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Posted on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 5:52 a.m.

Diversity marks Kerrytown Concert House anniversary week

By Roger LeLievre

Note: story has been updated to correct two performers' names.

Nine nights of widely diversified music will help Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown Concert House celebrate its 25th anniversary Sept. 18-Sept. 27.

How diversified? Rachel Lauber, KCH’s executive director, is happy to explain.

“It’s all kinds of things: cabaret, jazz, classical. The beautiful thing with KCH both in its past, and what we’re trying to continue into its present, is the sense of tradition and the number of genres that come through,” she said.

Among the events and artists booked to help the intimate venue observe its landmark birthday are William Bolcom and Joan Morris, the Hot Club of Detroit and Joan Belgrave. The annual Parisian Soiree will also be a part of the event, as will a dinner honoring recently retired concert house director Deanna Relyea (pictured).

“My idea was if we could represent as many as possible in a very short period of time what a wonderful tribute that would be to Deanna, who has been programming for the past 25 years, and a tribute to the incredible artists that have been coming in and out of the house for two decades and a half,” Lauber said. “There are ties to many of our well-loved artists, and some new artists just coming into the fold, weaving a nice little tapestry of music for that week.”

The lovely, two-story Kerrytown Concert House, built in 1865, is located across from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. It features an L-shaped concert space downstairs where audience members sit just feet away from the performers. Four rooms upstairs are leased by local musicians and music educators for studio space.

Besides Bolcom and Morris (pictured), the Sept. 25 event honoring Relyea boasts a lineup of local all-stars including Wendy Bloom, mezzo soprano; Roger Chard, baritone; Maureen Choi; violin; Michele Cooker, piano; James Dapogny, piano; Jerry DePuit, piano; Maurita Holland, piano; Alexia Lokensgard, soprano; Shelley MacMillan, host; Louis Nagel, piano; Johnny O'Neal, piano; Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers, soprano; Elaine Sargous, narrator; Harry Sargous, oboe; Jean Schneider, piano; Donald Sinta, saxophone; Monica Swartout-Bebow, soprano; and Andrea Yun, cello.

“This is a who’s who of the House and of all different kinds of art songs, cabaret, classical, jazz — everything is represented here. It’s going to be quite a night,” Lauber promised.

“Deanna’s tribute will be a collection of dear, dear friends and artists from the past who are coming to join in a celebratory concert honoring her service to the community and to the arts and her great passion to help artists, giving them a place to perform, opening the house to all different genres. It’s really a tribute to all she’s done.”

As part of KCH’s anniversary, look for new and more comfortable chairs for the audience as well as a redesigned web site, both coming soon, said Lauber.

Meanwhile, the Hot Club of Detroit (pictured) will play two sets Sept. 23, with the second set followed by an open dance floor. The Parisian Soiree on Sept. 26 focuses on repertoire with a connection to all things Parisian.

Belgrave’s release of the new CD, “Excitable”, comes at an opportune time, Lauber said. “She did this project and she called us … I said ‘you really should be part of our 25th anniversary celebration week. She’s remarkable.” Belgrave performs Sept. 18 and 19 night with a band that includes her husband, Marcus, on trumpet and Charlie Gabriel, tenor saxophone.

The celebration ends Sept. 27 with a performance by the avant-jazz trio Hypercolor, a NYC-based hybrid whose bassist, James Ilgenfritz, should be a familiar name to anyone who has attended KCH’s annual Edgefest series.

Artists performing at Kerrytown Concert Houses 25th Anniversary weeklong events, Sept. 18-27 in Ann Arbor

More information can be found on KCH’s web site, but here’s a quick summary:

• Sept. 18-19, 8 p.m. - Joan Belgrave CD Release Concert. A mix of jazz standards and Belgrave’s original love songs.”

• Sept. 20, 7 p.m. - Alicia Doudna, violin. Doudna is one of the instructors who teaches at Kerrytown Concert House. She performs works by Dvorak, Janacek, Gershwin and Ravel. With Julia Siciliano, piano.

• Sept. 22, 8 p.m. - Louis Nagel, piano. Local music educator Nagel (he’s the director of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Outreach Program at University of Michigan and advisor to the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree program) offers a program of Bach, Haydn and Schubert.

• Sept. 23, 8 and 9:30 p.m. - Hot Club of Detroit. More than seven decades after the innovations of the Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt, combos called Hot Clubs carry on the Gypsy jazz sound around the globe.

• Sept. 24, 8 p.m. - Gabriel Kahane. Singer, pianist, and composer Kahane, equally at home in the worlds of indie rock and classical music, has formed musical alliances across diverse musical spheres. His debut album was released in late 2008, featuring guest appearances by Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek), Sam Amidon and Sufjan Stevens.

• Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m. - Gala Dinner and Concert. This event will feature a formal dinner with a concert to honor KCH founder Deanna Relyea and her 25 years of service to the community.

• Sept. 26, Parisian Soiree, 8 p.m. - Performers include Matthew Ardizzone, guitar; Monica Swartout-Bebow, soprano; Michele Cooker, piano; Jennifer Goltz, soprano; Deanna Relyea, mezzo soprano; Jane Schoonmaker Rodgers, soprano; and Shelley MacMillan, soprano.

• Sept. 27, 8 p.m. - Hypercolor. Eyal Maoz, James Ilgenfritz and Lukas Ligeti make up this NYC-based "spastic rock" hybrid whose (in their words) “artsong craftsmanship alternately revels in complexity or brazen simplicity, favoring entropy and near-disaster over order and tidiness.”

Roger LeLievre is a free-lance writer who covers music for

Kerrytown Concert House 25th Anniversary Celebration What: Ann Arbor’s intimate venue for classical, jazz and cabaret celebrates its 25th season with a series of performers representing several genres. Who: Hot Club of Detroit, Joan Belgrave, Hypercolor, Bolcom & Morris, Louis Nagel and many others. Also, a gala dinner honoring KCH founder Deanna Relyea and the annual Parisian Soiree. Where: Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave. When: Sept. 18-27. How much: Price varies depending on the event. Info: KCH's web site or 734-769-2999.