Friday, November 20, 2009

Rheingans and Rhoe present Christmas Sojourn Live at the Fries

Rheingans and Rhoe are pleased to support the Council for the Homeless with The Christmas Sojourn Performances. Our support goes to help with the Community Voice Mail program, a groundbreaking technology for those without phones in Clark County.

The "Live at the Fries" concerts are staged in the beautifully renovated Fries Auditorium. (Location: 2214 E. 13th St Vancouver, WA) The excellent acoustics, architectural details, restored finishes and intimate setting of the Fries provide excellent acoustics in this intimate music venue.

Thomas Rheingans, Artistic Director and featured artist, is an award winning concert pianist who has performed throughout the United States in solo and ensemble settings. He has lived and performed in the Portland/Vancouver area

since 1994. Thomas is one of the Northwest's most versatile pianists. He can perform jazz, classical, and popular music with astonishing dexterity! He is an accomplished composer who has written music for plays, musical theater, film, and commercials. He has released seven albums through Rivergoose Records.

Read the Vancouver Voice review of the first concert Sweet and Lowdown.


"Christmas Sojourn" December 5th 2009 2 pm and 8 pm


$12 Matinee performances,

$16 Evening performances,

$20 Council for the Homeless Benefit Ticket for both performances

Senior/Student discounts.

LOCATION: 2214 E 13th Street Fries Auditorium Vancouver, WA

* Admission includes dessert and beverage provided by Trader Joes

* The grand piano is by Classic Piano of Portland


by phone 1.800.838.3006 or at the door

ARTISTRY IN RHYTHM The 6th season of "Live at the Fries"

featuring pianist Thomas Rheingans produced by Llewellyn J. Rhoe

The Christmas Sojourn December 5th 2009

* Artistic Programs subject to change by the performers, but here's what we plan.

Nutcracker Suite

Small World Variation in the style of 7 famous composer

Valley of the Bells

Ukrainian Bells

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Christmas Time is Here

Linus and Lucy

December Rain

index.html.gifBENEFIT INFO:

Our support goes to help with the Community Voice Mail program, agroundbreaking technology for those without phones in Clark County. It provides 24-hour access to telephone messages from potential landlords and employers, case managers, and family. "Community Voice Mail is an effective tool to find jobs and housing! " echos Ken Burris the Vancouver Voice Mail Coordinator.

You can help. With the purchase of a each $20 ticket, we will donate $10 to sustaining this important program. You can donate even if you can't make either the matinee or the evening performance with this caveat: the whole $20 from this special ticket will go the sustain the voicemail program. Vancouver's CVM program served 842 clients in 2008!

Tickets Available at

by phone 1.800.838.3006 or at the door

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweet and lowdown in Vancouver

One night in October, after a lengthy set of various jazz, show and choral favorites, renowned pianist Tom Rheingans banged out a flaming rendition of W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.” His hands were reflected in the black wood of the baby grand, like there were four hands playing. It sounded like it. Afterwards, the wowed audience exploded in a standing ovation. The sixth season of Live At the Fries was underway.

Live At the Fries is a performance series that showcases Rheingans and featured guests. This season is the first under production and promotion guidance of the Arts Equity theater company.

The Fries Auditorium, on the Washington State School for the Blind campus, was built around 1915 and is fashioned after something like a dance hall. It’s bright, classy, moderate-sized and distinctly old-fashioned ambiance is perfect for a piano performance that harkened back to the early part of the 20th Century.

“Acoustically, it’s the best venue in Vancouver,” Llewellyn Rhoe, founder of Arts Equity, said of the Fries.

Rhoe said he met Rheingans when they found they, as artists and promoters in Vancouver, had something in common. “We introduced ourselves and said we needed to sit down and talk because nobody else was crazy enough to buy a full page in the Vancouver Vanguard,” he said.

Afterwards, Rhoe frequently used Rheingan’s music to underscore Arts Equity’s productions. “We had a fairly regular decompression session, ‘What did I think of the performance’ over the years,” Rhoe said. He said future collaborations with Rheingans are in the works. In the meantime, he’s handling much of the less celebrated handy work for Live At the Fries.
“I’m a producer,” said Rhoe. “My direct involvement in it is making sure that the performer just has to perform. It’s a good working relationship,” he said. “They’re rare.”

“It’s certainly a relief,” Rheingan said about Rhoe’s contributions to Live At the Fries, “because I can focus a little bit more on my playing.”

