2017 Mason Gross Summer Series features free music and dance

The annual Mason Gross Summer Series—brief, family-friendly music and dance events—is set to kick off June 28 on the Douglass Campus.

The four-event series, a mix of jazz and classical music, as well as traditional Korean dance and contemporary dance, takes place June 28 and July 19, 20, and 27, 2017, at the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center. All performances begin at 7 p.m. and run just over an hour long.

“We love to give people an opportunity to experience something new,” series director Christopher Kenniff says. “My hope is for people to walk away from the concerts feeling like they’ve discovered a new resource for the arts at Mason Gross—that they can come back during the rest of the year and see more concerts here.”

The series opens with two free music events: the first is a concert by Eastern Wind Symphony on Wednesday, June 28*, which features “musical snapshots” from France, Great Britain, and the United States, with pieces by John Philip Sousa (Stars and Stripes Forever), Camille Saint-Saëns, Richard Rodgers, and Percy Aldridge Grainger.

On Wednesday, July 19, the Mason Gross Jazz Faculty will perform what Kenniff calls “straight-ahead jazz with a focus on New Jersey roots,” featuring music made famous by Hoboken’s favorite son, Frank Sinatra, or previously performed by Newark native and renowned vocalist Sarah Vaughan.

Two dance events follow: first, three winners of the 2017 Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts will showcase a free program that features contemporary dance in the Summer DancePlus concert on Thursday, July 20. danceTactics Performance Group, a company that explores dance as a form of communication, will perform a selection from Undeniable Traits, featuring three Mason Gross alumni and choreographer and Mason Gross faculty member Keith A. Thompson. Connolly & Co. will perform two works: This Is..., which, choreographer (and alumna) Lauren Connolly says, features “genderless, faceless bodies” that explore connections between perception and memory, and Endless Pause. Kyle Marshall Choreography will round it out with selections from Colored, created by director and choreographer (and alumnus) Kyle Marshall, who considers the dancing body “a celebration of our agile form, an embodiment of history and an act of social instigation.”

Finally, Kookmin Dance Theatre will perform Thursday, July 27, presenting traditional Korean dance from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea.

“Traditional Korean art forms are typically elegant,” Kenniff says. “For people who don’t know Korean traditional dance, I am excited for them to have the opportunity to experience something brand new, fresh, and interesting. For people who know Korean traditional dance, this is something done in an authentic way.”

Tickets for the Kookmin Dance Theatre concert go on sale 10 a.m. July 13.  

The 2017 Mason Gross Summer Series takes place at the Nicholas Music Center and theVictoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, both part of the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick.

Admission to Eastern Wind Symphony, Mason Gross Jazz Faculty, and Summer DancePlus concerts is free; no tickets are required. Tickets for Kookmin Dance Theatre start at $15, with discounts available for senior citizens and Rutgers alumni, employees, and students. Ticket fees may apply.No one under the age of 5 is permitted at any performance. Babies in arms are also not permitted.

Wristbands will be distributed upon entry to all free performances in Nicholas Music Center and the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. Limited seating available. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about the Mason Gross Summer Series, call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 848-932-7511 or click here.

*Note: Parking lots 79 and 79A (Hickman Hall) will be closed June 28, 2017 for repaving. Eastern Wind Symphony concert attendees may park behind the Douglass Student Center in Lot 70 and the Douglass Deck or across the street from the Performing Arts Center in Lot 74A. Faculty, staff, and students must park in their authorized lots. Click here for a map of parking for the general public. For more information, call: 848-932-7511.

Posted June 2017