Columbia arts festival grabs some headliners

Program: A jazz saxophonist, a modern dance troupe and a classical guitarist are among the artists who will be appearing for the 10-day event in June.

April 22, 1999|By Jill Hudson Neal | Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis, the acclaimed Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and classical guitarist Christopher Parkening are some of the headliners for the 11th annual Columbia Festival of the Arts, which begins in June.

Other performers include Michael Moschen, a theatrical juggler and former Cirque du Soleil performer, and the Jimmy McGriff/Hank Crawford Quartet. The Doug Varone & Dancers, famous for athleticism and split-second moves, will present the world premiere of a performance, and poet laureate Rita Dove will read from her latest collection of poetry, "On the Bus With Rosa Parks."

"I think we have a great festival this year," said Executive Director Katherine Knowles. "It's a long process to put it together because there are so many elements to consider. Most people will recognize Branford Marsalis' name, but we have people performing who're just as big in their own categories."

Organizers subsidize ticket prices with money from state grants and donations. Knowles said the festival is "really a tapestry of support from every aspect of this community, from corporate and government support to public schools and the over 300 volunteers who help us out."

"We do have a goal of becoming a major regional arts festival," she said. "That doesn't just mean bringing major artists but deepening all aspects of the festival. We're trying to bring the full spectrum of an arts experience by making all the colors bolder."

Marsalis and his jazz quartet kick off the 10-day festival June 18 with a performance at Jim Rouse Theatre of the Performing Arts. Parkening will perform a concert tribute to composer Andres Segovia the next day at Smith Theatre at Howard Community College.

The Dayton Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, is one of the country's best-known modern dance groups, will perform June 26 at Jim Rouse Theatre.

A free lakefront concert includes New Orleans zydeco master Terrance Simien and The Fabulous Hubcaps, a boogie-woogie band. Rick Danko and His Bandwill perform at the lakefront, along with Irish step dancers, barbershop quartets and the Maryland Model Yacht Club Regatta.

Organizers estimate that 35,000 people will converge on Columbia to attend more than 100 events that include free music performances, street performers, food, and arts and crafts demonstrations at Lake Kittamaqundi and Columbia halls and theaters.

Last summer, the festival generated about $39,000 in its first weekend -- almost double what it made the previous year. About 14,000 people attended 12 shows and workshops, including a concert by R&B legend Aretha Franklin at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The list of other artists for this year's festival runs long.

Filmmaker Perry Miller Adato will present her documentary "20th Century Women in Art Films," which showcases the work of artists Georgia O'Keefe, Mary Cassatt and Helen Frankenthaler.

An art exhibit -- "Chance & Necessity" -- will present 20 abstract works from regional artists.

Jazz performers make a strong showing at the festival with the house of Jazz's Frank Foster, Big Jesse Yawn, The Rumba Club and the Sue Matthews Trio.

"The Wedding," a musical about love and marriage told by three generations of Latin women, will be performed by the Pregones Theatre company, and the Junebug and Roadside Theatre company will perform "Junebug/Jack," a musical which explores bonds between African-Americans and people of Appalachia.

Classical artists from the Peabody Institute, including pianist Wendy Chen, soprano Hyunah Yu and the Mendelssohn Trio, will perform at Slayton House.

Regional dance celebrities will honor local dancer and choreographer Mark Ryder at a tribute, and a Safardic music concert will feature traditional ballads and songs of faith sung in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic.

Subscription series packages are available for the first time this year for $245. The pass allows entry into the headliner, dance, jazz, classical music and theater series. Subscriptions are by mail only. For information or to request a brochure (deadline is June 1), call 410-715-3089. Single tickets, which range from $12 to $37, are available through PROTIX by calling 410-481-6500 and at all Waxie Maxie, Olsson's Books and Records, Record Town and Record & Tape Trader locations, or at the Columbia Association Membership Services Building. Tickets for groups of 20 or more are available by calling 410-715-3055.

Pub Date: 4/22/99

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