August 11, 2004
Heartland Arts to present Concert on the Prairie Sept. 11
An all-star cast of musicians, including Grammy Award winner Eugene Friesen, returns to the heart of Cowley County to perform a “Concert on the Prairie” on Sept. 11.
The Heartland Arts Series at Cowley County Community College is sponsoring the concert, set for 5:30 p.m. at the Dick and Dolly Bonfy Farm east of Winfield. Violinist/fiddler Darol Anger, and Mike Marshall, whom Anger calls “one of the top mandolinists in the world, will join Friesen, a world-renowned cellist, for the concert.
Advance tickets, including a map to the concert site, are $15 and available through Sept. 10 at the Sid Regnier Bookstore on the Cowley College campus (620) 441-5277. Tickets also may be purchased at the gate.
The Bonfy Farm has been the sight of many concerts in the past eight years, is easily accessible to all, and has a permanent stage nestled in a beautiful tallgrass natural amphitheater, surrounded by the prairie.
The concert site is five miles east of Winfield on U.S. 160, seven miles south on Cowley Highway 1 (141st Road), one mile west at the bend, then about 1/4 mile north on the gravel road seven miles. From Arkansas City, drive seven miles east on U.S. 166 and north on Cowley Highway 1 (141st Road) for five miles to the bend. It is located about 1/4 mile north on the gravel road, turn west through the gate. Red arrow signs mark the way from both communities, and concert site maps are on the back of advance tickets, which will be available at most convenience stores in Ark City and Winfield the day of the concert.
Anger, a violinist, fiddler, composer, producer and educator, is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. With the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet, Anger developed and popularized new techniques for playing contemporary music styles on string instruments. The virtuosic “Chambergrass” groups Psychograss and Newgrange, and the plugged-in Anger-Marshall Band feature his compositions and arrangements. His Grammy nominated folk-jazz group Montreux was the original musical model for the New Adult Contemporary radio format. The David Grisman Quintet forged a new genre of acoustic string band music with Anger’s “fertile inventiveness, surprising touches and technical mastery” (Boston Herald) often in the forefront.
Working with some of the world’s great improvising string musicians, among them Stephane Grappelli, Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck and Vassar Clements, has contributed to the development of Anger’s signature voice, both as a player and a composer. His published works include jazz originals and arrangements, as well as a collection of fiddle tunes composed straight from the heart of the traditional music idiom.
Anger himself has nothing but praise for Marshall, whom he has partnered with on a number of pieces of music.
“No star chart can explain Mike’s stupefying talent for playing any number of stringed instruments better than 99.999 percent of the population and his voracious interest in just about every kind of music and the ability to play it,” Anger said.
Marshall’s ongoing partnership with Anger has taken the duo all over the world and produced some truly classic recordings. Their latest project is aptly named Darol Anger/Mike Marshall Band.
“We thought we’d try something really radical and use our own names for a change, see if it worked,” Marshall said.
Darol Anger, left, and Mike Marshall.
The Darol Anger/Mike Marshall Band features Marshall, Anger, and a couple of hot young artists, Derek Jones on electric and acoustic bass, and Aaron Johnston on drums.
“Darol and I have been playing together so long that we can do just about anything musically, on the spur of the moment,” Marshall said. “These guys are good enough to not only be right there, but they can kick our butts musically too, and get us to new places we’d never have gone otherwise. Plus, they’re great guys, and really fun to be with.”
Friesen, a frequent artist during the seven-year PrairieFest run, won a Grammy Award as a member of the Paul Winter Consort for the 1994 album Spanish Angel. He has assembled a collection of the most requested pieces from his solo concerts as well as new compositions for cello with other instruments. Recorded in a stone church in Vermont, “In The Shade Of Angels” explores the full range of Friesen’s original music—inventive improvisations, dark rhapsodies, swinging pizzicato, songful melodies, pulsing rhythm—and includes a captivating duet with the song of a humpback whale. Guest musicians include Tim Ray from Lyle Lovett’s band, adding sparkle and sweep on piano; Jamey Haddad, percussionist with Paul Simon, in a duet for handdrum and cello; and Jody Elff on electric guitars.