Time to get Loud at the Library

All Oakland University students will qualify for cards at the Rochester Hills Public Library starting Dec. 1

Amy Swanson, Staff Reporter

The Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL) is gearing up for its free community concert series, “Loud at the Library.”

All shows will be held in the Multipurpose Room from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., kicking off Dec. 11 with the Gene-n-Tonics.

“Combining the elements of the Great American Songbook with smooth jazz and R&B, the Gene-n-Tonics will take you on a musical journey from the 1920s all the way to today in every set,” according to a press release from the RHPL.

But that’s just the beginning. There are plenty of other concerts to look forward to in these chilly next few months.

On Dec. 18, the classical music group MUSIC ENVY will perform. This trio is composed of three teens from Rochester and Clarkston. Its members — Andrew Irons, Christina Irons and Amanda Beaune — have been playing together for two years.

Carrying into the new year, Double Play Flute and Tuba will visit on Jan. 15. They plan to present “Great Stories in Music,” highlighting original arrangements that range from Bach to the Beatles. Listeners will become familiar with the brass and woodwind instrument families, enjoying special demonstrations on a “hosehorn” and wooden flute.

On Jan. 29, guests will also be treated to Sheila Landis, seven-time Detroit Music Awards “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” winner. She will interpret the classic repertoire of Ella Fitzgerald, paying tribute to “The First Lady of Song.”

Landis has been passionate about music since she was a teenager.

“Music has a way of moving people emotionally, and I saw that I could weave a magic spell by just opening my mouth and singing,” she said.

The inspiration for this performance came years ago.

“Without consciously trying to imitate Ella, I made a jazz recording with my accompanist, guitarist Rick Matle, in 1996, ‘Fine and Mellow,’ which caught the ear of JazzTimes Magazine reviewer Chuck Berg, who proclaimed, ‘ . . . when Landis scats, well, the spirit of Ella lives!’” she said.

Landis then decided to create her now-popular program of jazz, dedicated to Fitzgerald’s exuberant and extensive collection of music.

“We promise to deliver a high-energy, spirited, toe-tapping good time!” she said.

The series will wrap up with a performance on Feb. 5 by John Garner. He will play a variety of traditional English, Irish, Scottish and American Folk music, in addition to a more modern “Folk Style” music.

Amanda Harrison, the RHPL’s community relations specialist, was responsible for booking the performers.

“I scout talent by attending community events, reviewing recommendations from friends and patrons, and watching YouTube videos,” Harrison said.

For this concert series, she aimed for a good variety.

“One weekend we’ll have a classical band, and the next week it could be rock,” she said. “The performers in the upcoming series are a great example of that because every band plays a different style of music.”

Landis agrees.

“RHPL’s programmer Amanda Harrison has assembled a musical concert series line-up for the library which shines with delightful diversity and high entertainment value for many tastes and all ages,” she said. “As a long-time resident of the Rochester/Rochester Hills area, it feels great to be embraced as a valued hometown talent by my own community.”

Harrison sees value in this series.

“Music is an important part of our society. It’s something that binds us all together, and I feel privileged to be able to offer Loud at the Library to our community,” she said.

All concerts are free for residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township. Registration is required and can be done online under one’s library card atcalendar.rhpl.org.

Beginning Dec. 1, all Oakland University students are eligible for free library cards at RHPL, regardless of their place of residence.