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MCCC Students Featured in Free Music, Choral, Dance and Theatrical Performances in December

Updated 12/14/18

Featured in "Desires of a Criminal" this weekend are, from left, Peyton Estabrook, Jody Gazenbeek-Person, and Sam Marquez; in background is Eva Hargis.

The MCCC Jazz Band, directed by Scott Hornick, is in rehearsal for its annual Wnter Concert on Dec. 12.

West Windsor, N.J. – Community residents seeking cultural events in December need travel no further than Mercer County Community College (MCCC). The MCCC Theatre, Dance and Music programs combine their talents for a variety of concerts and performances – and all are free! Events take place on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

MCCC’s advanced Dance students present a Winter Dance Concert Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. in the college’s Studio Theatre, located next to Kelsey Theatre. Three students, Nicole Ashley, Kimberly King, and Casey Koval, have choreographed three pieces each and will dance in their own numbers. They will also be featured in a piece by one of their classmates.

According to Dance faculty member Rebecca Brodowski, students have been challenged to take the lead both on stage and behind the scenes. “We asked them to seek inspiration from outside the box with their choreography and to get involved in all aspects of the production – from holding auditions and casting their pieces, to establishing rehearsal schedules, selecting costumes, and working with lighting designers,” Brodowski explains.

Dance genres featured in the concert include modern, jazz, ballet, contemporary and hip hop. “The performance will float in and out of familiar movement and fantastical movement. It should be a mesmerizing experience for the audience,” Brodowski predicts.

On Monday, Dec. 10, the MCCC Chamber Ensemble, directed by Jean Mauro, will present an evening of small group performances, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Kelsey Theatre. The musicians will perform works by various composers.

On stage at Kelsey Theatre next is a festive evening of choral music as the MCCC Chorus presents its winter concert, “Choose Something Like a Star: The Love, Joy and Hope of Winter,” on Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Timothy Smith, the group will perform a variety of works by composers including Randall Thompson, Alfred Burt, John Rutter and many more.
The MCCC Jazz Band presents its annual Winter Concert at Kelsey Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Directed by Music Department Coordinator Scott Hornick, the band will present a varied and exciting program of works by the Doobie Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and more. Professional jazz musicians from the tristate area will perform alongside MCCC’s up-and-coming jazz and vocal students.

Completing the December schedule is a thought-provoking original play. MCCC Theatre students Sam Marquez, Peyton Estabrook and Eva Hargis, along with Theatre/Dance Program Coordinator Jody Gazenbeek-Person, present “Desires of a Criminal: A Devised Theatrical Collage.” This workshop production will be performed in MCCC’s Studio Theatre Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. Because the play is still in its workshop stage, the cast will host a talk-back at the end to get audience feedback.

According to Gazenbeek-Person, the play is inspired by French playwright, poet and novelist Jean Genet, who was a petty criminal in his youth and spent time in jail before being discovered by some well-known writers who lobbied for his release. (Genet’s career spanned from the 1940s to the 1980s.) “Students will use their own words in combination with Genet’s words to explore themes surrounding mass incarceration and survival in prison, a subject that translates to many Western cultures,” Gazenbeek-Person said. “The play does not have a standard beginning, middle and end, and the audience’s view will be partially obscured by bars that suggest what it feels like to be imprisoned.”

He adds that cast members are very enthusiastic about this experimental theater project, which they hope to perform in theatrical competitions next year.

No tickets are required for any performances, but seats for shows in the Studio Theatre are limited. For more information about the music concerts, contact the MCCC Music Department at 609-570-3735.  For general performance information, visit the Kelsey Theatre website or call the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at 609-570-3333.

MCCC Theatre/Dance Program Curriculum

MCCC Music Program Curriculum

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