Unique ventures require unique support

convos@purdue.edu | (800) 914-SHOW

Unique ventures require unique support

3Stories_headerEach one of the three performances planned for Three Stories High will be out of the ordinary, and we know that making these types of opportunities available is artistically important. Providing elevated experiences, however, is not a profit-making venture for us. Since these productions are, by design, small-scale works, we cannot match the fiscal returns of our typical larger venues. In addition, the extended number of performances means additional expenses. We do not want to raise our ticket prices in order to offer these small-venue engagements because that would severely limit access to them to the public—and that’s completely contrary to our goal of sharing the widest range of theatre experience with everyone.

In answer to this dilemma, several Guest Star lead supporters have generously contributed above and beyond their annual Convos donation to help make this project a success. With their support – and, we hope, yours, too, – we will offset our increased expenses for travel visas, meals, accommodations, venue rental and labor, just to name a few. And of course, these are all multiplied three, seven, and sometimes 21 times.

Would you consider joining us? We have a range of benefit options as our way of saying thanks. Simply click here to make your gift online or call the Development Associate at 494-9712 to pledge by phone.

Don’t have tickets yet, but are moved to help? For a limited time, take advantage of this special half-price opportunity below to receive reserved seating for your group and help support this important project! Call the Development Associate at 494-9712 to sign up!

$1,000 – Group of 8 ($250 per couple, $125 per individual)

  • Includes 8 tickets to the show of your choice (as available)
  • Reserved row or table in a preferred seat location for your group (based on show setup)
  • 8 free drink tickets
  • Recognition in lobby and in venue at all 3 Stories High performances (for gifts given by January 9)
  • Special recognition in 3 Stories High program book (for gifts given by December 12)

$100 per person will be donated to the 3 Stories High project as a tax-deductible gift. This amount offers eligibility for a new or elevated Friends of Convocations membership for the rest of the current 2014-15 season.

More Guest Star Privileges and Recognition


  • Recognition in lobby and in venue at all 3 Stories High performances
  • Special recognition in 3 Stories High program book
  • 2 free drink tickets for use at any of the three venues


  • Lower level privileges
  • Autographed 3 Stories High poster
  • 2 additional free drink tickets (4 in total) for use at any of the three venues
  • Reserved seats at the performances associated with your tickets (seating is general admission for all other guests!)


  • Lower level privileges
  • Invitation to 3 Stories High preview evening on Tuesday, Jan. 27 and post-show Q&A session with the actors *an event fee will be charged
  • Ethan Lipton: No Place To Go CD


  • Lower level privileges
  • Opportunity to reserve a group of 8 seats at the performance of your choice – allows you to invite guests who already have tickets to be seated with you in a prime location
  • Opportunity to travel to Chicago with Director for a pre-show dinner and theatre performance in 2015 (performance and travel dates TBA Spring 2015, includes day-of-show transportation, dinner and performance only)

Three Stories High Theatre Festival: Downtown Lafayette


This is all your fault.

Let me explain. We’re always looking for fascinating artists to bring into our community. Each time we’ve thrown the range of possible experiences even wider, you’ve rushed right in and made it a success. We hosted a brilliant, surreal outdoor spectacle with Australia’s Strange Fruit, and you clamored for more. We’ve ventured into both new and non-traditional spaces with two productions from the National Theatre of Scotland (Long Gone Lonesome and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart), and you were deliriously enthralled. We delved into non-verbal physical theatre with LEO, and you were mesmerized. We launched into comically low-tech, devised theatre with Oxford Playhouse’s One Small Step, and you were over (and on) the moon. Truth be told, we’re all hooked.

This year, let’s venture further into this realm by examining a key quality of the world’s great festivals—immersion. Regardless of genre, festivals are places to push back everyday life’s boundaries and concerns to dive into a new, alternate world. Ultimately, time is one of our most precious commodities—a true luxury through which you can encounter more than one artist in a day and that you can fill time between performances with friends, lively discussion, food, and drink. In other words, it’s a conscious choice to merge so many of your favorite pastimes into one experience. It’s the freedom of giving yourself permission to leave other things behind and the fraternity of others who have joined you.

