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Archive for August, 2014

Flutist to bring Motown magic to Music Fest

It was a hot flute that led to a cool career for Alexander Zonjic.

Zonjic

Zonjic

“I came home to Windsor, Ontario, to visit my mother and my family, and as I’m walking down the street, a guy who recognizes me as the local rock guitar guy who went to Toronto approaches me on the street and said, ‘You’re the guitar player; would you like to buy a flute?’

“It kind of took me aback. I didn’t really understand why I would even want a flute,” Zonjic recalled. “I loved the way it looked in the case. He said he wanted 50 bucks; I only had $9 and he took it.”

The steal was a deal — bargain price, lighter and smaller instrument, and a life-changing experience.

“I think what I had automatically was a real passion and desire to really want to learn how to play this very interesting-looking little thing. I mean, it looks like plumbing; it’s basically three pieces of a tube, and you put it together and yes, you can make music with it, but not unless you really make a huge commitment to it,” he said.

“The guitar is still a part of my life, but the flute is definitely what has served me well on a very large level and has brought me to perform with amazing people and meet great people and travel the world.”

That minimal monetary investment combined with dedication, education and talent made Zonjic a jazz star. The Canadian was a member of Bob James’ band in the 1980s before embarking on a solo career. With nearly a dozen discs, he has recorded with an array of luminaries, including Kenny G, Earl Klugh, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun and Kem.

The Motor City Horns

The Motor City Horns

Zonjic’s latest release, Doin’ the D, pays tribute to the Motor City. The flute player took home the Canadian Smooth Jazz Award for Album of the Year for the 2009 disc.

“[Detroit] became my source for everything: I have an office in Detroit; I have a huge audience in Detroit; I got to do CBS radio in Detroit. So when you start to look at what I owe the city, because there’s really no justifiable reason why anyone should go through their whole life thinking they could get away with playing the flute for a living, come on. That is a profound blessing,” he said.

“Regardless of what level you may play on, you can never take something like that for granted, and most of the credit has to go to this area. So when I put my CD together, the main reason I called it Doin’ the D was because it was a cool expression that referred to doing cool things in what I think is the greatest music city in the world.”

Still a broadcaster, Zonjic’s radio show, “From A to Z,” airs weekly in Toronto and is syndicated in several U.S. cities, including Detroit.

Serieux

Serieux

When he’s not on the air or stage, Zonjic is putting together lineups for music events.

“It just started with people casually asking for advice and eventually led to me being hired on a somewhat regular basis to be an artistic director,” he said. “At this point, there are around nine events.”

He has assisted with Music Fest since it began in 2010.

“I love how eclectic Music Fest is at The University of Toledo. It’s just been a thrill to work with Larry Burns [vice president for external affairs] and UT,” Zonjic said. “I think that school is special, and I think that city is special.”

Motown will be on the menu when Zonjic takes the stage with The Motor City Horns and Serieux at the free event Friday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Rocket Hall parking lot.

“I grew up loving Motown; you’re talking about the greatest songs ever written,” the flutist said. “We’ve done these shows before and there’s a lot of magic.”

The Infatuations to start Music Fest party

The title of the opening track on The Infatuations’ Detroit Block Party says it all: “Tonight We Celebrate.”

Lead singer Caleb Gutierrez yells, “Get up!” and adds, “If you came to party, you came to the right place.”

The Infatuations

The Infatuations

“We wanted to set the tone that this is a soundtrack for party events in your life whether it’s a graduation party or wedding, just hanging out for the weekend or whatever it is, we want to be that soundtrack,” said guitarist and band co-founder Christian Draheim. “‘Tonight We Celebrate’ is a song about let’s go have a good time.

“I think so many artists are so deep and so heavy; they have so many important things to say. And at the end of the day, I started doing music because it was fun; it was a way to escape all the important, mundane stuff.”

Fans have been moving and grooving since the Motor City band’s disc dropped in May. The group’s retro-sounding modern mix of rock, Motown, soul and funk has been compared to Fitz & The Tantrums and Mayer Hawthorne.

Essential to that sound is Gutierrez’s distinctive voice.

“[Marco Lowe, band co-founder and songwriter, and I] knew we had to find the right lead singer for this project,” Draheim said. “We had come up with a description of what we should keep our eyes and ear open for: Somebody who has that power and depth of a Levi Stubbs and the full vocal range of Stevie Wonder and can get a little gritty and sound like Rob Tyner, somebody who can symbolize all these Detroit vocalists and have their on thing at the same time.”

