Soweto Gospel Choir Returns to Weis Center with New Program,  “Hope: It’s Been a Long Time Coming”

Soweto Gospel Choir Returns to Weis Center with New Program, “Hope: It’s Been a Long Time Coming”

Patrons Asked to Bring Canned Food Items for Local Families

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will welcome back the Soweto Gospel Choir on Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate, Martha and Alan Barrick, WNEP and the ArtsCONNECT program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

All attendees are asked to bring a canned food item, which will be distributed to local families in need through Union County Children and Youth Services.

The program, “Hope: It’s Been a Long Time Coming” features songs that commemorate the freedom movements in two countries, South Africa and the United States.

The choir also will perform selected holiday music.

Producer Andrew Kay states, “It’s a thrill for the choir to tour the United States and Canada again. These talented artists love spreading joy to audiences across the globe. And audiences, no matter where they see the choir, find their performances inspiring and their joy contagious.” He continues, “This new concert is something they’ve wanted to do since before the pandemic. They can’t wait to share this music with everyone!”

Pre-Performance Talk
There will be a free-performance talk with a member of the Soweto Gospel Choir, facilitated by Tanisha Williams, the Richard E. and Yvonne Smith Post-Doctoral Fellow in Botany from 6:40-7 p.m. the same night as the performance, in the Weis Center Atrium.

Protest Songs Playlist
As part of the engagement, the Weis Center has curated a playlist of protest songs on Spotify. Members of the public are encouraged to suggest songs for the list. Suggestions can be emailed to [email protected] or sent through the Weis Center’s Facebook (Facebook.com/WeisCenter) or Instagram (Instagram.com/Weis_Center) accounts. The playlist will be played in the Atrium and in the Concert Hall on the evening of the performance, December 1.

About the Performance and the Ensemble
In a concert of hope commemorating and remembering the freedom movements in South Africa and the United States, the three-time Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir brings joy and inspiration to us all. An unforgettable night starts with a rousing program of some of the South African freedom songs that inspired their Rainbow Nation, then moves to the United States with beautiful and heartfelt renditions of the music of the civil rights movement featuring works by legendary artists such as Billie Holiday, James Brown, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield and the one and only Aretha Franklin.

Hailing from Soweto (South West Township, South Africa), a town outside of Johannesburg and home of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s democratic movement, Soweto Gospel Choir continues to inspire audiences around the world with their powerful blend of African gospel, freedom songs and international classics.

The Soweto Gospel Choir was formed in 2003 at the end of the apartheid era and during South Africa’s inspiring return to democracy. Taking part in some of the major historical events in the new democratic South Africa, Soweto Gospel Choir are proud to have performed on many occasions for the former President Nelson Mandela and sadly at his state funeral in South Africa and at the subsequent commemorative service at Westminster Abbey in London. They were similarly invited to perform at the funeral service for the late president’s first wife, Winnie Mandela. The choir’s patron is human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and are proud to act as ambassadors for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Comprising a line-up of some of South Africa’s best vocalists, these uplifting performers have shared the stage and collaborated with the biggest names in contemporary music including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, U2, Diana Ross, Peter Gabriel, Chris Martin, John Legend, Pharrell Williams, Jimmy Cliff, Ben Harper, Angelique Kidjo, Robert Plant, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hugh Masekela and Josh Groban.

In January 2022, Soweto Gospel Choir sang at the funeral service in Cape Town of the Choir’s patron, Nobel Prize winning Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

TICKETS
Tickets are $35 for adults, $28 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $25 for youth 18 and under, $25 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2) and $25 for non-Bucknell students (limit 2).

Group discounts are available; please inquire with the Campus Box Office.

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

For more information about this event, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected]

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Award-Winning, Innovative Classical Ensemble to Perform at Weis Center

Award-Winning, Innovative Classical Ensemble to Perform at Weis Center

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will welcome classical ensemble Merz Trio on Thursday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center. The Trio features Lee Dionne on piano, Brigid Coleridge on violin and Julia Yang on cello.

Hailed as “artists in the deepest sense of the word” (Cut Common), the Merz Trio, winners of the Naumburg International Chamber Music Award Competition, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Concert Artists Guild competition, and Chesapeake Music’s International Chamber Music Competition for Young Professionals, has been lauded for their “stunning virtuosity … fresh and surprising interpretations” (Reading Eagle) and “perfection of intonation and ensemble” (Hudson Review).

Seamlessly gliding between traditional repertoire and the music of our time, the trio are known for their vibrantly dynamic programming, wide-ranging interdisciplinary collaboration and prolific new arrangements of works for piano trio.

