UA marimba band sets April 30 concert

The UA's Percussion Studio, one of the most forward-thinking in the country, has been awarded grants from the College of Fine Arts and the School of Music to assemble artists through videoconferencing technology. This initiative, called the Distant Drumming Series, first took place in 2010 featuring performers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

As a result of the Distant Drumming Series, the UA's Rosewood Marimba Band sprang back to life after a decade-long hiatus. Performers in this elite group are admitted to the band only after highly competitive auditions.

The music they make is sublime because of both the musicians' exceptional talent and the quality of their instruments: A rosewood marimba can cost as much as a new car, but percussionists say the unique sound justifies the extra dollars.

The band will perform at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Academy Village.

Ivan Trevino's 2011 composition "Bloom" will set the toe-tapping mood. Trevino began his musical career as a garage drummer in a rock band (true of many present-day percussionists), and he applies his rock drumming expertise to rhythmic functions in a keyboard ensemble.

The group will also perform contemporary compositions such as the "Stress Ballet" by Ivo Weymans, which has melodies and motifs pass among four marimba players. Three selections by Jason Beck, known by his stage name "Chilly Gonzales the Musical Genius," have been adapted from solo piano to a duet between vibraphone and marimba. And there's a finale you won't want to miss.


Wildlife rehab center to share stories

Joan Cass, education editor of the Tucson Wildlife Center, and two feathered ambassadors - a great horned owl and a kestrel - will be on the stage of the Arizona Senior Academy at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Cass will share remarkable and touching success stories of animals in distress and the dedicated people who save them.

Since 2000, the center has rescued and rehabilitated several thousand injured or orphaned desert animals and released them back into the wild.

There was no wildlife care facility the Tucson area in 1998 when Lisa Bates, a retired plant pathologist, rescued a raccoon struck by a car. Unable to find anyone to treat it, she began training with veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators to learn about caring for injured animals. Two years later, she opened the center on the far east side.

A nonprofit that depends on donations and volunteers, including orthopedic surgeons and veterinarians, the center takes in animals of every sort and size. But it specializes in larger species such as javelinas, coyotes and birds of prey that have no other place to go.

With run-ins with cars and plate-glass windows on the rise, the native wildlife needs all the help it can get. A wildlife hospital - the first in Southern Arizona - is under construction on the center site. Also in the works are two eagle flight enclosures supported by poles donated by Tucson Electric Power Company.

The center operates a 24/7 emergency help line (290-9453) for anyone wondering what to do with a bobcat with a broken leg. Capturing and transporting wounded wild animals is tricky, and experienced handlers are always on call.


Chorus to present 'Made in America'

The Vail Chorale will present its spring concert, "Made in America," featuring four centuries of New World choral music, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Arizona Senior Academy's Great Room.

Directed by Fred Reinagel and assisted by Melissa Hale, the Vail Chorale is a community chorus open to anyone interested in performing choral music. Reinagel founded the group two years ago, receiving sponsorship from the Vail School District and the Arizona Senior Academy.

Saturday's concert will continue a Vail Chorale tradition of opening with "America the Beautiful" and closing with an "Alleluia" - this time it's "Simply, Alleluia" by Tom Fettke.

The program will include compositions by William Billings, traditional work songs and spirituals, a rousing rendition of "Yankee Doodle" and a group of Stephen Foster favorites. Rounding out the program will be "Rodgers and Hammerstein on Broadway" - a medley from their most popular musicals including "The Sound of Music," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific," "Carousel," "The King and I" and "State Fair."

Guest pianist Susan Simpson will accompany the chorale, and will also perform a solo number, "Scott Joplin's New Rag."

The Vail Chorale presents spring and autumn concerts each year and welcomes new members from high school age to retirees. There are no auditions or dues. Interested singers may contact Reinagel by emailing thevailchorale@gmail.com or calling 647-3801.

May 2

Near-Earth objects focus of expert's talk

You didn't have to be in Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15 to know that an object from space fell on the Earth that day with a low rumbling blast that shattered thousands of windows and injured more than 1,500 people of that town.

The meteor weighed more than 7,000 tons and was moving at about 40,000 mph when it blew apart. Newspapers and amateur videos brought us the full impact of the greatest celestial collision with our planet since the 1908 Tungkuska event leveled an area the size of Washington, D.C., in eastern Siberia.

Nobody died, this time, but it reminded us of what might happen in the future and what, if anything we can do.

This will be the topic of a talk by astronomer Drew Potter next Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the Arizona Senior Academy, in Academy Village. Potter, a member of the academy, worked for NASA for 44 years before retiring. He is currently visiting astronomer at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson.

The U.S. has led an effort called SpaceGuard to find all the objects in space near Earth that might someday strike the planet. Almost all of the most dangerous asteroids and comets have been identified, and work continues to identify smaller and smaller dangerous objects.

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 info@arizonasenioracademy.org or calling 647-0980.

• To learn more about the academy, go to www.asa-tucson.org 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.

- Stan Davis - Caroline Bates - Leslie Nitzberg - Michael Chriss