There and Bach Again

If you were lucky enough to catch either of the two previous String Shift productions: Symphony in Z and String Shift Love’s the 80’s, you already know that the one thing you can expect from a String Shift show is the unexpected. Progressive Bach, our next original program on August 22 takes this idea even further with a new venue and a whole new approach to putting on a show. This article is going to take a look at what makes Progressive Bach worth getting off the couch to come check out.

New Venue: ArtsLab -

This awesome downtown theater was designed with “out of the box” type of events such as this one in mind. The building was just built a couple years ago and it so happens String Shift was the first musical act to perform there (we provided music for the grand opening party). Now we are taking over the space and transforming it into a totally unique concert venue. Alcohol and other concessions will be available so don’t worry about losing your buzz.

Visual Appeal -

Its a goal of mine to add a visual element to any of our self produced shows, and that is why we have the insanely talented Miriam Morgan on hand to design a veritable cornucopia of visual eye-candy. Miriam’s work is known throughout the region for providing incredible lighting for many of the area’s arts organizations including The Phil, Civic Theater, and Fort Wayne Ballet to name just a few. Therefore not only will the music be ambient and psychedelic, expect some killer visuals to go with Tim Tan’s dulcet sounds on the violin or Derek’s warm and rich viola tone.

A set by The Neon Lounge -

Over a year ago Shaun Bryan, the former guitarist from Moser Woods (a well-known local group) contacted me to add some cello to some original music he and Lance Hoeppner had concocted. After just one rehearsal with those guys I knew they had something really cool going on. If you haven’t heard the result yet you won’t be disappointed. Their music has many moods and colors and transitions seamlessly between progressive rock, post rock, ambient music, and even has elements of classical. In fact, the emphasis on instrumental rock for the first half of the show is directly inspired by working with Shaun and Lance. Check it out on the second half of the show.

The Music -

Usually around this time before a show I get really excited as the program gets finalized and things start coming together. This time I am practically chomping at the bit to share some of the works I have selected and arranged for the 22nd. A few are taken from some of String Shift’s shows at places like The Phoenix and even Two EE’s winery, these are works by Bach, a jazz selection from the Turtle Island String Quartet, and even a song by Radiohead to name a few. I chose Bach as one of the main focuses of the show because his music not only paves the way for so much that came after, but despite its age always maintains its relevance. Its hard to dismiss his music as “stuffy” or “boring,” instead all you need is a set of working ears to realize that his music just makes sense. You will hear Bach a few different times in the evening but you will also hear his influence spread throughout everything from the contemporary selections to the instrumental rock charts.

And of course there comes the pop or modern element. Most String Shift shows involve me rifling through my music collection for charts that fit into the theme du jour. Ok, maybe “rifling” is inaccurate as it implies I have some killer vinyl collection that is the envy of any connoisseur. In actuality, I sit hunched over at my computer and scroll through my amazon playlist and see what sticks. This time around I have pulled out a variety of styles from groups like The Postal Service, the TuneYards, and went a bit further back in time and chose a Phish song that I’ve always loved and has always reminded me of a sort of instrumental Bach Prelude with funk elements.

Not only will you hear this combination of classical and pop music, but I have always seen String Shift as a vehicle to promote modern or “contemporary” art music as well. That is why I am thrilled to feature two contemporary works on this program - one by estonian composer Arvo Pärt and the other by Dan Visconti, an old high school friend of mine who has gone on to accomplish truly incredible things in the modern music world. Both of these works add to the ambient mood of the evening.

There you have it, we are offering an eclectic variety of “psychedelic” classical and instrumental rock for you with two great groups in a snazzy downtown location. This is the sort of concert that doesn’t come along very often so I hope you will err on the side of “curious” and stop by for this musical experiment.

Head over to to pick up your tickets in advance. Space is limited so buy early and don’t miss out on this one night only event.


Edward Stevens2 Comments