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Big names coming to PAC in '08-'09

Art Garfunkle, Bill Medley, Los Lobos, Tom Rush among topliners

Posted: June 13, 2008 1:14 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2008 7:55 p.m.

Acts appearing at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center, on the College of the Canyons campus, during the 2008-09 season include Art Garfunkel, Bill Medley, Los Lobos and Tom Rush. The PAC announced the season's lineup on Thursday.

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The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons unveiled its 2008-2009 season schedule Thursday, featuring more star power and doubling the number of performances over past seasons.

Singer Art Garfunkle, Righteous Brother and solo artist Bill Medley, Latin rockers Los Lobos, folk legend Tom Rush and the Diavolo Dance troupe are among the renowned topliners set to bring their shows to the Santa Clarita Valley.

"We think the community will be thrilled with the new season," said Adam Philipson, the venue's managing director and chief talent booker, who was joined at a brief press conference by Floyd Moos, COC's Dean of Fine and Performing Arts, and Sue Bozman, the college's vice president of district communication, marketing and external relations.

"Considering the community's growth and our goal to reach new audience members and new patrons, we've really increased and diversified the lineup of talent coming into the Performing Arts Center," Philipson said. "We've put them together into a series of six series - President's Choice, Roots & Folk, In Motion, the Almost-Free Family series, Cabaret Onstage and Great Performances."

Garfunkle, five-time Grammy-winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer with a dozen solo albums to his credit, will be backed by the Santa Clarita Symphony Jan. 11 in a special one-time appearance, matching his instantly recognizeable voice with the locally based 68-piece all-professional orchestra.

"Just like people are discovering there is a Performing Arts Center that's so beautiful in this community, there are people who are still discovering we have a world-class symphony," Philipson said.

"The Symphony and Adam worked very hard for a number of months to bring this unique event to Santa Clarita," said John Dow, Symphony marketing director. "Performing with Art Garfunkle is a phenomenal opportunity for the Symphony that shows how much the Symphony has grown in just four and half years."

Medley, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, will open the season Friday, Sept. 12, with a set featuring songs he and fellow Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield made famous in the 1960s, such as the Phil Spector-produced "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," and the Oscar-winning theme song from "Dirty Dancing," "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life," a duet with Jennifer Warnes.

September also presents an encore performance by the Capitol Steps, which first brought its celebrated political humor to the Performing Arts Center in 2007. The current presidential campaign has provided the irreverent group of current and former congressional staffers plenty of fresh and politically incorrect fun.

On May 16, 2009, folk legend Tom Rush will team with the fast-rising Lovell Sisters in one of four shows in a new PAC new partnership with radio station Go Country 105 that will bring concerts to the center's main stage. Rush, an iconic figure of the 1960s, had a profound impact on the American music scene for decades. His influence helped propel the careers of Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin and many more. The Lovell Sisters' innovative fusion of folk, country and contemporary acoustic sounds has earned them a reputation as one of the hottest new acts in the nation.

Additional Go Country concerts during the season include a special holiday show Dec. 7 featuring "American Idol" contestants Phil Stacey and Josh Gracin in an Acoustic Holiday Concert, the Hunt Family Fiddlers in January and Grammy-award winners Riders in the Sky in April.

May 2009 ends in grand fashion when Los Lobos takes the stage on the 29th. The East L.A.-based group broke into the mainstream music scene with a stirring rendition of Richie Valens' classic "La Bamba." They currently perform a wide-ranging repertoire of blues, rockabilly, jazz, Latin and their singular Mexican-American sound.

Twice during the season, the PAC will transform into a cabaret, where members of the audience will be seated on the main stage and interact with the performers in an intimate eat, drink and be merry environment. Susan Egan, star of stage, screen and song, will entertain audiences in October, while Lee Lessack and Joanne O'Brien will performing Broadway love songs on Valentine's Day.

The PAC's upcoming season also features programming for children, with the New York tour of "Junie B. Jones the Musical," the Los Angeles Opera's "Figaro's American Adventure" and performance artists the Tweaksters. A new arts education program will invite school kids to attend special performances at the PAC, and have artists visiting the schools as well.

The season also features the College of the Canyons' theatre department with performances of "South Pacific," Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" and its outstanding New Works Festival. The Santa Clarita Regional Theatre will also offer performances of "Grease" and "A Chorus Line."

Additional shows include performances by the Spencers: Theatre of Illusion; the visual spectacle of Diavolo; the Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago; a special free chamber recital by Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and much more.

These are all above and beyond "Arts on Campus," a full schedule of performances by the COC theater and music departments. "The educational component is a big part of the Performing Arts Center's mission," Philipson said.

By judicious, strategic booking, Philipson said, the Performing Arts Center doubled the number of performances to be presented, while its budget for artists' fees increased just $30,000 over last season, when fees were about $200,000.

Also new this year: a second box office booth with two new windows, an electronic ticket scanning system, and vendors providing food and beverages including wine in the lobby.

Funded by the State of California ($15.9 million) and the city of Santa Clarita ($2.4 million), the 47,000 square-foot, $18.3-million venue opened in summer 2004 and seats about 950 people. Featuring instructional, community and professional entertainment and informational programs, it's located on COC's main campus at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia 91355.

"The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center is one of the cultural centers of the region," Moos said. "It can bring things to the community that no other venue can."

"This is the place you'll want to be on a Friday night," Philipson said.

For complete 2008-2009 season details and performance schedule, visit www.canyonsPAC.com.

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