With a 9-1 winning record for football and basketball season already underway, it’s not difficult to assume where most of UNC-Chapel Hill’s students are on any game day. As great as the Tar Heel sports teams are performing this year, there is another exceptional style of performance that has remained inconspicuous compared to athletics: artistic and dramatic performance. For those unfamiliar with Carolina Performing Arts, the university attracts many of the world’s greatest musicians, composers, and performers in a steady stream of shows held at Memorial Hall. Before you buy your tickets here: https://www.carolinaperformingarts.org/all-performances/, read about seven performances you need to see at UNC’s Memorial Hall:
1) The Nutcracker by Carolina Ballet
This winter classic is a performance like no other, especially when performed by the acclaimed Carolina Ballet. The ensemble of over 100 performers has staged more than 75 ballets on their international tour, and they have been blessed with the guidance of renowned artistic director and CEO Robert Weiss. Catch this holiday spectacle in Memorial Hall from December 5-6th.
2) Steep Canyon Rangers with Jerry Douglas & Dobro
The Bluegrass legend and Grammy Award-winning musical group Steep Canyon Rangers has returned to its members’ alma mater at Chapel Hill. In partnership with Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, Steep Canyon Rangers will be performing a bluegrass show like no other. Other accolades earned by the Steep Canyon Rangers include winning the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award and performing on shows such as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Today Show.
3) Melissa Aldana with Pablo Menares & Allan Mednard
For those in search of a music performance with some Latin influence, one has to look no further than the jazz trio of Melissa Aldana, Pablo Menares, and Allan Mednard. Aldana has made history in the world of jazz by becoming the first female to win the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, and her show at Memorial Hall is sure to exhibit her incredible jazz skills and unique blending of cultures and music.
4) Jason Moran and The Bandwagon
If the trio of Aldana, Menares, and Mednard wasn’t enough to satiate the burning desire to listen to a high-quality jazz performance, than look no further than renowned composer and jazz musician Jason Moran and his group, The Bandwagon. DownBeat Magazine has praised the group by saying, “No finer piano trio currently stalks the Earth. Historically and intellectually resourceful but also sparklingly intuitive, inventive, and spontaneous…unassailably brilliant.”
5) Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed for over 25 million people across 71 different countries. The African-American cultural group goes beyond portraying African American culture by redefining and preserving the modern American dance legacy, and it is certainly a performance worth attending.
6) An Evening with Garrison Keillor
Though the majority of performances on this list have been musical or dance in nature, Carolina Performing Arts is respected in its ability to draw performers of all variety and mediums, including humorous storytelling. Author, poet, and communicator Garrison Keillor would easily have earned the title of America’s “Great Communicator” before Ronald Reagan, but with a repertoire of awards ranging from the National Humanities Medal and induction into the Radio Hall of Fame, it’s safe to say that the storyteller is doing more than alright for himself.
7) Gabriel Kahane and Timo Andres
The final performance on this list is the collaboration between composers Gabriel Kahane and Timo Andres to produce a “free associative program” that blends together history’s greatest classical tunes with compositions made by the pair themselves into what has been called a “quasi-live-mix tape.” As great as a Kahane-Andres musical duo will be, there are also many other shows not mentioned on this list that would definitely be worth viewing at Memorial Hall.