While Central College will celebrate its Homecoming in September with traditions such as football and the Lemming Race, musical and theatrical performances also will take center stage.
Hundreds of the college’s alumni and friends will join students, faculty and staff on campus the last week of September to celebrate the renovation of Douwstra Auditorium, the college’s regional concert hall. Among the highlights of the weekend’s festivities will be a performance by Chris Weaver, a 2010 Central graduate and a past contestant of “The Voice.”
“We are thrilled to invite alumni and area community residents to help us celebrate this wonderful series of festivities,” says Sunny Gonzales Eighmy ’99, vice president for advancement. “Homecoming is a time to celebrate friendships, Dutch pride and the traditions that make Central College special.”
Theatre Central to Present Blithe Spirit
The theatre department’s production of Blithe Spirit will tread the boards of the Pella Opera House stage to launch Homecoming festivities. The show will run for four nights during Homecoming week.
Directed by C.D. Adamson, assistant professor of theatre, the play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles’ marriage to his second wife, who cannot see or hear the ghost.
Showtimes and tickets: The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26; Thursday, Sept. 27; Friday, Sept. 28; and Saturday, Sept. 29. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for senior citizens and children at www.pellaoperahouse.org.
Friday Night Voice – Chris Weaver
Chris Weaver ’10 will perform Friday evening—just after the college’s famous Lemming Race—in Douwstra Auditorium with the college’s Chamber Singers. Also taking the stage that night is ALMA, Central’s vocal ensemble, under the direction of Gabriel Espinosa ’79, associate professor of music.
Weaver performed on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2017. Weaver’s stunning performance of “Try a Little Tenderness,” earned the first “four-chair turn” of the season. All four judges-Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson-wanted Weaver to join their teams. Weaver continued to impress the judges over several performances, including a cover of “I Put a Spell on You” in the knockout rounds.
“Weaver may have been eliminated during the playoff rounds, but his performance proved he has a star power to be reckoned with and is as fabulous as they come,” wrote Billboard magazine.
Weaver was invited back to perform “Bang Bang” with Jessie J during the season finale, making him the only contestant to encore in a finale in 13 seasons.
Taking the Central campus stage for the first time since his graduation, Weaver will perform “Shout Glory!” by Byron J. Smith and “Let Everything Hath Breath” by Jeffery Ames with the Chamber Singers. Other special guests include saxophonist Rusty Johnson ’03 and vocalists Molly Lehr ’08, Elizabeth De Vries ’18 and Samantha Moss ’18.
Earlier in the day, Weaver will lead a master class with students along with Espinosa and Mark Babcock ’91, associate professor of music and M. Joan Kuyper Farver Endowed Chair in Music.
Showtimes and tickets: Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28 event. Tickets are free and available to the public. The performance also will be live-streamed at www.central.edu/fine-arts.
Other Friday events include the annual Heritage Day Luncheon and the Lemming Race in Peace Mall, a Central tradition since 1977 in which costume-clad students and alumni race to the pond from Geisler Library and jump in. In addition, guests are invited to campus before the concert for dinner at the college’s street festival and barbecue. The event is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the Graham Hall lawn on Broadway Street. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the event.
Homecoming activities on Saturday, Sept. 29, include a pancake breakfast, the Athletics Hall of Honor induction ceremony, and tailgating under the big tent behind H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse. Central’s football team takes center stage at 1 p.m. in Schipper Stadium. The Dutch will host Buena Vista. Tickets to the game are $6 at the door. The game will be live-streamed at athletics.central.edu.
The day concludes with a performance in Douwstra Auditorium featuring the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the A Cappella Choir and Alumni Choir.
Under the direction of Mitch Lutch, associate professor of music and director of bands, the wind ensemble, featuring several Central alumni including Jack Schlesselman ’73 on trumpet, will perform:
- “Star Spangled Banner” arranged by John Williams
- “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland
- “Bugler’s Holiday” by Leroy Anderson
- “Swamp Stomp” by Mike Holober
- “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger
- “Shepherd’s Hey” by Percy Grainger
Lisa Calisesi Maidens ’10 and Babcock will co-direct the combined A Cappella and Alumni Choir totaling nearly 120 singers. The choirs will perform:
- Beethoven’s “Hallelujah from the Mt. of Olives”
- “O Love” by Elaine Hagenberg
- “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus
- “Music Down in My Soul” arranged by Moses Hogan
- “The Lord Bless You” by E. Fred Morris
In addition, Jared McCarty ’09 will be a featured soloist singing “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel.
The Central Homecoming celebration culminates with the 12th annual Flying Pans Alumni Steel Band Concert at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, in Douwstra Auditorium. All past steel pan members are invited to participate. Tickets are free and available to the public. The performance also will be live-streamed at www.central.edu/fine-arts.
Shop in Pella During Homecoming and Benefit Central Students
Central is partnering with Pella businesses and restaurants during Homecoming week with a Journey Scholarship passport. Ten percent of each purchase made with a passport at participating stores will support Central’s Journey Scholarship Fund, which directly supports student scholarships.