A & E News

Reaching Musical Heights concert was inspirational

The power of high-quality music education was evident at Reaching Musical Heights, held on Tuesday, February 24, at Severance Hall. This quadrennial concert of student musicians from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District was a remarkable celebration of our talented and hardworking students, their music teachers, our schools, and our community.

Dress rehearsal and performance took place on the same day, so when school was closed due to frigid early morning temperatures, the planning committee held an emergency meeting with the music directors and district administrators and quickly rearranged the event. Rehearsals were condensed, transportation was minimized, snacks were provided, changes were communicated to parents of all 559 students and the show went on.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 12:14 PM, 03.30.2015

Cain Park announces 2015 schedule

The Beach Boys, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Livingston Taylor and Richard Marx are among the artists who will be performing at Cain Park this summer. And, once again, the park will offer a variety of free events throughout the summer, and will also present the Cain Park Arts Festival the weekend of July 10.

This year’s season will kick off on June 11, with the musical Godspell. This version is co-directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz and Joanna May-Hunkins. It features such songs as “Day by Day,” “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and “Learn Your Lessons.” The show will run through June 28 at the Alma Theater.

The summer concert series will also commence on June 11 with a performance by trumpeter Chris Botti in the Evans Amphitheater. His album Impressions won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2013.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:19 AM, 03.24.2015

Multi-media art show explores impressions of nature at St. Paul's

The Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., announces its spring show, Nature’s Impressions. The show opens with an artists’ reception on Friday, March 6, 5–7 p.m., where participating artists will be in attendance to greet guests and discuss their creative processes. The show runs through May 29.

Featured artists are James Brindle (wood, alabaster), Lori Diemer (photography), Eileen Dorsey (oil landscape) and Leonard Trawick (prints).

Brindle’s woodturnings are both functional and non-functional. The simplicity of his turnings, combined with flowing gracefulness in design, are attempts to expose nature’s inherent beauty of wood, which is further enhanced through various finishing techniques. Brindle has won several ribbons at woodturning competitions and has been published in Woodturning Design magazine.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:34 AM, 02.27.2015

Heights Arts exhibition explores changing urban landscape

Over the last year, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s and The Wall Street Journal are among the national publications that have sung the praises of the changes transforming Cleveland and its environs. In this spirit, Heights Arts’ new exhibition, Impermanence, explores the nature of change within the city's environment of civic architecture, streets and residences.

Organized by guest curator and photographer Daniel Levin, Impermanence celebrates place, use and time in the Heights, University Circle, Little Italy, Ohio City and downtown Cleveland through pairing photographs that show the same view of a site at different historical times. This “then-and-now” perspective enables the viewer to notice both dramatic and subtle changes that have occurred to some of our iconic community institutions and streetscapes, and to more commonplace subject matter, such as home interiors. The exhibition includes some unexpected images of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Arena District and Coventry neighborhoods, which are sure to trigger a flood of memories in long-term Cleveland residents, and delight newcomers.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:32 AM, 02.27.2015

Mamaí plans benefit performance

On the heels of its critically acclaimed second season, Mamaí Theatre Company is presenting Rockaby, a rarely seen 14-minute play by Samuel Beckett, on Sunday, March 29 at Dobama Theatre on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

The March 29 benefit event begins at 7:30 p.m. with a dessert reception, followed by the performance. After the play, host Dee Perry, of WVIZ-TV and WCLV Radio, will moderate a Q&A with Rockaby actor Dorothy Silver and members of Mamaí, and the evening will end with raffle winners collecting fabulous gift baskets donated by Big Fun, Dobama Theatre, fire food and drink, Nighttown and Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa.

In Rockaby, a one-act, one-woman play, directed by Curt Arnold, a woman dressed in an evening gown sits in a wooden rocking chair with no other props or scenery on stage. She sits totally still with the chair seeming to rock of its own accord, creating an eerie atmosphere.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:28 AM, 02.27.2015

Two musical groups perform 'Carmen'

With its close proximity to Severance Hall, the Heights has long been home to many Cleveland Orchestra musicians and concertgoers. Life in the shadow of one of the Big Five orchestras has certainly influenced the study and enjoyment of music in the Heights, and we are fortunate to have an abundance of excellent musicians in our community, ranging from tuxedo-clad professionals to backyard banjo players to pick-up jazz groups.

Two community music-making groups with close ties to the Heights—Choral Arts Cleveland and Suburban Symphony Orchestra—will join forces to celebrate 100 combined years of music making with the complete concert version of Bizet’s opera Carmen on March 15.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:14 AM, 02.27.2015

Western Reserve Chorale performs Ohio premiere of oratorio

The Western Reserve Chorale (WRC), under the direction of David Gilson, will perform the Ohio premiere of composer Karl Jenkins’ new oratorio, The Peacemakers, on Friday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Cedar Hill Baptist Church (12601 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights). The concert will be repeated on Sunday, March 22, at 4 p.m., at Mary Queen of Peace Church (4423 Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn).   

The Peacemakers, composed in 2011, is a collage of melodic and expressive settings of pleas for peace by messengers of peace, representing a range of cultural and religious traditions.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:18 AM, 02.27.2015

HYT presents 'The Little Mermaid Jr.'

