Rare convergence empowers Mahler’s Symphony No. 2

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Feb. 20, 2015
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Classical music fans know about the greatness of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the Resurrection Symphony, and what a rare treat it is to hear it live.

Not just greatness in the historical sense or the sheer mass of the undertaking, but especially the wide-ranging emotional intensity of the work. This power on a large scale elevates the work to the level of a life-changing experience, a once-in-a-generation opportunity, said Kyle Wiley Pickett, Springfield Symphony music director.

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Music makes its mark on magic of ‘The Tempest’

Rehearsal of “The Tempest” at Springfield Contemporary Theatre. From left: Todd Osbern, Jeff Gouge and Jonna Kae Volz, who plays Ariel, “an airy spirit.”Photo: Ed Peaco/For the News-Leader

Rehearsal of “The Tempest” at Springfield Contemporary Theatre. From left: Todd Osbern, Jeff Gouge and Jonna Kae Volz, who plays Ariel, “an airy spirit.”Photo: Ed Peaco/For the News-Leader

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Feb. 13, 2015
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When Shakespeare placed songs in his plays, he wrote words but no notes.

That means every time a Shakespeare production encounters a song, somebody gets to write music, potentially anything that fits the moment, as long as the director likes it.

The folks at Springfield Contemporary Theatre are having a great time collectively developing music and movement for songs, effects and incidental passages of “The Tempest.” …

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Todd Osbern of the acoustic rock band Canto 17 has been leading the musical efforts of the production. As he described his process, it sounded much like the way many rock bands build a song, Osbern starting the ball rolling, then with input from everybody, nudging the piece toward a satisfying result.

“It’s all organically developed,” Osbern said. “We came in, and we had this thing, and it just started growing. Really in the last couple run-throughs is when it started clicking. We were watching the actors, basically just playing off the emotions we saw on the stage.”

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Mardi Gras pub crawl adds venues, transport

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Feb. 12, 2015
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For a pub crawl, more pubs make for a better crawl, as long as crawlers can get around in a safe and efficient way.

This year, proprietors on Commercial Street and downtown have achieved this ideal of movable revelry for the Queen City Mardi Gras Pub Crawl.

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No Valentine’s Day plans yet? Act now

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Feb. 12, 2015
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Low- and no-cost fun

Eagle Point: At Lake Springfield Park, beyond the boat launch, follow the Audubon Trail along the bluff area to Eagle Point, overlooking a wide and distant vista. It’s up to the couple to channel this inspirational view into the romantic resources they possess together. The park closes at night; no alcohol. 417-891-1550, parkboard.org.

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Youth, experience set off eruption of new blues

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Feb. 6, 2015
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The Norman Jackson Band, from left: Ron “Boogieman” Brown, Norman Jackson, Rick Shortt and Danny Williams. Photo credit: Les Butterfield

The Norman Jackson Band, from left: Ron “Boogieman” Brown, Norman Jackson, Rick Shortt and Danny Williams. Photo credit: Les Butterfield

The album’s title, “Child Support and Alimony,” is a note of laugh-to-keep-from-crying humor, an enduring tonic for the blues. This mood pops up on “His Old Lady,” a story of two men who discover they’re dating the same woman. On another song, Jackson proclaims he’ll marry his mother-in-law, which, when played live, drives the audience from laughter to dismay.

The soulful “Can I,” by Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations, becomes a sax and guitar duet featuring Jackson’s falsetto — sublime.

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Lori Locke: ‘a whole new outlet to do whatever we want’

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 30, 2015
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Lori Locke. Photo credit: Brad Williams/Model Citizens Photography

Lori Locke. Photo credit: Brad Williams/Model Citizens Photography

Dinkins said he hopes the band will bring Locke higher-profile opportunities. Locke said she’d be happy just to sell one of her songs.

“I spent my whole life singing in Branson, singing the same two songs all year long, on the same stage, wearing the same thing,” she said. “So, this is a whole new outlet to do whatever we want. Even if just one person enjoys it a night, it’s worth it for me.”

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Home Show doubles its live presentations

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 29, 2015
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Whether families are building a custom home or remodeling, they want to make choices within the constraints of a budget, Johnson said. It’s the designer’s job to ask questions, provide options and inspire clients, she said.

“There’s a lot of different people wanting different things,” said Jillian Johnson, an interior designer with Decorating Den Interiors in Nixa. “The husband wants the big speakers, but the wife likes to entertain and wants a nice home to have family and friends over. Our goal is to incorporate it all so that everyone’s happy at the end.”

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Nate Fredrick: Breaking rules, building music

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 23, 2015
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Nate Fredrick

Nate Fredrick

After a frustrating studio experience in Nashville more than a year ago, Nate Fredrick is remaking his first album from scratch, starting with voice memos on his iPhone.

The singer-songwriter is trying to reach the raw essence of a song, free of technological crutches and tricks.

“No click track, no isolation booth,” he said, referring to typical studio time-keeping and soundproofing measures. “Breaking a lot of rules that shouldn’t be there anyway — a lot of rules that Nashville has that hinder somebody from being an artist.”

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The sheer fun of Stirfry’s music making: timeless

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 16, 2015
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Stirfry, from left: Scott Mason, Paul Mueller, DC Cunningham, Rick Richards and Ron Galbraith. Submitted photo

Stirfry, from left: Scott Mason, Paul Mueller, DC Cunningham, Rick Richards and Ron Galbraith. Submitted photo

Mueller told the story about their gig in Ava 10 years ago at an old theater with a spacious stage.

“The gal who let us in was wearing a big, poofy, red square-dancing dress,” Mueller said. “She was in her 60s or so, and she let us in, and we set our stuff up. We were doing our sound check, and she came out and said, ‘Guys, you’re going to have to turn that down. You play that loud, the people are all gonna leave.’ ”

So, the band complied, and a crowd of diverse ages, from toddlers to octogenarians, began to file in. To the surprise of the musicians, the crowd responded favorably, and, early in the performance, the woman in square-dancing attire asked the band to turn back up.

“At the end, people came up and wanted our autographs,” Mueller said.

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WhiskeyFest: It’s a learning experience

Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 15, 2015
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Outside of Kentucky and Ireland — or maybe anywhere — WhiskeyFest may be the most palate-staggering, mood-lifting, mind-improving celebration of world-class spirits you may ever encounter.

Yes, the point is to improve minds, not alter them.

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