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Community college offering Arundel a season of performing arts variety

Artistic directors and staff orchestrating the performing arts schedule at Anne Arundel Community College include, from left: first row seated, Lynda Fitzgerald, Dawn Lindsay, Ian Wardenski and Anna Binneweg; and second row, Laura Garza, Christopher Ballengee, Douglas Byerly, Alicia Morse, Kristin Clippard and Sean Urbantke
Artistic directors and staff orchestrating the performing arts schedule at Anne Arundel Community College include, from left: first row seated, Lynda Fitzgerald, Dawn Lindsay, Ian Wardenski and Anna Binneweg; and second row, Laura Garza, Christopher Ballengee, Douglas Byerly, Alicia Morse, Kristin Clippard and Sean Urbantke (Bud Johnson for the Baltimore Sun)

Anne Arundel Community College has the arts covered this season with a mix from classic to pop, tragedy to comedy — plus dance.

A strong advocate of community outreach, college president Dawn Lindsay says she wants the school to be "a cultural hub for the county. As a destination for the arts, we have everything from music concerts to theater to opera, and in a broader cultural sense, we offer films, lectures, fine art gallery openings and more, all of which we welcome our Anne Arundel County neighbors to enjoy."

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First on tap in November is the community college's fall production of Christopher Hampton's adaptation of "Dangerous Liaisons," scheduled for the weekends of Nov. 7-9 and Nov. 13-16 at the Robert E. Kauffman Theater at Pascal Center for Performing Arts.

Fall music programs include a Nov. 1 jazz concert with guitarist Tom Lagana and his group, including tenor and soprano saxophonist George Garzone, bassist Tom Baldwin and Dominic Smith on drums. The concert will be in Humanities 112.

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On Nov. 21, Anna Binneweg conducts the AACC Symphony Orchestra in "Viva Italia," featuring Verdi's powerful overture to "La Forza del Destino," Paganini's Violin Concerto No 2 and Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 4 in a concert at the Kauffman Theater.

On Nov. 22, Marty Knepp and Ian Wardenski lead the AACC Big Band and Small Jazz Ensemble in a program of jazz standards; and on Nov. 23, the AACC Concert Band and Wind Ensemble will present a patriotic program.

December will bring the AACC Dance Company in "Running Amuck," an eclectic program featuring the works of director Lynda P. Fitzgerald and the talented members of the company in performances Dec. 4-6 at Kauffman Theater.

On Dec. 13 and 14, the AACC Concert Choir and AACC Chamber Singers present "The Holiday Spectacular," led by Eleanor Minor and Douglas Brandt Byerly; and on Dec. 20, the AACC Encore Chorale will offer a free Holiday Concert featuring favorite carols and holiday songs.

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Opera AACC is now in its 12th year under Byerly, its founder, who excels in bringing productions accessible to all audiences. Although Opera AACC usually presents one fully staged opera each year, it will not offer its next production until September 2015 — which will undoubtedly be worth the wait because it will be Mozart's "Don Giovanni," directed by James Harp, artistic director of Lyric Opera Baltimore.

In April 2015, performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" will be offered. Historically the theater arts program has offered several stage productions per year, from "Peter Pan" to dramas like "The Diviners," as well as more recent cutting-edge fare.

Byerly, who serves as chair of AACC Performing Arts, said the goal "is to welcome large audiences who will enjoy and learn from our performances. We treasure the rich heritage of popular theatrical chestnuts like 'Music Man' and also welcome thought-provoking and socially illuminating current or classic works."

To advance the theater program, Byerly has brought on board as professor of theater in acting Kristin Clippard, who directs "Dangerous Liaisons." Clippard said the play is about "games and winning, where the story is timeless in that cruelty never fades from the minds of ambitious social climbers."

Now a full-time professor of theater, Sean Urbantke has taught as an adjunct professor for two years and is a professional scene designer. An energetic and dedicated theater person, Urbantke recently offered his vision for the theater program and his respect for the late Robert "Chief" Kauffman, for whom the theater is named.

"I have a deep respect for what he did for both the students and the program at AACC," Urbantke said. " I plan to live up to his legacy and help in rebuilding a program with a rich history and institutional traditions. Decades later, Kauffman's students tell me they love this theater and program, and [say] how much they want to see it succeed. We are exploring multiple plans to make that hope a reality."

For more information on the college's performance offerings, go to aacc.edu/events or order tickets to an upcoming show by calling the box office at 410-777-2457 or boxoffice@aaccedu.

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