Grand Valley State University’s 50th anniversary year brings a series of exceptional events to the entire West Michigan community. Among them is Fall Arts Celebration 2010, a highly popular and anticipated annual showcase for the arts, humanities, and liberal education.
This year’s Fall Arts Celebration kicks off in style when the GVSU Music Department presents a rare opportunity to go back in time and enjoy a performance of an American music master and masterpiece, John Philip Sousa’s “El Capitan,” Monday, September 13, at 8 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus. At the turn of the 20th century, Sousa was possibly the most widely known name in music during an era known as the “golden age of bands.” First performed in 1896, “El Capitan” is a fun mixture of silliness and mistaken identity.
• Faculty in the Department of Art & Design and the School of Communications are featured in two Art Gallery exhibitions for Fall Arts Celebration. Exhibition dates for MultiMedia I are August 27-October 1, with an Opening Reception, Wednesday, September 15, from 5-7 p.m. MultiMedia II is October 14-November 19, with an Opening Reception, Thursday, October 14, from 5-7 p.m. Both exhibitions are in the GVSU Art Gallery, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus. More than 60 new works by 28 faculty will be featured in a wide range of media.
•Distinguished Academic Lecturer Jill Ker Conway’s “The Next 50 Years in the World,” will be on Thursday, September 30, at 7 p.m., L.V. Eberhard Center, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Born in the Australian outback, Conway overcame a magnitude of obstacles, moved to the U.S. and received a doctorate from Harvard in 1969. In 1975, she became the first woman president of Smith College and held the position for 10 years. Conway serves on the boards of major corporations, and holds 39 honorary degrees from North American and Australian colleges and universities. Her three books of memoir begin with The Road from Coorain, published in 1989.
• Poets lauded on a national and international scale are featured during Poetry Night: “An Evening of Poetry and Conversation with Carol Ann Duffy and Bob Hicok,” Thursday, October 21, at 7 p.m., L.V. Eberhard Center, Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Duffy, Great Britain’s poet laureate, was first noted for her collection The World’s Wife, in which each poem was told in the voice of the wife of a great historical figure. Hicok, a Michigan native, attended Grand Valley in the early 1980s, as a student of what was then William James College, and received an MFA from Vermont College. He now teaches at Virginia Tech University. His newest book is Words for Empty and Words for Full (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).
• Legendary work by a pair of American giants is featured when music and dance faculty and students present “Appalachian Spring,” Monday, November 1, at 8 p.m. in the Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus. Through a special licensing agreement with the Graham Foundation. Students, faculty and guest artists will perform the Pulitzer Prize-winning score by composer Aaron Copland and choreography by modern dance pioneer Martha Graham, with the original set design by the famed Isamu Noguchi.
• The final performance of Fall Arts Celebration 2010 will bring together the University Arts Chorale, alumni members of that ensemble, and an orchestra consisting of faculty and students for a holiday gift to the community, George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” Monday, December 6, at 8 p.m., at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE, Grand Rapids. The 80-minute performance of the first part of Handel's popular oratorio, concluding with the uplifting "Hallelujah" chorus, is a fitting vehicle to celebrate Grand Valley's 50th anniversary.
Generous support and commitment to Fall Arts Celebration 2010 has been provided by Ginny Gearhart and the Gearhart Family, Liesel and Hank Meijer, Elaine and Larry Shay, Judy and Peter Theune and media sponsor WOOD newsradio. Each event is free and open to the public, though complimentary tickets are required for “El Capitan” and “Appalachian Spring.” Call the GVSU Box Office at (616) 331-2300. For additional information about Fall Arts Celebration 2010, visit www.gvsu.edu/fallarts, or call (616) 331-2180.