The Nebraska Cultural Endowment exists to serve you by providing reliability and sustainability for the arts and humanities programs supported by Humanities Nebraska and the Nebraska Arts Council. Hundreds of organizations around the state benefit from their grants and programs. Continue reading
I grew up in the sandhills of Nebraska, surrounded by dairy cows, prairie grass, cowboy bars and fuzzy antenna television. Imagination and creativity were my playthings by necessity and were encouraged by parents who taught me to be expressive and bold.
My imagination took me away from Nebraska to embark upon a performance career and what I perceived to be “greater things.” It took coming back home to discover my true passion – to inspire creativity, imagination in others through the arts. Here, in Nebraska, my imagination and creativity have led me to a livelihood that consists of developing unique experiences that blend the performing and fine arts, academics, and life – creating experiences where both young and old minds can discover new things about their world, themselves, and their own creativity.
We are a team of creative individuals – musicians, conductors, educators, and administrators – who depend on collaboration to give our collective creativity a voice, and to serve our audiences.
Although an administrator on paper, my role at the Omaha Symphony is a bit of a grab bag: actor, singer, director, playwright, educator, innovator, strategic planner, and collaborator. The beautiful thing about the work that we do is that there is no “correct” way to do it. We are a team of creative individuals – musicians, conductors, educators, and administrators – who depend on collaboration to give our collective creativity a voice, and to serve our audiences.
This creativity is witnessed through our work in the community, creating concert structures that provide a space for audiences to access and reflect upon the music. Sometimes, it can be as simple as taking the musicians out of the concert hall and making music in new settings. Other times it can be as complicated as bringing the community onstage to perform as musicians themselves.
In every experience that I develop with the symphony, creativity is paramount. I believe that music is inherently able to transcend cultural and social barriers, to inspire connections and understanding, yet I find that in our busy world it takes new structures and new methods of delivery to get people to actually stop and listen, to open themselves up to the experience. Once they do, their own sparks of creativity will do the rest.
T. Adam Goos is the Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at the Omaha Symphony, where he develops original concert experiences for students and community members. Annually, the Omaha Symphony’s education and engagement programs serve nearly 30,000 individuals, through school concerts and community experiences that provide opportunities to perform with the symphony. Goos developed the symphony’s new All Aboard! program, that partners with communities across Nebraska to design and implement customized residencies and concert experiences. Adam holds a Masters of Fine Arts in theatre performance from Roosevelt University and degrees in music and theatre from Wayne State College.
I am an artist, educator, and musician. I am also a lifelong producer of creative content. Education is my vocation. My livelihood comes from my training and aptitude as a teacher. The content of my teaching practice is parallel to my striving for a painting practice that is authentic, contemporary, and ambitious.
I learned early on that I was much happier when I was a little too busy rather than a little too bored. I have the tendency to think that everything is a good idea. I have a hard time separating my personal interests from my professional life. As an artist and art educator, this relationship between my enthusiasms, being emotionally invested in work, and always having new problems to tackle has been a happy union.
My favorite aspect of being an artist is that there is no creative terminus. There are always new goals, new ways to improve, new projects, new collaborations, new collectors to meet, and new context for the work. The rewards of an art practice are also related to finding something that resonates bigger than the original intention. The idea for a work and the final result almost never match. Allowing the work to surprise me never gets old.
Nebraska has been very good to me. I came here for Graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Painting. I met my fiancé here. I have taught classes at UNL, UNO, and Nebraska Wesleyan University as well as working as the gallery preparator in Elder Gallery at NWU. I have a beautiful and affordable painting studio. I have a band, Red Cities that is tons of fun and has a growing fan base. My livelihood comes from being a teacher but my success as a teacher is tied directly to my life as an artist and my active pursuit of sustained production of creative content.
Byron Anway is an artist, educator and musician living and working in Lincoln NE. Byron received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Studio Art and a BA in Art and Education from Luther College in Decorah IA. He has taught Drawing and Painting at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The University of Nebraska-Omaha, Nebraska Wesleyan University, the International School of Brussels, in Belgium, and the American Academy-Casablanca in Morocco. Byron is a founding member of the artist collective Sexy/OFFENDER and the guitarist and vocalist for the rock band RED CITIES.
To see more of Byron Anway’s work check out the Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha and Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln at the Joslyn Art Museum from 6/21/2015 – 10/11/2015. byronanwayart.com
Music isn’t my career, but it’s always been an important part of my livelihood and well-being.
I grew up surrounded by music primarily due to my clarinet-flute-saxophone-piccolo-wash board wielding father. He loved the law and was a very good lawyer, but traditional jazz was his passion. His band played every Wednesday night at a popular local restaurant in the Dundee neighborhood and he toured and produced several albums. I just thought it was normal to fall asleep listening to live late night jazz coming from our living room.
I started taking piano lessons at a young age as did my flute and trumpet playing sisters, but it didn’t take me long to figure out drums and percussion were going to be my thing. We all became second generation attendees of the internationally known Interlochen Arts Camp (my kids will become the third generation this summer), and I played in rock bands in high school and college.
The 5:30 a.m. alarm clock can come quick some mornings, but making the time for the art form that inspires you is always worth it.
I continued to play on my own, but it didn’t take long before political, business, and family pursuits overtook the time commitment needed to play in a band.
