ABAC Arts Series Opens Season with Valdosta Symphony Orchestra September 29th

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Acclaimed pianist Rachel Cheung and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra kick off the 2019-20 version of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College ABAC Presents!  Performing Arts Series on Sept. 29.

ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said Cheung is sure to enthrall the audience with her expertise at the piano at the 3 p.m. concert at the Tift County High School (TCHS) Performing Arts Center.

“She will be featured at the concert on Rachmaninov’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,’” Jones said.  “She won the 2017 Cliburn Competition Audience Award.  Just a phenomenal talent at the piano.”

Jones said the seven events in the series run the entertainment gamut from the classic Broadway production of “The Pirates of Penzance” to the magnificent voice of jazz vocalist Myrna Clayton.

 “This is the most ambitious season we have had in over a decade,” Jones said.   “I think the events reach a much-expanded audience.  This year we really fill a need for live entertainment in Tifton.”

Chanticleer, “the world’s reigning male chorus,” performs on Oct. 24 at the TCHS Performing Arts Center followed by pianist Awadagin Pratt on Nov. 14 in ABAC’s Howard Auditorium, the National Players’ production of “As You Like It” on Jan. 28 in the TCHS Performing Arts Center, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in “The Pirates of Penzance” on Feb. 7 at the TCHS Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Brass on March 5 in the Tift Theatre, and jazz vocalist Myrna Clayton with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble on April 16 in Howard Auditorium.

“One of the biggest stars of the series this year is Chanticleer,” Jones said.  “It’s an internationally famous choral group.  We had them booked last year, and the hurricane knocked a hole in our schedule.

“We’re so glad to be able to reschedule them.  They operate out of San Francisco, and they are the only professional choir in the United States with a 52-week contract.  They are fulltime singers.”

Except for the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra’s matinee show, the events in the series all begin at 7 p.m.  The cost for the entire series is $80 for adults and $25 for students.  Purchase tickets at www.purplepass.com/abac .  Individual ticket prices vary for each performance.

“Pirates of Penzance” debuted in New York City on Dec. 31, 1879.  Jones said the comic opera has a cast of 30 plus an 18-member live orchestra, who will combine to produce laughter aplenty.

Pratt has carved a quite a niche at the piano, performing at the White House on two occasions.  He began studying piano at the age of six.

A romantic comedy where city folks venture into the woods is the premise when Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” comes to Tifton via the 10-person National Players’ ensemble.  Traditional brass meets drums and percussion when the Dallas Brass play the Tift Theatre. Members of the ABAC Concert Band and the TCHS band will gather on stage for the finale.

Whether it’s jazz, pop, blues, soul, or gospel, you can count on Clayton delivering a powerful message when she graces the Howard Auditorium stage.  Dancing in the aisles is sure to be a part of the evening.

The ABAC performing arts series is supported, in part, by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly.  The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  This project is supported in part by an award from the NEA. 

The series sponsor is Wonders of Wood.  Southwell is the premium event sponsor.  Event sponsors include Dr. Joseph J. Day, Ponder’s, Hilton Garden Inn of Tifton, and Julie Hunt.  Preferred sponsors are McDonald’s/Tifton Housing Authority, Prince Automotive Group, Rotary Club of Tifton, and South Georgia Banking Company.  

Community partners are Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals, Chicago Pizza and Pasta, and The Floor Shoppe at Glynn Hendricks Interiors.