Ashland University Spectrum Series Presents Season of Eclectic Music Genres

Ashland University Spectrum Series Presents Season of Eclectic Music Genres
The four Lopez brothers of Andes Manta will perform a Spectrum Series main stage evening concert on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the University's Jack and Deb Miller Chapel.

9/3/14 ASHLAND, Ohio – The 35th annual Ashland University Spectrum Series will offer an eclectic tour of various music genres from Andes Manta's ancient and native sounds of the South American Andes to Simple Gifts' variety of ethnic folk styles and the Kelly Bell Band’s award-winning blues. In addition to main stage performances, the series also will present daytime matinees for schools and senior facilities and free artist workshops in the 2014-2015 season.

For more than three decades, the Spectrum Series has brought world-class talent to Ashland, Ohio, by presenting nationally known artists and programs to provide thought-provoking programming while expanding the cultural perspectives of the audience. The Series strives to educate, entertain and inspire its audience members, and instill the belief that the Arts are fundamental to our humanity as they build bridges between cultures and bring us together.

By enhancing cultural experiences for the Ashland community and surrounding areas with administration from the Ashland University College of Arts & Sciences, the Series has been selected by the Ohio Arts Council as the opening host site for their 16th Statewide International Music and Performing Arts in Communities Tour (IMPACT) with additional support from Arts MidWest, Mid-America Arts Alliance and Ohio Arts Presenters Network. In early October, IMPACT presents an encore tour of Andes Manta to six different Ohio communities. All performances and outreach opportunities featuring Andes Manta are free and open to the public. In Ashland, the four Lopez brothers of Andes Manta will perform a main stage evening concert on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the University's Jack and Deb Miller Chapel along with a school matinee performance at 9 a.m. that morning. No tickets are needed for the evening concert, but schools are encouraged to call in advance to reserve their seats for the matinee.

Andes Manta performs the traditional music of the Andean mountains of South America, rooted in the cultural heritage of the Incas and their ancestors. The dynamic and mystical songs that they play are filled with the exquisite sounds of an ancient, yet still vital, civilization. The four musicians who comprise Andes Manta today are brothers from Ecuador including Fernando, Luis, Bolivar and Jorge Lopez, who all began playing at an early age using their distinct musical form to express the richness of their culture and traditions. They have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of the Art, the National Cathedral, Yale University, Vasar College and hundreds of other schools and universities; and have written and performed part of the score for the Discovery Channel special ''Rediscovering America." Playing over 35 traditional instruments, the Lopez brothers as a group had no formal education in learning to play the instruments they themselves make by hand. Much of their music recreates the vitality of nature, the sound of wind, rain and birds. “Our music is the music of the people,” says Wilson Lopez. “With it we celebrate harvest, carnival, solstice, village life and religion.”

In January, the award-winning duo Simple Gifts performs a mainstage evening concert on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel while also presenting two workshops during their visit to Ashland. Two women plus 12 instruments equals one good time when Simple Gifts takes the stage. Drawing on an impressive variety of ethnic folk styles, Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon play everything from lively Irish jigs and down-home American reels to hard-driving Klezmer frailachs and haunting Gypsy melodies, spicing the mix with the distinctive rhythms of Balkan dance music, the lush sounds of Scandinavian twin fiddling and original compositions written in a traditional style.

On Friday, Jan. 30, Simple Gifts will present two different workshops that are free and open to the public in Room 242 of the Center for the Arts. "Women and Music" will be presented twice at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Through demonstration and discussion, they will examine the roles of women in traditional music. In particular, they will discuss their experience as women musicians and obstacles that women often face in becoming professional musicians. At 3 p.m., Littleton and Hirshon will explore "The Folk Process" in cooperation with the Ashland University Choir. They will look at the creative process that folk musicians follow to take a simple melody and mold it into an interesting performance piece.

The 2014-2015 Spectrum Series ends on Saturday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. with a high-powered performance by the Kelly Bell Blues Band in Hugo Young Theatre. Formed as a back-up band for Bo Diddley and voted the Best Blues Band in the Mid Atlantic Region for 12 years in a row, the Kelly Bell Band from Baltimore, Maryland, performs elements of Motown combined with today’s modern rock and pop. Fronted by a professional wrestler, well-known Baltimore radio personality, and special education teacher who arose from inner-city Washington, D.C., the story of Kelly Bell (and his stories on stage) will keep you fascinated from the opening note. The Blues Revue Magazine says the Kelly Bell Band is “among the most genre-expanding acts on today’s blues scene. Who else can combine elements of hip-hop, funk and blues-electrified here, Delta there, horn driven elsewhere – and still manage to sound sincere? Bell’s an honest poet and an outstanding singer with lots to say.”

Season tickets are now available for the above performances at the Ashland University Box Office. Season tickets include reserved front-center section seating for the free Andes Manta concert, and 20 percent discounted admission to Simple Gifts and Kelly Bell Band's mainstage shows. Season tickets are: $24 for adults; and $19 for senior citizens, non- Ashland University students and Ashland University alumni, faculty and staff. Single tickets are: $15 for adults; $12 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students, University alumni, faculty and staff; $10 for groups of 10 or more; and $5 for Ashland University students with ID.

To purchase season or individual tickets, contact the Ashland University Box Office by phone at 419-289-5125, or in person in the lobby of Hugo Young Theatre located at the corner of College Avenue and Grant Street. Hours are Monday through Friday, 12 to 6 p.m. Tickets are also available on-line at www.ashland.edu/tickets where additional fees apply. For more information, visit the Web site at www.ashland.edu/spectrum or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or tapplega@ashland.edu.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###