Each month we feature a handful of arts and community-based organizations and their programs and projects funded by the Delaware Division of the Arts in our Arts Spotlight which will be included on our monthly e-newsletter, Arts E-News and online. If you haven’t signed up yet for Arts E-News, please do so here.
Funding for Division of the Arts grants is provided by the Delaware General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. To view past grants awarded (1999 to present), please visit our Grants Awarded page.
Grant Types: GOS – General Operating Support; PS – Project Support
We NEED a Little Christmas
The Capital Ringers ensemble is back live in 2021 for its beloved Christmas show, entitled We NEED a Little Christmas, after going virtual in 2020. The ensemble’s 2021 show will feature signature favorites such as “Wizards in Winter” and “Winter Wonderland,” as well as other goosebump-inducing arrangements of sacred and secular tunes, including their theme song for the season, “We Need a Little Christmas!” The five scheduled dates and venues for We NEED a Little Christmas are:
For more information about We NEED a Little Christmas and the individual performances, visit the Capital Ringers’ Christmas 2021 page.
The Capital Ringers is Delmarva’s Community Handbell Ensemble, featuring the largest collection of handbells and handchimes on the peninsula. The organization was founded in 2004 by Linda Simms, who serves as the organization’s artistic director. The Capital Ringers’ mission is “igniting hearts and minds through the power of music.” The ensemble does so by showing audiences who might only have experienced handbells in church the incredible versatility and range of the instrument, especially since the ensemble’s advanced ringers play more challenging arrangements than most other handbell ensembles. The ensemble’s repertoire includes many styles of music, from sacred music to top 40 tunes, again helping to highlight the versatility and range of the instrument. Many of the pieces performed by the ensemble include percussion and synthesizer, making for an even fuller, orchestral sound.
In addition to the Christmas show, which has become a holiday tradition, the Capital Ringers also stage an annual spring show with different themes. The Capital Ringers have a very loyal fan base eagerly awaiting the ensemble’s return to the live stage.
Delaware Dance Company
Delaware Dance Company’s The Nutcracker
Delaware Dance Company (DDC) has presented an annual production of The Nutcracker since 1984. Over the years, it has been appeared on various stages in the greater northern Delaware and tristate areas, but most recently in Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware campus. The production brings together dance students from DDC and other local dance schools, cast by open audition, with professional and pre-professional ballet and dramatic guest artists. The production presents the full ballet in grand, theatrical style. Professional backdrops and custom costuming create a vibrant and visually beautiful production. Every year, there are changes to the production, but the storyline presented always fills the stage with activity throughout Tchaikovsky’s memorable score. As a result, DDC’s production has a loyal following in the region with families returning year after year for decades.
When the pandemic stuck last year, DDC decided to present The Nutcracker, however possible, in order to keep up its legacy and to bring some normalcy to those young dancers who were willing to rehearse despite pandemic restriction. The goal was met with a recorded production that was streamed via YouTube over Christmas weekend 2020. Nearly 1,500 unique views of the recording were tabulated, underscoring DDC’s importance to arts traditions in the community.
This year, DDC has been granted permission to have a limited, socially distanced audience view the production in Mitchell Hall. The performance will also be streamed over the holidays to reach a broader audience and for those who do not yet feel ready to attend an indoor venue. For more information on this year’s performance, visit the “Nutcracker 2021” page.
DDC’s mission is to advance the knowledge and appreciation of dance in the community and region through instruction, performance and outreach; to provide the highest quality educational opportunities possible in all aspects of dance to anyone desiring such education; and to be viewed as a community leader and advocate for the art of dance. The organization’s annual production of The Nutcracker helps it to fulfill this mission.
The Nutcracker is very often the first ballet, and for many the only ballet, attended. As a result of its position in American culture, it offers an opportunity to draw new students and patrons to ballet. DDC’s version of The Nutcracker is meant to entertain a general audience as well as ballet enthusiasts (and family and friends of the performers). When possible, DDC tries to offer a free school performance for local elementary students who may have limited access to performances. DDC often has new students who join in January after attending The Nutcracker or is often told by parents when enrolling their child in the fall that viewing The Nutcracker made their child want to come to dance class. In recent, pre-pandemic years, DDC sold 1,600 to 1,800 tickets to The Nutcracker, essentially selling out several performances. During those years, follow-up surveys were sent to patrons. The majority of responses were positive and supportive. The survey for the 2018 performance yielded over 150 responses. Of those responding, all agreed or strongly agreed that “they thoroughly enjoyed the performance.” The added comments included the following: “The show was exceptional value for the cost of the tickets, and I have shared that information with friends and family. It was such a professional and inspiring performance! I have seen The Nutcracker for many years and venues, and this was truly a gem! Kudos on your teachings and your performances.”
