Category Archives: events

Merry Widow waltzes onto BGSU stage

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Celebrate one remarkably romantic night in Paris in June of 1914 with “The Merry Widow,” performed March 22 and 24 in the Wolfe Center for the Arts at Bowling Green State University.

Performances of the operetta are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 22, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre.

Those who are interested in learning more about the popular hit are invited to a Director’s Forum, one hour before curtain, at 7 p.m. on March 22 and 2 p.m. on March 24, in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre. BGSU musicologist Dr. Eftychia Papanikolaou and Christopher Scholl, an associate professor of voice and opera studies, will provide commentary on the music and stage history of Franz Lehar’s operetta, with musical examples prepared especially for the forum. Dr. Ron Shields, a professor of theater and film, will also share insights into his role as stage director for the production.

Set within the walls of the humble Pontevedrian Embassy, yet within sight of the newly electrified Eiffel Tower, provincial and urbane worlds gently collide through flirtations and stolen kisses. The plot follows the intrigues of the characters as they amusingly waltz to delightful conclusions in this musical comedy of manners.

Widely believed to be the most popular operetta of all time, Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” has been presented over 500,000 times since it first won audience applause at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in 1905. Both a popular cultural phenomena and a stage sensation, the operetta prompted distinctive marketing ploys, including cocktails, songbooks in multiple languages, hats and shoes, and even a “Merry Widow” cigar.

The production is a collaboration among the BGSU Department of Theatre and Film, BGSU Opera Theater and the College of Musical Arts.

For ticket information, visit the BGSU Box Office online at, or call 419-372-8171.

Falcon Marching Band selected for CBDNA event

The Falcon Marching Band, Carol Hayward, director,  has been selected for a video performance at the 2013 conference of the College Band Directors National Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Falcon Marching Band was one of 10 bands selected from nationwide applicants through a peer-review process. The selected bands will be featured at the conference on Mar. 21, 2013.

The show to be presented at the conference, performed by the 280 member Falcon Marching Band in collaboration with the BGSU Men’s Chorus, Timothy Cloeter, director, is titled “I Hear America Singing.”  Performed on Sept. 10, 2011, the show is a medley of patriotic selections, selected to honor those who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the survivors, first responders, and members of the military who assisted in the recovery and rescue efforts. The musical arrangements are by Falcon Marching Band staff arranger, Ryan Nowlin, and the visual design is by Carol Hayward.

Hugh Masekela closes out Festival Series

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts closes out the 2012-13 Festival Series with renowned South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. He will perform with his band at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center.

An innovator in the world music and jazz scene, Masekela is best known for his 1968 Grammy-nominated hit single, “Grazing in the Grass,” which sold over four million copies. He played an integral role in Paul Simon’s tour for “Graceland,” which was one of the first pop records to introduce African music to a broader public.

Masekela has collaborated with numerous artists in the United States, Africa and Europe, including Miriam Makeba, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Herb Alpert, Fela Kuti (in Nigeria) and Franco (in the Congo). Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey chose a piece by Masekela to create a work for his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Masekela also co-created the Broadway smash musical “Sarafina” that introduced the sounds and passion of South African music to theater audiences worldwide.
He was recently nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the “Best World Music Album” category for the album “Jabulani,” produced and arranged by Don Laka and released through the Gallo Record Company label in South Africa and Razor and Tie Records in the U.S.

Masekela’s music portrays the struggles and joys of living in South Africa and voices protest against slavery and discrimination. His work as an activist raised international awareness of the South African government’s restrictive apartheid policies. In the 1980s his hit song “Bring Him Back Home” became an anthem for the Free Nelson Mandela movement.
In the 1990s Masekela himself finally returned to South Africa and renewed the musical ties to his homeland. In 2004 he released his autobiography, “Still Grazing: The Musical Journey of Hugh Masekela,” a stunning memoir that is both heartbreaking and hilarious.

Maskela is joined by Abednigo Sibongiseni Zulu, bass guitar; Frances Manneh Edward Fuster, percussion and backing vocals; Randal Skippers, keyboards and backing vocals, and Lee-Roy Sauls, drums and backing vocals. The BGSU performance is the first on an 18-city tour in support of his new recording, “Playing@Work.”

To purchase tickets online, visit Tickets can also be purchased by calling 419-372-8171.

BGSU Festival Series hosts American Spiritual Ensemble

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts Festival Series celebrates Black History Month with a special performance by the American Spiritual Ensemble at 8 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center.

Directed by Dr. Everett McCorvey and founded in 1995, the ensemble’s mission is to keep the American Negro spiritual alive. The group has entertained audiences around the world with its dynamic renditions of classic spirituals, jazz and Broadway numbers highlighting the black experience.

On the Festival Series program are classic spirituals such as “Walk Together Children,” “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,” “I Wanna Be Ready,” “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel,” “Is There Anybody Here” and “His Name Is So Sweet.” A musical arrangement of poems from American Negro folk sermons and James Weldon Johnson titled “God’s Trombones” will be featured, along with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The ensemble will also perform a special Duke Ellington medley and the perennial favorite “Old Time Religion.”

A native of Montgomery, Ala., McCorvey received degrees from the University of Alabama, including a Doctorate of Musical Arts. As a tenor soloist, he has performed in major venues including the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Opera, Aspen Music Festival, Radio City Music Hall and in England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, Hungary, Poland and the Czech and Slovak republics. During the summers, he serves on the artist faculty of the American Institute of Musical Study in Graz, Austria, and the Intermezzo Opera Program. He also holds an endowed chair in opera studies and is director of opera at the University of Kentucky. McCorvey was the executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Alltech 2010 World Equestrian Games, the largest equestrian event held in the United States.

