UF Performing Arts hosting black artists


Published: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.

World renown black artists, including the Ritz Chamber Players, the Soweto Gospel Choir, dancer Ronald K. Brown, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, soprano Jeanine De Bique and singer Buddy Guy, will perform during the first part of the year as part of the University of Florida Performing Arts program.

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The Ritz Chamber Players will perform on Jan. 15 on the UF campus. (Special to the Guardian)

And tickets are selling fast.

"Anytime you can bring this caliber of artists, it's very exciting," said Todd Taylor, spokesperson for the University of Florida Performing Arts.

Terrance Patterson, founder, executive director and artistic director of the Jacksonville-based Ritz Chamber Orchestra, said this concert marks his group's debut in Gainesville. In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, Patterson said the concert will include highlights of songs from the "freedom concerts," which combined poetry, narration and music to raise funds and to tell the story of the civil rights movement.

"We will celebrate diversity, Martin Luther King and our African-American culture," said Patterson, adding that his orchestra's name comes from The Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum and celebrates the rich legacy of the African-American community that thrived in Jacksonville's LaVilla district for more than 100 years.

"The Ritz Chamber players are credited for bringing a fresh, new energy to classical music and their members perform with the most prestigious symphonies around the world," Taylor said.

Taylor said the world renown Soweto Gospel Choir made its debut in the United States at the Phillips Center in 2003, and this year's performance will mark the group's sixth appearance at the Phillips Center. "The program changes," Taylor said, "so the majority of the show will feature new material."

Taylor said Ronald K. Brown, the founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn-based Evidence Dance Company, blends African, modern ballet and social dance movements to choreograph a vision of African culture.

"Stevie Wonder is the inspiration for his new work," Taylor said.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis marks Marsalis' fifth appearance at the Univeristy of Florida Performing Arts. Led by Marsalis, Taylor said Jazz at Lincoln Center will feature 15 of the finest jazz musicians in the world.

Taylor said Jeanine De Bique, who hails from the island of Trinidad, is an award-winning soprano with genuine star quality and the stunning range of most veteran vocalists.

Buddy Guy's performance will mark his second appearance at the University of Florida Performing Arts. "Buddy Guy is considered one of the top guitarists in the world," Taylor said.

Guy is a five-time Grammy-award winner and his numerous awards include the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame, Billboard magazine's Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts.

Tickets for the following performances can be purchased by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

* Ritz Chamber Players: Showtime is 2 p.m. Jan. 15 at University Auditorium on the UF campus. Tickets are $12 for UF students and $25-$35 general admission.

* Soweto Gospel Choir: Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at SW 34th Street and Hull Road. Tickets are $12 for UF students and $30-$40 general admission.

* Ronald K. Brown, Evidence, A Dance Company: Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Phillips Center. Tickets are $12 for UF students and $25-$40 general admission.

* Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Showtime is 7:30 p.m. March 12 at the Phillips Center. Tickets are $15 for UF students and $40-$60 general admission.

* Jeanine De Bique: Showtime is 7:30 p.m. March 19 at the Squitieri Studio Theatre at the Phillips Center. Tickets are $12 for UF student and $20 general admission.

* Buddy Guy: Showtime is 7:30 p.m. April 21 at the Phillips Center. Tickets are $15 for UF student and $30-$50 general admission.

For more information, visit http://performingarts.ufl.edu/events/2012/.

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