Artswego to offer world of programming to campus, community

kitkaMusic, dance and speakers—including an international all-star concert and a world-premiere on the life of Charles Darwin—will highlight SUNY Oswego’s Artswego Performing Arts Series this year.

The season will begin with Jane Comfort and Company presenting two pieces, “Underground River” and “An American Rendition” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre. Dubbed “a post-modernist pioneer” by the New York Times, this group blends dance and spoken word to create socially conscious productions.

Best-selling author Esmeralda Santiago will discuss the challenges of blending her Puerto Rican and American identities at 8 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Hewitt Union ballroom. Her books include “When I Was Puerto Rican,” “Almost a Woman” and “America’s Dream.”

Author Anthony Grooms—who wrote this year’s Oswego Reading Initiative selection for campus reading, “Bombingham”—will speak at 8 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Hewitt ballroom. His novel fuses action from the Vietnam War with flashbacks from the civil rights struggle in Alabama.

A global cast of renowned performers will join forces for “Songs of the Spirit” at 8 p.m. Nov. 13 in St. Mary’s Church in Oswego. The concert celebrates unity among faiths and cultures, with a cast that includes Odetta, the Shangilia Children’s Choir of Kenya, Hugh Masakela, Tracy Grammer and the Tibetan Monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery.

The Grammy Award-winning gospel sound of Sweet Honey on the Rock will fill the Hewitt Union ballroom at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1. The a cappella ensemble combines sounds and influences that include blues spirituals, traditional hymns, African chants, rap, reggae, hip hop, lullabies and jazz improvisation.

Paul Rajeckas will become a one-man ensemble exploring the immigrant experience in “Notes to the Motherland” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6 in Waterman Theatre. In this semi-autobiographical tale about coming of age and learning family secrets, Rajeckas mixes humor, music, sound effects and eccentric movement into an energetic, heartfelt piece.

Art Spiegelman, a pioneer of comics and graphic novels, will speak at 8 p.m. March 11 in the Hewitt Union ballroom. Dubbed “a Michelangelo and a Medici to the comics world,” the Pulitzer Prize winner is best known for depicting the horrors of the Holocaust—through human-like mouse characters—in “Maus” and “Maus II.”

“The Origin,” a multimedia oratorio on the life of Charles Darwin created by Grammy-winning composer Richard Einhorn and SUNY Oswego’s Dr. Julie Pretzat, will have its world premiere at 7:30 p.m. March 14 and 15 in Waterman Theatre. Einhorn, who previously appeared at Oswego with “Voices of Light: The Passion of Joan of Arc,” noted this is the first full-length musical work on the life of the groundbreaking scientist. A grant from the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, underwrites the original production that also features Bulgarian women’s vocal ensemble Kitka.

Prominent figures in two musical genres will come together when Billy Childs and the American Brass Quintet perform at 7:30 p.m. April 2 in Waterman Theatre. Childs, a two-time Grammy-winning composer and pianist known for interweaving jazz and classical music, will work with one of the most distinguished chamber music ensembles performing today.

For an Artswego brochure with ticket and other information on these events, call 312-2141 or e-mail

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PHOTO CAPTION: World premiere—The Bulgarian women’s ensemble Kitka will be part of “The Origin,” an original musical production at SUNY Oswego on the life of Charles Darwin. One of the highlights of the college’s Artswego series, the oratorio is being created by Grammy-winning composer Richard Einhorn in collaboration with SUNY Oswego’s Julie Pretzat through a grant from the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The world premiere will be in March in Waterman Theatre.

(Posted: Aug 08, 2007)