Slate released for 2016-17 Galaxy of Stars Series

Shana Tucker

Shana Tucker

The 2016-17 Galaxy of Stars Series will feature six performances beginning with “Tarocco: A Soldier’s Tale” on Thursday, Aug. 25, at Western Carolina University’s John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The Galaxy of Stars Series, the only professional entertainment series in Jackson County, enters its 12th season this fall. It is presented by the WCU College of Fine and Performing Arts with support from the WCU Friends of the Arts organization. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.

“Tarocco: A Soldier’s Tale” is a combination of circus arts, dance, mask-and-puppet theater, music, animated video and dazzling special effects. Written and directed by Nat Allister, founder of Asheville’s The Fox and Beggar Theater, the story is inspired by Tarocco Piemontese, a 500-year-old card game.

The next event is “Tzakbu (The Red Queen),” a theatrical performance written and directed by Hiram Marina. The play, featuring actors from Chiapas, Mexico, will be Friday, Sept. 30. It recreates the life of Tzakbu, who was a queen, wife, mother and governor of the Mayans. The performance will be spoken in authentic Mayan language and each audience member will receive a program booklet that includes scene synopsis translations. It is not recommended for children under the age of 6.

Rhonda Vincent

Rhonda Vincent

Next is Shana Tucker, a singer, songwriter and cellist whose music stems from her background in jazz and classical music, mixed with ‘80s and ‘90s pop music, movie soundtracks and world music. She has opened for such artists as Norah Jones, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Lisa Fischer. Tucker, who will perform on Friday, Nov. 11, is currently a resident musician with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

On Friday, Feb. 24, award-winning bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent and The Rage will perform. Vincent was the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year winner from 2000 to 2006, along with the IBMA Entertainer of the Year in 2001. The Society for Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America named her Entertainer of the Year from 2002 to 2006.

The Nile Project, featuring artists from 11 countries along the Nile River, will perform on Monday, March 13. Since their debut concert, which featured a live recording of their 2013 release, ASWAN, the Nile Project has proven to be much more than a band. National Public Radio named that recording one of the five “Must Hear International Albums.”

The series wraps up on Saturday, April 29, with Artrageous: An Interactive Art and Music Experience. Artrageous is a show where audience members participate in an experience that includes a team of artists, singers, dancers and Bunraku puppeteers.

Series subscriptions are now available at a discounted rate over individual tickets. Series subscriptions, which include all six shows, are $100 for WCU faculty/staff, $120 for adults/seniors and $45 for students/children. They can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 828-227-2479. Individual tickets are also on sale now.