Performing Arts Series Has Stellar LineupSOCORRO, N.M. September 15, 2010 -- The new Performing Arts Series season promises to be another entertaining ensemble of talent, including a particularly New Mexican event.
Thursday, Sept. 23
|Bless Me, Ultima
Saturday, Oct. 16
Wednesday, Nov. 3
|The Lowe Family
A special stage production of the quintessential New Mexican novel punctuates the early schedule. An Albuquerque troupe will present a dramatic version of Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, Bless Me, Ultima, on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The other 11 official shows include samplings of all types of music, drama and entertainment. The season includes world music, classical guitar, Mexican brass, a Haitian vocalist, Celtic music, bluegrass, jazz, vaudeville, multimedia and ballet.
As always, Tech students get in free to all PAS shows. Others can purchase individual tickets or season packages. Tickets purchased in advance will be sold at a $2 discount. Ticket subscriptions come with a 30 percent discount. Click here for complete ticket information.
“This is one of my favorite seasons,” director Ronna Kalish said. “Every musical group does several different styles; everyone is a boundary-crosser. There’s not a single show that Tech students and faculty won’t like.”
Bless Me, Ultima will be dramatized by Vortex Theater of Albuquerque, the UNM Theatre Department and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
“I’m really excited about Bless Me, Ultima because it’s a slice of New Mexico history and this show has Rudolfo’s sanction and involvement,” Kalish said.
Set in rural New Mexico during World War II, the novel follows the story of Antonio Márez who has a curandera named Ultima come live with his family when he was 6. The main plot line involves Ultima's struggle to stop the witchcraft of the three daughters of Tenorio Trementina, the main villain, and Antonio’s struggle to reconcile the disparate viewpoints of his extended family.
Published in 1972, Bless Me, Ultima is considered by many to be an important early work in Chicano literature. Anaya wrote the stage adaptation, which has been performed only a few times in Denver and Albuquerque.
Kalish always puts together an eclectic and diverse mix of performers. She said she feels lucky to have landed some of the high-profile acts.
Emeline Michel opens the season on Thursday, Sept. 23. She is also performing at Globalquerque the following weekend. Jigu! Thunder Drums of China comes to Socorro on Wednesday, Nov. 3. That show includes dozens of performers.
“What a coup,” Kalish said. “I wouldn’t normally be able to bring in a large troupe like that, but I got lucky.”
The December 8 presentation of “The Nutcracker” represents the first time in eight years that the Christmas story has been performed in Socorro.
This year’s Celtic act is Slide, a traditional band that hails from Ireland. The band features exceptional instrumentation and they stay true to the traditional Irish sounds.
The Belleville Outfit is a young country-blues-jazz band from Austin, Texas. The Fishtank Ensemble bases its sound on Serbian gypsy jazz, but mixes other styles as well.
Montage is a troupe of former Cirque du Soleil performers who mix traditional and cutting edge circus acts. Metales M5 is a Mexican brass quintet that breaks musical boundaries.
“They’re not a stuffy brass band,” Kalish said. “They’re fun and they’re funny and they’re making a big splash in brass.”
For all the details about the Performing Arts Series, visit the website.
In addition to the official events, the Performing Arts Series office presents several other free events. The Presidential Chamber Music Series has four free concerts. SocorroFest in October, the Community Arts Party in February and the July 4th Celebration are free daylong events.
Prior to most ticketed events, Tech Club-Club Macey hosts themed parties. The club hosts over-21 social hours from 5 p.m. until show time and during intermission. These events are free to members and $5 for others. Membership is $20 for the year.
The Performing Arts Series will not feature a free concert by the Santa Fe Opera Apprentices this year. However, Kalish is bringing the New MexiChords to Socorro for a free barbership concert on Friday, May 6.
The big news for SocorroFest is that Terence Simien and the Zydeco Experience will headline the October 9 performance. Simien will also play a short set during the street dance the night before. A Grammy award winner, Simien has performed to a packed house in Socorro in the past.
“Terence has been here before and everyone loves him,” Kalish said.
Two rising Albuquerque jam bands will also play during SocorroFest – Le Chat Lunatique and Asper Kourt.
“We have something for everyone this year,” Kalish said. “I’m sure music lovers will appreciate having these world-class performers coming to Socorro.”
-- NMT --
By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech