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Spotlight: Bailey eager for ’14 Bach Festival

Sun., Dec. 9, 2012, midnight

Acclaimed cellist Zuill Bailey was in Spokane last week, meeting with supporters of the Northwest Bach Festival and laying the groundwork for the 2014 event, which will mark his debut as the festival’s artistic director.

Artistic Director Gunther Schuller will step down from the post at the end of the 2013 festival, his 21st season at the helm. Schuller will conduct two concerts before handing the baton to Bailey.

Bailey, who teaches at the University of Texas-El Paso and is artistic director of the El Paso Pro Musica festival and Alaska’s Sitka Summer Music Festival and Series, also keeps busy recording and performing around the world.

He was on his way to Alaska last week, where he was set to perform with a string orchestra at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center for women.

The concerts, scheduled for Saturday, featured several women who had been paroled since joining the orchestra but who wanted to continuing playing, Bailey said. Bringing music to the prison environment has proven beneficial, he said. “They need this orchestra to give hope and positivity to the inmates,” he said.

He’s not performed with this group before, he said. The two concerts, one for prisoners and their families, the other a public fundraiser, will feature some of Bailey’s original compositions, as well as pieces by composers such as J.S. Bach.

Speaking of Bach, Bailey said tickets are selling briskly for his upcoming Spokane performance of the compete Bach Cello Suites, set to be the final concert of the 2013 Northwest Bach Festival. Unlike in years past, organizers do not expect tickets to be available at the door.

Bailey said his muscles are working hard to be ready to perform the epic piece. “It’s three movements, two-plus hours of music,” he said.

Beyond that, he’s taping an episode of the NPR program “Performance Today” on Monday, set to air later in the week. His recording of Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concert was released earlier this year, and a recording of Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto comes out in January.

The Bach festival will run from March 2-24, and will include a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations by pianist Christopher O’Riley. Tickets are available through TicketsWest, (800) 325-SEAT or

Coeur d’Alene carol

Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre has a holiday bonbon for music fans.

Singer Laura Sable, a cast member of the company’s “Cool Yule” show at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and her pianist husband, Bill Wiemuth, have co-written a song that’s featured in the show.

“A Coeur d’Alene Christmas” talks about the Lake City in all its wintertime glory with references to the lights at the resort, Tubbs Hill, and other locales.

Sable said she and Wiemuth started thinking about the song in August – “when you’re really not thinking about Christmas.”

The “Cool Yule” cast – Sable, Kurt Raimer, Callie McKinney Cabe and Mark Cotter – recorded the song after a recent performance using the resort’s sound system.

“It turned out quite nice for not spending days and days in the studio,” Sable said.

The best part of the whole process has been seeing people in the audience react to the song, she said.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “When you write something, it’s very personal. Then you let people see your art, and it’s just lovely. Their eyes light up and they’re beaming at the end of the show.

The plan, said company spokeswoman Jonna Olscamp, is to release the song via iTunes. In the meantime, the song is posted online with this story on

Tickets to “Cool Yule” are $25 and are available at the box office in North Idaho College’s Boswell Hall, 880 W. Garden Ave., by phone at (208) 769-7780 or online at The show runs through Dec. 31.

Leaving Liz Lemon

On a final note, fans of the NBC sitcom “30 Rock” will be happy to know that Tracy Morgan will be coming to Spokane in March.

Morgan will bring his standup show, “Tracy Morgan: Excuse My French,” to the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on March 29. Tickets will be $45-$55 and are available through the Fox box office – (509) 624-1200 or – or via any TicketsWest outlet, (800) 325-SEAT or>

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