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Danu kicking up Irish traditions ahead of St. Patrick's Day
The Gazette - Thursday, February 28, 2019
St. Patrick’s Day is obviously noted in Ireland, but the patron saint of Eire is celebrated on another level in the United States. That’s why Irish acts such as the iconic Chieftains and the venerable Danu perform in America for much of March. “We know and appreciate how significant St. Patrick’s Day and the days around it are regarded in the states,” button accordionist Benny McCarthy said by phone from his home in Waterford, Ireland. “It’s a huge deal, and so bands like us can’t miss the trip to America because we want to be in on the party. “When we come to Iowa, we want to transport the people there to Ireland. We want to immerse you in our music but we won’t stop there. You’ll hear our talk, our accent, the way we joke around and our sense of fun when we perform. You’ll get everything Irish out of us. Danu, performing Saturday (3/2) at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, will deliver traditional Irish tunes drawn from the band’s seven-album canon.
‘Touch of the Irish’
The Daily Reporter - Sunday, February 24, 2019
A partnership between the Spencer Performing Arts Coalition, University of Iowa and Hancher Auditorium has resulted in traditional Irish ensemble, Danu, launching its U.S. tour in Spencer Thursday, Feb. 28. Danu’s Spencer performance at 7:30 p.m. on the SCT Playhouse stage is sponsored by the University of Iowa Foundation, Hancher Auditorium, Lilian Swanson Foundation and SPARC. “Danu is from Ireland, and usually comes to the United States one to two times a year,” said Chuck Swanson, executive director of Hancher Auditorium. “This season they are only coming once, and Spencer and Iowa City are their only Iowa stops; with other performances in Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Maine.” “It will not only be a great music experience but also a great lesson in geography,” Swanson said. “One would have to travel to Ireland to experience music like this. I am a native of Spencer and it is such a joy to be able to help create an experience like this for our friends in Spencer.”
Damien Sneed to pay respects to Dr. MLK Jr. at Hancher
The Daily Iowan - Thursday, February 21, 2019
On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was 39 years old; early that evening, he was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis by an assassin. Nearly 51 years later, we still feel the legacy he left regarding his work in the Civil Rights Movement. We celebrate his legacy both on the third Monday each January and throughout February, which is Black History Month. Musician and vocalist Damien Sneed will appear at Hancher today in his show “We Shall Overcome,” a tribute to King. Sneed will perform alongside six singers and three band members; the show will start at 7:30 p.m. “It’s a tribute concert to the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,” Sneed said. “It features songs of protest and reconciliation and songs of encouragement.”
Preucil School concert at Hancher to feature works of Ralph Vaughn Williams
Iowa City Press-Citizen - Thursday, February 21, 2019
The British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote many major orchestral works as well as pieces for students and amateurs during his long creative life. In 1950, he composed “Concerto Grosso” for a performance to be given by massed British schools conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. The piece is unique in that it may be performed by only advanced players or can be split into three sections based on skill, from professional to amateur. It is logical to assume that this piece would be a perfect choice for a Preucil School of Music concert, with children from ages 3 to 18 studying stringed instruments. But, because of the scheduling difficulties involved, the younger children have not been included since 1976, when our school was quite new and had fewer students. Suddenly it seemed like a good time to program it, to let the younger students experience the thrilling sound of massed string orchestra. Some of our alumni now in musical careers tell us that playing that piece as youngsters began their love of music. Come to our Annual String Concert at Hancher Auditorium on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m. to hear “Concerto Grosso” performed by 110 students from our orchestra program, the youngest aged seven!
Haunting oud music perfect complement to "Letters from Iraq"
Iowa City Press Citizen - Thursday, February 14, 2019
Iraqi-American political refugee and musician/composer Rahim AlHaj is one of the finest oud players in the world. AlHaj started playing the oud (pronounced like food, a pear-shaped, lute-type fretless stringed instrument) at 9-years-old in his war-torn homeland. The trance-like instrument captivated him when a school teacher first introduced it to him. AlHaj went on to study under two of the world’s best oud players at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, graduating with numerous awards. On Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m., AlHaj will be bringing his oud, Arabian percussion and a string quartet to Hancher Auditorium to play songs from his stirring new album “Letters from Iraq” (Released in April 2017 via Smithsonian Folkways). The eight gripping tracks are intricate musical interpretations from actual handwritten letters by citizens of Iraq.
Back-story makes 'Jersey Boys' more than a jukebox musical
The Gazette - Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Four blue-collar boys from New Jersey fought off the British Invasion with a winning sound that continues to resonate with audiences around the world. And now that sound is riding into Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City from Friday (2/8) to Sunday (2/10) with the national tour of “Jersey Boys.” Even though it’s classified as a jukebox musical, the show that swept up four 2006 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is much more than that.
Iowa Profile: Brohan brings experience, love of collaboration to Hancher
The Gazette - Saturday, January 12, 2019
IOWA CITY — At a time when unrest and upheaval have called into question the relevance of arts education and financing, upholding the arts has become even more important, “precisely because there are so many problems going on in the world,” said Paul Brohan, programming director at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. “Practically every culture on the planet have proved to us that the human voice raised together in song, that the beat of a drum, that the expression of a character onstage, that the right combination of composition and color on a canvas have ways of teaching us things, of connecting to our deepest sense of who we are as humans and of our deepest sense of who we are together as a community — that the arts are always available to us as a leader and a salve and a joy and an entertainment,” he said.
  14 New Year's Eve events in Iowa City
Press Citizen - Wednesday, December 19, 2018
One of the biggest stars in recent Broadway history will be gracing Hancher's stage on New Year's Eve, and will help the audience usher in 2019. Kristin Chenoweth, the Tony Award-winning star of the smash musical hit "Wicked" will perform at 9:30 p.m. New Year's Eve on Hancher's stage. She and her quintet will bring a one-of-a-kind New Year's Eve celebration to Hancher. After her performance, a complementary champagne toast will be served afterwards and a fireworks finale will take place beginning at 11:50 p.m
‘Les Misérables’ — An Iowa City favorite returns to the Hancher stage
Little Village - Thursday, December 6, 2018
Les Misérables, the epic musical based on Victor Hugo’s expansive 1862 novel, returns to Hancher this week. The play has a long and popular history in Iowa City. First performed at the Hancher during the 1989-90 season, the musical returned during the 1991/92, 1994/95, 1996/97, and 1999/2000 seasons. Nearly 93,000 have seen the show at the Hancher during this time. Now, after almost 18 years (just shy of Jean Valjean’s 19 year imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread), Les Miz is back and 1,250 more locals attended the opening night performance on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The basics of the plotline are likely familiar to most potential viewers, but summarized here: Before the play begins, prisoner Jean Valjean has stolen bread to feed his starving sister and his sentence has been extended to 19 years. We first see him toiling as a galley slave on a ship.
Longest running Broadway musical lights up Hancher
Daily Iowan - Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Les Misérables, the world’s longest running and arguably one of the best musicals created in the 20th century, opened at Hancher Tuesday night. Seats filled up fast in the belly of Hancher’s main auditorium, and a large screen with a ship weathering a storm loomed over the stage. The “Prologue” song began with force filled with the beauty and strength needed to withstand prison for 19 years. The year is 1815, and Jean Valjean is being released by Inspector Javert and put on parole.