The Lake Michigan College Performing Arts Department presents Dr. Lunn & Friends in a free concert showcasing professor and classically trained guitarist Dr. Robert Lunn, several LMC students and his trio, The Salted Bananas, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in The Mendel Center’s Hanson Theatre on the Benton Harbor campus.
“I will be playing some originals, some arrangements of familiar songs and some improvisations,” Lunn said. “They are not like jazz improvs. It’s not swinging. It’s almost like writing a piece on stage. I use those improvs to then go into other songs I have written, like ‘Fun Jazzy Piece.’ For that I will do a blues improv first and then go into the piece that way.”
Lunn, a composer and classical guitarist who joined the Performing Arts Department as a full-time professor in 2018 after teaching part-time at LMC for more than 20 years, also will perform the title track to his 12th studio album, “Funky Soul Butter,” which was released on Jan. 20, 2019. The 19-track album pairs Lunn’s interpretation of classical Spanish guitarist Francisco Tárrega’s “Marieta,” and “Capricho Arabe,” and an original arrangement of the children’s song, “The Ants Go Marching,” with a new improvisation, “Rose,” and several original instrumental compositions.
“It’s a collection of songs that I’ve written over the past two or three years,” Lunn said. “I had a composition teacher once tell me that I had boring names for songs so I’ve tried to make them more interesting like ‘Funky Soul Butter.’ That piece started with a drum beat and then I started playing a bass line and I liked the way the that went so I put chords to it and wrote a slower middle section. It’s a fun piece to play.”
He also will perform original arrangements of popular songs, such as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” and The Animals “House of The Rising Sun.” Lunn will be joined throughout the concert by LMC students. He will accompany Kenneth Jackson, a gospel pianist who also plays in LMC’s Jazz Band, on “Holy, Holy, Holy,” tenor saxophonist Lauren Cerka on “My Favorite Things” from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “The Sound of Music,” and vocalist McKenna Munson on the jazz standard, “When Sunny Gets Blue,” which first became a hit in 1956 for Johnny Mathis.
The Salted Bananas, Lunn’s rock trio with sons Andy, 16, on bass and Sam, 12, on drums, a fixture in the summer Street Performers Series in Holland, Mich., where they live, will play “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, and end the concert with the Led Zeppelin classic, “Stairway to Heaven.”
Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Lunn holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition from Ohio State University, a Masters in Music Theory and Composition from Pennsylvania State University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College, where he was a three-time recipient of the Donald and Marilyn Harris Scholarship. He studied guitar with Larry Malfroid at Hope College and participated in a master class with Christopher Parkening and Paul O’Dette. Lunn was recently chosen to be the composer-in-residence at the Classical Mandolin Society of America’s 2019 National Convention held Oct. 9-13 in Bloomington, Ill.
Admission to the Dr. Lunn & Friends concert is free and open to the public.
Lunn’s music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, as well as https://robertlunn.comhis personal website. Contact the Lake Michigan College Performing Arts Department at (269) 927-8876 or visit the web page to learn more about the college’s performing and visual arts programs.