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Harris Center fills calendar with great performances

The Harris Center for the Arts has lined up a calendar full of new and returning performers for the 2014-15 season. Located at Folsom Lake College, the three stages in the center will present more than 400 performances and others will be added throughout the season as they become available.

Harris Center features local, national and international performers. “We are busy year-round,” said Executive Director Dave Pier. “Sometimes one of the stages will have three events in one day, and sometimes we have multiple events at the same time in more than one stage. We literally have something for everyone.”

Really big shows

There are the big productions. The Blue Man Group, who combine comedy, music and technology, will give four performances. Disney’s dazzling Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast” will give six performances. Other Broadway shows are “Mamma Mia!,” “Smokey Joe’s Café,” Jekyll and Hyde,” “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story,” and “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” For its 2014 North American Tour, the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China will bring its brand-new production “Cirque Peking” to Folsom for four performances.

Music international style

Enjoy the music of many cultures from around the world. Dakhabrakha, a quartet from Kiev, Ukraine, combines ethnic village music with avant-garde theater scenes. The three Masters of Hawaiian Music share the slack key guitar stylings that originated in Hawaiian paniolo (cowboy) culture. Amjad Ali Khan is the sixth generation to master the sarod, a stringed instrument in the lute family common to the Hindustani music tradition of northern India.

Giraldo Piloto and his band Klimax are pioneers of the enormously popular music and dance craze, Timba, that combines Cuban music with jazz, rock and hip hop. Mary Black is beloved for her pure Irish voice and interpretation. Flamenco singer Diego El Cigala melds the rhythms and melodies of his Spanish Gitano heritage with styles ranging from bolero to tango and Afro-Caribbean jazz.

The Prague Philharmonic Choir is internationally acclaimed for its interpretation of Czech music and other classical compositions. Celebrated pianist Andrei Gavrilov will perform with the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. The Senegal St. Joseph Gospel Choir of Dakar, with four traditional Senegalese drummers, combines elements from the Catholic liturgy and indigenous Muslim Songs to create sensational harmony. From London come the Swingle Singers, celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary. Their repertoire includes classical, jazz, Latin, folk, pop and original music.

Stateside musical artists

Rosanne Cash won the hearts of her audience when she appeared in Folsom in spring of 2011.

With her husband, John Leventhal, producer, arranger and guitarist, and her daughter, Chelsea, then 21, she sang songs from her album, “The List,” based on the 100 greatest country songs that her father, Johnny Cash, had given her when she was 18. Earlier in the day she had performed at Folsom Prison, where her father had started his comeback and put Folsom on the international map. This season she returns with great stories and songs from her latest album, “The River and the Thread.”

Virtuoso pianist Jeffrey Siegel will bring his highly enjoyable keyboard conversations back to the Harris Center for four sessions throughout the season. The California and Montreal Guitar Trios will perform new arrangements of progressive rock, world, jazz and classical music.

Hard boppin’ the Cookers will fill an evening with swinging grooves that draw on soul, blues and gospel influences. Musical tribute band Get the Led Out brings the Led Zeppelin sound and persona to life on stage.

Jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis will switch to the classical side when he plays baroque oboe concertos on the soprano saxophone backed by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia for two different programs. Jason Marsalis, acclaimed as a drummer, will appear on the Harris Center stage with the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet. Country legend Marty Stuart will be paying tribute to the masters accompanied by his Fabulous Superlatives. Singer-songwriter Travis Twitt will provide an acoustic evening with songs from his latest album. Enjoy an Evening with Peter Coyote songwriter, guitarist, singer, as he shares his reflections on a life that includes “doing the Sixties” in San Francisco.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint will join forces for the first time. The great swing band, the Count Basie Orchestra, will feature the return of vocalist Carmen Bradford. Jazz musician Cassandra Wilson will present “A Celebration of Billie Holliday.”

The Air Force Band of the Golden West will give a free concert on Oct. 11 in conjunction with Folsom Lake College’s 10th anniversary celebration and open house.

Dance, dance, dance

An American ballet company with a distinctly American accent, from San Francisco the Michael Smuin Ballet will perform “UNTAMED: Breaking the Boundaries of Ballet.” The Russian National Ballet Theater will dance “Romeo and Juliet,” “Don Quixote,” and “Giselle”

Other international dance companies appearing at the Harris Center are Tango Buenos Aires, Trinity Irish Dancers, and the Royal Ballet of Cambodia.

