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The Dayton Women's Club

Vanguard Concert sextet proves unpredictable

Chamber music has so many attributes.  Many consider it the highest of the musical arts – individual players interrelating without a conductor.  There is a rich literature going back to early classical times and an equally rich supply of gifted musicians playing this glorious music.

Chamber music is, above all, predictable. A string quartet has not changed since the time of Haydn.  The instruments are familiar.  The receptive mood of chamber music lovers to a concert is, likewise, quite predictable.

Impresaria Elana Bolling of Vanguard Concerts has, for 46 years, discovered the finest musicians and created excellent programs for her series.  

The April concert featured the Concertante String Sextet. A prize-winning American group, these young players carry an impressive pedigree of educational and musical achievements.  So far, all is quite predictable.

Elana received a photograph of the sextet which has graced the season program since last September.  In the photo we see six handsome young persons posing informally with their instruments, four men and two lovely women.  

Concertante arrived in Dayton for the April 26th concert at the Art Institute’s magnificent Renaissance Auditorium. They went immediately to the hall to practice. Elana, as a hospitable Impresaria went to meet them.  To her surprise, the group consisted of five young women and a single male.

The audience shared Elana’s astonishment as the sextet took the stage – the beautifully gowned women and the lone male.  It took only a few notes of the first selection, Bohuslav Martinû’s 1932 Sextet for Strings, to remove all questions and concentrate on the amazing music.  

The sextet played the difficult deep tones. The timbre flirted with atonality to engaging perfection. The three movements explored ranges of dynamics, tonal expression and musical form. Martinû’s music takes the listener to the edge and keeps them there, completely inured to the richness of his sound and special lyricism.  

The string sextet literature is not heard as often as quartet music. This work demands another hearing – especially by the gifted musicians of Concertante.

The Martinû was followed by a most unforgettable musical experience.  The sextet played Dvorák’s Sextet for Strings, Opus 48.  Again, the work is unfamiliar but Dvorák’s musical sound is well known.  

The group delivered a performance of the four movements to delicious perfection.  The animated Slavic feelings, the sunny Bohemian temperament, the joyous rhythms all radiated from the instruments. There were moments in the second Dumka movement when the sonorous pizzicato strum of Alexis Gerlach’s cello illuminated the complex music it accompanied.  In the finale, the viola of Danielle Farina literally sang.  

The concert ended with the Brahms B-flat Sextet and its familiarity was welcome.  I was, however, still hearing the Martinû and Dvorák.  I hope to hear them played again by our gifted artists.

Oh yes, the mystery of the gender switch was solved. Concertante is an international music group. Their players live on several continents and assemble for concert tours in different configurations. The musicians who performed that evening play together regularly. Perhaps next time we will meet some of the men. You know who would get my votes.

DCDC Spring Concert

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is international, celebrated and astounding in their energy.  The dream and passion of founder Jeraldyne Blunden lives on in the vitality of the company.  

That vitality is passed, intact, to their training company DCDC2.  Directed by former DCDC star Shonna Hickman-Matlock, these young dancers have the spirit of their senior inspirations.

The spring DCDC2 concert was held at UD’s Boll Theatre.  A full house was treated to six fully staged ballets by chorographers such as Shonna Hickman-Matlock, Rodney Brown, Crystal Michelle, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Kevin Ward and William McClellan.

Energy was spilling from the stage to the audience.  Several of the numbers were dark, perhaps a bit too dark to fully appreciate the dance.  All were well performed.

The most stunning was Grace and Mercy by Debbie Blunden Diggs.  Fourteen dancers, the women in gorgeous floor-length red gowns, moved from tableau to tableau with grace and expression.  The swirling dresses highlighted the intricate and refined movements.

The work featured, as guest artists, five of the dancers who have graduated from DCDC2 to the senior company.  The word beautiful always describes Alise Craig, Crystal Michelle, Susanne Payne, Rebecca Sparks Vargas and Rodney Brown.

As a special gift, we were able to see William McClellan’s The Street Children.  The work was seen this season at the WSU spring dance concert.  It was a sensation then and the repeat was just as exciting.

