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Book Review: Song of the Lion

Song of the LionIn author Anne Hillerman’s latest book, Song of the Lion, Bernadette Manuelito emerges as a savvy heroine who does her job with intelligence and wit while stoically ignoring the irritation of not being respected by a fellow officer. It is not luck or pride that motivates Manuelito, it’s doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason, including trusting her instincts in a life-threatening moment of peril.

Manuelito and her husband Jim Chee, work for the Navajo Tribal Police where facts and evidence add up to answers. That doesn’t discourage Manuelito from using her intuition and connection with old ways, or Chee from showing respect for honored traditions.

Put that cultural identity and awareness into play when the two unofficially work a case, and the result is a compelling story. A car bombing outside a school gymnasium that kills an unidentified young man sets the story in motion. Add in the complication of developers wanting to make dramatic changes on tribal lands and the groups for and against the proposal. Mix in a little sabotage designed to sideline the negotiations. Season with a surprising connection between the case and Manuelito’s friend and mentor, Joe Leaphorn. What you have are all the ingredients for a fast-paced story featuring familiar characters doing what they do best. Manuelito proves to be a dedicated law enforcement officer with an unbeatable spirit.

I recommend Song of the Lion to anyone who likes a good tale woven throughout with interesting, well-drawn characters.

Praise for Song the Lion from Booklist: “Hillerman seamlessly blends tribal lore and custom into a well-directed plot, continuing in the spirit of her late father, Tony, by keeping his characters in the mix, but still establishing Manuelito as the main player in what has become a fine legacy series.”

Hillerman is an award-winning reporter, the author of several non-fiction books, and the daughter of New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman. She lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Title: Song of the Lion
Type: Novel
Author: Anne Hillerman
Publisher: Harper Hardcover
Publication date: April 11, 2017
Price: $27.99

Q&A with Jack Glatzer

Master Violinist Jack Glatzer Featured Artist
in Kennedy Hall Recital April 5

Dallas-born master violinist Jack Glatzer will share his love of music in a recital on Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Kennedy Hall at New Mexico Highlands University. Tickets are $15 per person. The event is sponsored by the Las Vegas Arts Council and Noonday Kiwanis.

Jack Glatzer, ViolinistGlatzer’s extensive performance background began with his debut recital at age 13. He had been a student of the instrument since age five. He regularly makes concert tours around the world and has played on every continent and in more than 50 countries. He is comfortable performing before large audiences in elegant settings and equally at ease with students in a classroom or a handful of patrons in small venues. Glatzer has given numerous recitals in Las Vegas over the years, and comes back often to renew old friendships and forge new ones.

He is recognized as a pedagogue, both in master classes and in lecture recitals. His background and interest in the history of culture have led to his highly successful concerts – son et lumiere – in which musical performance is explained by a lecture and illuminated by visual images. His particular focus is the unaccompanied repertoire for the violin, including the works of Paganini and J.S. Bach. He is also open to performing new works by talented composers.

ORP: When did you know playing the violin would be your life’s work?
Glatzer:
I began the violin at the age of five. After very few years of study I became so attached to the instrument that I knew it would be my life.

ORP: Who were your mentors as you developed your musical gift and honed your technical skills?
Glatzer: I suffered a great disillusionment with one of my famous teachers – who I won’t name. For a few years, I wanted to be a professor of history and took two degrees in history. Musically I was fortunate indeed to have two of the finest teachers of the last century, Sandor Vegh and Maxim Jacobsen.

ORP: How much of your success is natural ability and how much is practice and dogged perseverance?
Glatzer: I hope that there is some natural talent but there is no doubt that dogged perseverance and pathological obsession is with me every day.

ORP: You have performed all over the world to audiences large and small and have performed in Las Vegas on several occasions. What brings you back to Las Vegas time and again?
Glatzer: I have been fortunate over many years to develop deep friendships with persons and audiences in several cities. Among them is Las Vegas. Truly I have performed countless times there. I have such fond memories of that old series of house concerts – salon concerts to be sure – that took place in the lovely Carriage House. It was called Movable Music. What a joy to enjoy the gracious hospitality of my dear friend, Ann Bradford. I trust there are still friends who remember well those annual concerts. In recent years, my deep friendship and esteem for Ron Maltais has enriched my visits. I now have two works in my repertoire by Ron.

ORP: What size audience is more challenging to you as a performer?
Glatzer: The size of the audience does not matter, although I particularly enjoy intimate and small venues where it is possible to play very softly and hear the breathing and many colors of the violin.

ORP: In some performances you talk about the music and get into a teaching mode. Talk about that experience and how it makes you a better musician.
Glatzer: I enjoy talking to an audience, trying to go on an emotional trip with the public, trying to open the imagination of the listener so that together we voyage beyond the notes. This is particularly interesting in performing for students who are often so unfamiliar with the music.

ORP: Your recitals showcase the unaccompanied repertoire for the violin. Talk about that and how it affects your relationship with your audience.
Glatzer: I particularly enjoy the solo violin repertoire. Only composers of the highest skill would dare to write in this medium, so we have many true masterpieces, especially Bach, Ysaye, Bartok, Paganini. The solo music enables me to explore the many colors, the shading, the breathing, the crying of the violin. Also, people are amazed at how the softest sounds played with care and in tune will have such resonance that the sounds carry through the hall.

