The Center for Performing Arts Is Getting Amped in 2023–24
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The Center for the Performing Arts’ 2023–24 Center Presents Season is poised to provide a wide range of offerings to meet every taste! The Center’s aim to make its events and programs as inclusive and welcoming as possible is evident in this coming season’s lineup of entertainment and events.
Get Amped This Season!
The action kicks off with performances in August by Chris Daughtry and Ben Harper, both making their debut appearances at the Center. Other first-timers on the upcoming schedule include New Orleans sax great Branford Marsalis, Police drummer Stewart Copeland, singer-songwriters Meshell Ndegeocello, Bruce Cockburn, and Indiana’s own singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Returning to the Center are many favorites from seasons past, including Spyro Gyra, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Jim Brickman, the Righteous Brothers, and singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby.
For fans of classic rock and pop, we have tributes to Aretha Franklin, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. There’s blues from Robert Cray, country from Easton Corbin and comedy from “Polyester Princess” Etta May. Classical highlights include mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter with the progressive string quartet Brooklyn Rider.
For intercultural flavor, check out Tres Souls, Mariachi Herencia de México, the Irish Tenors, and the globe-spanning trio of banjoist Béla Fleck, tabla master Zakir Hussain, and bassist Edgar Meyer with Indian flutist Rakesh Chaurasia.
The Center’s family performances draw from the worlds of stage and screen, with Animaniacs: In Concert, Disney tribute The Little Mermen, and the Imagination Movers of TV fame.
This year’s Holiday Series celebrates the season from many angles, including traditional music from the Vienna Boys Choir, the return of perennial favorite Dave Koz, and special holiday programs from Jon McLaughlin, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Special events include a free community performance by the United States Marine Band and talks with TV ghost hunter Amy Bruni and “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell.
The Center also offers a variety of education and enrichment opportunities for people of all ages, from children’s music to book clubs to comedy lessons.
We spoke with the Center for the Performing Arts CEO/President Jeff McDermott about continuing the momentum from this past season into the coming one. McDermott also shared his thoughts on the continued growth and purpose of one of the Center’s core missions: community outreach.
“I am very excited about what’s coming up [in the new season],” McDermott expressed. “We just finished up our [2022–23] season, and we set a record this past [season] with the most sellout performances — 22 — we’ve ever had in a season, which is tremendous. I expect to do even better this coming season. We have about 52 dynamic shows already booked, and we will continue to announce more shows throughout the season.”
Something for Everybody
In his own thoughtful words, McDermott shared how it has always been a core mission of the Center to not only curate exciting and alluring acts but to be ever mindful of ensuring that the Center, its shows, and its events are diverse and inclusive.
“It all starts with the product, and the product for us is great shows and educational programs,” McDermott stated. “We’re fortunate to have a tremendous programming team led by Dan Kemer, along with nine staff members with diverse musical interests who curate our seasons. And as I look at this [season], I continue to see us creating diversity of programming — using that term in every sense of the word — that is diverse in terms of genres, age and artists of color and nationality. We’ve got a very significant DEI initiative going on here, which has been a focus since our inception.”
McDermott shared that in the 12 years since the Center for the Performing Arts officially opened, it has welcomed 1.3 million patrons from all 92 counties in Indiana, all 50 states, and more than 30 countries.
“I’m just as thrilled about this lineup as I’ve ever been, and it will get even better because we know that we will add other great artists throughout the season. Natalie Merchant was an ‘add-on’ this past season, as was Chelsea Handler and many others. We know that there are artists that book out on shorter schedules, while others will book out a year to 18 months in advance. So, we keep our eyes on all of that.”
Impactful Community Outreach
The Prism Project at the Center is a performing arts program developed by Ball State University and designed to be physically, developmentally and cognitively appropriate for youth with disabilities. The program is a four-week camp culminating in a final performance that will take place on Sunday, June 25, in the Studio Theater located on the Center’s campus.
McDermott added, “We’re always looking at outreach opportunities and ways to enhance our educational opportunities. We’re offering the Prism Project to another community that has been underserved, and we know that music has so many healing and interactive powers. We know from our Perfect Harmony program for seniors living with dementia that music enhances lives and triggers parts of the brain, both of which have such a positive impact. I think the [Prism] Project gives children with disabilities an opportunity to experience music, play, and create in ways that maybe are not offered in other aspects of their lives.”
