Karl Haas, the longtime host of the syndicated radio program “Adventures in Good Music” and former president of Interlochen Center for the Arts, died in 2005 at the age of 91.
For his 100th birthday, his children are hosting a tribute concert at the City Opera House to benefit the nonprofit Building Bridges with Music.
The program will begin with a 30-minute documentary on Karl Haas’s life, produced by Jeff Haas and his sister Alyce Haas. It tells the story of his musical career, how he came to America just ahead of the Nazi pogrom of the Jews, and how he came to be a fixture in so many people’s lives through his radio program.
“Adventures in Good Music” ran for 44 years; at its peak it aired on more than 650 radio stations. It boasted an average of 3.6 million listeners daily.
Karl Haas is the only classical music host to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, and is one of only two radio personalities to receive two Peabody Awards (the other being the legendary Edward R. Murrow).
Following the documentary, Jeff Haas will take the stage, along with his Building Bridges quintet: Chris Lawrence (trumpet), Laurie Sears (sax and flute), Sean Dobbins (drums), and Marion Hayden (bass). They will be joined by special guests Marcus Belgrave on trumpet and his wife, vocalist Joan Belgrave.
Belgrave recorded and toured with numerous performers, appearing on several Motown records. He was a longtime sideman with Ray Charles, and has performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, McCoy Tyner, and on numerous occasions, Jeff Haas.
The set includes a number of Jeff Haas originals, as well as some classic jazz standards. Haas also promises some original material by Belgrave and possibly some surprises as well.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit Building Bridges with Music and its mission of using the universal language of music to promote open mindedness, understanding and acceptance of people from different cultures, races and backgrounds.
The show starts at 7pm with the documentary. Tickets for the event begin at $18. For more information and to order tickets, visit cityoperahouse.org.
Karl Haas’s Piano Lost … Then Found
For his late father’s 100th birthday concert tribute, pianist and composer Jeff Haas will be playing the same piano Karl Haas played when he hosted “Adventures in Good Music” at the WJR studios in Detroit.
After Karl Haas left the WJR studios to continue the program at WCLV in Cleveland, the piano he had played on the show fell into disuse and eventually disrepair.
Jim Evola, a friend of Jeff ’s who owns a piano and restoration business based in the Detroit area (with a store in Traverse City), found out about the piano. After convincing WJR to donate it to him, he and his staff completely refurbished it.
Such a restoration typically costs several thousand dollars, but that didn’t even enter into consideration for Evola, he said.
“Sometimes things just line up and are the right thing to do,” he said.
The restoration was completed in time for Jeff to play it at the Detroit Institute of Arts in December, in conjunction with both Karl Haas’s 100th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the Chamber Music Society, which his father and his mother Trudie founded.
Evola then donated the piano to Building Bridges with Music, the non-profit Jeff Haas founded to promote peace and understanding in schools. He had it delivered to the headquarters of Building Bridges at the Circuit on 14th St., where Haas played it at a concert in February.
Jeff Haas said he was astounded when Evola first told him of the piano’s provenance.
“I had no idea,” he said. “I was totally surprised.”