Michel Mercier | UAH
Dr. C. David Ragsdale, professor and chair of the music and drama department at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), which is part of the University of Alabama system, envisions a glimmer of hope after a year clouded by a global pandemic.
“I hope we have a cultural renaissance as a result of COVID,” said Dr Ragsdale. “The arts are essential to our emotional well-being, and at no time have we felt this more than during this pandemic. ”
His optimism grows as the UAH announces the new Performing Arts Support Endowment Fund, which recognizes the importance of investing in the arts and provides perpetual funding to the performing arts programs. UAH. In honor of their creation, an anonymous donor matches a donation of up to $ 10,000 in total for every dollar donated between September 1 and December 3.
An endowment like this can help programs respond to changing circumstances like pandemics, but it can also help them grow strategically. As the UAH’s music and theater programs plan more live events for this fall, Dr Ragsdale emphasizes that they are up for anything, thanks in large part to the progress made in responding to the challenges of the last year. During the pandemic, UAH’s music and theater programs turned to Zoom plays and multi-camera, high-definition broadcasts to broadcast live concerts and events; they intend to continue offering remote access to its traditional events in the future. The Constellation Concert Series, for example, will offer both in-person seating and online streaming access for each of its events this season to accommodate audiences who appreciate the convenience of the virtual concert as well as those who enjoy the vitality of a live show.
“The artistic efforts of our students and faculty are too valuable not to be shared with the community,” says Dr Ragsdale, “so we will continue to explore creative outlets for safe and effective performance – whether through Zoom , YouTube, livestream or live action. . “
At the end of autumn, music and theater teachers and students will work together to present a performance of the opera “Dido and Aeneas” on stage. This hour-long opera in English by Henry Purcell tells the tragic love story of Dido, the queen of Carthage, and the Trojan hero, Aeneas. This will be the first collaboration between music and theater since their production in 2019 of the musical “La Cage aux Folles”. “Dido” will be performed in the new Morton Hall Black Box Theater from November 12-20.
On December 2, music and theater are planning to present what has become a Huntsville holiday tradition, the eighth annual “Peace on Earth” concert. This holiday performance, to be held at the Mark C. Smith Concert Hall at the Von Braun Center, will feature UAH music and theater students, faculty and staff, the Huntsville Community Chorus Youth Chorale and members of the the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. The hit a cappella ensemble Voctave will headline the show with tight harmonizations of Disney and party classics.
In addition to these collaborations, the UAH theater program will produce the play “Our Town” in mid-October. This year’s Constellation Concert Series will feature a performance by the Music Faculty of UAH (Music with Friends), as well as a performance of Tuvan Throat Singing by Alash, and a variety of special guest performances in a number of genres – from gospel to jazz to everything in between.
These plans for the coming season are reinforced by the Endowment Fund to Support the Performing Arts and the corresponding donation. Dr Ragsdale says this giveaway opportunity “couldn’t have come at a better time.” The increased endowment provides UAH’s performing arts programs with reliable funding year after year, allowing them to continue producing events and reminding patrons and students of the important role the arts play in our lives.
“This donation underscores the value of music and theater within the UAH and Huntsville communities,” said Dr. Ragsdale, “while emphasizing to students that the arts deserve our financial, academic and artistic investment. We are very grateful for the endowment and the corresponding donation.
If you, like countless others, have found solace in the performing arts this year, consider investing in its future. When you donate to the Performing Arts Support Foundation by December 3, you can double your impact with the matching donation.