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Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival Expands Musical Boundaries Sept. 19-22

Dawes, Poco and Pure Prairie League among headliners

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The rock band Dawes will headline the Kent State ’Round
Town Music Festival on Sept. 19 at the Student Green on the
Kent Campus.

(Photo Credit: Kevin Hayes)

WKSU and Kent State University present the dynamic Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival from Sept. 19-22 when a regional tradition adopts a fresh attitude and brings more live music to the city of Kent and Kent State. As both city and campus burst out of their shells with new businesses and a soon-to-be-open connecting University Esplanade, the former Kent State Folk Festival is expanding by welcoming even more artists and music fans to the party.

The new Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival takes on the flavors of the annual day of free ’Round Town concerts typically presented throughout the city of Kent on the final Friday of the folk festival. Although loosely themed as “roots” music, the genres offered during these daylong curated collections of performances pushed musical boundaries. The new festival takes its inspiration from these spirited music-filled Fridays and pulls in bands from a wider pool of entertainers. Music will radiate from the heart of the Kent State campus, at The Kent Stage on Main Street and in expected and surprising spaces throughout the city.

“For many years, ’Round Town Fridays have set the tone for the rest of the folk festival,” says WKSU Executive Director Dan Skinner. “These performances broadened the region’s definition of ‘folk’ to embrace other genres – like jazz, Americana and blues – that have roots music at their core. The Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival is a celebration of sounds, and we want everyone to join in the fun.”

The ’Round Town Music Fest takes full advantage of recent changes to the Kent Campus by welcoming rock band Dawes and special guests Good Old War to the new Student Green on Thursday, Sept. 19. The concert is free, and everyone is invited to this gala, kick-off event. The Student Green is located at Central Camps, extending from Risman Plaza to Summit Street. Dawes, who recently toured with Bob Dylan, has a large cross-generational following thanks to the band’s artfully concise and increasingly soulful sound. Philadelphia-based Good Old War harnesses a high-spirited simplicity to make its live shows unforgettable by revealing the group’s penchant for infectious folk-pop.

On Friday, Sept. 20, more than three-dozen spaces in downtown Kent will be home to live music during ’Round Town Free Friday. New restaurants and shops in downtown Kent will join familiar venues in presenting music ranging from folk to reggae to blues and beyond. Stand-out artists on this year’s bill include the Speedbumps (at Bar 145); Smokin’ Fez Monkeys, Johnny & the Apple Stompers and Bethesda (all performing at Acorn Alley); and the Twistoffs and Boy=Girl (playing at Ray’s Place). Red Michel (of Reo Neon) will perform a show aimed at youngsters at Kent Presbyterian Church. Additional artists are being added to the lineup every day with shows beginning for the lunch crowd and continuing well into the night.

Also on Sept. 20, The Kent Stage turns up the volume with country rock from Pure Prairie League and Poco. With hits like “Amie,” “Let Me Love You Tonight” and “Falling In and Out of Love with You,” Ohio-native sons Pure Prairie League have been wowing fans for more than four decades. Poco had its share of chart-makers, bringing the audience to its feet with songs including “Heart of the Night” and “Crazy Love.”

Free Workshop Saturday on Sept. 21 offers a city full of opportunities to share musical exploration. From noon to 5 p.m., hour-long workshops throughout downtown Kent invite musicians and music fans to learn more about everything from Russian folk and jug band music to clogging and arranging music for group sings.

Visitors can stick around after the workshops to enjoy indie folk from Black Prairie at The Kent Stage. A brilliant amalgam of parts of the Decemberists, the lead singer of Bearfoot bluegrass and other indie musicians who call Portland home, Black Prairie brings a different edge to the roots music scene. The band is in demand and has entertained audiences at Bonnaroo, SXSW, Newport Folk, Philadelphia Folk and other A-list festivals.

The music continues Sunday, Sept. 22, with the return of the Talent Contest, this year held in the tent behind Black Squirrel Gallery & Gifts in downtown Kent. Submissions will be accepted and voted on through the Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival Facebook page with the top 10 vote-getters competing live for a chance to be’s featured Open Mic artist.

The one-and-only Leon Redbone wraps up the Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival with his unique blend of folky blues pop on a Legends Night at The Kent Stage. Brewer & Shipley will open, and singer/songwriter Alex Bevan acts as the evening’s host. Redbone has an instantly recognizable voice and a stage presence that is pure entertainment. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley met in Kent at the former Blind Owl before beginning their Billboard-charting partnership. Local-son Bevan is beloved for songs including “Skinny Little Boy from Cleveland” and his recent music projects for children that focus on the environment.

Ticket sale began Thursday, July 18, for all Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival concerts and are available at The Kent Stage, by phone toll-free at 1-877-987-6487 or online at The Kent Stage is located at 175 East Main St. in downtown Kent, and the box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The festival website — — will be updated with artist bios and videos, along with the complete list of ’Round Town Free Friday performances and Community Workshops as they become available.

