenses and the loss of income which are ensuing. A concert to benefit Ruth Roland and her family will be performed Saturday, April 18, 7:30pm at the First Congregational Church in Ithaca. It will be a wonderful evening of fiddling, ethnic folk, and romantic music.

To benefit Ruth, Water Bear bursts out of “retirement” with that beautiful fusion of jazz, classical, and folk music to fill the hall with lush string sounds. Musicians Mer Boel, Chris White, Nate Richardson, Bill Cowdery, and Tim Reppert form Water Bear for this concert–without the presence of Ruth Roland, who co-founded Water Bear with Boel while living in Ithaca and whose signature sound was a hallmark of early Water Bear.

Warming up the evening, Women’s Works, also co-founded by Ruth, will provide beautifully romantic and sometimes quirky music to soothe the soul. With Nate Richardson and Malang, Christopher Morgan Loy, performers from the summer Shakespeare troupe, and colleagues and former students of Ruth playing her string quartets, the evening air will be spiced with additional music and Renaissance wit.

The roster of musicians for the evening is impressive, but what would a benefit be without a raffle for excitement at intermission. Friends have volunteered products and services to be raffled off during the concert’s intermission, including, but not limited to, pottery, lessons, a performance, and, yes, chocolate chip cookies.

During her time in Ithaca, Ruth Roland created unique lyrics and instrumentals for Women’s Works’ staged productions of “Ordo Virtutum” and “Cendrillon”. She held together a violin studio while performing with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Binghamton Symphony, and Tri-Cities Opera. In Baton Rouge, where the family currently lives, she performs with the Baton Rouge Philharmonic and has recently produced a reading of her new operetta, “Nannerl”, a musical about Wolfgang Mozart’s overlooked sister. This benefit concert will be an opportunity to come together for support, great music, and entertainment and to give what we can to Ruth and her family.

Donations will be accepted at the door. [ See COMMENTS below for more ways to donate ] Door prizes will be awarded, and there will be a pre-concert mingling at 7:00 when you may also listen to CDs, and more. A card will be available for anyone and everyone to sign, and refreshments will be available. Info: (607) 844-4039.

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Author: Guest
• Monday, April 06th, 2009

From Matthew Falise …

I wanted to pass along a link to a blog I have been reading lately that I think some of you may be interested in:

It’s a guy who has taken it upon himself to review one “must own album” every day, for the entire year.  He writes pretty well and his picks span the gauntlet of musical genres.  I’ve been hipped to a couple of new things because of his entries.  Thought I’d give him a little free publicity.

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• Thursday, April 02nd, 2009

Stephane Wrembel & The Django Experiment at the Rongovian Embassy

Presented by: Camargue Productions and Cornell Institute for European Studies Friday, April 10, 2009 8:00pm - 11:00pm The Rongovian Embassy to the USA 1 West Main St Trumansburg, NY Facebook

French Guitar Master and Composer Stephane Wrembel to Play at the Rongo April 10, 2009 at 8pm

French guitar master Stephane Wrembel, and his band “The Django Experiment” will perform on the Rongovian embassy’s stage Friday April 10, 2009 at 8pm. Wrembel has been leaving audiences awestruck with his high energy improvisations and an unparalleled level of virtuosity for over a decade. His ability to blend traditional gypsy jazz with world and rock elements has given new life to the age old music. He finds the space where Django Reinhardt meets Jimi Hendrix on a path laid by John Coltrane.

Growing up only 20 miles from Django’s final resting place, Wrembel discovered the jazz legend in his teens and never looked back. Spending years traveling and studying with gypsy masters he harnessed the soul, passion, and fire of this music. In 2000 he moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music and gain a better understanding of other ethnic musical styles, composition and technique.

Word of Wrembel’s talent reverberated far and fast. Upon arriving in New York, jazz legend Les Paul invited Wrembel to join him at his Monday night concerts in Manhattan. Music icons have been clambering ever since to have an opportunity to work with this talent. He recorded and toured with David Grisman to support their 2005 album “Gypsy Rumble”. Wrembel’s composition “Big Brother” from that album appears on the soundtrack to Woody Allen’s movie “Vicky Christina Barcelona”. He has performed all over the planet with other legends such as Patti Smith, Mark O’Connor, John Scofield, Elvis Costello, as well as Buffalo favorite Ryan Montbleau Band.

Perhaps that’s why Rolling Stone magazine calls him “A revelation”; the NY times calls him “Fast, intense and full of charisma…radical”; Relix Magazine says Stephane is “One of the greatest guitar players I have ever seen…and I don’t say that lightly”. We should all take the advice of the critics at All About Jazz and “Don’t miss this opportunity to see a truly astonishing talent in action.”

Tickets for Stephane Wrembel and The Django Experiment are $10 each. A full house is expected so early arrival is recommended.


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