Rob Elfline recently spent three days on the campus of Western Kentucky University as a part of WKU's Visiting Artist Series. While on campus, Rob presented a lecture entitled "Collaborative Expectations: Encouraging Successful Collaboration Practices Between Pianists, Instrumentalists and Vocalists," which was followed by a master class for duo teams of WKU students. The following day Rob appeared with mezzo-soprano Liza Forrester Kelly in a concert of works that culminated in a complete performance of George Crumb's "Apparition," a rarely-heard and technically demanding song cycle for soprano and prepared piano.
Peter Xiao has a two-person show February-March in Midcoast Fine Art Gallery, Mississippi Welcome Center, Le Claire, IA. He named his part of the show Batman Rules. The following is his show statement:
Shown here are my works from 2007-2009 that are related to, inspired by or indirectly, partially participated in by my children. I named the show after one image inspired by a funny combination of toys that my son made up one day two years ago. There are loose observations of painted plastic toys made in China that were retired onto my studio shelves for fear of lead contamination. There are adaptations of children's fanciful drawings to colorful grounds bearing colors approximating the US and Chinese flags. There are variations from children's drawings to accompany images of children portrayed in likewise fanciful and childlike manner - or not. I am an admirer of children's natural approach to art, of the simple forms and colors that are used more freely and instinctively in contrast to those by adults trained and untrained alike. Seeing my or any children draw with confidence and determination is one of the marvelous experiences for me as an artist and a parent.
On Jan. 29 Michael Zemek conducted the Junior High Choir for the Southeast Iowa Choral Directors Honor Choir Festival. Over 100 seventh- and eighth-grade students from 10 middle and junior high schools were selected through audition to participate in the day-long event. The concluding concert consisted of six choral selections representing multiple historical, geographical and stylistic genres. The next morning Michael presented a session at the Illinois Music Educators Associations All-State Conference in Peoria titled "Developing Vocal Independence in the Choral Ensemble." The session explored practical strategies for building individual singer's confidence and independence within the choral rehearsal and was especially focused on providing specific ideas for conductors of young, developing choirs as a way to improve the overall experience and performance of their ensembles.