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October 30, 2007

An evening of Music, Art & Conversation with John Penny

After decades of creating music, the world and its surroundings still present an endless source of musical textures for eclectic composer and guitarist John Penny (myspace.com/johnwpenny). The process of discovering some of the threads of life and then musically offering them up as nourishment for the soul, provides one of the high experiences of life, says Penny. While crossing the "prairies of life, John Penny has maintained guitar playing and composing as a constant. He is an active artist each day, on or off the stage.

After being formally trained at the University of Iowa School of Music where he also taught Jazz history, John Penny performed in clubs and toured with bands in the midwest. On the stage, he has had the opportunity to perform and record with jazz greats Captain Jack MacDuff, Bernard Purdie, Howard Levy, and has visited the orchestral stage with music written and conducted by modern impressionist composer Barbara Kolb.

Mr. Penny himself has composed film music scores for familiar clients Best Buy, Frito-Lay, CBS sports, and NBC news. He also provided industrial film scores for such clients as 3M and Honeywell along with music and sound for movies "Patti Rocks" and "Old Explorers, and more. Scoring music for a variety of film clients helped hone his compositional process and feed his appetite for diversity, whether it was flavored with jazz, ock, R&B, or the classical music of Europe and Asia.

Putting electronic computer driven music and large scale music production aside, John performs at Homewood Studios with his acoustic nylon string guitar and his voice - the point of origin for all of his work. Unplugged and offline, bringing a style forged from a world palette, Mr. Penny will offer some original music already sculpted, and some that will take shape in part as directed by the audience and the space.

On view in the gallery, ACTION artist/community teams interpret oral narrative a show comprised of paintings by University of Minnesota students who visited with Northside residents, listened to their stories, and created art from them. John Penny, also a visual artist, will show a few of his drawings as well.

Admission $5. Music begins at 7p. Refreshments provided. Everyone welcome.

John Penny just might be a Tai Chi master disguised as a jazz musician. Before offering an intriguing and enlightening evening of solo guitar pieces, often accompanied by his own voice work, John made a few comments about the path his passion for music has laid out before him.

He tunes one of his guitars in "a Bartokian fashion," resulting in some discordant musical images and phrases. He suggested we, "simply breathe them in and find a place within ourselves where those sounds fit and comfortably reside."

The whole evening went like that, nudged in its direction by those thoughtful opening words. John played three different guitars, played original music and some other pieces important to him, influential.

Several of his old friends attended, giving the evening a family affair feeling. We all agreed John should play here at Homewood Studios again, soon. So we are working on that eventuality...

From Christine Rosholt:

An evening of Music, Art & Conversation with John Penny

I was in attendance for the John Penny event the other night. You have created a lovely space.

It really is too bad there were not more people there, but as a jazz vocalist myself I have found there is no rhythm or reason to weather a show has a big crowd or not.

People are fickle, and don't always want to try something new.

But I thought it was a great event!

From John Penny:

It's been a while since I performed at Homewood Studios last October, but the great memory of the experience prevails. The warm welcome that guests receive in this well managed gallery is in concert with the high quality of programming and richly diversified works of art on display.

What an incredible vision and realization of vision this gallery demonstrates. It's a gallery for and in the community, and the community is clearly enriched by it. As an musical artist, just driving by the Studios brings me inspiration as I view the eye grabbing visual art and a community in the process of growing itself culturally.

Needless to say I will make a point of getting out of the car and joining in very soon.