News Release

High energy fiddle fest, community picnic, play celebrating Louisiana highlight Fanfare's first week

Contact: Christina Chapple


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(1) Heidi Whitman -- Night Flight (2) David Benac (3) Barrage (4) Joe Burns


(5) Voices of Louisiana (6) Barbara Tardo and Gail Hood

Captions …

(1) MAPPING THE TERRAIN – Heidi White’s “Night Flight” is one of three dozen artworks by 10 artists that will be on display in “Mapping the Terrain: New Directions in Abstract Paintings” during Fanfare at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Contemporary Art Gallery in East Stadium.

(2) KATRINA AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION – Southeastern public historian David Benac will present the first of Fanfare’s “Then and Now” lecture series, “New Orleans, Katrina, and Historic Preservation,” on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive in Madisonville.

(3) BARRAGE HIGHLIGHTS FANFARE’S WEEK ONE – Barrage, the high-energy fiddle fest, will perform at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 during the opening week of Fanfare.

(4) PAUL IS DEAD? – That’s the rumor that Southeastern communication professor Joe Burns will explore during a Fanfare “Then and Now” lecture at 1 p.m., Oct. 3, at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium.

(5) VOICES OF LOUISIANA – The Evacuation Theatre Troupe employs comedy, satire and heartfelt tributes to explore Louisiana’s past and future in “Voices of Louisiana,” coming to Southeastern Louisiana University’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

(6) LANDSCAPES AND FRIENDS – Artists Gail Hood and Barbara Tardo will display their different interpretation of similar subjects in “Landscapes Near and Far,” on display at the Hammond Regional Arts Center in downtown Hammond, Oct. 2-31. An opening reception is scheduled for Oct. 5 from 5-7 p.m.

     HAMMOND – A high-octane fiddle-fest, a storm-battered but unbowed theater troupe that celebrates Louisiana, a comedy about a dysfunctional Southern family, and a community picnic in the heart of Hammond are just some of the events providing the opening flourish for the 22nd season of Fanfare, Southeastern Louisiana University's annual October arts festival.

     Fanfare's month‑long offering of theater, art, music, films, dance, lectures and community events begins Sunday, Sept. 30, when Fanfare partners with the Hammond Downtown Development District for a light-hearted, family-style dedication of newly renovated Cate Square, the small historic park located just blocks south of campus.

     Scheduled from 2-4 p.m., the dedication will feature many of the elements of an old-fashioned community picnic. Entertainment will include ragtime and Dixieland tunes from the Southeastern Jazz Combos and a barbershop quartet, and an abundance of fun hands-on games for children. Refreshments such as cotton candy and lemonade will be offered at turn-of-the-century prices.

     Highlights of Fanfare’s first week also include Barrage, an ensemble of violinists and dancers that has been described as “fiddlers on rocket fuel,” and “Voices of Louisiana,” a revue by the Evacuation Theatre Troupe that is both a comedy-filled look at Louisiana’s past and a heart-felt reaffirmation of its future.

     Scheduled for Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre, Barrage is a multi-talented, hip young cast of six violinists/vocalists, a drummer, a bass player and a guitarist. The dynamic ensemble carries out its goal of creating “a unique violin concept" through an eclectic mix of music, song and dance that the Chicago Tribune called “all light and heat, warmth and pure joy…Ideal for the whole family, Barrage is about as blithe, blissful and beguiling as entertainment gets.”

     Since its creation in Calgary, Canada, in 1996, Barrage has performed on stages and television networks worldwide. Their second decade was launched in 2007 with a new show, “High Strung,” that is touring the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Central American and Canada. Performing on a variety of violins and fiddles spiced with vocals, percussion, electric guitar and other instrumentation, Barrage delivers a show with amazing energy and musical virtuosity. 

     Tickets for Barrage are $28, adults; $24, senior citizens and Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; $20, group rate; and $18, all students.

     “Voices of Louisiana” will be performed at the Columbia Theatre on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Written by playwright Barry Lemoine, the show is both a hilarious and poignant look at the events leading up to the Louisiana Purchase and the contributions and recent hardships of Louisiana.

     Mainly composed of residents of St. Bernard Parish, the show presents a fast-paced, hysterical, and historical exploration of the relevance of the Louisiana territory to the country's past, present, and future. It begins as a carnival sideshow that chronicles the negotiations behind the land deal of the century, including Columbus's landing in the New World, Jefferson's political ploys, Napoleon's bathtub pronouncement, and the Queen of Spain's comic intrigues. The production then gives voice to rich characters that continue to make Louisiana a colorful and intriguing part of the nation's landscape.

