The Magic Of Community

Let me tell you some things you may not know about this Sunday’s concert.

  1.  Britten’s Six Metamorphoses After Ovid is the most visual, cinematic piece I know that does not actually incorporate visual effects.  What does it sound like when a weeping queen is transformed into stone? Or when three prissy, prudish sisters are vengefully turned into bats?  I know, and you’ll find out.
  2. St Margaret’s House has done a major renovation of their third floor and this event will celebrate its grand opening.
  3. Mozart’s Oboe Quartet was written in 1781 for Friedrich Ramm, the only oboist in Munich who could play the multiple “high Fs” in the work.
  4. Three of the four musicians on this program will be performing Brahms and Respighi with the South Bend Symphony Saturday night; the fourth, also an SBSO member, has a Mendelssohn concert to play instead.  We are active, working professional musicians and we all made the time to rehearse together and to perform for you this Sunday!
  5. The Catherine Wheel, by David Ludwig, has a movement about a torture device and a movement about fireworks! We, however, are performing the other movement, the one about cathedrals and meditation.
  6. Our progression through this concert, from one player up to four, symbolizes people coming together in a community, much as women do here at St Margaret’s House.
  7. Our Dohnanyi and Halvorsen works were written/published around the turn of the 20th century. Dohnanyi was 26, Halverson was 30.  Both pieces use a form that was used in earlier periods (baroque passacaglia/ classical serenade)
  8. Halvorsen described his work as being “after Handel” because the fundamental thematic material is derived from the passacaglia and sarabande movements of Handel’s 1720 Harpsichord Suite No. 7. In his version, Halvorsen transforms the keyboard music into a duo for violin and viola that maintains the solemn eight-bar progression of the original, yet extends it with a number of techniques dear to the hearts of string players: double-stops, pizzicato, and dazzling runs.

  9. The concert is AT St. Margaret’s House, 117 N. Lafayette Blvd, our first time performing in this space.  It’s at 2:00 EST, hours and hours before the big game.  There will be refreshments afterward.  Everyone is welcome.


The Elephant’s Child.  The Tortoise and the Hare.  Pan and Syrinx.  You know these tales, these age-old stories.  But you may have never heard them set to music, and performed live!

In this first ever MFM/TMV/NDCAC collaboration, Jason Gresl and Jennet Ingle, with special guests Lana Wordel and Steve Ingle, use music to share stories and fables from mythology, literature, and modern life. 

This is a Friday Noontime concert in the beautiful gallery at Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, 1045 W. Washington St in South Bend.  It is free and open to the public.  We welcome all ages!

St Margaret’s House

I visited St Margaret’s House recently, and met some of the staff, and a few volunteers, and saw first hand many the many women who were there eating, using the computers or the laundry, taking a class, or taking a shower. I saw a collection of beautiful scarves, created by women artists through a program which helps them to learn this expressive art and empowers them to be members of a workforce and earn some money.

It’s a very impressive organization. A day center, St Margaret’s house does not provide beds or overnight accommodations, but for women in poverty it is a safe place to come for daily warmth, food, internet access, hot showers, clothing, and support.

The organization has been around since 1990, and in that time has helped hundreds of women to escape the isolation of poverty and develop new communities. We at Musicians for Michiana are excited to partner with this great organization.

La Casa de Amistad TODAY

I’m sitting in The Music Village at 108 N.Main St, listening to five AMAZING musicians warm up and rehearse for this afternoon’s performance.  It will be at 2:00, and the music is as great as the musicians are.  Please come on out!  Pay What You Like, all proceeds go to La Casa de Amistad.


The Song of Sagwa Zibi

I have notes from composer Paul Kwiecinski about this lovely piece. I had asked him to arrange the work – originally for cello – to be performed by woodwinds.  We’ll be premiering this new arrangement at our first concert, February 8 at 2pm.

In the summer of 2013, while in South Bend for a visit, (I live in Stone Ridge, NY–Hudson River Valley/Catskill Mountain region) I ran into Kathleen [Petitjean] at the Farmer’s Market and she was telling me about Greening the Bend.  I asked how I could help the cause, and we somehow came up with the idea that I would write a piece of music.  Early in 2014 she called it in and asked me how we would go about it.  I sent her a few samples of things that I have done, and the GtB board liked this one that was a cello melody with a piano backing…

In our discussions, Kathleen and I came up with the idea that the piece would be about the river, and for me it became about the voice or song of the river.  Kathleen told me the Potawatomie call the river “Sagwa Zibi” (“Mystery River”, I believe), so: Song of Sagwa Zibi.  I grew up on Lincolnway East, right by the river, and as a boy I remember thinking that “St Joseph River” was not the river’s name; not sure where I got that notion, but to me, it didn’t fit.  When approaching the piece, I spent some time thinking about my relationship with the mis-named river, its rhythm, flow, and character…

For me the timeline of the song represents the river from its gathering of identity at its headwaters in Hillsdale County in Michigan, to the gathering of its power and personality, flowing through the many towns along the way, and finally surrendering its waters to the huge waterscape of Lake Michigan.  At the same time, I feel the river flowing through time, from its inception after the receding glaciers 10,000 or so years ago, through discovery by the Miami, Potawatomie, and other native people, through the first European explorers, and then towns rising up, becoming a workhorse of industry, until today, when it’s pretty much retired as a workhorse, and people like the Greening the Bend folks are working to get it back to health.

The original piece is all virtual instruments except for the piano and the cello.  Paul Duffy contributed the piano performance, and Anita Gendler (with whom I was in orchestra at Riley High School) did the cello performance at a friend’s studio in Los Angeles.

At the “premier” (at the GtB fundraiser in August), Kathleen had arranged for a couple to choreograph and perform a Viennese waltz to the piece.  I came out to South Bend to see it, and found the presentation and the reception by the audience very moving.

Paul Kwiecinski – Managing Partner, Face The Music

Paul is a philosopher and mad scientist that makes his living as a consultant, speaker,
and executive coach. He’s known for energizing and creative work with teams and large
groups. In 1999 Paul co-founded Face The Music, bringing music and songwriting into organizations as an experiential learning tool, and because it’s a helluva lot more fun than death by PowerPoint. Paul also sings, writes music, and plays bass in the FTM band, and is releasing his new album, Striking Distance, in March 2015.

Exciting News

Musicians for MIchiana has received a generous grant of $4000 from 1st Source Foundation to assist with concert production! The check will be presented to MFM at our Downtown South Bend’s next First Friday event, February 6 at 5pm, at The Music Village.  At that time, we will present a little preview for our upcoming concert, featuring Jenni Brandon’s Spider Suite.

We are so grateful to 1st Source, and will be putting this funding to great use, starting right off with our first event on Sunday, February 8.

“New Day, New Music” will feature beautiful new works for woodwinds by Jenni Brandon, Alyssa Morris, John Steinmetz, and Paul Kwiecinski.  These pieces honor things in life that are real, tangible, and beloved – the pleasure of moving our bodies, the beauty of nature as seen through the life cycle of a spider, and South Bend’s own St Joseph River!

This concert will partner with Hello, Gorgeous, and all proceeds from the event will be given to that great organization.

The event will be at 2pm at The Music Village, 108 N. Main St in South Bend.  We cannot wait to see you there!

Thank You!

Thank you, Justin, for coming all the way to South Bend and giving an amazing performance!

Thank you, Mary and Stephen, for the perfect venue!

Thank you, Kellirae and Kate, for managing this process with us, and for all of the work you put in on the back end!

Thank you, Connie, Marjorie, and Libby for your help in preparing the food, programs, and space!

Thank you, Steve, for always being willing to step up to the plate with me!

Thank you, audience, for coming out on a beautiful warm fall day to share this time with us!