With 3 Stories High, we’re adding to the already-growing energy of downtown Lafayette. This collection of festival-length shows have shorter running times (60 to 90 minutes), so put on your coat, come on down, and see the shows all on one night, or see them on successive nights. Hit your favorite restaurants and pubs. Bring your friends. Join the scene. Because, after all, this really is all your fault.

—Todd Wetzel, Director

New lineup announced for Chris Potter Underground

Chris Potter posing with his SaxophoneThe Purdue Jazz Festival’s 25th anniversary will kick off with Chris Potter Underground, which will perform on Friday, January 16 at 8:00 p.m. at Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse.  This performance is presented by Purdue Convocations.

Digging into the funk and jazz intersection, the Underground has become a place where Potter can explore the buoyancy of the groove but retain the dynamism of free jazz. In this pocket, his Underground bandmates bring impeccable chops to bear: Drummer Nate Smith (also a Purdue Jazz Fest veteran with Dave Holland’s groups) anchors the proceedings with fluidity and finesse, in sync with the extraordinary bassist Fima Ephron (who regularly holds down the bottom end in the various configurations of the Underground). Meanwhile, guitarist Adam Rogers shows chameleonic range as soloist, rhythmist, and texturalist. The Underground has given Potter a place to let his voice—one schooled in the tone and vocabulary of Bird, Lester Young, and Sonny Rollins—dig into fresh and funky terrain.

This performance serves as Purdue Convocations’ annual contribution to the Purdue Jazz Festival, a Purdue University Bands event that brings more than 2,500 middle- and high-school students to campus for clinics and concerts with noted jazz artists and clinicians. The Purdue Jazz Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. See details at purdue.edu/bands.  

Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for children 18 years and younger, Purdue students and Ivy Tech Lafayette students. Tickets are available at the Stewart Center box office at (765) 494-3933, (800) 914-SHOW or online through www.convocations.org/tickets .

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to visit Purdue

Tom VilsackPurdue President Mitch Daniels is pleased to announce that U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will make an important visit to Purdue’s West Lafayette campus on Nov. 17 and 18.

The public will have the opportunity to hear from Secretary Vilsack on Nov. 17 as part of Purdue University’s Fall 2014 Presidential Lecture Series. Topics of the 6:30-7:30 p.m. presentation in Stewart Center’s Loeb Playhouse primarily will focus on agriculture but will include a wide range of discussion. The event will feature Vilsack’s keynote address, followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Daniels.

The event is free and open to the public.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to arrange this visit after months of our exchanges and discussions,” Daniels said. “Any visit by the Secretary of Agriculture to one of the country’s premier agricultural schools is an honor. We are proud to host the secretary and hope to maximize the time he has afforded us by connecting him with our top researchers and students as well as the public.”

Vilsack’s appearance in the Presidential Lecture Series is part of a two-day visit to Purdue. The visit will include a tour of Purdue’s Research Park and briefings on Purdue Extension’s economic development programming and the university’s research on health and nutrition and plant sciences. Plant sciences are a component of Purdue Moves, a series of university initiatives to broaden Purdue’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students.

Vilsack also will meet with 2009 World Food Prize laureate Gebisa Ejeta, distinguished professor of plant breeding and genetics, and other researchers and will participate in a roundtable discussion with students from several Purdue colleges.

The Presidential Lecture Series features prominent experts and practitioners from various fields of interest for both academics and the community at-large. Speakers touch on topics relating to policy, leadership, culture and society.

Vilsack has been agriculture secretary since 2009. He also chairs the first White House Rural Council, created to strengthen services for rural business and entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture under Vilsack has enrolled a record number of private lands in conservation programs and has implemented new strategies to restore forests and the nation’s supply of clean water. The USDA also has worked to improve the health of American children and the safety of the U.S. food supply.

