looking to fall: the norton center for the arts

There have, admittedly, been few suggestions of autumn in the stifling dog days of mid August. But having spent the last few evenings pouring over schedules of what will easily be the busiest concert autumn in recent memory, it seemed like a good idea to starting previewing and planning for what’s heading our way.

So over these next few weeks, The Musical Box will unwrap a few fall colors by looking briefly at the soon-to-be-colliding concert seasons at our doorstep.

We begin with the goings on this fall at the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall at Centre College in Danville. While many other concert seasons this autumn will feature a striking number of Central Kentucky debut performances, the Norton Center is sticking primarily to the familiar with some very prominent returnees.

As always, the Norton Center’s season is rich in classical and dance offerings. We’re sticking to the pop entries here. For a glimpse of the venue’s full season, go to www.nortoncenter.com or call (800) 448-7469.

Here, at-a-glance, is what will be cooking in Danville starting in September.

frankie valli

frankie valli

+ Sept. 17: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons – To some, Valli’s ageless stratospheric singing remains a cornerstone of radio pop from the 60s. But with the ongoing popularity of the Valli neo-biopic stage show Jersey Boys, the singer has become something of a Broadway celebrity, as well.

tony bennett

tony bennett

+ Oct. 4: Tony Bennett – The first of the Norton Center’s returning heroes. Bennett, who turned 84 last week, remains nothing less than a class act – a singer of boundless enthusiasm and beaming attitude. A jazz artist at heart, he is a masterful pop stylist whose singing is only outdistanced by his regal artistic taste.

punch brothers

punch brothers

+ Oct. 7: Punch Brothers – When this expert new generation string quintet played here last year, it commanded an audience that included Mark O’Connor, Scott Terrell and The Decemberists. Now aided by its sly new Antifogmatic album, there is no telling who will show up for the mix of bluegrass, jazz, pop and chamber inspirations.

aretha franklin

aretha franklin

+ Oct. 22: Aretha Franklin – Another major league returnee, Franklin remains soul music’s most enduring diva with a catalogue that includes Think, Respect and Chain of Fools. And, yes, the pairing of Sister Aretha with three hapless college youths in a recent Snickers commercial was comic genius.

al green

al green

+ Oct. 30: Al Green – Sunday morning meets Saturday night as Reverend Al returns to the Norton Center. As recently as last month, Green was in Louisville whipping up a soul revival at Churchill Downs’ HullabaLOU Festival with an R&B recasting of the Bee Gees’ How Can You Mend a Broken Heart that was steamier than the sweltering evening temps.

blue man group

blue man group

+ Nov. 22 and 23: Blue Man Group – New to the Norton Center but with two Rupp Arena shows to its credit, Blue Man Group continues to employ richly percussive beat music and unexpected cover tunes (like the Donna Summer disco hit I Feel Love) to color shows steeped in inventive theatricality and an alien-like sense of wonder.  

All performances will begin at 8 p.m. except for Franklin. Her showtime will be 8:30.



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