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Core Ensemble to be featured during Feb. 16 Artists Series event

February 10, 2012
 Core Ensemble
EAU CLAIRE — The Artists Series will feature the Core Ensemble chamber music theatre's production "Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance" Feb. 16 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

Conceived by the Core Ensemble and scripted by playwright Akin Babatunde, "Of Ebony Embers" is a musical play for solo actor and chamber music trio. The evening-length piece explores the life and times of African-Americans who helped shape the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. The work examines the lives of three great but very different poets — Langston Hughes (1902-67), Countee Cullen (1885-1948) and Claude McKay (1903-46) — as seen through the eyes of painter and muralist Aaron Douglas (1899-1979), portrayed by actor Chris White.

"Of Ebony Embers" takes place on an evening in January 1935, following the deaths of the young novelists Wallace Thurman and Rudolf Fisher. Aaron Douglas has engaged a chamber music ensemble to perform at a memorial dinner party in their honor. The program includes music by Duke Ellington, Jeffrey Mumford, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Margaret Bonds, Jelly Roll Morton, Bud Powell, Alvin Singleton, Billy Strayhorn and George Walker.

"Often formidable, always intelligent, ultimately compelling" (Boston Globe), the Core Ensemble has commissioned many new works featuring the unique instrumental combination of cello, piano and percussion. The group has toured throughout the United States and has performed at venues in Russia, Ukraine, Australia, England and the Caribbean, and has recordings on the New World, Albany and Centaur labels.

Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, or $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets for students are half-price, $3.50, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student-ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center counter in the east lobby of Davies Center and also will be sold at the door.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to Discover, MasterCard or Visa when they purchase online or order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all online and telephone charge orders.

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin. The Artists Series also is funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio, WHYS Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support.

The Artists Series is administered by the Activities, Involvement, and Leadership office of the University Centers.

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JS/DW

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