Category Archives: Shaker Heights

Free Cleveland Composers Concert This Sunday

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Lisa Heinrich, Alison La Rosa Montez, Tom Brown, Linda Miller, and Bonnie Svetlik perform Brian Taylor’s "Spirito Sereno" at last year’s free Cleveland Composers Connection Concert

With trips, upcoming weddings and the like, my wallet’s been strapped a bit lately.  So I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive, if not free, things to do around town.  Although I’m out of town this weekend, there’s a free concert on Sunday night that caught my attention and I figured I’d share because we all could use a cheap night out once in a while.

This Sunday at 7pm, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society is hosting their annual Cleveland Composers Connection Concert. The performance will take place at First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights (21600 Shaker Blvd.)

Bonnie Svetlik, president of the Greater Cleveland Flute Society, performs at last year’s Cleveland Composers Connection Concert

I’ve attended the Flute Society’s annual concert the last couple of years and always find it to be a beautiful – and CLE-centric – way to spend a Sunday. Audiences are treated to an evening of Cleveland flutists performing pieces written by locally-based composers. (Here’s my recap of last year’s concert.)

Now in its 15th season, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society provides opportunities for flutists of all backgrounds to support and learn from one another. In addition to the Cleveland Composers Connection Concert, which is their year-end signature event, they offer recitals, lectures and masterclasses all centered around the flute.

The Cleveland Composers Connection Concert often features others musicians in addition to flutists. Here Joseph Rebman performs at last year’s concert.

For this year’s Cleveland Composers Connection Concert, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society has handpicked 9 flute compositions that were submitted for consideration by local composers:

  • Linda Allen– Flute Loops for flute and piano
  • Eric Ewazen– Sonata No. 1 for flute and piano
  • Stephen Griebling– Colorful Cordoba for flute and piano
  • Bryan Kennard– Between Three Colors for flute, oboe, and alto flute
  • Kaley Kleinman– Fantasy for Three Flutes
  • Jeffrey Mumford– An Evolving Romance for flute and piano
  • William Rayer– Night Trains for piccolo, 4 C flutes, alto, and bass
  • John H.C. Thompson– A Look from Many Sides for solo flute
  • Marshall Jones– Nuclear Placidity for 2 piccolos, 4 C flutes, alto, and bass

The group strives for a diverse sound in these concerts, so while some of the pieces are solely for the flute, others showcase how the flute can complement instruments like the piano and oboe.

In looking at the list of composers, I’m happy to see a great mix of previous years’ favorites – such as Rayer, Griebling and Kennard, as well as new additions to the series.

Last year’s composers: Brian Taylor, Jeffery Quick, William F. Rayer, David Kechley, Monica Houghton, Larry Baker and Tom Lopez

In particular, one composer to look forward to is Kaley Kleinman, a flutist from South Euclid, Ohio who is off to Notre Dame College this Fall. While I am impressed by musicians of any kind, young composers in particular astonish me because I think back to that age and how I would never have had that ability to put thoughts and emotions into music.

So if you’re looking for a pleasant evening that’s easy on your bank account this weekend, connect with composers and musicians in our own backyard and check out the Greater Cleveland Flute Society’s Cleveland Composers Connection Concert.

More information about the Greater Cleveland Flute Society:

Photos credit: Terence Wei, courtesy of Greater Cleveland Flute Society

Guest Post: Namaste or Should I Go to Cleveland? Bikram Yoga Arrives!

While I’m enjoying a weekend with my incredible in-laws in New Jersey, a friend from my Philly theatre days shares how Bikram Yoga’s recent arrival in Ohio led her to “flee to the Cleve.” I’ll be back Monday with an (overdue) recap of my first attempt at a Cleveland Clam Bake!


Danielle shares her love for Bikram Yoga at Bikram Yoga Cleveland -- Ohio's first studio of its kind.

Hello Clue into Cleveland readers!   In another lifetime, Amanda and I were theatre nerds together in Philadelphia through the Walnut Street Theatre’s apprenticeship program.  She was having nightmares over A Christmas Carol‘s group sales, while I was getting shoes thrown at me from irate CATS audience members. 

Fast forward six years and Amanda is loving life in Cleveland as a skilled and successful editor lady, while I’ve been fundraising for nonprofits myself – and getting hooked on Bikram Yoga – in San Francisco.   

My Bikram Yoga addiction led me to an intensive nine-week yoga teacher training program in Los Angeles with Bikram Choudhury himself this past summer, but when I returned to SF I knew I couldn’t teach full time in San Francisco for long before I’d go broke and be living in a box, offering yoga lessons for spare change. 

