This semester, the performing arts series has expanded from jazz to incorporate many different forms of music and art, like classic rock, blues, classical, ballet and theater to expose students to more than one type of art.
For the last two years, the performing arts faculty has done a series with jazz put together by Dr. Leslie Sabina, director of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.
The series is funded by the Leo E. Keenan Jr. and James J. Martine Faculty Development Endowment, intended to improve quality of teaching and learning. A committee goes through applications to decide where funding goes each year, as they fund a lot of different programs on campus with the end result being student development.
“We teach all the arts courses here, so sometimes we wish an artist was coming to Bona’s so we can have our students go check them out. We haven’t had much formal control in offering artists up to the students,” said Sabina. “Nobody from our department is on the board, so decisions are made and we wanted more direct control.”
A couple of the groups this semester performed here before, such as the Rochester City Ballet, in addition to Dave Mancini, as a part of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
For many of the acts, their schedules worked out where they were available and in the vicinity. Some have been booked, but some contracts haven’t been finalized yet. Sabina and Peterson used faculty’s regional connections, who they knew could relate well in a college environment.
“There will be a little bit of jazz, mixed with pop and classical, so it should be accessible to students,” said Sabina.
Laura Peterson, a visual and performing arts lecturer said, “The concerts are specifically about what students want and it gives them another avenue to see live shows.”
Millioto, a friend of Peterson’s from college, is doing a series of shows throughout Western New York and has a free night before he heads back to New York City.
He has a doctorate in classical guitar, but does everything from rock, jazz and blues. Millioto noticed Jimi Hendrix had a special technique of playing amplifier through the guitar and mimics it in his own work.
He believes it is as much about notes producing with his hands as the sound coming through the amplifier. Millioto explored this concept and has done lecture series’ about Jimi Hendrix specifically, writing his own music using techniques Jimi used.
Tickets are available to students, faculty and staff for free and based on response, the general public will be able to purchase tickets for $5.
“I would love to see all the seats taken by students,” Peterson said.
The Martine Performing Arts Series opens Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. with solo guitarist Thomas Millioto in the Quick Center for the Arts. There will be five performances in the fall and five more in the spring.