Planned concerts, plays in celebration of SOU’s 150th anniversary
By Jim Flint for Ashland.news
Oregon Center for the Arts (OCA) at Southern Oregon University has launched an ambitious season of plays and concerts for the winter and spring terms in celebration of the university’s 150th anniversary.
“We will present more concerts and special events than ever before,” said Kim Andresen, OCA marketing and box office manager.
“We are still recovering our audience attendance numbers from the pandemic, but we continue to be hopeful and market our performances in new and creative ways,” she added.
In addition to presenting concerts by SOU musical groups, plays produced by the theater department, and the Tutunov Piano Series, OCA will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Oregon Fringe Festival, which received a record number of applications. It will also host the 30th anniversary season of the Ashland New Plays Festival on the SOU campus.
Additional performances on tap come from SOU’s jazz band, percussion ensemble, wind ensemble, and chamber choir. An appearance by the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters will also be featured.
Although performing arts groups everywhere have struggled to regain pre-pandemic attendance numbers, Andressen said SOU’s Black Box Theatre productions always sell out.
“We’re also seeing many new faces in our audiences,” she said. “And an increased number of local high school students and their families are attending our concerts and plays.”
OCA offers free tickets for plays and concerts to all students, not just SOU students.
The OCA box office in the OCA theater building at 491 S. Mountain Avenue is open for in-person ticket sales from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and one hour prior to performances. Online tickets can be purchased for any OICA event at sou.universitytickets.com.
Following is the 2023 lineup:
Feb. 16-26, “What Happened While Hero Was Dead,” SOU Black Box Theatre, directed by Holly L. Derr. A recent hit at the Ashland New Plays Festival, Meghan Brown’s play is a funny and thoughtful feminist riposte to Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Rated “R” for mature audiences (age 17+); contains explicit sexual content and adult themes.
Feb. 16, SOU Jazz Band, SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Jeremy Durst. Free livestream at youtu.be/QMNsbxqJQFs.
Feb. 28, Tutunov Piano Series, featuring international award-winning Russian pianist Sofya Gulyak, SOU Music Recital Hall. She is the first woman to win first prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition and won the Princess Mary Gold Medal.
March 2-12, “The Lady’s Not for Burning,” SOU Main Stage Theatre, directed by Michael J. Hume. The play is celebrated for its vivid characterizations and beautiful verse. Christopher Fry’s comedy is about a young woman in a medieval village who is charged and condemned as a witch in connection with the disappearance of an old derelict. A world-weary soldier begs to be hanged in her place.
March 2, SOU Wind Ensemble, SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Ivan Olinghouse. Free livestream at youtu.be/zBHvDR2PY9o.
March 6, SOU Percussion Ensemble, SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Bryan Jeffs. Free livestream at youtu.be/DzIRobItLcs.
March 14, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, SOU Music Recital Hall, free and open to the public, but tickets are required. The U.S. Navy’s official chorus includes Ashland on its Pacific Northwest tour.
March 19, SOU Chamber Choir, “Changing Patterns,” SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Jerron Jorgensen. Free livestream at youtu.be/Lxip-uduBys.
March 28, Tutunov Piano Series, featuring Josu de Solaun, SOU Music Recital Hall. Hailed by a reviewer for his “poetic sense of sound,” de Solaun performs internationally and also composes.
April 7, Tutunov Piano Series, featuring award-winning pianist Joanna Trzeciak, SOU Music Recital Hall. Her latest achievements include performing at the prestigious Festival Echternach alongside such masters of the piano as Alfred Brendel and Martha Argerich.
April 21-23, SOU Dance Concert, SOU Main Stage Theatre, directed by Suzanne Seiber. The SOU Dance Club will present its spring showcase.
May 2, SOU Chamber Ensembles, SOU Music Recital Hall. Members are students who work in small ensembles with intensive performing preparation and include, among others, brass quintet, Gamelon ensemble, string quartet, guitar ensemble, as well as jazz and vocal groups.
May 25 – June 4, “Everybody,” SOU Main Stage, directed by Vaun Monroe. Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins offers a kaleidoscopic, funny and poignant update of the quintessential medieval morality play, “Everyman,” in which the title character learns about life while journeying toward death.
May 25, SOU Jazz Band, SOU Music Recital Hall.
June 1, SOU Wind Ensemble, SOU Music Recital Hall.
June 6, SOU Percussion Ensemble, SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Bryan Jeffs and Terry Longshore.
June 11, SOU Chamber Choir, SOU Music Recital Hall, directed by Jerron Jorgensen. The concert will feature long-form works by living composers for chorus, piano and string quartet.
June 16, SOU Jazz in the Park, free and open to the public at Lithia Park’s Butler Bandshell. No tickets are required. People are invited to bring their own picnics, blankets or chairs. Some bench seating will be available.
For tickets, event starting times and more information, go to sou.universitytickets.com.
Reach writer Jim Flint at email@example.com.
Feb. 15 update: Corrected error in spelling Kim Andresen’s name, the names of the directors of the Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, and the name of the play “The Lady’s Not for Burning.”