Vilsack previously served two terms as Iowa’s governor and was an Iowa state senator and mayor of Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

Preschool-Grade 12 Student Matinee Series begins Monday

Scrap Arts Music performers invited students on stage during the school matinee

Scrap Arts Music student matinee

Purdue Convocations will kick off its 2014-15 Preschool-Grade 12 Matinee Series on Monday (Nov. 17). The matinees give area schoolchildren the opportunity to attend a performing-arts presentation in a theater and, for many students, serve as an introduction to live performance. Featured performances for the 2014-15 season include:

Last year more than 5,300 students attended a matinee performance and of those students, 46 percent received a scholarship. Purdue Convocations wants to ensure that every student has access to performing-arts events. Our program helps remove economic barriers that prevent students from attending Convocations events by providing scholarships that subsidize tickets and transportation to student matinees and placing artist residencies in schools with demonstrated economic need.
Tickets are $6 per student and teachers can order online.

Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider

Q&A with Béla Fleck

Q&A with Béla FleckBéla Fleck has been nominated in more different Grammy® categories than anyone in the awards’ history—country, pop, jazz, bluegrass, classical, folk, spoken word, composition, and arranging. See Béla Fleck live at Purdue University on November 14 with Brooklyn Rider.

Q: You’ve mentioned that Night Flight Over Water is an outsider piece—the banjo player who doesn’t belong at the masquerade being unmasked and fleeing into the night. Do you often compose with a narrative or vision in your head?

Béla Fleck: I’ve really only done that a few times. More typically, I’ve let my unconscious run free and then tried to figure out where a piece came from after the fact. The Impostor [Fleck’s Concerto for Banjo and Symphony Orchestra] and Night Flight seemed very clear to me after I wrote them. I had to get the nerve to speak up and say what I thought they were about.

Q: For those more familiar with the banjo in a bluegrass or folk setting, what are some of the different techniques you use when playing classical music?

BF: There are different harmonies, different tempos, and so on. But the truly unique thing to classical music is that there is no improvising, and every single note has to be written. This requires a commitment that is very different from improvised music, where the notes are different every night, and if you don’t love what you did last night, you try something else tonight.

Q: What is the experience of playing with a string quartet like Brooklyn Rider? Is it closer to playing with a symphony, more like sitting with a bluegrass band, or some new hybrid style?

BF: It’s somewhere in between, actually. A string quartet has the flexibility of a small jazz group, or even the Flecktones (his namesake band), but their technical abilities are very highly evolved—and they are specialists at making the written page come alive.

Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider

Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider will perform at Loeb Playhouse November 14. (more)

Q: The only banjo you play onstage is your 1937 Gibson Mastertone. What makes that instrument so special for you?

BF: That banjo is still my true love, for a banjo any way! It has an expressiveness, a power in the high range, a depth of tone—and it’s very in tune. It’s hard to beat, with all the banjos I have.

Q: You’ve collaborated so voraciously and successful- ly in different genres and with a wide variety of musi- cians. Is there still a musical holy grail out there—a collaboration you’d like to do, or a style of music that you haven’t played but would love to?

BF: There are certainly specific musicians I’d love to get to work with: Yo-Yo Ma, Radiohead, U2, Pat Metheny, and others. But I’m very happy with the level of my musical partners. My life seems like a dream, honestly. I am amazed at some of the people I’ve been able to connect with.

Interview by Stacey Mickelbart

State’s highest court traveling to Purdue University for oral argument

The Indiana Supreme Court will travel to Tippecanoe County to hear oral argument in an adoption-related case. The oral argument in the case of Kramer v. Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort-Wayne-South Bend, Inc. (71A03-1308-CT-301) will be held at Purdue University on Monday, November 10 at 10:30 a.m. EST.

