The Golden Dragon Acrobats
The Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform on Sunday, March 18 in Wright Auditorium as part of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series. The 35-member company is known for its daring stunts and dramatic costumes. (Contributed photos) 

From the Vienna Choir to acrobats, SRAPAS begins 55th season

Sept. 12, 2017

By Theresa DiCenzo
For University Communications

The S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series at East Carolina University will open its 55th season on Friday, Sept. 22 with "Billie and Blue Eyes," celebrating the music of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

Grammy-winning performers Catherine Russell and John Pizzarelli grew up with jazz; Russell's father was the longtime musical director for Louis Armstrong while Pizzarelli's father performed with the Tonight Show Band and toured with Benny Goodman.

The performance is one of seven scheduled for the 2017-18 season in Wright Auditorium. More than 600 world-class classical, jazz, dance and pops attractions have visited ECU since the performing arts series began in 1962.

The Vienna Boys Choir will sing on Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Wright Auditorium. It will be their fourth appearance at ECU as part of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series.

The Vienna Boys Choir will sing for the fourth time at ECU on Tuesday, Oct. 17. The program, "Bella Italia," features work by Italian composers Vivaldi, Rossini, Verdi and Mascagni, and includes popular favorites such as "O sole mio." In addition to a full home concert season, the ensemble has performed more than 1,000 engagements in 100 countries since 1926.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence: A Dance Company will perform selections including "On Earth Together" set to the music of Stevie Wonder. A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellow, Brown has composed choreography for well-known African-American contemporary companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and Philadanco. The performance is made possible by SouthArts.

Behind the scenes, Evidence will teach master classes for ECU and Pitt County Schools dancers. "Master classes are so beneficial because they allow students to have a better understanding of what our careers will be like after graduation," said Savannah Roberts, an ECU senior dance performance major. "They also allow us to learn new styles at a professional level."

Another form of dance - tap - will be in the spotlight on Sunday, Jan. 28. Dorrance Dance will perform "Myelination," named for the body's nerve impulses. The company - winners of a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award and MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant award - honors tap's history while incorporating influences from other dance forms.

"Michelle Dorrance's choreography, set to live music, is gravity-defying and contagiously engaging," said Michael Crane, producing artistic director of the series. "This company doesn't use the same gravity as everybody else, let alone the same laws of physics. They are rising stars and not-to-be-missed."

Sweden's Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra will take the stage on Thursday, Feb. 1. The 61-member ensemble will perform Sibelius' Valse Triste, Op. 44, No. 1; Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor, Op. 61 with violinist Catherine Manoukian; and Brahms' Symphony No. 2 in D Major. Manoukian won the Canadian Music Competition at age 12 and made her debut with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in the same year. She's since played with international ensembles including the Boston Pops, Istanbul State, Tokyo Philharmonic and American Philharmonic orchestras.

Later in the spring, ECU will see spectacular costumes and daring stunts when the Golden Dragon Acrobats perform on Sunday, March 18. The 35-member company presents more than 200 shows each year, including two Broadway performances. According to The Washington Post, "There is a precision and beauty about everything these performers do."

To conclude the season on Friday, April 13, six Broadway artists, just off contracts performing the lead roles in popular musicals, will present hits from "The Sound of Music," "Phantom of the Opera," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Wicked," "Les Miserables," "Jersey Boys" and more with a live Broadway band.

Full season subscriptions are available for $231. Pick five subscriptions cost $180. Individual tickets are available by zone, at $45 (prime), $35 (standard), $25 (value) and $10 (tweet seats).

More information can be found at Tickets can be purchased online or through ECU's Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788.

Individuals requesting accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should contact the Department for Disability Support Services at least 48 hours prior to the event at 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY).

Theresa DiCenzo is studying communication at ECU.