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Get To Know: Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

November 20, 2014

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Try saying the word “ukulele” without smiling. Now, imagine an entire evening with a dozen talented musicians playing on the ukulele popular tunes by artists such as Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, Prince and Elvis, along with the songs from the South Pacific and New Zealand, their homeland.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, renowned for their charming Kiwi humor and their sublime musicality,  make their Charlotte debut on Jan. 14 at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Prices begin at $14.50. Click here to buy your tickets now.

Considered one of the world’s great, modern ukulele acts, the wildly popular ensemble creates instant joy and lasting magic wherever it goes, armed with high-octane ukulele solos, heavenly harmonies and outrageous costumes. The comedic banter is spontaneous, and when the group members burst into song, the sweet sounds can silence a room in a nanosecond or bring a crowd of thousands to their feet.

Delighting audiences of all ages, The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s signature sound features many types of ukuleles, a double bass and a host of gorgeous voices performing harmonious and hilarious renditions of modern and traditional tunes. Age Pryor founded the orchestra back in 2005 alongside Bret ‘Flight of the Conchords’ McKenzie.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra presents the ukulele as it has never been played before, featuring songs made famous by artists such as The Beatles, Hall and Oates, The Smiths, OutKast, Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers and Kings of Leon, packaged into a spectacular, unmissable fun fest. The List website featured WIUO in a Edinburgh Fringe Festival post: “With 12 members plucking away at ukuleles and one double bass (shaped, of course, like a uke), there’s no front man, no egos, just a group of mates providing original, delightful and often mischievous musical treats.”

“Music has gone a long way from the ’60s and ’70s, where heart and soul was absolutely dripping out of it,” Pryor reckons, citing the ’80s and ’90s as being all about “production and jeans. The ukulele might be a way to get back this heart and soul.” Read the full interview here.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s Charlotte show will be an experience that adventurous music lovers won’t want to miss! Get your tickets now for the Jan. 14 performance at McGlohon Theater.

Name That Song: Newsies Edition

November 19, 2014
Newsies coming to Belk Theater Jan.6-11.

Newsies coming to Belk Theater Jan.6-11.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The Tony Award-winning Disney hit Newsies comes to Charlotte Jan. 6-11 in Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The New York City boys from 1899 have been delivering papers – and justice – onstage since the Broadway premiere of their smash-hit show in 2012. Now the musical takes to the road on its first national tour.

Some say the story garnered such a long-lasting cult following that a stage version was a given, and now it’s finally here!

Most Newsies fans say the songs are a big part of the mass appeal. Put your skills to the test and see how much of a Newsies fan you really are. Below are lyrics to three songs from the show. Can you name the song titles?

 SONG 1:

Let me go.
Far away.
Somewhere they won’t ever find me, and tomorrow won’t remind me of today.

 

SONG 2:

Suddenly, I’m respectable
Starin’ right at ‘cha
Lousy with stature

 

SONG 3:

Courage is when we face our fear
Tell those with power safe in their tower
We will not obey!

 

CLICK HERE for answers.

Tuesday Tune: ‘Falling Slowly’ by Glen Hansard

November 18, 2014
glenhansardpress

Glen Hansard

Every now and then a song comes along and tugs at your heartstrings with the most basic melody, lyrics and delivery. Irish singer, songwriter and actor Glen Hansard has mastered the art of writing such songs and will perform live in Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts on Monday, Feb. 9, as part of his Winter Tour 2015. Tickets are on sale now.

Hansard and Czech singer-songwriter Markéta Irglováare are the musical masterminds behind ONCE — both the 2006 film and the 2012 Broadway musical versions. One of the most celebrated pieces of the past decade, ONCE won an Academy Award, a Grammy and eight Tony Awards, including best musical.

“Falling Slowly,” a haunting duet between the two lead characters in ONCE, is a highlight of the musical and won Hansard the Oscar for best original song in 2007. Watch the video below to see Hansard perform the song live at Albert Hall earlier this year. He’s joined by special guests Lisa Hannigan and John Sheahan of The Dubliners.

Blumenthal Performing Arts, MaxxMusic and The Visulite Theatre present Glen Hansard (ONCE/The Swell Season) Winter Tour 2015 live at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts on Feb. 9. Great seats are still available. Get tickets now!

Looking Ahead: Americana Music, Infusions of the Holiday Spirit and a Variety Show

November 17, 2014
Start celebrating the holidays this week at Blumenthal Performing Arts!

Start celebrating the holidays this week at Blumenthal Performing Arts!

It’s official — the leaves are falling and the temperatures have dropped. For me, that means it’s time to get ready for the holidays, and I can’t think of a better way to do so than with two fantastic holiday shows! We have that, along with a great concert and Open Mic, all happening this week!

Tonight, Justin Townes Earle takes over McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Once compared to a man who wears many suits, Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally, in 32 short years. Between releasing four full-length, critically acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new-found sobriety, being born Steve Earle’s son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it’s safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. His fifth album (and first on Vagrant Records) serves as the perfect platform for such narrations.

