The Lifetime Learning Center is pleased to announce this year’s exciting line-up for the 2017-18 season of Explorations in The ARTS. These performers bring a great diversity of musical arts tradition to our campus. For our opening act this year we welcome The Gospel Jubilators, an all-male vocal group from the Raleigh/Durham area that performs a cappella gospel music. In the New Year we feature our “favorite band” from the Outer Bank, Molasses Creek. Our grand finale will put the spotlight on the young dance artists of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble.
Our series can best be described as informances, a unique recipe of two parts live performance, one part artist interview, stirred together with a pinch of Q&A and a dash of audience participation.
Putting the series all together for us is Master of Ceremonies, Finley Woolston, who will serve as our host for the series. Finley Woolston’s voice is very familiar across Eastern North Carolina to listeners of WTEB 89.3 FM, Public Radio East’s Classical Music station. For over 20 years Finley has hosted a variety of classical programs and currently is the producer and host of The Choral Tradition, a program dedicated exclusively to choral music, heard each Sunday at 3:00 p.m. on PRE.
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To see a video preview of each performance click on the images below.
The Gospel Jubilators
Friday, November 10
Using “only the instruments God gave them,” the Gospel Jubilators have kept the Jubilee tradition alive and well in North Carolina for over 40 years. Although Jubilee singing may have peaked in popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, the Jubilators’ founder William P. Conner rejuvenated the style in 1972 when he founded the ensemble as a response to the growing commercialization of gospel music.
The Gospel Jubilators now consist of the second generation of performers faithful to the Jubilee tradition set by Daniel Massenburg. They are Don Adair, Frederick Tyson, Fulton Waddell, Robert Sherrill and Harry Leak, and they now carry the torch of the Jubilee tradition. This all-male vocal group performs acappella music with rare purity and soul, highlighting vocal traditions of the golden age of ‘30s and ‘40s gospel.
Feeding off the energy of Holiness congregations, historically these groups worked to turn out performances that were powerful, swinging and divinely inspired, and by the 1930s and ‘40s, jubilee quartet singing was arguably the most popular form of black gospel music in America. Many gospel devotees, including the members of the Jubilators, consider the jubilee years to be a golden era of gospel music.
Saturday, January 27
Back by popular demand, Ocracoke Island’s own Molasses Creek returns to the Explorations series this January. As phenomenal songwriters and interpreters of song, Molasses Creek concerts run the gamut from traditional to contemporary acoustic folk, from sweet ballads with ensnaring vocal harmonies to truly hot instrumentals.
Since their last Craven CC visit in 2013, band regulars Fiddler Dave Tweedie, Gary Mitchell and Gerald Hampton have been joined by Kim France. Kim’s captivating command of the bass, beautiful harmonies and lead vocals, organically blend with Dave, Gary and Gerald, and create a spark for the next generation of Molasses Creek.
The band performs frequently throughout the eastern seaboard and New England, and as far west as Oklahoma and New Mexico. They own and operate Deepwater Theater on Ocracoke, performing and hosting shows there and touring off the island extensively October-May. Their 14 recordings have received airplay around the world, including releases in 2012 and 2014 reaching the top 5 in the National Folk Charts. They have won awards on “A Prairie Home Companion” and have also received a nomination for European Country Music Association Band of the Year.
North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble
Rhythm…funk…innovation…excitement: that’s the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE). One of the best youth tap ensembles in the world, NCYTE features 40 dancers, ages 8 to 18, who hail from throughout North Carolina. Don’t let the word “youth” fool you. These dancers tear up the floor with poise, passion and professionalism. NCYTE honors the traditions of this unique American form while infusing it with youthful energy, contemporary music and innovative dances from some of the world’s most talented choreographers.
Founded by JUBA award winning artistic director Gene Medler in 1983, NCYTE entertains audiences with cutting-edge contemporary choreography along with traditional rhythm tap. The list of choreographers who have created the company’s repertory reads like a who’s who in the tap world, including the legendary Savion Glover. NCYTE has toured throughout the U.S. and the world, with performances in Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany and Mexico. The company has toured or collaborated with the Greensboro Symphony, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Mallarme Chamber Players and the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, among others.