News Release

Film premiere, 'American Pie' lecture, 'Menagerie,' Missoula auditions highlight Fanfare's first week

Contact: Christina Chapple


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(1) Joe Burns (2) Centenary College Choir (3) Missoula Children's Theatre's "Robinson Crusoe"


(1) A LONG, LONG TIME AGO – As a Fanfare “Then and Now” lecture, Southeastern Louisiana University communication professor Joe Burns will present “The Day the Music Died: What the Lyrics to ‘American Pie’ Really Mean,” an entertaining dissection of Don McClean’s famous song, Oct. 8, 1 p.m., at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium.  

(2) VISITING CHOIR – The acclaimed Centenary College Choir will present Fanfare’s first “Sunday With the Arts” concert Oct. 5, 3 p.m., at Hammond’s First United Methodist Church.

(3) MISSOULA PRESENTS ROBINSON CRUSOE – Southeastern Louisiana University’s Fanfare will present the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s version of “Robinson Crusoe” Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Auditions for children in grades kindergarten through high school are Oct. 6, 4 p.m., in the Columbia Theatre Conference Center.  

Additional Fanfare 2008 photos:
HAMMOND – The premiere of a film on Louisiana’s coastal erosion crisis, a Tennessee Williams classic, a lecture about a famously obscure pop song and a musical fairy tale starring local children
are just some of the events providing the opening flourish for the 23rd season of Fanfare, Southeastern Louisiana University's annual October arts festival.

     Fanfare’s first full week also includes performances by a visiting college choir and an acclaimed violinist, a lecture about steamboats, an Italian film, and the opening reception for a special portrait exhibit. Bookends for the week are Fanfare community partner events in Hungarian Settlement and Ponchatoula.

     The documentary film “American Crisis, American Shame: The National Consequence of Coastal Erosion” will premiere Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Written by Samuel C. Hyde Jr. and Keith Finley, director and assistant director, respectively, of Southeastern’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, the documentary explains catastrophe caused by coastal erosion, exposed by the devastating consequences of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

     Produced in cooperation with the Southeastern Channel, the film reveals how the rapid loss of Louisiana’s coast is not just a state problem, but one that threatens national security. Americans, the film warms, must change how they think about their environment and how they spend their money -- or suffer the consequences.

     On Wednesday, Oct. 8, Southeastern communication professor Joe Burns will present an entertaining explanation of “The Day the Music Died: What the Lyrics to ‘American Pie’ Really Mean” at 1 p.m. at the Pottle Music Building Auditorium. Burns, who co-hosts radio station KSLU’s popular “Rock School” program, delves into all the tangled references in Don McLean’s eulogy to the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and Buddy Holly, whose deaths in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 he dubbed “the day the music died.”

     McLean’s fans have endlessly speculated about almost every line in the eight-minute song, from the identities of “the Jester” to “the girl who sang the blues.” Burns, whose exploration of the “Paul is Dead” Beatles legend was a hit at Fanfare 2007, tells the story behind the plane crash, deciphers the lyrics, and reveals the three men McLean admired most, “who caught the last train for the coast.”

     Co-presented by the Communication Department, the free presentation is part of the “Then and Now” lecture series by Southeastern faculty and guest scholars, sponsored by Department of History and Political Science.

     The award-winning Southeastern Theatre will contribute to the Fanfare schedule Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” Oct. 8-11, 7:30 p.m., at Vonnie Borden Theatre in D Vickers Hall. One of the first American theatrical masterpieces, “The Glass Menagerie” tells the story of the Wingfield family in St. Louis and their struggle against society and their own personal demons. More than 60 years after its debut, the play’s themes of struggling single parenthood, loyalty versus dreams, and the individual’s quest, despite flaws, for a better life still resonate.

     Tickets -- $10, adults; $6, senior citizens, faculty, staff, alumni; $5 non-Southeastern students – will be available at the theater box office in D Vickers Hall. Southeastern students are admitted free with their university I.D.

     A perennial favorite, Missoula Children’s Theatre will return to Fanfare with “Robinson Crusoe,” Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 11, 2 p.m., at the Columbia Theatre. Area children can audition at the beginning of the week and perform at week’s end in this original musical based on Daniel Defoe’s novel.

     Auditions for children in grades kindergarten through high school will be held Monday, Oct. 6, 4 p.m., at the Columbia Theatre Conference Center. During the week of rehearsals, 50-60 local children will learn creativity, social and communication skills, goal fulfillment and self-esteem – while experiencing the thrill of being on stage – through Missoula’s unique theater program.

     Tickets are $14, adults; $12.50, senior citizens, Southeastern faculty, staff and alumni, $10.50 for non-Southeastern students and $7 for Southeastern students. They are available online at or at the box office.

     Also on the Fanfare lineup during the first full week are:

     ▪ A concert by the famed Centenary College Choir, Sunday, Oct. 5, 3 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church, 2200 Rue Denise in Hammond.  The free concert is the first in the “Sunday With the Arts” series.

     ▪ Michael Antonello, who will perform on his rare 1720 Stadivarious violin in concert on Monday, Oct.  6, 7 p.m., at the Pottle Recital Hall.  Antonello,. concertmaster of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Minnesota’s Rochester Symphony, has been described as “… a violinist who can … elicit tears, laughter, and a standing ovation.”  The concert is free.

     ▪ A “Then and Now” lecture by LSU historian Paul Paskoff, author of the new book “Troubled Waters: Steamboat Disasters, River Improvements, and American Public Policy, 1821-1860.” The free lecture, followed by a reception and book-signing, is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m., at the Lake Pontchartain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Dr. in Madisonville.

     ▪ The opening on Oct. 6 of the International House of Blues Foundation Art Exhibit, showcasing entries in the eighth annual Fanfare art competition for school children, who use “found” materials to create their artwork. The exhibit will be on display throughout October in the Columbia Theatre lobby.

     ▪ The 1992 Academy Award winning Italian comedy “Mediterraneo,” Tuesday, October 7, 5 p.m., in the Student Union Theatre. Shown with English subtitles, the 90-minute R-rated film is about a group of misfit Italian sailors who invade and become stranded on a Greek island where “anything can happen.” The free film is the first in Fanfare’s popular “Foreign Film Series.”

     ▪ The opening reception on Friday, Oct. 10, 5-7 p.m. of “Seldom Seen II” at the Hammond Regional Arts Center, 217 E. Thomas Street. The second in the biennial “Seldom Seen” series curated by Marjorie Morrison and Michael Ledet, the exhibit will consist of portraits in various styles gathered from regional private collections. The exhibition will run through Oct. 31.

     ▪ Fanfare’s community partners the Hungarian Harvest Dance, Saturday, Oct. 4, 6-11 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Hungarian Settlement, and the Berry Patch Quilt Expo, Saturday, Oct. 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in downtown Ponchatoula.

     Fanfare tickets are on sale at the Columbia/Fanfare box office, 220 E. Thomas Street, 985-543-4371. The box office is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, noon-5 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 4 p.m., and one hour prior to Columbia performances. For a complete schedule, contact the Columbia/Fanfare office at 985-543-4366 or visit 

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