Celtic Thunder Symphony Tour is the first symphony tour for Celtic Thunder, which will depart from its traditional and critically acclaimed large set productions to perform songs from the group’s 2013 chart-topping album “Christmas Voices.” It will be a dynamic live music experience accentuated by the instrumentals of a symphony orchestra. Featuring holiday favorites ranging from traditional carols “Away in A Manger” and “O Holy Night” to the more contemporary “Mary’s Boy Child” and “Fairytale of New York,” Celtic Thunder’s four male soloists, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne and Colm Keegan, will also perform solo and ensemble numbers, signature Celtic Thunder hit songs “Ireland’s Call” and “Turning Away” and traditional Irish numbers such as “Dulaman” and “My Land.” Don’t miss it tomorrow night in Belk Theater!

Friday night, it’s the community’s favorite free event in McGlohon Theater! Open Mic is back and is open to all. Performers such as instrumentalists, singers, dancers, storytellers, poets, jugglers, magicians and others are sure to entertain. Audience seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. CLICK HERE to watch a video from a past Open Mic event.

Due to its overwhelming popularity, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas is back in Charlotte for the holiday season! Mannheim Steamroller is the work of producer/composer Chip Davis. In the mid-1970s, Davis was one of the first composers on the nascent new age scene, releasing a five-album series called “Fresh Aire” and combining elements of modern classical music with that which was still in the process of becoming new age electronic music.

Davis hit the jackpot in 1984 when his first attempt at holiday music, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, became a huge success with over 5 million copies sold, thanks to a new age take on “Deck The Halls.” Christmas music (and holiday music in general) became a staple of Steamroller’s subsequent releases, with seven Christmas-themed albums and two Halloween-focused records coming out over the course of the next 15 years. Since the mid-1990s, Mannheim Steamroller has been widely recognized as the biggest purveyor of holiday music in the industry.

Friday Giveaway: Enter to Win a Mannheim Steamroller ‘Christmas Celebration’ CD

November 14, 2014
Enter to win the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Celebration CD.

Enter to win the Mannheim Steamroller “Christmas Celebration” CD.

The holidays will be here before we know it, and what better way to get in the holiday spirit than with the Mannheim Steamroller “Christmas Celebration” CD? We are so excited to share this wonderful music with you that we are pulling THREE winners this week instead of one!

Due to its overwhelming popularity, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas is coming back to Charlotte in just over a week! Don’t miss it in Belk Theater. CLICK HERE for tickets.

Mannheim Steamroller is the work of producer/composer Chip Davis. In the mid-1970s, Davis was one of the first composers on the nascent new age scene, releasing a five-album series called “Fresh Aire” and combining elements of modern classical music with that which was still in the process of becoming new age electronic music.

Davis hit the jackpot in 1984 when his first attempt at holiday music, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas,” became a huge success (over 5 million copies sold) thanks to a new age take on “Deck the Halls.” Christmas music (and holiday music in general) became a staple of Steamroller’s later releases, with seven Christmas-themed albums and two Halloween-focused records coming out over the course of the next 15 years. Since the mid-1990s, Mannheim Steamroller has been widely recognized as the biggest purveyor of holiday music in the industry.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:

Email marketing2@ncbpac.org to tell us why you’re excited to see Mannheim Steamroller Christmas and you could be one of three people to win the CD! Use the subject line: Mannheim Giveaway! PLEASE NOTE: The CD must be picked up from Spirit Square in uptown Charlotte (345 N. College St.) and will not be mailed. A winner will be selected at noon Tuesday, Nov. 18, and notified via email.

Sister Act to Play Charlotte for One Night Only

November 13, 2014

Sister Act the musical, the feel-amazing comedy smash that the New York Post calls “RIDICULOUSLY FUN,” returns to Charlotte for ONE NIGHT ONLY on Monday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Read more about the show.

Watch this video and see for yourself!

Featuring original music by Tony and eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), Sister Act tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva

Sister Act comes to Belk Theater on December 1.

Sister Act comes to Belk Theater on Dec. 1.

whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a crime and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look — a convent! Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. A sparkling tribute to the universal power of friendship, Sister Act is reason to rejoice!

You don’t want to miss this show! CLICK HERE for tickets. Prices start at only $20!

 

Puzzle: Spot the Differences

November 12, 2014

A unique and amazing show is headed to Belk Theater in March that is sure to entertain. Complete with all the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival, The Peking Acrobats will wow audiences. These daring performers display unbelievable talent with their acrobatic skills and abilities.

Let’s see how skilled you are with this fun picture challenge. See if you can find the four things that are different in the photos below.

 

PA 2

 

 

Last year, this engaging troupe launched its 28th North American tour following sold-out headline theater tours from 1986 to 2014. And now, The Peking Acrobats return to North American soil for their 29th tour where they will continue to impress audiences with their unique brand of ancient artistry.

Don’t miss this amazing act when it comes to Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center March 10. Visit BlumenthalArts.org for tickets.

 

CLICK HERE for answers. 

 

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