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Arts and Entertainment

Arts in brief: jazz, choir, comedy and film

By Jack McManus '13

April 18, 2013

•  Veteran jazz guitarist Gene Bertoncini teamed up with Hamilton’s Lecturer in Guitar Rick Balestra for a free concert in Wellin Hall on Friday at 7:30 p.m.. With Bertoncini on a nylon-string acoustic guitar and Balestra playing electric, the duo played selections from America’s diverse jazz tradition. Having performed with giants like Buddy Rich and Wayne Shorter, as well as on the staff orchestra for “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” Bertoncini invited all Hamilton guitarists to a masterclass in jazz guitar earlier in the day, sharing skills and knowledge from his 50-year career.

•  After spending much of Spring Break singing in the ancient Italian cities of Rome, Perugia, Florence and Venice, the Hamilton Choir performed their touring material at a homecoming show in Wellin Hall on Saturday. They treated the campus community to pieces like Bach’s “Furchte Dich nicht, Ich bin Bei Dir” and the popular hymn “O Nata Lux,” which they performed under the famous cathedral dome in Florence during their travels.

•  CAB comedy returned to the Barn on Saturday night with sets from stand up comedians Chad Daniels and Tommy Johnagin. Hailing from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Daniels has been gradually gaining fans on the stand-up circuit, making recent appearances on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” and Conan’s new show on TBS. Like Daniels, Tommy Johnagin has hosted his own episode of “Comedy Central Presents…,” and he also finished second on NBC’s stand-up reality show “Last Comic Standing” in 2010.

•  The Hamilton film community has been especially active recently, with several interesting screenings taking place and a few notable filmmakers visiting the Hill.

On Sunday, April 14, director Robb Moss visited campus to discuss and screen his film Same River Twice for the F.I.L.M. series. The film follows a formative group excursion down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon, focusing on ideas of adulthood and self-discovery.

On Wednesday, April 17, the React to Film group screened the award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which traces the surprising resurgence of ’70s singer-songwriter Rodriguez in South Africa.

This Thursday, April 18, filmmaker Lech Kowalski will be visiting campus to discuss his new film Drill Baby Drill about a village in Poland that organized against the installation of a Chevron gas well near their home. The event is sponsored by the Environmental Studies department.

•  Hamilton’s most promising jazz musicians set up an informal night of improvisation in Opus I on Tuesday, April 16, with two small combo groups taking the stage: The Kirkland Quartet and the Bret Quintet. Making their debut performance, the Kirkland Quartet featured Paul Westin ’15 on alto saxophone, Ryan Glenn ’16 on drums, Jack Young ’16 on guitar, Lucas Phillips ’16 on bass and Sarah Hooper ’16 vocals. The group performed a selection of jazz standards, including a closing medley of “Mack the Knife” and “Take The A Train.” With several graduating seniors in the group, Hamilton jazz veterans, The Bret Quintet, returned to Opus for their last combo night. Led by local saxophone legend Bret Turner ’13, the Bret Quintet featured fellow seniors Alex Lawson ’13 on bass and David B. Schwartz ’13 on drums, as well as sophomores Deanna Nappi ’15 on saxophone and George Taliaferro ’15 on guitar. In celebration of their final Opus performance the group played an original tune penned by Doc Woods for the occasion.

•  Saxophonist Bret Turner ’13 and his combo the Bret Quintet followed up their performance at the Opus I Jazz Combo night on Tuesday, April 16 with an encore performance on Wednesday night at the Little Pub. Professor of Economics Stephen Wu joined the band on keyboards for the night for an impromptu selection of standards and classic jazz tunes.

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