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Saluting veterans: ‘American Riffs’ concert, TPT shows, films at Parkway

Courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus

Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus wanted to do something special for Veterans Day. So he programmed a new concert of rousing, uplifting, solemn and celebratory American music, threw in some swing (Lazarus is also a jazz musician and composer), and invited some of his friends: pianist Tommy Barbarella, bassist Jeff Bailey, drummer David Schmalenberger, powerhouse vocalist Tonia Hughes.

Together with the Minnesota Orchestra, led by Sarah Hicks, they’ll fill Orchestra Hall on Sunday afternoon with music by Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George M. Cohan, John Philip Sousa, Harry James, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and others who knew how to raise a pulse and pluck a heartstring.

The Minnesota Orchestra’s first-ever Veterans Day concert grew out of a collection of tunes Lazarus put together, tracing the history of iconic American music from the roots of jazz to Broadway and the concert stage. For Veterans Day, he added music from the Big Band era. “Many of these songs came out of wartime,” Lazarus said, “and many musicians were veterans.” One song on the program, “Sugar Blues,” was made popular by Clyde McCoy, who enlisted in the Navy in World War II – along with his entire band.

Lazarus’ connections are personal as well as musical. “My grandfather was a World War II veteran – a Marine. My grandmother met him when he was singing Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’ with a band. That song has been a family favorite for a long time. Also, the first time I ever heard a professional trumpet player live, he was playing that song.” It’s on the program.

Tonia Hughes will sing “Amazing Grace” and “Summertime,” and “that will be very exciting,” Lazarus said. “We’re going to feature the trumpet section playing ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.’ And there will be a surprise in ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ ”

“American Riffs: A Veterans Day Celebration” takes place Sunday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25–$55). For veterans and their families, tickets are $15–$35.

TPT has scheduled programming for and about veterans throughout November, including documentaries with local connections: “Women Serving in War,” about three generations of Minnesota’s military women, and “Through a Soldier’s Eyes,” which follows a small group of soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard as they travel to Italy to pay their respects to those who fought in WWII. At noon on Sunday, Nov. 9, a program with a fascinating twist:Craft in America: Service” spotlights soldiers and veterans who use the handmade – saddles, paper, pots – to inspire, motivate, and heal.

The Parkway Theater is observing Veterans Day with three days of guest veterans from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and World War II, plus film screenings: the documentary “Beyond the Divide” on Sunday, Nov. 9 (2 p.m., $5, veterans free); “Pork Chop Hill” with Gregory Peck on Monday (6:30 p.m., free to all); and Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” on Tuesday (6:30 p.m., free).


Poets, this is for you: Motionpoems has issued a call for poems on the theme of “Arrivals and Departures,” to be turned into giant 3-D poetry films and projected onto the façade of St. Paul’s Union Depot in October 2015. Deadline: Nov. 30, 2014. Entry fee $12. Possibilities: priceless.

Theatre Latté Da is adding just one more performance of “Master Class,” the hit play starring Sally Wingert as Maria Callas. This time, they really mean it. One more! 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9. Everything else is sold out. Tickets here ($45), maybe.

On sale today starting at 10 a.m.: single tickets for all remaining shows in the 2014–15 Broadway on Hennepin season at the Orpheum, State and Pantages, including “Kinky Boots,” “Pippin,” “Jersey Boys,” and more. From 10 a.m.–noon, tickets are available only in person at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Ave.). Starting at noon, you can buy them online.

The picks

For the weekend and into next week:

Tonight (Friday, Nov. 7) at the Illusion Theater: “Disenchanted!” Too bad this new musical comedy isn’t for kids, especially little girls who are crazy about Disney princesses. Born as a Fringe show, now a fully-developed musical, “Disenchanted!” features Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Hua Mulan, the Little Mermaid, Pocahontas and more, mad as heck about the exploitation they’ve suffered. Race, eating issues, sexuality and the Princess Complex are all fair game. The show is getting great reviews, and from here it goes straight to New York and its off-Broadway premiere. FMI and tickets ($28–$38). Ends Nov. 23. 

