The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Grace Presents seeks a Program Coordinator and extends the application deadline through July 31.

July 17, 2014
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By Jacob Stockinger

The deadline for applying to be the new Program Coordinator of Grace Presents was originally this past Tuesday, July 15. But it has now been extended through the end of the month, to July 31. For details, see below.

In a city with a lot of FREE and accessible high-quality concerts, Grace Presents nonetheless offers an outstanding series that fits right in with the church’s mission of community service.

The program was the brainchild of founder and first director Bruce Croushore, who worked long and hard to ensure its success. The Ear has heard memorable and enjoyable vocal and instrumental music, from violin sonatas and a solo piano recital to art songs and opera arias, at Grace Presents. (At bottom is a YouTube video of the “Liebeslieder Waltzes” by Johannes Brahms.)

Grace Presents sign

But now Croushore, a longtime reader and friend of this blog, has asked for help in advertising the position, and The Ear is happy to help.

Here is what Croushore, a retired businessman and consultant, writes:

“Grace Presents is a series of FREE noontime concerts that began in the spring of 2011 at Grace Episcopal Church, in downtown Madison on the Capitol Square.

“To date, three dozen diverse musical performances have been enjoyed by audiences that range in size from 30 to as many as 300. Most concerts take place at noon on Saturdays, so as to attract Dane County Farmers’ Market shoppers (below).

dane county farmers' market

Grace Presents’ mission is to open the doors of Madison’s historic landmark, Grace Church, by continuing the ancient tradition of music in the marketplace. (Below are photos of Grace’s exterior and its interior, which features beautiful furnishings and great acoustics.)

grace episcopal church ext

Grace Episcopal harpsichord

The series seeks to provide musicians and music-lovers from Dane County and beyond an outstanding acoustical performance venue that is attractive, peaceful and in the heart of Madison.

Grace Presents also offers free concerts of exceptional quality by local performers representing a wide variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, world and folk. (Below, Madison Symphony Orchestra violinist Laura Burns and pianist Jess Salek perform the complete violin sonatas by Johannes Brahms at Grace Presents.”)

Laura Burns Jess Salek Brahms Grace Epis

Grace Presents attempts to attract and enrich a broad audience, including downtown neighborhood residents, secondary school and university students, farmers’ market shoppers, local business people, state workers, local visitors, tourists, and people who are homeless.

Grace Church’s close proximity to Overture Center, Monona Terrace and downtown shops, restaurants, museums and offices encourages attendees to walk, ride bikes or to use public transportation, and reduces the carbon footprint of an excellent cultural event.

MBM Grace stained glass window

Grace Presents seeks a Program Coordinator whose duties include:

1. Engaging musicians to perform 8-12 concerts throughout the calendar year. This includes scheduling dates that work for the musicians, Grace Church and the community at large. Dates should be far enough in advance to allow for promotion of each concert. At times, program content may be specific to a given audience (i.e., children or shelter meal participants).

2. Preparing and disseminating publicity through various media, including online and print listings, social media and similar promotional opportunities.

3. Arranging payment for musicians, including completing paperwork and coordinating checks with the church’s Finance Administrator.

4. Preparing and arranging the printing of programs, posters and flyers for the concerts.

5. Acting as a liaison between performers and the venue of Grace Church.

6. Attending the concerts to assist with day-of logistics and taking care of musicians’ needs, except in special circumstances.

7. Attending periodic meetings of Grace Presents’ Task Force.

8. Completing and submitting grant applications with the assistance of task force members.

QUALIFICATIONS: This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in gaining experience in concert promotion and arts administration. That includes students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College.

Strong organizational and communication skills, as well as a working knowledge of social media, are necessary.

Familiarity with the Madison music scene, both commercial and educational, is a plus.

COMPENSATION: T
he program coordinator receives a quarterly honorarium of $500, paid in advance.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Apply by email with a resume attached by not later than July 31, 2014.

Although the Grace Presents’ concert series is booked through December 2014, the task force intends to fill the position in the near future so that the current program director will be able to train a successor over the summer.

CONTACT: 
Write to Bruce Croushore at croushoreb@gmail.com


Classical music: The “Grace Presents” music series names UW-Madison graduate student Kelly Hiser at its new program coordinator.

July 12, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Madison certainly has its share of free, high quality classical musical events.

