UA World Music Gang sets percussion show

A program of percussion music from Africa and Brazil performed by the UA's World Music Gang will highlight the Arizona Senior Academy's weekly concert Tuesday.

Led by Clifford Berrien, an adjunct instructor in the University of Arizona College of Music, the concert begins at 11:30 a.m.

One of several chamber ensembles sponsored by the UA Percussion Studio, the World Music Gang focuses its repertoire on traditional music from other cultures.

The concert at Academy Village will feature music from the Yoruba communities of Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa, and music from Brazil including a medley that blends Brazilian samba with Jamaican reggae.

A graduate of UA and student of African diaspora music, Berrien has had 30 years of experience as a musician and professional DJ specializing in world music. He has also served seven years as artistic director of Batucaxé, a Tucson drum and dance ensemble and school inspired by the music and dance of Brazil.

Berrien is assistant director of Jovert Steel Drum Ensemble at Tucson Magnet High School and is a drummer in the trio that plays for the Canyon Ranch health resort's popular fitness class "Worldbeat Aerobics."

The UA student members of the World Music Gang are Kelsey Ageton, Ryan Brock, Dayna Broder, Lucas Julian Carballeira, Stephen D'Addio, Hillary Engel, Samuel Thomas Fernandez, Sarah Gritis, Shannon Michelle Lilly, Colin Malloy, Chong Michalsky, Angelica Ortega, Roy Petrakis, Grace Polleys, Wesley Smyth and Kyle Wiley.

Choral group presents Holy Week concert

The UA Collegium Musicum will present a choral music concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Arizona Senior Academy. Directed by Brent Rogers, a doctoral candidate in choral conducting, the collegium performs music of the Baroque and Renaissance.

Coinciding with Holy Week, Monday's program features a "Passion Pastiche" of excerpts from musical settings of the Passion story, including Johann Sebastian Bach's "St. John Passion," George Friedrich Handel's "Brockes Passion," Heinrich Schutz's "St. Luke Passion," Reinhard Keiser's "St. Mark Passion" and Georg Philip Telemann's oratorio "Der Tod Jesu."

The ensemble is made up of community members and University of Arizona students. For Monday's special program, the group will join with a chamber orchestra and vocal soloists from the UA voice department.

The drama of the Passion story is heightened by the differing styles of the orchestrally accompanied Bach and Handel selections that convey the story, followed by the starkly a cappella Schutz excerpts that dramatically portray the trial of Jesus.

The Passion story will be framed by two ethereal opening and closing a cappella settings of "Hosanna to the Son of David" by English composers Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Weelkes.

Talk: Paleo-climate, early origins of man

What was the climate like during the early days of hominid emergence in Africa? Ask a geologist.

Gail Ashley, professor of earth and planetary science at Rutgers University, and her students have been studying this question for many years, and she will present a seminar on "The Paleoclimatic Framework of Human Evolution: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania" at 3:30 p.m. March 28.

The Olduvai Gorge area was where Mary and Richard Leakey discovered several primitive human forms, including the well-publicized Homo habilis, and thousands of their stone tools. These discoveries made the Leakeys and the Olduvai itself famous and spurred questions concerning how this area and its climate might have been favorable for human evolution.

New findings are allowing reconstruction of features of the changing landscape and food and water resources over time, as well as clues to some of the challenges faced by these early hominids.

Ashley is a geoscientist who has published widely and has earned an international reputation. She has been president of the Society for Sedimentary Geologists, editor in chief of the Journal of Sedimentary Research and has received several awards for her research and teaching.

'Genomics Now' panel featured in podcast

A panel discussion summarizing the UA's "Genomics Now" lecture series brought all five series speakers together to discuss the future of the emerging science. A podcast of their March 6 program will be shown at the Arizona Senior Academy on Wednesday beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Titled "Genomics Tomorrow," the program's panelists include the five lecturers (Fernandez Martinez, Michael Worobey, Michael W. Nachman, Rod A. Wing and Donata Vercelli) plus Dr. Thomas Grogan, founder of Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

The panel answered questions posed by Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science, as well as questions from the audience submitted in advance.

The panel talked about a current challenge of genomic research, which is to integrate the vast amount of data being acquired in order to advance from disease diagnosis to treatment, healing and prevention. Participants then tackled other issues concerning the potential impact of genomics research on individuals and society. They discussed the pluses and minuses of pre-natal genetic testing, low-cost personal genetic profiling, genetically modified crops and synthetic biology.

Those who attended earlier replays of the Genomics Now series at the Academy will recognize three of the speakers - Fernandez Martinez, Michael W. Nachman and Rod A. Wing - each of whom spoke in person. Worobey's lecture is not available for broadcast, and Vercelli will present her work in person on April 10.

About Academy Village

• Events are held in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center, 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

• Nonresidents who want to ensure priority seating can make reservations by emailing or calling 647-0980.

• To learn more about the academy, go to online.

• Visitors can buy lunch at the Academy Cafe across the courtyard from the Arizona Senior Academy Building. The cafe is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Prices range from $4.50 to $9.50. For more information, call the cafe at 647-0903.

• Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

- H. Deon Holt - Leslie Nitzberg - Wayne Magee - Marcia Neugebauer