Founded to commemorate local US veterans, Lowell Memorial Auditorium's imposing, neoclassical exterior is ringed with inscriptions immortalizing famous generals and pivotal battles throughout the years, including Bunker Hill, Gettysburg, and San Juan Hill. The venue's history hasn't been all serious, however?in its early years, shortly after Word War I, its most popular event was the weekly Bingo game, which often attracted up to 3,000 participants and prompted Life to call Lowell a "natural Bingopolis." The decades following saw everything from conventions and civic affairs to performances by Benny Goodman and the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. By 1979 the building was so worn down from floods, hurricanes, and economic depression that it necessitated a major renovation to bring it into the modern era. Today, its stage is fit for Broadway-scale shows, the behind-the-stage balcony is gone, and air conditioning protects against summer heat and litigious snowmen.
The intimate venue known today as City Theatre opened its doors in 1993 as the Second City Detroit. Renamed in 2004, the space still hews to the comedy troupe’s mission with a packed schedule of thigh-slapping theatrical performances. The stage is located inside the Hockeytown Café, where the entertainment is supplemented by a menu of beer, buffalo wings, and deep-fried pucks.
Over seven years, the Boston String Quartet has vibrated strings in collaboration with artists such as John Mayer and the Boston Ballet, stirred the air molecules at Symphony Hall and PBS, and performed by invitation for former President George H.W. Bush. With this deal, eighth-note connoisseurs can wrap their eardrums around the quartet's dulcet tones as they present "Xibus," an evening of contemporary and classical that marks the zenith of a two-day workshop collaborating with Finneytown High School orchestra students. Over the course of the evening program, the quartet and the students will cajole their chordophones into ringing out in harmonious arrangements of music by Carlos Santana, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Bill Gates's new Viking-punk band, as well as performing original compositions by members of Boston String Quartet.
KISS, the venerable, salaciously theatrical rock 'n' roll sensation, goads eager audiences into palpable hysteria with its Hottest Show on Earth tour. During its renowned live performances, the phantom-slaying foursome brings head-banging fantasies to life with a flamboyant mix of high-wire pyrotechnics, fist-pumping anthems, bulletproof leather, and gently exfoliating face paint. Tame audience members transform into inspired revelers as Paul Stanley and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Gene Simmons croon and shred through the litany of chart-toppers that made the KISS crew household action figures. Orally discharging a catalog of new and seasoned classics, such as "Detroit Rock City" and "Lick it Up," KISS's syllabus of educational sing-alongs entertain listeners with a heavy dose of heart-pumping guitar riffs and sly lyrical innuendo about table manners.
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.