That’s when I discovered Bikram Yoga Cleveland – a brand new studio opening in September 2011, the very first official Bikram studio in all of Ohio!  I had some wonderful phone conversations with the owner, Jeannine LoConti, and it sounded like a great fit – and I really liked the idea of being a part of a new yoga studio right from the beginning.  So I stuffed my car to the brim, drove across the country…and here I am! 

Now Amanda has generously given me a bit of time and space to introduce you, her loyal readers, to Bikram Yoga Cleveland!  Hopefully I’ll convince you to come check out our clean and beautiful, welcoming studio! 

The newly opened Bikram Yoga Cleveland in Shaker Heights

We start, of course, with…What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures (and two breathing exercises) selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury.  These postures, performed in the same order each 90 minute class, systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, ligaments, and muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function. 

And yes, it’s hot in there; we heat the room to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. 

The heat in Bikram Yoga helps students safely get into poses like these

Wait, what?  105 degrees?!

Bikram likes to use the metaphor of forging a sword to explain the need for heat (I’m quoting from his “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class” book): “Suppose you are going to make a sword.  You start with a piece of fine steel and the first thing you do is put the steel in the fire and heat it up.  When the steel is hot, it becomes soft.  Then you can hammer it and slowly you make it change shape to the sword you want…now, if you don’t heat it up and start hammering the cold steel, nothing is going to happen to the steel, but you break your hand, the hammer, your arm.  The same thing happens when you do any exercise, even Hatha Yoga, in a cold environment.” 

The heat makes you less likely to strain, to pull a muscle, to hurt yourself.  You’re more flexible and malleable, just like that fine piece of steel. 

Also, when you exercise in a hot, humid room, you sweat.  You sweat a lot.  And that has such a wonderful, detoxifying effect on your whole body.  When you walk out of that room, and you’ve worked every muscle and joint in your body and sweated out every toxin, you will feel AMAZING.  There’s no high like a Bikram Yoga high, I promise you that! 

Bikram Yoga Cleveland’s studio space

So what do I actually get out of it besides this “yoga high” business?

Weight loss, reduced stress, better endurance, more energy, improved immunity, a stronger heart, expanded lung capacity, relief of chronic pain, toned muscles, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, detoxification, increased balance, strength and flexibility, increased willpower and mental strength…to name a few! 

That all sounds marvelous, but I’m a beginner and I’m frightened.

Don’t be!  The great thing about Bikram Yoga Cleveland is that because we’ve only just opened, we have a wonderful mix of beginners and advanced students alike.  And because every class is structured the same, you’ll feel more familiar with the poses and start seeing improvements in balance, strength and flexibility within only a week or two!  

Besides, in Bikram Yoga it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how close you can get to the full expression of the posture – as long as you’re doing it 100% the right way, you’re getting 100% of the benefit, regardless of how deep you can go, how long you can balance.  Bikram Yoga is for everyone!  After all, as Bikram says, “you’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to do the yoga and start from the scratch once again.” 

Before or after a Bikram class, there's a lounge and shop to peruse

Okay, I admit it, I’m intrigued.  How do I learn more?

There’s lots of useful information on our website,   And stop by any time, we’re happy to answer any questions!  We’re located on Fairmount Circle by John Carroll University.  There’s plenty of free parking in the adjacent lot. 

See you in the hot room! 

– Danielle

When she’s not teaching or practicing yoga, Danielle is blogging about it at


RTA Bar Crawl – August 27

RTA Bar Crawl of Cleveland - Aug 27

When I lived in Philly, I walked and took public transit a lot. For some reason, though, when I moved to Cleveland that changed. Whether it was the free parking at work or sheer laziness at not wanting to learn a new route, when I lived in Shaker Heights I never took advantage of the RTA‘s Rapid train into work.

I kick myself now because as much as I love Avon Lake, my RTA option is to drive to the 55F at Lake and Bradley and the route is only open during weekday rush hours. Still, as Joe over at Mildly Relevant pointed out, if you want to get around Cleveland proper, RTA is an inexpensive way to jump between neighborhoods. And – contrary to the inaccurate reputation public transit often gets – it’s safe.

Plus, Google Maps’ public transit feature will now map your route for you pretty instantaneously. No more deciphering timetables? Where have you been all my life Google Transit!

Inspired by his ‘RTA Day’ experiment (check his recap of the lovely time he had exploring Cleveland via public transit), Joe has taken it one step further and organized an RTA Bar Crawl.

On August 27th, the group will meet at 1pm at West Side Market in Ohio City and walk to the Red line Rapid stop. By taking the Rapid and the bus (here’s the full route), the Bar Crawl will explore University Circle/Little Italy, Larchmere/Shaker Square, E.4th Street/Downtown and then return to Ohio City/W.25th at 8pm. Along the way, the group will visit different bars in each neighborhood and show that it is easy and safe to get around Cleveland without a car.

