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Out & About: Showcasing music in Portland, Gorham

Lifestyle

Out & About: Showcasing music in Portland, Gorham

Three concerts this weekend in two venues stand out among the region’s most intriguing arts and entertainment offerings.

The University of Southern Maine School of Music has a pair of concerts on the Gorham campus that shouldn’t be missed. First up is Friday’s Spotlight Series concert by soprano singer Jenny Lynd Robinson.

The following night is a showcase for the school’s honors students. Nine of the most talented students will perform in the 33rd annual April Honors Recital.

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters perform on Saturday at One Longfellow Square in Portland. Earl is one of the nation’s top blues guitarists.

USM Spotlight Concert

A soprano singer whose name and achievements connect her to two of the most famous opera stars of the 19th century will be featured in a Spotlight Series concert at the University of Southern Maine School of Music in Gorham this Friday.

Her name is Jenny Lynd Robinson, and she earned her bachelor’s degree at the school in 1998, and now teaches there. Her name recalls Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale,” a celebrated soprano who sang in the great opera houses of Europe and made a grand tour of America in the middle of the 19th century.

In 1997 and 2004 Robinson received the Lillian Nordica Award, named for the native of Farmington who achieved enormous success as a globetrotting opera star in the late 1800s.

Robinson’s program features some of the most popular German art songs of the 19th century, including works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner.

“I really wanted to pick a program that people would recognize,” Robinson says. “These are the big German composers. Also I picked some pieces that people might not know, but when they hear them done live, it will be really exciting.”

Robinson has performed as soprano soloist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Oratorio Chorale, the Choral Art Society, the Atlantic Chamber Orchestra and the Portland Community Chorus. She had a featured role in one of PORTopera’s Young Artists productions.

Accompanist will be Judith Quimby Bible, a former USM faculty member who now lives in Knoxville, Tenn. Robinson will be joined on a number of songs by soprano Natalie Bergeron of New York City. One of these is a very funny Brahms duet. Expect a few other special guests for a grand Wagner finale.

Catch Jenny Lynd Robinson in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 9, at Corthell Hall on the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus. Call the music box office at 780-5555.

USM Honors Recital

Nine of today’s topnotch undergraduate students at the University of Southern Maine School of Music will perform in a showcase concert the following night. Being chosen to perform is the school’s top honor, based on faculty nominations plus an audition before a three-member committee of outside professional musicians.

The concert is also free, with production costs underwritten by WBRC Architects and Engineers.

In order of performance:

Saxophonist Brian Whiton, son of Craig and Barbara Whiton of Portland, is a junior music performance major studying with Bill Street. He will perform the first movement of “Concerto” by Pierre Max Dubois, accompanied by Joyce Moulton.

Nicole J. Rawding of Gorham, flute, daughter of Jeff and Rita Rawding of St. Albans, Vt., is a senior performance major studying with Jean Rosenblum. She will perform the second and third movements of Lowell Libermann’s “Concerto for Flute,” accompanied by Ian Scott.

Jesslyn Thomas, soprano, daughter of Martha and Louis Thomas of Rindge, N.H., is a senior voice performance major studying with Ellen Chickering. She will perform “Regnava nel silenzio” from “Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti, accompanied by Kathleen Scott.

Michal Harris of Brunswick, piano, daughter of Caryn Harris of Brunswick and Jon Harris of Bowdoin, is a senior performance major studying with Laura Kargul. She will perform the fourth movement of the Piano Sonata No. 2, in D Minor by Sergei Prokofiev.

Joey Valliere, tenor, son of Gerry Valliere and John Robinson of Old Orchard Beach, is a senior music performance major, studying classical voice with David Goulet and musical theatre voice with Edward Reichert. He will sing “Hero and Leander” from “Myths and Hymns” by Adam Guettel, and “Stalker” by Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel, accompanied by Edward Reichert.

Saxophonist Jason Michael Giacomazzo, son of Sal Giacomazzo of Farmingdale and Lorette Giacomazzo of Wayne, is a senior performance major and a student of Bill Street. He will perform the “Prelude, Cadance et Finale” by Alfred Desenclos, accompanied by Bridget Convey.

Jesse Wakeman, tenor, son of Andrew and Michelle Wakeman of Belfast, is a junior music education major, studying with Bruce Fithian. He will perform “Chanson Triste La Manoir de Rosemonde” by Henri Duparc, accompanied by Bruce Fithian.

Molly Harmon, soprano, daughter of Joy and Gary Harmon of Portland, is a senior  performance major studying voice with Judith James. She will sing “Chi il bel sogno di Doretta” from “La Rondine” by Giacomo Puccini, and “Lucy’s Aria” from “The Telephone” by Carlo Menotti, accompanied by Kathleen Scott.

Trombonist Matthew E. Cloutier, son of Michael and Chi Chi Cloutier of Paris, is a junior classical trombone performance major studying with Mark Manduca. He will perform “Vox Gabrieli Sonata for Trombone and Piano” by Stjepan Sulek, accompanied by Michal Harris.

Catch this outstanding free concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10, at Corthell Hall on the USM Gorham campus. Call the music box office at 780-5555.

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters

Ronnie Earl teaches blues guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, but he’s best known for his live performances and 30-plus recordings. Earl will visit One Longfellow Square in Portland this Saturday as the front man for his own band, The Broadcasters.

Regarded by musicians and critics alike as one of the premier blues guitarists of his generation, Earl has played alongside side such greats as Carlos Santana, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner, Otis Rush, Earl King and Duke Robillard. Earl also replaced the latter in Roomful of Blues.

Expect to hear a number of selections from “Hope Radio,” the new CD from Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters. The album has 11 songs that showcase Earl at his best, backed by longtime members of The Broadcasters: Dave Limina on keyboards, Jim Mouradian on bass and Lorne Entress on drums. Guests include Michael “Mudcat” Ward on bass and piano and Nick Adams on second guitar.

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters appear at 8 p.m. April 10 at One Longfellow Square (corner of Congress and State) in Portland. Call 761-1757.