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Banners Cultural Series kicks off 2013 Season

Banners Cultural Series kicks off 2013 Season

The membership campaign for the 21st season of the Banners Cultural Series at McNeese State University is currently underway and people still have time to get their tickets for this season's 20 events - from classical and jazz music to ballet and modern dance as well as lectures on hot topics -all taking place between Feb. 23 and May 4.

"The mission of Banners at McNeese is to provide our community access to arts and humanities programming and education that is unique to our area, as well as to create an environment within Banners that supports lifelong learning and an appreciation for cultural diversity," said Patricia Prudhomme, Banners director.

A gala for members will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, on the third floor of the Lake Charles Civic Center. Members will get a preview of the season's artists and lectures as well as exceptional food and entertainment.

The Banners Series kicks off with the O'Connor String Quartet at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in McNeese's historic F.G. Bulber Auditorium. 

Prudhomme said the Banners Series is supported by membership fees, corporate sponsors and grants.

A Banners Pass Holder membership, which includes two tickets to all performances and invitations to special receptions, is available for $150. Friend memberships, which include four tickets to all events, are $300. Patron memberships, which include six tickets, are $500, while Patron Plus memberships, which include eight tickets, are $1,000. All membership levels include reserved seating areas. Tickets to individual performances will be available at the door at $20 for adults, $5 for students and free to McNeese and Sowela students with IDs. Lectures are open free to the public. People can join by calling the Banners office at 337-475-5123 or visiting the Banners website at 

Corporate sponsors, which pick up more than 50 percent of the cost of the series, include Citgo, the Isle of Capri, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, city of Lake Charles, Empire of the Seed, Entergy, IBERIABANK, Jeff Davis Bank & Trust Co., Knight Media Inc., Lake Charles/SWLA Convention and Visitors Bureau, PPG, Southern Sound Systems Inc., Stockwell Sievert Law Firm, Union Pacific Railroad, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Foundation, AT&T, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Fuerst Law Firm, KPLC-TV, Lake Charles Pre-Sort,  Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation and L'Auberge Lake Charles, Southwest Beverage Co. Inc., The Stream Family, Thrive, Bolton Ford, Domino's Pizza, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, Frame House & Gallery, The Hearing Center, Louisiana Lottery, Newman, Hoffoss & Devall Law Firm, Paradise Florist, Partners in Physical Therapy, Phillips66, Sasol North America, Stacy Lynn Shearman, Sweets & Treats, Turner Industries Group, Ada B. Vincent and Dr. and Mrs. Kashi Yadalam. 

Events in this year's series include:

Members Opening Gala presented by IBERIABANK- Saturday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.
Lake Charles Civic Center, 3rd Floor
This members-only event is one of the benefits of being a Banners Cultural Season supporter. There will be food and entertainment as well as a preview of the season's artists and a snapshot of what will be offered this season.  

O'Connor String Quartet - Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Grammy Award-winning violinist/composer/fiddler Mark O'Connor is widely recognized as one of the most gifted contemporary composers in America. O'Connor incorporates many musical styles and genres into a sound that is uniquely his own through his quartet. 

Maceo Parker - Friday, March 1, 7:30 p.m.
Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center
Co-sponsored with the City of Lake Charles
Maceo Parker simultaneously represents and connects the history of soul and funk music in one golden thread. For nearly half a century, the soft-spoken saxophonist from North Carolina has been a major component of funk as the key soloist heard in the live bands and recordings of James Brown, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. With his own band, Parker continues the funk legacy.

Richard Bausch - Saturday, March 2, 7 p.m.
Co-presented with the McNeese Master of Fine Arts Program
Richard Bausch is the author of 11 novels and eight collections of stories. An acknowledged master of the short story, Bausch's work has appeared in many magazines and has been widely anthologized. His novel, "Peace," was awarded the 2010 Dayton International Peace Prize.

Koresh Dance Company - Saturday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center
Co-sponsored with the City of Lake Charles
Renowned for its powerful stage presence and high-energy style, Philadelphia's Koresh Dance Company has been hailed as a vital force on both national and international stages. Founded in 1991 by Israeli-born choreographer and artistic director Ronen Koresh, this troupe presents its audiences with an exciting and emotional blend of ballet, modern dance and jazz molded into a style of choreography that is both eloquent and explosive.

Christopher O'Riley - Saturday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Performance with the McNeese Wind Symphony
As host of the popular NPR music program, "From the Top," Christopher O'Riley is well known for his eloquent and compelling musings on music and popular culture. His latest performances stretch the piano beyond the classical repertoire and into the rich uncharted territory of contemporary and alt-rock. O'Riley is recognized as one of the leading American pianists of his generation.

Juan Jose Valdes - Tuesday, March 19, 7 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Valdes is the official geographer of the National Geographic Society. He guides and assists the Map Policy Committee in setting border representations, disputed territories and naming conventions. He also serves as the director of editorial and research for National Geographic Maps, where his prime responsibility is to ensure accuracy and consistency for all maps and map products. During his lecture, he will share his experiences from his recent trip to Cuba.