The Disney classic “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of mermaid princess Ariel’s dissatisfaction with life under the sea, and her curiosity about, and adventures in, the human world. The lyrical score features beloved songs such as "Part of Your World" and “Under the Sea.” In March, Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) will present a  family-friendly production of The Little Mermaid Jr., directed by Pierre-Jacques Brault, with music directed by Stacy Bolton.

The Little Mermaid Jr. features 60 talented students in grades 1–12, many of whom reside in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:09 AM, 02.27.2015

Westminster Abbey organist in recital at St. Paul’s

James O’Donnell, the organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey in London, will perform a solo organ recital at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights) on Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Formerly master of music at Westminster Cathedral, O’Donnell was appointed organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey in 2000. In addition to a full schedule of daily choral services, his responsibilities have recently included directing the music for a service in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011, and the recent service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation. The Abbey Choir has toured the Far East, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Spain, Hungary and Rome, where, in 2012, it participated in a Papal Mass with the Sistine Chapel Choir at the invitation of the Pope.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:02 AM, 02.27.2015

Ensemble Theatre celebrates civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall

What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to spend the evening with one of the country’s pre-eminent Black Americans: Thurgood Marshall. Through Feb. 22, Ensemble Theatre presents “Thurgood,” which the Baltimore Sun called “one of the most frank, informed, and searing discussions on race you will ever see.”

Written by George Stevens Jr., “Thurgood” is a one-man show depicting the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court, and his role in the historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed segregation in public schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:23 AM, 02.02.2015

'Klezmer Guy' trio to perform at Nighttown Feb. 25

Bert Stratton, the leader of the klezmer band Yiddishe Cup, will perform "Klezmer Guy," an original prose-and-music show, at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights, on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m.

Stratton reads comedic prose sketches and plays clarinet, accompanied by Alan Douglass on vocals and piano, and Tamar Gray on vocals. Stratton and Douglass are original members of Yiddishe Cup, and Gray has performed with the group for two years. She is the vocal music teacher at Fairfax Elementary School.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:11 AM, 02.02.2015

Heights Arts presents music, visual art and poetry events

Even in the middle of winter—when neighbors may not see each other for months at a time—Heights Arts is providing plenty of reasons to thwart social hibernation with an enticing calendar of local cultural events.

On Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., the public is invited to EKPHRASTACY: an evening of conversation with participating artists from the gallery’s Light Show exhibition and reading of ekphrastic poetry. You may ask, “What kind of poetry?” The Greek word ekphrasis roughly translates as “ecstatic speech.” Ekphrastic poetry is a form in which the poet responds in verse to works of visual art.

During the evening, curator Sharon Grossman and artists Claudia Berlinski, Dana Depew, Scott Goss, Nancy Luken, Ben Parsons and Andrew Simmons will share insights on exhibition works, process and vision.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:09 AM, 02.02.2015

Dutch vocal group to perform on Feb. 20

Arts in the Cathedral presents Quink Vocal Ensemble on Friday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m., at Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights.

Since its first concerts in 1978, this group of four professional singers consistently ranks among the top a cappella ensembles of the world. The versatile Dutch musicians always strive for authenticity in the way they perform the different styles of music with a repertoire that stretches from the Middle Ages to contemporary music. Extremely well-known in Europe, Quink is gaining recognition in this country through its highly acclaimed U.S. tours and recordings.

With the resurgence in popularity of a cappella singing, this concert promises to delight audiences.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 6:54 PM, 01.29.2015

Heights Youth Theatre seeks new location

As a few remaining volunteers and staff prepared to bring the twelfth truckload of Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) props, costumes and set pieces to a temporary home, a lightbulb along the back wall of the stage cast dramatic shadows across a barricade of chairs and wooden fragments of castle doors.

Calvin Knight, HYT's technical director, oversaw those carrying items as they loaded them in the back of a full-sized U-Haul. Stage right, a giant metal letter "E" and multiple guitar cases rested on a plastic bin full of glitter-covered hula hoops.

The group is looking for a new stage to perform its approximately four shows a year. They have been performing at the Frank L. Wiley Middle School for the past 60 years, but, this fall, because of the CH-UH City School District's renovation plans, high school students will have classes at Wiley and use its theater.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 5:56 PM, 01.29.2015

Apollo’s Fire features young local talent in upcoming Bach's Birthday performances

The staying power of Johann Sebastian Bach, the addictive properties of coffee, and the rebelliousness of teenage daughters are interwoven in Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra’s latest endeavor, Bach’s Birthday Party, Part II: Family Frolic – A Multi-Generational Music Party.

This musical romp, under the direction of Jeanette Sorrell, Apollo’s Fire’s artistic director, features emerging local musicians from Apollo’s Fire’s apprentice program performing alongside veteran artists, and samples everything the Bach family has to offer, including a semi-staged performance of Bach’s zany “Coffee Cantata.” 

Sorrell explained her concept of this piece: “We know from Bach family documents that ‘Lieschen’ was the nickname of one of Bach’s daughters . . . and she was the only of his daughters who got married. Bach indicated ‘Lieschen’ next to the soprano line of the Coffee Cantata. I’ve never seen any musicologists take note of this connection, but it seems clear to me that the role of ‘Lieschen’ was meant for his daughter. In the cantata, Lieschen keeps pestering her father to find her a husband. With an enormous church job and huge performing and composing responsibilities, Bach apparently didn’t have time to find husbands for most of his daughters, but he found one for Lieschen, because she wouldn’t give up. So I think the Coffee Cantata gives us a charming window into one of the important family dramas in the Bach household.”

