Carolina Performing Arts Launches New Season

Known for their spectacular and cutting-edge shows, Carolina Performing Arts released the schedule for their upcoming season. Kicking off the launch with an elegant celebration and speech by Emil Kang there is no doubt this season will do anything less than dazzle and inspire.

Division 1 Revenue Sports, the Daily Tar Heel, and the Mission of UNC

Kudos to WCHL and Jim Heavner for his thoughtful interview with Bubba Cunningham, the Director of Athletics at UNC.  These athletics scandals have harmed the entire UNC community, so they demand that we ask difficult questions and challenge the often mis-guided assumptions about the role of Division 1 athletics in a great research university. 

Of the many assertions made by Mr. Cunningham, for now I would like to address one, his justifying the limited involvement of revenue sports athletes in the broader life of the university.  He drew an inaccurate analogy between a Daily Tar Heel reporter and an athlete to make his point.  Mr. Cunningham’s error stems from a mis-reading or mis-understanding of the mission of UNC, to advance scholarship, research, and creativity and to teach a diverse community of students. 

A legitimate criticism of Division 1 sports, especially the revenue sports of football and basketball, is that the demands of training, practice, and games make it virtually impossible for many, if not most, to engage in the diverse cultural and social life that is central to a college education. 

Indeed, as the scandals have revealed, the demands on these athletes, sadly, too often make it difficult to engage in the core academic activities as well.  How do the demands on athletes in the revenue sports advance the mission of UNC?  I’d like somebody to explain that to me. 

In stark contrast, the Daily Tar Heel reporter is fully immersed in the mission of the university, even if she or he takes classes only in the morning and works for the Tar Heel from noon until midnight.  The mission of the Daily Tar Heel is to pursue all news of the University; to set the standard for the journalism industry; to serve as a learning laboratory for young journalists, etc. 

Those fortunate enough to work for the Tar Heel develop skills that advance scholarship, research, and creativity.  The same could be said for our students in the arts who can be found at all hours on the stage or in their performance studios. 

I encourage Mr. Cunningham to speak with Don Oeler of the Chapel Hill Philarmonia, Emil Kang of Carolina Performing Arts or Joseph Haj of Playmakers about how their programs advance the mission of the university.

To sustain vibrant cultures and nations, universities are too important and too fragile to engage in ventures that are not strongly aligned with their missions.

The Rite of Spring at 100

The Carolina Performing Arts presented a sneak peek of their 2012-2013 schedule to a gathering of their most ardent supporters last Wednesday evening May 16, 2012 at Memorial Hall on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Executive Director, Emil Kang, took us all on a historical journey to 100 years ago. Here in the United States the Girl Scouts had just been founded by Juliette Gordon Low and the famous cherry trees were being planted by the hundreds in Washington, DC. Meanwhile across the Atlantic in Paris, France a shocking and revolutionary artistic performance would be about to radically change music, ballet and art forever.

Kang animatedly explained to us all about the night of May 29, 1912 at the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” The piece is about ancient rituals that mankind traditionally used to supplant the land and spirits to produce abundance as they emerged from winter to spring. The work displayed outrageous costumes, unusual choreography and a disconcerting story line about the pagan sacrifice of a young girl to appease the Gods. Everything about it was different– Stravinsky’s score featured a bassoon solo played in a higher range than anyone else had ever done; the ballet choreography was the reverse of the basic position with feet turned in rather than out; and it is said that the dissonant harmonies and jarring, irregular rhythms invoked an actual riot among the audience. 

Carolina Performing Arts is presenting Rite 100 in partnership with The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences and Institute for the Arts and Humanities. This celebration will feature 11 new works, nine world premieres (yes, you read that right!) and two U.S. premieres by some of the most talented artists of today. The people who attended the event on May 16 are supporters of the arts who, along with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, make it possible for a quaint town like Chapel Hill to be revered arts destination. The Rite of Spring shattered everyone’s expectations as will, I believe, this year’s incredible line-up of performances at Memorial Hall.

Be sure to view the new schedule or support Carolina Performing Arts.

Raymond B. Farrow, III, the Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives with Betty Kenan.

From left to right Betsy Hayes, Cliff Butler and Mary Moore.

Chapelboro’s own Jan Bollick and Art Chansky.

From left to right Susan Slatkoff, Ron Strauss, Emil Kang and Bruce Carney.

From left to right WCHL owners Barry Leffler and Jim Heavner with Woody Coley.

Be sure to look for this amazing bus around Chapelboro!

Thanks for reading! I am always looking for great photo stories to tell in the Chapelboro area. If you know of someone or something that should be documented please write to me at