Last Thursday we were able to check out the first in the Lunch Unplugged series at the Temple of Performing Arts. The Parlours played their first show in months, after taking a break to focus on songwriting. They were amazing. I can’t wait to see what plans they have in store for us this year!
Tickets for the 2014 Lunch Unplugged series are only $5 and each show is from 12-1 PM:
Roxie Copland March 6th
The River Monks March 13th
Ballet Des Moines March 20th
Comedy and Magic with John & Patrick April 3rd
Annalibera April 17th
Habib Koité, Mali’s biggest pop star (according to The Rolling Stone), who has been likened to Eric Clapton, rocked the stage last week at the Temple for Performing Arts. My six year old and I were lucky enough to catch the star while he visited Des Moines on a cold snowy night. The average year round temperature in Mali is over 90 F. I’m sure he was wondering what he was doing visiting our city when the temperatures where in the negative digits.
Thankfully for us, Koité’s music heated up the room and allowed the audience to forget about the weather, at least for a little while.
I highly recommend you check out this video from youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYDSNUX-ANY
I love the opera. A feeling of giddiness comes over me when I get to listen to the opera, just as it does when I travel listen to my favorite swoon-worthy banjo wielding bands (note, I love the banjo.) I fell in love with the song and the drama while an Opera troupe visited my school in fourth grade. Outside of Bugs Bunny cartoons, I had never heard it prior, but felt an instant attraction.
Last weekend, in support of its forty-second year, the Des Moines Metro Opera (DMMO) put on its Food and Wine showcase followed by Club Opera. At the showcase, there were more wine samples than one could reasonably drink, caviar, cupcakes, cheese, chocolate and so many more delicious treats to sample. Patrons that secured a VIP pass were granted special wine and food sampling, as well as a few select arias performed by the DMMO.
The fun continued through the night over at Club Opera, at Big City Burgers and Greens. Arias were performed to techno music, courtesy of DJ John Solarz. If you’ve never attended an opera event, an event such as Club Opera is a great way to get your feet wet. Club Opera is low key and full of fun.
DMMO has plenty of upcoming events. Today at 2 PM they are performing Arias in Des Moines at the First Unitarian Church.
When I found out Abigail Washburn was coming to Central Iowa, I jumped up and down. No way could there be a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I had the great pleasure of hearing her in 2012 at the Gentlemen of the Road Tour with Mumford and Sons. While she is lesser know than her thirty-time Grammy nominated husband Bela Fleck and headlining act, The Del McCoury Band, Washburn holds her own.
About ten years ago Abigail had dreams of becoming a lawyer and moving to China to help with international relations. While at a party one evening she was introduced to the music of Doc Watson, and knew she had to learn the banjo. Lucky for us, the listeners, she was quickly discovered, offered a record deal, and gave up on her dream of becoming a lawyer.
While Washburn and Fleck played their music, I found it difficult to take photos of the concert. I was carried away by the beautiful sounds that were coming off the stage at Stephen’s Auditorium. Thankfully, I was able to come to my senses to photograph this beautiful moment in time, but it wasn’t without difficulty.
My favorite moment when Washburn and Fleck were on the stage was when Fleck, who normally doesn’t sing on stage, serenaded Washburn to Elvis’ Love Me Tender.
I would have been over the moon had the concert ended after their beautiful ninety minute performance, but they were just getting the evening started for the Del McCoury Band. The Del McCoury Band was just awarded their second Grammy. The most entertaining part of this blue grass band, is how they played to the audience. The crowd of 1700, shouted out requests for their favorite songs. I doubt a single show they play is like another, with Del having fifty years of music behind him.
The most striking difference between this show and many other concerts I’ve attended was that there was a true mix of ages in the crowd. College students, thirty-year old hipsters, families with small kids, and grandparents were all singing along. Music is a great unifier that binds us together despite our differences. I’d like to believe that the upswing in banjo and bluegrass music is here to stay, at least for awhile longer.
To learn more about Abigail Washburn, I’d highly check out her TED talk from 2012 http://www.ted.com/talks/abigail_washburn_building_us_china_relations_by_banjo.html
Not sure what to get your main squeeze for Valentine’s Day or just wanting to do something fun for a girl’s night out this Friday? Head on over to our Facebook page to enter our contest for tickets to see Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck at Stephens Auditorium in Ames.
If Friday night is already booked, check out the Des Moines Symphony’s Romantic Rhapsody in Blue, playing on Saturday and Sunday at the Civic Center.
The holidays put a hiatus on Concert Mom, but we are back and running ready to cover our favorite music. We’ve been featured on the Des Moines Music Coalition’s blog for our review of the Des Moines Symphony’s Masterworks 3: Beyond The Score. Take a moment to check out our review then come back here to view more photos of the concert.
Speaking of the Des Moines Symphony, we are big fans for all they do for Central Iowa. Their music teachers are some of the most knowledgeable , nicest people you’ll meet. Kiddo has taken classes there before and we are hoping our schedule allows her to resume classes again in the Spring.
If you are looking for something different to do for date night, or not your run-of-the-mill roses and candy for Valentine’s Day (although those are nice, too!) tickets are available for their upcoming performance, Masterworks 4: Romantic Rhapsody In Blue-Here to Stay-The Gershwin Experience.
This mama had a child and husband free day and spent some time hanging out at Des Moines Music Coalition’s Music University. There were all sorts of speakers talking with musicians on various topics, such as how to market yourself, how to run your music as a business, and so forth. While I’d love to be a banjo player, at this point in my life I don’t have music experience and still found plenty of things interesting to listen to.
Most of those interesting things involved listening to Nels Cline, of Wilco. He shared his story of how he worked retail jobs for eighteen years to support his music career. At the age of fifty, he found himself still struggling to pay $600 in monthly rent. Magic finally happened for him as he became the lead guitarist for Wilco.
Later in the conference, a few lucky fellas had the opportunity to jam with Nels. Swoon. How lucky were they? By the way, did I mention Nels was listed as one of the greatest guitarist of all times by Rolling Stone and Spin magazine? Wow!