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Blinn’s Performing Arts Series opens to audience acclaim

The Young Irelanders drew 260 spectators in the series’ debut performance

Young Irelanders

November 3, 2015

Dr. Marcelo Bussiki distinctly remembers the first haunting note, emanating from a flutist with the world-renowned Young Irelanders, that introduced Blinn College’s Performing Arts Series to the community.

“It was a very powerful experience,” said Bussiki, dean of Visual/Performing Arts & Kinesiology. “There was a beautiful, haunting flute melody, and suddenly they changed the beat to something very fast and it was a shock to everyone. And at that moment I realized, ‘Yes! This will hook them!’”

It did indeed.

The show delighted its audience of 260, including 64 season ticket holders who will see all four of this year’s scheduled performances and participate in a special reception in which they meet the performers prior to each show.

“The first concert by The Young Irelanders was a feast for the eyes, ears and soul!” said Page Michel, president and CEO of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce. “I have my calendar blocked for all the upcoming dates because I don’t want to miss a single show!”

Blinn received thanks from a multitude of attendees, including Kruse Village representatives who brought residents to the performance, and even received congratulations from the Young Irelanders’ agent and stage manager.

“It was so engaging and so powerful for everyone involved that not only did the Young Irelanders thank the audience several times during the performance, but they posted about the energy of our audience on their Facebook page twice the next day and said it was the best experience they have had during their tour so far,” Bussiki said.

In addition to providing the audience a once-in-a-lifetime experience, the concert provided unparalleled learning opportunities for Blinn students. Students were tasked with preparing the lighting, sound and hospitality for the performers according to the specifications of the tech rider, and learned to unload and install different kinds of equipment and technology under the guidance of the touring technicians.

“The job is fast, hard, requires quick thinking and a quick response when things don’t go exactly to plan,” said Kevin Patrick, Brenham campus technical theatre director. “It really is a fantastic opportunity.”

Students also got to share a meal with the band and its technicians and learned about life on the road and the unique challenges of being a professional performer that the audience oftentimes never sees.

Two students trained to operate the O’Donnell Center’s sound system were invited to contact Peron Einkauf of Golden Entertainment when they begin seeking jobs in the industry.

The series has also provided Blinn employees on-the-job training for planning such a series, from researching the available shows, learning to book them, scheduling the acts in the midst of an already busy Washington County events schedule, reserving hotels and preparing equipment.

“When the show was over and the lights turned off and the doors closed, I was overwhelmed and had a little difficulty in processing the magnitude of it all,” Patrick said. “So many people, both inside the College and out in the community, participated in the success of this event.”

As the Performing Arts Series grows, Blinn will ultimately develop a community organization to support the series, Bussiki said. Blinn is seeking not only financial sponsors for the series, but also volunteers and advocates willing to share their excitement for the shows.

The series continues Dec. 11 with “Jim Witter’s Christmas Memories,” followed by “Nelson Illusions Smoke and Mystery Tour on March 30 and “Pirates of Penzance” by the New York Gilbert Sullivan Players on April 10. All shows take place at the Dr. W.W. O’Donnell Performing Arts Center on the Blinn-Brenham campus (map).

Tickets are $30 for general admission and $20 for Blinn employees. Season tickets are $75 for the three remaining shows. All seats are reserved.

The box office is located in the lobby of the O’Donnell Center at 600 Blinn Boulevard and accepts both cash and credit. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.blinn.edu/performingartsseries or by calling 979-830-4024.

PHOTO – The Young Irelanders take a photo alongside Dr. Marcelo Bussiki, dean of Visual/Performing Arts & Kinesiology; Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn College district president/CEO; Kevin Patrick, Brenham campus technical theatre director; and Bradley Nies, Brenham campus theatre director.