Draheim saw Gutierrez take the stage at an open-mic night at a Dearborn bar in 2009.

“It was the first time I heard Caleb sing. And the whole place stopped, even the dart game. He commanded the whole place,” Draheim recalled.

Gutierrez joined the lineup in 2010. One year later, The Infatuations released a video for the single, “Blame It on You.”

“We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted our sound to be; it was kind of a combination of Motown, funk and Detroit-inspired rock ‘n’ roll,” Draheim said. “ ‘Blame It on You’ really had that backbeat Motown feel to it, just something easy for everybody to grab on to and sing along to with us.”

Since then, the group has shared the stage with George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars and Here Come the Mummies.

“As we started playing festivals, I noticed that there’s young people, there’s older people, there are all sorts of different ethnic backgrounds in front of us. And the crowd is four times the size it was when we finished our set versus when we started,” Draheim said. “I think there’s something in [our music] for everybody.”

Get ready to dance: The Infatuations — Draheim, Gutierrez, Lowe, bassist the Wolf, guitarist Nick Behnan and drummer Bobby Myers — will cruise down I-75 to open The University of Toledo’s Music Fest Friday, Aug. 29, at 4 p.m. in the Rocket Hall parking lot.

It’ll be the good-time band’s debut performance in the Glass City.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about The University of Toledo Music Fest,” Draheim said. “Our drummer actually worked on the crew that set up the sound system last year and said, ‘Man, if there’s a way we can play this, that would be awesome.’ And here we are this year playing it. We’re excited.”

Mike Posner returns home to entertain fans at Music Fest

Though he’s traveled all over the world, when Mike Posner comes to Music Fest to perform Friday, Aug. 29, he should feel right at home.

Posner

Posner

“I’m a Midwest boy,” Posner said. “I was born in Detroit in the dead of winter. Every show in the Midwest is a hometown show. It’s going to be a special one.”

The 26-year-old is behind the chart-topping songs “Cooler Than Me,” “Please Don’t Go” and “Bow Chika Wow Wow,” on which he collaborated with Lil Wayne.

After rising to fame at a young age, Posner took a break from singing to write songs for other artists, most notably “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber and “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth and Emile Sande.

Posner, unsure of whether he wanted to jump back into the spotlight, was inspired to start making his own music again after an idea he had on an airplane while eating a sandwich. Now Posner donates a meal to a hungry child in America for every album he sells.

“This veggie sandwich made me realize it was possible to use my talent for good, not just to acquire myself more fame and more money,” he said on his website.

Posner is finishing up his second album, Pages, as he performs across the country on his Unplugged Tour. The album will be released in October.

Music Fest 2014, which is free and open to the public, will start at 4 p.m. and feature performances by The Infatuations, Alexander Zonjic with the Motor City Horns and Serieux, David Cook and Posner.

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/musicfest or follow the event on Facebook at facebook.com/UTMusicFest and Twitter at twitter.com/musicfest14.

UT partners with Cavaliers to reach northeast Ohio students

The University of Toledo is turning heads in the Mid-American Conference by turning up the volume on its outreach in northeast Ohio through a partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The partnership is designed to entice prospective students who are looking to be far enough away from home but not too far by promoting UT’s large selection of affordable, top-tier academic programs.

Details of the partnership and UT’s objectives will be announced at a news conference Thursday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.

“Northeast Ohio has always been important for recruiting students, and we’re excited to be partnering with the Cavs, one of the region’s most influential organizations, to let students know about the outstanding educational opportunities available at The University of Toledo,” said Larry Burns, UT vice president for external affairs.

“It’s clear that Cleveland is going to be one of the best teams in basketball this year and in the coming years, and I can’t think of a better place for Rocket Nation to be than in Quicken Loans Arena,” Burns said.

He noted that partnerships with professional sports teams in Detroit during the past eight years have resulted in doubling the UT student population from southeast Michigan. The University is hoping for the same from northeast Ohio.

The partnership between the Cavaliers and the University integrates elements that include season-long signage and in-game digital messaging targeting future UT Rockets. Also to be shared at Thursday’s news conference will be details about how the Cavs and the University will team up to support prostate cancer awareness.

