October 14, 2014
Des Moines native Max Wellman travels the country performing jazz.

Memorable Melodies

By Belle Du Chene


Jazz vocalist Max Wellman will present five new productions throughout the 2014-2015 season at Drake University's Turner Jazz Center, including his annual "Home for the Holidays" concert. The shows will highlight legendary artists and memorable melodies from the Great American Songbook. As a special bonus, Wellman's new big band album, "Just in Time," will be released in February. Show dates are:

  • Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.: "Night and Day: The Music of Cole Porter"
  • Dec. 19-21 at various times: "Home for the Holidays"
  • Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.: The music of New Orleans
  • Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.: "Just in Time" album release
  • April 11 at 8 p.m.: "Tomorrow is Ours" with Des Moines vocalist Tina Haase Findlay

We sat down with Wellman for a little Q&A. 


What has been your most unforgettable performance?
I would have to pick the first Hoyt Sherman Place concert four years ago. That show was quite an endeavor on my part, as it was my first experience as a producer on that level. It was nerve-racking, but we sold out and the atmosphere was magical right from the start of the evening. I will forever remember that as an almost out-of-body experience.  


What has surprised you the most about the music business?

The constant effort to keep yourself busy, work-wise, has surprised me. I knew it would be a hustle, but I don't think there's any way to really prepare for that until you're right in the middle of it. I've been extremely lucky thus far in my career, but it's still a weekly effort to keep things moving forward. 


What are you most looking forward to, especially for the new series?  

I'm truly excited for people to hear my new album, "Just In Time." We had stellar musicians in the studio for each of the tracks, from my big band to Gary Walters, a world-class jazz pianist from Indianapolis. I also have a couple of duets with Tina Haase Findlay.  

What is one thing no one knows about you?  

A lot of people are surprised to find out that I am an avid baseball fan. If there's one thing I spend an exorbitant amount of time on outside of music, it's the Chicago Cubs.


Tickets for the series will go on sale at Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. Find out more and purchase tickets at or by calling 505-5815.  


Wellman also appeared on the pages of dsm magazine in a recent article on jazz in Des Moines. Read it here.


A Beaverdale Welcome
Adding curb appeal is more than enhancing what you see from the street. Aesthetic features should improve function whenever possible. ...

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Tag Grandgeorge
A Divine Drive-Thru  

By Wini Moranville 


When you think of the type of cuisine you get from a drive-thru window, you don't often think "French"--or even cuisine, for that matter.


But Le Jardin's "Gourmet to Go" program (GTG) brings an epicurean spin to drive-thru dining. Launching tomorrow, the program features one French-inspired entrée each week, available for pickup between 5 and 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays. The restaurant even has a drive-thru window, a holdover from a more casual café that previously occupied the location.


"We often hear from our customers that they do not get in to Le Jardin as much as they would like," chef-owner Tag Grandgeorge says. "With the GTG program, a restaurant-quality scratch-cooked meal is just a phone call away."


Entrees with sides range in price from $29 to  $32 (for two) or $54 to $60 (for four). The selection rotates weekly. This week, it's coq au vin. Find spinach and feta-stuffed pork chops Oct. 22-24, beef bourguignon Oct. 29-31, and seafood lasagna baroness Nov. 5-7. Salad and bread can be added for an additional $5.50 per person.


"It's date night without getting a baby sitter; it's the solution for busy couples; it's a great family meal without the hassle of cooking," Grandgeorge says.


For some, perhaps, it's a dinner party that's shockingly easy on the host.


Le Jardin is at 2815 Beaver Ave., Suite 101; 255-5787. Find info on the Gourmet to Go program here.


Trisha Joseph has adopted two dogs from area shelters: Dazey from the Animal Rescue League (left) and Buddy from Furry Friends (right).

Wags n' Whiskers Fundraiser 

By Belle Du Chene 


The Furry Friends Refuge, a non-kill animal shelter, will hold its annual silent auction fundraiser Oct. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Windsor Heights Community Center, 6900 School St. The refuge provides adoptions, low- to no-cost spay and neutering and immunizations, among other services. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the main shelter (1211 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines), the 9 Lives Boutique and Thrift Store (409 Walnut St. in West Des Moines) or online at Call 480-0270 with any questions and learn more at

Animal lover and mom to two adopted dogs (one from Furry Friends, the other from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa), Trisha Joseph is an avid supporter of pet adoption. After many visits to the refuge, she welcomed Buddy into her home in 2012 to provide a companion for Dazey. "It's hard to remember anything before he came into my life," she says. "And now he's practically my best friend." 

fyi: Mark your Calendar 

  • The Des Moines Symphony will perform Antonio Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" Oct. 25-26 at the Des Moines Civic Center. Composed in 1725, the famous and popular work consists of four concertos, each recalling a particular season. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 and 2 p.m. Oct. 26. Tickets are $15-$55; purchase them and find out more here.
  • Des Moines Vocal Arts Ensemble will open its new season Oct. 19 with "American Treasures," a program featuring works spanning eras from the 19th century to today. You'll hear music influenced by the Civil War, the African-American experience, folk traditions and more. The concert starts at 4 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, 3829 Grand Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door; $6 for students. Find out more and purchase tickets here
  • The Des Moines chapter of New Leaders Council is accepting applications and nominations for the 2015 New Leaders Council Institute until Nov. 11. The leadership and development program for young progressives is free of charge (after a $30 application fee) and runs January through May 2015 with a commitment of one weekend per month. Learn more here.
The third annual edition of ia magazine is out now.

P.S.: Third Annual Edition 

of ia Magazine Is Out   


If you missed the unveiling of ia at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center in Cedar Rapids last Monday or at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden last Tuesday, you can still get a copy of the magazine. Stop by or call our office (Business Publications Corp. Inc., 100 Fourth St.; 288-4585) or sign up for a subscription here. The cost is $15.

We love the stories in the new issue--including the one on a rustic-contemporary lake house overlooking eastern Iowa's Lake Macbride ("Cabin 717," page 52) and the article on delicious desserts from three Iowa country clubs ("Not For Members Only," page 105)--and know you will too. Find these stories and more in the digital version here.
Belle Du Chene is senior editor of dsm magazine.

Wini Moranville, author of "The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day," is a food, wine and travel writer who covers the dining scene for dsm magazine. Follow her at All Things Food DSM - Wini Moranville and catch her food segment on Fridays at 6:40 a.m. on KCWI-23's "Great Day" morning show.

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