Now in its 33rd year, the Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series is once again bringing an exciting season of entertainment – musical, theatrical and dance – to Western Maryland. With 14 acts, the 2010-2011 FSU Cultural Events Series presents everything from Broadway-caliber productions to Grammy award-nominated and award-winning performers, international dancing sensations, classical music and even an interactive live animal show. The Cultural Events Series is known to bring world-class and affordable entertainment to the tri-state region.
FSU’s two performance series, the Main Stage Series and the CES Jazz Club, along with some special events, provide the opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy quality performances at an affordable price and in easy-access venues. It also provides the opportunity for businesses, corporations and organizations to purchase group packages at special rates.
The CES season starts with what DANCE magazine called “knee slaps, flat-footed stomps, sandpapery drags and resounding claps” when Step Afrika, the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping, brings its high-performance show to FSU. The high-energy Washington-based company takes the stage on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. in the Drama Theatre at FSU’s Performing Arts Center.
Broadway comes to Frostburg on Saturday, Sept. 25, when two of the original stars of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, “Rent,” Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp present a pop/rock concert celebrating their own musical careers as well as songs and stories from “Rent.” Pascal originated the role of Roger Davis, the struggling HIV-positive musician and Rapp is best known for his role as Mark Cohen, the documentary filmmaker and narrator of “Rent.” Both have performed in several other Broadway musicals. “Direct From ‘Rent’ – Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp Live!” will be in the Pealer Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center and starts at 8 p.m.
Modern dance enthusiasts will not want to miss RIOULT on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Drama Theatre, Performing Arts Center. RIOULT, a leading company in the world of modern dance under the direction of French choreographer, Pascal Rioult, has toured the world with performances that have been called “sensual, articulate and exquisite.” The 10-member dance company is based in New York and tours the world.
Family Weekend at FSU is always a special time and this year is no exception. In the pinnacle event of the weekend, Lifehouse, an alternative band from Los Angeles will appear on the Main Arena stage in the Cordts PE Center, Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Lifehouse released its smash debut “No Name Face” in 2000, and since then, Jason Wade, Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr., Bryce Soderberg and Ben Carey have built on that initial success. Lifehouse has delicately balanced two identities – song craftsmen and raucous rock and roll band. A limited VIP package, including a front-row seat and a meet and greet opportunity, is available.
Always a highlight in the CES season, the critically acclaimed Maryland Symphony Orchestra returns to FSU with special guest pianist Angela Cheng on Friday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center. Under the artistic leadership of Music Director Elizabeth Schulze, the MSO is Western Maryland’s premier professional orchestra. The program will include works from Beethoven’s Piano “Concerto No. 4” and Schubert’s “Symphony No. 9,” featuring Cheng. Cheng has been praised for her “brilliant technique” and has released several classical CDs to glowing reviews.
Dance returns to the FSU stage on Thursday, Nov. 11, with the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company. Since its formation in 1957, the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company has been working to educate audiences on the cultural traditions and folklore of the Philippines through dazzling theatrical presentations and traditional music. Their extravagant dances require a combination of precise movement, balance and skill. Their spectacular performance begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center.
Kathy Mattea, the two-time Grammy Award winner and twice-named Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, brings the sounds of the holiday season to the FSU campus on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. with “Kathy Mattea Songs and the Season.” Mattea’s beautiful voice is the perfect match for her holiday tunes, which are a blend of old favorites and new songs in various musical styles.
One of the most popular American jazz fusion bands to ever come on the scene, Spyro Gyra comes to Western Maryland on Friday, Dec. 10. The 8 p.m. jazz performance will be held at the ballroom of the Cumberland Holiday Inn. The nine-time Grammy Award-nominated group has been entertaining audiences since forming in the mid-1970s in Buffalo, NY. The group has gained international fame with over 25 albums and over 10 million copies sold. With elements of funk, pop and R&B, Spyro Gyra will delight audiences with their smooth, toe-tapping sounds and reinforce why this band has remained in the forefront of modern jazz for over three decades.
One of Broadway’s most beloved musicals, “The Music Man,” comes to Frostburg for three performances on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 16, at 3 p.m. Written by Meredith Willson and presented by Windwood Productions, “The Music Man” is the winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The perfect all-American Broadway show, “The Music Man” is the story of lovable con artist Harold Hill who descends on River City, Iowa, in 1912 and tricks the townspeople into buying musical instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he promises to organize even though he can’t tell the difference between a trombone and a trumpet. There’s only one hitch; Harold falls in love with Marian, the local librarian. With such classic songs as “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Ya Got Trouble” and “Till There Was You,” Wilson’s nostalgic tale celebrates the innocence and fun of a sweet bygone era.
Walnut Street Theatre presents Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” on Tuesday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Drama Theatre, Performing Arts Center. “The Glass Menagerie” is Williams’ most deeply personal and haunting play. Amanda Wingfield, a faded Southern belle, holds on tightly to her two children. She pushes them to be more successful – in life and love. When her son Tom brings home a gentleman caller, his extremely shy sister is given hope. Their chance meeting becomes one of the sweetest and most heartbreaking stories ever told. Williams’ masterpiece is a touching tale of lost dreams, family bonds and survival.
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Celtic Crossroads brings a mix of inventive arrangement and bass-driven grooves with traditional Irish acoustic music to the Pealer Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, on Sunday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. Seven Irish musicians playing over 20 instruments, including whistles, harps, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, accordions, drums and others present Irish music influenced by other musical styles, including European gypsy, North American bluegrass, classical and jazz.
Tenor jazz saxophonist Javon Jackson began playing professionally in clubs at 16. He met and was mentored by jazz great Branford Marsalis. Since then he has become a leader in jazz music with his own style of jazz that reflects his influences from the funk, R&B and rock worlds. The Denver Post described him as, “an imaginative straight head player (that) has taken a funk-oriented route with stand-out results.” The Javon Jackson Band will perform as part of the CES Jazz Club on Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m. at Windsor Hall in Downtown Cumberland.
“Jungle Joe’s Wildlife Adventure” is the perfect family edu-tainment experience. Scheduled for Thursday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Lane University Center, the program entertains as it addresses issues of environmental and wildlife entertainment. Headed by “Jungle Joe – Pet Detective,” Wildlife Adventure, with the Bucks County Zoo, features an interactive live animal show that includes out-of-the-ordinary mammals, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians.
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra, led by Conductor Elizabeth Schulze, will finish out the CES season with a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s 90-minute masterpiece “Requiem” on Saturday, April 30, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. The large orchestra sound of the MSO accompanied by 120 choral musicians from the Cumberland Choral Society and the FSU University Chorale will bring together several of the most talented musicians in Western Maryland to produce one of the most recognizable, enjoyable and emotionally charged music pieces of all time.
Tickets, including ticket packages and discounts, are available for all CES performances. A Build Your Own Series package for those planning on attending several events throughout the year; Corporate Nights offering group pricing, priority seating and personalized service; and Group Sales with special rates for purchases of 15 or more tickets for a single performance are all available. Some performances come with a special VIP ticket, which includes front-row seating and a meet and greet with the artist(s). Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-866-849-9237 or 301-687-3137 or by visiting http://ces.frostburg.edu.
The Cultural Event Series is partially supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business and Economic Development, MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions and two regional higher education centers within the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.