UT Mens’s Basketball Coach Tod Kowalczyk and his team already have embraced “Tie One On,” an annual event where bow ties are worn by coaches and handed out to fans in attendance at basketball games to support the fight against cancer.

“To have the Cavs join us in this cause helps put UT Medical Center’s anti-cancer work on the national stage,” Burns said, adding that this year’s bow tie design will be unveiled at the news conference.

“On top of having bragging rights to talk about a nationally ranked university that’s just a few hours away from Cleveland, there is a lot of good that comes with welcoming The University of Toledo to the Cavaliers family of partners,” said Kerry Bubolz, president of business operations for the team. “We applaud UT’s efforts to be a difference maker in the fight against prostate cancer, and the Cavs are ‘all for one, one for all’ to help support the cause against a disease that touches millions of families across the country.”

Burns also said that as important as recruiting students to UT is, The University of Toledo also is committed to engaging with the northeast Ohio community. “We want to connect with businesses and nonprofits in the Cleveland area to help UT students with internships to complement their classroom education and ultimately have the professional experience needed to get a job in Cleveland or at least in Ohio right after graduation,” Burns said.

UT sponsors Intern in Ohio, a free program matching students and businesses, available to students across the state at interninohio.com.

Theatre auditions to take place Aug. 28-29

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will hold auditions for its fall plays Thursday and Friday, Aug. 28 and 29, in the Center for Performing Arts Studio Theatre.

The department will be casting for:

• “The Adding Machine,” an expressionist, metaphorical play by Elmer Rice. It will be performed Friday through Sunday, Oct. 24-26 and Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

• “Miss Julie,” a naturalistic play written by August Strindberg. It will be performed Friday through Sunday, Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 5-7.

Auditions are open to all.

Sign-up sheets are posted outside the Theatre and Film Department office, located in Center for Performing Arts Room 1030.

Audition preparation information can be found at http://utole.do/auditions.

For more information, call the Department of Theatre and Film at 419.530.2202.

UTMC provides cardiac rehab, Medicare benefits for chronic heart failure patients

Heart failure is increasingly common. An estimated five million patients in the United States suffer from chronic heart failure, and an additional 500,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.

Although rest was traditionally recommended, many patients often remained burdened by fatigue, diminished exercise tolerance, poor quality of life, recurrent hospitalizations and early mortality. Several studies have assessed the ability of exercise training to improve functional capacity in patients with heart failure and have observed relatively few complications during training.

Cathy Johns talked with Dr. Dalynn Badenhop.

Cathy Johns talked with Dr. Dalynn Badenhop.

The University of Toledo Medical Center cardiac rehabilitation program participated in a National Institutes of Health study titled “Heart Failure: A Controlled Trial Investigating Outcomes of Exercise Training.” The randomized, controlled trial featured 2,331 medically stable outpatients with heart failure at 82 participating centers in the United States, Canada and France.

The study was undertaken to determine whether aerobic-type exercise training reduces mortality and hospitalization, and improves quality of life in patients with medically stable chronic heart failure when administered in addition to usual care.

Dr. Dalynn Badenhop, director of cardiac rehabilitation and professor of medicine, was UTMC’s principal investigator, and the late Dr. Thomas Walsh was UTMC’s chronic heart failure cardiologist for the study. Other UTMC health care personnel involved in the study were nurses Katie Roberts and Sandra Gardam, and exercise physiologists Abby Steigerwalt and Angie Petree.

The main results of study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009, showed that patients in the cardiac rehab group experienced modest to significant reductions in mortality and hospitalization, a significant reduction in cardiovascular mortality, and a significant reduction in heart failure hospitalizations compared to the usual care group.

In February 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved coverage for cardiac rehabilitation services for beneficiaries with a diagnosis of chronic heart failure. Several studies have shown notable improvements in physical function, symptoms, psychological health, recurrent hospitalizations and death. Guidelines and policies from other countries have recommended cardiac rehabilitation coverage for chronic heart failure patients since 2010.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated the following in its decision memo: “Cardiac rehabilitation improves symptoms of chronic heart failure, decreases mortality and reduces hospitalizations. We conclude that the evidence that supports the clinical benefits of the individual components of cardiac rehab programs is sufficient to determine that participation in these programs improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic heart failure.”