The trio is also known for their fluid and imaginative integration of music and text in their programming, ranging from their recital-theater piece built around Shakespeare’s Macbeth (“Those Secret Eyes”) to their recent debut album interweaving Ravel’s Trio with short pieces, poems and diaries of the era (“Ink,” August 2021).

At the Weis Center, the Merz Trio will bring together a series of diversely lyrical and stunningly rich works in a program called After Vienna, including Alma Mahler and Alban Berg: “Four Songs”; Daniel Temkin: “Five Bagatelles”; Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 8 and Franz Schubert: Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat Major, D. 899.

TICKETS
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $15 for youth 18 and under, $15 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2) and $15 for non-Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

For more information about this event, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected]

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Folk Duo Performs at Campus Theatre, Part of Weis Center Series

Folk Duo Performs at Campus Theatre, Part of Weis Center Series

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will welcome Canadian folk duo The Small Glories on Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by the Williamsport Sun Gazette.

Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories are Cara Luft and JD Edwards, a musical tour-de-force partnership planted on the Canadian prairies. Thrown together purely by accident for an anniversary show at Winnipeg, Canada’s venerable West End Cultural Centre, The Small Glories could almost make you believe in fate.

With a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink and audiences feel as if they are right there on the stage with the band — writing the songs, living the songs, performing the songs. It’s not uncommon for listeners to find themselves laughing, dancing, crying or caught up in a good ol’ fashioned sing-along.

The material of a Small Glories’ concert is welcoming in terms of subject, folk-pop melody and instrumentation — songs of love, loss and environment, delivered with soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping claw-hammer banjo, guitar and harmonica. However, a Small Glories’ performance is really about what happens between the songs.

On the heels of winning International Folk Music Awards Artist of the Year in 2019, the highly anticipated sophomore album Assiniboine & the Red was released on Compass/Red House Records, and went on to no. 1 Album of the Year (Penguin Eggs Magazine) and to win Canadian Folk Music Awards Contemporary Album of the Year in 2020.

Accolades include:

2020 Multiple Canadian Folk Music Award Winners: Contemporary Album of the Year, Ensemble of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year

2020 International Folk Awards Artist of the Year

2020 JUNO Award Nominee: Traditional Roots Album of the Year

2020 Multiple Western Canadian Music Award Nominees: Breakout Artists of the Year and Roots Artist of the Year

Penguin Eggs Magazine Album of the Year

#1 Folk/Roots Album of the Year on Canadian Campus Radio

TICKETS
Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), FREE for Bucknell students (limit 2) and $10 for non-Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

For more information about this event, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected]

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale Announces Fall Concert

The Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale (SVYC), an educational outreach program of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC), will present its fall concert on Sunday, November 20 at 3 p.m. at St. John’s United Church of Christ located at 1050 Buffalo Rd. in Lewisburg.

Coleen Renshaw serves as SVYC Director and Verlaine Shaw serves as the piano accompanist.

The concert is titled “Sing, Sing, Sing” and each piece is about singing. Some of the songs that will be performed are: How Can I Keep from Singing, Sing (from Sesame Street), Sing a Rainbow, Do-Re-Mi and Sing, Sing, Sing.

Soloists will include: Rowan White, Ellie Kisvarday, Nolan Jusko, Luke Vadakara, Katie Mebius and Sarah Criswell.

The Susquehanna Valley Youth Chorale has been in existence since 1993. This year, the SVYC was fortunate to receive a generous grant from the 1994 Charles B. Degenstein Foundation to further the youth singing program.

The SVYC hosts youth singers from grades 3-12. Students represent a dozen towns in the Central PA region, including: Beavertown, Danville, Hughesville, Lewisburg, Middleburg, Mifflinburg, Milton, Mt. Pleasant Mills, Muncy, Richfield, Watsontown, Selinsgrove and Shamokin Dam.

Tickets are $10 for Adults, $5 for Students, 5 and under are free; tickets are available at SVCMusic.org, by calling 570-547-0455 or at the door.

Save the date! The SVYC will also perform with the Susquehanna Valley Chorale on December 17 and 18 at the Candlelight Christmas performance at Zion Lutheran Church in Sunbury.

For more information about the SVYC, please visit SVCMusic.org.

Cuban Percussionist and Classical Piano Prodigy Bring Cuban Jazz Rhythms to the Weis Center

Cuban Percussionist and Classical Piano Prodigy Bring Cuban Jazz Rhythms to the Weis Center

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will welcome Cuban street percussionist Pedrito Martinez and Classical piano prodigy Alfredo Rodriguez on Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center.

