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Center’s line up provide variety

Caitlin Housley | Friday, September 3, 2010


Members of the Cultural Affairs Committee (CAC) at Saint Mary’s College have been working for months to determine this year’s Moreau Center calendar and have recently announced the entertainment for the school year. 
This year’s line-up includes actress/comedian Lily Tomlin at the request of the Theater Department and Thomas Cahill at the request of the Humanistic Studies Department. The lineup also includes dance with the help of the Milwaukee Ballet II.
Christopher Sallak, patron services and marketing manager for the College, noted, “[The Committee] is charged with bringing in a variety of programming in which to expose our students to over their four years at Saint Mary’s.”
The Cultural Affairs Committee meets a year in advance of a new season to discuss the potential line-up of shows.  About a dozen members comprised of faculty, staff and students of Saint Mary’s meet to discuss recommendations for the Performing Arts Series. 
Variety is key. Director of Special Events Richard Baxter noted that performances aren’t truly chosen based on the expected number of student turnout. Instead, he said they are chosen on balance and diversity.  
In order to achieve this balance, Baxter meets with all departments involved in the Performing Arts series. 
“Every fall, I meet with the Music, Dance, Theater, Art and Communication departments and talk about the calendar for the upcoming year,” Baxter said.  
The departments then discussed whom they have visiting, and they pick the particular dates they want the event to occur based on the newly formed calendar. Baxter then takes the calendar back to the Cultural Affairs Committee and they discuss the Performing Arts Series line-up.  
The committee does look to years past to help select the new year’s line-up. Baxter said, “We analyzed the past 10 years of the Performing Arts Series and selected the artists according to the charge from the Governance manual. We also select artists with respect to what the budget and the calendar permit.”
The budget comes from Saint Mary’s itself with the help of an endowed fund from the Shaheen family.
Operating budgets cover technical supplies, food, accommodation for the performer, hospitality and more.
While they may consider past years in the selection process, this year’s line-up varies from previous in that a charity event (the jazz concert) is part of the Performing Arts Series. 
“Service and Saint Mary’s College go hand in hand. They seem right together,” Baxter said. The Moreau center has hosted charity events before; however, they were never part of the Performing Arts series.
In addition, the Communicative Disorders department recommended physically challenged musician Brittany Maier. 
“We will be working with her department and other local agencies to make this event accessible to others who are physically challenged,” Sallak said.  
While changes to the line-up may have occurred, all changes are made in the interest of bringing variety to the students.