With best-selling entertainers from Europe, Africa, South America, Latin America, the United States and Caribbean, UVI's Reichhold Center for the Arts' 34th season, unveiled on Thursday, Aug. 31, during a Business After Hours function, promises to be one of the center's most diverse yet. Between October and May, the Center will present a top-selling R&B vocalist, England's hottest all-female quartet, a famous Latin percussionist, an Argentine cabaret and an African-style circus show.
"This season is full of international flavor and is certainly one of our most ambitious to date," said Reichhold Center Manager of Marketing and Development Karen Gutloff. "Many of the performers will be familiar to the public, but there are others who, while acclaimed worldwide, will be new to the Virgin Islands audience. We believe this introduction to performers from far parts of the world is going to be exciting for our patrons."
The multi-cultural season of music, dance and theatrical productions kicks off this October with top-selling R&B vocalist Brian McKnight. McKnight performs on Friday, Oct. 26. Billed as An Evening with Brian McKnight, the concert will feature McKnight in an intimate performance on piano, singing from his catalogue of hits. His debut album, released at the age 19, spawned the top 20 single "One Last Cry." From there, McKnight ruled the airwaves with hits, including "Anytime" which sold more than two million copies and received a Grammy nomination. His songs, crossed over from R&B to receive heavy play on pop music stations as well. McKnight's hits include the chart toppers "Back At One" and "Crazy Love."
Sensational Latin and Afro-Cuban flavors take center stage when Tito Puente, Jr., brings his 13-piece orchestra to the Reichhold stage on Saturday, Nov. 17. Puente, Jr., the son of legendary mambo king Tito Puente, Sr., is keeping his family's musical legacy alive. The percussionist and his band perform lively versions of his father's classics, as well as modern spins on Latin jazz and salsa. Patrons will not want to miss the salsa party in the Reichhold concession area after the concert.
Jazz fans get an extra bonus as 2013 arrives, with a concert presenting not one, but three, of the top performers in the smooth jazz genre. Najee's Smooth Side of Jazz concert, featuring female vocalist Maysa and Swedish pianist Alex Bugnon, takes place Saturday, Jan. 26. Saxophonist Najee is credited with giving birth to the genre of smooth jazz. Najee became a mainstay on jazz stations with his debut CD "Najee's Theme," and stayed popular with such hits as "Betcha Didn't Know." Maysa's sultry alto has earned her a loyal fan base. Her voice has often been compared to that of R&B singer Phyllis Hyman. Jazz pianist Alex Bugnon, a native of Switzerland, began his recording career with the debut album "Love Season," which reached the pop charts and Top 40 of R&B charts, as did his follow-up "Head Over Heels." The three artists and collaborators will perform their individual hits and join together on smooth jazz classics.
When the Olympics broadcast presented a tribute to British music, many Americans were riveted by the sexy, all-female quartet playing classical violin - with a major twist. England's young, stylish group, known as Bond Quartet makes its way across the pond to the Reichhold stage on Saturday, March 9. Bond Quartet has taken Europe and the world by storm with their stunning looks and vibrant energetic performance on the electric violin. With more than four million records sold, the women of Bond are the best-selling string quartet in the history of the music industry. Bond Quartet turns classical string music on its head, using the electric violin to render Latin, Indian, electronica and pop rhythms.
Reggae has become a mainstay of the Reichhold Center season and fans of the genre will be delighted to hear from one of the brightest and freshest voices from Jamaica on Saturday, March 30. ETANA debuted on the reggae scene in 2008 with her breakout hit "Roots" and quickly built a catalogue of conscious music and a massive fan base. Her debut CD, "The Strong One," was highly successful and spawned the hits "I Am Not Afraid," "Blessings" and "Don't Forget." The reggae show also features a performance from Dominica's sensation Temptatious (Tracy Johnson). A talented songwriter and singer, Temptatious has performed at Jamaica's Rebel Salute 2011 alongside Queen Ifrica, along with other reggae festivals.
Moving from the Caribbean to Latin America, Reichhold brings the tantalizing story of Argentina's tango to life on stage with Rhythm and Passion on Saturday, May 18. This cabaret-style theatrical production takes the audience on a mystical journey to discover the people, the stories and the drama behind the salsa, tango and gaucho. An international cast of singers and musicians perform before a backdrop of exquisite scenery depicting the origins of the tango in the seedy bars of 1920s Buenos Aires, Argentina. The audience will revel in the joy and exhilaration of salsa dancing in the streets, and delight in the antics of the Argentine cowboy - the Gaucho - and the dramatic storytelling of his art.
Reichold Family Series Shows
The Reichhold Center Family Series is back with two exciting shows geared for family members of all ages.
AGA-BOOM: The Theater of Physical Comedy has performed to sell-out crowds throughout the United States with its hilarious brand of slapstick comedy. On Nov. 10, these colorfully dressed clowns and performers will get children laughing as they do pratfalls, stilt-walk and engage in comedy antics. Children will take special delight in the grand finale that engulfs the audience in a barrage of paper streamers, confetti and balloons.
The second Family Series group comes to Reichhold Center riding the wave of their successful turn on the hit NBC show "America's Got Talent." Cirque Zuma Zuma performs Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, with more than a dozen African acrobats, gymnasts and tumblers showcasing eye-popping and draw dropping feats, including a mile high human pyramid.
Reichhold Community Co-productions
Rounding out the season is a number of co-productions with community partners, including The Forum, the UVI Music Department, and the Virgin Islands Lottery.
- On Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, The Forum presents the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra with the Superior Court Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra. The two orchestras will collaborate on a number of musical selections and perform individually.
- On Saturday, Oct. 12, the Virgin Islands Lottery and UVI's Music Department collaborate to bring Motown & More: The Power of Music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Some of the Virgin Islands' top singers and dancers join this talent extravaganza for the ultimate trip down memory lane.
- On Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, the UVI Music Department returns to the Reichhold stage for A Golden Jubilee Christmas, featuring the UVI Concert Band, UVI Steel Orchestra and UVI choir.
- On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, the Office of the President of the University of the Virgin Islands presents the Alfred Heath Lecture Series, a free forum at the Reichhold Center. The forum will be presented on UVI's Albert A. Sheen Campus on Wednesday, April 3, 2013. The lecture series features nationally recognized speakers discussing issues of interest to the Virgin Islands community.
Reichold Education Program
The Reichhold Center's Arts in Education program will feature free student workshops by most of the artists on the season line up. Performers Tito Puente, Jr., Najee, Bond Quartet, Etana, Rhythm and Passion, Zuma Zuma and Aga-Boom will each present educational workshops to students from public, private and parochial schools.
The Reichhold Center 2012-2013 season is made possible by the generous support of sponsors, including: International Capital and Management Company, the Virgin Islands Lottery, First Bank, the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority, the VI Council on the Arts, Marriott Frenchman's Reef Hotel, and Innovative. The Center's performances are also supported by generous donations from individuals in the Reichhold Center Donor Circle.
Season Subscriptions and Single
Reichhold Center will sell season subscriptions between Aug. 30 and Sept. 7, 2012. Season subscriptions guarantee patrons their preferred seating for each show within the Foundation series. Beginning Sept. 10, the Center will make available for sale single tickets for each performance. For more information, call the Reichhold box office at (340) 693-1559. Or visit www.reichholdcenter.com.