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A first look at UMass’ fall semester Fine Arts lineup

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As UMass students begin to settle in and make themselves at home for the upcoming fall semester, they can take solace in the fact that, although another summer has come and gone, there is a terrific schedule of performances all across campus in the coming months.

The Fine Arts Center is offering a typically jam-packed season with an incredibly diverse array of performers and events. The FAC will kick off its fall season with a performance by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The ensemble will be performing their original show, “Rice.”

The season then changes gears completely with visits from critically acclaimed traditional jazz and Dixieland band the Hot Sardines on Saturday, Sept. 26 and William Parker, the hugely influential free jazz bassist and poet, on Thursday, Oct. 1.

The Split Knuckle Theatre will perform its original play “Endurance” on Friday, Oct. 16, while Doug Varone and his dance troupe will perform “ReComposed,” a visual dance piece based on American abstract artist Joan Mitchell’s pastel drawings and set to British composer Max Richter’s newly constructed version of Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”

Composer and poet Douglas Ewart, acclaimed pianist Matthew Shipp and dancer Ni’Ja Whitson will all perform on Thursday, Oct. 29, while four-time Grammy award-winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves will play Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac and Marvin Gaye classics with her quintet the following evening, Friday, Oct. 30.

Fans of classical music will be treated to a performance by the renowned Munich Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Nov. 5, whereas those who are looking for perhaps a more unorthodox orchestral performance will find what they are looking for in “Spirit of India,” a show of Indian gypsy music by the Masala Orchestra that is coming to the FAC Concert Hall on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Tickets for all of these events – which are just a sample of the performances occurring at the Fine Arts Center this fall – are available at greatly reduced prices for both UMass and Five College students, with some costing as little as $5 for students. In addition, the Fine Arts Center will show such visual art exhibits as “Chuck Close Photographs,” which collects the photographic work of one of America’s most influential artists and “Ten Thousand Wonderful Things,” a collection by local artist Anne Beresford.

In addition to the packed schedule at the Fine Arts Center, the UMass Department of Theater is gearing up for its own great season. The department is putting on performances of David Adjmi’s “Marie Antoinette” at the Rand Theater in early-mid November and “Donny Johns,” a musical written by Harley Erdman, Aaron Jones and Gina Kaufmann, from mid-November to early December at the Curtain Theater.

The Mullins Center also has a handful of exciting events planned for the fall semester. The ultra-popular “Life In Color” EDM festival is set to hit the arena on Friday, Sept. 11, while in a similar vein, Grammy-winning, multi-platinum electronic musician Zedd will take his “True Colors” tour to the Mullins Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

These terrific schedules give students a wide range of choices when it comes to the arts, and almost every single one is both low-cost for students and situated directly on campus. Although many of them may not seem interesting at first glance, give at least one a try. You never know what you will discover.

Jackson Maxwell can be reached at [email protected]

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