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Tonic headlines Sunshine Studios homelessness benefit, Bernstein Centennial rolls on, and Black Sheep show announcements 

click to enlarge Kenzie Culver shares the bill with Tonic, Mass Tansit, and Chadwick McIntire at Sunshine Studio's homelessness benefit show Saturday Feb. 24.
  • Kenzie Culver shares the bill with Tonic, Mass Tansit, and Chadwick McIntire at Sunshine Studio's homelessness benefit show Saturday Feb. 24.
We’ve mentioned it in the past, but the staff at Sunshine Studios continues to impress with the timeliness of the many benefit concerts the venue hosts. Last year saw fundraising shows to support victims of hurricanes in Texas and the Virgin Islands, while the latest efforts bring the efforts back to a local focus.

On Saturday, Feb. 24, long-running alt-rockers Tonic play Sunshine Studios, and the night will also function as a benefit show to help the growing community affected by homelessness. Of course, there’s never really a bad time to be concerned about homelessness, but this benefit is particularly timely given that we’re approaching what is traditionally the coldest portion of winter, and charitable donations typically experience a lull after the holidays. Attendees are asked to bring donations (blankets, coats, gloves, hats, socks, and toiletries). Rounding out the evening’s musical lineup is Mass Transit, Chadwick McIntire, and Violet Tides singer Kenzie Culver.

Tonic, of course, is still probably best known for the instant-earworm single “If You Could Only See” from 1996’s platinum-selling LP Lemon Parade, but the band has remained active, receiving two Grammy nominations for their third album, Head On Straight. Guitarist Jeff Russo composed the score for the TV series Fargo, and the band released the all-acoustic Lemon Parade Revisited in 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album.

Speaking of anniversaries, the centennial celebration festival honoring Leonard Bernstein, “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” rolls onward. No West Side Story just yet, but the weekend of Feb. 24-25 brings Bernstein and Sibelius to the Pikes Peak Center stage.

The program includes Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, a choral and orchestral piece that the composer wrote while on sabbatical from his post at the New York Philharmonic in 1965. Rather than just sit around, like I would probably do on a sabbatical, Bernstein decided a better use of his time would be to toil on this rather striking and difficult work, which is filled with Bernstein’s typical rhythmic complexity, intricate harp parts, and, in some places, outright abuse of the tenor section. The Colorado Springs Chorale joins the Colorado Springs Philharmonic for this performance.

Rounding out the program are four “dance episodes” from Aaron Copland’s famous ballet Rodeo and Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 1 in E minor. Copland’s distinctly American style — and progressive, populist worldview — make the composer an excellent selection for the Bernstein-centered festivities. And while Bernstein did not have quite as direct an association with Finnish national hero Sibelius, it’s worth noting that the New York Philharmonic, under Bernstein’s baton, did record a stunning rendition of the composer’s second symphony in 1966.

To couple the musical with the academic (fitting, given Bernstein’s legacy as an educator), you can also catch a live, in-person interview with Leonard Bernstein’s eldest daughter, Jamie Bernstein, at Colorado College’s Richard F. Celeste Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 22. The evening will be devoted to a discussion of the composer’s life and legacy, and will likely provide some excellent background and context to the music.

Finally, two recent Black Sheep show announcements that, if you’re wanting tickets, should probably be on your radar.

Dayton, Ohio’s own Hawthorne Heights will hit the Sheep on Sunday, June 3, with Listener, Hotel Books, Sienna Skies, and Heavy Things. The emo-punk band’s first two albums were certified platinum and gold, respectively, and they continue to command a large fanbase. Their latest release, the 2015 EP Hurt, was self-released. And hardcore godfathers the Descendents, self-deprecation and all, are set to play in early June.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com.

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