2013-2014 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
Andy Grammer emerged as one of the biggest success stories in the music business in 2012. He performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (three times), and “Good Morning America.” He shared the stage with Taylor Swift, Train and Colbie Caillat, and he is the first male pop star, since John Mayer in 2002, to reach the Top 10 in Adult Pop Radio on his first two singles, “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me.” Known for his vibrant pop/rock/soul mix and free-flowing vocal delivery, the acclaimed singer, songwriter, and musician – who began as a street performer in Santa Monica, Calif. – is now making 2013 another big year. Grammer grew up in a musical household. His father, Red Grammer, is a Grammy-nominated children’s performer who gladly indulged his son’s desire to get on stage.
2012-2013 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
The Kithara Duo (Fernand and Olga Amelkina-Vera) was formed in 2002. Since then, they have performed in Europe and South America, as well as national for such organizations as Guitar Sarasota, Guitar Fort Worth, Treasure Coast Classical Guitar Society, Foundation of Modern Music (Houston), Col Canto (Houston), Voices Intimae (Dallas), "Classical Minds" Guitar Festival at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, Fort Worth Guitar Guild Music Festival, Mesquite Guitar Festival, and live on "The Front Row," a program on Houston's classical radio station KUHF. They strive to expand the guitar duo repertoire through their many arrangements and original compositions. Kithara Duo are the creators and directors of the annual guitar Orchestra Workshop in the North Texas area, now in its eighth year.
Musical Menus on Broadway
This Clarke tradition features performances by students and faculty throughout a gourmet five-course meal. It's been called the area's best Broadway revue!
Frieda Lee has combined a life-long love of music with a dual career as performer and educator. Her performances include adult contemporary and mainstream jazz styles. Lee is the lead vocalist with the distinguished musical organization, Chicago Jazz Orchestra with repertoire dedicated to the musical genius of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and other legendary composers. Lee has performed at every major jazz showcase in the Chicago area and has developed and presented workshops for students and teachers throughout the Midwest. This performance was sponsored by the Dubuque Arts Council.
2011-2012 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
Russian Duo is an international project, born out of a love of traditional music and classical elegance. Oleg is a balalaika virtuoso from Siberia and Terry is an American concert pianist. Together they have joined forces to perform vibrant, magical concerts. Their program combines the diverse flavors of traditional Russian music, lilting voices, chamber music classics and unique transcriptions of favorites from around the world.
This chart-topping duo’s self-titled debut album introduced fans to their number one platinum radio smash “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not.” Named the iTunes’ Country Song of the Year in 2011, the song has grown meteorically to become the most played song on country radio in 2011 and reached the top of the Billboard Heat Seekers Chart. Since then, Thompson Square earned three fan-voted American Country Awards for Single of the Year by a Group, Single of the Year by a New Artist and Music Video of the Year by a New Artist. “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” also earned two GRAMMY nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/ Group Performance of the Year. Thompson Square finished 2011 as Billboard’s #1 New Country Artist in terms of its single (Hot 100) and album sales (Hot 200) charts. The duo was also named Mediabase’s New Country Artist of the Year, in terms of radio airplay.
2010-2011 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
An Evening with Broadway Star Celia Keenan-Bolger
One of Broadway’s “it” girls, Celia Keenan-Bolger was born in Detroit, Michigan and discovered her love of music and performing at a young age. After graduating from the University of Michigan she was cast on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which earned her a Tony Award Nomination, Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble, and Theatre World Award. She also played Eponine in the Broadway revival of Les Miserables for which she was nominated for another Drama Desk Award. She can be heard on recordings of Spelling Bee, Bright Lights Big City, Summer of ‘42 and Broadway Musicals of 1930. TV appearances include Law & Order, Heartland, and The Education of Max Bickford.
Keenan-Bolger brings Broadway to Clarke when she spends the day of her performance working with the university’s students as well as area high-school students.
She will conclude the day with a public concert of Broadway hits. Don’t miss a night of Broadway with one of its shining stars!
Singer/Songerwriter Jen Gloeckner
A Dubuque native, Jen Gloeckner continues to write and record music from her home on the shores of the Mississippi, which cuts through the heart of the America and situates Jen quite aptly on the brink between light and dark, dream and wake, destruction and healing. From little room to big sky and back again, we await “what dreams may come” to this intensely powerful young musician.
