On the Road with Joanne Robinson: Show 204 Denison University

I’m coming to you today from several thousand feet off the ground on my flight back to Boston, and I’m still on a high (no pun intended) from yesterday’s taping at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. It was an all-alumni show featuring some incredible performers from past seasons. I had such a blast reconnecting with them! You’ll be able to hear it all on our broadcast the week of January 4th, but here’s a sneak preview of video I compiled with my Flip video.

There was pianist Colton Peltier, who is a brilliant performer and just an all-around fascinating kid. Both of his folks are professional athletes with no musical background, and somehow, up sprung Colton, this incredible artist. He’s also a total goofball and ribbed me mercilessly about my latest dating disaster.

I was so happy to see violinist Anna Lee again. She’s such a little spitfire. Anna is one of these incredibly expressive performers you can’t take your eyes off of. Her fiery presence onstage reminds me of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who was a guest on our show a few years ago.

It was great to reconnect with baritone John Brancy, who is now in his third year at Juilliard. Being a huge musical theater fan, I was particularly excited about his song choice — “Soliloquy” from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. What a powerful voice. He’s a terrific actor too and really brought the character of Billy Bigelow to life.


Lauren Chipman

Violist Lauren Chipman was this show’s Tenth Anniversary Season guest. She was originally on our show ten years ago, and now lives in Los Angeles, where she has quite the amazing career. She tours with the indie rock group the Rentals, writes film scores, and does all sorts of recording sessions for other artists. Chris O’Riley was in awe, saying, “You have the coolest career I’ve ever heard of. You’re such a rock star!” I have to agree.

At the end of the show, Lauren and Anna were joined by another stellar alum, cellist Coleman Itzkoff, to play a gorgeous Fauré piece. The whole taping was so energizing my jaw was a bit sore afterward from spending an hour and a half grinning like a demented Cheshire cat!

After the show we were treated to a catered reception, the highlight of which was John Brancy surprising us by singing an operatic rendition of “Happy Birthday” in honor of our tenth anniversary season. And the bacon-wrapped crostinis. Those were delicious!

Off to Texas tomorrow, and I’ll catch up with you then.

-Joanne Robinson