ORP: What advice do you give young musicians?
Glatzer: Remember that you are fortunate to be able to seek for the sublime with the sounds of your instrument. Never settle for less than this search.

What: Jack Glatzer Recital
When: Wednesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kennedy Hall, NMHU
Tickets: $15 per person available at the Las Vegas Arts Council
Event sponsors: Las Vegas Arts Council and Noonday Kiwanis

Q&A: Ronald Maltais, artistic director of the Castañeda Concert Series

and Emmy Grimm, co-founder of EmiArteFlamenco

flamenco

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ronald Maltais, artistic director for the Castañeda Concert series, recently announced the next two performances, the first of which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom. The performance showcases Flamenco musicians and dancers. The third concert in the series will be on Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m. at Ilfeld Auditorium with violinist Elizabeth Young, cellist Dana Winograd, percussionist Ralph Marquez, and Maltais at the piano.

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ron MaltaisMaltais, previously director of music at the United World College USA, left that position to devote more time to composition, directing and performance. He has been a life-long student of the piano, beginning at the age of four. Formal lessons at age eight with noted teachers led to a love of music and a gift for envisioning the creativity and art of performance and composing. Originally from southern New Hampshire, his studies with Maurice Hoffman led to degrees taken at New England Conservatory (piano performance), and Boston University (music composition). Maltais pursued vocal training and has devoted significant time to choral directing and artistic direction. His Meditation for Viola and Strings was conducted by Lukas Foss at Boston University in 1998. Maltais’ travels have led to engagements as a musician and lecturer in several US states and in India, Turkey, South Africa and Peru. He is currently composing an opera based on the life of Camille Claudel. Maltais premiered his Star Axis Preludes for a select audience at the first Light SpectrumConcert (Dwan Light Sanctuary/ United World College USA) in April 2016.

For La Emi (Emmy Grimm), performance and teaching are the heartbeat of a life spent immersing herself in the art of Flamenco. She has had several apprenticeships under Carmela Greco and has performed in various venues throughout Spain. She has also studied with Ivan Vargas Heredia, José Galván, Gala Vivancos, Inmaculada Ortega, Yolanda Heredia, Juana Amaya, Juan Paredes, Torombo, Rocio Alcaide Ruiz, and many more influential Flamenco dancers. For three seasons she performed with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe. In 2014, Vicente Griego and La Emi began her own company, EmiArteFlamenco with Skylight Santa Fe as its home theater. In 2016 she opened EmiArteFlamenco Academy offering classes for toddlers, children and adults. For more information about La Emi, go to www.emiarteflamenco.com.

The Flamenco in Las Vegas Castañeda Concert is sponsored in part by Allan Affeldt, Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas Arts Council, New Mexico Arts and generous donors. Tickets are $15 per person and available at the Las Vegas Arts Council. They can also be purchased at the Plaza Hotel and at the door on the night of the performance.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge in putting together a concert series?
Ron: There are many facets to designing and arranging a compelling concert series. Intuition usually guides me, and I am thinking about great variety in the various programs and juggling the availability of prospective performers. My mission in Las Vegas is to feature New Mexico performing artists. This season certainly achieves that goal as all of the performers reside within the state. When people attend a Flamenco performance, the venue, lighting, sound design, graphic design etc. are all critical components to achieving a spectacular result. In the May concert we will bring back a violinist and cellist; both performed at the Castañeda in Sept. 2016. This decision was partly due to the favorable comments of audience members who enjoyed their virtuosity and musicianship.

ORP: What is the most rewarding for you as an artistic director?
Ron: When I am in the audience or performing in an event I produced it is very exciting to feel the energy in the room; to see how the people attending are reacting to the program. An example is when there was a spontaneous ovation at the end of the first half of the Castañeda concert last fall. Usually ovations occur at the end of an excellent performance. I am very committed to enhancing the concert season in Las Vegas. I begin by looking at what is already happening around town and then proceed to add something different to the mix.

ORP: You’ve taught, conducted and composed music. Which do you most enjoy and why?
Ron: I made a decision to step away from a full-time position as a music director/ teacher at the United World College USA this season (after a 15 year run). This surprised many local residents who have been very loyal supporters of my concerts and overall work in the past. I see it as a way of challenging myself to return to a more intense focus on piano performance and music composition. In the May concert I will present an original work composed for a professional colleague. When you announce such a thing you must follow through. It’s a bit frightening, but in a sense you are lighting a fire under yourself! Also, the Brahms Trio which I have programmed for the May concert is quite difficult, and I am greatly enjoying the process of mastering the piano part in this work.

ORP: The next two concerts have been set. Talk about the Feb. 18 performance and what led you to select Flamenco as the art form for this event?
Ron: There is a strong Flamenco tradition in New Mexico. In some ways it is different than what you might see in Spain. I feel it is up to artistic directors to invest serious time and thought in looking for ways to promote important cultural traditions. When I first came to New Mexico I was drawn to Native American music, and through numerous visits to several Indian pueblos within our state I was amazed by what I saw and heard in the music performances and sacred dances.

