Green Music Center Unveils Virtual Spring of Shows

The Green Music Center–Sonoma State University’s live music venue and educational complex made up of Weill Hall, Schroeder Hall and more–is accustomed to packing the halls with concerts and various live events featuring culturally significant musicians and other top-tier performers.

The last several months have been quiet ones at the Green Music Center, as the Covid-19 pandemic closed the halls and classrooms in March of 2020. After missing the summer season due to the extended social-distancing orders, the center in Rohnert Park transformed their 2020 fall season into an online experience dubbed ‘The Green Room.’

The venue’s green rooms, where performers hang out backstage, inspired the virtual program of events. Now, ‘The Green Room’ returns for a spring 2021 season featuring more performances and conversations with artists streaming online, beginning this month.

The spring season starts with the renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Septet featuring trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis on Saturday, Jan. 30. The ensemble presents “The Democracy! Suite,” a new work written by Marsalis during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis as a response to the political, social and economic struggles facing the United States.

Following that, ‘The Green Room’ virtually hosts performances by groups ranging from San Francisco classical foursome Kronos Quartet to hip-hop ambassadors Alphabet Rockers.

Kronos Quarter continues its “50 for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire,” a project commissioning 50 new works for string quartet composed equally by women and men, with a virtual concert on Feb. 20.

Alphabet Rockers share their mission of shaping a more equitable world by giving youth a way to express themselves positively through hip-hop in a family-friendly show on Feb. 27.

Other exciting entertainers virtually visiting ‘The Green Room’ include Los Angeles-based band Quetzal, who mix musical styles such as R&B and Chicano rock when they perform online March 11; and Clear Creek Creative, who appear in a discussion of their environmentally, culturally and spiritually-conscious theatrical work, “Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man,” on April 1.

The spring offerings also include two new performances from “Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Front Row: National.” The mouthful of a series is curated by Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center co-artistic directors David Finckel and Wu Han, to celebrate chamber music with the public. First, the Calidore String Quartet performs virtually on Feb. 6. Next, musicians from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center perform Bach’s iconic “Brandenburg Concertos” on April 3.

In addition to these online concerts, ‘The Green Room’ online spring programming also features the return of Michael Mwenso’s Black Music Series, featuring culturally significant discussions with a diverse group of artists.

Last fall, Mwenso and special guests delved into a wide range of topics surrounding the Black experience though discussion, historical recordings, and performance.

Now, the acclaimed musician and self-described cultural guide is back for two more installments of the series. On Feb. 4, Mwenso connects how making music in his group Mwenso & The Shakes helped shed light on his own experiences. On April, 8, Mwenso leads a roundtable talk with prominent artists Vuyo Sotashe and Jules Latimer on the artist perspective of the LGBTQ+ experience in America.

Tickets for The Green Room’s spring 2021 season of shows opens to the public on Jan. 19. $10 for individual performances; $70 for the full season. Sonoma State  students are Free. Green Music Center donors and subscribers to the Spring 2021 Season will receive access to one additional performance on March 6. Visit gmc.sonoma.edu for more details.

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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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