For the American Spiritual Ensemble, McCorvey has assembled a talented group of soloists and members who have sung in theaters and opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and Houston Grand Opera, and abroad in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Spain, China and Japan.

To purchase tickets online for the performance, visit Tickets can also be purchased by calling 419-372-8171. BGSU students can get a free ticket to the performance at the BGSU Student Union Information desk, courtesy of the Office of Student Affairs.

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Alumnus Ryan Nowlin prepares music for inauguration

For many, the opportunity to live their life’s dream takes a backseat to life’s realities, but not so for Ryan Nowlin, BGSU alumnus and staff arranger for the“President’s Own” United States Marine Band. However, daring to believe he could live his dream propelled Nowlin last month into a spotlight he could never have predicted, when he had the“amazing and humbling” opportunity to participate in the Inauguration of President Obama, including arranging pieces for Kelly Clarkson and Beyoncé.

Inspired by his pride and love of country, Nowlin sought to create a“lush, orchestral sort of sound’ as he arranged the pieces for the pop stars. According to Nowlin, both Clarkson and Beyoncé wanted to perform with the Marine Band, and each had a vision of her arrangement. Nowlin had just two weeks to arrange the pieces and send the demos on to their music directors. In his first experience with major celebrities, he says, “Everyone was fantastic. Both Ms. Clarkson and Beyonce’asked for a copy of the vocal sheet music to frame for their studios. I was particularly touched by that.”

“Ms. Clarkson had a very evocative take on ‘Tis of Thee’ and how she wanted it to go,”said Nowlin. “We were able to capture her smokey-bluesy quality but still stay true to the song. Beyoncé wanted a presidential and reverential arrangement—one that would have strong emotional pull. It was a true collaboration between us all, and I was given the freedom to make both pieces original and fit the occasion.”

Beginning his musical instruction at age 5 on the piano, moving on to trumpet by age 10 and French horn by 17, Nowlin always knew his future would revolve around music, but not necessarily to the heights he has achieved with the Marine Band.

“I’ve always looked up to, listened to, and was constantly inspired by the Marine Band. I can’t say that I ever imagined being a part of it—seemed out of my reach—and my sights and dreams were always on being a music teacher and running a band program … or being John Williams!”

Reflecting on the opportunity to participate in the Inauguration, Nowlin said,“I found the experience deeply, deeply moving and surreal. To be a part of such an historic event, and to be a part of music that communicates my very personal emotions about our country was simply an experience I will never forget. I was very moved by the way the artists treated the music, and incredibly humbled by the response of the hundreds of thousands of Americans on the National Mall.”

Nowlin earned both a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in music education from BGSU, studying with Herbert Spencer and Bruce Moss. Over the years he has worked as staff arranger for the Bowling Green State University Marching Band, band director at Jackson City Schools, and director of bands for the Brecksville-Broadway Heights School District before joining The Marine Band in 2010.

“It’s true that I am living my dream, but my dream, like many’s, is finding a place where any gifts I have been given can do the most good for the most people. Could I have predicted where I would be today? No—and that’s the beauty of it. I had this dream and through grace, it has led me to where I am today.”

Semi-finalists selected in BGSU’s Dubois Piano Competition

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Semi-finalists have been selected in the third annual David D. Dubois Piano Competition at the Bowling Green State University College of Musical Arts. Contest winners will receive $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Finalists will also be invited to apply to appear on the National Public Radio show “From the Top” with Christopher O’Riley, which will be broadcast live from BGSU on Sept. 28.

Competing in the next round, to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 9 in BGSU’s Kobacker Hall, will be:

Vivian Anderson, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Mark Bixel, Bluffton, Ohio; Ariela Bohrod, Interlochen Arts Academy, Mich. (Madison, Wis.); Sasha Bult-Ito, Interlochen Arts Academy (Fairbanks, Alaska);
Menghan Cao, Interlochen Arts Academy (China); Hannah Che, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Jiakung Feng, Hudson, Ohio; April Gao, Sylvania, Ohio; Stephanie Heist, Oberlin, Ohio; Ruyi Jiao, Charlotte, N.C.; Arata Kaku, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Zachary Kleman, Canterbury, N.J.; Geoffrey Kocks, Grand Blanc, Mich.; Sang O Lee, Interlochen Arts Academy (Bangkok, Thailand); Evelyn Mo, Oak Hill, Va.; Charles Oestreich, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Patrick Pan, Houston, Texas; Jiayin Lisa Peng, Shaker Heights, Ohio; Lorenzo Aldrett Ranal, Interlochen Arts Academy (Mexico); Trenton Takaki, Wilmette, Ill.; Kevin Takeda, Interlochen Arts Academy (Indian Wells, Calif.); Athena Tsianos, Glendora, Calif.; Joseph Vaz, Cincinnati, Ohio; Fung Ting Yan, Interlochen Arts Academy (Hong Kong), and Xinyi Michelle Zhao, Interlochen Arts Academy.

Pianists selected from that round will compete in the final round from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 10. Judges for the competition include piano professors from BGSU along with Dubois Piano Festival and BGSU Festival Series guest artists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe. The two pianists, who perform as a team, will also be giving a master class for students at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in Kobacker Hall. The master class is free and open to the public.

The piano competition is also part of the Dubois Piano Festival and includes a performance by the piano duo at 8 p.m. Feb. 9 in Kobacker Hall. To purchase tickets online for this performance, visit or call 419-372-8171.