It’s Finished! Going to Print! BUG TOAST’s “Picture This: A Blackfish Oratorio” CD

The studio recording of our Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)-funded “Picture This: A Blackfish Oratorio” is complete and headed off for printing and publication. Additional funding was provided by the Loren Wyss Foundation, Burdock/Burn Art Resource, Inc., and a private benefactor.
We are grateful for these grantors and patrons!

Thank you for making this project possible!
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Bug Toast to perform “Picture This: A Blackfish Oratorio”

BLACKFISH GALLERY:  For immediate Release

 PICTURE THIS: A Blackfish Oratorio in honor of the 40th Anniversary

Funded by a generous grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)

Blackfish Gallery: 420 NW 9th Ave., Portland, OR 97209 | 503-224-2634 |  |

Two Free Public Performances:  Ticket Reservations are Advised

Saturday, April 13, 7 pm 

Sunday, April 14, 3 pm

Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am-5 pm 

Blackfish artists Christopher Shotola-Hardt and Merridawn Duckler, in conjunction with Shotola-Hardt’s progressive folk ensemble Bug Toast, present an evening-length musical work blending original folk, blues, jazz, and classical motifs. The oratorio invites listeners into a day in the life of the iconic Portland gallery. Incorporating everything from First Thursday field recordings to ukulele soliloquies, and based on a libretto from 40 years of gallery logs, PICTURE THIS combines a fauvist, impressionistic score with the realpolitik of artists’ lives to produce an unforgettable event. Funded in part by a grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council. No charge to the public.

Bug Toast defies categorization, playing genre-bending, world-influenced, progressive folk on accordion, bouzouki, guitar, bass, and violin, with textured instrumentation, vocal harmonies, interesting time signatures, and unusual modes. Bug Toast is Dave Andrews, Mark Andrews, Christopher Shotola-Hardt, Susanne Shotola-Hardt, and for the performance of PICTURE THIS, Adrian Hardt.

Christopher Shotola-Hardt is a painter, art educator, and musician, and has been at Blackfish Gallery since 2004. His most recent exhibit in October 2018, Elegy for the Birds, reflected his life-long passion for ornithology — birds have played a dominant role in his painting shows over the past twenty years.  A life-long musician and composer, Christopher has collaborated with the core members of Bug Toast for the past twenty-seven years. He sang with the Oregon Repertory Singers for eight seasons and played cello in the Portland Youth Philharmonic for five years; he has been a member of numerous chamber orchestras, pit orchestras, and chamber ensembles, and has played in various rock and folk groups, prior to Bug Toast.

Merridawn Duckler is a poet and text-based installation artist. She was librettist for C’Opera, an opera at LAPD reviewed in the New York Times. She’ll be a playwright in residence at the Horned Dorset Colony in September. Her recent play IN SPIRIT, on Oregon artist Rick Bartow, had a sold-out run at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Exhibitions at Blackfish Gallery include works on  T.S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin, Omar Khayyam and Bertolt Brecht. In November 2019, the collaborative team of Geordie and Merridawn Duckler present  X LIBRIS, a forest of books, where the public, after being admonished to shhh, can check out objects with an artist-issued library card.

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Bug Toast has received a coveted 2018 Regional Arts & Culture Council (Oregon) grant to compose a progressive folk oratorio (libretto by playwright Merridawn Duckler) in honor of Portland, Oregon’s pioneering Blackfish Gallery, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2019.  Performances will be in the acoustically ideal Blackfish Gallery in April 2019!

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News, a free download of “Going Home,” and some current events

FREE DOWNLOAD of our Music:

Christopher:  I composed “Going Home” in response to my father’s journal about returning to his boyhood farm (land his family had worked for 17 generations) for the first time, 50 years after having escaped from it at the end of World War II. I made the nighttime field recording that features frogs in Wilsonville, Oregon. My uncle made the field recording in the 1970s that you hear at the end of the piece, featuring frogs from northern East Prussia, now Poland.

(instrumental; the singing is in an invented language)

from Migration, released May 25, 2010
by Christopher Shotola-Hardt


Currently, Bug Toast is completing final details of its fourth CD project, “Compound Eyes.”  We are close to having our material ready for our fifth recording project, “Be About Love.”

Exciting recent projects:
*  A benefit concert for the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) in Portland, OR, sharing the stage with nationally acclaimed singer-songwriters Stephen Cohen and Nicole Campbell, and Oregon poet Alberto Moreno.
* A benefit concert for Camp More, a ground-breaking camp for teens who stutter, held annually on the Oregon Coast.

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FREE DOWNLOAD of  “The Upper Bunk,” off our CD Migration!

This tune features bouzouki, two bouzouki-guitars, vibes, and a beautiful lap steel guitar solo by Alan Ames.


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