Tag Archives: Phoenix Chorale

From aliens to arm wrestling

Got a thing for UFOs? Hit tonight’s free Summer Opening Celebration — and sign up for a UFO-theme family day on June 21 at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

It sometimes feels like aliens from outer space have already landed in Arizona, and no one would be happier than my hubby if it actually happened. He’s a longtime fan of science fiction who’ll be pleased to learn that the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art has UFOs on the brain these days.

Seems we human types once sent a “Golden Record” into space, eager to put our best foot forward in the event our probes made their way to alien lands. But that was the 70s, and this is now. So a Brooklyn-based composer named Judd Greenstein is working with artists who call themselves “New Catalogue” to imagine how humans might represent themselves now.

Folks curious about the project can hit tonight’s “Summer Opening Celebration” at SMoCA — which’ll feature previews of a new work composed by Greenstein that’s being performed tomorrow night at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Tonight’s affair, which runs from 7-10pm, is free and open to the public. You can hit the Lounge at SMoCA to enjoy a no host bar and Dulce Dance Company.

Meet composer Judd Greenstein tonight at SMoCA and enjoy the premiere of a new Greenstein work tomorrow at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Those who attend tonight’s shindig can mingle with artists, curators, dancers and composers — plus check out four new exhibitions. I’m hoping to pop over after we’ve celebrated Lizabeth’s birthday, but will most certainly be in the house tomorrow night as Greenstein premieres “In Teaching Others We Teach Ourselves,” written for violinist Nadia Sirota. Sirota, a string quartet and members of the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale will all be taking to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts stage.

Families fascinated by UFOs can hit SMoCA on June 21 for their annual “Family Fun Night,” which promises all sorts of UFO-related fare like creating hands-on art projects that involve sending messages to aliens in outer space. Also “a planetarium for stargazing,” a child-friendly docent-led tour of related exhibitions and plenty of good clean fun. Think blowing big bubbles, sampling refreshing treats and enjoying playtime in the Civic Center Mall fountain (BYO bathing suit).

There’s also a free event taking place June 12 that’s dubbed “Summer Stargazing and Music in Outerspace.” That baby features a curator-led tour of “This is a Present from a Small Distant World” plus an ASU ethnomusicologist discussing musical selections performed by Erin Hales. There’s even stargazing at ASU to follow.

I discovered oodles of good stuff browsing through the summer events and exhibition calendars for SMoCA — from film screenings and author events to art workshops and teen gatherings. I’m especially intrigued by “Arm Wrestling for Art” (July 13) and an online experience called “Out of the Cubical.” Watch for another post featuring pearls shared by Greenstein once I’ve rocked the birthday party vibe here at home.

— Lynn

Note: Pre-register for the SMoCA “Family Fun Night” on June 21 by calling 480-874-4642 (The evening is $20 for a family of four and $4 per extra person). I’m assuming any actual aliens from outer space choosing to land in Scottsdale that evening will get in free.

Coming up: Composer Judd Greenstein talks art, music and life

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience as the tech fairies work to move all 1,250+ posts to the new site. For the latest news follow me on Twitter @stagemommusings. 6/13/12


Lemons from lemonade

Earlier this year, a non-profit known as the Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts and Culture decided to cease operations. But not before assuring with its main funders, the Flinn Foundation and the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust–that remaining monies would be put to good use.

The Flinn Emergency Fund for Arts Organizations made one-time grants totalling $500,000 to 21 arts and culture organizations. Grant amounts were based on each nonprofit’s annual operating budget, and designated “unrestricted” so recipients have freedom in deciding how to use the funds.

The Flinn Foundation Emergency Arts Grants, announced in April, went to several types of organizations noted below:

Museums: Arizona Science Center, Desert Caballeros Western Museum, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum
Dance: Ballet Arizona
Music: Arizona Opera, Phoenix Boys Choir, Phoenix Chorale, The Phoenix Symphony, Symphony of the Southwest
Theater: Actors Theatre, Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Black Theatre Troupe, Childsplay, Phoenix Theatre, Theater Works
Visual Arts: Xico, Inc. (featuring the work of Latino and Native American artists)
Other: Herberger Theater Center, Scottsdale Cultural Council, West Valley Arts Council

The Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust anounced 11 awards totalling $1.2 million through its Arts Restructuring and Transformation (ART) Fund on August 11. Recipients were chosen from among the 37 previous Piper arts and culture grantees invited to apply.

Funded organizations/projects include the following:

Museums: Desert Botanical Garden (for website improvements), Heard Museum (to expand retail space, add bookstore and coffeeshop), Phoenix Art Museum (to develop a center for film)
Dance: Ballet Arizona (to establish a community school of dance)
Music: Arizona Opera (for construction of theater, education wing and artists space), Phoenix Conservatory of Music (to promote a strategic alliance with Ear Candy), The Phoenix Symphony (to restructure marketing and development functions)
Theater: Arizona Theatre Company/Actors Theatre of Phoenix (to explore a strategic alliance), Childsplay (for increased patron participation and expanded technology), Theater Works (for arts storage and rental facility)
Other: Chandler Cultural Center (for youth training in arts and arts administration)

Stay tuned to the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust and Flinn Foundation websites for details on an upcoming four-day town hall they’ll be co-sponsoring during April 2011. The four-day conference will focus on the impact of arts and culture on Arizona’s economy.


Note: Stay abreast of various grant opportunities by tuning into websites for the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts.

Coming up: Finding films in unexpected places

Music for making holiday memories

Eager to raise children who hate classical music? Try these simple steps: Assume they’ll never like it. Never take them to a classical music concert. Talk about how classical music is boring. Assure they never hear you enjoying a classical piece of music. This rule pretty much follows for all of parenting. If you tell a kid to hate something, work extra hard to hate it yourself and never give your kid the opportunity to love it, your kid will probably hate it.

