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Limelight and Accents Series Celebrates 50 Years of Arts and Culture

Step Afrika! dance troup

Step Afrika! (Image provided)

With a lineup that runs the gamut from chamber music to step-dancing, the 50th anniversary season of the Limelight and Accents Performing Arts series is expected to be one of the most memorable in recent history.

For five decades, the series has served as a cultural anchor for the region, bringing some of the finest jazz, classical, world music, theatre art and dance performers to the Geneseo community.

“We’ve always been able to draw a really broad array of artists to the College,” said Leah Sherman ‘20, Limelight series co-coordinator. “But this year, I think the variety is particularly noteworthy. Every act in the lineup will not only be fun and entertaining, but informative. And when you put them all together, we think audiences are going to really like the variety and the way the series touches on so many different areas.”

What makes the series even more distinctive is that it is completely student-run. Supported by student activity fees and affiliated with the Geneseo Campus Activities Board (GCAB), the Limelight and Accents Performing Series offers students yet another opportunity to gain valuable leadership and organizational skills.

“I chose to get involved with Limelight because it is a truly unique opportunity that most college-aged students don’t have,” said Sherman. “The tasks associated with the series, including finding out what people are interested in and then using that information to create the lineup, presented a very real and hands-on experience. We gained not only professional skills but it added to our personal growth as well. Understanding the behind the scenes aspect to events like Limelight has opened our eyes to just how much an audience misses when viewing the final product.”

As the series celebrates 50 years, both Sherman and fellow co-coordinator Jane Baranello '20 agree that the reason for its longevity is the sense of community it represents and generates — not only behind-the-scenes but in the audience as well.

“For 50 years, Limelight has created a consistent platform for the community and students to come together and experience the beauty of the performing arts,” said Baranello. “And I believe that both the coordinators of the series and the returning audience members are a big part of that. As with anything, audience tastes have changed and the series has changed with it but the driving force — Limelight — has always been there. And we hope it will continue. The current generation is used to seeing images and videos online which adds to the importance and value of continuing to stage live performances. There is nothing more exciting than when you are able to see them in real life!”

All shows begin at 7 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium. The series kicks off on Sept. 22 with a performance by Recycled Percussion, a “junk rock music” band that offers an interactive twist that few have experienced. During every show, the band mixes their gritty assault on buckets, power tools or anything else they can their sticks on with a sense of humor and gravity-defying athleticism.

Other performances in the 2018-19 series include:

Step Afrika! (Nov. 10)
Step Afrika! is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The company is critically-acclaimed for its efforts to promote the dance tradition’s use as an educational tool for young people worldwide.

James Sewell Ballet (Feb. 23)
The James Sewell Ballet was founded in 1992 as a close-knit company of dance artists willing to challenge their physical limits and expand their notions about ballet. Critically-acclaimed performances have moved and delighted audiences at more than 300 domestic and international venues.

Presidio Brass (April 6)
Hailing from “America’s Finest City,” San Diego, Presidio Brass is a dynamic force in American brass chamber music. Whether playing popular classical works or jazz standards, adding beautiful piano stylings or drum grooves, this quintet provides an exhilarating ride of music.

Jessica Vosk (April 20)
Set to reprise her role performing as Elphaba in the show Wickedon Broadway, Jessica Volk continues to showcase her incredible voice through every performance. Vosk has been part of numerous Broadway productions such as Finding Neverland and Fiddler on the Roof.

Tickets are $8 for Geneseo students; $10 for children under 12; $15 for alumni, faculty and seniors; and $18 for the general public. Prices for the full series are $32 for Geneseo students; $40 for children under 12; $60 for alumni, faculty and seniors; and $72 for the general public.

To purchase tickets, stop by the Student Association box office located on the first floor of MacVittie College Union or call (585) 245-5873 or (800) 525-2070. Tickets can also be purchased online or at the door on the day of the performance.