Celebrating the music of our world with Earth Symphony – Press Telegram


If Mother Earth could speak to us, what would she say?

This Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., head over to Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach to celebrate and reflect on humanity through orchestral and choral music.

In their Celebrating Music 2023 program, CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Chamber Choir and the Symphony Orchestra present a new work by contemporary composer Jake Runestad: “Earth Symphony.” In this stirring composition for chorus and orchestra, Jake Runstad — with the help of poet Todd Boss’s powerful libretto — gives voice to a post-human Mother Earth.

This five-part musical monologue opens with the vast aloneness of Earth: “Forever alone — four billion years of empty space and dormant stone.” When humankind is born, Mother Earth rejoices in wonder and ambition. But hope for humanity eventually succumbs to ecological ruination, leading to a Mother’s lament.

Earth eventually recovers, completing her “wordless work.” We as audience members are left contemplating our own shame, guilt, responsibility, and redemptive potential in the world we inhabit.

Jake Runestad’s “Earth Symphony” premiered in 2022 with a performance by True Concord Voices and Orchestra on Arizona PBS, winning a regional Emmy award.

Before experiencing the Earth Symphony on Saturday evening, enjoy the first half of the concert, featuring two brief and colorful overtures by Dmitry Kabalevsky and Franz Lehár, as well as Ernő Dohnányi’s “Variations on a Nursery Tune” for piano and orchestra. In the form of a theme and variations on a nursery song (which you will no doubt recognize), Dohnányi’s witty and endearing composition is performed by faculty pianist Shun-Lin Chou.

Johannes Müller Stosch, Director of Orchestral Activities at Bob Cole Conservatory, calls this Saturday’s program “a true group effort.” Led by Jonathan Talberg, the BCCM Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra hope to challenge and delight their fellow CSULB  students and Long Beach community members. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $10 for students.

“Pop Surrealism”

At the Rod Briggs Gallery, alI limits are off.

The Long Beach Creative Group presents a new group exhibition, Pop Surrealism, introducing the Long Beach community to a vital genre-bending, line-crossing, counter-cultural movement.

At least 200 works of art were submitted for adjudication, and the works that were selected for the exhibition at the Rod Briggs Gallery truly reflect the creativity of Los Angeles County and Orange County.

“Pop Surrealism represents a concerted effort by LBCG to diversify our program offerings,” said Helen Werner Cox, longtime LBCG board member and Exhibit Coordinator. “We are committed to reaching out to new audiences this year, and provide new, emerging, and established artists with the opportunity to have their work shown in a professional gallery setting.”

Just because something is “lowbrow” doesn’t mean it isn’t “professional.” An art style pioneered by self-taught “underground” artists, Pop Surrealism — originally known as “Lowbrow Art” — has roots in European avant-garde movements like Surrealism. However, the emphasis here is on the punk, comic, and graffiti culture of late 1960s Los Angeles.

Lowbrow Artists, both in the late 20th century and in 2023, cultivated a deliberate disregard for conventions of ‘fine art’ in favor of a more raw, unrefined, populist style of creation. These artworks tap into the humor and creativity of Long Beach.

Marka Burns, Board President for the LBCG, said “​​we’re confident that the selected works will represent the diversity of our city.”

“Pop Surrealism” opened last Saturday and continues every weekend until May 27. The Rod Briggs Gallery, located at 2221 E Broadway in Long Beach, is open to the public Fridays through Sundays, from 1pm to 4pm.

“The Addams Family”

Gather to honor the great cycle of life and death — and enjoy the intoxicating smell of the graveyard while you’re at it — tomorrow night for the first show of Act Out Theatre Company’s 2023 season.

In “The Addams Family,” the musical by Andrew Lippa (and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice), the ghoulish family of Gomez, Morticia and their children Wednesday and Pugsley, love being weird and wouldn’t have it any other way. But when Wednesday decides to introduce her new “normal” boyfriend Lucas to the family, chaos ensues.

With catchy, funny, and meaningful music by Andrew Lippa (who also wrote the scores to “The Wild Party,” “A Little Princess,” “Big Fish” and other musicals), “The Addams Family” was not originally a success during its first Broadway run. However, it has recently risen from the dead to become a massive hit for schools and community theaters across the country.

The Act Out Theatre Company, established in 2012, is dedicated to providing tuition-free creative opportunities for at-risk and traditionally underserved children and adults in the community. Serving nearly 250 kids and families each year with three major productions and arts workshops, Act Out is one of the largest youth arts programs in Long Beach.

After you attend “The Addams Family,” don’t miss the registration period for May arts workshops held at Act Out. Explore video production (ages 12-18), contemporary dance (ages 14-22), or stage acting (ages 18+) with like-minded creatives and professionals from the area.

“The Addams Family” opens tomorrow, Friday, May 5, at 7PM and runs until May 14. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door for $14.

“The Soul of Broadway”

Next Wednesday and Thursday, treat yourself to a night of reimagined Broadway.

Terron Brooks comes to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center to bring “The Soul of Broadway” to Long Beach.

Best known for portraying Eddie Kendricks in NBC’s Emmy Award-winning mini-series “The Temptations” and star of Broadway’s “Lion King” as Simba and “Hairspray” as Seaweed, Terron Brooks not only sings with soul, but also inspires audiences with his magnetism and interpretive power.

In a 2019 Broadway World review, Don Grigware writes that “Terron Brooks throws every ounce of his mind, body and soul into his singing. We hang on every syllable he utters.”

Featuring an R&B take on “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd to a Bruno Mars-inspired “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story to other Broadway hits, “The Soul of Broadway” promises to be a (re)imaginative evening of music.

Tickets start at $45 for this 7 p.m. show on Wednesday and Thursday, May 10 and 11.

“Art Deco Architectural Bus Tour of Downtown Long Beach”

Did you know that 90 years ago, Long Beach rose from the rubble of a massive earthquake to become a premier Art Deco city?

This Saturday afternoon, delight in a fun and educational Art Deco Architectural Bus Tour of Downtown Long Beach, presented by the Bluff Heights Neighborhood Associations. Join John Thomas, notable Art Deco Historian and co-author of “Long Beach Art Deco” (2006), on the Big Red Bus as you enjoy an afternoon of insight and aesthetic appeal.

You’ve seen the Art Deco architectural style before, but you may not know what it means or why it’s important. A popular international decorative style in the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco was initially known as “le style moderne” — heavily geometric shapes combined with vibrant colors and streamlined forms. In addition to being fashionable in 1933, Art Deco met the criteria of earthquake safety for a city reduced to rubble.

To learn far more — and enjoy a beautiful cruise through Downtown Long Beach — reserve your ticket in advance ($60) because seating is limited. Refreshment bags will be given out to each paid participant, as well as a complimentary copy of “Long Beach Art Deco,” pending availability.

Tour check-in is 1:30 p.m. at The Wine Crush, 3131 E. Broadway, and the bus leaves promptly at 2 p.m.


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