But among those programs not associated with larger institutions, such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the Madison Symphony Orchestra, “Grace Presents” has proven especially reliable and successful.

I think back with fondness to the concerts I attended last season where I heard Brahms violin sonatas (below) with violinist Laura Burns and pianist Jess Salek; various songs by Faure, Hahn and Verdi, including Brahms’ “Liebeslieder Waltzes” (in a YouTube video at bottom); and a solo piano recital by Yana Groves of Debussy, Rachmaninov and Schubert.

Laura Burns Jess Salek Brahms Grace Epis

“Grace Presents,” now in its third season of concerts held in Grace Episcopal Church (below top) on the Capitol Square in downtown Madison, has announced that Kelly Hiser (below bottom) became its new Program Coordinator as of July 1.

grace episcopal church ext

Kelly Hiser

Hiser is a doctoral candidate in musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, with a special interest in the history of the spacey-sounding theremin, one of the first forms of electronic instruments, famously used in the slow movement of Aram Khachaturian’s popular Piano Concerto. She is currently serving as Project Assistant to Professor Susan Cook, the recently named Director of the School of Music.

“Grace Presents” offers free concerts by performers in a wide variety of musical styles, including classical, jazz, world and folk, in an outstanding acoustical venue that is resonant for the ears and for the eyes also features beautiful stained glass windows and lovely sculpted wood.

MBM Grace stained glass window

MBM Grace altar

Bruce Croushore, the founder and chair of Grace Presents, noted that the music series is fortunate to have Hiser in charge of lining up interesting talent for future concerts.

“Kelly brings to Grace Presents an impressive skill set, an extensive knowledge of many musical genres and a wide range of connections to the Madison music scene,” Croushore noted. “She will keep Grace Presents in the minds and hearts of lovers of diverse musical styles, performed in Grace Church’s beautiful and acoustically superb space,” he continued.

The monthly hour-long concerts are typically held at noon on Saturdays to encourage shoppers, workers, and downtown residents and visitors to enjoy fine music in a peaceful setting.

Grace Presents sign

The Fall lineup will be announced in August, and The Ear as been told that Hiser will be setting up a website of its own for “Grace Presents.”

In the meantime, here is a link to the Grace Episcopal Church’s website where you can often find news about “Grace Presents” artists and programs:

http://www.graceec.org


Classical music: The outstanding “Grace Presents” FREE concert series is seeking to hire a new coordinator. Here is all the information about the job and the application process.

May 5, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

It is no secret that Madison is filled with great classical music, much of it free for the attending and listening.

But individual smaller programs like the First Unitarian Society’s Friday Noon Musicales and the non-traditional, eclectic concerts by Classical Revolution Madison can still fly under the radar.

One of the most noteworthy is the monthly “Grace Presents” series on Saturdays at noon at the Grace Episcopal Church downtown on Capitol Square.

grace episcopal church ext

It sends out a newsletter via the Grace Episcopal Church, which does have a website, but “Grace Presents” has no website of its own that I can find, or even a complete, easy-to-find schedule on the regular Grace Episcopal website. And yet the attendance can be quite good and the performances quite impressive.

I can’t speak to other kinds of music, like Celtic or folk, though some of the performers’ names are familiar. But this past winter I heard two outstanding concerts.

One featured violinist Laura Burns and pianist Jess Salek (below) in sonatas by Brahms.

Laura Burns Jess Salek Brahms Grace Epis

The other (below is an YouTube video excerpt) featured four singers and two pianists in songs by Schubert, Schumann, Faure, Hahn, Verdi and Brahms.

And on May 18, I want to hear the season closer this spring with pianist Yana Groves (below), who was born in Ukraine and trained at the UW by Christopher Taylor. She will perform the lyrical Prelude Op. 23, No. 4, by Sergei Rachmaninoff; three “Estampes” or “Prints” by Claude Debussy; and the big, soulful Sonata in A Minor, D. 845, by Franz Schubert.

Yana Groves playing

Anyway, Grace Presents is looking for a new coordinator, and The Ear wants to help the series get the best one it can find. The organizers deserve no less, and so do the attentive and appreciative Madison public and Madison group of musicians.

Much of its success can no doubt be attributed to Bruce Croushore, a tireless, capable and affable man who recruits fine musicians, spreads the word and is a gracious host.

