Rollins Performing Arts Offers Something for Everyone This Fall Season
September 23, 2010
The lineup of cultural entertainment offered by Arts at Rollins this fall has never been more diverse and exciting. In addition to popular, show-stopping productions, concerts and recitals, the Rollins College Departments of Music and Theatre and Dance are continuing their tradition of involving members of the Rollins community in talk-backs and master classes to complete a vibrant educational environment.
This season, Music at Rollins has invited numerous artists of renown to campus to share the gift of their music with students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community. On October 6 and 7, distinguished American pianist Ann Schein will perform a piano recital and teach a master class to students.
"It is an honor having Ann Schein at Rollins," said John Sinclair, chair of the Rollins Department of Music. "She is one of the greatest American pianists of our time."
October 13 marks the return of the Music at Rollins Jazz Series with a performance by jazz vocalist Michelle Mailhot. “Mailhot is an extraordinary singer with incredible range and style,” said Charles Archard, Jazz Artist-in-Residence at Rollins. “She will be performing Jazz standards as well as her unique versions of contemporary tunes.” The second installment will take place on October 28 and 29 with a master class and performance by premier jazz pianist Michael Wofford and distinguished jazz flutist Holly Hofmann. Jazz legend Benny Golson once described Wofford as “quintessential. He is the essence of a jazz pianist in his purest and most concentrated form.”
In addition to guest artists, numerous faculty and student recitals, along with performances by the many Music Department ensembles and Music at Midday student showcases, will take place throughout the semester. In partnership with the Polish National Alliance, Music at Rollins will also present a concert entitled “Celebrating 200 Years of Chopin” on November 19. All Music at Rollins events are free and open to the public.
The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park will kick off its season on October 23 and 24 with a performance of Beethoven’s revolutionary Symphony No. 9 and a world-premier of Symphony for Amelia. Composed by Winter Park Institute Distinguished Visiting Scholar Jaron Lanier, the piece was commissioned by the Bach Festival Society and arranged this summer by Rollins student Ted Henderson (Class of 2011).
“The piece is not necessarily unlike anything I’ve ever heard before, but what Jaron does that is revolutionary is the way he uses the orchestra and the choir,” Henderson said. “Many of the choral parts are rhythmically difficult, evoking a percussive sound, which makes the piece sound very cool.”
In November, the Bach Festival will bring the hip, indie string quartet Brooklyn Rider to campus as part of its Visiting Artist Series. Brooklyn Rider made its mark on the classical music scene touring with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road project and broke into the mainstream by being featured at the South by Southwest music festival and on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Brooklyn Rider’s mix of avant garde and classical repertoire will prove to be a concert unlike any the Rollins community has ever experienced.
The Rollins Department of Theatre and Dance will kick off its fall season with the Tony award-winning production of Neil Simon’s Biloxi Blues, which runs from September 24 through October 2. Guest starring Associate Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance Eric Zivot as Sergeant Toomey, Biloxi Blues will be the directorial return of Professor of Theatre Arts & Dance Charles Rodgers, after a 10-year hiatus.
“Ten years ago I got tired of directing,” confessed Rodgers. “There was influx of eager younger directors at Rollins, so I stepped aside. This year, I was approached by the chair of the department and asked to if I’d like to direct again. I’ve always liked Neil Simon and I liked working with Professor Zivot, so we got together and chose Biloxi Blues.”
Rodgers also commented that the cast of Biloxi Blues is, “highly intelligent, hardworking, and very talented. I am very much enjoying this directing experience, especially working with students who are so eager to learn.”
Dancing its way next into the newly renovated Annie Russell Theater will be everyone’s favorite nostalgic musical of love and rebellion, Grease, running from November 12 through 20. Under the direction of Kevin Gray, whose tantalizingly sinister vision of Nazi Germany came to life in last year’s run of Cabaret, Grease’s legendary song and dance numbers promise to leave audience members “jiving” for days after.
Finally, the Fred Stone Theatre Second Stage Series will continue to feature student directors and performers in experimental and often controversial productions. Nine, by Jane Shephard, will have a brief run from October 27 through 31. Under the direction of Shannon Singley (Class of 2011), Nine is a psychological thriller about two women locked in a room and chained apart. It is guaranteed to evoke the Halloween spirit.
The breadth of entertainment this season at Rollins presents something for everyone.
By Justin Braun (MBA Class of 2011)