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FSU’s Cultural Events Series Kicks Off Season With Squonk Opera’s “Astro-rama”

FSU’s Cultural Events Series Kicks Off Season With Squonk Opera’s “Astro-rama”
The Frostburg State University Cultural Events Series will celebrate the opening of its 2011-2012 season with two free performances of Squonk Opera’s inventive outdoor show, “Astro-rama.” Performances will take place Wednesday, Aug. 31, and Thursday, Sept. 1, at 9 p.m. on the University’s Upper Quad outside the Compton Science Center. Wednesday’s show will be followed by an interactive discussion with the artists. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets.

Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera, which first visited FSU in 1998, is a visionary ensemble of musicians and artists who create multimedia performances using imaginative staging, lighting, video and original music.

Squonk’s “Astro-rama” is a large-scale outdoor event that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described as, “an American, terrestrial and perhaps galaxy original, … a unique mix of geek and polish, eccentric design and mocking wit.” The event features UFOs, a four-story radio telescope dish and musicians who soar through the air on lifts and cranes. The enormous set includes witty details such as a giant red-eyed computer, a delicate moon and even an Orrery – the mechanical device that measures the planets’ positions in the solar system. With the help of the audience, the Squonkers create a self-portrait of the human species and beam it into the cosmos in an attempt to make contact with alien intelligence.

Squonk Opera will also present an interactive discussion, “Collaborative Interdisciplinary Creation,” to discuss their creative process and the effective use of multimedia arts on Friday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. in the Atkinson Room (232) of FSU’s Lane University Center. The session is free and open to the public. In support of the project, the FSU Planetarium will offer the presentation of “Moons’ Curiosities” about the many moons that exist in our solar system. Free planetarium shows occur on Sept. 11, 18 and 25 at 4 and 7 p.m. in Tawes Hall.

For more information, contact the Cultural Events Series box office at 301-687-3137 or visit CES’ web page at

This project is partially supported by a grant from Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, a program developed and funded by the Heinz Endowments; the William Penn Foundation; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; and The Pew Charitable Trusts, and is administered by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. The Cultural Events Series is sponsored in part by the Allegany Arts Council with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council, and is supported by a grant from MSAC, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & 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 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 or

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. -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589