Cathy Johns, a patient in the UTMC Phase II cardiac rehab program, was one of the first to benefit from the centers’ decision to cover cardiac rehab for chronic heart failure patients.

“I was on vacation and I thought I was having a heart attack, but it turned out to be heart failure. The UTMC staff noticed some unexpected symptoms and discovered a virus that was attacking my heart and other vital organs,” Johns said. “I am still here because of their magnificent work and diligence. I owe my life to UTMC, that’s no exaggeration.”

“In the 1980s, we wouldn’t have considered cardiac rehabilitation an appropriate therapy for patients like Cathy. We didn’t know enough about the beneficial effects. After 25 years of research, we now have the proof that these programs have merit,” Badenhop said.

“I didn’t exercise at all before I got sick,” Johns said. “I can’t imagine not having a program like this to monitor my progress and help further heal my heart.”

During one of her final cardiac rehab sessions, Johns completed 72 minutes of exercise.

“Cathy showed great improvement over time. She started with the ability to walk 2,700 feet in 12 minutes, and she can now walk more than 3,100 feet in 12 minutes,” Badenhop said. “Ultimately, the goal of cardiac rehab is to improve the patient’s quality of life. Numbers and statistics are great, but those improved numbers need to transfer to the patient’s daily activities.”

Johns was concerned that she would never be able to attend another Detroit Tigers game due to complications from chronic heart failure. Since going through UTMC’s cardiac rehab program, she was able to see her favorite team in action without incident.

“It was an incredible experience,” Johns said. “I was able to walk around the park and get to and from my seat without any issues.”

Johns has chosen to enroll in the Phase III maintenance program to continue the healing process. Phase III is similar to a gym membership, but with the added benefit of being in a medically monitored setting.

“I was worried about the cost, but it’s as affordable as being a member at a traditional gym. It’s the best investment I could hope to make,” Johns said.

“For chronic heart failure patients, UTMC is the place to be,” Badenhop said.

For more information about UTMC’s Heart and Vascular Center, visit utmc.utoledo.edu/clinics/hvc.

Singer-songwriter ready to rock at Music Fest

When it comes to finding the right words, David Cook likes to let his music do the talking for him.

“One of the things I really love about playing music is being able to connect with people,” the 31-year-old singer-songwriter said. “It’s not always the easiest thing to just talk to somebody and make a connection and interact. Music kind of bridges that gap for me.”

Cook

Cook

Cook, whose career was kick-started by winning the seventh season of “American Idol,” said he pulls inspiration from all parts of his life — everything from past experiences to the newspaper — when it comes to writing songs. Reflecting on past work he said: “I try to just absorb more and find inspiration in the peripherals.”

When asked about his favorite song he’d written, Cook found it difficult to choose:
“Man, it depends on which way the wind’s blowing,” he said. “Each of these songs, they come from a moment where you get excited or you get inspired. You’re inherently connected emotionally to these songs.

“Maybe I can tell you [my favorite song] on stage that day,” he joked.

Only a week after winning “Idol,” Cook’s first single, “The Time of My Life,” debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. That song and 10 of his singles were listed on the chart, breaking the previous record of six singles held by pop singer Miley Cyrus. It was the highest number of songs by a single artist since the start of the Nielsen SoundScan era, which began in 1991.

In 2008, he released his first studio album, the self-titled David Cook, that featured the hits “Light On,” which reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 list, and “Come Back to Me.”

Following his Declaration Tour, Cook began working on his second disc, This Loud Morning, which was released in 2011.

One year later, Cook announced his contract with RCA Records, which officially ended after his second album, was not going to be renewed.

Since then, the artist has put out several self-produced singles, including “Last Song I’ll Every Write for You” and “Lay Me Low.”

“It’s been really exciting to have more creative control and more freedom to push myself as an artist,” he said.

Cook is working on a new record without a label, but said that’s fine with him.

“I’m not married to the idea of needing [a record label],” he said. “With social media and technology available, it’s more viable to make that connection on your own. My fans so far, six years in, have been incredible and really been loyal. If I can maintain that relationship without a middle man it might be of more benefit.”

Many of the fans Cook is referring to are the same ones that cheered him on during his “American Idol” journey. When asked about his reality show experience, Cook said he had to completely rewire himself to adjust to his newfound fame.

