Celebrating 10 Years of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

10th Anniversary Year. A Decade of Connection and Education.
Leighton Concert Hall
Leighton Concert Hall
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South Bend - Indiana - US

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Aug. 13, 2014 - PRLog -- "Transformative encounters with truth and beauty, as communicated through the arts, are a treasure that the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center makes available to patrons from a remarkably diverse cross-section of the local and campus community."

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
President, University of Notre Dame

South Bend, IN  (August 1, 2014)— DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Presenting Series at the University of Notre Dame is celebrating 10 years of excellence in the arts.  For the past decade, the center has provided a place of learning, connection and performances for the Michiana region.

Since the opening its doors in September 2004, over 1,000,000 visitors have passed through, enjoying the 250 national and international performers that have graced one of the five venues within the center.

"This season allows us to celebrate the best of the past while we work and look towards a bright future with new commissions and education initiatives, to entertain and engage our community," said Anna M. Thompson, Executive Director and Judd and Mary Lou Leighton Director for the Performing Arts.

Commissions and Premiers

“Our values are firmly anchored in commissions of new works and one are resident artist initiatives, ensuring that we engage and connect within the community,” says Thompson. The center has commissioned include contemporary dance, and chamber, and orchestral and choral music pieces, as well as plays and film scores—performed by nationally and internationally by renowned artists.

In celebration of the 10th anniversary, 10 new commissions will be performed and premiered in the 2014-2015 season. The first performance of a commissioned work is Third Coast Percussion’s world premiere by composer Glenn Kotche in October 2014. Kotche, drummer for the Grammy-winning band Wilco, is well known for his interest in new musical instrument design and engineering to realize aspects of his musical compositions.

Community Engagement and Arts Education

Perhaps the center's greatest contribution is its focus on student arts education and community engagement. Education engagement involves guest artists working with students, through workshops, master classes or attending a rehearsal. "When Notre Dame's first ensemble-in-residence Third Coast Percussion was in South Bend in 2013 and 2014, high-school students were invited to participate, with Notre Dame Department of Engineering students and their faculty," explains Thompson.

The year-long STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) collaboration resulted in 350 fifth-graders from South Bend area schools spending a day at the University of Notre Dame in May playing music and learning about the science of sound. The students performed on percussion instruments that Notre Dame Engineering students designed and built with the youth and they received hands-on lessons on music, sound, design and engineering.

A sense of community involvement, from artists and local residents, has allowed the center to enrich the lives of young and old. Thompson says that "years of research have shown that students' involvement in the arts is associated with improvements in their math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Participating in the arts helps to develop young people's creativity and imaginations, while the collaborative nature of activities like music, dance, theater and cinema encourages cooperation and social engagement"

Another recent engagement program was led by the center's Presenting Series artist, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Their Ailey camp educators conducted a week-long program at the fine arts magnet schools (Perley, Dickinson and Clay) in the South Bend Community School Corporation in March 2013. "The continued partnership with our local schools is extremely important to the center.  Having our artists share their talents with local students can spark an interest in the arts that may not have been there before," said Sean Martin, Community Engagement Program Director.

Looking Forward With An Eye On The Past

As it celebrates, the center has already accomplished a great deal when it comes to bringing a diverse group of artists to the community. The artists who have performed over the past decade range from Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Anonymous 4, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with soloist Jeremy Denk, and dance companies Pilobolus and Evidence (founded by Ronald K. Brown).

These six artists will return this year as part of the Presenting Series anniversary year season celebration. Seeing artists return adds to the sense of community and camaraderie that the center wants to sustain. “We want people to feel that they’ve been welcomed into our home,” Thompson says. “We’re thrilled to welcome back many artists who have left an indelible mark on our first decade as well as our audience members who have been with us the first ten years.”

“We are proud of the relationships we have fostered with artists over these 10 seasons, and our success during the next 10 will be gauged on how well we continue to develop these relationships,” continued Thompson.

With its high-profile location on the south end of campus, the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center has been described as a gateway for the local community to access the University. A firm commitment to the arts now in place, this gateway is wide open for all. The center welcomes visitors who have a passion to explore, learn and seek knowledge only available through the performing and cinematic arts.

About the University of Notre Dame DeBartolo Performing Arts Center:
The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center (http://performingarts.nd.edu) facilitates learning reflective of Notre Dame’s distinctive liberal arts tradition through the informed exploration of universal truths and beauty. We serve to encourage and celebrate the human spirit through the performing and cinematic arts, which connect, stimulate and enrich our communities.

Anna M. Thompson
Executive Director
Judd and Mary Lou Leighton Director of the Performing Arts
Phone: (574) 631-5511

Paul Van Ness
Marketing Program Manager
DeBartolo Performing Arts Center


The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center gratefully acknowledges the following for support of the over the past 10 years and the 2014-15 Season:  Sponsors Scott and Loretta Dahnke, Marie Denise DeBartolo York and Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., and Meg and John P. Brogan.  Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, Arts Midwest and Indiana Arts Commission.

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