ONSTAGE THIS WEEK
“Easy,” “Brick House,” “Three Times a Lady,” and “Nightshift” — you can thank The Commodores for these timeless tunes. Formed from the ashes of the Mystics and the Jays after meeting as students at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute in the late ’60s, The Commodores gained a strong following — and a Motown recording contract — after opening for The Jackson 5 in 1971. They’ve never looked back, and at 8 p.m. Saturday,
July 17, The Commodores hit the Tewa Ballroom stage at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino (30 Buffalo Thunder Trail, adjacent to Pojoaque Pueblo, 12 miles north of downtown Santa Fe off U.S. 84/285). Tickets, $39 to $69, are available at the resort’s box office, by calling 800-905-3315, and online at www.tickets.com. If you thought choral music was synonymous with Christianity, think again. Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s second program of the season, Mystics and Mavericks, opening at the Loretto Chapel at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, and repeating July 29 and Aug. 4 at the same time, features pieces inspired by astronomy, Jewish storytelling, mysticism, and Irish poetry. The program includes a world premiere — Santa Fe Vespers 2010 by Robert Kyr, a professor of music at the University of Oregon. Kyr calls the piece a “21st-century response to one of the choral masterpieces of the European repertoire, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610” (which closes the Desert Chorale season). Kyr writes, “It takes a journey that begins from Monteverdi’s premise in order to explore new, yet related, spiritual pathways.” Also on the program is music by dancer, musician, and director Meredith Monk. The chapel is at 207 Old Santa Fe Trail. Tickets, $30 to $45, are available from Tickets Santa Fe at the Lensic (www.ticketssantafe.org, 988-1234). Debra Ehrhardt started telling stories in a mango tree when she was 7, and she’s still telling them, in her 40s. Jamaica, Farewell is Ehrhardt’s one-woman play about her dream of getting to America. “Even if there wasn’t a revolution, I wanted to come anyway,” she said by phone. “But I saw my opportunity at that time.” The show, which ran off-Broadway and has been optioned as a screenplay, tells the story of “all the steps that had to be taken to get from Jamaica to America” including the assistance of a “low-level CIA agent” and a million dollars in cash that Ehrhardt smuggled out of the country. “I said to God,” admits Ehrhardt, “‘If you get me to America, I’m never going to break the law again.’” Ehrhardt is now an American citizen with two grown children. “I kept my promise to God,” she says. Jamaica, Farewell runs at 8 p.m. Friday
and Saturday, July 16 and 17, at the James A. Little Theater (New Mexico School for the Deaf, 1060 Cerrillos Road). Tickets are $30 at the door and online at www.brownpapertickets.com. One of the coolest jazz practitioners in the Southwest is Arlen Asher, and one of the coolest things about him is the veritable arsenal of instruments on which he’s more than fluent. They include clarinet and bass clarinet; soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones; and concert, alto, and bass flutes. Of course, Asher — who’s also known for his deep jazz knowledge and decades of teaching music — doesn’t carry that little orchestra around with him. He may just focus on one instrument for a Santa Fe event at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 18. It’s called
Arlen Asher Plays Jazz Clarinet Greats. With support from drummer Cal Haines, pianist Bert Dalton, and bassist Michael Glynn, Asher plays music by Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, and other greats. Call 988-9232 for reservations. The concert is at La Casa Sena Cantina, 125 E. Palace Ave., and there is a $25 cover charge.