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Coming up at South Bend’s Morris Performing Arts Center

Analise Lipari | Monday, February 16, 2009

The spring schedule at the Morris Performing Arts Center is currently well underway.

With musicians, orchestras and touring stage plays on the roster, the venue will no doubt be hosting a slew of members of the South Bend and Notre Dame communities.

On Feb. 27, singer and musician Bonnie Raitt will perform at the Morris. Best known to college-age audience members for her track, “Something to Talk About,” Raitt’s blues stylings have won her nine Grammy awards over the course of her career.

The daughter of Broadway star John Raitt, Raitt’s past releases include 1989’s “Nick of Time,” 1991’s “Luck of the Draw,” 2002’s “Silver Lining” and 2005’s “Souls Alike.” She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

The South Bend Symphony Orchestra will be performing on Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Morris, presenting their new program, “Tales of the Classical Guitar.” The concert is set to feature classical guitarist Robert Belinic, who has toured through Europe and the United States. “Tales of the Classical Guitar” will include renditions of Maurice Ravel’s “Mother goose Suite,” Zoltan Kodaly’s “Hary Janos Suite” and Joaquin Rodrigo’s “concierto de Aranjuez.”

In keeping with their series of touring Broadway shows, the Morris is following up January’s showing of “Spamalot” with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” on March 13 and 14. “Spelling Bee” won two Tony awards in 2006 for its original Broadway production.

This one act musical comedy centers on a fictional spelling bee at the fictional Putnam Valley Middle School. The show is unique in its improvisational techniques, which include asking three or four audience members to also participate in that night’s spelling bee.

Students should also note that tickets are currently on sale at the Morris Web site for the Umphrey’s McGee concert on April 18. The band last came to the South Bend area in September of 2008, playing a sold-out show at St. Patrick’s Park in Mishawaka.

A group of Notre Dame alumni themselves, Umphrey’s is looking to capitalize on their growing student audience at this upcoming performance.

Their jam-band style appeals well to college students’ tastes. The group opened for Dave Matthews Band in 2007, and the influence is visible in their tastes and performing style, which often allows for improvisation from night to night. Brendan Bayliss, a member of Umphrey’s McGee, described their sound in a Sept. 4 interview with the Observer as “self-indulgent orchestral rock.”

“We’re kind of all over the map,” he said. “So we’re a little progressive in that way. It depends on what night you see us, really, and what environment we’re in.

“We have musical ADD – we’re never really in the same spot.”

The band will take to the stage of the Morris in April, returning once more to the home of their alma mater.

The band has also played concerts in South Bend on the opening football weekend of each Fighting Irish football season.

Students interested in purchasing tickets to any of these events can visit the Morris Performing Arts Center Web site at www.morriscenter.org.

Contact Analise Lipari at alipari@nd.edu