NORTH ADAMS -- As MCLA Presents! enters its fifth year, the music and performance series will continue to bring musicians and performers from around the country and the globe to the city.
This season’s performers include artists from New York and New Orleans, Cuba, Haiti, Ireland and Canada.
"We’re kicking off the season on Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. [in the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Academic Quadrangle] with The Pedrito Martinez Group," Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, said Monday. "He’s an amazing Cuban percussionist, who will bring his Afro Cuban sound to the campus. The performance is being presented in partnership with a number of student clubs, including the Latin American Club and ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American), as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s going to be a big party in the quad, a nice big mixer for faculty, students and their neighbors."
Originally started as the Smith House Concert Series by former college President Thomas D. Aceto and his wife, Susan, the program evolved from a chamber music series in the building that the college’s presidents traditionally called home into the MCLA Patrons of the Arts program in 2004. In 2008, the program evolved again, bringing dance, theater, lectures, spoken word, cabaret and poetry into the mix as well as moving into a variety of venues in the city.
"Not only will we continue to
One of the performances aimed at "bridging" the divide between the campus and the community will be "Moby Dick," a one-man performance by Conor Lovett, of the Gare St. Lazare Players of Ireland, which will take place Oct. 4, at 8 p. m., in the MCLA Church Street Center, and Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., at the Berkshire Museum.
"Conor Lovett has been here twice before," Secor said. "Typically, he comes to perform Samuel Beckett plays. We’ve just fallen in love with him. He’s an amazing performer who has connected deeply with our acting students. We’re always looking for any excuse to bring him back. As people may know, the city of Pittsfield has been celebrating ‘Moby Dick’ and Herman Melville all summer, so this was an excellent reason to bring Conor back."
The college will also play host to Belo, a young, socially conscious singer-songwriter from Haiti, who is part of Center Stage, a cultural diplomacy initiative developed by the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, for three days in October. Belo and his band will perform at the college Oct. 30.
"The idea behind the U.S. State Department’s program is to create diplomacy by introducing performers from countries that we have relationships with to small town America," said Secor, who was part of a small group that traveled to Haiti last year to select artists for the program. "The program has brought in artists from Pakistan, Indonesia and Haiti who will be touring for three months to experience America in ways other than they may be used to -- image of McDonald’s, relief aid or war. Belo will be here for three days, working with students, holding community workshops and performing."
Canadian folk-rock duo Dala returns to MCLA Gallery 51 on Dec. 13 for "A Very Special Holiday Show."
"When we were thinking about doing a holiday show, we thought of Dala and spoke to their manager. He said that they had such a great time the last time they were here, they would come back and do anything for us. They are as excited about coming back as we are about having them," Secor said.
In 2013, the 8th annual MCLA Blues and Funk Festival will return with two nights of music Feb. 1 and 2 in Venable Gymnasium.
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Maya Azucena returns to campus Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m., performing blues, funk, hip hop, soul, reggae and pop. On the second night of the festival, Khris Royal and Dark Matter will perform at 7:30 p. m. on Feb. 2.
On March 2, the annual Margaret A. Hart ‘35 Scholarship Concert, featuring the Campbell Brothers, with guest openers Harold "Zion" Edwards and MCLA’s own Allegrettos, returns at 7:30 p.m. to the MCLA Church Street Center.
MCLA Presents! 2012-13 season:
Tickets: $10 for general admission, $8 for MCLA alumni and $5 for faculty and staff. Students and MCLA Presents! members are free.
Tickets to the two-night 8th annual MCLA Blues and Funk Festival are specially priced at $15 for both nights.
Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at 413-662-5204.
Saturday, Sept. 15: The Pedrito Martinez Group, 3 p.m., MCLA Quad
Oct. 4: Moby Dick, 8 p.m., MCLA Church Street Center
Oct. 5: Moby Dick, 8 p.m., Berkshire Museum
Oct. 30: Belo, 8 p.m., MCLA Church Street Center
Nov. 30: Broadway’s Next H!t Musical, 8 p.m., MCLA Church Street Center
Dec. 13: Dala, 7:30 p.m., MCLA Gallery 51
The 8th Annual MCLA Blues and Funk Festival
Feb. 1, 2013: Maya Azucena, 7:30 p.m., Venable Gymnasium
Feb. 2, 2013: Khris Royal and Dark Matter, 7:30 p.m., Venable Gymnasium
Margaret A. Hart ‘35 Scholarship Concert
March 2, 2013: The Campbell Brothers with guest opener, Zion; 7:30 p. m., MCLA Church Street Center
April 17 2013: Sekou Sundiata Evening of Spoken Word and Poetry, featuring the voices of MCLA and Williams Students, 7 p.m., MCLA Gallery 51
May 4, 2013: PAM! Show, details to be TBA