School of the Arts Season Preview: Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful.

School of the Arts Season Preview: Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful.

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Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. The School of the Arts at Converse College is creating a powerful new season of works for 2016-2017 that will amaze. “Our students and faculty are expanding the boundaries of performance and exhibition,” observes Boone Hopkins, dean of the School of the Arts, “and we want our community to be there for these transformative experiences.”

The School of the Arts is daring greatly with striking new works and revitalized adaptations of classics in music, art, theatre, and dance.

Witness the future of performing and visual arts today as the best student artists in our region think-out-loud on our stages and in our gallery spaces.

Prepare to be moved by awe inspiring harmonies, profoundly devastating tragedies, and uplifting expressions of the human spirit.

“Our students and faculty are expanding the boundaries of performance and exhibition, and we want our community to be there for these transformative experiences.”

Most of the nearly 200 arts and cultural events that await the Spartanburg community this year at Converse College are free admission. The full season listing is online at the School of the Arts’ cultural events calendar, where you can also join our email list for monthly updates. “We look forward to an exciting season where audiences are challenged and inspired by bold, beautiful, brilliant work” Hopkins says. “We hope to see the Spartanburg community there for every moment.”

This sampling of events offers a taste of all that awaits:

Life LInes by Teresa Roche
Life LInes by Teresa Roche

Life Lines (Sept. 1-29) by Teresa Roche will be on view in The Milliken Art Gallery. This exhibition of mixed media and paintings will weave a story of the symbolic and literal lines throughout her work. A Greenville, SC native, Roche began painting 15 years ago after a long career in marketing, production and presentation. Roche owns and manages the Art & Light Gallery that is home to over 15 area artists with mediums including oil paintings, woodcuts, drawings, mixed media and watercolor. Gallery Talk with the artist will be held Sept. 8 at 6 PM, followed by the opening reception.

Rebel Early Music Ensemble
Rebel Early Music Ensemble

The Carlos Moseley Chamber Music Series brings world-renowned musicians to Daniel Recital Hall, featuring David Finckel, cello & Wu Han, piano (Oct. 10), Rebel Early Music Ensemble (Nov. 7), Elias String Quartet (Feb. 6), Wael Farouk, piano (Mar. 20) and St. Lawrence String Quartet (Apr. 24). These five concerts are by subscription only and are followed by champagne receptions that offer guests the opportunity to meet the performers.

Theatre Converse 2016 production of Twelfth Night
Theatre Converse 2016

Lonely, Though We Love (Nov. 16-20) Theatre Converse will reimagine Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s 17th century masterpiece of Japanese theatre in the scintillating style of American film noir. Our production blends traditional bunraku staging techniques and bold physical movement to create a shadowy world of secret courtesans and swarthy detectives. This rich tragedy finds new poetic resonance in the hands of our talented artists as the all-consuming costs of forbidden love are revealed.

J. S. Bach’s Mass in B-minor (Nov. 5)  Completed in 1747, J. S. Bach’s stupendous Mass in B Minor represents both the culmination of the great composer’s life work and the apex of hundreds of years’ worth of European church music traditions; it is undoubtedly among the monuments of Western culture. On Saturday, November 5 at 7:30 PM in Twichell Auditorium the Petrie School and the Spartanburg Festival Chorus (SFC) will welcome the celebrated German choral conductor Thomas Strauss as he leads a performance of the Mass. Strauss’ group, the Ortenau Bach Choir, will join forces with American and German soloists, the SFC, and Petrie School faculty and students to offer the work in its spectacular entirety to Spartanburg audiences for the first time in many years.

Visceral Visions (Dec. 2-3) Visceral refers to the instinctive, intuitive, gut, deep-seated, and deep-rooted feelings that drive us all. How do you listen to these visceral impulses, let alone act on them? Dance Converse’s fall concert boldly explores how these fragments of  instinctive feelings emerge to not only map our daily lives and choices, but also our future visions. Resident Guest Choreographer Tyler Gilstrap’s Turbulent Wake, Naina Dewan’s Dreams of Flying, and other rich dance works dive into the visceral realm, rendering an evening of evocative contemporary dance.

Cendrillon (Jan. 27-29) Escape to an evening of beautiful music and dancing at the Prince’s Ball as the Converse Opera Theatre presents Cendrillon (Cinderella) by Pauline Viardot, translated by student Rachel M. Harris at Daniel Recital Hall in the Blackman Music Building. This charming 3-act chamber opera is true to the original French version of the Cinderella tale and it is a wonderful opportunity to introduce young people to opera. Any child dressed like Cinderella or Prince Charming, accompanied by an adult, will get in free!

Little Women: the Musical (Mar. 1-5) Based on Louisa May Alcott’s American classic, this Civil War story of love and family stands the test of time. Produced nationally and internationally, Little Women has been praised by critics for its ambition in adapting such a well-known story for the stage. This timeless captivating story is brought to life in this glorious musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and everlasting love.

Twelfth Night production 2016
Young Women in Art Best in Show 2016, Our Late Supper, Sanye Yip

Young Women in Art (Mar. 19) Artists from across the state of South Carolina exhibit their work in the Milliken Gallery in this selective showcase. Featuring the talents of up-and-coming artists, the faculty of the Department of Art & Design will curate this exhibition to feature new works in photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture and ceramics. Join us to see the artists that will be redefining the visual arts in our state.

Converse Symphony Orchestra and Converse Wind Ensemble (May 11) Dynamic faculty conductors take the baton in our instrumental ensembles this year. Dr. Susana Lalama begins her third year as director of the Converse Wind Ensemble (CWE), joining us from the University of Miami. Dr. Siegwart Reichwald returns to the podium to lead the Converse Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in a rich repertoire that will captivate and inspire. CWE concerts are Nov. 10 and Mar. 23. CSO concerts are Nov. 17 and Mar. 16; the two groups share a joint concert on May 11.


Godspell (May 3-7) Godspell was the first major musical theatre offering from 3-time Grammy and Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children Of Eden). An unsuspecting group helps Jesus reimagine parables from the book of Matthew with hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of memorable songs ranging from pop to vaudeville is employed as the story of Jesus’s life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’s messages of kindness, tolerance, and love come vibrantly to life.

For more information on upcoming events in the School of the Arts @ Converse College visit or call the Box Office at 864.596.9724.