Live music is a huge improvement on canned music, which takes up valuable pantry space and often spoils into noxious free jazz. Keep it fresh with this GrouponLive deal to see "This Grass is Blue," presented by Abendmusik at First-Plymouth Church. For $19, you get general admission for two on Friday, October 19, at 7 p.m. (up to a $40 value).
"This Grass is Blue" features Minnesota-based bluegrass band Monroe Crossing, named after Bill Monroe, the pioneer of the band's chosen style. Often dressed in old-timey getups that recall Monroe's original Bluegrass Boys—some of whom shared the stage with the band in 2011—the veteran quintet has charmed audiences across the country and the members of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, which inducted them in 2007. In characteristic songs such as "Easy to Get Lost," warp-speed mandolin riffs add silvery filigree to intricate banjo breakdowns while nimble fiddle melodies wander above a meaty guitar and standup-bass foundation. Original pieces reflect a deep vein of gospel, as in "Micah 6:8"'s rich harmonies layered over lyrics of spiritual struggle, or a bluegrass mass that combines the traditional choral mass arrangement with folksy instrumentation. Abendmusik's professional chamber choir, Abendchor, joins the evening's aural festivities, contributing its commanding sound and evening the odds in the audience-versus-performers game of Red Rover scheduled for after the show.
Abendmusik brings carefully curated musical programs to the elegant confines of the First-Plymouth Church, constructed to echo the styles of early basilica churches and the architectural traditions of Nebraska. A 16-sided carillon tower rises 171 feet above the prairie, welcoming visitors with the chiming of its 48 bells and the soft glow of its custom brick face. Installed in 1998, the monumental Lied Chancel organ's 6,000 pipes can resound with contrapuntal opulence or delicately accompany quiet choral pieces, muffling sounds with finely calibrated expression boxes and the shushing of specially appointed librarians.