For the second year in a row, several center staff members joined efforts to decorate the lobby Christmas tree! Many years back (well, 10 years to be exact), the Main Building was purchasing a new Christmas tree for the rotunda under the dome. They had an older tree, but they offered it to the center and it is what graces our lobby during the holiday season. It’s old, and branches need some TLC, but with some new decorations last year, we think it makes the center merry and bright! Enjoy the before and after pictures. Help us out, if you can, by picking up anything that falls from the tree or little hands remove and give to your House Manager to restore.
‘Tis the season for warm drinks, a crackling fire, cozy sweaters and traditional holiday music. Nothing says cozy like the cool, countryside of Ireland. Ushering in December, our Presenting Series invites Danu to settle us into this wonderful time of year.
Danu (named after the Irish goddess of knowledge, wisdom and wealth) is coming to us, for a second year, from Co. Waterford in SE Ireland. The band has become one of Ireland’s greatest traditional-folk bands. This concert will be made up primarily of traditional Irish Christmas music.
What makes up traditional Celtic music? In the minds of many, this style of music comes from Ireland and Scotland, but it can also claim its origin as far as Spain and Portugal! American bluegrass and country music were directly inspired by traditional Celtic music. Typically, you will find pipes, harps and some sort of fiddle or guitar accompanied at times by a vocalist.
We extend a warm welcome or fáilte and hope to see all of you at this great concert!
1971. It was the year for The French Connection, All in the Family, and Time Magazine’s Man of the Year Richard Nixon, at a time when Nixon pledged an end to US involvement in Vietnam. Marvin Gaye was singing “What’s Going On,” and Gene Wilder was Willy Wonka. In the world of classical music, 1971 saw names like Morton Feldman and George Crumb display their best works. This Sunday, November 24th, we will be transported back to 1971 where notable pieces from these contemporary composers will be performed by ensembleND.
Who is emsembleND? Comprised of piano, violin, and cello with a combination of Notre Dame artists and faculty, Tricia Park, Karen Baranskas, John Blacklow, and Daniel Schlosberg, collectively, this team of talented musicians is known as ensembleND. For their upcoming performance, the ensemble will perform in the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre two major compositions from the year 1971, Rothko Chapel by Morton Feldman and Vox Balaenae by George Crumb, and selections from Das Wohltempierte Klavier by Bach. Adding impact to the ensemble with be guest artists Julia Richter on flute and Doug Thompson (Executive Director Anna Thompson’s husband) on percussion and twelve Master of Sacred Music vocal students singing from the catwalk.
The pieces being performed are truly unique. Contemporary American composer Morton Feldman, known for his free and floating rhythms, asymmetrical patterns, and pitch shadings that seem unfocused, wrote Rothko Chapel. After the inspiration from the building in Houston, Texas, that bears the same name, this non-denominational chapel in Texas is also a major work of modern art with its walls covered in fourteen black paintings by Mark Rothko. The chapel is “a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It was a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths.” With this inspiration from paintings by abstract expressionists, Feldman wrote a number of pieces around twenty minutes in length, including Rothko Chapel. The inspiration for composer, George Crumb’s Vox Balaenae, or Voice of the Whale, dates back to 1967, when biologists discovered that humpback whales “sing.” These biologists published recordings of the whales’ vocalizations which propelled the “save the whales” campaign of the 70’s. Inspired by hearing those early whale recordings, Crumb used electronically amplified instruments (piano, flute, and cello) to create the sounds that evoke the sounds of the sea. You may even recall George Crumb’s Music for a Summer Evening performed by Third Coast Percussion.
With its unique lighting design by the center’s Director of Technical Services, Sarah Prince, this concert in the Philbin will delight and entertain its audience bringing the powerful influence of 70’s classical music into the 21st century.
Be OPEN Beyond the Stage:
Open the link below and select the Resources/Recordings tab to hear selections:
As many of you know, Sean Martin, the supervisor of the Guest Services Department, also wears the title of Director of Community Engagement. Sean’s role extends outside the walls of the Performing Arts Center to local schools where Presenting Series artists do workshops for students to engage them with a new art form, connect the arts to academics, get a different perspective about an art form, and, finally, just to have fun! Through these lectures, workshops, and master classes, the students gain an up-close and personal link to the art form by none other than the artist him/herself. This past week the Turtle Island Quartet was one of the many artists taken to local Perley Fine Arts Academy where 250 elementary-aged students listened and participated in an interactive workshop entitled, “How a Quartet is like a Family.” One of the highlights that got the kids very excited happened during a demonstration to show the difference in sound between a violin and a viola when the violist played the theme to Mario Cart. As you could imagine, the student were engaged! Here are some photo highlights of their visit:
Winter is right around the corner (although spring-like thunderstorms added drama to the center Sunday), and as we say in theatre, the show must go on. If it is snowing, please allow enough time to arrive safely for your shift. If you are ever in doubt as to whether a performance is cancelled due to inclement weather, know that we will contact ushers via email or phone call.
Recently, the House Managers had a special treat and met the maker of the organ in the Chris and Anne Reyes Organ and Choral Hall, Paul Fritts. He regaled us with stories of building the organ, bringing it over from Tacoma, Washington, and setting it in its home in the organ hall.
We learned about how he chose to build casing for the organ and the carvings in the organ, including a hidden football representing Notre Dame’s athletic spirit of excellence, in addition to the rose flower that represents Our Lady, the patron of Notre Dame. Mr. Fritts’ sister, Judy, designed and crafted the carvings, as she does with the other Fritts Organs. Just like our hidden football and the rose and other symbols to reflect Indiana, such as our state bird, Judy crafts something special in each of their organs; the organ for Arizona State has a carving of the Sun Devil, the school’s mascot. You can take a look at all Judy’s wonderful organ carvings at http://www.judefritts.com/.
It’s always fun to hear about the background on all the special things in the Center and it was an honor to meet Mr. Fritts in person! See all the Fritts Organs at their website, http://www.frittsorgan.com/.