The Beat rewind edition: year in review
Before The Beat takes a (in our opinion) well-deserved holiday break, we hit the Rewind button for a look back at arts and entertainment happenings during 2012.
And, just in case this is the last edition of The Beat ever (Mayan calendar and all that), well, thanks for reading. And, on the off chance the world does not end, we'll see you in print again on Jan. 3, 2013. Best wishes to all of you for the new year.
Meantime, keep up with The Beat online for features on the upcoming Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert and New Year's Eve-related pieces on ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and The Werks.
Traditionally, The Beat has handed out a few awards in looking back at the past year, but for this year, we asked Critic Cronies on our Facebook page to share with us their favorite show/concert/recital/live music event from 2012. Here is a sampling, with details, where appropriate.
* Rush at Nationwide Arena (Sept. 20). Dirk's (Geddy Lee) voice hadn't sounded that good in years, and the whole "adding an eight-piece string section" added cool layers (both visually and sonically).
* The Steel Wheels at Six String Concerts (March 31). Amazing four-piece string band with incredible musicianship and tight harmonies. Blend of contemporary and traditional sounds based on Appalachian roots. Fantastic Show!
* Jack White (Oct. 8, Lifestyle Communities Pavilion), hands down.
* Needtobreathe at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (Oct. 4). A great sounding band on their records; an even better-sounding band live. (The Beat notes that N2B won our "Best Concert" award last year.)
* Motion City Soundtrack (Nov. 16, Newport Music Hall). Made even better by discovering cool opener Jukebox the Ghost.
* It had to be Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Feb. 8) at the Southern. The only way it could have been better would have been if they had performed longer, and if Dr. Shabalala had been available for photos after the show.
This category is an acknowledgment of one of the more appealing things about doing The Beat, which is that we often work on stories that result in us learning something (and hopefully, then, imparting at least some of that to readers). For example:
* Ohio State University School of Music's winter presentation of The Ruby Elzy Story, about the pioneering black opera singer who studied at OSU.
Elzy moved no less than George Gershwin to create the role of Serena in his landmark composition Porgy & Bess specifically for her.
* The Jazz Arts Group commissioned composition by trombone player Wycliffe Gordon titled Beyond the Blackberry Patch, a tribute to an area on the East Side of Columbus that was a once-thriving neighborhood and center of African-American culture.
Gordon was assisted in his preparation by students from eight Columbus City Schools and representatives of JAG's Jazz Academy.
* The KENTE Project combined resources from the Columbus Children's Choir, Columbus Children's Theatre, Thiossane West African Dance Institute and Thurber House for multi-disciplinary program in early spring.
* We were privileged to spend part of a fall morning with Worthington native Mark Swartzentruber and his father. Swartzentruber is an internationally-acclaimed classical pianist residing in London.
The Beat gets to talk to lots of people who say lots of things, some of them interesting, thought-provoking, inspirational, funny or some combination of the above.
We have no fixed criteria for this award, which we present this year to Sarah McCreanor, a featured performer in the tour of How to Train Your Dragon Live, who, when asked about the unique experiences associated with the multi-media live show, hit on possibly the most unique of them all:
"I get to fly a dragon. I'd never done that before."
Thanks to everyone who spent time talking to The Beat this year. Here is just a sampling of some other cool things people told us.
