Mason Gross Summer Series 2013 features free music and dance

Soak up a little summertime fun at the Mason Gross Summer Series 2013. The four-event program, featuring an annual concert by our esteemed jazz faculty, as well as work by renowned choreographers and faculty members Randy James and Doug Elkins, takes place July 10–31, 2013, at the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center. Performances are free, family-friendly, and run just over an hour long.

Summer Series artistic director Christopher Kenniff says he hopes that the program’s affordability and accessibility will encourage audiences to experience something new.

“The Summer Series, because it’s free, allows you to sample an area of the arts you may not be familiar with,” Kenniff says. “This is the ideal place to get a sense of these art forms without a huge time or financial commitment.”

The Summer Series 2013 opens at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Nicholas Music Center with the annual performance by the esteemed Rutgers Jazz Faculty. Look for Conrad Herwig on trombone, Ralph Bowen on sax, Victor Lewis behind the drums, Vic Juris on guitar, Bill O’Connell at the piano, and Kenny Davis on bass. Faculty members will be joined by student musicians participating in the Rutgers Summer Jazz Institute.

“This is an all-star lineup,” Kenniff says of the Rutgers Jazz Faculty, all of whom have carved out dynamic international careers. “You can’t go into New York City and hear all these guys in one room—let alone for free.”

Next up is the Princeton Brass Band, winner of the 2013 North American Brass Band Championships, performing at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23, at Nicholas Music Center. Director Stephen Arthur Allen says the group—28 brass musicians plus four percussionists—is set to perform Edward Gregson’s Rococo Variations, Jimmy Webb’s MacArthur Park, Herman Bellstedt’s Napoli, and Peter Graham’s Shine as the Light.

The second half of the series will focus on contemporary dance. Bessie Award-winning choreographer Doug Elkins of East Brunswick, NJ, and renowned choreographer Randy James (dubbed the “patron saint of dancers” by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation) of Highland Park, NJ, both known for producing gutsy work, will present several pieces. In addition, each of these evenings will feature the choreography of several Mason Gross students. A Midsummer Night’s Leap takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, and Summer Airs is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, with different programs each evening.

The Mason Gross Summer Series 2013 takes place at the Nicholas Music Center and the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater, both part of the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street (between Route 18 and Ryders Lane), on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. Admission is free, and no tickets are required. For more information about the Mason Gross Summer Series, click here or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 732-932-7511.