Today on the show once again the Piedmont is alive with the sound of music, not with songs they have sung for a thousand years, necessarily, but we will dip into the past beginning with the centuries old brass band tradition. It's alive and well right here in the Triad these days with the newly formed North Carolina Brass Band. They've got a new CD out, they're pumped and anything but Brassed Off! How about world class jazz? We've got you covered with the best in the business: Ellis and Jason Marsalis are comin' to town and bassist Steve Haines is walkin' it like he's talkin' it. We'll venture Into the Woods with Twin City Stage as they kick off their 80th—that's right 80th—season. And then we're back with more great traditional music and the history of one of the earliest radio stations to bring it to us: WPAQ 740 AM, Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and a man by the name of Ralph Epperson. Filmmaker Jordan Nance chronicles the story of a young man's dreams to leave the tobacco fields behind and start his own radio station, and Mt. Airy Museum of Regional History's Matt Edwards is here to share.
North Carolina Brass Band
Traditional brass bands have enjoyed a centuries old tradition in working-class British communities, but here in the States, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania is the only city to enjoy its own professional brass band. That is, until now. High Point University Assistant Director of Bands Brian Meixner is an accomplished euphonium player with a dream to put Our State on the map with his newly formed North Carolina Brass Band. They've got a brand new CD out, "First in Flight." It's smoking hot, and the band is anything but brassed off. We'll be sampling from the recording throughout the interview. Brian dropped by recently to talk shop.
If you've never heard a professional brass band live, you owe it to yourself, and this month NC Brass brings the brass to you all over the Triad. They'll be in Kernersville on Sunday night, September 28th at United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, on the 29th at Ardmore Baptist, and on the 30th it's Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro. All concerts begin at 7:30pm.
Twin City Stage and Into the Woods
Twin City Stage in Winston-Salem opens its 80th season next weekend with Into the Woods by James Lapine, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The spellbinding, romantic musical weaves together several fairy tale plots as we follow a baker and his wife in their quest to begin a family. First, they'll have to break a witch's spell, journey through the woods, and then balance their needs for a red cape, yellow hair, white cow, and golden shoe with the wishes of Little Red Ridinghood, Rapunzel, Jack, and Cinderella respectively. The Baker is performed by Twin City Stage actor David Nichols and Mary Lea Williams plays the Baker's Wife. They stopped by along with Twin City Stage Director Steven LaCosse. Steven has directed more than 60 productions from La nozze di Figaro to The Fantasticks and for the past 15 years he's been resident opera stage director for UNC School of the Arts.
Into the Woods by James Lapine, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim opens the 80th season of TCS on Friday, night September 19th. It'll run through the 28th with evening shows at 8 pm and Sunday matinees at 2 pm. A costume contest will be held for the duration of the show's run, so patrons can come dressed as their favorite fairy-tale character to any of the performances and have their photo taken in the lobby prior to curtain. One winner will be chosen after the show closes and will win 4 tickets, good for any of the remaining shows of the season.
Mount Airy Museum of Regional History: Broadcast: A Man and His Dream
Jordan Nance is a longtime radio and technology enthusiast and he's also a filmmaker living with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy since a premature birth. He's never allowed his physical or speech limitations to hinder him however, exhibit A: his new film documentary “Broadcast: A Man and His Dream”. It's the story of Ralph Epperson, the son of tobacco farmers growing up in western NC in the 1920s and 30s with a passion for old time music, and the way to transmit it to a wider audience: radio. His dream is to leave the tobacco fields to have a radio station of his very own, and that dream became reality with WPAQ 740 AM, Mt. Airy, NC. “The Voice of the Blue Ridge” went on the air in 1948, and today, more than 150 radio stations around the country owe their existence to Ralph, and the hundreds of old time, and bluegrass musicians who filled and continue to fill the studios with sound.
On Saturday, September 13th at 2:00 PM at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, you can enjoy a screening of this fascinating documentary, music by some of the WPAQ old timers, a presentation by filmmaker Jordan Nance, and the unveiling of the original WPAQ station letters, carefully restored by neon sign maker Jantec, in the museum's ongoing exhibition. Museum Executive Director Matt Edwards joined David Ford to talk about it.
An Evening with Ellis and Jason Marsalis
And from Old Time to jazz, big time with phenomenal jazz bassist Steve Haines. Steve heads the Miles Davis Program in Jazz Studies at UNC at Greensboro, and this year he and his colleagues are bringing the best of the best to the Triad.
Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason share the distinction of being among the top jazz musicians on their respective instruments in the world. They also share a last name: Marsalis.
On Friday night, September 12th their father, legendary pianist Ellis Marsalis and drummer Jason Marsalis will perform as part of the UNC at Greensboro Performing Arts Series. On the program music by Cole Porter, Thelonious Monk, Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy, and originals by Ellis and his son, like the tune we're sampling right now: Jason's “Closing Credits”.