Music director Lewis Buckley headed the U.S. Coast Guard band and conducted several prominent New England symphonies before landing at the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, which has been tickling eardrums with woodwind, brass, and percussion concerts since 1971. "An ACB Preview" celebrates the 75-member symphony's invitation to play at the 2012 annual conference of the Association of Concert Bands with a sampling of the program they'll perform for a national audience. The concert kicks off with Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, which recasts six English folk songs as lush, wind-powered melodies free of interrupting Robin Hoods. Principal oboist Elana Lorance takes charge in James Kessler's Hudson River Rhapsody and a new transcription of Gershwin's An American in Paris ends the evening with Gallic-via-Broadway aplomb. Starting at 1:30 p.m., a preconcert talk by maestro Buckley unveils some of the music's hidden features and lets uncertain ears nuzzle the score.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
THEARC Theater was created out of necessity. The first theater in Ward 8 in Washington, DC, it was founded to provide residents living east of the Anacostia River with expanded cultural opportunities and hide-and-seek spots. Constructed by local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River, the theater aims to improve the lives of children and adults in southeast Washington through educational, health, and social-service programs such as free theater workshops and youth internships in technical theater management. Noting the tower of glass windows that crowns the entrance, the Washington Post called it "a veritable lighthouse of learning—a $27 million, 110,000-square-foot campus set on 16 beautiful green acres."
Til Death Do Us Part, the third installment of the interactive comedy series Late Night Catechism, brings back the charismatic and hysterical Catholic nun known only as "Sister" to school audiences—whom she refers to as her students—in the dos and don'ts of holy matrimony and the Sacrament of Last Rites. In this participatory theater piece, Sister switches between delivering cynical, tongue-in-cheek lectures on everything from current events to Martian baptism and interrogating couples in the audience about the health of their relationships. Gracing the Regent Theatre's formerly vaudevillian stage, Boston native Denise Fennell calls upon her own memories of a strict Catholic upbringing to lovingly embody the role of Sister, which she snagged after being handpicked by Maripat Donovan, one of the show's creators.
Pursue your long-delayed dreams of performing slow-rock ballads before the hair-band-hungry masses, or pass the dream of rock stardom to your nieces, cousins, and step-uncles with today's Groupon to The Real School of Music. Get four 30-minute private lessons with the instrument of your choice (voice, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, sax, drums, pork-rib-xylophone, etc.), plus full membership access to the Real School facilities and events during the four consecutive weeks of lessons. Click here to discuss Groupon the Cat.
Inside Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship’s training facility, students of all ages work in groups with instructors to learn the fine techniques involved in Japanese swordsmanship and foil fencing. The Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship instructors also lead classes in stage combat, teaching techniques used by stage and film actors during fight sequences. Once students are comfortable controlling foam practice swords with their minds, they can join the Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship crew on interactive play adventures, such as the Wizards & Warriors summer camp. The live-action role-play events integrate medieval themes with lessons in historical weapons and self-confidence.