About a year ago, however, I became inspired to tune-up the drum set and get back in the game! Part of my inspiration came from my work on the City Council to renovate our neighborhood business districts. In particular, the resurgence of Benson into one of the city’s hottest spots for new restaurants, art, entertainment, and live music. Just recently, my band played its first show at Benson’s newest live music venue and had a blast.
The Omaha World-Herald covered the band’s formation and first performance and the response has been gratifying. We’ve all received numerous contacts from people with successful careers in something other than music – business, medicine, and politics – who continue to pursue their love of music or have now been re-energized to do so.
The 5:30 a.m. alarm clock can come quick some mornings, but making the time for the art form that inspires you is always worth it.
City Councilman Pete Festersen was elected to the Omaha City Council in 2009 and re-elected in 2013. He is currently President of the City Council and is the owner of his own small business, Strategic Business Development, LLC.
Prior to serving on the City Council and starting his company, Councilman Festersen helped shape Omaha’s future in senior management positions with the Peter Kiewit Foundation, The Mayor’s Office, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and Alegent Health, one of Omaha’s largest private employers. He has also served as Chairman of the Omaha Planning Board for three years and on various community boards such as the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Benson-Ames Alliance, College World Series Inc and AK-SAR-BEN Future Trust.
Pete was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Central High School and Connecticut College before earning his Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a graduate of Leadership Omaha and has been recognized for his work as a business leader by the Midlands Business Journal. He also received the Excellence in Public Service Award from the UNO College of Public Administration and Community Service in 2012.
Pete and his wife, Paige, have two children, Anna and Caroline and they attend Dundee Presbyterian Church. Pete enjoys racing sailboats by competing on the regional and national levels and is a former Nebraska State Champion in both soccer and curling. A lifelong musician, he also spends time playing the drums.
About 15 years ago while living in Chicago I came across an online article about fantasy occupations. In the men’s category on the top of the list were Airline Pilot and Professional Baseball Player. On the women’s list, the top fantasy occupation was Lounge Singer. I thought to myself, that’s what I do! There is a need here I could fulfill as I was already teaching jazz voice at the college level. I needed to design a simplified course to help adults (including men) fulfill their lounge singer/jazz singer fantasies with a top level band in hip music room (about that time, “The Fabulous Baker Boys” movie was out and I recall Michelle Pfeiffer’s character in a red sequin dress, stretched across a grand piano singing a torch song which may have inspired this too).
I moved to Lincoln three years ago and thought to recreate a similar course I’d created in Chicago (which was a huge success by the way). After convincing several new friends here to be the first students, I taught the first class out of my home and we had the first show at Zen’s Lounge on 11th St. with Tom Larson, piano and Hans Sturm, double bass, accompanying them up . It has just taken off, attracting both men and women. Last fall I was even invited to give Garrison Keillor on his show, A Prairie Home Companion, a Torch Singing “lesson” at the Lied Center. It was quite spontaneous and tongue-in-cheek. We had a blast!
The class is called Torch Singer 101 and its designed for the novice but anyone can take it. It’s taught out of my home in Lincoln’s Country Club District. Class is limited to 8 adults and meets once a week for 2 hours. Classes run 6 weeks, culminating in a free public performance at a local venue. We focus on songs from the “Great American Song Book” and jazz standards. We have fun with vocal improvisation to get singers loosened up and to get inside the harmony of a song. We discuss lyric interpretation, stage presence, stage fright and microphone technique along with vocal range and melody transposition. Singers perform one group song and 2 solo selections backed by professional rhythm section in front of friends, family and new fans!
Students get to explore singing beyond the written page with vocal improvisation in class and the thrill of doing it on stage.
Students get to explore singing beyond the written page with vocal improvisation in class and the thrill of doing it on stage. They solo with uniquely crafted arrangements with professional jazz musicians who, in addition to backing them up, follow and support them in the event a section is forgotten or beats are “dropped” in the heat of the moment. Singers experience a live, supportive and enthusiastic audience cheering them on, there’s nothing quite like it! In fact, classes usually include students who want to do it a second or third time.
For me, I learn new musical ideas from my students (who often don’t know the cliches yet) and I get to be the nervous mom in the front row, watching my students take risks, get over stage fright and entertain an audience with wit and poise. I get to know so many cool people in Lincoln as well.
Next Torch Singer 101 show:
Zen’s Lounge, 122 N. 11th St., Lincoln Tuesday, October 14, 7:30PM (402-475-2929).
No cover charge (donations for the band appreciated).
Jackie Allen, vocalist, songwriter, educator and recording artist, has toured the US, Europe, Morocco, Brazil, China and Taiwan. Last spring, 2014 she released her 10th album, My Favorite Color (Avant Bass). Her group includes guitar, piano, acoustic bass and percussion. “Allen’s greatest strength is her sheer musicality and the way in which she both frames and interprets her song.” (Los Angeles Times) “Utterly distinctive and even innovative…a masterpiece. “(Billboard Magazine) “This is four-hundred-dollar-a-bottle jazz” (Rolling Stone) “Musically sophisticated and artistically daring…” (Chicago Tribune).
Allen teaches voice and songwriting at Doane College (Crete) and has taught at UNL, Ball State University (IN), and Roosevelt University (IL). Allen was featured with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s Ella Fitzgerald Celebration (Auditorium Theater). She has served on the Board and Jazz Committee for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards). She’s married to bassist Hans Sturm with their son Wolfgang.