The athletic and emotional stylings of a nimble dance company. A chorus of voices breaking down the myth of Muslim culture as monolithic. Ancient faith on display as a mandala sand painting takes shape.
Artswego, the arts presentation arm of SUNY Oswego, will offer a wide-ranging feast during its 2018-19 Performing Artists Series.
"I’m proud and excited about the caliber and variety of events we have planned this year," said Miranda Traudt, the college's director of arts programming. "The programs represent a strong diversity of arts forms, cultures and themes, as well as connecting with a couple of campus initiatives."
One of those, the college's ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Leadership Conference, will be among the partners for the Tuesday, Sept. 25, appearance of Coreyah at 7:30 p.m. in Hewitt Hall ballroom. The performance also meshes with the Year of Korea sponsored by the college's Institute for Global Engagement.
"This group comprised of young voices from Korea uses traditional instruments and techniques in innovative and contemporary ways," Traudt said. "It's mesmerizing."
Coreyah's SUNY Oswego appearance spearheads a world tour. Rooted in Korean folklore, Coreyah -- the group's name refers to inheritance of the past -- strives to create "living Korean music" by assimilating various world music heritages, such as Anglo-American rock, Balkan gypsy and a variety of musical genres from South America and Africa.
As with all of this year's Artswego performers, Coreyah will spend extra time educating others on campus. Members plan to present a workshop to Oswego music professor Juan La Manna's "Introduction to Worlds of Music" class, among other activities, Traudt said.
Regional orchestra Symphoria returns to SUNY Oswego on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Waterman Theatre with its show "Achievements of Women in Music." The evening will open with the Oswego Youth Orchestra performing a piece, followed by Symphoria's celebration of women composers such as Caroline Shaw, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beach, Holly Roller and Joan Tower.
This kind of spotlight on women composers is "long overdue and timely," said Traudt.
The Taylor 2 dance company will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in Waterman Theatre. Famed dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor formed his "small and nimble" second company in 1993 to ensure that audiences all over the world could see his multi-genre works, Traudt said.
The troupe plans to spend four days locally, working with students who've chosen the college's new minor in dance, among other activities, she said.
Ping Chong & Co.'s "Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity" will take the Sheldon Hall ballroom stage at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27. The performance illuminates the daily experiences of five young Muslim Americans who came of age in a post-9/11 society, and are building their lives in a time of continued fear of and violence towards Muslims. The cast members are from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and reflect a wide range of Muslim identities.
Arts programming coordinator Lowell Hutcheson said the college is "a fitting venue, where we meet, discover and learn tolerance." Traudt said she saw an excerpt of "Beyond Sacred" at a conference in Albany, and found it "stunningly beautiful, sad and extremely relevant."
Reverence on display
In a colorful finale to Artswego's season, Tibetan monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will spend the week of April 8 to 12 in Penfield Library composing a sand mandala painting on a platform to demonstrate the Tantric Buddhist art called "dul-tson-kyil-khor," which literally means "mandala of colored powders." They will use traditional tools and millions of grains of sand to painstakingly form geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols.
"You just get lost in time watching it come together," Traudt said. This same organization of monks was featured in "The House of Cards" series on Netflix, she said.
There will be a smaller table in the library where art faculty member Amy Bartell's graphic design class will design its own mandala and invite public participation in creating it.
The monks' work -- they take requests from presenters -- will tie in with the college's two-year Grand Challenges: Fresh Water for All initiative. As part of a closing ritual intended to re-consecrate the earth and its inhabitants, the monks will deconstruct the mandala, sharing sand with those in attendance. The group then will make its way to nearby Lake Ontario, where the sand will return to nature. Residency activities will include a lecture on Tibetan practices of healing and wellness, Traudt said.
Tickets to events in Artswego's Performing Artists Series are available at any SUNY Oswego box office, online through tickets.oswego.edu or by calling 315-312-3073.
College box office operations rolled out new ticketing software this summer. General public customers will need to create a new account to purchase and manage their tickets in this secure system. SUNY Oswego students, faculty, staff and retirees can log in to the ticketing site with campus credentials, accessing any available ticket discounts. All customers can present their e-ticket with QR code at venue doors for scanned entry.
Parking on campus is included in the price of a ticket and is available in the employee lot in front of Culkin Hall and the employee and commuter lots behind Hart and Funnelle residence halls. In the case of performances in Sheldon Hall ballroom, parking is in the employee lots adjacent to and across Washington Boulevard from the building.