University of Delaware Master Players Concert Series
2021-2022 Season: Prisms of Sound
“Prisms of Sound,” the University of Delaware (UD) Master Players Concert Series’ 2021-22 season, brings top-quality performers and unconventional programming back to the UD stage for hybrid in-person and virtual concerts for the local community. The season’s name, drawn from a song title in the new UD musical Shanghai Sonatas, compares the uniqueness of each musician’s performance to the rainbow of light refracted through a transparent prism. Local donors, the Delaware Division of the Arts, and the Master Players Advisory Council have generously funded the series’ fall events so that they can be free of charge to all attendees, in person and virtually.
The series’ next two events are:
Gold Medalist: Cellist Zlatomir Fung
Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 3:00 P.M. | Gore Recital Hall & Virtual | Free!
Preeminent American cellist Zlatomir Fung will perform on the Delaware stage two weeks after his historic Carnegie Hall debut. In 2019, Fung became the first American in four decades and the youngest cellist ever to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition. A 2020 awardee of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, Fung’s virtuosity and sensitivity as a performer have launched the 22-year-old to the forefront of the cello world. World-renowned collaborative pianist Rohan de Silva will join Fung for a program that includes pieces by Beethoven, Shaporin, Popper, Liszt, and Franck. Originally from Sri Lanka, De Silva is on the faculty of the Juilliard School and is the long-time pianist of Itzhak Perlman and many other virtuoso string players worldwide.
Holiday Pops: The American Brass Quintet
Sunday, December 12, 2021 | 3:00 P.M. | Gore Recital Hall & Virtual | Free!
A perennial favorite, the Holiday Pops series is making its return to Master Players to celebrate the holiday season with one of the world’s leading brass quintets. Internationally recognized as one of the premier chamber music ensembles of our time, the American Brass Quintet will bring virtuosic brass repertoire and holiday favorites to our stage. Dedicated to the promotion of brass chamber music through education, the group has been in residence at the Juilliard School since 1987 and the Aspen Music Festival since 1970. They will continue spreading the holiday cheer by giving masterclasses for UD brass players and the local brass community. With this concert, we proudly continue our tradition of featuring brass music inaugurated by our former Advisory Council Co-chair Richard Fischer.
In-person seating is limited, and advance registration is required. To reserve in-person or virtual tickets for these events, visit www.masterplayers.udel.edu. Spring 2022 events will be announced at a later date.
Master Players Concert Series (Master Players) serves as the cultural ambassador for UD. Producing Artistic Director Xiang Gao, international artist and University of Delaware Trustees Distinguished Professor of Music, brings a rich and wide array of world-class musicians to the UD campus and to underserved local communities. The series’ hallmarks are its high artistic standards, the Delaware debuts of remarkable artists, and its diverse and distinctive programming.
Many of today’s most respected and sought-after concert artists and pedagogues from performing arts centers around the world come to Delaware to teach master classes, have encouraging conversations with local students, and inspire them through exceptional performances. The series increases arts equity by offering affordable ticket prices, discounted or free tickets for students, and virtual viewing options for people who may be unable to attend a concert in person. Master Players has collaborated with more than 55 units on the UD campus to educate students by bringing the arts to the classrooms. Its community programs, such as the Little Masters Project, Backstage Pass, and the Master Players Festival & School, make music education more accessible to the community.
Second Street Players
It’s a Wonderful Life
Second Street Players is a year-round community theater that produces shows covering practically every genre. Included in the organization’s yearly productions, patrons will find musicals, dramas, comedies, original works, its Children’s Dessert Theater, and cooperative productions with other cultural groups and schools. This holiday season, patrons are invited to the Riverfront Theater to watch the Second Street Players’ presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life, presented in special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.
In our American culture, It’s a Wonderful Life has become almost as familiar as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story is a natural for a stage adaptation: the saga of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty. George’s guardian angel descends on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him – by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born – that his has been, after all, a wonderful life.
The dates and times for Second Street Player’s presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life are:
For more information on the performances and on how to purchase tickets, visit the show’s page on Second Street Players’ website.
One of the reasons Second Street Players chose It’s a Wonderful Life is because it is a multi-generational show that brings people of all ages together, something all those involved in the organization love to see. Bringing people together to laugh or cry, to just have a night out, and to be entertained is the organization’s way of improving its community with each show. Second Street Players’ theater, Riverfront Theater, will be collecting donations to give to the Food Bank of Delaware during all performances of It’s a Wonderful Life to help make the lives of those in its community a little better this holiday season.
The projects above are supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes these and other Delaware arts events on DelawareScene.com.
The Division offers a variety of grant programs for individual artists; nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations chartered and based in Delaware; and schools and government entities that support arts activities. View a full list of Division grants on the Grants Overview page.
Related Topics: arts spotlight, Capital Ringers, Delaware Dance Company, general operating support, It's a Wonderful Life, Master Players Concert Series, Prisms of Sound, project support, Second Street Players, The Nutcracker, University of Delaware, We Need A Little Christmas