It’s August, so, of course it’s time for SummerFest, that invention of Music Carolina that fills the Dog Days with music, dance and more.
SummerFest’s 12th season will run Aug. 5-24. Joe Mount and Matt Kendrick are co-artistic directors.
This year, for the first time, the American Music Ensemble, under the direction of Mark Norman, will perform a concert of ragtime, marches and Americana music by the great American composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, on Aug. 11 at Salem College’s Elberson Fine Arts Center.
The music ensemble’s sound is based on the instruments that Scott Joplin wrote for in the famous “Red Back Book,” which comprises arrangements of his most famous “rags” including “The Entertainer” and “The Maple Leaf Rag.” John Philip Sousa’s marches, such as “The Washington Post” and “Stars and Stripes Forever” are part of the program as are high-energy Dixieland jazz favorites.
The American Music Ensemble is composed of faculty and alumni of the UNC School of the Arts representing more than 50 years of the school’s history: Monika Wilmot and Charles Shafer, violins; Natalie Parker, cello; Debra Pivetta, flute; Kania Mills, clarinet; Ken Wilmot, trumpet; Seth Frack, trombone; Nick Psihountas, tuba; Frederico Pivetta, keyboards; and John Beck on drums.
Norman returned to UNCSA in 2016 as the director of wind ensembles, a position that he previously held from 2006 to 2009. He has had a musical career for more than 30 years on faculties at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Michigan, Washburn University and Towson University.
He is a former tuba player with the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., and former music director of the American Wind Orchestra and Riverside Wind Symphony. Ensembles under Norman’s direction have performed on international stages and at conferences and events nationwide. He is a frequent guest conductor throughout the U.S.
“Joplin’s music was re-birthed by the New England Ragtime Ensemble in the 1970s,” Norman said. “What really provided its renaissance was the movie ‘The Sting.’ The entire soundtrack was based on these songs.
“Gunther Schuller decided to form this combo, and he took the pieces in Joplin’s ‘Red Back Book’ and and gave them new life.” Schuller was a composer, conductor, horn player, author, historian and jazz musician who died in 2015.
In 1899, Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” was the first sheet music to sell over a million copies. Then in the 1970s, after “The Sting” came out, “The Entertainer” was on Billboard’s Top 40 chart.
What the band will be playing, Norman said, is “really Americana music that had its height of popularity during the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.”
“Ragtime was the predecessor of jazz. Joplin went and performed at the Chicago World’s Fair and introduced his ‘ragged’ style, based on syncopation. It adds energy.”
Music by Joplin’s students and contemporaries will also be performed, including Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. “Tiger Rag,” a jazz standard of unknown authorship and one of the most recorded jazz compositions of all time, will also be in the concert.
“It’s a toe-tapper program,” Norman said.
Music Carolina’s 2019 SummerFest will include more than 30 local musicians and seven dancers. There will be three free Latte and Learn events at Bookmarks bookstore, 634 W. Fourth St., with 45-minute discussions of SummerFest programs.
Tickets are at www.musicca rolina.org.
Here’s the schedule.
- 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5: An Evening of Song, Salem College Fine Arts Center, Shirley Recital Hall. Soprano Jodi Burns and baritone Thao Nguyen will sing solos and duets, Arias and musical theater. $24, $8 for students.
- 10:30 a.m. Aug. 6: Latte and Learn @ Bookmarks, “The Entertainer,” a discussion on how Scott Joplin and his “ragged” style changed American music. Mark Norman, conductor, American Music Ensemble. Admission is free.
- 7 and 9 p.m. Aug. 7: The Sounds of Skye: A House Concert featuring Music and Dance at a historic house in the Washington Park neighborhood. Christina Soriano will apply intergenerational dance movement ideas to contemporary Celtic Scottish music performed by the Dan River Girls. $24. Seating limited to 25 per performance. Registration is required at www.musiccarolina.org.
- 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9: The Geography of Jazz, Sycamore Ballroom, The Hawthorne Inn, 420 SW High St. Renowned poet Lenard Moore reads from his new book “Geography Of Jazz” accompanied by Music Carolina jazz musicians: Matt Kendrick, bass; John Wilson, drums; and Kevin Timmons, keyboards. (This concert is also part of the Haiku North America conference here.) $17.
- 3 p.m. Aug. 11: American Music Ensemble, Mark Norman, conductor, Salem College Fine Arts Center, Shirley Recital Hall. This 10-piece ensemble performs ragtime, marches, and other selections by great American composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. $24, $8 for students.
- 10:30 a.m. Aug. 13: Latte and Learn @ Bookmarks, British Invasion Songs Through the Jazz Looking Glass. Matt Kendrick, bassist and arranger. Admission is free.
- 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15: Downtown! Songs of the British Invasion, Millennium Center, 101 W. Fifth St. Great tunes including: “Downtown,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “I Started A Joke, Time of the Season, Georgy Girl, and more. Vocalist Martha Bassett with Matt Kendrick, bass and arrangements; Federico Pivetta, piano; Ken Wilmot, trumpet; and John Wilson, drums. $24, $8 for students.
- 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17: The Pivetta Duo, Salem College Fine Arts Center, Shirley Recital Hall. Federico Pivetta, piano, and Debra-Reuter Pivetta, flute, perform diverse styles of music for flute and piano, from classical to Latin and Jazz. Bassist Matt Kendrick and drummer John Wilson join the Pivettas for a performance of Claude Bolling’s Jazz Suite. $24, $8 for students.
- 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20: Piano Recital with Dmitri Shteinberg, Piedmont Music Center, 212 N. Broad St. Shteinberg, artist faculty at the UNCSA, performs Mozart Sonata KV 280 in F Major, Brahms Three Intermezzi Op. 117, Chopin Ballade No. 4, and Schumann, Symphonic Etudes Op. 13. $24, $8 for students.
- 10:30 a.m. Aug. 20: Latte and Learn @ Bookmarks, James Allbritten, Piedmont Opera. Admission is free.
- 7 p.m. Aug. 24: Piedmont Opera, “Sacred and Profane.” Calvary Moravian Church, 660 Holly St. Piedmont Opera performs the sacred music of great bel canto opera composers including Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi and Puccini. $24, $8 for students.