A Committed Community
The success that the Center for the Performing Arts continues to realize is in large part due to its loyal patrons, generous sponsors, talented staff members and committed volunteer corps.
“People who work in the nonprofit world aren’t doing it for glory or monetary impact,” McDermott said. “They’re doing it because they love what they do and because the mission is meaningful to them. It’s an opportunity to make a difference and leave a legacy. We’ve got a corps of 300 community volunteers who serve as ushers and docents, and they do this because they love [the center]. We couldn’t do what we do without them. They are certainly part of what makes it all work so well. Our sponsorships help us bring in great artists from all over the world, including lesser-known artists who are often of equal or higher ability, world-class performers who may not have the same commercial recognition. We do this because it aligns with our mission, is the right thing to do, and is made possible by our individual donors and corporate partnerships.”
Buy early and buy often! Visit thecenterpresents.org to purchase your season subscriptions and tickets and for more information on programs and upcoming events.
The Center for the Performing Arts 2023–24 Season
Drewry Simmons Vornehm Jazz Series
Aug. 12 – Spyro Gyra
Nov. 18 – Meshell Ndegeocello
Jan. 26 – An Evening with Branford Marsalis
April 19 – Sammy Miller & The Congregation
Faegre Drinker Encore Series
Aug. 9 – Daughtry: Bare Bones Tour
Aug. 15 – Ben Harper
Oct. 19 – Stewart Copeland: Police Deranged for Orchestra
Nov. 3 – Grace Potter
Nov. 24 – Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna
Nov. 30 – Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas
Dec. 1 – The Midtown Men: Holiday Hits
Dec. 5 – Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2023
Dec. 8 – Jon McLaughlin & Friends: Home for the Holidays
Dec. 9 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band Holiday Show
Dec. 13 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party
Hoosier Village & The Barrington of Carmel Songbook Series
July 22 – Songbook Academy in Concert
Nov. 4 – An Intimate Evening with David Foster & Katharine McPhee
Nov. 19 – The Black Market Trust
Feb. 24 – Aretha’s Gold: Classic Albums Live Tribute to Aretha Franklin
May 17 – Michael Feinstein with special guest
Katz, Sapper & Miller Pop/Rock Series
Sept. 28 – Uptown: Motown Remixed
Oct. 6 – The Righteous Brothers: Bill Medley & Bucky Heard
Oct. 8 – The Tallest Man on Earth
Oct. 14 – Wish You Were Here: The Sight and Sound of Pink Floyd
Oct. 20 – Harry Chapin at 80: A Retrospective, featuring The Chapin Family
Nov. 1 – An Evening with Bruce Cockburn
March 9 – Bruce Hornsby with yMusic
March 9 – Carrie Newcomer with Pianist Gary Walter & String Quartet
March 30 – Croce Plays Croce: 50th Anniversary Tour
April 20 – Rumours: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute
Old Town Family Series
Oct. 5 – Animaniacs: In Concert
Nov. 5 – The Little Mermen: The Ultimate Disney Tribute Band (two shows)
March 10 – Imagination Movers (two shows)
Printing Partners Classical Series
Oct. 28 – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble
Feb. 23 – Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
April 12 – Ray Chen
Telamon Passport Series
Nov. 2 – Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer with Rakesh Chaurasia
Nov. 4 – Tres Souls
Nov. 10 – Gregorian: Pure Chants
Feb. 9 – Mariachi Herencia de México: Herederos
March 8 – The Irish Tenors
April 7 – Jesse Cook
Sept. 16 – Life with the Afterlife: True Tales of the Paranormal with Ghost Hunter Amy Bruni
Sept. 23 – The Center Celebration 2023 presented by Ice Miller
Oct. 11 – The Robert Cray Band
Oct. 27 – “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band
Nov. 3 – Etta May
Nov. 9 – Easton Corbin
Nov. 12 – Candace Bushnell: Is There Still Sex in the City?
Feb. 3 – Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro: Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret