Auer Performance Auditorium

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Outside view of the Rhinehart Music Center, which houses the Auer Performance Auditorium

Welcome to Auer Performance Auditorium, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne’s biggest stage venue and one of the newest performance halls in Fort Wayne.

If you are planning to attend a show at Auer Auditorium, be prepared for great acoustics and good lighting. The audience area is set up in different levels. The wide, sloped floor space has a number of wheel-chair accessible seats in the front, center and back rows. The raised seats towards the center back of the auditorium are reachable by either the elevator or from twin sets of stairs that spread up from the first floor seating area. And the upper balcony, which is best reached by stairs from either the auditorium or the stairwell behind the auditorium, offers the best view overall.

Whichever seat you choose, you will have a great line of sight for the entire stage. The stage is very open, with no curtains or wings to block your view. Spread out in a graceful clam shell shape, the stage dips into the front seating area, and includes an orchestra pit which is usually covered over and used as more stage space. A double tier of balconies encircles the back of the stage. Depending on the event, sometimes the balconies are used for banner displays but they are also used by the choir, which is able to spread out so that each singer is clearly visible.

For the performer, the stage is a comfortable place to be. The gentle curve of the stage into the seats, and the gradual elevation of chairs make you feel like you’re not that far away from the audience. While the stage lights are bright, having the audience right there and not too far down below gives a more relaxed feeling to the performance.

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From the stage of the Auer Performance Auditorium, looking out towards the three seating areas. Large shades cover the north-facing windows during performances.

Backstage, there is plenty of room for performers to warm up, change, and get ready for their time to shine in the spotlight. A green room is immediately off the stage left, complete with a flat screen television mounted on the wall, so you can see what is happening on the stage. Separate dressing rooms and restrooms are also available, for special events. Two sets of double doors swing out from the stage on either side, so it’s easy to wheel in a load of music stands or chairs, if a large group will be onstage. Or, if props or scenery are needed, those big, double doors provide plenty of room to haul materials in and out. A ramp leads up to the stage on the right, while stairs climb up on the left.

Auer Auditorium has hosted many different events, from the IPFW Omnibus Lecture series to Honors Convocations to Fort Wayne Philharmonic and IPFW Community Orchestra concerts, and even nationally touring artists. Receptions can be held in the hall on the east side of the building and space is available for caterers who need to stash supplies for events. A new parking garage is also on the east side of the building, reachable by a covered sidewalk. The parking garage is equipped with electronic sign boards that tell potential parkers how many spaces are available on each floor – definitely a handy thing to know when it’s crowded!

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the Auer Performance Hall on the IPFW campus, why not stop by and take a look? It’s a great way to experience the finest facility one of Fort Wayne’s best universities has to offer.

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Enjoy a Taste of Brazil at Tocanos Brazilian Grill

tocanos 300x300 Enjoy a Taste of Brazil at Tocanos Brazilian Grill

If you’ve never tried Brazilian cuisine, run, don’t walk, to Tocanos Brazilian Grill!

Located at Jefferson Pointe, Tocanos is the first of its kind for the Fort Wayne area. With its festive decor, friendly staff and INCREDIBLE food, you’ll be planning your second trip before your meal is even finished. If you are a Tucanos newbie (like I was before the trip that inspired this post) prepare to be filled to the brim with delicious salad, pastas, breads, dessert, and of course, meat.

My group started off by ordering the Brazilian Lemonade and Fresh Fruit Juices. I had the passion fruit and it was seriously so good. You can add the alcohol of your choice to these for an extra charge, and I would suggest it if you’re looking for a fruity drink! We also ordered the Taste of Brazil appetizer that is shredded chicken and spices inside of a fried batter. That too was great, and many of the other appetizers we mulled over sounded mouth watering as well!

When you dine at Tocanos you dine Churrasco style. What is Churrasco you may ask? This means you receive fresh meats and vegetables grilled to perfection and brought directly to your table by Tocanos’ meat servers. You are given a round stick where one side is green and the other is red. If the green side remains up, meat servers will continue to bring you delicious meats to your hearts content. Or, if you prefer to pace yourself you can turn it to the red side where there will be a pause in the delivery of said meats. During my meal we were brought steak, pork, turkey, fish, and chicken all in various forms. Some were wrapped in bacon, others were covered in sweet and savory sauces, and some just spoke from themselves. We also had grilled vegetables and pineapple marinated in a brown sugar sauce – YUMMY!

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My Salad Festival plate included bread, tuna salad pasta, Brazilian pasta salad, tomato and cucumber salad, sushi, and a mixed green salad!