If you’ve read my blog for awhile, I think you know I LOVE when someone sees a problem (in this case — the bad reputation public transit wrongly gets) and instead of just ranting about it, proactively goes out there and does something. 

The solution Joe’s come up with combines some of my favorite things: exploring Cleveland’s neighborhoods, enjoying good food and drink, and clueing people into a facet of the city that gets a bad rap. Plus, he is working on finding a local charity to collaborate with that will receive a percentage of the proceeds. (The charity announcement is coming soon and I plan to update here once it does.)

Unfortunately, I will be driving home from Virginia that day so I won’t be able to make it.  However, with 47 rsvped ‘Yes’ (as of this posting) — @WhyCLE, @CrookdRiverWmn, and @CourtMarshall among them — I expect this to be the first of many RTA Bar Crawls and can’t wait to make it to the next one.

Help make more of these Bar Crawls happen by attending the inaugural crawl on August 27. You can learn more by joining the RTA Bar Crawl Facebook group and RSVPing “YES” on the event page.

And if someone knows of a bus route from the westside into downtown (even if it means driving a little closer to downtown than Lake and Bradley), let me know!

Disclaimer: I think this goes without saying but don’t drink and drive. If, like me, you need to drive to the first RTA stop, take a cab or have a designated driver drive you to and from the Bar Crawl. And as The Most Interesting Man in the World says — stay thirsty, responsibly, my friends.

Greater CLE Flute Society's Composers Concert is Back

Members of the Greater Cleveland Flute Society perform in last year's Composers Connection Concert. (from

Last April, I blogged about my experience at the Greater Cleveland Flute Society’s Cleveland Composers Connection Concert.  It was a great evening showcasing not only the works of Cleveland composers, but also the talent of the flutists in the Greater Cleveland Flute Society.

I can hardly believe it’s already been a year, but the Cleveland Composers Connection Concert is back this Sunday, May 1st.

The concert, which is the final program of GCFS’s 2010-2011 season, will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Christ Episcopal Church (3445 Warrensville Center Road, Shaker Heights).

This year’s free Composers Connection Concert will feature nine works, performed by members of the Greater Cleveland Flute Society.  As they did last year, the composers will introduce and discuss their works prior to each performance. This was one of my favorite aspects of last year’s concert because you got to understand the story behind the composer and their inspiration for writing.

For instance, one of the composers selected for this year’s concert is Brian K. Taylor, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. This is the first time Taylor – who typically composes big band and standard jazz instrumentations – has arranged a piece exclusively for the flute.  At Sunday’s concert, GCFS will not just perform one but two of Taylor’s flute compositions: Spirito Sereno for flute quintet and Allarme Vicino Piazza San Pietro for flute quartet.

At last year's concert, Loris Chobanian performed his composition Vivo with Bryan Kennard (who later presented his own Two Fugues). (from

In addition to these two works, the Composers Connection Concert will include performances of:

  • When Air is Not Enough for flute and chime by Larry Baker
  • Three Songs Without Words for flute and guitar – New Moon – Spring Rain – Snow Storm by Monica Houghton
  • Available Light for flute and harp by David Kechley
  • Summer’s Passing for solo flute by David Kechley
  • Ballade for flute and piano by Jeffrey Quick
  • Pan’s Pandora for flute, alto flute, and bass flute by William F. Rayer
  • Espaces Pointillés for flute and electro-acoustic sound by Tom Lopez

Established in 1997, the Greater Cleveland Flute Society provides opportunities for flutists of all backgrounds to support and learn from one another and guest artists.  GCFS programs include recitals, masterclasses and the annual Cleveland Composers Connection concert.  Its members include students, adults, teachers, amateur and professional flutists and corporate sponsors — so you really see a diverse range of performances.

As Bonnie Svetlik, the president of GCFS, explained, “This concert is an opportunity for local composers to showcase their flute compositions to an interested audience of flutists and fans of new music. It gives us an opportunity to see firsthand what composers are doing right now, and it’s always exciting to see the varying styles of music and how these composers write a piece for this beautiful instrument.”

After how much I enjoyed last year’s compositions and performances, I’d say she’s right. I hope to see some of you there, enjoying another example of the composers and performers we have here in Cleveland.

Greater Cleveland Flute Society 411:

The U. U. Players' Sylvia at First Unitarian Church of Cleveland

This weekend, The U. U. Players of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Cleveland is presenting "Sylvia" by A.R. Gurney.

If you’ve followed Clue Into Cleveland for a while, you know I’m a theatre junkie. I love seeing and writing about productions at PlayhouseSquare, Cleveland Public Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, and Cleveland Play House.  In fact, I’m looking forward to seeing The Trip to Bountiful tonight.