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:16 AM, 01.13.2015

A weekend with Inlet Dance

Inlet Dance Theatre, a regional professional contemporary dance company, will present a weekend of dance activity at Church of the Saviour in January.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Inlet company members will present a sacred dance workshop in the Great Hall. The workshop is open to anyone with an interest in sacred dance and how it can be incorporated into a worship setting. No prior dance experience is necessary; however, participants should come to the workshop prepared to move. The cost of the workshop is $20. Register by Jan. 5 via the church website, www.chsaviour.org.

Then, on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m., Inlet will present an hour-long, family-friendly performance in the Great Hall, followed by a reception with the dancers in the church parlor.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:33 AM, 01.05.2015

Illuminating Heights Arts exhibition opens Jan. 16

After a pretty nice fall—but one with not quite enough sunshine to hold us over until next spring—Heights Arts is taking back the light from Jan. 16 to Feb. 28 with the aptly named Light Show, a new exhibition in its gallery at 2175 Lee Road.

Organized by Cleveland Heights artist and founding Heights Arts board member Sharon Grossman, Light Show presents nine contemporary Northeast Ohio artists who work with materials, processes and visual languages that speak to the theme of light. Works include neon sculpture, photography, glass, furniture and jewelry, as well as the more functional translation: lamps.

“As we hunker down in January, surrounded by grey skies and dirty snow, this exhibition helps us find solace in light,” said Grossman. 

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:31 AM, 01.05.2015

Get ready for a holiday musical at Dobama

The year is 1864. The time and place: Christmas Eve in Washington, D.C. It’s the coldest December in memory and the country is still divided and at war. An escaped slave searches for her daughter, the first lady searches for a Christmas tree, a Union officer’s character is challenged by a young Confederate, conspirators plan an assassination, and the president prepares his inaugural address while on a mission to select a Christmas gift for his wife.

A lot happens in “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration,” which Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel wrote to give the audiences a holiday play that incorporates a range of American themes and culture—a broad tapestry that weaves together many characters, storylines and music.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 8:57 AM, 12.02.2014

Eat for art on New Year's Day to support Heights Arts programs

Heights Arts invites the community to welcome 2015 with its much-loved, annual Tommy’s New Year’s Day pancake breakfast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 1, at Tommy’s restaurant, 1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights.

Pancakes, eggs, sausages, and vegetarian options will be served, along with juices, coffee and tea, for the price of $10 for adults, and $5 for children age 12 and younger. Admission tickets will be available at the door beginning at 9:45 a.m. In addition to the all-you-can-eat breakfast, diners have the opportunity to win a variety of gift certificates from local Heights Arts supporters, and purchase a commemorative T-shirt or hand-silkscreened poster from Zygote Press. 

Heights Arts has a long, creative relationship with Coventry Village, a quarter-mile stretch of independent businesses that has enlivened its streetscape with benches, street signs and fences by local artists.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:11 AM, 12.23.2014

New book by the Taxels explores the many views of Lake View Cemetery

Barney Taxel, as a rule, works methodically. Whether he’s adjusting lights in his Midtown studio or traipsing through the snow in Lake View Cemetery, Taxel’s photographic process builds infinitesimally and delicately to an exacting final product. Light, shadow, texture and framing are evaluated and adjusted, working purposefully toward a single, perfect photo.

Taxel’s new book, The Lake View Cemetery: Photographs from Cleveland’s Historic Landmark, is the culmination of more than 10 years worth of photographic construction. Published by University of Akron Press ($62.95, October 2014), the 230-page book pairs Barney’s photography with text by his wife, Laura Taxel, an award-winning journalist and co-author of Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years & Still Cooking, among other books.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 10:51 AM, 12.05.2014

Heights Arts offers free master classes for music students

In collaboration with The Music Settlement, area public schools and private teachers, Heights Arts will present two master classes in its gallery at 2175 Lee Road, led by Cleveland Orchestra musicians from the Heights Arts's Close Encounters music series. Master classes are free and the public is invited to watch them.

On Sunday, Jan. 11 at 11 a.m., Tanya Ell will lead a master class in cello. Applications to participate are due by Dec. 1. Amy Lee, associate concertmaster, will conduct a class in violin on Sunday, April 19, with applications being accepted through March 1, 2015.

Students in grades 6–12 are encouraged to apply online via the Heights Arts website.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 1:43 PM, 11.24.2014

Howson Gallery exhibits work by CH fiber artist

"Wall Dolls," an exhibit of fabric dolls created by Martha S. Young, will be on view at the Howson Gallery at Judson Park through Jan. 4.

A Cleveland Heights-based fiber artist, Young has a B.A. in art and completed graduate work in art education at San Jose State University. Her work is in the collection of University Hospitals as well as in private collections, and recent exhibitions include "The Artist as Quiltmaker XVI," Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, Oberlin; "Form not Function: Quilt Art at the Carnegie," Carnegie Center for Art & History, New Albany, Indiana; and "Superlatives II: Ohio Quilts 2013,” Zanesville Museum of Art.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 5:09 PM, 12.01.2014

City Music Cleveland offers works from old and new worlds

City Music Cleveland’s holiday concerts of music from the Old and New worlds will feature singers from La Sagrada Familia Church and other Latino musicians in collaboration with Cleveland State University vocal students to bring Ariel Ramirez’s Misa Criolla to Cleveland audiences for the first time. Based on Argentinean folk melodies and rhythms and featuring an array of instruments rarely heard in the concert hall—including panpipes, many types of drum and percussion, and the charango, a small high-pitched guitar—the Misa Criolla has been popular worldwide since it was composed in 1963.

