Mountain Stage Returns To Ohio University

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For more than 30 years, Mountain Stage has established a long tradition of featuring national and international acts in almost every style of music.

That tradition continues on Sunday, March 16 when the NPR radio series returns to Ohio University's Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

A production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Mountain Stage is a two-hour public radio show recorded before a live audience. Sunday's performance will be recorded for a spring 2014 broadcast on NPR stations across the United States and abroad.

Here's a look at the March 16 lineup:

Pink Martini

Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brazilian marching street band and Japanese film noir is the 12-piece Pink Martini. Based in Portland, Ore., Harvard grad and classically trained pianist Thomas Lauderdale founded the group in 1994 to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes.

Pink Martini has performed with more than 50 symphony orchestras around the world. In 2003, the group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to tour most of the continent. Other appearances include four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall; the opening party at NYC’s remodeled Museum of Modern Art; the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia; and sold-out appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival and Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theatre.

Get Happy, released in 2013, included 16 songs sung in nine languages. An unabashed fan of The Sound of Music, Lauderdale jumped at the chance to work with descendants of the legendary von Trapp family. The result of that collaboration is the new release, Dream a Little Dream. To date, the group has sold more than three million records.

The von Trapps

Sofi, Melanie, Amanda, and August von Trapp are the great grandchildren of Capt. Georg and Maria von Trapp who, in 1941, fled the Nazi regime in Austria with their family and moved to the United States. Maria von Trapp’s book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, served as the inspiration for the classic 1965 film The Sound of Music.

For the last dozen years, the four siblings have been singing on stages in five continents, from Australia, Beijing and South Korea to the Hollywood Bowl, Austin City Limits and The Grand Ole Opry. The von Trapps made their Carnegie Hall debut in December, 2012 with Pink Martini and the New York Pops Orchestra.

They have appeared with dozens of major symphony orchestras in the United States and Canada, and on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, The View, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The von Trapp Singers have recorded six albums, a concert DVD, and recently collaborated on a song with Rufus Wainwright that was included in Pink Martini’s 2013 release, Get Happy.

Now living in Portland, Ore., the von Trapps have released, Dream a Little Dream, a collaboration with Pink Martini. The album features cameos by The Chieftains, Wayne Newton and Charmian Carr (who played Liesl in The Sound of Music).

Parkington Sisters

From Wellfleet, Mass., each of the four Parkington sisters is a songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist: Rose plays piano, guitar and accordion; Ariel and Sarah play violin and viola; and Nora plays violin and percussion. Together, they have a dynamic stage presence that’s equally at home at the House of Blues as it is Symphony Hall.

Recently the Parkingtons have toured with or opened for Dispatch, the Dropkick Murphys and Mavis Staples. The sisters performed at the 2011 Bonnaroo festival and shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen. The group’s 2011 debut, Till Voices Wake Us, was selected by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as one of the "Top Essential Albums" of 2011. The Parkington Sisters’ current release is titled Inside My Head.

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound

A Wisconsin tradition, Paul Cebar has been a primary investigator and promulgator of funky Afro-Caribbean-inflected Americana since the 1980s. His material has ranged from surf instrumentals and blues-rock to world beat and almost everything in between.

His Tomorrow Sound lineup reflects the music of New Orleans, his work as a musicologist in Florida, and his travels in Cuba, South America and Trinidad. In 2013, his Fine Rude Thing release followed up 2007’s Tomorrow Sound Now for Yes Music People. Cebar also released a project with writer/radio commentator David Greenberger titled They Like Me Around Here.

Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo

Two amazing guitarists with extraordinary technical skills, Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo are among the most respected and versatile guitarists on the scene. Growing up in the New York suburbs, Vignola studied guitar at the Cultural Arts Center of Long Island, worked as a sideman for artists like Leon Redbone and Madonna, and led his famed Hot Club of France tribute band in New York City in the late 1980s. Vignola's virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, Mark O Connor, The Boston Pops, The New York Pops and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his "Five Most Admired Guitarists List" for The Wall Street Journal.

At 27, Raniolo has already performed alongside many of the finest musicians in the world including Tommy Emmanuel, Tony Trishka, Bucky Pizzarelli, David Grisman and Matt Flinner. About his work on The Guitar Lover’s Sampler, Volume I, producer Erica Miller wrote, "It was like gazing into the future of music." The collection of songs on Melody Magic, the duo's new album, ranges from the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (played as a non-stop romp) to Survivor’s "Eye of the Tiger" to works by Bach, Bizet, Grieg and Sting. Vignola and Raniolo have been touring together as a guitar duo for nearly four years and have played hundreds of shows together.

Sunday's show time is 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for the first 10 rows and $15 for all remaining seats. To purchase tickets, visit The Ohio University Performing Arts Series' website.