However, in addition to amazing professional theatres, Cleveland has a number of community groups producing shows. This weekend, The U. U. Players of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Cleveland is presenting Sylvia by A.R. Gurney.

The U. U. Players are in their premiere season and this Fall @ScottHicken and I caught their production of Laura which featured Clue Into Cleveland guest blogger @EGrepp. We had a great time watching the multi-generational cast of local Clevelanders perform in the adaptation of the classic 1944 film noir.

This weekend’s production of Sylvia is directed by Laura Marx (who starred as the title character in Laura) and stars Andrew Nash, Stephanie Slusher, and Annabella Urdaneta, with Aria Jordan and Scott Hare. The comedy examines middle age relationships in a sophisticated, yet family friendly tale of a husband and wife and their new dog.

If you’d like to support The U. U. Players, here are more details on this weekend’s show:

  • Tickets: Available at the door for only $10 (Laura sold out their Friday and Saturday performances so buy early)
  • Performance times: Friday, Feb. 11th and Saturday, Feb. 12th at 8:00 PM; Sunday, Feb. 13th at 1:30 PM
  • The show is at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Cleveland, 21600 Shaker Heights Blvd., Shaker Heights, Ohio, 44122
  • For additional information or if you want to reserve tickets, email Andy at nash.andy5050 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Celebrating Jewish Culture and Chanukah by visiting the Maltz Museum

I have had the good intentions of visiting the Maltz Musuem of Jewish Heritage for a few years now but have just never made it a point to carve out time to do it. Amanda’s trip to Disney coincides with Chanukah and I thought it would be the perfect way to spend a dreary, winter Cleveland afternoon. As a non-Jewish gal I got to learn a lot about Jewish culture and history.

There is a temporary exhibit that’s about the 1936 Berlin Olympics and it is there until January 23rd, 2011. I would never consider myself a history buff; I found most of what I studied in High School History mind-numbingly boring. One of the few things that always interested me was World War II because I grew up having many Jewish friends. I cannot recall ever having learned much of anything about the Berlin Olympics and I was quite shocked by what I learned at the Maltz Museum. There are propaganda posters (translated for those of us who do not speak German) videos, photographs and the Olympic torch is on loan to us from the Holocaust Museum in D.C. The saddest part of the display was a wall where there was a small biography about the Jewish people who participated in the Olympics, all of whom were killed during the Holocaust. I spent the bulk of my time reading every inch of information made available to me which left less time for the other two parts of the museum.

The first permanent exhibit I explored was the Temple-Tifereth Israel. It contains artifacts from modern and historic Jewish life. Upon entering, I saw a beautiful and enormous menorah. I was also captivated by a wedding canopy and a marriage contract from the 1500s. There is modern art by Jewish artists about life as a Jewish person and stories from the Torah. According to the website, it is the fourth oldest museum of Judaica in the United States and the collection is quite lovely.

The second permanent exhibit is entitled “An American Story” and talked about famous Jewish people and their contributions to society. I couldn’t help but smile to see that the late, great, Cleveland native Harvey Pekar was featured. The exhibit elaborates on different issues faced by Jewish immigrants from a historical perspective. It shows the struggles faced by Jewish people who have just arrived in the United States, how they have built a community within Cleveland. The Great Depression is then covered but I didn’t spend too much time on that section of the exhibit. In part it was because I wanted to check out the next portion, that talked about World War II and the rebuilding afterwards.

That part of the museum was particularly difficult part for me to view. Featured are quotes from Cleveland holocaust survivors, memorabilia, photos and looping video. I have never been to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. but I picture this to be a smaller and less intense version of that. As a one of German heritage I have always felt vicarious shame for what Hitler did. It was difficult for me to look at pictures and read what the survivors had to say about their experiences. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would’ve liked on this section because I was reminded by a kind but firm short woman that they were closing in 5 minutes.

There is also a gift shop but because I ran out of time, I can’t comment on it. Other than that it was well-lit and appeared to be quite clean.

I found the museum to be an excellent balance of history and culture. It is intimate and information. I would highly recommend it to Jews and gentiles alike!

About the Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Grepp
Elizabeth is a native Clevelander who has been an avid reader and writer for as long as she can remember.  Pursuing a degree in Public Relations and as a staff writer for her college’s award-winning newspaper, she was able to continue her long-standing love affair with comma splices.  A resident of Cleveland Heights for nearly 4 years, Elizabeth’s obsession with the area is driven by the good food, music and fascinating characters who visit or live there. You can follow her on twitter under the clever pseudonym @egrepp or @cleyogi where she shares her journey becoming certified to teach yoga.