Berea College Summer Students Perform Fully-Staged Scenes from Musical Dramas

Berea College summer students will present “The Complete Performer- Theatrical Music Through the Ages” on June 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. in Gray Auditorium in the Presser Music Building. In an elaborate music theatre production culminating from intense historical, analytical, stylistic and technical study, 18 students will perform fully costumed and staged scenes from such classics as “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Dido and Aeneas” and “My Fair Lady” to new shows including “Sweeney Todd,” “Chicago,” “RENT” and “Jekyll and Hyde.”

The course, taught by music faculty members Dr. Stephen Bolster, Mark Calkins and Ryan Shirar, offers students an opportunity to perform the works they are studying.

“The students experience the challenges of performing in an intensive manner that we cannot offer during the constraints of the fall and spring terms,” says Bolster, a professor of music at Berea where he leads the college’s choral program. Calkins, who has performed as a professional vocalist in opera and music theatre, brings practical experience to the course. Shirar, a well-known conductor, concert pianist and composer in the region, is the musical director of Lexington’s Paragon Music Theatre.

Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students and may be purchased with cash or check at the music department office or by calling 985-3466. Tickets will also be available at the door and can be reserved and picked up at Gray Auditorium Lobby on the night of the performance.

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.