Typically, the Court holds about 80 oral arguments at the State House in Indianapolis each year. Occasionally, it schedules arguments outside the capital to allow the press and public in other areas of the state an opportunity to attend an argument. The argument will take place at Stewart Center, Loeb Playhouse, 128 Memorial Mall, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907. The 40-minute argument is open to the press and public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

In this case, a child’s pre-adoptive placement (with the Kramers) failed when the child’s biological father came forward. The father established his paternity and successfully contested the adoption. The Kramers then sued the adoption agency (Catholic Charities) alleging negligence for failing to discover the father’s registration with Indiana’s Putative Father Registry. More information on the case is available athttp://tinyurl.com/oanov10.

Additional information
•  Doors will open at 9:45 a.m.
•  All attendees will be required to walk through a metal detector
•  No bags, backpacks or purses will be allowed in Loeb Playhouse. Bag check will be set up outside of Loeb Playhouse
•  Oral arguments will begin promptly at 10:30 a.m. At that time doors will be closed and no one else can enter.

Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott’s Encore

Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott Encore

Thank you for attending Wednesday’s performance by Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Stott!

Here is a list of the pieces performed during the multiple encores:

  1. Salut d’Amour, by Edward Elgar (listen)
  2. Prelude No. 1 from Three Preludes for Piano, by George Gershwin (listen)
  3. The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saëns (listen)

Than you to all Friends of Convocations

friends-of-convosWithout the support of our Friends of Convocations, our corporate partners, and the Friends of Convocations Endowment, this amazing performance would not have been possible in our community.Want to get involved? Visit convocations.org/support to learn more or join now.
Did you know that, thanks to the Friends of Convocations, we are able to present 26% more performances each season? If you would like more information on the perks of belonging, simply visit convocations.org/ibelong or call (765) 494-9712.

From Generation to Generation: David Dorfman Dance

David Dorfman Dance: Come, and Back Again

Come, and Back Again

Got junk?

Maybe you’re a person who has a garage full of bric-a-brac you’ve kept around just in case you ever have a need for it. Maybe you have a family member who can’t drive past a yard sale without screeching to a halt. Or maybe your basement is a Sandwich Generation repository stocked with things your parents wanted to keep when they downsized jammed alongside a complete collection of crayon and collage masterpieces from your kids’ elementary school years.

The question of when to hang on to something—a memento as much as a memory—and when it is important to it let go animates choreographer David Dorfman’s Come, and Back Again. It is, he says, a dance about loss, mortality, how we value our past, and the way love persists between individual people and across generations.

David’s father was an organized man who had a place for everything and kept everything in its place. When he died, Dorfman says, he left an immaculate world, complete with detailed instructions for his own funeral. This was a man for whom the present held deep enjoyment: he was always anticipating “the next great thing that will happen.”

His son David, who grew up to be a dancer, musician, choreographer and chair of the dance department at Connecticut College, finds it difficult to let go of the past. Sometimes, he says, he feels that he has held onto every article he ever touched. When he realized he had thirty years of theatre programs, he resolved that he didn’t want his own son to be faced with the challenge of cleaning up his mess after he was gone.

David Dorfman Dance: Come, and Back Again, Live Dance, Live Band, October 23, Loeb Playhouse, 7:30pm, #LifeRequiresVirtuosity

Like many of Dorfman’s previous works, Come, and Back Again finds its metaphors in lived experience and in American music that evokes a particular time and place. Disavowal (2008) investigated racial identity and militancy through the lens of John Brown’s doomed 1859 attempt to foment an armed slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia; underground (2006) reflected on 1960s radicalism and explored the tipping point where activism is transformed into terror; and Prophets of Funk (2011) celebrated the influential music and interracial cultural profile of Sly and the Family Stone, which disbanded in 1983. (All of the works in this trilogy were developed or presented in some form at the Bates Dance Festival, where Dorfman and his company have been regular teachers and performers for two decades).

Dorfman had been exploring the music of Patti Smith, and acquired the rights to one of her songs, “Death Singing.” Smith had written the song for Benjamin Smoke (originally Robert Dickerson), a punk rock drag queen who once opened for her at an underground club in Atlanta. Smoke, like Smith’s friend Robert Mapplethorpe and so many others, later died of complications from AIDS. In punk rock and “the cranky rebellion of the 1990s,” Dorfman identified a productive cultural friction between chaos and order.