If you want to raise a child who appreciates, and maybe even loves (or plays) classical music, take him or her early and often to see and hear it performed. My fingers just did all the walking for you, so cut the excuses, read this list, and get out there and give your kids some credit. I think they’ll surprise you. And they might just find something to love for a lifetime.

First, a collection of musical adventures from a venue that never fails to impress with the diversity of its offerings—the Mesa Arts Center. They’ll host a Holiday Arts & Music Festival with free admission and free parking on Dec. 12th and 13th. The event includes art by nearly 100 artists in 13 mediums, live entertainment, kids’ activities and more.

Other holiday happenings with a musical bent coming to the MAC include: Leahy Family Christmas (Celtic Canadian sibling singers) on Dec. 5th. Welk Stars (as in Lawrence Welk) Christmas Reunion on Dec. 6th. American Stars in Concert For the Holidays (surprise mix of American Idol top ten finalists) on Dec. 12th. Salt River Brass Concert (holiday pops) on Dec. 13th. You’re All I Want for Christmas (Christmas variety show with sing-a-longs) on Dec. 16th and 18th. Dave Koz and Friends (A Smooth Jazz Christmas) on Dec. 22nd. There’s more, but the brevity of blogging prevents me from listing everything here, so check their website for the full scoop.

I grew up listening with my mother to the music of the Boston Pops, and enjoyed a full circle moment when Lizabeth and I went to a Boston Pops concert together many years ago (she’s still wearing the souvenir t-shirt). Consider starting a new holiday tradition with one (or more) of these classical music concerts…

The Tempe Symphony Orchestra presents their annual Holiday Concert at McClintock High School at 7:30pm on Monday, Nov. 30th.  (It’s free!) The ASU Symphony Orchestra and Choral Unions present their Holiday Concert (including works from Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Messiah) at ASU Gammage in Tempe on Dec. 6th from 2:30-4pm.

The Phoenix Symphony offers a rich musical menu during the holiday season—with many performances held on multiple dates—so their website is well worth a visit. Your choices this season include Holiday Express! (Dec. 2nd-4th), Holiday Pops (Dec. 4th-6th), Family Holiday Pops (Dec. 5th), Candlelight Messiah (starting Dec. 9th), Handel’s Messiah Sing-a-Long (Dec. 6th at 7:30pm) and a New Year’s Eve concert complete with complimentary champagne (Dec. 31st at 7pm).

I recall many a concert with a very young Lizabeth napping on my shoulder during the second half. It beats having your child fall asleep to the television or an iPod. The early exposure to classical music left Lizabeth eager to try violin lessons, leading to a decade of violin study and all the discipline and musicality that comes with it. I’ll never regret making that investment in concert tickets rather than video games or DVDs.

If musical theater is your thing, join fellow Broadway buffs at Phoenix Theatre Dec. 18th or 19th for Holiday Harmony featuring Broadway Baritones singing holiday and Broadway tunes. Among them will be Douglas Webster, who brought the house down during Phoenix Theatre’s passionate yet pristine production of Les Miserables last season. I suspect that tickets for this baby will be going fast.

In the mood for a bit of dinner theater? Check out the Singing Cowboy Christmas (with Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers) at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Mesa. The show, which features songs, carols, stories and poetry, runs Nov. 27th and 28th as well as several dates in December. I remember seeing Man of La Mancha with my dad at a Denver dinner theater when I was young, and it felt like quite the adventure!

I can’t recall how Jennifer and I heard about the first Phoenix Girls Chorus concert we saw together at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, but it clearly left an impression since Jennifer went on to happily sing and tour with them for many years. Had we never seen that concert together, she might never have discovered her musical talents. Hence my motto about children and the performing arts: Expose them early and often.

The Phoenix Girls Chorus will perform two holiday concerts this season—a Holiday Family Concert called “Memories and Music” at 7pm on Dec. 5th at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley, and a Holiday Classics Concert called “Holiday Grandeur” at 8pm on Dec. 21st at First United Methodist Church in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Boys Choir presents Holiday Traditions (traditional hymns and lively carols from around the world) at several locations throughout the Valley beginning Dec. 12th. The program features a special reenactment of “The Night Before Christmas.”

The Phoenix Children’s Chorus will perform 25 Years of Holiday Celebrations (with special guest artist Desert Echoes Flute Project) during a matinee and an evening performance on Dec. 5th. The event, which includes a silent auction, takes place at St. Agnes Church in Phoenix. (I love getting teacher gifts at auctions—it’s like doing double the good works!)

Phoenix Chorale (formerly the Phoenix Bach Choir) presents a free open rehearsal Dec. 4th from 6:30-9:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in Phoenix. They’ll also perform several Home for the Holidays concerts at various locations (in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Sun City) Dec. 18th-22nd. The Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix is holding holiday concerts on several dates in December at various locations (in Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix and Scottsdale).

Finally, let me share a little something wonderful you’ll find a wee bit out of town. It’s the Wickenburg Friends of Music event, being held Dec. 4th at 7:30pm at the Wickenburg Community Center. Musica Dolce, a Baroque ensemble, will be playing music from medieval times through the Renaissance while spotlighting the history behind several Christmas traditions. It’s the type of performance you don’t get to enjoy very often, so check it out if you’re a lover of the unique or unexpected.

If you discover something especially wonderful this holiday season, please share it with fellow readers using the comment section below. And come back tomorrow for a sampling of family-friendly theater performances perfect for holiday together time.


Note: Always call/click ahead for event/ticket details. To enjoy comprehensive listings of family-friendly events, subscribe to Raising Arizona Kids magazine and/or visit the RAK calendar online at www.raisingarizonakids.com.