The lineup for the Kent State ’Round Town Music Festival:

Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. Dawes and Good Old War (Student Green at Kent State University) – FREE
Friday, Sept. 20 (various times) ’Round Town Free Friday (37 venues throughout Kent) – FREE
Friday, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. Pure Prairie League and Poco (The Kent Stage) – $$
Saturday, Sept. 21, noon-5 p.m. Workshops (venues throughout Kent) – FREE
Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. Black Prairie with TBA (The Kent Stage) – $$
Sunday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. Talent Contest (behind Black Squirrel Gallery & Gifts) – FREE
Sunday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. Legends Night: featuring Leon Redbone with Brewer & Shipley and special guest emcee Alex Bevan (The Kent Stage) – $$

Festival support is provided by: Kent State University, Dominion East Ohio, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Lehman’s; media partners: the Record-Courier and; and community partners: Western Reserve Folk Arts Association (WRFAA) and the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

WKSU broadcasts NPR and classical music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts four HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The WKSU website is

Posted July 22, 2013 | Ann VerWiebe

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Kent/Blossom Music Festival Presents Cleveland Orchestra Members Amy Lee, Alicia Koelz, Joanna Zakany and Tanya Ell

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival 2013 Faculty Concert Series continues with the OMNI String Quartet on Tuesday, July 23. All faculty concerts take place at 7:30 p.m. in Ludwig Recital Hall located in the Music and Speech Building at 1325 Theatre Drive on the Kent Campus. Call 330-672-0398 to purchase tickets over the phone or visit

The OMNI String Quartet, an all-female string quartet comprised of members of the Cleveland Orchestra, will perform “Duo For Violin and Cello Op. 7” by Zoltán Kodály, “String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85” by Béla Bartók and “String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat major, Op. 130” by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Amy Lee, violinist, joined the Cleveland Orchestra as associate concertmaster in March 2008 and has worked with Kent/Blossom Music since 2009. Lee was a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 15, and she has performed with ensembles including the Santa Fe Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, the National Gallery Orchestra and Germany’s Baden-Baden Philharmonic.

Violinist Alicia Koelz is originally from Minneapolis, Minn. and has been a member of the Cleveland Orchestra's first violin section since 2005. As a soloist, she has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber orchestra, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, among others. Koelz's most influential teachers have included Almita and Roland Vamos, William Preucil, Sally O'Reilly and Mary West.

Joanna Zakany joined the viola section of the Cleveland Orchestra at the beginning of the 2006-2007 season. Prior to that, she served as principal viola of the Canton (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, and as principal viola of the Sarasota Music Festival Orchestra. Zakany is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Cleveland Orchestra Principal Viola Robert Vernon.

Cellist Tanya Ell joined the Cleveland Orchestra in 2007, after serving as assistant principle cello for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Ell earned a bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School and a master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has participated in summer music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and the Sarasota Music Festival.

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival Faculty Concerts feature performances by the high-profile musicians who serve as faculty for the students attending the Kent/Blossom Music summer music program, including members of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Single tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $5 for students. The box office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, personal checks and cash. Call 330-672-0398 to purchase tickets over the phone or visit

Posted July 22, 2013

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Porthouse Theatre Closes Summer Season with Fiddler on the Roof, July 25-Aug. 11

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George Roth and Tracee Patterson play
Tevye and Golde in the classic musical,
Fiddler on the Roof, playing at Porthouse
Theatre from July 25 – Aug. 11.

Porthouse Theatre, Kent State University’s outdoor summer theater on the grounds of Blossom Music Center, will close its 2013 season with Fiddler on the Roof, running July 25 through Aug. 11.

Eric van Baars, assistant artistic director for Porthouse Theatre, will direct this production, and John Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts at Kent State, will provide the choreography. The show also features design work by two Kent State alumni – costume design by Sarah Russell, and set design by Nolan O’Dell. Musical direction is by Jennifer Korecki.

Fiddler on the Roof has touched audiences around the world with its humor, warmth and honesty. The universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion.

“This life-affirming musical will illuminate the powers of tradition, both in the theatrical sense of the rituals which draw us to musical theatre and the powers of communal values to support our tough decisions in life,” van Baars says.

Van Baars says this production of Fiddler on the Roof will respect the tradition of the show while also including some new creative interpretations.

“There is such value placed on the traditions of mounting a production of Fiddler on the Roof, from the use of the iconic Jerome Robbins choreography to the religious observations of the Hebrew faith. Just as Tevye is tested to accept change, our production will play with some of the traditional elements, promising to be not-your-Bubbe’s ‘Fiddler,’” van Baars says.

Fiddler on the Roof features five members of the Actor’s Equity Association among a cast of 32 actors.
George Roth will play patriarch Tevye, and Tracee Patterson will star opposite as Golde. As the three eldest daughters in the family, Danielle Dorfman will play Tzeitel, Maddi Drees will play Chava and Jessica Benson will play Hodel. Lissy Gulick will play Yente, and Greg Violand will play the Constable. Frank Jackman will play Lazar, and Larry Nehring will play Avrham.

