2013-2014 Arts and Lectures Series Off to a Good Start

October 2, 2013

Sphinx Virtuosi with Catalyst Quartet recently performed at Cheyney University's Marian Anderson Music Center as part of the 2013-2014 Arts and Lectures Series

Sphinx Virtuosi with Catalyst Quartet recently performed at Cheyney University's Marian Anderson Music Center as part of the 2013-2014 Arts and Lectures Series


Innovative Jazz pianist Andy Milne and his band Dapp Theory performed at 7:30 pm in Cheyney University's Marian Anderson Auditorium on Thursday, September 19, as part of CU’s Arts and Lectures series. Milne has been making waves in the music industry ever since his debut as a member in Steve Coleman’s Five Elements in 1992.  Six years later, Milne founded Dapp Theory to reportedly tell passionate stories, promote peace and inspire collective responsibility towards uplifting the human spiritual condition.  He has gone on to find success in both solo and collaborative projects including his critically acclaimed 2009 album Where is Pannonica? with Benoît Delbecq.  

Eleven days later, Tim Wise, one of the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States, lectured in the same auditorium.  Named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, Wise has spoken in all 50 states, on over 800 college and high school campuses, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally in Canada and Bermuda on issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion, and racism in the labor market. 

Then on Sunday, October 6, The Sphinx Virtuosi and Catalyst Strings wowed the crowd gathered in Marian Anderson Music Center for a 3:30 pm performance. The Sphinx Virtuosi is a conductor-less ensemble of soloists comprising top alumni of the national Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. This unique group earned rave reviews from The New York Times during its highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut in December 2004.  The Catalyst Quartet, which won the Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award 2012 (Switzerland), is comprised of top Laureates and alumni of the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Competition.

The series began on September 7 with the opening of the Synthia SAINT JAMES Exhibit in the Biddle Hall Art Gallery.  Works from the world-renowned multicultural visual artist, author and illustrator of over 23 books remain on display in Biddle Hall Art Gallery through October 18.  Gallery hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.  and admission is free.

“The Arts and Lectures Series is a part of the Academic Quality and Excellence activity which is funded by a grant Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Title III),” notes activity director Dr. Sebronette Barnes-Aborom, a professor in the Department of Fine Arts, Design and Liberal Studies.   “Because of this support, we can continue to expose students to artists of the caliber of SAINT JAMES, along with a diverse roster of speakers and other visual and performing artists for the purpose of cultural enrichment.  

Other offerings for this season include:

 The Contradictions of Fair Hope - Saturday, October 26, Marian Anderson, 6:00 p.m. 

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, The Contradictions of Fair Hope documentary, directed by S. Epatha Merkerson who played Lt. Anita Van Buren in Law and Order for over 15 years, and attorney Rockell Metcalf, turns the camera on modern-day Hale County, Alabama.  The documentary traces the story of Metcalf’s family involvement with the Fair Hope Benevolent Society, an organization that originally helped former slaves bury their dead, and aid the sick of transitional families in the late 19th century and it efforts to retain a tradition in the midst of prostitution, drugs, and guns.  Merkerson and Metcalf will be on hand to provide additional insight into this powerful drama. Tickets are available at 

Layon Gray’s Black Angels Over Tuskegee - Monday, November 18, Marian Anderson, 7:30 p.m. 

Black Angels over Tuskegee is a play told in narrative of six men embarking on a journey to become pilots in the United States Army Air Forces.  The play explores their collective struggle with Jim Crow challenging their intellect, patriotism, brotherhood, and dreams of an inclusive and fair society.  The play goes beyond the headlines of popular stories and reveals the heart and soul of the Tuskegee Airmen who exhibited the courage to excel, in spite of all the overwhelming odds against them. Tickets are available at 

Leslie McGurdy - The Spirit of Harriet Tubman

Wednesday, February 19, Marian Anderson, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman not only ran away alone to escape slavery, she returned to the south 19 times to lead over 300 other slaves to freedom in the northern United States and Canada.  Unable to rest as long as there are those who need guidance, The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, returns time and again sharing her life story and the things she learned along the way.  Leslie McCurdy captivates her audience in this dramatic work with only a trunk of costumes and a barren stage as her landscape. Tickets are available at

 KUN-YANG LIN/DANCERS - Thursday, March 27, Marian Anderson, 7:30 p.m. 

Taiwan-born Kun-Yang Lin probes at the limits of national identity, drawing upon Eastern philosophy while expanding the perimeter of Western contemporary dance.  KUN-YANG LIN/DANCERS (KYL/D) is one of the country's foremost contemporary Asian-American dance companies.  Described as "deeply spiritual, remarkable" (Dance Magazine), the company celebrates the ability of dance to integrate body, mind, and spirit, inviting viewers to engage in their own journeys of self-discovery.  Tickets are available at 

JAZZ AT THE MARIAN featuring Stephanie Jordan - Thursday, April 4, Marian Anderson, 7:30 p.m. 

Stephanie Jordan, described as a premiere jazz artist, has appeared live on NPR Talk of the Nation, at the Kennedy Center, in Central Park, at Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland, the Duke Ellington Festival, and the Marciac Jazz Festival in France.  One reviewer wrote, "every so often a new voice stands up and proclaims itself, but few do so with such supreme depth and understated soul."  Jordan is the fifth performer to emerge from a family of New Orleans bred musicians.  Tickets are available at 

Ticketed programs cost $20 for adults and $10 for youth and non-Cheyney students and are available at  Tickets may also be purchased at the box office one hour before each program.   Refunds and exchanges are not permitted.  Doors open 30 minutes prior to the start time and parking is free.   

Admission for all events is free for Cheyney students, faculty and staff with ID.   For more information, call 610-399-2365. 

Please Note:  All programs are subject to change or cancellation.  



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Synthia SAINT JAMES Exhibit in Biddle Hall Gallery

Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 — Monday, October 28, 2013
Location: Biddle Hall Gallery




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