Here is the job posting that he forwarded to me to post:

Music Series Seeks Program Coordinator

“Grace Presents” is a series of concerts that began in the Spring of 2011. To date, two dozen diverse musical performances -– classical, folk, Celtic — have been enjoyed by audiences that range in size from 30 to as many as 300.

“Most concerts take place at Noon on Saturdays, so as to attract Dane County Farmers’ Market shoppers.

“Grace Presents’ mission is to open the doors of Madison’s historic landmark, Grace Episcopal Church (below is its acoustically resonant interior)), on the downtown Capitol Square, continuing the ancient tradition of music in the marketplace.

grace episcopal church inter

“To provide musicians and music-lovers from Dane County and beyond an outstanding acoustical performance venue that is attractive, peaceful, and in the heart of Madison.

“To offer free concerts of exceptional quality by local performers representing a wide variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, world, and folk.

“To attract and enrich a broad audience, including downtown neighborhood residents, secondary school and university students, farmers’ market shoppers, local business people, State workers, local visitors, tourists, and people who are homeless.

“Grace Church’s close proximity to the Overture Center (below), Monona Terrace and downtown shops, restaurants, museums, and offices encourages attendees to walk, ride bikes, or to use public transportation and reduces the carbon footprint of an excellent cultural event.

OvertureExteior-DelBrown_jpg_595x325_crop_upscale_q85

“Grace Presents seeks a Program Coordinator whose duties include:

“1. Engaging musicians to perform 8-12 concerts throughout the calendar year. This includes scheduling dates that work for the musicians, Grace Church, and the community at large. Dates should be far enough in advance to allow for promotion of each concert. At times program content may be specific to a given audience (i.e., children or shelter meal participants).

“2. Preparing and disseminating publicity through various media, including online and print listings and similar promotional opportunities.

“3. Arranging payment for musicians. (i.e. paperwork and coordinating checks with the church’s Finance Administrator)

“4. Preparing and printing programs, posters and flyers for the concerts.

“5. Acting as a liaison between performers and venue (Grace Church).

“6. Attending the concerts to assist with day-of logistics and taking care of musicians’ needs, except in special circumstances.

7. Attending periodic meetings of Grace Presents’ task force.

8. Completing and submitting grant applications with the assistance of task force members.

“QUALIFICATIONS: This is an excellent opportunity for someone interested in gaining experience in concert promotion and arts administration. Strong organizational and communication skills are necessary. Having knowledge of the Madison music scene, both commercial and educational, is a plus.

“COMPENSATION:
 Quarterly honoraria of $500.

“APPLICATION DEADLINE: Apply by email with resume attached not later than June 1, 2013

“Although the Grace Presents’ concert series is booked through December 2013, the task force intends to fill the position by June 30, 2013 so that the incumbent will be able to train her successor over the summer months.

“CONTACT:
 Bruce Croushore at croushoreb@gmail.com

Grace Presents sign


Classical music news: Madison’s downtown Grace Episcopal Church announces its free Saturday noontime concerts for Spring 2012

February 28, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

“Grace Presents,” the outreach concert series of Grace Episcopal Church (below) offers classical and folk concerts Saturdays at noon.

The performances are all free and casual, taking place in Grace’s beautiful, historic nave.  All concerts are at Grace Church, 116 West Washington Avenue, on the Capitol Square in downtown Madison.

So far, specific works and programs have not been announced. But stay tuned for details.

Even from the outline, however, the concert look like a good place to grab a bite and have a respite downtown, especially on busy Farmers Market Saturdays.

Here is the line-up:

March 3, 2012. Noon-1 p.m. Rachel Holmes (below), soprano, presents a lively and enchanting program of Mozart arias.

March 24, 2012. Noon-1 p.m. Members of UW-Platteville‘s Rountree Ensemble (below) offer spring serenades for flute, clarinet, and piano.

April 28, 2012. Noon-1 p.m. The Mifflin String Quartet (below) perform a dynamic and exotic program of Beethoven and Dohnanyi.

May 12, 2012. Noon-1 p.m. In a return engagement, Navan, the visionary quartet of traditional Celtic singers, offers everything from shimmering Irish lullabies to spine-chilling Breton laments, performing exclusively in the native tongues of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man.

Grace Presents is sponsored by a grant from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission with additional funds from the Overture Foundation and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation and through generous donations from music lovers.


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