Calidanza Dance Company presents newly created works grounded in traditional Mexican folk dances. The Sacramento Ballet will return with its “Modern Masters,” showcasing the work of contemporary choreographers. More contemporary dance companies scheduled are the Connecticut-based dancer-athletes from Pilobolus Dance Theater, repertory dancers BODYTRAFFIC from Los Angeles, and Gallim Dance from New York City.

Especially for the holidays

The popular song-and-dance show, “An Irish Christmas,” is returning to Harris Center for four performances. Robert Friedman presents the Moscow Classical Ballet’s interpretation of “The Nutcracker.” Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theater infuses fantasy with comedic choreography in their version of “The Nutcracker.” The Compañía Mazatlán Bellas Artes bring an exhilarating Mexican Christmas dance production, “Diciembre Navideño.”

The Folsom Symphony, with the American River College Concert Choir and Chamber singers, will present two performances. America’s favorite singing cowboys, Riders in the Sky, will be at Harris Center for A Cowboy Christmas. The Placer Pops Chorale sing innovative arrangement of holiday classics. “Winter’s Eve” is an evening of Celtic and original music by the Sacramento Baroque Soloists. The Sacramento Master Singers will perform new carols from Ireland and Scotland with the stellar duo, Men of Worth. El Dorado Musical Theater’s premiere performing group, High Voltage, will present a fast-paced musical review. Voices of California, award-winning music ensemble, performs a memorable afternoon of holiday music.

Just imagine

The wonder of magic returns to Harris Center when a lineup of top professional magicians take the stage.

Using the power of radio drama, L.A. Theater presents “In the Heat of the Night,” a special event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Special programs

“BaseTrack” is based on the real words of modern-day Marines and their families as captured through a social media program called BaseTrack,” which was set up to allow families to communicate with their loved ones in the field. BaseTrack assembled an award-winning documentary film team to follow members of the original 1-8 Unit now that they have returned home. The Marines’ return and reintegration into American life is central to the show.

The Nile Project is an unprecedented cross-cultural musical collaboration featuring musicians from countries along the Nile who come together to create a new sound.

The San Jose Taiko x the Bangerz in Concert perform “A Common Pulse,” with Japanese American taiko drumming merges with electronic DJ hip-hop.

Folsom Lake College performances

As part of Folsom Lake College, the Harris Center for the Arts showcases student performances. Named after the college mascot, Falcon’s Eye Theater and Cinema presents “Anon(ymous),” by Naomi Lizuka, recommended for teenagers and up. The MOSAIC Dance Company showcases an array of styles and ethnic forms. The Music Department presents an evening recital of choral music featuring the College Choir and selected voices, plus another evening concert with an ensemble that includes adult community members.

Regional partners

Harris Center for the Arts is home to many regional performing companies and a must-stop for other partners. Some of them have several bookings at the Harris Center throughout the season. Nationally recognized El Dorado Musical Theater showcases top children’s talent. California Theater Center is a favorite troupe for young American audiences. One Way Productions is a theater arts company from Burbank.

Musical partners include the Folsom Symphony with new musical director and conductor, maestro Peter Jaffe; the Folsom Lake Community Concert Association; Sacramento Guitar Society; Child Foundation; Sacramento Baroque Soloists; Carrera Productions; Vita Academy; Voices of California; SBL Entertainment; Placer Pops Chorale; Sacramento Baroque Soloists; and Sacramento Master Singers.

Sacramento-based Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet Theater, Calidanza, the Moscow Classical Ballet, and Compañía Mazatlán are dance company partners.

The Spiritual Center for Positive Living presents inspirational speakers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer.

The Harris Center experience

The regional center has seen nearly half a million visitors since opening in 2011. Pier said that ticket sales show that around 50 percent of the Harris Center patrons come from El Dorado County. Close to home, parking is on site and is free. Once inside, patrons can view the art exhibits in the Bank of America gallery before the show. Refreshments are available before the show and during intermission.

Tickets

More than 150,000 patrons attend events at the Harris Center during the season. Many of the returning shows are anticipated by fans and sell out early. Current event information and tickets are available online at harriscenter.net. E-mail questions to ticketoffice@harriscenter.net.

The ticket office is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and two hours before each scheduled event, for personal ticket orders or by telephone at (916) 608-6888.

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