Although Ramirez’s musical influences were Argentinean, the genesis of the work itself was an encounter he had traveling in Europe in the 1950s. While staying in a convent in Germany where he was teaching music, Ramirez remarked to the nuns on the beauty of the countryside and of a nearby mansion set in the woods. The nuns told him, however, that the house had been part of a concentration camp during the war, and that during this period they had tried to alleviate the suffering of the thousand Jewish prisoners it held by pushing food packages through a gap in the fence.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 5:07 PM, 12.01.2014

Hot Djang! The kings of gypsy jazz

Hot Djang! made its first appearance at Nighttown in early November. The Cleveland band, which includes two musicians who live in Cleveland Heights, describes its music as “gypsy jazz,” a style developed by guitarist Django Reinhardt in Paris during the 1930s. The show, which was truly entertaining, also included some jazz and swing standards from the American songbook.

Brad Smedley, one of the group’s guitarists, came up with the idea for the band after attending a workshop about Reinhardt's music at Smith College in Massachusetts a few years ago. “I was never more blown away in my life,” Smedley said. “All of the top gypsy-jazz guitarists were there, and I thought I could either work hard and try to learn to play like this, or I could just quit.”

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 4:59 PM, 12.01.2014

Four artists featured in winter exhibition at St. Paul's

Beginning Dec. 12, four artists will display their perspectives through various media in the winter exhibition at the Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights. The show runs through March 1.

Join the artists—Sarah Clague (ceramics, raku), Tricia Kaman (oil painting), Jean Koznarek (painting, mixed media) and James McNamara (woodblock prints)—at the opening reception Friday, Dec. 12, 5–7 p.m. This is an opportunity to not only view the art, but also discover the viewpoints of the artists, as each of them speaks to the assembled guests about their artistic goals and creative processes. Visitors can also chat with the artists individually during the opening reception.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 4:55 PM, 12.01.2014

'Guys and Dolls' brought together more than 550 students from 10 schools

More than 550 students in two casts from all 10 schools in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District took part in the 2014 all-district musical, "Guys and Dolls." The students entertained near-capacity audiences in the Heights High auditorium in four performances, Nov. 6–9.

The show’s director,Craig McGaughey, was thrilled with the students’ performances. “I am so proud that all four performances were of such high caliber,” he said. “It is one thing to have a great show one night, but to maintain that excellence for all four nights—that is really exciting!”

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 4:49 PM, 12.01.2014

Grog Shop show to benefit School of Rock

A benefit concert featuring all female artists will take place at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights on Monday, Nov. 10. The show is a fundraiser for the School of Rock, the organization that provides guitar, bass, keyboard, drum and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. The concert was put together by Hear in Colors, a local group that was founded by Cleveland Heights resident Elliot Nash and Nathan Chojnacki. Hear in Colors publishes a national and international music blog and also manages concert booking and promotion.

“Having a healthy outlet for today’s youth is of extreme importance,” said Lauren Aseff, a Cleveland Heights resident who is involved with Hear in Colors. “After talking to people who have worked with School of Rock, we wanted to do something for them.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:39 PM, 10.30.2014

The Wrights are a family focused on music

Caleb Wright, who’s 23 years old, grew up in a musical family. Back in 1978, his family formed the Wright Family Singers, a 10-person choir that sings gospel and spiritual music. Then, in 1993, his aunt, Toyia Wright-Reynolds, and his uncle, Eric Wright, formed the Wright-Reynolds Project, a group that plays jazz, and rhythm and blues.

Caleb, who lives on Whitethorn Road in Cleveland Heights, is now a member of both groups, which are still performing around the Cleveland area. He grew up in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Heights High in 2009. He also attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. He is thinking about returning to New York and the academy, possibly next spring. Caleb began singing when he was about 16 years old. “Growing up, there was always somebody playing something or singing something or going to see someone else perform,” he said.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:36 PM, 10.30.2014

Film screening Nov. 2 to help fund Heights High alum's next movie

Brandon Spring, a 2008 Cleveland Heights High School graduate, has had a longtime love affair with film. As a finalist, out of 200 Greater Cleveland students, in the 2008 Scenarios USA scriptwriting contest, Spring knew that writing, directing and filmmaking were in his future. Six years later, Spring is literally minutes away from Hollywood and pursuing his dream.

Spring earned an associate degree in business from Cuyahoga Community College, and now attends Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., where he studies and works in cinema and media arts production. As a writer and director, Spring has created several short films over the years, and is currently taking on his biggest film project yet, “Two Pink Lines,” a film that will explore love and romance between a husband and wife living in a futuristic utopian society.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 12:15 PM, 10.28.2014

Dobama presents play about likable hit men

It’s rare to find the terms nice and hit men in the same sentence, but that is how Dobama Theatre describes the central characters in its upcoming production of “The Norwegians.” In fact, Dobama describes them as “really, really” nice hit men!

