OC Patio Concert series features alumns

ANGELA JACKMAN/ The Oakland Post

The second performance of the OC Patio Concert series featured alumna Yuki Mack and Xiao Dong.

An acoustic performance on June 10 by alumnus Tom Butwin, who performed at Rothbury earlier this year,

was the first performance of the series, which has an alumni theme.

Oakland University alumna Yuki Mack performed with special guest Xiao Dong for the second of three concerts in the OC Patio Concert series Wednesday, July 8.

“We try to have a theme every year,” said Paul Franklin, coordinator of campus programs. “This year’s theme was alums.”

The hour-long performance featured Mack, who graduated from OU with a Bachelor of Music in 1994, on piano and Dong on erhu, a two-stringed, bowed instrument with a hollow sound box.

Erhu is known as a Chinese instrument, but originated in Mongolia, said Dong, who’s played it for over 30 years.

The hour-long performance covered many moods and tempos, with song titles like “Meditation” and “Horse Racing.”

Dong mostly played from memory, only using sheet music for a newly learned piece, “Love’s Joy – Love’s Sorrow” by Austrian composer Fritz Kreisler, which they’re preparing for their July 31 performance at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Mack usually performs with her sister, Tomoko, who also plays piano and graduated with Mack. They either duel on separate pianos or share one. The sisters have released three CDs.

But Mack said she likes to collaborate with other musicians when she has the free time, which she has the most of during the summer when her schedule is a bit lighter.

She met Dong about two years ago and they decided to play together. Dong said the two “hit it off,” and they like to get together to practice, perform and cook food.

“I was eager to meet classical musicians I can play with,” said Dong, who’s in a pop rock band called Madame XD.

Mack and Dong said they were going to record a CD in China last year, but their plans fell through.

“Next year for sure,” Dong said.

The final OC patio concert of the year will showcase The Continuum Jazz Ensemble, Wednesday, Aug. 5 from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Keeping with the alumni theme, the quartet includes Keith Gamble on saxophone.