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LSSU Arts Center announces upcoming concert season

June 22, 2018

SAULT STE.MARIE — The Arts Center at Lake Superior State University announces its 2018-19 concert season, with live music ranging from classical piano to Big Band to Michigan humor, through a homage to country music greats Hank Williams and Patsy Cline.

The season opens August 19 with a big band jubilee called Jukebox Saturday Night, a celebration of America’s Swing Era, featuring the hits of Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and more. Vocal selections include songs by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and other vocal idols of that time. The band performs various styles of music including swing, ballads, cha-cha, waltzes, and tangos, all to keep a dancer dancing. Audiences can expect the same quality as the Glenn Miller Orchestra while hearing the biggest and best hits of the Big Band Era.

On October 4 a newer group called Backtrack Vocals, an award-winning, five-person a cappella group based in New York City, explores the power of the human voice through unique vocal arrangements, tight harmonies, and world-class beatboxing. The group pushes the limits of a cappella, creating impressive covers of past and present pop music, writing inspiring original compositions, and daring to take on unexpected genres such as classical and electronic music.

LSSU’s Great Lake State Weekend gets a lift November 1 with The String Doctors, comprised of well-known individual performing artists Joel Mabus, Ray Kamalay, Peter Knupfer, and Dave Rosin. The four have joined forces to present an evening of extraordinary musicianship, story-telling, stage banter, and original traditional acoustic music.

Mabus leads the group in songwriting and has a stage presence that brings unexpected banter and newborn songs to centerstage. The Doctors’ rhythms bring out the guitar and mandolin abilities Mabus’s virtuoso. Kamalay’s sparkling guitar lends both hot solos and luscious chords. Knupfer, on fiddle, has been a popular freelance and session fiddler wherever he has lived. Rosin brings up the bottom on bass with luscious low tones that frame the music with beauty and grace

Heading into the 2018 holiday season is an Irish Christmas with Téada, on December 4. An Irish traditional band with a truly worldwide reach, Téada has appeared as a frequent headliner at major music festivals throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, Russia, the Middle East, and Australia. In 2014, the band performed to 40,000 people during an extensive seven-week tour of Japan and Taiwan, and continue to have a strong touring presence in the United States, where Téada has toured actively since 2001. The group dazzled audiences during their last concert in the Arts Center two years ago.

Classical pianist Jenny Lin opens the 2019 portion of the concert season on February 21. She specializes in Steinway pianos such as the one in LSSU repertory collection. Lin’s discography includes more than 30 recordings on Steinway & Sons, Hänssler Classic, eOne, BIS, New World, and Albany Records. She is also the central figure in “Cooking for Jenny” by Elemental Films, a musical documentary portraying her journey to Spain. Other media appearances include CBS Sunday Morning, NPR Performance Today, and “Speaking for Myself”, a film about Manhattan as seen through the eyes of eight contemporary artists by filmmaker Bert Shapiro.

In time for St. Patrick’s Day on March 15, is Lunasa, a quintet that has been called the hottest Irish acoustic group on the planet. Lunasa is one of the most sought-after bands on the international Celtic music scene. The band’s inventive arrangements and bass-driven grooves steered Irish acoustic music into surprising new territory. It has performed more than 1,500 shows around the world in internationally-renowned places such as The Hollywood Bowl, National Concert Hall, Dublin, and the Sydney Opera House, and has recorded with the RTE Concert Orchestra, Ireland’s national concert orchestra. In 2011, the band was invited to appear at the White House.

For the classic country music fans, April 8 brings Obie Award winners Jason Petty and Katie Deal, who team up on a tribute to Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Petty and Deal honor these music icons by performing over 20 of chart-topping hits, interspersed with stories of Hank and Patsy.

Petty made a striking impression on New York’s Theatre District with his ‘Hank Williams: Lost Highway,’ which played to sold out audiences at the Little Shubert Theater. Audiences and critics alike were taken back by Petty’s amazing acting ability in his portrayal of Hank Williams.

Deal earned critical acclaim touring nationally in her show Katie Deal in Today, Tomorrow & Forever: A Tribute to Patsy Cline as well as two national tours of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. As a singer-songwriter Deal was awarded the 2016 Georgia Country Artist of the Year, the 2016 Atlanta Society of Entertainers Recording Artist of the Year, and is also an Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame Honoree.

The season closes April 9 with Take 3, a trio comprised of cellist Lila Yang, pianist Susan Boettger, and violinist Lindsay Deutsch, who put a modern twist on classical music. With a flair for the wild and unexpected, the genre-bending trio brings the refinement of a rigorous classical background and mixes it with rockstar charisma. Whether performing their take on pop, jazz, or classical tunes, they bring enthusiasm to their interpretations and impart their love of music to audiences of all musical preferences.

Tickets for the 2018-19 Arts Center concert season are grouped by general admission, senior citizen, and kids. LSSU students see all concerts for free. Tickets are available by calling the Arts Center box office at 906-635-2787, online, or at the door the night of the event. Box office hours are 12 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday. The Producer’s Package saves concertgoers $21 over seven shows. Other discounted packages are available.

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