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ACC Spotlight Series celebrates 15 years

Favorites from seasons past on tap

June 8, 2012
The Alpena News

The Alpena Community College Spotlight Series has offered distinctive cultural opportunities to the community for 15 years. In celebration of this anniversary, the 2012-13 season will feature encore performances in response to audience requests.

The return of these popular artists and productions provides an outstanding series of musical, inspirational and educational events for all ages.

The 2012-13 season promises to be the best one ever as it kicks off Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. with the return of Conga Se Menne. Those weren't in the Spotlight Series audience in 2004 to hear this group, may be surprised to learn of these world-class musicians from Marquette.

Listening to Derrell Syria and members of Conga Se Menne will convince listeners that this small-town northern group has a mastery of melodic syncopation second to none. The musical style of Conga Se Menne includes blues, funk, Latin, reggae, rock, Caribbean beats and ethnic Finnish sounds.

Island beat percussion blends smoothly with keyboards, horns and guitar work all mixing with an influence of traditional styles. Syria's original songs carry the flavor of Michigan's Upper Peninsula in lyrical silliness and the spirit of the U.P.'s hearty residents in musical excellence.

Syria's background shows in his comedic themes, Finnish lyrics and some yooper-accented tunes familiar to fans. The music tells of good times and an appreciation of the finer aspects of life, of not taking things too seriously.

While the message is light-hearted and entertaining, the musical competence of these fine musicians cannot be disputed. Conga Se Menne is a group of serious, talented musicians and their music provides a refreshing respite.

"Peter and the Wolf," Opus 67 by Sergei Prokofiev, has delighted children and intrigued adults since its Russian premiere in 1936. Prokofiev originally wrote the pieces as an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra.

The Spotlight Series production is a unique staging of the classic with dancers, costumes and scenery added to the traditional instrumental accompaniment and narration.

Choreography, dance, costumes, lighting, props, staging, scenery and music are a collaboration of fine arts disciplines.

Quintetto Sonare, narrator Roger Phillips, ACC instructors Christine Giordano and MaryAnn Hubbard, ACC students, and young dancers combine to bring this beloved tale to life.

"Peter and the Wolf" will be staged twice. There will be an evening presentation Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. In addition to Prokofiev's memorable Opus 67, the performance entertainment includes several other musical ditties.

This musical production was first staged for the Spotlight Series in 2008 and an encore has been requested each year since.

The bluegrass and country sounds of Douglas Family will heat up the Granum Theatre in March 2013. This highly-respected group has a foundation in classic country blended with influences of the Grand Ole Opry and a style and sound all their own.

Members include guitarist and singer John Douglas; guitar, mandolin player and singer Laurie Douglas; bass player and harmony singer Dean Johnson; former banjo players of the Grand Old Opry, Jim and Jesse McReynolds; the Virginia Boys Band's Lloyd Douglas; and the group's newest member, Travis Kowalski, as vocalist, mandolin and banjo player.

The Douglas Family Band is a crowd-pleaser that provides a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The band originally performed for the Spotlight Season in 2010 and an encore performance has been regularly requested by series regulars.

The Spotlight Series welcomes the band's return to the Granum Theatre on March 8 at 7:30 p.m.

ACC's Jazz Band, under the direction of Bonnie Moore, welcomes jazz percussionist Tim Froncek as featured artist on April 19, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Froncek first performed with ACC's Jazz Band in 2008 to rave reviews. Attendees at that concert will recall his stirring high-hat drum solo which brought the audience to its feet.

All performances take place in ACC's Granum Theatre. Tickets are available at the ACC Bookstore and at Neiman's Family Market, by phone and at the door.

Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $7 for youth and $30 for a family. Season tickets are available for $40. ACC students are admitted free to all performances with their student ID card.

For more information or for a brochure, please call 358-7271.



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