The play, by C. Denby Swanson, is about two not-so-nice women who hire the Norwegian underworld figures to whack their former boyfriends. The women—Olive, a sweet Texas belle, and Betty, a hard-living broad from Kentucky—are unprepared for the long and cold Minnesota winter. They are also surprised to find themselves falling in love with the two “funny, kind, sweet . . . and homicidal” would-be thugs. This “Fargo-esque” dark comedy would make the Coen brothers smile.

Playwright Swanson is a graduate of Smith College, the National Theatre Institute, and the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, where she was a fellow in playwriting and screenwriting. Her work has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater, Macalester College, and The Drilling Company, and featured in the Southern Playwrights Festival and the Women Playwrights Project. She won a 2008 Susan Smith Blackburn Special Prize for her short play “The Potato Feast,” which was also nominated for a 2008 New York Innovative Theater Award. She is a former artistic director of Austin Script Works and on the faculty at Southwestern University.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:55 AM, 10.21.2014

Nominations open for Cleveland Heights Office of Poet Laureate

Heights Arts is accepting nominations for the 2015–17 Office of Poet Laureate. The purpose of the Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate—initially established by Heights Arts with the approval of the City of Cleveland Heights in 2005—is to celebrate and elevate the art form of creative writing for the benefit of the community’s residents.

Artist, poet, grant-maker and Cleveland Arts Prize-recipient Kathleen Cerveny currently serves as Cleveland Heights's sixth poet laureate. The next poet laureate will serve for a two-year period, beginning April 2015, and concluding at the end of March 2017. Poets must be residents of Cleveland Heights through the full two-year term of service if selected for the office.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:07 AM, 09.26.2014

CityMusic Cleveland's new season includes two Heights concerts

CityMusic Cleveland, a Cleveland Heights-based chamber orchestra, launches its 2014–15 season this month. It will feature performances of both classic orchestral and contemporary works, with soloists including saxophonist Timothy McAllister, whom the composer John Adams called “the best in the world,” and violinist Adele Anthony, winner of the Nielsen Competition.

CityMusic will perform two concerts, on Oct. 19 and Dec. 4, in the Heights. For a full list of performance dates, times and venues throughout Greater Cleveland, visit www.citymusiccleveland.org. All concerts are free, and free-will offerings are appreciated.

The season begins Oct. 15 through 19, when CityMusic performs the Cleveland premiere of Dorman’s “Saxophone Concerto,” along with works by Mozart, Haydn and Dvořák. The latter composer’s “Wind Serenade” will feature members of the orchestra’s woodwind and brass sections as soloists. On Sunday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m., the concert will be performed in University Heights at Church of the Gesu, 2470 Miramar Blvd.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:42 AM, 09.30.2014

Heights Arts unveils ninth season of 'Close Encounters' chamber music concerts

Heights Arts has announced the 2014–15 lineup for its “Close Encounters chamber music series, held in a distinctive array of locations in Cleveland Heights, Midtown, and downtown Cleveland.

The four Sunday afternoon concerts present classical music performed by arguably the world’s most renowned local musicians—members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Isabel Trautwein, a Cleveland Orchestra violinist and “Close Encounters artistic director, engages her colleagues and other professional musicians to design their own programs, ranging this year from baroque to bluegrass. Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate and Cleveland Arts Prize recipient Kathleen Cerveny will recite poems created in response to select musical offerings during the series.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.30.2014

Lee Road will be hopping with music Oct. 11

The second annual Heights Music Hop will take place on Saturday, Oct. 11. The free event will once again be held along Lee Road, between Silsby and Yorkshire roads. This year’s hop will feature about 30 artists and bands, up from 20 that participated last year, and 16 Lee Road businesses will serve as music venues, also representing an increase in participation over last year.

“We are very excited by the growth of this event,” said Greg Bonanno, chair of the FutureHeights Music Hop Committee, which is organizing the festival. “There has been a tremendous amount of interest and support from merchants, sponsors and the community.”

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 3:22 PM, 09.29.2014

90-year-old resident begins a new chapter

Local author Lois Jeavons grew up in Shaker Heights during an era one often thinks about while driving down the tree-lined roads of our local communities. Having lived much of her life in Northeast Ohio, she has insight into a period of history in which this region experienced some of its lowest lows and highest highs.

A graduate of Hathaway Brown, Jeavons left the Heights for Smith College, where she studied English and creative writing under Mary Ellen Chase, a well-known New England author.

Thereafter, her life took a more traditional path of doting mother and supportive wife. But her love of writing never waned and, in later years, she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she reconnected with the novel she had started years before and began to flesh it out.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 2:44 PM, 09.29.2014

Quire Cleveland makes its Cleveland Heights debut Sept. 26

Quire Cleveland presents its first Cleveland Heights concert at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., on Friday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m. The program, “The Flower of Flanders: Masterpieces of Renaissance Polyphony,” features the greatest composers of the 15th and 16th centuries. Like the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo, this music has a timeless appeal, with its glorious melodies and the way the different voices weave around each other, like a fascinating conversation. 

