MCCC Lively Arts Series Announces 37th Season

Jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater

POTTSTOWN PA – Although the coronavirus pandemic and renovation of its Science Center Theater in Blue Bell have made 2020 a year of transition for the Montgomery County Community College lively arts and gallery staff, its members have agreed the show – in this case, the 37th season of its Lively Arts Series – will go on.

The college on Thursday announced a series line-up of programming that should once again generate thunderous applause. Brent Woods, senior director of cultural affairs, said it “will be great to see audience members back supporting fantastic artists and live entertainment again, while also following the required safety guidelines. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with our audience,” he said.

Woods acknowledges the pandemic “put people in a place of isolation and separated us from one other. I think people are hungry to reconnect and are looking for live social activities that allow us to come together to forget all of the challenges we are facing, even if it is just in 90 minutes.”

Of performers scheduled to play this season, Woods said he is most excited about four jazz shows. The first begins Feb. 14 (2021; Sunday) at 5 p.m. in the Normandy Farm grand ballroom for “An Evening with Dee Dee Bridgewater (at top) and Bill Charlap.” Bridgewater is a jazz giant whose career has spanned four decades, and has earned a Tony Award and three GRAMMYs,” Woods said.

That’s followed by the up-and-coming Connie Han Trio on March 28 (Sunday) at 5 p.m. at the Normandy Farm silo ballroom. “She’s raw, but her music is still intellectually engaging,” said Woods. “She’s fantastic on the piano.”

Then Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ladies Sing the Blues, featuring Catherine Russell, Brianna Thomas and Charenee Wade, will perform April 25 (Sunday) at 5 p.m. at the Blue Bell Country Club grand ballroom. It will be followed May 16 (Sunday) at 5 p.m. by Philadelphia’s own Joey DeFrancesco Trio, also in the Blue Bell Country Club grand ballroom.

The series also will spotlight the Richard K. Bennett Distinguished Lectureship for Social Peace and Justice by presenting “Racism in America: Understanding the History of Slavery and Its Impact on American Culture.”

Dr. Fran L. Lassiter, MCCC professor of English, will facilitate the seven-part lecture series focusing on slavery, the how and the why it was constructed, analyze its impact, and show how racism still permeates in our society to this day. Each session will be recorded and available to view online through Saturday, May 15.

Lively Arts Series performances are temporarily relocating to the Normandy Farm Hotel and Convention Center and the Blue Bell Country Club following the start this January of Science Center Theater renovations. They are scheduled for completion in 2022. Live performances will include dinner and drinks, and social distancing guidelines will be observed for safety. Audience members also may watch a livestream of the concerts from their homes.

Tickets are available for purchase to experience all concerts, both in-person and online.

“Some folks are not going to want to come out until they feel safe, due to concerns about COVID-19,” said Woods. “Nothing will ever beat attending a live performance, but we are going to do everything we can to make their livestream experience the same experience as if you were there to see the performers on stage in person.”

Photo supplied by Montgomery County Community College