Music, dance, lectures highlight WCU cultural art series for 2004-05

CULLOWHEE – The Lectures, Concerts and Exhibitions Series at Western Carolina University will feature 10 programs for the 2004-05 season, including performances of world music, a comical twist on Shakespearean classics, and acrobats from the People’s Republic of China.

The series begins Monday, Sept. 20, with a performance by the Ivory Consort in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. The ensemble specializes in medieval music from the Golden Age of Spain when various religions forged a common musical language. The program “Music from the land of Three Faiths” features 10 th -through 13 th -century songs in Hebrew, Arabic and Galician-Portuguese.

Canadian guitarist Don Ross will perform Monday, Sept. 27, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. A two-time winner of the U.S. National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, Ross performs a mixture of jazz, folk, rock and classical music, which he describes as “heavy wood.”

Disability activist Harriet McBryde Johnson will give a presentation Monday, Oct. 4, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. A Charleston, S.C., attorney, McBryde is best known as an advocate and writer about civil rights for disabled people. She has protested the Jerry Lewis telethon, and wrote a New York Times magazine story about her meeting with a bioethicist who proposed parents of children with disabilities should have the right to kill them at birth.

Patch Adams, the doctor famous for using laughter as part of healing, will give a lecture Thursday, Oct. 7. “What is Your Love Strategy” will take place in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center and admission is free. Adams is best known for the movie “Patch Adams,” in which he was portrayed by Robin Williams.

Percussion ensemble So Percussion will take the stage in Hoey Auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 18. Formed at the Yale School of Music in 1999, the group has been featured at the Bang on a Can Marathon, BAM Next Wave Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Miller Theatre, Merkin Hall and Roundtop Festival, and has been heard on WNYC’s New Sounds and Soundcheck.

The Jim Boyd Band will perform in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Boyd is a singer/songwriter and member of the Lakes Band on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. He has performed in many cover bands and original groups, including XIT, one of the first Native American contemporary groups. Boyd also travels the world as an American Indian activist.

Film-maker Alex Rivera will discuss his work on Monday, March 14, in the A.K. Hinds University Center theatre. Rivera has been widely recognized for using digital media to explore issues of cross-border immigration and Latino identity. He is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Sundance Fellow, and recently received the Jacqueline Donnett Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker by the International Documentary Association. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The elite group of gymnasts, jugglers, cyclist and tumblers known as the Peking Acrobats will take the stage on Tuesday, March 22, in the Ramsey Center. The acrobats’ physical performance is complemented by a special effects package that includes smoke, fog, lights and a multi-screen projection system. “The Peking Acrobats regularly passed from the seemingly impossible to the virtually unbelievable,” said the Los Angeles Times.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company will return to the Western campus Tuesday, April 5, to present “All the Great Books (abridged)” in the Ramsey Center. The company’s many international comedy performances include stops at the White House, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Montreal’s famed “Just For Laughs Festival,” Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Israel Theatre Festival.

Charleston author Josephine Humphreys will give a presentation in the recital hall of the Coulter Building on Wednesday, April 6. Her novels include “Dreams of Sleep,” winner of the 1985 PEN/Hemmingway Award; “Rich in Love,” which was made into a motion picture; and the historical novel “Nowhere Else on Earth.”

Ticket prices for LCE events vary. All performances are free to Western students except the Peking Acrobats, which is $5. All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the LCE Series, call (828) 227-7206.