Composers such as Josquin (“The Prince of Music”) Desprez, Guillaume DuFay, Giaches de Wert and Roland de Lassus may not be household names today, but they were revered in their time by kings and popes alike.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 9:02 AM, 09.22.2014

Grant Deming Artists exhibition opens Sept. 3

The Grant Deming Artists, a collective of artists who reside in the Grant Deming’s Forest Hill Historic District of Cleveland Heights, will exhibit their work this September at Loganberry Books: Annex Gallery in Larchmere. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, Sept. 3, with a 6–8 p.m. reception, and will be on view through Sept. 28.  

Grant Deming Artists, formed in September 2013, is united by the purpose of connecting art with the public, intentionally focusing on local venues and resonating with fellow community members. Currently, artists
in the collective work in watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, photography, textiles and jewelry.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 11:01 AM, 09.02.2014

St. Paul’s renames art gallery in honor of Nick White

Alan M. Gates, former rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, recently renamed the South Wing Gallery in honor of Nicholson B. White, who led St. Paul’s from 1983 to 2002.

White, who served on the original gallery committee and exhibited his photographs there in 1992, was instrumental in creating an art gallery at St. Paul’s in 1990. He had envisioned the gallery as a gift to the community, for public use. It is therefore fitting that the gallery is now called the Nicholson B. White Gallery.

White enlisted the help of Cleveland architect William H. Collins, a St. Paul’s parishioner, to design what White described as “a gallery and rotunda, a magnificent space, which would be in perfect proportion with the original church.”

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:27 AM, 08.29.2014

Western Reserve Chorale announces its 2014–15 season

The Western Reserve Chorale’s (WRC) 2014–15 season will feature an Ohio premiere and Act II of its popular program “For Love of Shakespeare.” 

For its December concert, WRC, under the direction of David Gilson, will share music of the holiday season, featuring the “Christmas Cantata” by English composer Geoffrey Bush, along with traditional favorites. 

In March, the group will present the Ohio premiere of Karl Jenkins's “The Peacemakers,” a multi-movement work composed in 2011 for choir, youth choir and orchestra.

Dedicated “to the memory of all those who lost their lives during armed conflict,” the work is set to music texts by Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Albert Schweitzer, Anne Frank and others.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:10 AM, 08.29.2014

Roots of American Music benefit

Roots of American Music, the Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit, held a benefit on Demington Drive on Aug. 9. The organization takes local musicians into schools throughout Northeast Ohio and teaches the students about music and other subjects, using the music. The benefit featured some great musicians, including longtime Cleveland musician Charlie Mosbrook (pictured) and the Godot Quartet.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:36 AM, 08.29.2014

Heights' Got Talent finals captivate Cain Park

The first Heights’ Got Talent contest took place on Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Evans Amphitheater at Cain Park. It was a huge success, and all of the 16 finalists who took part in the show were, indeed, very talented.

The competition was sponsored by Motorcars, the Cleveland Heights-based Toyota and Honda dealer, and Trevor Gile, the general manager of Motorcars Honda and the son of Motorcars owner Chuck Gile, came up with the idea last September. The contest was based on “America’s Got Talent,” and performers wishing to take part in the show had to live in Northeast Ohio and had to submit videos to Motorcars. More than 50 artists entered the contest, and their videos were posted on a website, where the initial round of voting took place. The top 16 vote-getters made it to the finals.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:14 AM, 08.26.2014

Dobama opens new season with 'Belleville' and as an Equity theater

Dobama’s 2014–15 season will mark its first as the region’s newest Equity theater, which means that the industry considers it to be a fully professional theater.

Actors’ Equity Association, the labor union that represents more than 49,000 actors and stage managers in the United States, was founded in 1913. Like other labor unions, Actors’ Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits for its members.

Justly proud of its Equity status, Dobama is offering an exciting and diverse selection of plays, opening with “Belleville” by Amy Herzog on Friday, Sept. 5.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 8:51 AM, 08.26.2014

Yiddishe Cup plays free concert Aug. 7 at John Carroll

The Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band will perform at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, on the lawn in front of the Grasselli Library at John Carroll University in University Heights.

Guest vocalist Shawn Fink will sing "Joe and Paul's," a humorous Yiddish/English song about a men's clothing store in Brooklyn, N.Y., circa 1948. The band will also play "Warrensville and Center Road," a Yiddishe Cup original about TJ Maxx, Bob Evans and Target.

The concert, part of the University Heights Summer Concert Series, is free. Bring a blanket or chair to sit on. In case of rain, the show will move inside to the Dolan Science Center. For more information, contact University Heights City Hall at 216-932-7800.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:29 PM, 07.31.2014

Ensemble Theatre's 2014-15 season: the cult of personality

In choosing plays for its upcoming seasons, Ensemble Theatre makes its selections based on a theme. The 2014–15 season is no exception and the theme is the “Cult of Personality.” Past themes have included “All You Need Is Love” (2013–14) and “Discover the Human Element” (2012–13). If thought-provoking drama about strong characters appeals to you, a subscription to Ensemble’s upcoming season may be just the ticket.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:28 PM, 07.31.2014

Heights businesses unite behind Make Your Mark for the Arts program

More than 55 independent, local businesses—from Cedar Center, South Euclid, Coventry, Cedar Fairmount, Shaker Square and Van Aken Plaza shopping districts—have joined forces with Heights Arts  to participate in the Make Your Mark for the Arts community-engagement project.

