Smith Fine Arts Series is back in Rice Auditorium for 2021-22! It’s time to experience again what we’ve all been missing: live performance that entertains and transforms. A mix of music and dance, with artists from near and far… expressive vocals that dip and soar…virtuosic, jaw-dropping instrumentals… graceful and athletic bodies in motion.
When world-class performers share their gifts onstage with an audience in the seats, magic happens. Join us for our 44th Season, as we celebrate together the return of in-person performing arts to Western Oregon University and our wider community.
When it comes to traditional Irish music, few artists are more influential than Seamus Egan. From his beginnings as a teen prodigy, to his groundbreaking solo work with Shanachie Records, to his founding of Irish-American powerhouse band Solas, Egan has inspired multiple generations of musicians and helped define the sound of Irish music today.
In 2017, Egan began touring as the Seamus Egan Project, bringing along friends and musical guests and introducing fans to his immense and influential catalog of music. He’s put his mark on the sound of the Irish flute, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, tin whistle and low whistle, among others. Music comes as naturally to Seamus Egan as breath, but his mastery of the tradition is only part of his plan to move the music forward.
“…one of the most active and ubiquitous performers to emerge in the ‘second-
generation’ Irish folk revival.”
~ Boston Irish Reporter
The Thalea String Quartet is dedicated to bringing timeless music to audiences from all walks of life. From living rooms to concert stages around the world, the Thalea String Quartet aims to connect with audiences on a musical, emotional and personal level, from first time listeners to string quartet aficionados. They are devoted to building a new and diverse audience for chamber music through innovative programming and community engagement.
Formed in 2014 at the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy, the Thalea String Quartet has been praised for their “vibrant performance” and “sincere expressivity” (SF Classical Voice). Its members are each dedicated educators and active collaborators. The Thalea String Quartet has performed recitals across Europe, China, the United States, and Canada, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
“Thalea never failed to deliver a stirring performance.” ~Calgary Herald
Crowned “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues” in 2015, Thornetta Davis is a multitalented singer-songwriter with 30 Detroit Music Awards to her credit thanks to a memorable voice that is strong, melodic and smooth. She first gained attention in 1987 as a backup singer for the Detroit soul band Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs. In 1996, Davis recorded her first solo album Sunday Morning Music; her song “Cry” from that album was featured on HBO’s The Sopranos. Davis has opened for blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy and Bonny Raitt. Davis continues to electrify audiences worldwide with memorable performances featuring her commanding voice, crisp songwriting and poet’s ear for language. She’ll be onstage with her seven-piece band.
“Her voice has the versatility to both caress slow ballads and belt out raw stompers. It’s about
time more of us outside of the Detroit area got to hear this lady sing.”
~ Elmore Magazine
International jazz singer/songwriter Halie Loren brings a fresh and original perspective to time-honored musical paths, channeling her innate understanding of connectedness across musical boundaries to forge bonds with diverse audiences in North America, Asia, and Europe. Loren has a gift for discovering the playfulness, pizzazz, and sensuality inherent in a lyric, and a talent for turning feelings into genre-defying original compositions—songs at once universal and deeply personal.
A lover of global cultures and music, Loren has a repertoire that’s multi-lingual, including songs in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Korean as well as her native English. Loren has released eight albums to-date, garnering several national and international awards, and significant critical and chart success along the way.
“A stellar voice with great tone and marvelous command of phrasing sets Loren apart from a
myriad of female vocalists. Old school becoming new cool in the hands of a gifted artist is a
~ Critical Jazz
Vianna Bergeron Brazilian Jazz is led by pianist Cassio Vianna and saxophonist Tom Bergeron and features vocalist Rosi Bergeron. Along with bassist Wagner Trindade, the group has been playing Brazilian music together since 2009. They formed Vianna Bergeron Brazilian Jazz with drummer Cam Siegal in 2018.
Vianna Bergeron Brazilian Jazz plays an upbeat and eclectic mix of Brazilian genres, including the brilliant instrumental choro that was popular in the early 20th Century, the romantic song-samba from the 1930s and 1940s, classic and contemporary bossa nova, the breathtaking frevo from Northeast Brazil, modern popular songs, original compositions, and hits in the style of the New Samba currently heard in today’s Rio de Janeiro. The band comprises an equally eclectic assemblage of virtuoso musicians with deep roots in Brazilian music, North American and Brazilian jazz, and other groove-oriented musics from the Americas, Africa, and beyond.
“…the seductive rhythms of (Vianna’s) native Brazil carry the day.”
~ Jack Bowers, All About Jazz
“Tom Bergeron’s sax is so sweet your blood sugar soars.”
~ Karen Kammerer, Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.)
Rainbow Dance Theatre returns to Smith Fine Arts Series with 20 in 2020, a new repertory show marking RDT’s 20-year anniversary in 2020 as an Oregon-based dance company. This event will mark RDT’s first public performance since March 2020, when theaters throughout the world shut down, halting RDT’s 20-year anniversary tour.
Returning to the stage with a high-powered dance retrospective, 20 in 2020 features works highlighting the sometimes whimsical, often poignant collaborative choreography of artistic directors Valerie Bergman and Darryl Thomas. During this high-impact performance, West African Dance, Haitian Dance, Hip Hop, and Martial Arts fuse with American Modern Dance to reflect diverse cultural influences. Interactive full-stage sets, 3-D backdrops, and lavish costuming add a unique visual element that transforms the dance performance into an entertaining and provocative theatrical event.
“deeply satisfying… combines artful stagecraft with physical prowess…in intricate, balance-
shifting acrobatic maneuvers.”
~ Seattle Times
Having more flexibility in these times is important. Subscribers can now exchange tickets into a different performance date at no cost (seating will vary). Single ticket buyers can exchange for a $5 fee.
Planning a celebration or looking for a group activity for your office? Your party of 10 or more can enjoy the best in performing arts at a discounted price. Tickets are only $22 – more than 20% off our regular single-ticket price. Contact the SFAS office for details.