Roth, Patterson, Violand, Jackman and Nehring are members of the Actors' Equity Association.

The show’s celebrated score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick features songs loved the world over: "Sunrise, Sunset," "If I Were A Rich Man" and "Matchmaker," among many others.

Fiddler on the Roof will run July 25, 26, 27, 30, 31 at 8 p.m., Aug. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, at 8 p.m. and July 28 and Aug. 4, 10, 11 at 2 p.m. Porthouse Theatre is located on the grounds of Blossom Music Center at 1145 W. Steels Corners Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls.

In Porthouse tradition, the Green Show will be performed on the lawn before each production of Fiddler. The Green Show cast is made up of student members of the Porthouse Theatre Academy, who are soon-to-be college students entering the Kent State musical theatre program.

Single tickets are $32-38 for adults, $26-35 for seniors, and $17-21 for students. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 330-672-3884 or visit

Porthouse Theatre features free parking and allows patrons to bring in picnics (including alcohol) to its grounds to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is located next to the theatre grounds. A covered picnic pavilion is available for reservation at $2 per person or free for subscribers and is based on availability. There also is a concession stand of light snacks and beverages. Many picnic tables are available for everyone’s enjoyment at no cost.

Posted July 22, 2013

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Register Your Homecoming Event by Aug. 2

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Kent State University students celebrate Homecoming.
The deadline to register an event for Homecoming 2013 is
Aug. 2

The deadline to register Homecoming events being planned by university departments or offices is Friday, Aug. 2. The registration form is available on the Kent State University Alumni Association’s website and can be submitted online. Registered events will be promoted on the Homecoming website and as space allows in other marketing materials. Individuals interested in participating in the Homecoming parade can also download a registration form at the alumni website.

Many fun-filled activities are already planned for Homecoming. The festivities will kick-off early on Oct. 5 with the annual Bowman Cup 5K Race and will include the hospitality tent at the Williamson Alumni Center, the parade down Main Street, the third annual Kiss on the K and the MAC Championship re-match against Northern Illinois.

For additional information on Homecoming 2013, please visit or email

Posted July 22, 2013 | Lindsay Kuntzman

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Performing Arts Center Season Unveiling July 27

Kent State University at Tuscarawas in New Philadelphia is holding the third annual Season Unveiling on July 27 to announce the Performing Arts Center's 2013-2014 season. Tickets for this event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., are $25.

Attendees will be the first to see the Performing Arts Center's 2013-2014 season schedule, and will also have the opportunity to buy tickets to the shows. The evening also includes heavy hors d'oeuvres and a chance to win two tickets to every production for the upcoming season.

Proceeds from the $25 ticket price will go toward the Performing Arts Endowment fund, which is used to underwrite various endeavors such as the Class Act Series for students in grades K-12. Area students can attend these high-caliber, daytime performances for a $1 ticket price.

Season unveiling tickets can be purchased in person at the Performing Arts Center box office, online at or by calling 330-308-6400. The Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Dr. NE, New Philadelphia. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Posted July 22, 2013

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Campus Kitchen at Kent State University to Host Annual Cookout at Kent Social Services

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The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University is seeking
volunteers to help prepare and serve hamburgers, salad
and pies during its annual cookout on July 25 for clients at
Kent Social Services.The Campus Kitchen also has other
opportunities for volunteers.

Looking for opportunities to get out and volunteer this summer? The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University invites you to join in its annual cookout on Thursday, July 25, at Kent Social Services. The Campus Kitchen will prepare and serve hamburgers, salad and pies for the clients at Kent Social Services. Volunteers can meet the loading dock of Beall Hall at 1 p.m. before heading over to begin cooking at Kent Social Services.

Also join the Campus Kitchen to pack backpacks with nutritious meals for area youth and make sandwiches for the homeless every Thursday from 2:30 - 4 p.m. in the second floor kitchen of Beall Hall. There are also opportunities to help serve sandwiches to the homeless Fridays at 5 p.m. – meet at the Beall Hall loading dock to car pool.

For more information, contact Michelle Whitacre at

Posted July 22, 2013

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Kent State Women’s Center Invites You to Participate in Race for the Cure on July 28

The Kent State University Women’s Center has created a team to participate in the 2013 Race for the Cure in Akron on July 28. The team will raise funds to support the Northeast Ohio Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Women’s Center has had a team in Cleveland in the past, but this is the first year it will participate in the Akron Race for the Cure as a team from Kent State.

“We welcome students, faculty, staff and community members to join our team,” says Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, assistant director of the Women’s Center. “Please help us support this important project by becoming a member of the Kent State team, and support the Northeast Ohio Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in its efforts to end breast cancer forever.”

Click here for more information, and to register to join the Kent State team.

Posted July 22, 2013

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