The program is now in its third month, and residents can take part by creating a personal stamp at a Heights Arts-led workshop. They then exchange their stamped marks at participating businesses in a passport-style booklet. Businesses are grouped by categories, including food and drink, clothing and gifts, health and beauty, arts and culture, and services and miscellaneous retail. Once a passport page has been filled with stamps from five businesses, it can be redeemed at Heights Arts Gallery for a rewards sheet with savings coupons from all participating businesses in that category.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:26 PM, 07.31.2014

Heights' Got Talent takes place Aug. 17

On Sunday, Aug. 17, Motorcars Honda and Toyota will present Heights’ Got Talent at Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater. Like its reality-TV namesake, the local talent show will feature a variety of acts competing for prizes. The difference will be that the performers could be your friends and neighbors.

Motorcars is hosting the event to enable Heights residents to showcase their talents and bring the community together, and the company is giving away up to $10,000 in cash and prizes, both for participants and for audience members.

“The Heights is artistic and diverse,” said Trevor Gile, general manager for Motorcars Honda. “We know there are a lot of talented people in the Heights, and we thought this would be a fun way to celebrate that.”

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:17 AM, 07.29.2014

Dobama's emerging actors program performs 'Lord of the Flies'

DEAP—Dobama Theatre’s Emerging Actors Program—is coming to a theatre near you (on Lee Road) this month. Now in its fifth season, DEAP is a summer acting program for high school students and college undergraduates. It features technique-based courses that culminate in a production. This summer, students are working on “Lord of the Flies,” a stage adaptation of the popular William Golding novel, in which a plane crash leaves a group of schoolboys stranded on a desert island.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:06 AM, 07.11.2014

Linda Miller retires after touching thousands of young lives

Linda Miller has had an impact on the musical lives of many children: 12,000 of them, by her best estimate.

A Cleveland Heights resident since 1978, Miller was hired as a music specialist at The Music Settlement (TMS) in 1986, and retired from her post in May 2014.

In addition to her work at TMS, Miller taught kindergarten in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for about 25 years. "Pretty much all of my students have been under the age of six,” Miller said. “I have totally loved what I’m doing. It was a hard decision to retire because it’s fun, just a joy to work with these little kids. I’ve been very lucky to have that opportunity.”

Miller was feted at TMS in an event called the Early Childhood Ice Cream Social and Linda Miller Retirement Festival. “My friend Diana Johannessen [of Cleveland Heights], whose children attended The Music Settlement’s preschool, said she wanted to do something for me," said Miller. "I said that the people who value most what I do are the parents and the kids. That’s all I had to say; she took it and ran with it.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:49 PM, 07.01.2014

CH artist's ancient technique is showcased in Judson exhibition

Through July 27, the Howson Gallery at Judson Park is featuring shibori artwork by Cleveland Heights artist Pam McKee.

Shibori—from the Japanese verb shiboru, which means to wring, squeeze, press—is an ancient shape-resist dyeing technique in which cloth or paper is bound, sewn, clamped, folded, or twisted and then dyed. The part that is protected resists the dye. When opened, the material retains the memory of the process, and texture is created, thus a two dimensional piece can become three dimensional.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:41 PM, 07.01.2014

Disciples Christian Church wins church choir festival

The Chancel Choir of Disciples Christian Church (DCC) in Cleveland Heights was named the winner of the WCLV Jubilation - the Elizabeth Stuart Church Choir Festival.

As one of three finalists in WCLV’s competition, the choir had the honor of competing live on the air on the Cleveland classical radio station on May 8. WCLV broadcast the festival from the beautiful, historic sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland. 

DCC competed against the St. Joseph VLQ (Very Large Quartet), the Trinity Lutheran Church Choir from Lakewood, and an all-male choir from Avon Lake. Adam Kukuk, DCC music director, chose a varied repertoire ranging from the spiritual “My God is a Rock” and Olivier Messiaen’s “O Sacrum Convivium,” to two pieces from the Sacred Harp that showcased Shape Note singing. Westlake Christian Church’s music minister, Jake Briggs, accompanied the DCC choir on the piano and organ.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:53 PM, 07.01.2014

Moonisa Halim is first CH Teen Poet Laureate

At 17 years old, recent Heights High graduate Moonisa "Nia" Halim is the first Teen Poet Laureate for the City of Cleveland Heights.

Her selection was announced at the Cleveland Heights Poets Laureate Reunion, held June 19 at Dobama Theatre, which honored the six poets laureate who have served the city since the program was created in 2006: Loren Weiss, Mary Weems, Meredith Holmes, Gail Bellamy, Cavana Faithwalker and Kathleen Cerveny.

The office of Teen Poet Laureate was the brainchild of Cerveny, the reigning Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate. She convinced members of Cleveland Heights City Council and Amy Rosenbluth, director of Lake Erie Ink (LEI), a nonprofit that offers writing opportunities for young people, to create and oversee the position in order to elevate the art form of creative writing among the city’s youth.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:49 PM, 06.30.2014

Dobama produces winners of its annual Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival June 6–8

Dobama Theatre announced the winners of its 36th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival on May 22. A selection of winning plays will be fully produced and presented at the theater beginning on Friday, June 6, with the opening night benefit, and running through Sunday, June 8.

The festival, a popular Dobama tradition, received more than 250 plays this year, written by kids in grades 1–12 from throughout Cuyahoga County.

