Writer / Janelle Morrison Photographer / Brian Brosmer Since the grand opening of the Palladium in January 2011, the Center for the Performing Arts has delighted its patrons with talent from all over the country and the world, attracting legendary performers over the years such as Tony Bennett, the late B.B. King, Hugh Laurie, Yo-Yo Ma and other memorable performances. The Center for the Performing Arts is an inviting gathering place for the community, along with the Center’s Studio Theater and the Tarkington. Combined, the three venues are a place for community engagement and for people to celebrate great art together. Their mission is “to welcome, engage, inspire and transform through compelling performing arts experiences in a world class environment.” Equally important to the talents performing on stage is the Center’s architecture. The Palladium is an architectural marvel. Currently, no other complex in North America has been built with such precision and attention to the acoustics. Built to last at half of a millennium or more, the Palladium is a legacy to our community for generations to come. Contributing to that legacy, Artistic Director Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” performs frequently at the Center for the Performing Arts and assists with programming. Mr. Feinstein is considered one of the premier interpreters of American Popular Song. This December, the Center will be ringing in the new year and kicking off its fifth anniversary with exuberance while celebrating their milestones and all of the great programs and performances that will be announced in their 2016 performance schedule. The Center’s Board Secretary Anne Poindexter shared a few of her fond memories and reflections regarding the Center. “If asked to pick, I honestly could not pick my favorite performances because I have simply enjoyed too many fabulous performances to choose from,” Poindexter emphasized. "I will, however, share two of my favorite memories involving the Palladium and a performance. First, my parents are fans of Brenda Lee. I would never have chosen to attend her performance myself, but they were so excited that she was coming to the Palladium, and it was for a holiday show. I bought tickets for the entire extended family since my nephews had not been to the Palladium, and all 11 of us went. “You cannot image how thrilled my parents were to actually meet Brenda Lee prior to the show. She even gave my parents a shout-out for the anniversary they happened to be celebrating. We all enjoyed the show. I will forever treasure the family time and remember the warmth and generous spirit of Brenda Lee from that evening. “Next, I confess I enjoyed Pat McAfee at the Palladium. My sister and daughter both wanted to see him, so I bought three tickets for the VIP reception and performance. While I certainly do not enjoy (actually cringe at) his overuse of profanity, it is admirable the time he took to quietly and individually talk with each and every person at the reception and have a photo taken. “For all of the tough talk, it is also obvious if you really listened that he is a very bright young man (in addition to a really good punter) who cares deeply about his family. Even with all of the foul language, the story of the canal episode was very funny. It was a fun girl’s night out with my daughter and sister, three women who love football.” Traci L. Dossett, the Board’s Treasurer, also shared with us about one of her favorite performances. “Hands down, my favorite was Tony Bennett,” Dossett exclaimed. “When he put down the microphone and just sang…it was a magical moment to be in a hall that provided the acoustics to hear a true legend share his gift in its purest form. I also absolutely loved Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band. It was a fun show, and the level of talent they had was a wonderful surprise. I truly enjoy being able to see new and emerging artists.” Next we spoke with the Center’s President/CEO Tania Castroverde Moskalenko about the Center’s strategic plans going forward and what effect the completion of the city of Carmel’s Midtown development project will have on the Center. “We are already in the third year of a three-year strategic plan which we adopted in August 2013,” Moskalenko explained. "The plan identifies 16 goals which fall under one of five categories: contributed income opportunities, earned income opportunities, board/staff/volunteer team and customer service, Great American Songbook Foundation, Resident Companies, facilities and space usage, and community engagement and education. “I am happy to report that we have accomplished many of the goals we set for the organization. Much of the work we do is ongoing, and it is time to renew the plan for the next three to five years. We have a robust mix of funding from individuals, corporations, foundations and government support. I anticipate that our private giving will continue to increase and public giving remain stable.” Upon completion of the Midtown project, Moskalenko, Poindexter and Dossett were optimistic about the project’s effect on the Center. “I think it’s a great addition to downtown Carmel,” Moskalenko said. “I believe there will be synergies between City Center and Midtown.” “The Midtown Development will continue the development of the urban walk able corridor of downtown Carmel,” Poindexter said. “It will bring more residents and businesses to the area that will have the benefit of living and working near the world-class facilities of the Palladium. The development will continue to increase the vibrancy of our community. There would be no need to park, valet or otherwise, if you live within the new development and could walk to the show.” Dossett concluded, “I think any economic development is great for our campus. When you add residential buildings, you add potential patrons. When you add restaurants and shops, you add to the experience our patrons can have. The walkability of the City along the Monon and the additional destinations from The Center to Midtown to Downtown will make the entirety of this area an even better place to be.” Celebrating the New Year with a special center event, the board and staff will be hosting a “New Year’s Eve Extravaganza” featuring The Hot Sardines at the Palladium on December 31 at 8 p.m. The party begins with live entertainment including local favorites The Bishops, Flatbed Twitch and karaoke provided by P3 Productions. Enjoy parties, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres throughout the Palladium. The highlight of the night will be a special performance at 10 p.m. by The Hot Sardines. Tickets include champagne, two drink vouchers, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and more. Tickets are available online at thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.