Director's Corner

Rick Davis, Dean and Executive Director.

Signs of Spring

It may be a case of meteorological dissonance, that headline, but I’m sticking with it. Even as the thermometer plummets and rises and plummets again, and this new way of describing the outside air temperature as “Feels Like” (whatever happened to good old “Wind Chill?”) makes it seem even colder, your Hylton Performing Arts Center is stirring with warmth and life. We welcome the New Year (and the second half of our season) with unprecedented energy on our stages, in our gallery, and through our community-facing activities like the Veterans and the Arts Initiative and the Education Initiative. As they say on social media, “we have the receipts” in this edition of the newsletter.

We also welcome a new Chair of our Executive Board, Sheyna Burt. She is not only the first woman and person of color to serve in this role, but she is the first active (and highly accomplished) violinist! She is also, like several of her distinguished predecessors, an attorney, and like all, a passionate advocate for the arts across our region, and of course the Hylton Center. You can read all about that a bit later in this volume. We welcome Sheyna to the leadership of an increasingly dynamic and diverse Executive Board.

Speaking of dynamism and diversity…

I am so excited about our upcoming performances (see “unprecedented energy” above) that it would take a couple of pages, and too much of your time, to detail them all. That is what our website is for, after all. But let me hit a couple of highlights, which you can take as personal recommendations.

The Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble represents the gold standard for modern dance in America, arguably the world. We are so thrilled to be presenting one of his acknowledged masterworks, Pepperland, a full-length work inspired by The Beatles, accompanied by amazing live music. This is dance that will transport you to new ways of hearing this classic music, and dazzle the eyes while engaging both heart and mind. A big claim? Yes, but I’ve got the receipts. February 11. Save the date. “Sit back and let the evening go,” as the song says.

Terrance Simien, a two-time GRAMMY winner, joins us as Artist-in-Residence, with a week of workshops and community interactions on Zydeco followed by two performances in the intimate American Roots Series on February 25. This driving, infectious musical style from the Louisiana Bayou will lift you up and keep you smiling; and there’s food and beverage available to seal the deal. Get tickets now, though, as the Gregory Family Theater fills up fast.

So – feeling vernal yet? I am, and counting each minute of extra daylight as we march forward together to brighter days. Meanwhile, come join us to spend time with some of the greatest artists in the world and get a jump – literal and figurative – on spring.

Rick Davis
Dean and Executive Director