The Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series presents its 34th season of exciting performing arts events. The 2011-12 season includes music, dance and multi-disciplinary events with superior, world-class artists from the United States and abroad.
Tri-state residents can choose from affordable events presented as part of two exciting performance series. The Main Stage Series presents artists in a traditional theatrical setting while a new series, LIVE! at StarScape, offers club-style seating and an intimate atmosphere.
The season kicks off with two free outdoor performances from the inventive musical performers of Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera. In “Astro-rama,” the Squonkers offer a witty exploration of science and belief as they attempt to contact life on distant planets. Performing under the stars, the artists soar high above the audience in cherry pickers and scissor lifts and compose a musical message from the Earth. As the program concludes, a 45-foot radio dish is tilted to the night sky, transmitting a message from the human race. The free performances begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and Thursday, Sept. 1, on FSU’s Upper Quad in front of the Compton Science Center. Audience members are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair.
Soulful songstress Bettye LaVette comes to Frostburg on Friday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. as part of LIVE! at StarScape in the Lane University Center’s Alice R. Manicur Assembly Hall. The voice of this Grammy nominee exudes power and emotional vitality, and her tour-de-force performances display a range that is disarming in its intensity. “LaVette’s nuanced singing evokes prime Tina Turner with even more command,” declared Rolling Stone magazine, while The New Yorker pronounced that LaVette “can deliver a heartbroken wail through a whisper or make a slow ballad pulse like scorching gospel rock.”
FSU’s Family Weekend is a time of celebration, and the highlight of this year’s festivities will be the Chinese Acrobats of Hebei performing Saturday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. in the Cordts Physical Education Center Arena. These disciplined and athletic artists offer a spectacular and colorful performance of traditional Chinese feats, including hoop diving, hand balance, chair stacking, foot juggling, plate spinning, the Chinese Poles and the always delightful Lion Dance.
Appearing as part of LIVE! at StarScape, the SFJAZZ Collective arrives Saturday, Oct. 8, with a jazzy tribute to pop music icon Stevie Wonder. SFJAZZ Collective is an all-star ensemble featuring some of the greatest musicians from the modern jazz world: MacArthur Genius Grant winner Miguel Zenón on alto sax and flute; Guggenheim Fellow Edward Simon on piano; Grammy Award-nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris; and leading jazz masters Mark Turner on tenor saxophone, Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Robin Eubanks on trombone, Matt Penman on bass and Eric Harland on drums. The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Manicur Assembly Hall.
The illustrious Paul Taylor Dance Company takes the stage of the Performing Arts Center Drama Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Taylor, whom Time Magazine acknowledged as “the reigning master of modern dance,” has choreographed 134 works since 1954 and, at the age of 81, shows no signs of slowing down. His dancers, who were declared by The New York Times to be "one of the most exciting, innovative and delightful dance companies in the entire world," will appear in three of Taylor’s works from the company’s repertoire: “Lines of Loss,” “Mercuric Tidings” and “Oh, You Kid!”
The passionate live music and dance of Spain’s Andalusian gypsies come to FSU on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. when Compagñia Flamenca José Porcel appears in “Gypsy Fire.” These masters of flamenco present an evening that features some of Spain’s finest musicians and dancers, including the master himself, Jose Porcel. The energetic, foot-stomping production will be presented in Manicur Assembly Hall.
December marks the return of Tomáseen Foley’s “A Celtic Christmas,” which celebrates the holiday season with a heartwarming performance that combines storytelling, traditional dance and live music. Joining Foley onstage is a cast of award-winning artists performing in the Celtic tradition, including Irish dancers Marcus Donnelly and Marianne Knight, steel-string guitar master William Coulter and Brian Bigley on uilleann pipes, whistles and flute. The show will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of the FSU Performing Arts Center.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m., jazz vocalist René Marie performs in Cumberland’s Windsor Hall as part of LIVE! at StarScape. Marie’s sensuous voice and style unite elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel. Her latest album, “Voice of My Beautiful Country,” reveals a revolutionary yet personal patriotism that soars in traditional favorites reinvented as gospel/jazz mash ups: “My Country Tis of Thee,” “America the Beautiful” and “Oh, Shenandoah.” The performance of Marie’s “Black Lace Freudian Slip” also features Kevin Bales on piano, Kevin Hamilton on bass and Quentin Baxter on drums.
Family audiences will want to experience the magic of Tony Award-nominee John Tartaglia's “ImaginOcean,” a one-of-a-kind black-light puppet show that takes children of all ages on an undersea voyage to find friendship. The show follows the adventures of three fish friends, Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel, who set out on a treasure hunt. While in search of clues, they sing, dance and finally discover the best treasure of all: friendship. With music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, “ImaginOcean” will be offered on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Manicur Assembly Hall.
To help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, March brings a performance from the Women of Ireland Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Manicur Assembly Hall. This celebration of Celtic culture will demonstrate the beauty of their land’s traditional music, song and dance. The live concert features vocalists Denise Brennan, Michelle Lally and Ingrid Madsen, fiddler Zoe Conway and dancer Siobhán Manson, all accompanied by a host of world champion dancers and gifted musicians.
Ending the season as part of LIVE! at StarScape is the dynamic Ravi Coltrane Quartet on Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. in Manicur Assembly Hall. Coltrane, the son of jazz legend John Coltrane, carries on in his father’s tradition as an important presence in the jazz community. The Grammy-nominated saxophonist, bandleader, record producer and composer has worked as a sideman with many jazz luminaries, recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others, overseen important jazz reissues and founded the prominent independent record label, RKM. Down Beat has called him “a modernist who has absorbed a wealth of jazz, [and] those influences are couched so well, resulting in a unique sound, best described as ‘elusive beauty.’”
Tickets, including ticket packages and discounts, are available for all CES performances: a Build Your Own Series package for those planning to attend 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. Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-866-849-9237 or 301-687-3137 or by visiting http://ces.frostburg.edu.
The Cultural Events 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. CES is sponsored in part by the Allegany Arts Council with funds from MSAC.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of 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.