ORP: What appeals to you about Flamenco?
Ron: The drama of it is compelling; sometimes subtle, but then wild and seductive. The chemistry between the dancers and musicians springs from a kind of improvisational daring. Watching Flamenco (even once) could be a life-changing experience for spectators. I remember seeing a small, excellent Flamenco ensemble in Cordoba, Spain some years ago, and the images are still engraved in my mind, along with the unforgettable sound of their music. I walked back to my inn on that balmy summer night feeling somewhat dazed.

ORP: How do dance, vocal and instrumental performances differ in presentation and preparation, or do they?
Ron: I am not a dancer, but I have observed/collaborated with dancers many times, even composed music, which colleagues then choreographed. Watching the body language of confident musical performers who are not dancers (ex. A jazz quintet) is not so different.  There are many ways to communicate, and body movement is key to this.

ORP: The objective of a concert or performance is to provide beautiful artistic expression. What are the technical or logistical aspects of putting together an event, aside from practice, practice, practice?
Ron: The greatest performers sometimes talk of states of consciousness they experience in their quest to achieve the highest possible expressive outcome. Some get there rather easily through natural talent/ intuition. After getting through the preliminary technical work of learning musical notes or learning dance steps you must find a way to take it to a different level. Of course your own gifts allow it to become personalized. Your interpretation would likely be different than any other and this is the magic we strive for. As performance artists we are actually recreating art over and over again. This is a difficult question to answer and I hope my response makes sense!

la-emiORP: Emmy, talk about your company of Flamenco artists.
Emmy: My company was founded two years ago by my Godfather, Vicente Griego and myself. This is a family company. We feel very blessed because we get to do what we love with the people we love, in the place we were born and raised.

ORP: How long have you all been working together?
Emmy: We began working with each other prior to the opening of EmiArteFlamenco. We have been working together many years.

ORP: What excites you about the art of dance?
Emmy: Flamenco is an art form that originated through the people.  It was born in the streets amongst families. It is a way to tell one’s story. It expresses everything that I go through in life, love, heart break, anxiety, joy and many more emotions.

ORP: When and how did you become a Flamenco dancer.
Emmy: My father, David Grimm, worked at the box office for Maria Benitez during her Summer Season of shows at what is now The Lodge at Santa Fe. My mother used to go to the shows when she was pregnant with me. I grew up going to these shows and at the age of four I began my studies with the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge when putting a performance together?
Emmy: For me the greatest challenge is making the time to do all of the needed things. It is important to promote the show, but you also must make time to rehearse every day.

ORP: What is the greatest joy?
Emmy: I believe that the Lord put us all on this earth to serve our purpose. God blessed me with a love to dance. It gives me true joy to be able to do what I love and share it with my community. This show is truly exciting. We will be celebrating our love for New Mexico, as well as for the art form of Flamenco and what a better way to do it than amongst familia!

For more information about EmiArteFlamenco go to www.emiarteflamenco.com

What: Castañeda Concerts: Flamenco in Las Vegas
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18
Where: Plaza Hotel Ballroom

Cost: $15 per person
Where to purchase tickets: Las Vegas Arts Council and online at lasvegasartscouncil.org. Tickets are also available at the Plaza Hotel. 

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La Emi Photo: Daniel Quat Photography

A bit of Andre Rieu

Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to beautiful music. Andre Rieu, one of my favorites. This was filmed several years ago and includes a medley of Christmas songs.

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My December challenge continues, posting links to uplifting stories and videos, be it music or news that makes us smile for a while. Enjoy, comment, like and share. If you have a personal, or local story to share, e-mail fsharon@msn.com. Photo from You Tube

Jingle Bells

I HAD to do this one. It is Malayalam translation of a popular holiday song. According to Wikipedia, Malayalam  is a language spoken in India, predominantly in the state of Kerala. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. This rendition of “Jingle Bells” is one more example that music has a language all its own and it connects us in ways we never imagined.These young ladies are delightful.

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My December challenge continues, posting links to uplifting stories and videos, be it music or news that makes us smile for a while. Enjoy, comment, like and share. If you have a personal, or local story to share, e-mail fsharon@msn.com.

Hallelujah Chorus

Flash mobs in malls are nothing new, but when I watch videos of them, they always make me smile. Enjoy…

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My challenge for December is to post every day – among other posts – links to uplifting stories and videos, be it music or news that makes us smile for a while. Enjoy, comment, like and share. If you have a personal, or local story to share, e-mail fsharon@msn.com.

Angels Among Us

My challenge for December is to post every day – among other posts – links to uplifting stories and videos, be it music or news that makes us smile for a while. Enjoy, comment, like and share. If you have a personal, or local story to share, e-mail fsharon@msn.com.

I found this song by Alabama when I was looking for “good news” videos on You Tube. It is a reminder we can all be angels to someone when we listen and respond to the needs of those around us. Lovely video