Bach Society spring concert May 11

On Sunday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m, the Bach Society of Dayton will present its spring concert for the 2007-2008 season. Appropriately entitled “A Celebration of Spring,” this concert will feature primarily 20th century works, an area Bach Society rarely explores.  The chorus will also perform several works by Ralph Vaughn

Williams, Conducted by Bach Society of Dayton music director, John Neely, the concert will take place at the Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3939 Stonebridge Road. Local residents participating in this concert include Margaret Karns, David Grupe, Faye Seifrit, Laura Thie, Mary Beth Rodes and accompanist, R. Alan Kimbrough.  

Tickets ($15- adults, $10- students, children 12 and under-free) will be available at the door or may be purchased in advance by calling (937) 294-BACH or by writing to: The Bach Society of Dayton, 1563 East Dorothy Lane, Suite 300, Dayton, OH 45429.

Dayton Ballet II holding auditions May 9

Dayton Ballet II, will hold open auditions on Friday, May 9, 2008, which will be held in Dayton Ballet’s 4th floor studios (Victoria Theatre).  Boys and girls, 10 to 14 years of age, audition for DBII Junior at 4:30 p.m.  Young men and women, age 14 through college, audition for DBII Senior at 6 p.m. Young women auditioning for DBII Senior should bring pointe shoes.  

There is no fee to audition or to participate.

DBII consists of a Junior Company (ages 10-14) and a Senior Company (ages 14 and older).

Members of DBII receive opportunities for performances throughout the school year. A limited number of scholarship opportunities are available for advanced students and require an audition.  

Additionally, DBII company members may have the chance to participate in Dayton Ballet’s professional productions of The Nutcracker at the Benjamin and Marian Performing Arts Center.

For additional information about Dayton Ballet II auditions, please contact the official school of Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Ballet School, at (937) 223-1542.

Human Race seeks youngsters to audition

The Human Race, Dayton’s professional producing theatre company, is seeking young performers for five characters in two productions of the 2008-2009 season.

Four of those characters are the Pazinski children in Tom Dudzick’s warm-hearted family comedy, Over the Tavern, which will be presented September 4 -21. The director will be the multi-award-winning Pamela Hill, who recently directed A Tuna Christmas for The Human Race. Auditions for the roles will be held Saturday, May 10, beginning at 10am, at The Human Race studio at 126 N. Main St..

The other role will be a female role in the thriller Wait Until Dark, which The Human Race will present as part of The Victoria’s Broadway Series. Those interested in that part should submit a resume and photo to Tara Lail, The Human Race Theatre Company, 126 N. Main St., Ste. 300, Dayton, OH 45402, for contact in the fall.

Those auditioning should prepare a one-minute monologue showing an ability to play a simple, honest character of their own age.  They may be asked to read from the script. Scripts are available at

Call Tara Lail at (937) 461-3823 ext. 3113 for an appointment.

Human Race to offer teen summer stock

Dayton’s Human Race Theatre Company is teaming with the famed Lovewell Institute of Florida for a special Summer Stock program for teens.

The Lovewell Method is an arts education program that guides students through the process of creating an original musical theatre production. Instructors from Lovewell and The Human Race will help students use their experiences and creative abilities to produce themes, characters, music, lyrics, design and dances for the show.

The program, open to those 13 to 18, will run 9 to 5 weekdays from June 23 to July 11. The musical the students produce will be part of a big musical theatre weekend at The Loft Theatre July 11-13, rotating with performances of two new musical workshop productions.

Enrollment is limited and scholarships are possible. For more information and to download registration forms, see or call Marilyn Klaben at 937-461-3823 ext. 3132.

Dayton Opera auditioning chorus members

Dayton Opera invites all singers to audition for the Dayton Opera Chorus on Tuesday, May 13 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. – Noon.

Auditions are open to all voices and will be held at the Metropolitan Arts Center located at 126 N. Main St., in downtown Dayton.  All singers are asked to prepare two pieces: one in a foreign language and one in English.  These selections do not have to be from the opera repertoire.  An accompanist will be provided at no charge.  Auditions must be scheduled in advance.  To schedule an audition or receive further information, call Pam Eyink at 228-7591, Ext. 3091.

Those selected for Dayton Opera’s paid, professional chorus may perform in one or more of the company’s 2008-2009 season productions of Puccini’s Turandot (October 18, 24 & 26, 2008) Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love (February 14, 20 & 22, 2009) and Lehar’s The Merry Widow (March 28, April 3 & 5, 2009).  All performances are at the Schuster Center.  For more information about Dayton Opera’s entire 2008-2009 season, visit

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May 6, 2008
Volume 17, No. 19

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