Greensboro-based OPAS announces fall season
Special to the Citizen
How fitting that the “second act” of OPAS would begin with “an artist who best embodies the notion of Americana as a worldwide musical language.”
These words were written to describe Abigail Washburn, who five years ago found herself on a theater stage playing her banjo and singing American Appalachian music in Chinese to a packed Beijing house. When one merges Washburn, the musicians of the Sparrow Quartet, and 10 time Grammy winning, banjo player Béla Fleck, the result is an unprecedented ensemble which easily blurs the line between folk and art music. These “American ambassadors of all things stringed” participated in the first cultural exchange funded by the U.S. government to Tibet in 2006, and returned to China for performances at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The world, including these gold medal musicians recently came to Beijing, China. In October, OPAS brings the world to the Lake Oconee area.
OPAS is also excited to present The Washington Ballet, one of the country’s finest companies, recognized internationally for its extraordinary standards, artistic integrity, and inspired creativity. Under artistic director Septime Webre, the performance at The Plaza Arts Center will live up to the Ballet’s reputation as a powerfully athletic ensemble. The evening will include several shorter, well known dances, as well a dance premier set to Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” The Washington Ballet performance is made possible by generous support from John & Debbie Griswold. The Ballet Education Outreach program affiliated with this event is sponsored by The People’s Bank.
Later in November, The Waybacks and the Lovell Sisters continue the strains of American music presented by OPAS this fall. These three, young, classically trained Lovell sisters from Calhoun are one of the most exciting new acts on the music scene today. Each a virtuoso in her own right, all are familiar with the rigors of music competition, string quartets, and symphonies. But it is their Blue Grass harmonies that most distinguish them, singing with a blend only family ensembles possess. Adding to the enjoyment of the evening, the sharp-witted and dazzling Waybacks take the stage to show their diverse style which ranges from Memphis soul, honky-tonk, Parisian swing, classical, vintage blues, pop and much more.
Finally, in celebration of the first anniversary of the launching of the Oconee Performing Arts Society, and to benefit OPAS Education Outreach, the beautifully bedecked halls of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, will be the setting for an evening which will bring the 2008 season to a Fa-la-la culmination. The Atlanta Pops Orchestra, a few familiar past OPAS performers, as well as a couple of new friends, will present a fun-loving evening of familiar songs and holiday music from many beloved Broadway shows. This performance made possible by generous support from Lee & Carol Arberg and Dick & Wendy O’Toole
As is customary with OPAS, Education Outreach programs will be a large portion of the 2008-2009 efforts, and will include some of the artists mentioned here, as well as others. Watch for OPIE at your local schools!
Become an OPAS member and receive advance ticket information! Call OPAS at 706/467.6000 to become a member or to renew your membership for 2009. Would you like to be an OPAS volunteer? Join our Figaro Society. Be sure to visit www.opas.org as the new OPAS Web site becomes live during the month of September.
All tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Please refer to the OPAS advertisement for ticket release dates and further information. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY OPAS! Come help us celebrate!