     Through monologues and vignettes, “Voices of Louisiana” concludes with stories about both the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the resilience of the people of Louisiana. Original stories from hurricane survivors drive home the fact that just as the acquisition of Louisiana was critical to the nation's past, so too will its rebirth be to the future.

     Tickets are $15, adults; $12, senior citizens and Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; $10, group rate; and $5, all students.

     Fanfare’s first week will also initiate several entertainment series that will shine throughout the month, including art exhibits, the annual Foreign film series, and the popular “Then and Now” lecture series sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science. The exhibits, lectures and films are all free.

     Southeastern’s Contemporary Art Gallery, located in East Strawberry Stadium, will showcase a large national painting exhibition curated by gallery director and associate professor of visual arts Dale Newkirk. Ten artists from across the country will display more than three-dozen works exploring the personal languages of abstract art. The exhibit is free and can be viewed through Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

     The lobby of Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, 220 E. Thomas in downtown Hammond, will showcase artwork created by area school children through Fanfare’s partnership with the International House of Blues Foundation. The free exhibit will be on display each weekday during October from noon to 5 p.m. This year’s exhibit is dedicated to Denise Tullier-Holly, accomplished artist, Southeastern Lab School teacher, passionate advocate of art education – and the National Art Education Association’s 2007 National Elementary Art Educator of the Year.

     Opening on Oct. 2 at the Hammond Regional Arts Center, 217 E. Thomas St. in Hammond, will be “Landscapes Here and There,” a dual exhibit that illustrates the contrasting artistic styles of good friends and former Southeastern faculty colleagues Gail Hood and Barbara Tardo. Hood’s style is naturalistic and executed in oil and acrylic; Tardo’s is abstract, employing oil and chalk. The exhibit will feature their individual visions of identical scenes, as well as solo works inspired by landscapes “near and far.” An opening reception is scheduled for Oct. 5, from 5-7 p.m. The center’s hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday.

     Two of the seven Then and Now Lectures, which are dedicated this year to Southeastern Professor Emeritus of History Billy H. Wyche, are scheduled during Fanfare’s first week.

     On Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive in Madisonville, Southeastern’s public historian David Benac will present “New Orleans, Katrina, and Historic Preservation.” Benac is playing a role in preserving the unique historical architecture of post-Katrina New Orleans. He will discuss his work with the state and city preservation agencies to seek alternatives to FEMA-ordered demolition of buildings deemed historically significant. A reception will follow his presentation.

     On Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. in the Pottle Music Building Auditorium, the second Then and Now Lecture will feature communication professor Joe Burns, whose presentation concerns the enduring rumor that “Paul (Beatle Paul McCartney) is Dead.” An expert on broadcasting and film history, Burns will detail the clues supposedly sprinkled throughout Beatles lyrics, and allow the audience to decide if it is all an elaborate hoax.

     The first of four Fanfare foreign films, “Apres-vous,” the 2005 French romantic comedy that begs the question: “Can it actually be bad to be a Good Samaritan?”, will be shown Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. In romantic Paris fate steps in to create an unlikely bond between two men. One will snatch the other from the brink of destruction then nearly push him toward it, and the other will take a surprising leap of faith that only a true friend can make. The 110 minute film is rated R for language.

     Also during Fanfare’s Week One Southeastern Theatre will present Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart” Oct. 3-6 at Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Henley’s irreverent, warm-hearted play portrays three sisters struggling to make sense of their lives: responsible Lenny, who has sacrificed herself to care for their ailing grandfather; carefree Meg, who left behind her family and lover to pursue a (failed) singing career; and the newly rebellious Babe, who faces prison for shooting her abusive husband. The trio's reunion in their hometown of Hazlehurst, Miss., triggers a hilarious mix of conflicts, crises and revelations as the sisters learn to greet life’s twists of fate with courage, love and laughter.

     Tickets are $10, general admission; $6 senior citizens and Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni; and $5, non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free with their university I.D.

     Week One concludes on Oct. 6 when the annual Hungarian Harvest Celebration, centered at the Hungarian Settlement American Legion Hall on Hwy. 43 near Springfield, will join the Fanfare schedule. Participants can enjoy the colorful pageantry of the traditional Hungarian Harvest Dance, including a wine auction and music from the Poo-Yai Band from 8-10 p.m., and Hungarian style food available throughout the evening.

     Harvest Dance Tickets are, in advance, $10 for adults and children 12 and older and $5 for children ages 6-11. Admission for children under six is free. Tickets will be $12 at the door. For additional information, contact Helen Kropog, (225) 567-3598.

     Fanfare tickets are on sale at the Columbia/Fanfare box office, 220 E. Thomas Street, 985-543-4371. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m., weekdays. For a complete schedule, contact the Columbia/Fanfare office at 985-543-4366 or visit the Fanfare links at

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