Friday, March 5, 2010
One of the distinct advantages of living in this part of the country is our easy access to the cultural offerings of the many local colleges and universities. Almost all of our area seats of higher learning present lectures, recitals, concerts, seminars, film series, gallery art and other programs to the public. Some are ticketed, others are free, but all represent excellent value and are far less expensive than regular performance tickets or large museum admissions.
Faculty and student recitals and concerts are a particularly good way to hear diverse music or see dance performed at professional and near professional levels. Professional musicians from all over the world come to our colleges and universities to educate and entertain. Colleges also sponsor celebrity authors or politicians, or famous “experts in the field” who come to the local venue to speak.
In our compass, which easily extends to Boston and southern New Hampshire, there are innumerable opportunities to enjoy these programs; it is only a matter of choosing the ones you want to attend. UMass Lowell, for example, celebrates the 88th birthday of Jack Kerouac this year March 11 to 13 with a series of programs; the annual Jack Kerouac festival is in October. Its Center for the Arts and Ideas also has a series of lectures and musical performances, as well as links to other events like the third annual Lowell Film Festival, coming up in April.
Our conservatories of music, The Boston Conservatory and New England Conservatory, have a steady stream of fine concerts, musicals and dance performances throughout the school year; the Berklee College of Music, with an especially exciting program of jazz and contemporary music and composition, offers its own performances, master classes, guest musicians and speakers.
Harvard University’s Sanders Theater is busy all year with concerts as well. Arts@MIT provides a menu of programs and events at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and all of our local colleges have excellent art galleries displaying student art and other collections.
Just to the north, the University of New Hampshire offers its own celebrity series. Coming to Durham, New Hampshire on March 9 is the Mozart Opera Theatre’s performance of Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro in Italian with projected titles), and on April 8, A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra.
Coming up this weekend is a particularly interesting series of programs at Wellesley College. The acclaimed Nigerian author and Brown University professor Chinua Achebe, best known worldwide for his 1958 book, Things Fall Apart, will be at Wellesley to read from his new work and talk with audiences. His appearance is part of a weekend of discussion and presentations on African literature.
Our proximity to so many colleges and universities also affords us the opportunity to view elements of the collections in their libraries and campus museums. Most of these institutions are very willing to arrange a showing of particular collections. If you are a member of a literary society or other interest group, for example, you can arrange with a college to show your group its offerings by your particular author or in your field of interest. Many politicians, artists, business people, academics and authors leave their papers to our colleges and universities, and most are quite willing to show them to groups and individuals.
We are in the middle of an exciting season at all the colleges within our compass; only a few have been named here. There are also summer programs and gallery exhibits all open to the public. This rich and diverse resource is sometimes forgotten as we race through our busy lives, but we are fortunate that we have so many institutions in our area that contribute so much to our cultural life, and a click or two on our computers can open menus of all these attractions.∆
© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito