Memorial Day: Honoring with Music

Today we remember the men and women in our military who made the ultimate sacrifice – giving their lives in service of our country. From parades and ceremonies to funerals and memorial services, music is woven into the fabric of this holiday and military musicians play a vital role. During a 2013 visit to the 36th Infantry Division Band, Texas Army National Guard, in Austin, Texas, we met Sgt. First Class James Boski, a French horn player who also bugles. We contacted him recently to ask his perspective on the …

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New Ordway Concert Hall: Dazzling or Disappointing?

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One of the newest performing arts venues in the U.S. – the $42 million Ordway Concert Hall – opened several months ago in St. Paul, Minn. We attended the public open house before the grand opening, where several ensembles – both vocal and instrumental – delighted audiences with free performances. Since its March 5th debut, the hall has garnered rave reviews from musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) and audience members. However, art’s subjectivity means not everyone’s happy. Organic & Geometric. This new concert hall was designed by …

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Take a Master Class Named for the Ultimate Master

Rigging Master Classes

If you’ve worked with rigging much of your career, chances are that you own a copy of the definitive Stage Rigging Handbook. This resource—the most respected textbook in the industry—provides the sum total of the knowledge of Jay O. Glerum, one of the live performance industry’s most respected rigging professionals and teachersß. Glerum was well known as an instructor who emphasized the highest standards for safety and technical knowledge to anyone who used stage rigging, whether they volunteered at their local high school or ran complex systems for Broadway productions. …

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Education Spotlight: Kansas Connections

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Lisa Divel helped found the Great Plains Theatre (GPT) in 1995 in Abilene, Kansas, serving first on the exploratory committee. She has worked at GPT 15 of the last 20 years, including acting in a dozen shows. We asked her perspectives on professional theatre and education; her current full-time job is teaching high school theatre in Chapman, Kansas. Q: Does GPT do outreach into schools? Divel: Yes – the educational outreach program is wonderful. My experience with students was one of main reasons I was on the original exploratory committee. …

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Leftovers or Nouvelle Cuisine? Dinner Theatres Evolve

dinner theatres

Hungry for a show? Several recent articles about mealtime entertainment whetted our appetite to sample this topic. Read on to satisfy your own craving: learn how a Minnesota dinner theatre successfully reinvented itself and how some restaurants around the world are spicing up their menus with performances. Finally, we’ll offer one theory behind these developments. Midwestern Makeover. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) located in the southwestern suburbs of Minneapolis, recorded its best financial performance in 25 years last year, triumphing over post-recession struggles when annual losses had ranged from $200K to …

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Win-Win Partnerships: Ohio Valley Symphony Marks 25 Years (Part 2 of 2)

Ohio Valley Symphony

Last week, we learned about the origins of The Ohio Valley Symphony (OVS) in Gallipolis, Ohio, which is celebrating its 25th season. This week we’ll continue our conversation with Lora Lynn Snow, OVS founder, executive director and principal oboist, to learn more about their theatre and factors behind the group’s success. YPP: Who uses your theatre? Snow: Our primary group, OVS, has a five-concert series each year. Owning our facility opens up more options to work with local businesses and organizations. We host a variety of events: receptions, weddings, parties, …

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Project Case Study: University of Wisconsin at Madison

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Challenge Enhance the acoustical quality of a multiple-use, 76-year-old historic theater without crowding the backstage areas or making significant changes to the stage house. Solution Wenger and J. R. Clancy (JRC) developed a custom solution, combining a Wenger Diva® Acoustical Shell with lifting storage rack and hoist with the capacity required to store the shell and its towers above the stage. Benefits Preservation of a much-loved theater space Dramatically improved sound quality Easy, pushbutton control Above-stage storage frees wing space Flexibility to host many kinds of performances Reduced load-in and …

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Haven for Artists: Ohio Valley Symphony Marks 25 Years (Part 1 of 2)

Ohio Valley Symphony

This year The Ohio Valley Symphony (OVS) in Gallipolis, Ohio, celebrates its 25th season. We recently talked with Lora Lynn Snow, OVS founder, executive director and principal oboist, to learn more about the group’s origins and unique home. OVS’ story is so interesting, we’re going to split it into two weeks. YPP: How did OVS get started? Snow: In 1987 I had a vision to start an orchestra – to create a haven for artists and put my own work philosophies into place. I believe most people want to work …

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Mark Your Calendar: April 24 is Rigging Safety Day

Rigging Safety Initiative

How will you celebrate Arbor Day on April 24? We’re joining with USITT in celebrating Rigging Safety Day, a day to promote safer stages by posting and tweeting with the hashtag #RigSafe. Arbor Day is the perfect day to remember rigging safety, because the “arbor” is the part of a counterweight line set that holds the stage weights. On April 24, USITT will post #RigSafe news all day and ask people to support its Rigging Safety Initiative (RSI), which provide free rigging inspections and safety training for school stages. Watch …

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Spotlight: International Performing Arts Trends

International Performing Arts Trends

For some perspective on international performing arts trends, the International Theatre Engineering Architecture Conference (ITEAC) is a great event. The theme of last year’s conference in London — “The Future of Performance Spaces: People, Places and Technologies” – had this description: “For those who specify, design, equip and operate performance spaces, ensuring that these will meet the needs of future users has always been a challenge. The rapid changes taking place globally, driven by audience expectations, the availability of new technologies and the demands of innovative and more flexible programming …

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