The Explorations in the Arts series is a unique mix of performances created with a recipe of live performance, stirred together with a pinch of Q&A and a dash of audience participation. We strive to bring artists to Craven County from throughout North Carolina that represent the very best in performance.   

Three-Event Series Tickets are now on sale!

Three Event Series Tickets - Adults $65/Students $30

Series ticket sales end October 15, 2021.

Single ticket sales are ongoing while they last

Upcoming Events

Cane Mill Road four male members bluegrass band

Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road

BLUEGRASS
Friday, October 15, 2021
7:30 p.m. - Orringer Auditorium
Tickets: Adults $20/Students $10

Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road are a young bluegrass band that specialize in music inspired by the late Doc Watson. Coming from the small town of Deep Gap, North Carolina, home to Doc Watson, Cane Mill Road draws its inspiration from the late singer/guitarist whose musical imagination gathered inspiration from the deepest Appalachian roots while courageously finding connections to almost all elements of American music. Cane Mill Road has quickly ignited a spark that has led to a recording contract with Patuxent Music and early recognition from the International Bluegrass Music Association.

The band has traveled the United States performing their own versions of traditional bluegrass music, as well as numerous original compositions. They have performed at many iconic venues, such as Merlefest, FloydFest, Grey Fox, Wide Open Bluegrass, The Station Inn, Silver Dollar City, and many others!

Liam Purcell, a 19-year-old singer and multi-instrument player, leads the band. He has performed internationally, acquired two nominations for IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year, and was one of the youngest musicians selected for The Savannah Music Festival’s Acoustic Music Seminar. His talent on a banjo and the way he moves an audience will blow you away! He has a way of falling into his music and getting lost in the moment that is inspiring. 

Watch a video preview.

Orchestral members of John Brown's Little Big Band

John Brown's "Little" Big Band

BIG BAND/SWING
Friday, January 21, 2022

7:30 p.m. - Orringer Auditorium
Tickets: Adults $25/Students $12

John Brown and his “Little” Big Band will bring the sound of the 1940’s swing band music to life in this evening show of instruments and big dramatic notes! The “little” comes from the number of people they have displayed on stage. Despite their 11-member size, this group packs a big band punch and is in high demand for feature performances at concert halls, educational residencies, concerts, and private events across North Carolina and beyond.

John Brown, a bassist since he was 13, has several accomplishments including performing with the North Carolina Symphony and well-known artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Elvin Jones, Nnenna Freelon, Mark Whitefield and others across the United States and abroad.

Watch a video preview.

Members of the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra

North Carolina Baroque Orchestra

BAROQUE
Thursday, March 31, 2022
7:30 p.m. - Orringer Auditorium
Tickets: Adults $22/Students $10

The North Carolina Baroque Orchestra (NCBO), founded by Conductor Frances Blaker, a world-renowned expert in baroque performance practice, and her musician sister Barbara Krumdieck, pursue the goal of sharing baroque period pieces with the world. This orchestra is especially brilliant because it brings period piece specialists from across the state and the country together to perform live just a few times each year. We are honored to host them for one of their special performances this year!

Over 30 members will be gracing our college stage this March 31st to tell the musical tale of the Baroque era that started around 1600 and included composers like Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel.

 The NCBO provides audiences who may be new to baroque music an opportunity to hear this music performed on period instruments in a vigorous and exciting way in an intimate and casual setting.

Watch a video preview.

Special thanks to our performance grant providers

The Explorations in the Arts series is funded in part by a grant from The Thomas B. & Robertha K. Coleman Foundation. The presentation of John Brown’s “Little” Big Band is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and North Carolina Arts Council. We are grateful to our grant partners for helping to make this series possible.

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