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Greenwood Performing Arts' 2018-19 season brings world stage to GCT

Post Date:08/06/2018 12:09 PM

Index Journal 

August 5, 2018

By ST. CLAIRE DONAGHY

Performers from around the globe are coming to the Greenwood Performing Arts’ stage at Greenwood Community Theatre for the 2018-19 season.

The scheduled lineup for the 2018-19 season includes six diverse shows. They range from a Gullah/contemporary jazz fusion band from Charleston, to a classical pianist from Ukraine, who has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School of Music. There’s also contemporary Mexican music and much more.

Current season members may get tickets to all six shows, beginning Aug. 7, for $225 per person. From Aug. 21-31, new 2018-19 season ticket holders can call to pick their seats for the upcoming season.

Call the GPA office 864-227-8744 to purchase season tickets and visit greenwoodperformingarts.org.

Individual tickets go on sale Sept. 4. Those will be available through the GCT box office, 864-229-5704.

“Our ticket sales increased significantly this past season,” said Christy Rowe, Greenwood Performing Arts executive director. “That is really encouraging as a long-standing organization in a new venue that is trying to attract and cultivate new members and keep our long-standing season ticket holders.”

When ticket sales are up, Rowe said, it helps GPA and the organization’s venue, Greenwood Community Theatre.

“The theater staff has been phenomenal in working with us,” Rowe said. “If we’re succeeding, then we are helping others around us succeed. People make a night of it, attending a show and checking out Uptown restaurants and shops.”

Rowe said GPA is a relatively small nonprofit.

“Even the smallest donation or sponsorship makes a really big impact for us, because we are such a small nonprofit,” Rowe said.

GPA’s mission is to enhance quality of life for area audiences of all ages, by presenting diverse, professional artistic performances that entertain and educate.

GPA has a 13-member board that includes four new members.

“We really could not exist without support of the community,” Rowe, 31, said. “We have people on our board who bring different skills and interests to the table.”

GPA board president Jason Edwards describes the upcoming season as one “that represents the world stage.”

“Check out these performers online and see how amazing they are,” Edwards said. “Our season opener, Ranky Tanky, has taken the Gullah tradition and infused it with contemporary jazz. Their recent album charted at number one. Their music is very upbeat and moving.”

Just in time for the holiday season, Edwards said GPA will welcome the bluegrass of The Barefoot Movement.

“They are really up-and-coming,” Edwards said. “You may not recognize the name now, I promise, in five years, you will know who they are.”

Alina Kiryayeva, scheduled in March, performs classical music but she also takes pop songs and creates classical arrangements for them.

If classical is your thing,” Edwards said, “you are going to love her.”

Edwards said he began attending GPA performances several years ago and is in his third year serving on the board.

“This season spices things up a bit,” Rowe said. “Our opener, Ranky Tanky is performing at The Peace Center the week after they are coming here,” Rowe said. “You can stay in Greenwood and see high-caliber performers.”

The Villalobos Brothers are scheduled in November, using “violins and voices to redefine contemporary Mexican music,” with their distinct style of playing “fast-chatting violins.”

GPA had a Chicago tribute band last season. Rowe said audiences loved it.

“We got people in the door who we had never seen before,” Rowe said. “A lot of Uptown businesses also helped us with raffles during intermissions. It made people in the audience more aware of Uptown businesses and brought them into stores.”

Edwards said this year’s tribute band, 7 Bridges, pays homage to the Eagles.

“This band has a big fan base and it will definitely sell out,” Edwards said. “Get in on purchasing tickets early.”

Also, GPA’s outreach program – to provide exposure to the arts – is going strong. The new season includes three outreach performances, geared toward intergenerational audiences that include school-aged children and senior adults.

“We have gotten such great feedback from students,” Rowe said. “Seeing kids ask a lot of questions lets you know something has gone over really well.”

Scheduled for outreach shows this season are: The Villalobos Brothers, with contemporary Mexican music in November, The Barefoot Movement’s bluegrass in December and Alina Kiryayeva’s classical piano in March.

Closing out the season in May is the Taylor Festival Choir, the flagship ensemble for the Piccolo Spoleto Celtic Arts Series in Charleston. That concert will be at First Baptist Church of Greenwood.