School of Performing Arts: Fall Semester Preview

You might’ve noticed recently that we Filled the Steins to the year of performances over at the Collins Center for the Arts.  The CCA calendar is chock full of artsy goodness – but the fun doesn’t stop there.  This week, we take a look at another great destination for your cultural adventures in Orono-land.  The School of Performing Arts, housed in the Class of 1944 Hall, is home to world-class faculty, award-winning guest performers, and, of course, students perfecting their crafts before representing UMaine in the big, wide world of music, theatre, and dance.  And FYI, tickets are all free to students with a MaineCard…  Below is our preview of the Fall Semester’s lineup from the SPA.  For the full calendar, click here.

October 19, 7:30PM.  Minsky Recital Hall: Silver Duo with Lydia Forbes

UMaine Faculty, Phillip and Noreen Silver – a pianist and cellist, respectively – will be joined by internationally-renowned violinist (and member of Maine’s DaPonte String Quartet), Lydia Forbes for works by Debussy, Dvorak, and Berwald.  International performers, the Silvers and Ms. Forbes will certainly bring a bit of culture to Homecoming weekend.

October 27, 2PM.  Collins Center for the Arts: UMaine Jazz Ensemble & Symphonic Band joint concert
For the very first time, the University’s Jazz Ensemble and the Maine Symphonic Band will share a stage at the Collins Center for the Arts.  Audition-only student groups, the bands are dedicated to learning and performing pieces of work from America’s and the World’s greatest composers.  If they’re reading this and taking requests, I’m a big Duke Ellington guy.  Just saying.

November 15-17, 21-24 varying times. Hauck Auditorium: Metamorphoses
Following on the success of Spring Awakening winning the New England Theatre Conference’s Moss Hart Memorial Award for outstanding regional theatrical productions, the UMaine Theatre Department gets to work on a doozy.  Based on the classic Ovid poem of the same name, Metamorphoses’ set design brings the audience poolside.  Really.  The set design includes an above-ground pool, in which the actors will perform much of the play.  Furthermore, the audience will be seated onstage, as well, lending an entirely unique point of view for this presentation.  (Your humble author is a 2001 Theatre grad, and you better believe there’s a follow-up column coming, here…)
November 24, 2PM. Minsky: Athena Consort/Black Bear Men’s Chorus

Drawing on talents from across the UMaine world – students, faculty/staff, and community members – Athena Consort (for women) and the Black Bear Men’s Chorus (that’d be for the men, by default, no?) come together to present a great musical event that showcases the collaborative spirit of the SPA.  Plus, the BBMC is headed up by a Fill The Steins favorite, Danny Williams…
December 8, 2PM.  Collins Center for the Arts: Yuletide Choral Concert

Get your Christmas spirit on with more than 100 singers at the Collins Center.  A family-friendly affair just before the start of finals, the Yuletide Concert breaks out all the holiday’s favorites, from ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Joy to the World’ to Handel’s ‘Messiah.’  Other than some tasty egg nog, I’m not sure anything says Christmas more than caroling…

December 12-14, 7:30PM. Hauck Auditorium: Fall Dance Showcase
Look.  This isn’t common knowledge.  But I love dance.  OK, technically, I loved doing the lighting work for the Dance Showcases back when I was a UMaine Theatre techie.  But still.  I loved going to these.  Without any cynicism, here, I am telling you that some of these performances are among the most elegant, inspiring, and athletic things I saw during my time on campus.  Do yourself a favor and go.  And do me a favor, too – pay attention to the lighting design, OK?

December 15, 2PM. Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center: Oratorio Society with the University of Maine Orchestra
Venturing a little way off campus, Hampden Academy will host this gala concert, celebrating the last Oratorio by Music Department Interim Chair and long-time professor, Ludlow Hallman.  Brahms’ Requiem will be the way Prof. Hallman says goodbye to the Oratorio, and the event will surely see many of his former students and protégés return for this choral performance.

Looking ahead to the Spring Semester…  (You can let that preview column keep you warm sometime in January or February.)

January 17, 7:30PM.  Hauck Auditorium: An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Classics
Check it out: if you like the School of Performing Arts, head to Hauck on January 17 for a performance from a student orchestra and student vocalists.  Your box office dollars get you in to see the favorites from Rodgers & Hammerstein (Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Sound of Music), but equally as good, the take goes to support programs at the SPA.  Do good by seeing good art.  Win-win.

February 14-16, 20-23, varying times.  Hauck Auditorium: Grease
Valentine’s Day and one of the most popular musicals about young love ever.  Pretty sweet match, eh?  Well, it’s going to be directed by crowd favorite, Prof. Sandra Hardy, so you know it’ll be a good show as well as a good date.  And hey, if you’re a UMaine student reading this thing, you should know auditions are coming right up on October 20-21.  So get your fill of those summer nights…in February.

So whether you’re into theatre, dance, or musical performances, there’s lots to be found this fall on the UMaine campus.  Hope to see you there – and for a Fill The Steins post-show nightcap around town.  Cheers!

Photo of Cyrus Pavilion Theatre by Ruth Clark, Bright Lights Dark Room

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