Friday and Saturday at the Minneapolis Central Library: Rare and Collectible Book Sale. Hosted by Friends of HCL, the sale includes first editions, classics, volume sets and more valued from $40 to $15,000+. Featured items include the first American edition of Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and an 1837 edition of “Letters of Heloise and Abailard.” Proceeds benefit Hennepin County Library. 4 to 7 p.m. Friday (Collectors’ Preview Night), noon to 7 p.m. Saturday (sale). FMI and tickets ($5-$20).

Friday and Saturday at the Waite Park Recreation Center: NE Accordion Festival. Heaven for aficionados of the squeezebox. With performances by Machinery Hill, the Minnesota Accordion Ensemble, World Champion and Minnesota Music Hall of Famer Leonard “Skeets” Langley, Dee Langley, Bob Barnes, Finn Hall and the Squeez-in Accordion Orchestra (kind of a pick-up band, with bellows), plus tips on accordion care and repair, and camaraderie. Starts at 6 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Tickets and passes ($10–$25) at the door.

Friday through Sunday at the Northrup King Building: 17th Annual Art Attack. More than 250 visual artists join forces with musicians, writers, installation and interactive artists for a weekend of art experiences. TPT’s MN Original will be there on Saturday with 20 of the visual artists featured on the program. If you want, you can do some serious shopping at this event, then spend Black Friday in your pajamas. Friday: 5–10 p.m. Saturday: noon–8 p.m. Sunday: noon–5 p.m. FMI. Free.

Sunday at Hamline’s Sundin Music Hall: Peter Wiley. The celebrated cellist of the Beaux Arts Trio and the Guarneri String Quartet performs a program of music by Debussy, Schoenberg and Brahms. With Chamber Music Society of Minnesota artists Ariana Kim and Young-Nam Kim (violin), Sally Chisholm and Daniel Kim (viola), Anthony Ross (cello) and Timothy Lovelace (piano). 4 p.m. 1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul. FMI and tickets ($15–$25).

Monday at the Dakota: Jon Weber: “From Joplin to Jarrett.” We are so lucky to have a close connection to New York-based pianist and NPR host Jon Weber. Thanks to his long relationship with the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, he shows up here fairly regularly, and each time is a combination history lesson, virtuoso concert, and general aha! enlightenment that leaves us wanting more. It doesn’t matter if you like jazz or don’t like jazz, or think you don’t like jazz or worry that you might not like jazz. You will like Jon Weber. He’s a genius, he’s humble, he’s funny, and wow, can he play. In May he performed “From Joplin to Jarrett” at the Metropolitan Room in New York, and the New York Times fell over itself with superlatives: “Fascinating and essential … thrilling … formidable talent … phenomenal demonstration.” 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($15).

Monday at the St. Paul JCC: Walter Mosley reads from “Rose Gold.” The Twin Cities Jewish Book Series opens with the best-selling author and his latest Easy Rawlins book. We’d call that a great start. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25).

Monday at Icehouse: Tony Malaby. With drummer JT Bates in the programming chair, Monday nights at Icehouse, aka JT’s Jazz Implosion, is every bit as interesting as the Clown Lounge used to be. Along with featuring top area talent, Bates brings in musicians from elsewhere including Chris Speed, Tom Rainey, and, on Monday, Tony Malaby. The New York-based saxophonist, composer and improviser has worked with Nasheet Waits, William Parker, John Hollenbeck, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch and Paul Motian, among numerous others. Go home, take a nap, come in and stay late. 9:30 p.m. (or thereabouts), $15 at the door.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 11/07/2014 - 06:28 pm.

    Cache as well as Art Attack

    In addtition to Art Attack, don’t miss the 7th annual Cache Fall Arts Show also going on and just two blocks from the Northrup King building, at the Casket Arts Building and its Carriage House at 681 17th Ave NE, Minneapolis. Hours are Fri 11/7 from 5-10 pm, Sat 11/8 from 12-8 pm and Sun 11/9 from 12-5 pm. Food trucks, live music, meet & greet local artists and early holiday shopping. Hope to see you there!

  2. Submitted by Pamela Espeland on 11/08/2014 - 11:31 am.


    Wish I’d known about this in time to include it. Do you have anyone doing publicity for Casket Arts?

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