Full Fall at Silver Center for the Arts

September 15th, 2009 by Adam

Award-Winning Professional, Student and Faculty Performers at Plymouth State University

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — The new semester brings the excitement of Plymouth State University performing arts programs back to the Silver Center for the Arts beginning September 17. From music to theatre and dance performances and book readings, the Silver Series fall lineup presents diverse programming.

The 2009-2010 Silver Series for the Performing Arts leads off September 17 at 7 p.m. with folk icon Tom Rush whose shows offer a musical celebration filled with the rib-tickling humor of engaging story-telling, the sweet melancholy of ballads and the passion of gritty blues.

Rush will perform in the intimate Smith Recital Hall, for an unforgettable audience experience.

Rush is a gifted musician and performer, presenting a musical celebration … a journey into tradition and the musical spectrum. His distinctive guitar style, wry humor and warm, expressive voice have made him both a legend and a lure to audiences around the world. Rush displays an uncanny knack for finding wonderful songs, and writing his own—many of which have become classics re-interpreted by new generations. His 2009 release, “What I Know,” has topped the Americana charts with harmonies by Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Bramlett and Nanci Griffith.Sponsored by MegaPrint.

October 8 brings Blues-Flamenco-Celtic-Funk-Folk-Jazz dynamo Deborah Henson-Conant to the Smith Recital Hall. Henson-Conant is a Grammy-nominated, genre-bending electric harp player and vocalist. She has written and produced her own one-woman shows and orchestrated many symphony shows including one that aired on PBS. The Boston Globe calls Henson-Conant a combination of “Leonard Bernstein, Steven Tyler and Xena the Warrior Princess” and Scott Simpson at NPR invites us to “imagine the talented love child of André Previn and Lucille Ball. Sponsored by Megaprint.

The genre shifts again October 29 when the Silver Series presents John Sebastian, former lead singer and songwriter of The Lovin’ Spoonful, and member of the Rock and Roll and Songwriters halls of fame; and David Grisman, a virtuoso mandolinist who spearheaded an acoustic music revolution with “Dawg” music—a unique blend of swing, bluegrass, Latin and other musical influences.

The duo’s CD, “Satisfied,” is a collection of acoustic duets featuring traditional folk tunes, blues, classic instrumentals and original tracks. Their musical history dates back to college days at New York University circa 1963 when the Greenwich Village folk revival was in its heyday.

They made their first recording together as members of the Even Dozen Jug Band with future luminaries Maria Muldaur, Stefan Grossman and others. Sebastian teams with mandolin master Grisman for traditional folk/blues songs and instrumentals, as well as Sebastian originals.Presented in Hanaway Theatre with sponsorship by Abode Builders of New England.

Still want more? Look forward to second semester when the Silver Series presents Colonial Brass, the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty’s brass ensemble; jazz from Grace Kelly Quintet, led by saxophonist, vocalist, composer and arranger Grace Kelly; symphonic sounds made in New Hampshire by the Nashua Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Ying Quartet, comprising classical musician siblings Janet, Phil and David Ying and the newest quartet member, Frank Huang.

Also on the spring program, a one-man theatrical presentation, Mother/SON, in which writer and actor Jeffrey Solomon, playing both roles, converses with his mother about her struggles with his homosexuality; Natraj, a quintet that melds the classical music of India, traditional music from West Africa and contemporary jazz; and Celtic tenor John McDermott. McDermott’s a cappella rendition of Danny Boy is touted by many as the definitive rendition of this iconic song.

The PSU Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance also hosts a vibrant series of programs at the Silver Center, performed by students, faculty and guests.

Student Theater offerings this fall include Raised in Captivity by Nicky Silver opening September 24 and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Oklahoma, October 15-18.

Nicky Silver wrings laughs from the horrors of everyday life in Raised in Captivity, his story of estranged twins who are reunited at their mother’s funeral. Raised in Captivity is a quirky, dark comedy of characters trying to break out of their emotional prisons in a very unconventional manner. The play is recommended for mature audiences.

At the another end of the drama pendulum, Oklahoma tells the story of the high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys in the western territories. Cowboy Curly and farm girl Laurey find that true love can be as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road.

The final fall theatre presentation is Rhinoceros, November 19-22, an absurdist play by Eugene Ionesco that examines apathy and conformity. What will it take for Berenger to stand up to the increasing menace of rhinocerization in his town?

Music patrons can sample multiple genres in performances by the All New England choral and band festivals; a faculty piano recital by Professor Carleen Graff; Duo Veritas with Professor Dan Perkins and Camerata New England cellist Linda Galvan; student guitar, chamber, percussion and jazz ensembles and the annual holiday choral treat, A Joyful Noise. This year the choirs celebrate a multicultural holiday with Ghanaian drumming ensemble Akwaaba, and a string quartet, December 6.

PSU and guest dancers add to the seasonal delights with a Contemporary Dance Ensemble concert featuring student and faculty choreography December 4 & 5.

Eagle Pond Authors’Series

Beginning its 11th season, the Eagle Pond Authors’ Series hosts poets Franz Wright and Kevin Young October 22 and November 4, respectively.

Wright’s poetry collection, Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, won the Pulitzer Prize and his newest book, Wheeling Motel is due out fall 2009. Writer-in-residence at Brandeis University, Wright is the author of 14 collections.

Kevin Young, born in 1970, is widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation; one who finds inspiration in African American music and the bittersweet history of Black America. Young, a multiple award winner, is professor of poetry at Emory University.

Readings are presented free of charge and are followed by a book signing and reception. The Eagle Pond Authors’ Series is sponsored by a generous grant from Follett Higher Education Group.

Details of date, time, location and cost for all events are available on the Silver Center Web site at silver.plymouth.edu and in Plymouth State’s online calendar, ThisWeek@PSU, at http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu/; or by calling the box office at (603) 535-ARTS or (800) 779-3869.