MOJO Music Magazine in London has described Gloeckner’s sound as “spell-weaving…different, dark, ethereal, funky; an alluring big-sky, small-room mystery.”
Attesting to this is the growing recognition of Gloeckner’s powerful sound and unique appeal within the US music industry. After releasing “Miles Away” through One Little Indian Records in 2005, Gloeckner received rave reviews worldwide in several major music magazines including MOJO Music Magazine UK, Classic Rock Magazine, and Blitz Magazine in Portugal. She continues to tour nationally and internationally.
2009-2010 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
Sonya Baker, an Evening of Music by African American Women
Noted for her performances of American music, soprano Sonya Gabrielle Baker has been heard in concert both nationally and internationally. She tours regularly as a soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble and released her debut recording, “She Says,” featuring art songs of American Women composers. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall and as soloist on the Yale Alumni Chorus tour to Moscow singing at the Kremlin.
Currently, she is associate professor of voice and assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at Murray State University. Her upcoming projects include release of a second recording, “A Tribute to Marian Anderson” and an appearance at the Kennedy Center with the MSU Wind Ensemble.
Featured in the film “Titanic,” Gaelic Storm is heralded for energetic performances and enthusiastic audience interaction, playing over 125 shows per year. The group’s repertoire consists of original interpretations of Celtic classics and well-crafted originals.
The band has released six albums – all of which have charted on the Billboard World Music Charts. The most recent album, “Bring Yer Wellies” (Lost Again Records) debuted at number 2 on the Billboard World Chart, number 16 on the Internet Sales Chart and number 31 on the Independent Album Chart. Their album “How Are We Getting Home?” reached number 3 on the Billboard World Music Charts in 2005.
2008-2009 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
Pieta Brown, Singer/Songwriter
The daughter of two preachers’ kids, Pieta Brown spent her childhood in Iowa and Alabama amidst a broken but very musical family. In her bare-bones bohemian upbringing in Iowa there was no electricity or running water. There, Pieta was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father, twotime Grammy nominee Greg Brown. Later, while spending time in Birmingham, Ala., with her full-time working mother, Pieta drew on all these influences and began writing poetry.
Today, the folk-influenced singer/songwriter is on the top of her game. On the sublime Remember the Sun (One Little Indian Records), she continues to ride the upward arc begun with her eponymous debut in 2002 and subsequently extended by 2005’s critically acclaimed “In the Cool.” The album broke the Top 20 of the Americana Music Association radio chart and the Top 30 on the AAA radio chart.
Susan Egan, Belle of Broadway
Susan Egan has traversed all four corners of the entertainment industry, making powerful impressions in theatre, film, television and music. She starred on Broadway as Thoroughly Modern Millie, won critical acclaim as Broadway’s (longest-running) “Sally Bowles” in Cabaret, and received Tony Award and Drama Desk nominations for “Best Actress” as the original “Belle” in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
She’s been seen on film in 13 Going on 30, Gotta Kick It Up, countless independents and voiced the animated characters of “Meg” in Disney’s Hercules, and “Lin” in the Academy Award winning Spirited Away, among others. She spent two seasons on WB’s Nikki and guest-starred on NUMB3RS, NYPD Blue, Arli$$, Drew Carey, Party of Five, Great Performances, and more. Egan sings with symphonies nationwide, has over 40 recording credits including five solo CDs, and was named Best Vocalist of the Year by TalkinBroadway.com. And Entertainment Weekly calls her website, susanegan.net, the “slickest site around.”
Altar Boyz is the longest running new musical comedy to open in New York in years! Full of sharp parody, sinfully spectacular dancing, and irreverent humor, this spoof about a heavenly guy-group is adored by audiences and critics alike. With an extraordinary mix of sidesplitting songs “convincing enough to be played on MTV,” uncontrollable laughs and lighthearted fun, this award-winning and totally original new musical is “90 minutes of pure delight” that’s suitable for all ages and will have “the whole family laughing and singing along.”
