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Fowler Center Announces 2013-14 Presentations in Riceland Distinguished Performance Series and New Family Series


* The 2013-2014 Fowler Center Season promo video is available at www.yourfowlercenter.com.

JONESBORO -- Arkansas State University’s Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive, announces its 2013-14 season. The Riceland Distinguished Performance Series presents seven concerts. New this season is a Family Friendly Series, which presents two events with a special ticket rate for children.

“I’m very excited about the talented guest artists we’re featuring this season!” says Wendy Hymes, the director of Fowler Center. “Our Distinguished Performance Series will present a perfect blend of familiar and new, featuring return visits by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Mark O’Connor, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and performances by All Hands On Deck! — a 1940’s style Big-Band variety show, the Kenyan Boys Choir & Moipei Quartet — two of Africa’s premier performing groups, Celtic sensation Claddagh, and Nashville-based a cappella dynamos Street Corner Symphony.” More information about each of the featured concerts is listed below, and a video is available on the Fowler Center website.

This season Fowler Center is starting a new "Family Friendly Series" with special ticket prices and entertainment that appeals to younger audiences. “Tickets for children will be only $8, and the events will be kid-friendly, meaning the entertainment will be specially geared towards our younger audience members yet enjoyable for the adults too,” says Hymes. Hymes knows a little about kids’ entertainment: she has a 9-year old and a 12-year old of her own. Plus, she taught elementary music to kids from pre-k through high school for many years.

“Families are going to really enjoy these two shows. Lynn Trefzger is hold-your-sides-and-laugh-your-tail-off funny. And she involves the audience in the humorous antics of the show. The characters of Lightwire Theatre’s glow-in-the-dark puppets appear real enough to leap off the stage. The tallest puppet is 16 feet tall! Ingeniously combined with music, the show holds your attention from start to finish.”

Several of the seasons’ guest artists will also offer educational outreach activities for students and the community. Philip Mann, music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, will give a pre-concert talk before “The 8 Seasons!” performance on January 30, 2014. Andrew Irvin, co-concertmaster of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, will also give a master class for string players. The members of the Kenyan Boys’ Choir and the Moipei Quartet will offer a community workshop on singing African choral repertoire open to all singers and choir directors on Saturday afternoon, February 22, 2014, before their evening performance. And a school workshop is being planned for the members of Street Corner Symphony at a location in Jonesboro still to be determined. For more information on these educational opportunities, contact Wendy Hymes at (870) 972-3471 or whymes@astate.edu.

Riceland Distinguished Performance Series:

• Rhonda Vincent and the Rage: Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 2:00pm

Hailed as the “New Queen of Bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, Rhonda Vincent is a top draw in bluegrass music and beyond. Featured in People Magazine, Oprah's "O" Magazine, Rhonda has made appearances with such notables as Dolly Parton & Norah Jones and received shouted praise from high profile fans such as Bernie Taupin and Levon Helms. With over 80 awards to their credit, Rhonda Vincent and the Rage have emerged as the most decorated band in bluegrass. Among their honors are Song of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, and an unrivaled seven consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

• All Hands On Deck! A 1940’s Big Band Musical: Saturday November 9, 2013 at 7:30pm

Based on Bob Hope’s 1942 USO tour to the troops in the field, All Hands On Deck! is a new, two-act revue performed by four charismatic singer/dancer/comics and a 9-piece orchestra featuring the songs, dances and laughs that America has loved since the ‘40s. With over 40 classic Big Band hits, Act Two of this show becomes a live radio broadcast, complete with a live studio audience, on-air antics, classic commercials, timeless songs and hilarious, and impromptu skits. The performance pays tribute to both active duty and veteran members of our armed forces. If you are a patriotic American, this winner is a must see.

• Mark O’Connor & Friends: An Appalachian Christmas: Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 7:30pm

Hailed as "one of the most talented and imaginative artists working in music," by the Los Angeles Times, this multi-Grammy winning musician and composer, most known for his million-selling composition "Appalachia Waltz" has composed nine concertos and two symphonies as well as authoring a new violin method that tens of thousands of children are learning from. After 30 years, Mark still remains the only person that has won the National Fiddle Championship, the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship and the World Mandolin Championship. He was also voted "musician of the year" for six years in a row by the Country Music Association.

For "An Appalachian Christmas" Mark O'Connor features some of his favorite musicians and songs from the country/bluegrass, pop, classical and jazz worlds of his musical journey.

• Featuring the Strings of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra And Music Director, Philip Mann: Thursday January 30, 2014 at 7:30pm (pre-concert talk with Maestro Mann at 6:30 p.m.)

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra returns this season with a performance of impressive pieces from their I.N.C. Series (Intimate Neighborhood Concert Series), its new chamber orchestra series launched a year ago to engage, inspire, connect, and advance Arkansas through the power of music. This program will feature the ASO strings and soloists performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, an audience favorite, combined with the Latin tangos of the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Argentinian composer Ástor Piazzolla.

“Always an audience favorite, Vivaldi’s “Seasons” is fiery, virtuosic, and full of beauty. Pairing Vivaldi’s Italian sensibilities with the sultry, romantic, and explosive “Seasons” of Piazzolla transports the listener to the colorful and passionate worlds of two composers centuries apart.”