The performance is sponsored, in part, by Evangelical Community Hospital, ViaMedia and Jazz at Bucknell.

Painted in the broadest of strokes, the stories of Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez may seem similar: both started life in Havana, discovered their gifts and passions for music and headed to the States, where they melded the music of their homeland with a wide variety of influences, each in his own deeply personal way.

Zoom in a little, though, and the two paths differ considerably. Rodriguez was born into a musical family — his father a popular singer and TV host. A child prodigy, he studied classical piano at the prestigious Conservatorio Amadeo Roldán and Instituto Superior de Arte while playing popular music in his father’s orchestra by night. While performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, he was discovered by his future mentor and producer, the legendary Quincy Jones.

Martinez, on the other hand, honed his craft on the streets of Havana, learning the deeply-rooted percussion and vocal style of Afro-Cuban folkloric and religious music. This master percussionist and vocalist arrived in the United States in 1998; was soon awarded first place at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Afro-Latin Hand Drum Competition, and appeared in the documentary Calle 54. He then co-founded a Latin-fusion group, Yerba Buena, with which he toured extensively and recorded several successful albums. Martinez has performed or recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Angélique Kidjo, Chucho Valdés and James Taylor. He has been a leader of his own quartet since 2005 with a Grammy-nominated album released in 2013 on Motéma Music.

As a result of their differences, Rodriguez and Martinez share a natural chemistry that makes for a galvanizing musical experience when they come together. Their first duo album, Duologue, finds the pair exploring a range of moods and influences, from Cuban classics to collaborative original compositions to a number of unexpected favorites.

NPR’s Felix Contreras said, “Each is on his own musical trajectory…it’s a joy to hear their visions combine.”

TICKETS
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $15 for youth 18 and under, $15 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2) and $15 for non-Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

PLEASE NOTE
Bucknell’s face covering requirements follow CDC guidelines, based on current rates of transmission of COVID-19 in Union County. When transmission rates are high, face coverings are required of everyone in all public and academic indoor campus spaces, including the Weis Center. Masks are not required indoors when transmission rates are low or medium. This guideline applies to all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Please always have a mask available when you are on campus. KN95s are recommended. To view Bucknell’s current status, visit bucknell.edu/COVID-19.

For more information about this event, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by e-mail at [email protected]

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

SVC Fall Performance Features New Composition Called “Love”, Written by SVC Conductor, Music Director William Payn

The Susquehanna Valley Chorale (SVC) will present a moving new composition called “Love” on Sunday, October 23 at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Sunbury.

The new work was created by SVC Conductor and Music Director William Payn during the global pandemic when members of the Chorale could not safely gather to sing. Payn has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Susquehanna Valley Chorale for over twenty-five years.

The performance will feature two audience favorite soloists: soprano Lynn Eustis and baritone Daniel Teadt. Lynn last sang with the Chorale during the 2018 performance of Brahms’ Requiem. Daniel sang with the SVC in the fall of 2011 for the performance of Carmina Burana and then again when the SVC collaborated with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2012 for Dona Nobis Pacem.

The new work, Love, includes ten movements, each of which is dedicated in honor or in memory of someone who is connected to the SVC and had a significant impact on the organization. There are dedications to Cyril Stretansky, Joanne Wilson, Rev. John J. Dromazos, Paul and Betty Keene, Harriet Bresenhan, Martha Zeller, John Goldsmith, Margarita Morales Kearns, Daniel Payn, The Anderson/Bowen/Payn Family, Ruth Anderson, and Robert Gronlund.

Payn said of his inspiration for the work, “Through the ages, poets have written about love in its many forms. Their words are often inspiring and speak eloquently of the human condition and the inexplicable need for connection.”

The performance is sixty minutes in length featuring settings of poetry about love and human connection. The words of the following poets are highlighted in the work: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Collin Berry, Naomi Shihab Nye, Virginia Smith, Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings, Harrisburg’s Poet Laureate Rick Kearns, Rabindranath Tagore and William Payn.

Payn stated in one of his journal entries while creating the work, “Having extended time to compose has been pure heaven and a luxury I truly appreciate. I am keeping a journal each day about the creative process and my experiences as a composer.”

Seating for this one-time-only engagement is limited, so patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets early.

Tickets are $25 for adults and student tickets are $10 and are available at SVCMusic.org or by calling 570-547-0455. Youth under the age of 12 are always free.

For more information about the Chorale, including auditions for adults and youth, visit SVCMusic.org.