Bloomington's abuzz about more than parking this summer.
The IU Summer Music Festival kicked off June 17, showcasing once again the phenomenal musical skill that floods this landlocked city through the Jacobs School of Music.
Running through Aug. 4, this 30-event festival blends the sounds of summer with the flair of students, faculty, conductors and internationally renowned alumni alike.
Hosted by the music school, this annual event will satisfy the pickiest music connoisseur's hunger with a combination of diverse performances, from orchestral concert bands to solo artists to opera theater productions.
Auer Hall, 4:00
Auer Hall, 8:00
American Chamber Players
Auer Hall, 8:00
Ann Schein, piano
Auer Hall, 8:00 FREE!
Yong Hi Moon, piano
Auer Hall, 8:00 FREE!
A dreamy, chromatic self-portrait painted by local outsider artist Maurice Marks leaps off the wall from which it hangs in Max's Place at 109 West Seventh St. The arresting, self-satirizing image of a middle-aged, half man-half jester - whose single eye occupying most of his forehead smiles lazily back at the viewer - captures the same casual, unique and playful atmosphere Max's has come to be known for since opening in late 2004.
Max's owner and local musician, Travers Marks, also son of aforementioned artist Maurice, found time during a recent Tuesday mid-afternoon lull to chat about the epic adventures of planting and growing a business in Bloomington, and about his views on the local music scene and where he sees his own restaurant/live music venue on that ever-metamorphosing map.
When Bloomington pedigree singer-songwriter Suzette Weakley, or "Stella" of local folk country favorites Stella and Jane, encountered the round-robin live music format while gigging at Nashville's illustrious Bluebird Cafe with Bobbie "Jane" Lancaster, she was enthralled. She saw no reason why she couldn't seed something similar back home.
And though Weakley says there were some initial misgivings on the part of some locals about a system in which a handful of musicians sit on stage and take turns presenting new material - not unlike second graders during show and tell - Bloomington's own version of round robin is in its fourth month and gaining momentum and a homegrown audience at a dizzying pace.
Jeremy Gotwals knows how to work the crowd.
On a sunny Saturday morning at Bloomington High School South’s baseball field, the spectators laugh and clap as he performs a fight song, yelling “Cougars!” at his command.
When Gotwals slides into home plate to end his performance, the crowd erupts. He jumps up, hoists his jeans back into place and beams.
“Thank you!” he yells, taking an exaggerated bow.
A somewhat unlikely assemblage of beguiling musicians is clicking on all cylinders these days, riding high in their two complementary musical vehicles, Men of Many Vices, a funk-tinged bluegrass rock amalgam that resists tidy pigeonholing, and Fautlines, a more straight-ahead, high-octane bluegrass outfit whose reverence for both tradition and the avant garde is obvious.
Upright bass player Ryan Deasy, banjo man Toby Oler and fiddler Mike Lindeau form the nucleus of the five-man collective and funnel their disparate musical interests into both bands. Indianapolis-based Nick Mallers lends percussion to Men of Many Vices, and Chris Padgett sporadically plays acoustic guitar for Fautlines since he relocated to North Carolina.
David Baker, Jr., is a world-renowned composer and master of multiple instruments, including the trombone, cello and piano.
The Distinguished Professor of Music at the Jacobs School of Music is a writer, clinician, pedagogue, chair of the jazz studies department and director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
Growing up in Indianapolis during the 1930s and 40s, Baker immersed himself into music early on in his childhood and young adulthood. Although he came from a non-musical family, it seemed he had something special inside him right from the start.