Tickets now available for UnCommon Lives: Extraordinary Women

Tickets now available for UnCommon Lives: Extraordinary Women


Six acclaimed artists are featured in the sixth UnCommon Lives: Extraordinary Women in the Arts series, with performances Monday, March 18 through Saturday, March 23. Begun in 1991, UnCommon Lives features women whose lives, talents and visions have found expression in the arts. Rockford College will present the five evening performances in Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St., Rockford.

The biennial event emphasizes two commitments: excellence and access in the arts. In addition to giving performances, UnCommon Lives artists conduct arts education activities such as master classes, workshops and question/answer sessions, which bring the arts to as many members of the northern Illinois community as possible. Open to the public, these activities are the product of UnCommon Lives’ partnership with Rockford College and community groups such as the Rock River Valley Council of Girl Scouts, Mendelssohn Club, area public and private schools, dance companies and the Rockford Public Library. The caliber of the artists, as well as their accessibility, are made possible by donations and in-kind contributions from foundations, businesses and individuals, as well as arts organizations and Rockford College.

This year, the week begins with Liz Lerman, Dance Exchange, pioneers in developing community workshop techniques and methods for inspiring story, movement and creativity. The ensemble will present a dance concert at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 18 in Maddox Theatre. Tickets are $8 per person. The concert will include works performed by the Dance Exchange, during which the audience will take part in a critical response process. Also featured will be a piece resulting from a three-day residency (workshop) conducted by the Dance Exchange with local teenagers and dance students.

Lorrie Moore, critically acclaimed author, whose recent short story collection Birds of America was a New York Times best-seller, will present a reading of her works at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 19 in Maddox Theatre. At 4 p.m. on the 19th, she will discuss her work and answer questions from the public at the main branch of the Rockford Public Library, 215 N. Wyman St. (use Mulberry Street entrance). Although both events are free, tickets are required for the evening reading.

America’s foremost female pianist, Ruth Laredo, will present her internationally recognized program, “Concerts with Commentary,” in Maddox Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20. Tickets are $8 per person. Her classical concert series has been featured at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for 14 seasons. The soloist and recording artist has toured the world giving performances and is a three-time Grammy Award nominee. At 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, Laredo will give a free “informance” for students at the Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church St., Rockford. Seating is limited.

Beverly Sills, acclaimed retired opera singer, will be the keynote speaker at a noon luncheon on Thursday, March 21, at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Rd., Rockford. In 1994, Sills became the first woman, the first performing artist, and the first head of an arts company to serve as chair of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Sills has tirelessly championed the arts and accessibility of art. She is also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Advance reservations for the luncheon are $35 per person.

Sculptor Deborah Butterfield, a master of assemblage art, whose work is included in the permanent collections of several major museums, will present a slide lecture of her work in Maddox Theatre at 6 p.m., Friday, March 22. Sculptures of horses have been the focus and passion of her creative work for more than 20 years. The lecture will be followed at 7 p.m. by her exhibition opening in the adjacent Rockford College Art Gallery. Butterfield is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. As a teacher and artist, her contributions have been recently recognized with two honorary doctorates in fine arts. Tickets are required for the free slide lecture.

The final celebration of UnCommon Lives takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 23, with a concert showcasing jazz vocalist and composer Claudia Acuña and her quartet. Originally from Santiago, Chile, her debut CD, Wind From the South, was released by Verve in the spring of 2000. She has appeared at major venues such as the JVC Festival in New York, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Sebastian Festival in Spain and the Montreal Jazz Festival. Tickets for the evening event in Rockford College’s Maddox Theatre are $8 per person. Earlier in the day, Acuña and her quartet, along with local artist Dorothy Paige-Turner, will lead a jazz workshop for students, ages 8-13, beginning at noon in Maddox Theatre.

College co-chairs of the UnCommon Lives series are Martha H. Frantz, director of the Rockford College Music Academy, and Colleen B. Page, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at Rockford College. Frantz was one of the co-founders of UnCommon Lives. Community co-chairs are Janice Westlund and Rockford College alumna Estelle Black.

Tickets are now available through the UnCommon Lives office at Rockford College. Call (815) 226-4168 or e-mail UnCommonLives These events sell out; early ticket reservations are strongly recommended.

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