Community takes center stage

When we talk about the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s mission focusing on being a gathering place for the community we often think of all of the reasons people gather here. Performances, special community events, fundraisers, educational opportunities, workshops, corporate meetings and so much more. But then there are the other ways in which the community gather and this month, those opportunities are taking center stage.

Often times Thrivent Financial Hall, and occasionally the neighboring Kimberly-Clark Theater are used as home to our own community members and their talents. From the resident partner Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra to dance recitals for young toe-tapping students and so many more, our community members walk the halls and step on the same stage as many national touring artist, and sometime even with them.

October began with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra opening their season with their Russian Masters concert. The concert brought the community together to enjoy the stunning orchestra but the orchestra themselves came together from throughout the community to share their talents in this amazing night of music. Later this year, they will perform with Joshua Bell. Last season, prior to their performance with Itzhak Perlman, Executive Director Jamie LaFreniere explained how the Center contributes to highlighting the talented group.

“We have a Broadway-class performance venue in the middle of our community! This is a gift many cities twice our size don’t get to enjoy! It allows us to elevate our concerts, our guest artists, and work with the Center on special community collaborations to enhance the opportunities for those on and off the stage,” LaFreniere said.

The Center also provides the space needed to stage a huge concert like Lawrence University’s Kaleidoscope 6, which also took place this month welcoming 300 musicians highlighting the Conservatory of Music’s many talented students.

The 14th Annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival also highlighted building community and serving as a gathering place when three Northeast Wisconsin high schools came together in a day of workshops, rehearsals and a little bit of fun. Appleton North, Hortonville and Winneconne high schools all rehearsed their portion of the evening separately and then came together under the guest direction of Sandra Snow (Michigan Stage University) and Meredith Bowen (Radford University) for a combined choir experience.

“This program embodies how the arts can really bring students together,” said director of programming and community engagement at the Fox Cities P.A.C. Amy Gosz. “To see each group have their own separate style and bring that to the group in order to work together says a lot about communicating through music. It’s also amazing to me how every year the students learn so much by watching each other rehearse and taking those notes back to their performances.”

Later this season, the Center will continue to host Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra performances, Waitress will feature two local young ladies in their touring cast, several Broadway shows will include local musicians and of course, students take the stage again in the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase. In December, Makaroff Youth Ballet will present The Nutcracker with local dancers, accompanied by the FVSO and featuring the Appleton Boychoir for two performances of the classic holiday story.

Continue to check our website for more opportunities to see your community take center stage!
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