St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is celebrating its 20th anniversary Feb. 21 through March 1 with a week of concerts by student ensembles and a benefit anniversary gala that will feature dinner and dancing on stage at the arts center.
The center, which opened in April 1995, has been established as the cultural showcase of the University to benefit its students, faculty, staff and the surrounding region. The F. Donald Kenney Museum and Art Study Wing — an addition that opened in 2001 — houses the University’s astonishingly vast art collection and is host to important temporary exhibitions.
Admission to the galleries is always free. Together with its partner organization, Friends of Good Music, the Quick Center presents a concert season with guest artists from around the world in the intimate setting of the Rigas Family Theater. The SBU music and theater programs maintain an active season of concerts and performances and the center is the home of many vibrant student-produced performances, as well as lectures and related activities.
The Anniversary Week kicks off with a recital by one of the music program’s special talents and ends with a rare joint performance by music and theater students from the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. The visual arts program is represented by the exhibition “Turning Left at the Intersection” in the Paul and Toni Branch Gallery by longtime former art professor Br. David Haack, O.F.M.
Here are the activities at a glance:
Saturday, Feb. 21 — Senior Piano Recital
A Senior Piano Recital featuring Griffin Kramer, ’15, begins at 2 p.m. He will perform works by Chopin, Gershwin, Ginastera, and Liszt. The recital is free and open to the public.
An Amherst, N.Y., native, Kramer is a pianist who is majoring in music and chemistry at St. Bonaventure. He is a student in the studio of Laura Peterson. His previous studies were with Mary Handley of Buffalo, who introduced him to the Royal Conservatory of Music program in Toronto, Ontario, where he received his Associate of the Royal Conservatory degree (ARCT) in Piano Performance in 2012, after his freshman year at St Bonaventure.
He is a 15-time, first-prize winner in the Kiwanis Music Festival in Ontario and has worked with a variety of musical theater organizations in the Buffalo area, including Musical Fare Theater and ArtPark. He has also performed as a soloist with the Amherst Symphony.
Tuesday, Feb. 24 — Dance Party for SBU students
The evening will feature an 8 p.m. Dance Party for SBU students with participation by the Hip-Hop team, Step Team, Bonacoustics and the Chattertons, including slam poetry in the atriums and galleries of the Quick Center. This will be a fun evening with music provided by SBU student DJs. Refreshments will be served at the dance party, which is open to SBU students only.
Friday, Feb. 27 — 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Dance
The Quick Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Dance on stage — dubbed “I Could Have Danced All Night” — will begin at 6 p.m. in the Rigas Theater. The event features guest performer Yvonne Brennan, who has played lead roles in Broadway productions including the role of Eliza in “My Fair Lady.” She will be accompanied by former Metropolitan Opera basso Richard Crist. The St. Bonaventure Concert Choir will offer a pre-dinner musical performance and dance music will be provided by the LTM Trio, which includes Dr. Leslie Sabina, longtime professor of music.
Brennan studied at Dublin’s College of Music. For six seasons, she was leading soprano for Jury’s Irish Cabaret in Dublin and took part in three major coast-to-coast tours of the U.S. and Canada with Columbia Artists. She has appeared at Dublin’s Gaiety and Olympia Theaters, many appearances with the Irish Radio Orchestra and Concert Orchestra, broadcasts on both BBC and PBS stations, and sang with Scottish Opera, Dublin Grand Opera and also at the Wexford Opera Festival. She fulfilled a childhood dream in playing Eliza in “My Fair Lady” on a European tour, co-starring with international film and theater star Maximilian Schell, to unanimous praise from the European press.
Basso, stage director and pianist Richard Crist enjoyed an extensive national and international career that included the Metropolitan Opera; New York City Opera; opera companies of Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Santa Fe and San Diego; the Bolshoi in Moscow, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Lyon, Torino and Dublin; and the Wexford and Edinburgh festivals. His concert appearances included the world’s major orchestras, oratorio societies and festivals. Among them are the orchestras of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis, San Francisco, Minnesota, Radio Telefis Éireann - Dublin, and the London Sinfonia.
Tickets for the gala are $100 per person. Proceeds benefit programming at the arts center.
Sunday, March 1 — Anniversary Concert
The Anniversary Concert begins at 2 p.m. and features the SBU Concert Band and Concert Choir with guest performers from SBU Theater. The concert is free and open to the public.
“It is indeed a privilege and honor to serve as director of this outstanding cultural center. I hope the public will enjoy hearing the musical talents of the SBU students and I thank the guests attending the gala for their support of programming at the center,” said Ludwig Brunner, executive director of the center. “I thank the staff of the center for their dedicated work in making this celebration possible, and last but not least, the students for their wondrous participation.”
Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Museum admission is free and open to the public year round. For more information, visit www.sbu.edu/quickcenter.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #3 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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