Montgomery County Community College launches its 2018-19 Lively Arts Series

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The Hit Men toured or recorded with the biggest names in the music business in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, including Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Elton John, Carly Simon, Jim Croce, Blood Sweat & Tears and many more. (Image courtesy MCCC)

From jazz to dance to independent films and programming for kids and families, Montgomery County Community College’s Lively Arts Series has something for everyone in its 2018-2019 season. For more than 30 years, this series has offered the community world-class performances in music, dance and theater, as well as programming for families and children, and this year promises to be its most diverse yet.

The fall musical season kicks off with world-renowned jazz guitarist and performer, John Pizzarelli, who joins forces with Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Catherine Russell in their program, “Billy and Blue Eyes,” a tribute to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, onSaturday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. All performances are held in MCCC’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

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Pizzarelli is known for his renditions of American standards and most recently, his take on songs by Paul McCartney, Johnny Mercer and Frank Sinatra. The Boston Globe wrote that Pizzarelli has reinvigorated the Great American songbook and re-popularized jazz. Russell has toured and performed with some of the top musical artists of our time, appearing on more than 200 albums.

Other notable musical artists to join the series are the Kenny Barron Quintet, Christian Sands Trio, and KeyStone A Cappella, which will perform their versions of holiday classics. Be sure to see The Hit Men a legendary rock supergroup whose members toured or recorded with the biggest names in the music business in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, including Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Elton John, Carly Simon, Jim Croce, Blood Sweat & Tears and many more. The Aaron Goldberg Trio featuring Leon Parker and jazz singer Carmen Lundy round out the series’ musical offerings.

The Capitol Steps will share their special brand of satirical political humor through song parodies and skits that play off recent headlines. The group has been performing since 1981 and has been featured on television and radio and recorded nearly three dozen albums. They appear at Montco on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 4 p.m.

November will feature a presentation of Rasaanubhava—the experience of carefully researched and selected pieces in the Mohiniattam style of Indian classical dance, each interesting and captivating the Rasikas and each taking you through an aesthetic journey—by Dr. Sunanda Nair, an internationally acclaimed performer of the art form.

Pieces are chosen from strong female characters from epics and mythology emphasizing the freedom and supremacy of women to express and communicate their emotions. This program, held on Saturday, Nov. 17, begins at 7 p.m., but you can add an Indian dinner (beginning at 5 p.m.) and make a night of it, when purchasing tickets.

Several free events also are scheduled throughout the series, including Step Afrika! on Sept. 12, with high-energy dancers integrating songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation. The Whitpain Community Festival (also free) takes place on Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at noonon Central Campus in Blue Bell.

The younger members of the community and their family and friends will find plenty to excite them in The Family Series, beginning with Finding North by David Gonzalez on September 21—a one-man play about the dreams and sacrifices of a hero of the Underground Railroad. Janet’s Planet will take young audiences on a tour through the solar system and a chance to explore microgravity during an action-packed weekend in late January. And Jeff Boyer’s Bubble Trouble Show mixes comedy, music and interactive bubble-magic as Boyer creates volcanos and roller coasters and even juggles bubbles in this creative show.

All Aboard for the Polar Express pajama and hot chocolate night on Dec. 21. Kids who come to the movie in their PJs will get free hot chocolate to sip while they enjoy the film. And in February, Theatreworks USA presents Junie B. Jones, a new musical based on the popular books.

This year’s Film Series features six films from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s On Screen/In Person Tours Program. These new, independent American films tour with their directors to communities across the Mid-Atlantic region. Each evening includes a public screening, a post-screening discussion with the filmmaker and a community activity that provides audience members with a better understanding of each film.

The first film, Break the Chain, will be shown Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. It features two survivors of child sex and labor trafficking who provide a startling look at this issue. For the listing and details of all six films, visit http://www.mc3.edu/livelyarts.

Many more entertaining, exciting, memorable, uplifting, and just plain fun events are part of this year’s Lively Arts Series. For a complete listing of the season’s performances and to order tickets (available through subscription or single purchase), visit http://www.mc3.edu/livelyartsor call the Box Office at 215-641-6518.

About Montgomery County Community College
For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s thriving campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus.

As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College also is recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. For more information, visit http://www.mc3.edu.

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