Everyman opera

MANSFIELD -- Through the years Mid-Ohio Opera has presented works by the great classical opera composers -- Puccini, Verdi, Schubert. This time the organization is featuring music from a local composer, Rick Sowash.

A graduate of Lexington High School and a former Richland County Commissioner (1987 to 1999), Sowash's classical music has been performed around the country -- including a world premiere at Carnegie Hall. His work has been featured on radio stations all over the U.S., and comprises a film score of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission's documentary, Ohio: 200 Years.

Now a Cincinnati resident, Sowash also made his mark on Richland County by naming the Renaissance Theatre and serving as its founding Executive Director.

Rick Sowash mug shot

Rick Sowash

"What sets me apart from almost all other composers is that I am not an academic and until recently have not lived in a major metropolitan area," Sowash states on his website. "I have made my way outside the mainstream, and yet I have made my way. One hears of "outsider painters", folk artists who work skillfully and meaningfully outside the world of galleries and museums and academe.

"I am an 'outsider composer.' "

Based on a medieval play, Everyman tells the story of a rich man who meets Death and laments over his life choices. This short piece, accompanied by a string quartet and piano, will be performed in addition to other works by Sowash.

Mid-Ohio Opera fans and Sowash fans will have three opportunities to hear this concert, all of them free:

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Friday, April 26 at the Mansfield Art Center, 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 27, at Zion Lutheran Church, Wooster, 2 p.m.

Sunday, April 28, Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, 11 a.m.

All of the music, all of the drama, at none of the cost.