Your Churrasco dining also includes Tocanos huge salad bar. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill salad bar either, in fact it is called a Salad Festival! And, I must say, it definitely lived up to the name! One side is filled with ingredients to create your own salad creation. There was standard salad bar fare, but the assortment was huge! There’s also other things you may not have considered mixing with your greens like roasted corn salsa, quail eggs, hearts of palm and more! The other side has an assortment of pasta salads, cold meats, seafood salads, and other cold items mixing traditional with Brazilian. But you are not done yet! Across the back of the Salad Festival are hot items to add to your plate. You’ll find pasta with a variety of sauces, rice, potatoes and freshly made soups. The Salad Festival could truly be a meal on its own, so small portions are encouraged!

Following your meal a tray of pre-made desserts are brought out for you to choose from and there is truly something for everyone. You’ll find Créme Brûlée, cheesecake, brownies, ice cream, and a chocolate cake so rich and big that they bring the to go box with it. You order and then a fresh dessert is made and brought back for you. I had the Truly A’MAZON Fudge Brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and was in heaven!

After the meal I was so full I wasn’t sure I could walk out of the restaurant under my own power and seriously considered not eating ever again. When I got home I told my husband that we HAD to go again sometime soon (he didn’t get to partake in this outing, much to his dismay).

Tocanos is located at 4130 W Jefferson Blvd Suite I-15 in the Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center. The Tocanos Churrasco meal includes assorted breads, fried bananas, unlimited Salad Festival, and the full Churrasco selections and is $15.95 for lunch and $22.95 at dinner for adults, $6.95 and $8.95 for children 7-12 (kids 6 and under eat free with a paying adult!). Their hours are 11am-10pm Monday through Thursday, and 11am-11pm Friday through Saturday. Tocanos is closed on Sunday.

Katie

About

Katie Robinson joined the Visit Fort Wayne staff in March 2013 as a Marketing Assistant. She recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in public relations. Katie is a Fort Wayne native and enjoys exploring the city when she can. She is a coffee junkie and is often found with her coffee cup in hand. She enjoys baking, and is especially fond of cupcakes. In her spare time Katie enjoys shopping, curling up with a good book, spending time with friends and family, relaxing with her husband Joseph, and playing with their adorable Shih Tzu, Gidget.

Sweetwater Sound: A musician’s one stop-shop for gear

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There’s no way else to describe it: Sweetwater Sound is a musician’s dream come true. As one of the largest purveyors of and resources for music and audio gear, Sweetwater means business.

Here’s what you can expect when you visit their campus, just off U.S. 30:

Workshops: Sweetwater regularly hosts workshops put on by legendary producers such as Alan Parsons and Chris Lord-Alge, as well as musicians like Joe Satriani, Adrian Belew, Chick Corea, and Victor Wooten. These sessions are open to the public. Just register on their website.

Open Jams: Join other musicians or aficionados the second and fourth Tuesday of the month for a family-friendly Open Acoustic Jam. Held in Sweetwater’s Conference Hall from 5-8pm, these jams are open to players of all skill levels, and guitarists of all ages are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to connect with other people with similar interests.

Gear Fest: If you’re toying with the idea of buying your own gear, the annual Gear Fest is a great time to see what you’re missing. Scheduled this year for June 6-7, experience exciting giveaways featuring thousands of dollars’ worth of gear, as well as hundreds of manufacturer exhibits and dozens of workshops. And for the best part: it’s free!

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The Academy offers a chance to learn from the best Fort Wayne has to offer.

Academy of Music: Itching to dive into the music world? Here you can take advantage of lessons and classes for guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, voice, and recording. Whether you’re just starting out or taking your skills to the next level, staff can match you with the right instructor for your playing style, personality, and creative goals.

Insider’s Note: The family-friendly environment is ideal for parents waiting or for the time before lessons. Guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, a free arcade, and a wide selection of refreshments.

Although not directly related to their products, their gourmet style cafe is not to be missed. I have eaten here a few times, and I assure you there is something for everyone. Also, it’s worth noting that the LEED-certified building conserves water, energy, and resources. Sweetwater is just plain cool all around!

About

Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.

Shop til you drop at Fort Wayne’s locally owned shops

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy bringing back gifts from your travels. You won’t leave empty-handed after a visit to Fort Wayne. If you’re looking to find a memorable gift, look no further than this post. Here are a few Fort Wayne stores you should make a point to visit:

The Olive Twist: The Olive Twist, located in the Covington Plaza on Fort Wayne’s southwest side is your go-to for a custom blend of olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. Curious about the taste of a particular variety? Try a sample at their tasting bar, then create your own blend to discover a new world of flavor! Staff members will also be delighted to make suggestions and help you learn new ways to enjoy these age-old delicacies!

