April arts will keep students, faculty and audiences busy

1:56:39 PM CDT - Wednesday, April 05, 2006

By Shannon Littlejohn

Second only to November in sheer number of days and nights reserved for the fine arts at WSU, April this year began with Ballet Wichita's "Merlin's Song" on the Miller Concert Hall stage, showcased the Wichita Brass Quintet on Tuesday, and now rolls forward through the weekend with Second Stage's "Fool for Love."

Best of Sam and of Broadway
Fools for drama can catch "Fool for Love" tonight (Thursday, April 6) or in this weekend's evening or matinee performances.

The play is considered vintage Sam Shepard, who, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright/actor, explores the meaning of identity in many of his works. "Fool for Love" covers some of Shepard's favorite topics: passion, insatiable love, fate, incest and the West.

Opera and Musical Theatre will close out the month and its season's series with "Best of Broadway" on April 29 and 30. Director of opera Marie King said the performances will present exciting scenes and production numbers from Broadway's most popular and celebrated musicals.

Dancing with potential stars
Jeté into the middle of the second week of April, and you'll land squarely on the first of four consecutive dance concerts featuring the best college and university dancers and choreographers in a multistate region.

It's the annual American College Dance Festival Association Central Region adjudication concerts, which WSU hosts each year. Concerts run each evening April 12-14. The event's gala concert will be on April 15.

Let music move you
The School of Music will lead up to the 35th annual Wichita Jazz Festival with the WSU Percussion Ensemble on April 17. J.C. Combs, who is being honored this month with a President's Award for Distinguished Service, pulls the best out of his students and attracts the best in guest artists, too, for shows.

The following Wednesday, April 19, Jazz Arts II will perform with the Mid-Kansas Jazz Ensemble, followed by Jazz Arts I on Thursday, April 20.

The big day for the jazz festival will be Friday's musical marathon with college and high school big band and combo performances. The action starts at 8 a.m. that day and won't stop until 11 p.m.

If you can't make any other festival happening, the Main Event Concert is Saturday, April 22, where the best of the fest and special guests let it all hang out.

Huw Lewis, an award-winning Welsh-born organist, will perform on April 25, as part of the Rie Bloomfield Organ Series. Lewis received formal training in the British Isles, holds master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan and studied privately with Catharine Crozier.

He is an organist at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

On April 28, university ensembles and soloists will perform "A German Requiem" in WSU's annual oratorio performance at Central Community Church.

Ending the season's Bloomfield Organ Series is the university's own Robert Town, who will perform his finale concert on April 30. He has retired from the faculty after 40 years of teaching and performing.

Free your inner beatnik, view art
The beats go on at the Ulrich Museum of Art when their artwork appears in Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle, starting April 20. A panel discussion on April 27 and film screenings in May at the 20th Century Center downtown are also planned.

Berman (1926-1976) was considered the "quintessential visual artist" of the Beat era, and his journal, Semina, showcased artists and poets who were stretching art's limits in the 1950s and '60s. Allen Ginsberg, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Conner, Russel Tamblyn, Dean Stockwell are among the artists who will be exhibited at the Ulrich until July 9.

While you're in the galleries, drop by The General Store exhibit, a one-room extravaganza of small paintings by nationally known and local artists through April 30.

The School of Art and Design will showcase student design work from April 17 through the end of the month. Off-campus on April 28, as part of Wichita's Final Friday gallery tours, the school's Shift Space, 326 S. Commerce, will exhibit projects from the Center for Research and Technology, Education and Learning.

Money and time well spent
WSU events offer some of the best entertainment value in town. For times, places and prices, call the College of Fine Arts Box Office at 978-3233 or go online to finearts.wichita.edu. Most of the events are listed on the WSU calendar. For more information about the Ulrich Museum of Art events, visit

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