Celebrate the Arts

The University of Dayton spotlights the musical, theatrical and artistic talents of its students at the annual "Celebration of the Arts" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Schuster Performing Arts Center, One West Second St., in downtown Dayton.

The performing and visual arts program is part of the inaugural celebration of Eric F. Spina and caps his formal installation earlier that day as the University's 19th president.

The inaugural events also include the Brother Joseph W. Stander Symposium on April 5, an annual event showcasing student research and scholarship.

"The College of Arts and Sciences joins the other schools on campus to celebrate student academic and artistic achievement as we officially welcome President Spina and his bold vision for the University's future," said Jason Pierce, College dean.

Celebration of the Arts features more than a dozen University music, dance and theater ensembles on stage in the Schuster Center's 2,300-seat Mead Theatre. The 90-minute performance showcase is preceded at 6:30 p.m. with a display of works by 18 department of art and design students in the Kettering Wintergarden, a six-story glass atrium.

Spina and University Provost Paul Benson will address the audience during the program. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Sponsored by the College, Celebration of the Arts is a Universitywide event.

The majority of performers aren't arts majors. Instead, they are exploring the arts while studying other academic disciplines, said Michelle Hayford, director of the theatre, dance and performance technology program.

"It really demonstrates how much value UD places on the arts as an important experience in your undergraduate education for all students, not just arts majors," Hayford said.

The Schuster Center has hosted the event since 2009. Showcasing student performers and artists at the downtown venue promotes the University's diverse range of arts studies to the Dayton community, said Sharon Gratto, department of music chair and Graul Chair designate in the Arts and Languages.

Traditionally, a member of the local arts community serves as the program's emcee. This year, the cast of Live on Air: Three 1950s Radio Plays will host the event, performing snippets of the radio plays before they introduce the acts.

Live on Air will be presented April 21-23 in the Kennedy Union Boll Theatre on campus.

Celebration of the Arts features selections from About Being, a collaboration between the University Dance Ensemble and DCDC2, the repertory-training ensemble of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. It also features Oh Goodness Me, a selection from Johann Strauss' comic operetta Die Fledermaus, a collaboration between the music department and the theatre program.

The University Orchestra, University Chorale, Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Dayton Jazz Ensemble highlight the musical performers, along with the World Music Choir, Ebony Heritage Singers and the five-piece Horn Ensemble.

The University Chorale will present the Dayton premiere of Go Out With Joy, a newly commissioned work by composer Joseph Gregorio, who will attend the performance.

The World Music Choir will perform Arirang, a Korean folk song that is often considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea.

"It features choir with mezzo-soprano soloist, and faculty member Dr. Ryu-Kyung Kim will sing the solo part dressed in her Korean national dress," Gratto said.

The exhibition of art and design student work is highlighted by an installation of large, abstract paintings by Alexandra Morrissette, a senior fine arts major from Pittsburgh who was honored this week with the Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Ohio.

"You walk into this round series of standing, painted panels and your entire peripheral vision is filled with rich textures and swirling forms within the painting," said Judith Huacuja, art and design department chair.

The students will stand with their artwork and answer attendees' questions.

"This is an important exhibition at a major cultural institution in downtown Dayton that they can place on their resume," Huacuja said. "The students are very excited about the event, and it is a career-building experience. It is a professional aspect of artistic activity - to exhibit their work and interact with audiences."

Tickets for University students, faculty and staff are available at the Kennedy Union box office with a valid ID. Tickets for the general public are available by calling Ticket Center Stage at 937-228-3630 or online at ticketcenterstage.com.

Free transportation to the Schuster Center from campus is provided by Greater Dayton RTA. Roundtrip chartered buses will depart from the corner of Stewart and Alberta streets, near A lot, at 6:45 p.m. and 7:20 p.m.

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences


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