Rheingan said he hopes their collaboration will expose their arts to each others’ audiences. Arts Equity’s theater activity is on temporary hiatus while they work on locating a new performance venue. “It’s a good time to concentrate on writing,” said Rhoe.
Each performance of Live At the Fries is a collection of songs related to a certain theme. The first performance, titled “Sweet and Lowdown,” focused primarily on the works of George Gershwin, though not exclusively. “I always mix a few things in,” Rheingan said. “It’s a theme that you play off of, but then ... there’ll be some other things.”

Under an outline of the New York skyline, which was projected on the red curtain backdrop, Rheingans opened the set playfully with Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” on solo piano. It’s a song that’s usually the show’s closer, he said.

He wasn’t alone for the entire show. During the first half, he brought out Asia Smith, a young singer whom he has worked with since 2007. Also appearing in the second half of the show, Jones added an old-fashioned lounge essence to the performance, cooing sultrily in Gershwin’s “Summertime” and belting out hope and inspiration in John Kander’s “Maybe This Time.”

Rheingans was also joined by Heritage High School Women’s and Men’s Ensemble, under the direction of Joel Karn. The men and women’s choirs performed together and separately, as well as for one number sung a cappella. The women’s ensemble, which won first place at the State Solo/Ensemble Competition three years in a row, performed a rousing rendition of Moses Hogan’s gospel number, “Music Down In My Soul.”

Rheingans said past shows have incorporated different kinds of guests, from Irish musicians to belly dancers, to accentuate the eclectic nature of his sets.

“My hope is to add something to the offerings of Vancouver,” he said. He said part of the nature of the series is to expose audiences to his guests and to The Fries, perpetuating interest in Vancouver’s culture.

“There needs to be more,” he said, “and I’m trying, hopefully, to fill a need.”

Newcomers may find that watching even a single performer can make for thorough entertainment. Listening to the performance of a piano player is impressive enough, but seeing one in person adds a dimension of respect for the craft. Seeing his hands fly across a staggering performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” is as humbling, both for those who never play piano and, especially, for those who took a year of it in college and still can’t play “Chopsticks.”

Add in some high-end, complimentary refreshments provided by Trader Joe’s, and it’s a fine evening out for anyone. This season of Live At the Fries will run until May with the next set, “The Christmas Sojourn” on December 5. For more information visit

Adam Stewart is a cultural go-getter and Arts & Culture writer for The Voice.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hey Couve Do Something Patriotic...Support The Arts.



To get your own hi res copy of this image
send an email to

Help us get this image out and here is the reason. 

This Thursday the 16th of April there will be a Forum entitled: "What is art and who decides it is?" The forum begins at 7:30 pm in the Clark Public Utilities Auditorium located at 1200 Fort Vancouver Way.  You can read an editorial in the Vancouver Voice for their perspective.  

Panelists include Vancouver/Clark Parks and Recreation Director, Peter Mayer, Evergreen School Superintendent, John Deeder and Vancouver Arts and Academics Principal, James O’Banion. Betty Sue Morris will facilitate the forum. Sponsors include SWCA and Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt.

With the exception of James O'Banion, it's difficult to find anything on Google that even mentions their past work supporting the arts!  Several of us have been asking ourselves what needs to be corrected with this picture?

Why are there no artists, no gallery owners, no working artists on this panel?  We heard that they specifically didn't want any artists on this forum.  Why is the panel filled with administrators and politicians?  

Maybe the forum's title should be: "How can WE decide what is art?"

Please panel organizers, please do not confuse this one sided discussion with broad based arts advocacy.  You can't really expect to have a forum on: "What is art and who decides it is?" when you leave the artists totally out of the equation.  No artists, equals no meaningful discussion for this panel.

It is extremely patronizing to be shunned to the side in this way.  We are not children allowed to sit in on your adult activity, only if we are seen and not heard.   We suggest a change in your tack if you ever want to get that arts ship to sail upwind in the Couve!   In case you haven't noticed several artists and arts organizations have been sailing upwind for a long time without any help from panels and forums. 

In the end it is not about building a hundred million dollar arts center, it is about advocating for all the arts already an organic part of our community.  After twenty years of civic leaders and politicians attempting to get a building built, there's been not one performance given, not one painting hung, not one note played, not an event scheduled for this as yet, non existent arts center!  It seems a little out of balance and disingenuous to us to support anything other than what is organically taking place.

So we hope the panelists, supporters, and sponsors of this panel come prepared to show us their artistic vitae credentials (that's like:  show me the money) and evidence of their overwhelming past, present, and future support for the arts community in total... not just the schools, school districts and organizations they represent.



Free Speech Patriot