Posted on March 21, 2017, BY Samantha Wallace

Composer Julia Wolfe's 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, Anthracite Fields, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts. The performance is the culmination of the year-long series "Coal Collections: Local, National and International Stories" in collaboration with the Place Studies program of the Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment (BCSE).

Patrons are encouraged to come early, as Jay Smar opens the evening's festivities with a free performance at 6 p.m. in the Atrium Lobby. Smar serves his audiences an "acoustic buffet" of traditional American and original folk, old-fashioned mountain music, bluegrass and gospel tunes, as well as coal-mining songs of northeast Pennsylvania.

There will be a free pre-performance talk titled "The Creation of Anthracite Fields" featuring composer Julia Wolfe the day before the performances, at noon on Friday, March 31, in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby. Professor G.C. Waldrep, English, will interview Wolfe, as well as Laurie McCants, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and adviser to the project, and Professor Beth Willer, music.

Anthracite Fields will be performed by Bang on a Can All-Stars, featuring Bucknell University Camerata and Lycoming College Chamber Choir. Willer, Bucknell University's director of choral activities, will serve as conductor for the performance.

Haunting, poignant and relentlessly physical, Anthracite Fields is a lovingly detailed oratorio about turn-of-the-20th-century Pennsylvania coal miners, and a fitting recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The work merges multiple styles with classical themes — from the deep, ambient sweep of the opening movement "Foundation" to the athletic work-song mood of "Breaker Boys" and the elegiac, contemplative drift of "Flowers."

Weaving together personal interviews that she conducted with miners and their families, along with oral histories, speeches, rhymes and local mining lore, Wolfe sought to honor the working lives of Pennsylvania's anthracite region.

Free Shuttle Service from Coal Region
Thanks to Catawese Coach Lines, a free shuttle will operate between Shamokin/Mount Carmel and Bucknell University. The shuttle will depart from Weis Markets in Shamokin at approximately 5:15 p.m. and from Divine Redeemer Church, Mount Carmel, at 5:30 p.m. The shuttle will return at approximately 10 p.m.

Tickets for the performance are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62+, $15 for youth 18 and under, $15 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2), and $15 for non-Bucknell college students (limit 2). Tickets can be purchased online at the Campus Box Office or by calling 570-577-1000.

Promo Code for Coal Region Residents
Special rates are available for residents of the coal region, as follows: Adults: $10, Seniors 62+: $8, and Youth: $5. Discounts do not apply to previously purchased tickets and tickets are subject to availability. To redeem, call the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000 and mention the code "Hard Coal" or go to and enter promo code hardcoal (one word) at checkout.

Please note that tickets are available in the main auditorium only; the balcony will be closed.

Tickets also are available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Free Noon Lecture Series
During the week of Anthracite Fields, there will be three free lectures, all at noon and all taking place in the Atrium Lobby of the Weis Center:

Tuesday, March 28: Immigrant Experiences of the Anthracite Coal Region
Nicholas Kupensky, visiting professor of comparative humanities, and Bode Morin, site administrator of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces, will discuss ways to discover and share the physical and cultural stories of immigrant hard-coal mining experiences.

Thursday, March 30: Pennsylvania's Anthracite Coal Region: Present to Future
Carol Parenzan, from Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, and Maureen B. Hauck, from the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center — both of whom have significant connections to Pennsylvania's anthracite coal region — will discuss present and future prospects.

Friday, March 31: The Creation of Anthracite Fields
Professor G.C. Waldrep, English, will interview Julia Wolfe, composer of Anthracite Fields; Laurie McCants, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble and adviser to the project; and Professor Beth Willer, music, who will conduct  the Weis Center performance.

For more information about any of these performances or lectures, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing & outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by email at



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