Art, interaction and music will collide in September at UAB as part of a free 11-day festival celebrating music.
Inter-ART-ive, a free party, will kick off the Alys Stephens Center's 11-Day Opening Festival of events and performances celebrating the new season. The third annual inter-ART-ive party will take place Thursday, Sept. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Alys Stephens Center.
|Listen, watch and feel as MASS Ensemble creates a week-long massive arts experiment, performance and party at the Alys Stephens Center Sept. 20-24. Many events will be free.
This year's theme is "inter-ART-ive has the beat," and the festival will feature live performances by the UAB Drumline and acclaimed UAB Steel Drum Band. It all leads up to headliner Willie Ziavino Y Su Grupa plus a drumming circle led by John Scalici's Get Rhythm. The event is a prelude to another big September event - MASS Ensemble. MASS offers audiences a chance to listen, watch and feel the music. MASS Ensemble's week-long arts experiment, performance and party will take place at the Alys Stephens Center Sept. 20-24.
"There will be a ton of free, great live music on campus for faculty, staff, students and their families this month," says Jessica Simpson, director of marketing and programming for the ASC. "We really think this is going to be a big draw for campus. We always feel strongly about opening our season with a big, free event. That's what inter-ART-ive is. We say it's what happens when the arts become interactive."
The interaction begins with inter-ART-ive. The festivities will kick off with the UAB drum line when the group will march into the event and signal the beginning of the show with their drums. John Scalici's Get Rhythm Drum Circle then will invite attendees to bring their own drum or per-cussion instrument or borrow one from the group, learn their songs and play with the group.
"It's funny the number of people who think they don't have any rhythm," Simpson says. "But the minute they sit down and become a part of the drumming ensemble, they get so much confidence, and have a lot of fun."
The UAB Steel Drum Band has received accolades wherever it has performed, and Ziavino's Atlanta-based band features percussion throughout its Latin-infused music.
"If you've never seen a steel drum band, UAB's is pretty amazing," Simpson says. "And coming to see them is a great way to support students and see what they are doing. Ziavino's group is impressive, too. They'll show you a whole new side of percussion."
MASS brings creative twist
MASS Ensemble's creative twist on music promises to be a highlight of the Opening Festival as well.
The UAB community is invited to the Alys Stephens Center for free, daily performances and events Sept. 20-23 to watch the group turn the building into a giant musical instrument called an Earth Harp. The artists, musicians, composers and choreographers of MASS fuse music, architecture, sculpture and sound to bring to life original musical instrument creations, including drum orbs, wind harps and sun sitars.
The MASS Ensemble residency will include a free yoga event beneath the Earth Harp Sept. 20 and free daily performances at 12, 2 and 6 p.m. each day Sept. 22-23 on the outdoor Earth Harp.
Thursday, Sept. 23 will feature two free events of particular interest to faculty and staff. The first is a noon lecture and performance called The Dish, when the group will talk a little in depth about their art form. Boxed lunches will be available for purchase during the lecture. The evening free performance will feature the MASS Happy Hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The week will culminate with a one-night-only stage performance by MASS Ensemble. They will combine live music, sculpture, dance, video, light and rigging to create a multi-sensory rock opera at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 24. Call 975-2787 for tickets or go to www.AlysStephens.org. The group will build another giant Earth Harp from the stage of the Jemison Concert Hall to the balcony as part of the performance, transforming the concert hall into a working musical instrument.
"MASS Ensemble will provide you with a lot to experience the entire week of Sept. 20," Simpson says. "Faculty and staff can walk over on their lunch break or right after work, get to see a performance, and they'll talk about the piece and the art form and how it was created."
MASS Ensemble builds all of its Earth Harps specific to the sites they visit. They have performed at the Space Needle in Seattle, Discovery Center in Houston, The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and World Financial Center, among others.
"It's the coolest, most unique and innovative thing we may see on campus this year," Simpson says. "It's really impressive to see what they can do."
To learn more, visit www.AlysStephens.org.