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Crooners postpones streaming concert series; Jungle suspends season

ALSO: “First Avenue: Closer to the Stars,” a TPT-produced history; new streaming events from the SPCO; virtual tours of Taliesin and Glensheen; and more.

Photo by Kathleen Tauer
Crooners, which until yesterday morning planned to launch a monthlong streaming concert series, “Keep Music Alive,” this Friday, has put that on hold.
The COVID-19 uncertainty we’re all feeling now – How long will this last? How bad will it get? How can we plan for the future? – is reflected every minute in the news, on social media and in our inbox. Here are a few of many examples from the arts world.

Crooners, which until yesterday morning planned to launch a monthlong streaming concert series, “Keep Music Alive,” this Friday, has put that on hold. After Gov. Tim Walz announced his stay-at-home order, which took effect Saturday, musicians started contacting Crooners saying they wanted to postpone.

Crooners and its partners – the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Jazz88 and Jazz Central Studios –agreed to delay the shows. Meanwhile, artists will be paid. Jazz Fest ED Steve Heckler said in a statement, “What we have decided to do is pay all of the artists who agreed to be in the series and who were announced last week, and re-book them for the series when we feel safe to do so.” Payment will be made from a start-up fund that now exceeds $25,000.

The Playwrights’ Center has announced its 2020-21 Jerome Fellows, Many Voices Fellows and Many Voices Mentees. Jerome Fellows Candrice Jones, Shannon TL Kearns and Tylie Shider and Many Voices Fellows Christina Florencia Castro and Katie Ka Vang will spend a year in residency at the center. Each will receive an $18,000 stipend and $2,500 in play development funds.

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Mentees Jucoby Johnson and Nora Montañez will commit to spending a year learning and developing their craft, with help from a $2,000 stipend and access to more than $1,500 in services including classes, workshop time, and one-on-one mentorships.

Jerome Fellowships are awarded to early-career playwrights. Previous recipients include Carson Kreitzer, Rhiana Yazzie and August Wilson. Many Voices Fellowships are awarded to early-career playwrights of color and/or indigenous playwrights. Previous recipients include Marisa Carr, Harrison David Rivers and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay. Many Voices Mentorships are awarded to Minnesota-based beginning playwrights of color and/or indigenous playwrights. Previous recipients include Ansa Akyea, Jamil Jude and Junauda Petrus.

The cast of “Redwood”
Photo by Jess Ekstrand
The cast of “Redwood,” a play interrupted by COVID-19 that the Jungle’s Sarah Rasmussen promises to bring back: Kevin Fanshaw, China Brickey, Thomasina Petrus and Bruce Young.
The Jungle Theater has suspended the remainder of its 2019-20 season, including “Redwood” (which was in previews when the COVID-19 ax fell), “Mary Jane” and “Cambodian Rock Band,” its co-production with Theater Mu. Noting that “a great theater cares for its people,” Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen shared the news about the season in a video message and also announced a $10,000 match from a new donor.

Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen shared the news about the season suspension in a video message.
Screen shot
Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen shared the news about the season suspension in a video message.
The Minnesota Orchestra has canceled its summer 2020 tour to South Korea and Vietnam. The nearly two-week tour would have included performances in Seoul, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue, several featuring South Korean pianist Sunwook Kim. Two new compositions had been commissioned for the tour; they will be performed by the orchestra at a later date. The decision was a combination of COVID-19 concerns and the desire to be present in Minnesota. “At a time when the orchestra has had to cancel many weeks of concerts in our home state,” said President and CEO Michelle Miller Burns, “we need to focus all our efforts now on re-establishing performances in Minnesota, as soon as we are able to perform here again.”

Kronos Quartet and Terry Riley
Courtesy of the Walker Art Center
Kronos Quartet and Terry Riley (center)
The Walker Art Center and MPR have rescheduled one of this season’s most significant music events: Kronos Quartet and Terry Riley. “The sound of a 40-year musical friendship” between the trailblazing string quartet and the minimalist American composer, the concert was set for April 25 at the Fitzgerald Theater. It will now take place on Oct. 28. All tickets previously purchased for this event will be moved automatically to the new date.

The picks

Virtual tour of Glensheen. If all you know of “Glensheen” is the History Theatre’s smash hit musical by Chan Poling and Jeffrey Hatcher, you can now tour the magnificent Duluth mansion day or night. A 360-degree virtual tour, launched on March 18, takes you to the main floor (including the famous Breakfast Room with its Rookwood-tiled walls), the second floor (with Marjorie’s room) and the spacious grounds on the shore of Lake Superior. We were excited to hear that museum director Dan Hartman was leading weekday tours on Facebook Live, but those ended on March 23, when Glensheen announced it would close until further notice. You can watch the videos on Glensheen’s Facebook page in Latest Videos. Did you know that Glensheen was donated to the University of Minnesota by the Congdon family and is operated by UMD? We didn’t. If you want to get more granular, download the Glensheen app. (The walls of the living room are made of mohair?)

Virtual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Narrated by Keiran Murphy, staff historian at Taliesin Preservation, Inc., with background music (Wright loved music), this may inspire you to book an in-person tour when we can safely leave our homes again.

“As One,” a chamber opera with music by Laura Kaminsky and libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. The story of trans filmmaker Reed’s personal journey to her authentic self is told by two singers, Grammy winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and bass-baritone Kelly Markgraf, accompanied by the Fry Street Quartet. This filmed version, presented by the American Opera Project, captures the world premiere performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Sept. 2014. Closer to home, “As One” had its area premiere here in March 2018 at the North Garden Theater in a production by Skylark Opera Theatre.

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New streaming events from the SPCO, all with new content aimed at bringing people together. On Saturday, April 4, at 8 p.m.: Mozart’s Symphony No. 29, recorded in February 2020. On Friday, April 10, at 8 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 11, at 3 p.m.: Bach’s “Saint John Passion,” led by SPCO Artistic Partner Jonathan Cohen, with vocal soloists and The Singers, recorded in November 2018. On Saturday, April 18, at 8 p.m.: Ruth Reinhardt Conducts Schubert’s Fifth Symphony, recorded in November 2019. On Saturday, April 25, at 10 a.m.: Family Concert: “Race for the Reef.” A 40-minute underwater journey through Schubert’s Third Symphony, with puppets, recorded in October 2017. Here are all the links you need.

Replacement concerts from the Schubert Club. Although the Schubert Club has canceled all events through May 31, it has come up with a way for subscribers (and everyone else) to still enjoy Schubert Club time. They are replacing live concerts with virtual concerts from the same series. In other words, if you had tickets to Accordo for this Monday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., you can stream a virtual Accordo performance at the same time. This will be a concert recorded in May 2017 at Plymouth Congregational Church, with guest artist Alexander Fiterstein on clarinet. If you missed last Sunday’s virtual Music in the Park performance by the Miró Quartet, you can still view it on the website until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 5.

“First Avenue: Closer to the Stars.” An eye-opening, ear-opening TPT-produced history of the legendary downtown Minneapolis nightclub. From its early days as the Depot (a former bus depot) through its garish disco years, the Prince era and today, it shines a light on the club’s shenanigans and secrets to success – including don’t stick too closely to any one genre. Narrated by Doomtree co-founder P.O.S. (Stefon Alexander), it’s an hour of delicious distraction that aired on March 30 and is available now to watch online.