When MSC OPAS rolled out the lineup for Season 38, “It’s Showtime”, April, 2010, no one knew how dynamic the full year really promised to be. The lineup looked good on paper, as it always does, but Anne Black, and her team really knocked the cover off the ball, providing high-energy musical dance, internationally renowned singing stars, intimate gatherings of dinner/dancing, harkening back to the best days of the 50s and 60s, and programs to delight the children, all in the past eight months.
Even before the first show of the season, the education aspect of the TAMU Arts Scene was insured with an opportunity for 50 students to participate in a Grammy University-sponsored “up close and personal” time with all four members of the Manhattan Transfer. This session is an official program of the Recording Academy organization to educate college students and promising future college students about today’s music industry. Health Science Center Associate Dean, Karan Chavis, an accomplished singer/songwriter, helped to arrange the afternoon session.
Later that night, starting off with a bang, Season 38 debut excitement was delivered by the multiple Grammy-winning members of The Manhattan Transfer. For 2 hours, the Transfer blew the doors off of musical harmonies, syncopated rhythms with style and grace that distinguishes them as jazz greats. Audiences spoke for days about the magic of their rendition of so many of their hits, musical standards all, with signature Transfer style and grace.
“Mamma Mia” was unforgettable for capacity crowds for 3 nights as everyone could relate to the music of ABBA, even if that was not ‘their’ generation. The beats and rhythmic excitement won over patrons from 8 to 80.
The vocal excellence of Irish tenor Ronan Tynan in concert for “An Irish Christmas” was enjoyed almost as much as his intellectual brilliance, as Tynan took a few special time outs from singing to share personal stories with those in Rudder Auditorium and provided insights as intimate as if you were one-on-one with this legend in your own living room.
“Time for Three” was a brilliant offering from three exceptionally talented young classical musicians who offered spontaneity, humor, and an opportunity to see firsthand how wonderful classical music can be, in any arrangement, as part of the Intimate Gatherings series. A popular question-and-answer session followed this program with Aggie students and others able to enjoy coffee with the classical musical dynamos.
All Monty Python fans “nudge, nudge, wink, wink”-ed and sang along, not very quietly, to Spamalot in January. “The Color Purple” was important and appreciated as part of celebrating Black History Month at TAMU in February,
Earlier this month, the exquisite setting of Miramont Country Club in Bryan proved to be the perfect site for OPAS’ Intimate Gatherings series, particularly “Nat King Cole Remembered”, which played four consecutive nights. Joe Bourne and the Gary Moran Trio delivered dynamic entertainment to enthusiastic capacity crowds each night.
Those who love TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” absolutely embraced October’s “Burn the Floor” performance on two nights in one of the fastest-moving shows to blur across Rudder’s stage. Ten exceptional couples danced every which way but loose as the tight choreography and briliant band were sufficiently inspirational to send couples to more than a few area classes to learn how, themselves, to burn up the floor. Note for future reference: there’s always the annual OPAS Gala fundraiser as the perfect event to try out your newly minted dance moves.
One of the bulding blocks of the OPAS series is, naturally, programming for the OPAS Jr. group, formerly the focal point of funding from the group known as the “OPAS Guild”, which has transitioned into the group known as “OPAS Encore”. Whatever name the volunteers choose to hang upon their door, the outcome remains the same: a focus on young people coming to know and appreciate the arts, with knowledge and education being at the forefront, and reasonable ticket prices, affordable for large families, the goal. Disney’s “Beauty and The Beast” and Fred Garbo’s “Inflatable Theater Company” rounded out a wonderful year for young artists to enjoy OPAS.
So, what’s ahead for next year? Season ticket holders are invited to be a part of the special evening announcement program for OPAS Season 39 in Rudder Theatre this Thursday, April 28, at 6:30 pm. Local CBS affiliate, KBTX Media will be streaming the event live on Channel 3 and via area cable as well.
Organizers are NOT revealing next year’s groups one moment before 6:30 pm, but here’s what they’ve promised so far:
1. A High-Kicking Story of Passion, Love and Dance
2. An Opening Night ConcertStarring an Oscar Favorite
3. A Musical Comedy based on a Classic Movie
4. Two Tony Award winners for Best Musical
5. A Wildly Outrageous Group Impossible to Describe
In an effort to glean just a hint of what was coming next seaon, a call to Craig Boleman of Soloshoe Communications, revealed what was surely the tightest sealed vault of information that will remain entirely unknown until the entire TAMU Arts community hears it Thursday night. Boleman, who teams with Anne Black and her superb staff to stage the season’s announcement gala, is also an Aggie whose knowledge of “All Things OPAS” began while he was pursuing his degree on campus years ago.
One thing Boleman would share, however, is that “the KBTX show has a special guest star”. Season ticket holders can RSVP to Thursday’s event by calling the OPAS office at (979) 845-1661. All those who are not (yet) season ticket holders can tune in to KBTX at 6:30 pm to watch the simulcast.
Season 39 promises to be nothing short of spectacular. Tune in on Thursday and find out!
For season tickets to OPAS Season 39, visit www.MSCOPAS.org. .