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Add a splash of color to any outfit with a scarf from CwOw.

Our Daily Brew: As a self-proclaimed tea junkie, this place makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop. They carry a variety of coffee and tea sure to please any friend or relative. I recommend the loose leaf variety, as it makes for a more robust cup. The shop is also located on Fort Wayne’s southwest side,  in Times Corner Plaza.

Hedgehog Press: Artist/shop owner Julie Wall Toles’ creations are just plain adorable. At her shop, located at 1126 Columbia Ave., you’ll find an assortment of artsy gifts. Think hand-crafted stationary, coasters and jewelry. She also offers workshops if you feel so inspired.

Creative Women of the World: If you’re looking for a feel-good gift, CWoW is the place. They market original designs created by women living in developing countries.  For example, here you’ll find jewelry designed by women rescued from slavery in Central Asia. Haitian primitive art, hand-embroidered frameable cards, and journals made from recycled cement bags all support artisans in Haiti as they continue to rebuild after the earthquake. The shop is located at 125 W. Wayne St., next to Irish pub JK O’Donnell’s.

Happy shopping!

About

Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.

A Taste of India – A Fort Wayne Original

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If you’ve never tried Indo-Chinese cuisine, then I highly recommend that you stop by A Taste of India. Located in the shopping center at Coldwater Crossing, this little place is set up in a store front next to an electronics resale store, near Hobby Lobby.

The scent of the food greets you the second you step through the door. Not overwhelming but definitely comforting, the smell of curry, fresh vegetables, rice, and spices is wafting up from the kitchen.

A word of warning: some of the dishes at A Taste of India are quite spicy. But other dishes are beautifully mild. Having the two extremes together allows you to put out the fire or simply have a nice, mild meal.

After you are seated, the server brings out a basket of flat bread. It is delicious and you’ll find yourself reaching for more. To choose your meal, you can either order something specific, like Adrangi Goat (chunk goat cooked in ginger flavor) or Chicken Korma (boneless chicken cooked with cashews and raisins with a touch of cream). A kids menu is also available, with items like cheese sticks and fries, or chicken nuggets and fries. Or, you can do what I like best –choose the buffet meal and sample a little of everything! Click here to see their Waiter on the Way page and access their menu pdf.

A row of hot and cold tables is against one wall with piles of clean plates, cups and bowls for you to pick up. You can browse through the different food selections and take just as much – or as little – as you want.

Labels are written on cards posted above the glass covers of the tables, so if you’re familiar with some of the dishes, this is a good thing. If you’re not familiar with any of the dishes, though, just start sampling things in small amounts. Here’s a good way to begin:

Basmati Rice – a good foundation layer. It’s fluffy with a light, flowery taste and it complements any of the main courses on the tables.

Green salad – there’s a small selection of very fresh, chopped vegetables here. Iceberg lettuce, green peas, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a tangy yogurt dressing go together well and act as a good, not-too-heavy course.Inside A Taste of India Copy1 225x300 A Taste of India   A Fort Wayne Original

Vegetable Pulao – this is seasoned rice with peas. There is a moderate amount of heat added to the rice, but it is very manageable. Kids would be able to handle it with no problem.

Vegetable Minister – meatless meatballs. These are a veggie dish that looks like a meatball and tastes rich. Covered in a red sauce, you can see some of the vegetables in the meatball. Just watch out for the parts that look like green beans – they’re super spicy!

Chicken Curry – Chunks of chicken in a thick curry sauce. The Lamb Curry is also good, tasting more like beef in a thick brown sauce.

Paneer Makhani – my favorite. It’s an orange sauce with a hint of honey flavor and thick, meaty chunks of mild cheese.

Aloo Gobi Masala – although it looks spicy, it’s actually just potatoes with yellow sauce. If you’ve had a touch of something too hot, head for some of this dish and put out the fire!

The best part of the meal, after you’ve filled up on all the different offerings from the main courses, is the dessert. It’s really simple but just right – nothing too heavy, just light. Try out either the mango pudding or the Rice Kheer. The mango pudding is perfectly smooth and cool. The mango flavor just melts through the pudding, never overpowering it but remaining refreshingly mild. The Rice Kheer is a rice pudding, buttery rich and light. A selection of warm pastries, Gulab Jamun, is also kept hot in a side pan. The warm, velvety pastry rounds just melt under the touch of your spoon when you dip into the bowl.

A Taste of India is a wonderful way to have something a little special for a Sunday brunch, or a nice Saturday night meal. Prices are very reasonable, and the hours are convenient. Have a Taste of India right here in Indiana!

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)