Out & About: Music, dance for midwinter

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The Christmas break and early January doldrums are over for southern Maine’s arts producers, performers and presenters.

The result is a spate of dates on the calendar with a variety of concerts, plus an exciting dance showcase coming to brighten these dark midwinter days.

“Women Rock” is the title of the Portland Symphony’s next Pops! program, which features music written and/or performed by women who were influential in the rock genre.

Una Voce, a Midcoast vocal ensemble, intends to to brighten up the dark midwinter days on Saturday and Sunday with concerts in Brunswick.

Maine State Ballet presents five performances of its annual “Tap, Tap, Jazz” showcase this weekend and next in Falmouth.

‘Women Rock’

“Piece of My Heart.” “I Feel the Earth Move.” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” “Proud Mary.”

What do these classic rock songs have in common? They were written and/or first performed by women. And that’s the formula for the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming Pops! program to be performed twice, on Saturday and Sunday. The title is “Women Rock,” and it’s a large-scale tribute to the women who have driven rock music since the 1960s.

Under the baton of guest maestro William Waldrop, a trio of Grammy-nominated women from Broadway and television will perform an entire concert of these and similar classics in symphonic arrangements.

The four songs listed above represent Janis Joplin, Carole King, Pat Benatar and Tina Turner. Other artists on the list include Joan Jett, Aretha Franklin, Minnie Riperton and Martha Reeves.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra presents “Women Rock” at Merrill Auditorium at Portland City Hall for two performances: Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Call PortTix at 842-0800.

Una Voce Chamber Choir

“Through the Long Night” is the title of an upcoming program by Brunswick’s newly reorganized Una Voce Chamber Choir.

This 30-voice ensemble began as the critically acclaimed Vox Nova Chamber Choir, which concluded its ninth concert season last June. When founding director Shannon Chase decided to pursue other opportunities, the Vox Nova singers quickly reorganized as Una Voce Chamber Choir, keeping almost all of the original group intact and appointing Virgil Bozeman IV, a prominent Maine musical educator and choir director, as its leader.

Bozeman has selected works by nine composers. Three are Scandinavians, while most of the others are Americans.

According to Bozeman, “The music marks transitions from night to coming dawn, and treats that in-between time as a metaphor for yearning, awe, and hope – yearning for divine protection; awe beholding the beauty of nature; hope for salvation and love requited.”

Catch Una Voce’s “Through the Long Night” at the chapel on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, with two performances scheduled: Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Call 208-7616 or visit UnaVoceChamberChoir.org.

‘Tap, Tap, Jazz’

Ever since Maine State Ballet moved to Falmouth and acquired its own 175-seat performing space, the company’s calendar year has opened with a late-January terpsichorean showcase featuring the artistry of faculty and students. I’ve attended the past three years and I’m always delighted, and I’m reserving tickets for this year, too.

The 2019 edition runs the next two weekends. The focus is on non-ballet styles, particularly tap dance, with choreography set to jazz, Broadway and pop tunes. Principal choreographers are Linda Miele, Jonathan Miele, Janet Davis and Glenn Davis. Other MSB choreographers are Adrienne Pelletier and Rhiannon Pelletier.

Sixteen numbers comprise the program, and several dozen performers in total will be seen on the Lopez Theater stage. Broadway tunes by George Gershwin seem to be particularly favored. Music is mostly recorded, but several numbers will feature Janet Davis on piano.

The 2019 program showcases Kallee Gallant of Cumberland in several numbers. Glenn Davis, a former Broadway hoofer who teaches in MSB’s jazz dance program, admires her technique and charisma.

“I have to say that although she’s one of our most beautiful ballet dancers and has gorgeous technique, she is one of the people I most watch in our tap and jazz choreography,” Davis said. “She has quite a talent in that area and could follow the likes of two of our graduates – Sara Esty and Robyn Hurder – to the Broadway side of the tracks.”

Gallant appears in several numbers, including one where she jumps rope while tap dancing and another that was designed to showcase her solo talents.

Catch “Tap, Tap, Jazz” at Maine State Ballet, 348 Route 1, Falmouth, with five performances slated: Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Jan 25 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Call 781-3587.

Kallee Gallant will be a featured performer when Maine State Ballet presents its annual “Tap, Tap, Jazz” showcase recital Jan 19-26.

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