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A SALUTE TO OUR VETERANS

191109 Poster November 9, 2019
at 7:30 p.m.

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Last year’s Songs of Rural America pops concert, seen nationwide on television, let us know that you wanted pops added to our mix.  Maestro Tim Berens and Broadway tenor Mike Eldred (Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables) have a terrific Salute to Our Veterans concert on November 9th just in time for Veterans Day!

The concert will feature 4 world premieres of music by Tim and Louise Berens. These premieres include new arrangements of the classics When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Danny Boy, and a brand new composition entitled Messages from Mount Rushmore by Tim and Louise Berens.

Messages from Mount Rushmore was inspired by a 2008 visit to Mount Rushmore, when Tim wondered “What would they have to say to us today?” The piece contains wise, stirring, funny and inspirational quotes from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, accompanied by rousing music. Their messages offer guidance to navigating our modern, hectic world.

Tim Berens, conductor

Tim Berens’ multi-faceted career gives testament to his lifelong quest to learn, perform and write music. So far, his venture has led him through the worlds of classical guitar, jazz guitar, orchestral guitar, arranging, orchestration, composition, and conducting.

During his years as the guitarist for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Tim played guitar, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki on concerts, recordings, television programs, and tours. Beginning in the late 1990’s, Tim began arranging for the CPO, eventually becoming the orchestra’s principal arranger.

His arrangements are regularly performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl.

Tim’s arrangements caught the ears of others and he began receiving commissions from many leading conductors and major orchestras. His arrangements are performed hundreds of times per year by orchestras throughout the United States and abroad, in venues from Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl. Tim’s arrangements receive praise from conductors, musicians, librarians, management, and listeners.

In 2010, the desire to continue learning led Tim to return to school to study conducting. Two intensive years later, he earned a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting. As he conducted the music of great composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich, his studies of their scores enriched his skills as an orchestrator.

As a young student studying classical guitar at CCM, Tim took every opportunity to play jazz and other styles. This work prepared him well for the audition for the Cincinnati Pops. Over the following years, other orchestras began hiring Tim, and he performed with more than 20 orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He played thousands of services for conductor Erich Kunzel.

Tim was featured as a soloist on many of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra’s concerts, recordings and television broadcasts, most notably when he transcribed the piano part from “Rhapsody in Blue” for guitar.

Throughout his professional career Tim has performed regularly at jazz clubs, releasing 4 jazz recordings on the Red Mark label under his own name along the way, and he has continued working as a classical guitarist, performing Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” to great acclaim.

Tim’s most nerve wracking performance took place in 1975. Not even the duet he performed with Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall induced more gut-wrenching performance anxiety than his band’s performance of Smoke on the Water in the Van Buren Junior High School Talent Show. TimBerens.com

Mike Eldred, tenor

Mike Eldred is one of North America’s most in-demand and beloved tenors, thrilling audiences in concert halls, on Broadway, and on recordings, radio and television.  He appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables as “Jean Valjean”, and in the original cast of the Tony-nominated The Civil War.  He performed in the 25th anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and starred as “The Tenor” in the 2010 national concert tour of Handel’s Messiah Rocks.  His starring role as “Tony” in the Nashville Symphony’s production of West Side Story has earned international praise as “arguably the best ‘Tony’ on record”.  The cast recording featuring Eldred was released on NAXOS International.

An artist of tremendous depth and reach, Mike’s diversity and generosity of spirit fuel the many facets of his career.  He is increasingly interested in using his performances to raise awareness and funds for causes close to him.  A recent benefit concert in Whitefish, MT, raised thousands for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and kicked off a fundraiser bicycle ride, in which Mike rode nearly 400 miles over five days on a route stretching from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park.

In addition to numerous appearances on recordings and DVDs, Mike has released three solo CDs that have garnered critical and popular acclaim.  His debut album, ME, features favorites from the stage drawn from his years on Broadway.  That record was followed byLet It Begin, a holiday album that features appearances from several of Mike’s friends including former touring partner Jim Brickman.  The latest release is Come Love Me Again, a celebration of the music of John Denver and a companion to Mike’s newest symphonic pops show.  An early inspiration for Mike’s life as a singer, John Denver’s music, his message and his passion for America’s open spaces resonates deeply with Mike and he enjoys sharing this with audiences all over the country.  Mike’s new concert series ON THE STAGE features national and local artists in Whitefish, Montana in an up close and personal concert setting.

Eldred is a busy vocal and performance coach, both online and in person around the country and he has performed as a Host and a soloist in concert with many of North America’s finest symphony orchestras, including Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Fort Wayne, Fort Worth, Glacier, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Long Beach, Milwaukee, Modesto, Naples, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Toronto.