* "We grew up with it and we thought the world was made up of people who made music. We would fall asleep in a circle of our parents' friends playing music." --Ellie Grace, of she and her sister Leela's upbringing
* "I have to play what my soul is crying out for at a particular time, so I'm looking for (repertoire) that does that." --cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio
* "We're lucky over here (in the U.S.). We can get away with stuff because we have Irish accents." --Screaming Orphans' Grainne Diver
* "The truth of the song comes in terms of its authenticity. To some extent, you write a song and turn it loose in the world and it's not yours any more. And that's the way it should be." --singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters
* "On stage, one woman is a diamond brooch and the other three are the velvet that supports and make it look even better. And each one of us gets her turn." --Bitchin' Babe Sally Fingerett
* "It was a complete accident. I was just putting up videos for my friends to see. I guess I thought of it as kind of private, for my friends. That backfired in a wonderful way." --Julia Nunes on getting her break via YouTube success
* "I always have the best seat in the house, standing in front of a couple hundred musicians blowing their hearts out. There's nothing like it." --Albert-George Schram on conducting the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Ohio State University Marching Band at Picnic With the Pops
* "I'm one of the fleshies." -- CATCO's Avenue Q non-puppeteer cast member Patty Winbush
* "I don't have any hits. I guess it would be better to have all hits, because I wouldn't want to be a one-hit guy." --bluesman Tab Benoit
* "I prefer to have an idea come to me and hit me over the head. I feel cheap writing something just for the sake of writing." --singer-songwriter Michelle Lewis
* "I was writing songs about farmers, coral miners, even a guy on death row. But I realized those characters were all pieces of me, were saying things that I was saying or wanted to say." -- Christian artist Brandon Heath
* "My mom likes ABBA, and I like Guns n' Roses. But we can both agree on The Beatles." --Under the Streetlamp's Michael Cunio
* Some leadership turnover in central Ohio arts organizations in 2012, including the departure of Gerard Charles as artistic director of BalletMet Columbus to take the position of Ballet Master of the renowned Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Innovative choreographer James Kudelka was named artistic consultant for the 2012-2013 season while a search for a permanent director is done.
* Jazz Arts Group executive director Bob Breithaupt opted to reduce his role to that of drummer in the Columbus Jazz Orchestra back in January.
This fall, former Opera Columbus executive director Press Southworth was selected as JAG's fourth executive director.
* ProMusica Chamber Orchestra leaders this summer announced the selection of Austrian conductor David Danzmayr as its next music director, with the extra addition of Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman as creative partner and principal guest artist. Founder Timothy Russell previously had announced this season would be his last.
* CATCO also announced a change in its leadership structure, creating the role of production manager for Steven C. Anderson, whose title previously was artistic director. Joe Bishara, formerly associate artistic director, is now associate producing director.
The moves were part of a realignment following the departure of production manager T.J. Gerkens, who resigned to teach lighting design at the University of Toledo.
* CityMusic founder Steve Rosenberg announced his departure from the concert presenter this past spring. Heidi Howes was promoted to the position.
* Columbus Children's Choir artistic director Sandra Mathias retired from the group she founded 25 years ago following the choir's late-spring concert.
* The King Arts Complex Board of Trustees named Demetries Neely as the center's new executive director. The center marked its 25th anniversary in 2012 as well.
* Other anniversaries: the Dublin Irish Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary; the 2012-2013 season is the 25th for Six-String Concerts and the 65th for Chamber Music Columbus.
* The summer of 2012 also marked the first season of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra's Picnic With the Pops at its new downtown home on the Columbus Commons.
* Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza opened in Worthington, playing host to yummy food and delectable live shows, including some booked by Zeppelin Productions.
Accompanying the host of tours and shows making their way through central Ohio in 2012 were a number of area natives.
An admittedly-uncomprehensive list (i.e. some of those who fit the above description with whom The Beat visited):
* Reynoldsburg High School ('05) and Otterbein College ('09) graduate Liv Shivener returned as Princess Fiona in the touring production of Shrek the Musical in January.
* Trombonist and Pickerington native Sarah Morrow joined the Columbus Jazz Orchestra for a tribute to Ray Charles, in whose band she once played.
* Ohio State graduate Raan Williams is part of the team that helped put together Playing for Change, which brought its multi-cultural live band to Columbus in February.
* Self-taught bass guitarist Danyel Morgan left his Columbus home a little more than a decade ago and, fresh off releasing his debut solo album, headlined a gig at The Basement.
* Dublin native Donald Borror dances with New York City-based Ballet Hispanico, which performed at the Capitol Theatre in September.
* Westerville native Darien Crago is on tour with Irving Berlin's White Christmas, which stopped at the Ohio Theatre in November.