home | metro santa cruz index | music & nightlife | band review


Vox Popular: The Ariose Singers will perform four works at Sunday's Avant Garden Party.

The Works, Al Fresco

Tough times aren't stopping New Music Works from putting on one righteous Avant Garden Party.

By Scott MacClelland

GOING where no one has gone before has lately gotten a bit dicier. The present economy pulled a rug out from under the previous New Music Works concerts, a not-nice turn during this 30th anniversary season. But none of Phil Collins' band of the best new-music specialists in town will be crying the blues at their Avant Garden Party this Sunday afternoon in Soquel.

The annual event, described this round as "a carnival of sounds and flavors from Brazil to Zimbabwe," offers an even larger serving than last year of new music for the ears and eyes, along with a feast of "gourmet delicacies" for the palate courtesy of India Jozseph Schultz and David Jackman.

A steal of a deal at $35 general, $30 seniors and $25 students in advance--5 bucks more at the door--the Avant Garden Party frolics all afternoon, from 3pm to 7pm, in the garden of Laura Bathrick and Robert Eberle on Monterey Avenue (close to the intersection of Soquel Drive and Park Avenue).

The Choros Ensemble--named after Brazil's popular music style that often manages to distill a happy lament--leads the lineup of performing ensembles and artists. In this case, mandolinist Mike Marshall and company improvise in that sensual style that emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the middle of the 19th century. Marshall also teams up with guitarist Gyan Riley for Indigo Trails, composed specifically for the party by Brooklynite Jeffrey Harrington, whose scores are available for the taking on his website.

The eight members of Laura Mallon's Singing Wood Marimba Ensemble go for the Shona dance music of Zimbabwe, rhythmically complex and utterly infectious. The Shona people, of Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique, number about 9 million, speak several dialects and maintain a rich cultural heritage.

Local guitarist and all-around music man Kenny Hill brings his own menu of new American fare, including Andrew York's Albaycin and King Lotvin and James Kline's Morning Coffee. Albaycin is the old Moorish neighborhood of Granada, Spain (which includes the Alhambra). You can see and hear York play his King Lotvin on YouTube.

In their corner of the garden, singer Lori Rivera and bassist Stan Poplin have their own musical ideas to share with each other, the flowers blooming and all available ears at hand. Michael McGushin and his Ariose Singers will show off their precision a cappella ensemble in two works by 100-year-old-and-still-taking-commissions Elliott Carter, Musicians wrestle everywhere and Heart not so heavy as mine; Carlos Guastavino's setting of Rafael Alberti's poem "Se equivocó la paloma" (The Mistaken Dove) and Heitor Villa Lobos' arrangement of the Brazilian folk song "Estrella é lua nova."

New Music Works will appreciate bids on their silent auction for valuable goods and services and their sweet deal on wines by the glass.

NEW MUSIC WORKS' 28TH ANNUAL AVANT GARDEN PARTY is Sunday, June 7, 3-7pm at 2701 Monterey Ave., Soquel. Tickets are $25-$35 in advance at, UCSC Box Office or Santa Cruz Civic Box Office. For more info visit

Send a letter to the editor about this story.


Mūz: Santa Cruz Music, Media and Arts
Concert notes and news.