• The Kenyan Boys Choir with the Moipei Quartet, Two of Africa’s Premiere Choral Groups: Saturday February 22, 2014 at 7:30pm

No other African youth choir has dominated peer competition like the Kenyan Boys Choir. They’ve earned acclaim in Kenya and tours abroad as a disciplined group with a work ethic that parallels the King’s College Cambridge Choir and the Harlem Boys Choir of New York. Whether in concert or choral workshop, a show by the Boys Choir of Kenya is simply an experience – the wide vocal range, diverse repertoire ranging from pan-African to American spirituals, mature artistry, drama, and, oh, the costumes!

Joining the Kenyan Boys Choir on their U.S. tour are the Moipei triplets Mary, Martha and Magdalene and their younger sister Seraphine who form the all-girl Moipei Quartet. Winning the “Best Of Africa” category at the 4th annual Crown Gospel Music Awards in South Africa in 2011 propelled the quartet to instant celebrity. Their beautiful “angelic” voices were featured in a recent performance at the inauguration ceremony of the Kenyan President in April 2013. They were also appointed the first ever UNICEF Child Ambassadors in Kenya.

• Claddagh: An Explosion of Celtic Dance and Passion: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 7:30pm

With its underlying romantic story, Claddagh: An Explosion of Celtic Dance & Passion is a vivacious music, dance and multi-media spectacular that forges beyond the normal limitations of the traditional concert format.

Come experience this newest production from the producers of Celtic Nights and Rhythm of the Dance. The show combines the fire and exuberance of shows like Barrage and Stomp yet weaves in elements of the rich finesse of the grand Irish productions. With its underlying romantic story line reminiscent of the much loved shows such as the Fantasticks, West Side Story, and Grease, Claddagh is a vivacious music, dance and multi-media spectacular that forges beyond the normal limitations of the traditional concert format.

• Street Corner Symphony, Dynamic A Cappella Group: Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7:30pm

An a cappella sensation based out of Nashville, Tennessee, they became internationally known in 2010 after being runners-up on Season 2 of NBC’s all vocal competition, The Sing-Off. These southern gents win over audiences with their unique laid back, yet dynamic style of a cappella. The group consists of three brothers: Jeremy Lister, Jonathan Lister, and Richie Lister, along with Adam Chance, John Martin, and Mark McLemore. Five out of six members were raised the sons of ministers. Since their success on The Sing-Off, Street Corner Symphony has been making records, performing for audiences around the country and working with major artists including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6's Claude McKnight. Their music covers a wide range of styles, from gospel and barbershop to rock and pop, appealing to young and old alike.

NEW! Family Friendly Series:

• Lynn Trefzger, Ventriloquist – Comedian: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 7:00pm

Have you ever had a childhood hobby that got out of hand? That explains Lynn Trefzger’s start as a ventriloquist/comedian. For over 30 years, Lynn has given life to a trunk full of comical characters. She has performed for audiences worldwide in corporations, colleges, theatres, and cruise ships. A recipient of The American comedy Award, Variety Entertainer of the Year, and Comedy Entertainer of the Year by the National Association of Campus Activities, Lynn (and her many voices) have appeared on ABC, TNN, A&E, and Lifetime. Voted “People’s Choice Award” in 2010 by the Ohio Arts Presenters Association, her performances are tailored for both family and adult audiences.

• Lightwire Theatre, “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Tortoise & the Hare”: Saturday February 8th, 2014 at 7:00pm and Sunday February 9th, 2014 at 2:00pm

Lightwire Theatre brings new life to a pair of classic tales, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling” and Aesop’s fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Using puppets lined with electroluminescent wire, these well-known characters illuminate the darkened stage and wend their way into audiences’ hearts. Children and adults alike will love Lightwire Theater’s cutting edge blend of puppetry, technology, and dance.

Videos and Tickets

Videos of each of the guest artists are on the Fowler Center website, www.yourfowlercenter.com.

In addition to the Riceland Distinguished Performance Series, arts enthusiasts can look forward to another great season of plays by the ASU Department of Theatre, art shows in the Bradbury Gallery, and performances by the ASU Department of Music. All of the events happening in Fowler Center will be spotlighted in the season brochure, due out in early July.

All seating is reserved. Season and individual tickets go on sale Aug. 1. Subscribe to all seven of the Riceland Distinguished Performance events and get seven concerts for the price of five (a savings of nearly 30% off individual ticket prices). Individual tickets for the Riceland Distinguished Performance Series are $30 and $20 for adults, and $23 and $15 for senior citizens and students, $24 and $16 for ASU faculty and staff, and $10 and $6 for ASU students with a current ID. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Tickets for the Family Friendly Series are $8 for children and seniors, $10 for adults.

Tickets may be purchased at the ASU Central Box Office in the Convocation Center, 217 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro, or by calling (870) 972-ASU1 or by calling toll-free at (888) ASU-FANS. Tickets are also available online from the ASU Central Box Office (http://www2.astate.edu/tickets/) and from Fowler Center (www.yourfowlercenter.com).

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** Artist Photos downloadable from the Press Room at http://www.yourfowlercenter.com/home/press-room.dot

For more information about the artists:

Wendy Hymes
Director, Fowler Center
Phone: 870-972-3471
Fax: 870-972-3748