April 21, 2015, BY Kathryn Kopchik

The Peking Acrobats perform in a Saturday matinee at the Weis Center

The spring 2015 season at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University included 14 performances and drew in 6,000 patrons from January through April.

Increasingly, the Weis Center has become the regional performing arts center, drawing patrons not only from Central Pennsylvania but also State College, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Lancaster.

In fact, a dozen performances this season — including the Guy Davis Trio, The Stray Birds, Sam Bush Band, Raul Midon, DakhaBrakha, Gregory Porter, and Fatoumata Diawara — drew patrons from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and southern New York.

Since January, the Weis Center has offered between three and six professional performances each month, including world music and world dance, modern dance, jazz, classical, multimedia presentations, a brass band, and family-friendly events.

While visiting Central Pennsylvania, Weis Center artists often interact with the Bucknell and greater Lewisburg communities. This spring, 12 performing arts ensembles engaged in 16 residency and outreach activities during their time in Lewisburg, including flash concerts, pre-performance lectures for patrons, music and dance classes for Bucknell students, dinners with the Bucknell community, and post-show receptions to meet-and-greet patrons.

Throughout the 2014-15 season, the Weis Center activated four spaces: the Weis Center's 1,200-seat auditorium, the Weis Center lobby, the Weis Center outdoor plaza, and the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg.

In addition to a professional staff of six, the Weis Center employed 22 student ushers, 26 student technicians, and two marketing assistants in the spring semester.

Some highlights from the Weis Center's spring season included:

  • A noontime "flash concert" in the Bucknell Bison eatery by New Orleans-based brass band Hot 8 Brass Band, for students, faculty and staff.
  • Two nearly sold out performances — The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favorites and the Peking Acrobats, both family-friendly Saturday matinees.
  • Two dance masterclasses in conjunction with Jessica Lang Dance's performance in January.
  • A standing-room only crowd in the Weis Center lobby for jazz ensemble Matt Wilson Quartet and guest pianist John Medeski.
  • Three performances at the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg — blind soul singer-songwriter and guitarist Raul Midon, Ukrainian world music ensemble DakhaBrakha, and Malian guitarist and singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara and her band.
  • During the final performance of the season at the Campus Theatre, Fatoumata Diawara invited patrons of all ages to come on stage and dance with her.

Corporate sponsors make it possible
The Weis Center is grateful to its more than 35 corporate sponsors who made the 2014-15 series a reality. Series Sponsors include: Bucknell Sports Properties, Cumulus Radio, The Daily Item, Entercom, First Community Foundation Partnership of PA, Max Media of Pennsylvania, Sunbury Broadcasting, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Susquehanna Life, WITF, WNEP-TV and WVIA Public Media.

Event Sponsors include: Backyard Broadcasting, Bucknell's Office of Alumni Relations, Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate, Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and the Susquehanna River Arts initiative, iHeartMedia, PPL and its affiliates, RiverWoods, The Standard Journal, and WXPN.

Mezzanine Level Sponsors include The Press Enterprise, ViaMedia and WYOU-TV/WBRE-TV.

Dining Sponsors include Mercado Burrito, Lewisburg Hotel, Siam Restaurant and Bar, and Sweetfrog.

Family Sponsors include Douglas and Mary Candland, Nancy and Sam Craig, Bob and Dede Gronlund, Clayton and David Lightman, and Gary and Sandy Sojka.

The Weis Center also received major Foundation support from the PA Council on the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the U.S. Department of State/CenterStage.

Coming soon: 2015-16 season!
The 2015-16 season, which includes 34 professional performances, will be announced in mid-July. For more information, go to bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or facebook.com/WeisCenter.

Photos from the spring season

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