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As the televised "American Idol" has captured the hearts of pop music fans, the Rochester Oratorio Society hopes to reach classical music lovers during its annual vocal competition.

Spectators will be able to enjoy live vocal performances by musicians from around the United States and Canada at Classical Idol IV on March 27 at Hochstein Performance Hall.

The ROS benefit, which begins at 7:30 p.m., selects 24 winners of a semifinal round to perform opera, oratorio, art song or musical theater before a panel of judges and a live audience. (Natalie Donnelly, right, and Matthew Pena, below, are among the semifinalists.) Judges provide constructive feedback. The winner receives a cash prize and a chance to solo with the ROS.

"Most people come for the excitement of a live competition and for an evening of terrific performances-at a great price and to benefit a good cause," says Eric Townell, ROS music director and head judge. "Classical Idol is great entertainment, above all."

Silent and live auctions, plus a light reception, conclude the evening. Brenda Tremblay, morning host at WXXI 91.5 FM, will serve as emcee; Carol Ritter Wright will be auctioneer.

Visit rosclassicalidol.org for details.
-Brandy White

Bid on photographs, prints and artists’ books by both internationally known and emerging artists during a benefit auction for Visual Studies Workshop from 6 to 9 p.m. April 9. Contributing artists include Paul Caponigro, Carl Chiarenza, Nathan Lyons, Joan Lyons, Ray Metzger, Gary Metz, Scott McCarney, Brian Oglesbee, Aaron Siskind, Keith Smith, Jerry Uelsman and John Wood, whose untitled collage is shown. Preview selections at vsw.org/auction or in the gallery from 6 to 9 p.m. April 2, or make an appointment by sending an e-mail to gallery director Tate Shaw at tateshaw@vsw.org. For details, check out vsw.org.

Ring in spring
The words of Walt Whitman, narrated by former WXXI radio host Simon Pontin, below, will signal the arrival of spring during a concert March 28 at Hochstein Performance Hall.

Music Director David Fetler will conduct the Rochester Chamber Orchestra in "A Musical Celebration of Spring," featuring the premiere of "On Wings of Song," a commissioned piece by William Cahn of the Eastman School of Music. The piece incorporates Whitman poems about birds and alternates with English and American folk songs sung by the Bach Children’s Chorus.

Cahn, who teaches percussion at Eastman, is known internationally for his work with Nexus Percussion Ensemble. His compositions have been performed by orchestras in Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Dallas, Rochester, St. Paul, Toronto, Taipei, Tampere (Finland) and elsewhere.

Also on the program is J.S. Bach’s "Double Concerto in D Minor," performed by violinist Patricia Sunwoo and concertmaster David Brickman, who is principal second violin for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Emily Agnew, RCO principal oboist, will solo in Antonio Vivaldi’s "D Minor Oboe Concerto."

Conductor David Fetler, now in his 46th season with the RCO, studied at the Juilliard School and Eastman. He organized the RCO in 1964 when he was a member of the Eastman faculty. A native of Riga, Latvia, he comes from a musical family of 13 children.

A champagne and dessert reception will be held at 1:30 p.m., and the concert begins at 3. Visit rochesterchamberorchestra.org for details.

Horse show
More than 120 riders from local stables will participate in the Greater Rochester Horsemen’s Winter Classic on March 27. The fundraiser for Heritage Christian Stables will be held at Lehman Farms in Pittsford.

Heritage provides therapeutic riding lessons for people with developmental disabilities. The English and Western horse show is an inclusive event; riders with and without disabilities will compete.

Opening ceremonies begin at 8 a.m. Participants can register on the day of the show. For details, visit winterclassic.kintera.org.

Writers, take a bow
The University of Rochester is looking for a few good writers.

Writers in Rochester and Western New York who have published fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature and plays in 2008-09 are eligible for the sixth annual Andrew Eiseman Writers Awards.

Eiseman, a resident of Boulder, Colo., is a 1979 UR alumnus who started his career in the arts and moved into high-tech management. He set up the awards to foster bonds between Rochester’s literary community and the university.

"Never has one skill served me better than the ability to communicate through written words," Eiseman writes. "I so admire those who can write well in any discipline."

Category winners receive $1,000. The submission deadline is June 1. For details, call 273-1341 or send an e-mail to aweinstein@admin.rochester.edu.

Grape performances
Casa Larga Vineyards is the setting for Penfield Symphony Orchestra’s annual fundraiser from 2 to 4 p.m. March 28. For ticket information, visit penfieldsymphony.org or call 872-0774.


Finding balance is not always easy. But for artist Jan Jacque, it comes as naturally as wood and clay.

The featured artist at the Renaissance Art Gallery from April 2 to May 25, Jacque will present her clay and wood creations in an exhibit, "Nature Within." An opening reception, with live music by Frank Ardino, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 2.

"My inspiration is nature," Jacque says.

"I add tranquility, complexity and balance into the clay and wood."

The clay in Jacque’s pieces implies earth, while the wood represents the growth of living things. Her sculptures, vases, mirrors, wall art and lamps are fusions of those natural elements, creating a delicate and abstract design.

"The clay and wood combination is what makes my pieces stand out the most," she says.

During the exhibit, Jacque will be showing new pieces that demonstrate "ecollage," a method of repurposing materials. Jacque says she coined the term to define the technique of fusing recycled plastic bags, paper and thread.

"In a nutshell, my pieces have many layers of complexity," she says.

For more information, call 423-8235 or visit www.firstfridayrochester.org.


3/26/10 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.



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