“To go from acoustic gigs for five people at a time to all of a sudden what kind of sandwich you eat for lunch is being overanalyzed by the media is kind of strange,” he said. “But my time on ‘Idol,’ overall, I’d have to say was fantastic.”

Cook will appear at this year’s UT Music Fest Friday, Aug. 29. The free, public event will start at 3 p.m. at the concert’s new location in the Rocket Hall parking lot. He is scheduled to take the stage at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/musicfest and davidcookofficial.com.

‘The Relevant University’ to air Aug. 26

Tune in to “The Relevant University” Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. on AM 760 WJR.

Relevant U logo 2014This month, Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs, is joined by Richard Hylant, a member of the Board of Directors for the Great Lakes Protection Fund, to discuss the health of the Great Lakes after a toxic algal bloom in Lake Erie caused an advisory on Toledo’s drinking water for a half million people.

In this month’s episode:

• Richard Hylant shares the work of the Great Lakes Protection Fund to protect and restore this important natural resource.

• Dr. Isabel Escobar, UT professor of chemical and environmental engineering, and expert in water treatment and desalination membrane technology, and Dr. Patrick Lawrence, UT professor and chair of geography and planning, who recently led a restoration project of the Ottawa River that flows through the University’s Main Campus, share their water quality expertise about what led to Toledo’s recent water crisis.

• Lana Pollack, chair of the International Joint Commission, talks about how a cooperative approach between the United States and Canada is needed to protect the Great Lakes.

• And Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur discusses the changes needed to prevent continued water quality concerns for the many people who depend on Lake Erie.

The University and Detroit’s WJR Radio produce the monthly, hourlong program that explores the critical role higher education plays in our world.

Listen at utoledo.edu/therelevantuniversity.

Parking permits need to be purchased by Aug. 31

The start of a new semester means more than just class being in session; it also means it’s time to purchase or renew your parking permits.

parkingEmployee and affiliate permits will be available for purchase beginning Monday, Aug. 25. Visit http://myparking.utoledo.edu and log in with your username and password. After logging in, click “apply for permit,” select an application, and submit your information.

Students who secured a fall reservation over the summer had that converted to an active permit Aug. 20. They received an email confirming their registration and providing information about what lots they can park in.

If a reservation was not secured over the summer, students can still secure permits by logging onto http://myparking.utoledo.edu. All student permit fees are applied directly to the student e-statement.

Employee and affiliate permit prices vary depending on eligibility. Visit the Parking Services website for more information.

Guest passes also are available on a daily basis for $3 per day. These can be secured by visiting guestparking.utoledo.edu.

After the Sunday, Aug. 31, deadline, UT Parking Enforcement will begin ticketing using license plate recognition technology, which scans license plates and compares numbers with a database of registered permits. Violations will be sent via email to Rockets or UT email accounts. If the vehicle has never been registered, a notice will be sent to the mailing address of the registered owner.

For more information, visit utoledo.edu/parkingservices or utoledo.edu/parking/parkingenforcement.

Undergraduate Admission holding auditions for student positions

Energetic, spirited and responsible students are needed for a position welcoming potential new students to The University of Toledo this fall.

Admission Ambassadors posed for a photo in front of University Hall.

Admission Ambassadors posed for a photo in front of University Hall.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission is holding auditions for candidates interested in becoming Admission Ambassadors: UT students that greet prospective students and families, give tours, help with recruitment events, and assist the office, said Aundy Bishop, assistant director of the campus visit experience.

Auditions will take place Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 5 p.m. in the Libbey Hall Dining Room on the second floor. Applications are available at the front desk, located on the second floor of Libbey Hall.

“The Admission Ambassadors are such an integral part of the recruitment efforts of our office, and this year we’ll be stepping up our game,” Bishop said. “We are looking for students who are enthusiastic about The University of Toledo — professional, motivated, and understand the importance of recruiting new students to the University.”

At auditions, students will have a group interview and participate in improv and public speaking activities, Bishop said.

“Students should represent UT with their dress and attitude,” she said. “They need a positive spirit and willingness to think on their toes.”

Bishop said there will be a lot of team-building and professional skills taught through on-the-job experiences, which will help students gain professional abilities that will benefit them in the workplace.

The position is paid $8 per hour. Current students are required to have a 2.5 grade point average, and incoming freshmen must have a high school cumulative GPA of 3.0.

For more information, contact Bishop via email at andrea.bishop2@utoledo.edu.