Dobama actors and designers are preparing to present several of the winning scripts over three days of original storytelling, imaginative dialogue and intriguing characters, all created by young Northeast Ohioans.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:20 AM, 06.03.2014

Larchmere PorchFest kicks off free-music festival season

The sixth annual Larchmere PorchFest, featuring 30 bands on 30 porches, is set for Saturday, June 21, 1–8 p.m. The event takes place in Cleveland’s Larchmere neighborhood, and is free, family-friendly and open to all.

Heights-based band and PorchFest veterans Oldboy will open the event at 1 p.m. This is Oldboy’s fourth year as part of the PorchFest lineup, and Michael Kinsella—Oldboy’s bassist, Heights resident, and local music advocate—is excited about the event’s growth.

“Cleveland is the perfect place to grow an independent, original music scene,” said Kinsella, who works with Cleveland Rocks, the Heights Music Hop and PorchFest toward the shared goal of breaking down the “silos” in the local music scene, to create a collaborative and inclusive environment for musicians.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 2:51 PM, 06.02.2014

GroundWorks DanceTheater performs to live music in June

Collaboration between dancers and musicians is a special experience for the artists and the audience. That’s why David Shimotakahara is excited about the upcoming June performances of his company, GroundWorks DanceTheater, at Cain Park and at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM).

“We will perform with live music at both venues, which is a rare treat,” Shimotakahara said. “Dancers respond to working with musicians in a different way than dancing to a recording. The performance is much more alive—it lives and breathes as both the dancers and the audience respond to musicians. It’s really a wonderful exchange of energy.”

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 12:46 PM, 06.02.2014

World-class music festival returns

ChamberFest Cleveland (CFC), the acclaimed and successful chamber music festival that was born in Cleveland Heights and remains headquartered here, is ready to launch its third season, titled "Three!"

"Cleveland concertgoers have shown incredible support for the idea of a true festival that offers two concentrated weeks filled with glorious chamber music," said Diana Cohen, CFC’s co-founder and co-artistic director.

Having played to sold-out houses for its first two years, CFC is tuning up for a 10-day, 10-concert season, running June 19–29 and featuring world-class musicians, a world-premiere performance, and unusual programming.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 12:38 PM, 06.02.2014

Cleveland Heights author serves up mix of recipes and relationships

Maroon & Company, the debut novel of Cleveland Heights resident Vetella A. Camper, is a heartfelt narrative about courage, tenacity and genuine friendship. Published in December 2012, the book tells the story of three women through their own distinctive voices.

Camper said she created the book’s three main characters from the inside looking out. "That's the only way I could separate their personalities and idiosyncrasies,” she said. “Chandler, Lorelei and Stevie Mitchelle were created as complex women whose tumultuous life experiences and tragedies were delicately weaved throughout the novel with their affection for one another and successes."

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 11:07 AM, 06.02.2014

Make Your Mark engages residents in creative way to strengthen local economy

Heights Arts, the organization behind local art initiatives such as the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch, murals in the Cedar Lee and Cedar Fairmount business districts, and the Heights Youth Club mosaic, has launched Make Your Mark for the Arts, a new public art program designed to tap into the creative spirit of the community and encourage increased support of local businesses. 

Rachel Bernstein, executive director, explained, “It's a way to bring our entire community together with a fun, artistic activity [to] help build relationships with residents and businesses. I am especially thankful to the Cleveland Foundation and Cyrus Eaton Foundation, Shawn Paul Salon, and Elizabeth Gevelber of Simply Charming for their early investment in this idea, and to Heights Arts board members for pounding the pavement. The response from businesses has been beyond my expectations so far, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this program spread as we celebrate our creativity together.”

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 12:30 PM, 05.30.2014

CAC supported 14 Heights arts organizations in 2013

In its Report to the Community, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) announced that 196 arts organization received grants in 2013, including 14 based in Cleveland Heights or University Heights.

CAC is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio that administers public funds from cigarette taxes and grants them to eligible organizations in Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 11:18 AM, 05.30.2014

Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp celebrates 10th year

A week of immersion in music exploration can turn beginning instrumentalists into confident performers and inspired learners. That’s what happens each year at the Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp, which will take place for the tenth consecutive year at Wiley Middle School from June 16–21.

The public is invited to the camp's free finale concert on Saturday, June 21 at 10:30 a.m., at Wiley Middle School, 2181 Miramar Blvd.

“Campers learn the life changing lesson that sustained effort allows them to do things they never imagined! After seven hours of music making, most campers go home and practice more. It lights a fire,” said Susie Kaeser, camp director. 

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:31 AM, 05.30.2014

Second annual Heights Music Hop returns this fall

The Heights Music Hop will be returning to Lee Road on Oct. 11. The music festival made its debut last year and drew more than 1,000 people to the Cedar-Lee neighborhood. Retailers said it had a tremendous impact on their businesses. “Lee Road was like a downtown street, like East Fourth,” said Kelli Kral, the proprietor of the New Heights Grill. “There was all this pedestrian traffic, and it was really wonderful. Everyone had a great time.”

“It was great for business,” added Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot. “As merchants, we get approached about things all the time. But with the Music Hop, we were able to get quite a few merchants on board, and everything came together. For four or five hours that night, we were packed, and a lot of the people had never been in this neighborhood before.”

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 6:26 PM, 05.29.2014