In Come, and Back Again, Dorfman’s choreography teeters on the edge of risk. Alongside his much younger dancers, he launches a semi-structured game of Follow the Leader where Raja Kelly, Kendra Portier, Karl Rogers and Christina Robson’s acute ability to riff off his spontaneity raises the stakes for every performance. The text is full of high stakes emotional challenges, too, with faux math problems that begin with phrases such as “Start with the number of people you’ve seen take their final breaths…”
The dancers and musicians who share the stage are walled in by junk. Brooklyn visual artist Jonah Emerson Bell, who was recommended to Dorfman by the celebrity installation artist Swoon (Caledonia Curry), has created a semi-translucent white-washed set that does double duty as a dimensional surface for Shawn Hove’s video.

Dorfman’s videotaped storytelling, coupled with his performance as both a dancer and as a musician (playing accordion and alto sax), and appearances by both his wife, choreographer and dancer Lisa Race, and his now 13-year old son Sam gives Come, and Back Again the flavor of an overstuffed scrapbook, or better yet, a Flikr account. Our memories and our collections carry a heavy weight. But like David Dorfman, each of us must decide how much of that weight is a burden and how much is a comfort.

© 2014 Debra Cash


Featuring a live band with local musicians, David Dorfman Dance: Come, and Back Again “follows a course of reckless abandon driven by the charged poetry and raw ferocity of indie, punk and folk-rock music by such venerated artists as punk legend and queer activist Benjamin Smoke and the godmother of punk, Patti Smith.” – Bates Dance Festival

David Dorfman Dance: Come, and Back Again comes to Loeb Playhouse on October, 23, 2014, 7:30 pm.

Tickets are $22 – $32 and are available by calling 765-494-3933, visiting convocations.org/tickets, or at the Loeb Playhouse Box Office, 128 Memorial Mall, West Lafayette, IN.

Mamma Mia! brings the music of ABBA to Purdue

Mamma Mia! dancers perform the hits of ABBABenny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ MAMMA MIA!, the smash hit musical based on the songs of ABBA, returns to Elliott Hall of Music October 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm.

ABBA: the band behind the music that captured the world

On Saturday April 6th 1974, in the English coastal town of Brighton, a group known in their native Sweden but unknown to the rest of the world won the Eurovision Song Contest with a song entitled ‘Waterloo’. ABBA had arrived and the rest is not merely history but the stuff of legend. To date, ABBA has sold over 350 million records worldwide.

Following their Eurovision triumph, Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (the initials of their first names made the name ABBA) were catapulted onto the world stage. ‘Waterloo’ topped pop charts all around the globe.

Seen by over 54 million people around the world, MAMMA MIA!, is celebrating 5,000 performances on Broadway and is the 9th longest running show in Broadway history. The original West End production of MAMMA MIA! is now in its fifteenth year and has celebrated over 6,000 performances in London and the international tour has visited more than 74 foreign cities in 35 countries and been seen by over 4.3 million people. The blockbuster feature film adaptation of MAMMA MIA! is the most successful movie musical of all time grossing $600 million worldwide.

Seen in 38 productions in 14 different languages globally and with a worldwide gross of over $2 Billion, MAMMA MIA! is acclaimed by the Associated Press as “quite simply, a phenomenon.”

An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna is about to let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter she’s raised alone. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends—practical and no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya – from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own.

On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Over 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities.

Mamma Mia - buy ticketsInspired by the storytelling magic of ABBA’s songs from “Dancing Queen” and “S.O.S.” to “Money, Money, Money” and “Take a Chance on Me,” MAMMA MIA! is a celebration of mothers and daughters, old friends and new family found.

MAMMA MIA! returns to Elliott Hall of Music October 21, 2014 at 7:30 pm.

Tickets for MAMMA MIA! are $22 – $52 and are available by calling 765-494-3933, visiting convocations.org/tickets, or at the Loeb Box Office, 128 Memorial Mall, West Lafayette, IN.