One of the many pleasures of working at Emerson is being surrounded by students focused on creating art. They study the theory too, but they are makers – whether it’s on stage, in a film/video lab or writing poetry. And the extracurricular scene is vital and prolific. Students bond over a particular idea and form ad hoc groups from which emerge amazing works. The Shakespearean Jazz Show is such a group. I had never heard of them, and as far as I could tell at the time, neither had the faculty or the Dean’s activity office. There are dozens of extracurricular groups sanctioned by the office, but it’s impossible to keep up with the burgeoning scene of new groups as they take hold throughout the college landscape and beyond on a moment’s notice.
ArtsEmerson was about to open a piece, Ameriville, by a wonderful company called UNIVERSES. The four celebrated artists who make up the UNIVERSES ensemble fuse writing, poetry, theatre, jazz, blues, hip hop and Spanish Boleros into a distinctively rhythmic form often focused on contemporary issues. Ameriville was looking at post-Katrina America and naturally became immersed in the city of New Orleans using jazz in part as a creative anchor. Julia Propp on our staff was looking to create a reception for ArtsEmerson Members connected to the opening of Ameriville and heard about a new group that married Shakespeare’s words to original jazz and smartly invited them to perform at the reception.
That was the beginning of a relationship we all cherish. They were amazing. The charm, artistry, youthful inspiration and sheer joy of their work is infectious. You can’t resist it. We asked them to perform as part of our first The Next Thing Festival (TNT) last February, and now we are thrilled to offer the community yet another opportunity to share in the many pleasures of their work on July 18th.
Many of the ensemble (composed of both Emerson and Berklee students) have just graduated and will be moving on, so don’t miss this moment. Let’s send them into the world with a standing ovation they always inspire and a rousing thank you for making Boston proud to have played a role in their formation.