Western World View: Connecting Artists & Opportunities (Part 2 of 2)

Sybarite 5 Performing at the 2011 Western Arts Alliance Conference_Photo by Les Kamens, The Photo Group

Last week we started our conversation with Tim Wilson, executive director of the Western Arts Alliance (WAA), hearing about performing arts trends he’s seeing and how the economic recession impacted programming. This week we’ll learn about WAA’s international outreach. YPP: What are the trends in international work? Wilson: Venues are still interested in programming international artists, but post-9/11 security measures have made visa issues more difficult. It’s a technical, tedious and mystifying process; tax laws can be equally challenging. Some agencies and presenters hire lawyers to manage all these details. …

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Western Way: Connecting Artists & Opportunities (Part 1 of 2)

Whim W'him Performing at the 2011 Western Arts Alliance Conference_Photo by Les Kamens, The Photo Group

Established almost 50 years ago, the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) began as a booking conference but has evolved over time to become a service organization that helps connect performing artists or their representatives with venues in the western U.S. and Canada. We visited with executive director Tim Wilson recently to learn more about WAA’s activities and his perspective on the performing arts. YPP: What trends are impacting your organization? Wilson: Technology is changing our conferences. In the old days, we called the exhibit area the “resource room” – it was …

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Mirror or Lamp: Is Exposing Creativity Helpful?

University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN

If you could glimpse behind-the-scenes at the “work” of performing artists, would that inspire or intimidate you? Consider that question in light of the recent news that the Juilliard School – a renowned institution educating many of tomorrow’s performing artists – is launching a smart phone app promising exclusive access. Abrams’ Metaphor. The mirror/lamp headline is inspired by the late M.H. Abrams, an English professor at Cornell whose literary anthologies educated generations of college humanities majors. His book “The Mirror and the Lamp” described a thematic shift from neoclassical to …

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Spotlight Q&A: Marching Band Performance

Skye’s The Limit Photography

Marching bands epitomize precision – synchronized movement coordinated with stirring music – and highlight many summer parades. Just as marching bands rely on cooperation and practice to achieve success, the process of hosting a marching band festival also demands teamwork. Next Saturday, the streets of Owatonna, Minnesota, will echo with a dozen marching bands on parade, totaling almost 1,500 high school performers, competing in the 6th Annual Harry Wenger Marching Band Festival. We talked to festival director and board chair Kim Cosens to learn about this event and key factors in …

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7 Steps to Success: Choosing Your Seat

audience seating

We don’t mean street-corner scalping or queuing in the rush line. This week we’re focused on buying the right audience seating for your facility, whether that’s a high school or historic theatre. We tapped our expert – Andrew Forsberg of Wenger – for his seven steps for successful seat selection. (Try saying that three times fast!) 1) Know Yourself. What’s your facility and who do you primarily serve? Seats for a middle-school auditorium obviously face different demands and “patrons” than a professional venue. Paying audiences expect nicer aesthetics and pampering: …

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Creative Ceiling Solution: Alice Tully Hall

Alice Tully Hall

Renovations to New York City’s Alice Tully Hall, part of Lincoln Center, included adding a unique acoustical ceiling above the stage to enhance acoustics and complement interior aesthetics. The hall reopened in 2009 to wide acclaim. One of the project members was acoustician Larry King, who was working at Jaffe Holden at the time. King recently retired and we caught up with him to discuss this unique project. YPP: What were the project goals? King: Over years, Alice Tully Hall had become one the most heavily used venues in Lincoln …

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Memorial Day: Honoring with Music

Today we remember the men and women in our military who made the ultimate sacrifice – giving their lives in service of our country. From parades and ceremonies to funerals and memorial services, music is woven into the fabric of this holiday and military musicians play a vital role. During a 2013 visit to the 36th Infantry Division Band, Texas Army National Guard, in Austin, Texas, we met Sgt. First Class James Boski, a French horn player who also bugles. We contacted him recently to ask his perspective on the …

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New Ordway Concert Hall: Dazzling or Disappointing?


One of the newest performing arts venues in the U.S. – the $42 million Ordway Concert Hall – opened several months ago in St. Paul, Minn. We attended the public open house before the grand opening, where several ensembles – both vocal and instrumental – delighted audiences with free performances. Since its March 5th debut, the hall has garnered rave reviews from musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) and audience members. However, art’s subjectivity means not everyone’s happy. Organic & Geometric. This new concert hall was designed by …

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Take a Master Class Named for the Ultimate Master

Rigging Master Classes

If you’ve worked with rigging much of your career, chances are that you own a copy of the definitive Stage Rigging Handbook. This resource—the most respected textbook in the industry—provides the sum total of the knowledge of Jay O. Glerum, one of the live performance industry’s most respected rigging professionals and teachersß. Glerum was well known as an instructor who emphasized the highest standards for safety and technical knowledge to anyone who used stage rigging, whether they volunteered at their local high school or ran complex systems for Broadway productions. …

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Education Spotlight: Kansas Connections

theatre education

Lisa Divel helped found the Great Plains Theatre (GPT) in 1995 in Abilene, Kansas, serving first on the exploratory committee. She has worked at GPT 15 of the last 20 years, including acting in a dozen shows. We asked her perspectives on professional theatre and education; her current full-time job is teaching high school theatre in Chapman, Kansas. Q: Does GPT do outreach into schools? Divel: Yes – the educational outreach program is wonderful. My experience with students was one of main reasons I was on the original exploratory committee. …

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