McLeod Lecture Series - Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.
Ralph Squires Recital Hall, McNeese campus
The 10th annual McLeod Lecture Series examines how partisan politics have impacted state legislators and government at all levels. How can elected officials work better across the aisle? The panel will address the challenges of holding firmly to one's beliefs while working collaboratively with those holding opposing views. The McLeod Endowment, in memory of former legislator and judge, Bill McLeod, supports this series and the Southwest Louisiana Legislative Archives at McNeese.

26th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition - March 21-May 9
Presented by the McNeese Department of Visual Arts
Grand Gallery, Shearman Fine Arts Annex
Opening Reception, 6-8 p.m., March 21

Spencers: Theatre of Illusion - Friday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.
Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center
Co-sponsored with the City of Lake Charles
What the Spencers create is "theatre" in the truest sense of the word. Audiences cross over a threshold of disbelief and are captivated only moments after Kevin and Cindy take the stage. By combining original theatrical elements with cutting-edge illusions, audience interaction, dramatic lighting, special effects, beautiful scenery, music, movement and stage magic, the Spencers have propelled the age-old art of magic into the present.

Jeremy Davis & the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra - Sunday, April 7, 7 p.m.
Burton Coliseum
Live from Savannah, Ga., raised in the Louisiana Delta and now performing across the nation, Jeremy Davis is proud to present his Fabulous Equinox Jazz Orchestra. Don't expect a concert or a jazz recital, but a one-of-a kind, high-energy stage show featuring some of the best entertainers and musicians the industry has to offer. 

Andy Narell - Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Over the course of 11 solo albums and two more as co-leader of the Caribbean Jazz Project, Andy Narell has pioneered the role of the steel pan in contemporary music. In 1999, Narell became the first foreigner to compose for Trinidad's Panorama Steel Band competition, guiding the 100-player Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra to the finals of both the 1999 and 2000 Panoramas. 

Roy Kesey - Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m.
Co-presented with the McNeese MFA Program
Roy Kesey's latest book is the novel, "Pacazo," winner of Word Riot's 2012 Paula Anderson Book Award. His new book, a collection called "Any Deadly Thing," has been recently published by Dzanc Books. He has won two Pushcart Prize Special Mentions, the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize in Fiction and a 2010 prose fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

The Dali Quartet - Sunday, April 14, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
The Dali Quartet is today's freshest voice in classical and Latin-American music. Anchored in both Venezuela's El Sistema and in American classical conservatory traditions, this exciting young quartet combines the best of both worlds. The Dali Quartet's captivating performances of traditional string quartet and Latin-American repertoire create an extraordinary concert experience that takes listeners on an eclectic journey of rhythm and sound.

Einstein's Jewish Science: Steve Gimbel - Thursday, April 18, 7 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Einstein's Jewish Science: Physics at the Intersection of Politics and Religion
The Nazis referred to the theory of relativity as "Jewish science" to denigrate it. While their reasoning for this label was flawed, we do see the influences of religion and politics in the theories of space and motion that came before that of Einstein. 

Pokey LaFarge  - Saturday, April 20, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Of the many roots musicians traveling the world and spreading the early American music tradition, Pokey LaFarge is next in line to make a significant impact on music enthusiasts everywhere. From St. Louis, Mo., this group's creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing rings true and fine, making it among the most innovative of all the purists performing American roots music today. 

"Perilous Journeys" with Karin Muller - Tuesday, April 23, 7 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
This Swiss-born author, filmmaker, photographer and adventurer set out to travel the world's historic highways. Karen Muller is an expert lecturer for the National Geographic Society and Smithsonian. Her high-energy, multi-media performance is guaranteed to inspire your spirit of adventure, with insights into world traveling that few ever experience. "Perilous Journeys" is a behind-the-scenes look at living (as a woman, alone) in war zones, communist countries and a dozen other cultures. 

Ruthie Foster - Saturday, April 27, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
Those who have followed Ruthie Foster's eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel. In addition to leading her own band and touring with it around the world, Foster has also collaborated on stage and recordings with a diverse list of artists including Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Bibb and Paul Thorn. 

Lynn Trefzger - Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.
Rosa Hart Theatre, Lake Charles Civic Center
Co-sponsored with the City of Lake Charles
Lynn Trefzger is a ventriloquist/comedienne with a trunk full of zany characters that have accompanied her to stages throughout the country. Audiences are treated to Lynn's vocal illusion talents, when they may meet a drunken and lovable camel, a grumpy old man, a feisty little girl, and may even see some other audience members who are brought up for the action. Her off-the-wall audience interplay is riotously funny, no two shows are alike. 

McNeese Jazz Festival featuring Wycliffe Gordon - Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.
F.G. Bulber Auditorium, McNeese campus
One of the world's leading trombonists and most prolific composers, Wycliffe Gordon is a true gem among jazz musicians. Handpicked right out of college to join the original Wynton Marsalis Septet, Wycliffe has been making a name for himself ever since.