2007-2008 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
International Night: The Pacific Isles
Become immersed in paradise when the ensembles of the Clarke music department join with Mana-Pasifika to present an evening of the Pacific Isles. Mana-Pasifika is a dance group focusing on the islands of the South Pacific. Made up of indigenous natives, second- and third-generation descendants of Pacifica, this upcoming Polynesian dance ensemble has a combined 40 years of experience.
Shirley Jones with Ron Abel
Long before “The Partridge Family,” Shirley Jones had already achieved fame as a singer and actress. Starring in many films, including the highly successful musicals “Oklahoma!,” “Carousel,” “April Love” and “The Music Man,” she often embodied or represented wholesome beauty and kindness of character.
Although best known for her movie and television roles, Jones has an impressive stage resume, including the musical “Maggie Flynn” on Broadway and a stellar turn in a rare revival of Noel Coward’s operetta “Bitter Sweet” at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera in 1983. In 2004, Shirley returned to Broadway in a revival of “42nd Street,” portraying diva “Dorothy Brock,” opposite her son, Patrick Cassidy. Shirley continues to appear in venues nationwide, in concert and in speaking engagements.
Svet Stoyanov, Percussionist
Recently praised by the New York Times for his “understated but unmistakable virtuosity” along with a “winning combination of gentleness and fluidity,” Bulgarian-born Svet Stoyanov has captivated audiences internationally with his virtuosic technique both on the marimba and a wide variety of other percussion instruments. He has garnered accolades from audiences and professionals throughout Europe and the United States for his dynamic concerto performances, his theatrical recital presentations and the elegance of his chamber music collaborations.
Arlo Guthrie was born with a guitar in one hand and a harmonica in the other, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York in 1947. His career exploded in 1967 with the release of “Alice’s Restaurant,” which helped foster a new commitment among the 1960s generation to social consciousness and activism.
Over the last four decades, Guthrie has toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia winning a wide, popular following. In addition to his accomplishments as a musician, playing the piano, six- and twelve-string guitar, harmonica and a dozen other instruments, Guthrie is a natural-born storyteller, whose tales and anecdotes figure prominently in his performances. Today, Guthrie spends nearly 10 months of the year on the road.
2006-2007 SPOTLIGHT PERFORMERS
The Vienna Boys Choir
In 1498, more than half a millennium ago, Emperor Maximilian I of Austria moved his court and his court musicians from Innsbruck to Vienna. He gave specific instructions that there were to be six boys among his musicians. For want of a foundation charter, historians have settled on 1498 as the official foundation date of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and – in consequence – the Vienna Choir Boys. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the court, at mass, at private concerts and functions and on state occasions. Today, one of the most well-known choirs in the world, the Vienna Boys Choir consists of about 100 choristers between the ages of 10 and 14, divided into four touring choirs. The choirs give about 300 concerts and performances each year in front of almost half a million people. Each group spends nine to 11 weeks of the school year on tour. They visit virtually all European countries, and they are frequent guests in Asia, Australia and the Americas.
Susan Werner in Concert
George Gershwin. Cole Porter. Richard Rodgers. Billy Strayhorn. The Golden Age of Popular Song. A bygone era. No one can write tunes like that anymore. Or has Susan Werner added a new chapter to the Great American Songbook? Werner’s mix of folk and jazz is one reason the breakthrough singer-songwriter has toured across the country with countless luminaries including Joan Armatrading and Richard Thompson. She has four nationally released albums and has appeared on the “Peter, Paul & Mary Lifelines” special seen nationally on PBS. Don’t miss this night of wonderful live music.
An Evening with Rockapella
Long ago and far away in Providence, Rhode Island, a few young men began something which over the next decade would build from a collegiate hobby into a national phenomenon...they began Rockapella. The group’s popularity began skyrocketing during its five seasons on the award-winning PBS program “Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Since then, in addition to a constant touring schedule, Rockapella has been frequently featured on numerous national commercials and talk shows. Often imitated; never duplicated, this certifiably unique pop musical group has taken the previously stodgy music genre of a cappella and brought it full-force into the 21st century. Their story is like no other, and they create a sound and impression like no one else! As the undisputed kings of contemporary a cappella music, Rockapella continues to prove their boundless ability to inspire and attract devoted fans, new and old...