By MORGAN KING – STAFF WRITER
The variety of talents being showcased at the Norton Center for the Arts this year is sure to entertain and impress their audiences. From big Broadway hits to classic rock bands and a selection of cultural masterpieces, the 2014-2015 season will be something spectacular.
The Norton Center plans each season by making sure the performances are a combination of big names and brilliant, although lesser known, artists.
“That doesn’t just mean popular culture. It can be classical, it can be country, it can be dance, but there are artists and programs that will have high quality and high culture,” Executive
Director of the Norton Center Steve Hoffman said.
Some of these shows include Bassist Edgar Meyer and Mandolinist Chris Thile’s duo performance, internationally-renowned jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée, Aquila Theatre’s performanec of
Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis.
Senior and House Manger of the Norton Center Louis Rodgers conveys the importance of taking a chance with shows that are less familiar. “I think Centre students should try going to as many shows as they can. My favorite performances from the past three years have been shows that I decided to go to on a whim,” Rodgers said. “Having the opportunity to get free tickets to our performing arts center is something that every Centre student should take advantage of and not take for granted.”
Hoffman explained that the Norton Center looks for programs that will offer workshops for Centre students and matinees performances for Danville’s youth.
The many groups performing this year include the top-charting rock band Smash Mouth, the illustrious Russian State Symphony Orchestra, a holiday special with Wyonna Judd, and
American Comedy Award winner of the “Best Male Stand-Up Comedian,” Bill Engvall.
What Steve Hoffman, is looking forward to most this year is the Japanese Winter Plum Festival. “The theater group that’s coming, this type of theater, hasn’t been seen in the United
States for at least 100 years,” Hoffman said.
This performance is truly unique to Centre and goes back to the college’s great relationship with the Yamaguchi Prefectural University in Japan. This ability to “wow” people with artists that surprise and amaze is something that is special to the Norton Center and contributes to its impact on the Centre, and greater Danville community.
The Norton Center has already opened its season with a successful performance. On Thurs., Sept. 4, Newlin Hall was graced with the sound of the President’s Own U.S. Marine Band.
This band’s sole purpose is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corp. With these high standards, the President’s Own Marine Band did not disappoint.
Rodgers, said his view of the performance of The President’s Own Marine Band was “phenomenal.”
“I do not think I could have asked for a smoother start to the season,” Rodgers said. “The theater was packed; around 1,200 patrons came for the performance. Overall, the crowd was happy; seating went well; and the backstage crew did not have any problems … It was also exciting to hear that the band performed their first encore after several ovations on this tour.”
Now that the Norton Center has completed their first event in the 2014-2015 season, they are beginning to get ready for their next performance: Recycled Percussion on Sept. 23.
According to senior Deanna Walker, she is “very much looking forward to the Recycled Percussion performance” and she isn’t the only one.
Recycled Percussion has been compared to groups such as Stomp and Blue Man Group. The performance will be something completely unique as even the audience members will recieve instruments to play themselves.
The hype around Smash Mouth is palpable around campus.
Smash Mouth is easily the most recognizable name on the list—their hit songs have been rockin’ our generation since the movie Shrek.
“Personally, I’m looking forward to Smash Mouth, Rodgers said. “Smash Mouth’s music is easily recognizable with our generation. We have all grown up listening to ‘Walkin’ On the Sun,’ ‘All Star,’ and ‘I’m a Believer,’ and I am really looking forward to listening to the band perform these songs live. I know it will be a very upbeat performance that the students of Centre would really enjoy.”
All together, the 2014-2015 season at the Norton Center is staging performances that will not be occurring on any other given day.