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Spoken Word Poet Opens Free Cultural Series at Penn State York

10/9/2009 —

Gabriela Garcia MedinaSpoken word poet Gabriela Garcia-Medina opens Penn State York’s 2009-10 Cultural and Performing Artists Series on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The performance, at 7:30 p.m. in the campus’ Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center), is free and open to the public.

Garcia-Medina speaks of revolution and does it with style. Born to Cuban parents she has seen the world through eyes most haven’t. As an international spoken word artist and award-winning poet, her poetry has taken her to places such as South America, Cuba, Switzerland, and all over the United States. Her poetry ranges from topics such as the social injustices we all face to talking about her lingerie. She has toured colleges, festivals, and churches since 2007 and her words have found a home on the walls of Eva Longoria’s new restaurant, Besos, in Los Angeles.  Her performance is a perfect way for the campus to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

The free series continues on Oct. 15 when Barry Drake, rock historian, returns to campus for his multimedia presentation “The Roots of Rock & Roll: 1953-63.” Travel back to the dawn of rock & roll at 7 p.m. in the Conference Center, Main Classroom Building.

Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Bill Haley all broke the rules and fused black rhythm & blues with white hillbilly and pop music. They sparked a cultural revolution that continued for decades. Drake begins his musical journey just before the dawn of rock & roll and examines the styles of music that came together on the early recordings. ”The Roots of Rock & Roll 1953-63” follows music’s development though the 50s and early 60s covering rhythm & blues, rockabilly, doo-wop, teen idols, girl groups, and early soul. The presentation concludes with an examination of how this music was given back to us by the groups of the British Invasion. 

Drake, often called a walking encyclopedia of rock & roll, is a graduate of Manhattan College and has been involved in the world of music since buying his first rock & roll record in 1954. He grew up in New York City and saw everyone from Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry at the Brooklyn Paramount in 1957, to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin at the Filmore in 1967. In 1965, Drake became a performer and songwriter and in 1970 was signed to Capitol Records. Since then, Drake has recorded three albums and has extensively toured the United States and Europe. Visit www.barrydrake.com for more information on this program.
Discover the music of Andes Manta when they perform on Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m., at The Pullo Center. Andes Manta believes that through their music they bring a rare opportunity for cultural understanding between the people of their homeland, South America, and the people of modern North America.  Andean music has been played in South America for thousands of years and Fernando, Luis, Bolivar, and Jorge bring this unique art form to life again through their performances. Natives of the Ecuadorian Andes, the brothers learned their traditional folk music as it has been learned for thousands of years – passed from father to son, and brother to brother. Discover more about their exciting music at www.andesmanta.com.

In celebration of Nation American Indian Heritage month, Piscataway Indian Nation Singers and Dancers will present a living history program featuring authentic American Indian dance, drum, and song on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at The Pullo Center. This internationally recognized four-person ensemble will not only perform but encourage questions, comments, discussion, and audience participation.

The Piscataway Indian Nation Singers and Dancers have travelled throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States to present programs about American Indian culture, traditions, and contemporary issues. The group appeared in the movie Dances with Wolves and frequently contributes to programs on the History and Discovery channels.

A variety of acts will take to the stage for the third annual Paw Search at The Pullo Center on Friday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. All proceeds from this benefit event go to the Penn State Dance Marathon, fondly known as THON, to help children with cancer through the Four Diamonds Fund at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Singing, dancing, and more will be a part of this two-hour show.

Paw Search is one of the campuses many fundraisers in support of THON which will take place February 19 – 21, 2010, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park. The campus sends local dancers to take part in the 46-hour dance marathon.  THON has raised more than $55 million since it began in1973. Tickets for this benefit event are $5 for Penn State York students and $10 for all others. Purchase tickets at The Pullo Center box office or from a THON representative.

The free Cultural and Performing Artists Series continues with Jon Goode, slam poet, on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Goode uses a smooth and laid back delivery with a unique blend of humor and wit to make entertaining and poignant observations on everyday life issues from nostalgic childhood memories to dealing with cancer.  He is a national award-winning slam poet and comedic writer.

The Atlanta native has performed for countless clubs, colleges, and universities and his poetry has been featured on HBO, BET, TV Land, CNN, and Nick at Nite.  His slam poetry leaves an indelible impression on any audience. Visit his Web site at www.myspace.com/jongoode to learn more about him.

Bring the luck of the Irish to The Pullo Center on Thursday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. when Screaming Orphans continues their St. Patrick’s Day celebration. These four funny, high-spirited, musically obsessed sisters were raised in the magic of Bundoran in County Donegal, Ireland, and bring the great tradition of Irish music to the stage. They began singing and playing Irish music when they were very young and when they reached their teenage years, they knew it was time to start their own rock band.

While they can never forget their roots in traditional Irish music, the Screaming Orphans draw on a diverse set of influences from Simon & Garfunkel to REM, with a strong focus on melody driven songs with pop and rock strains. The diversity of the American music scene led them to relocate to New York City and they regularly tour up and down the east coast. Visit www.screamingorphans.com to learn more about their performances.

A tribute to the great female singers of the golden age of jazz closes out the campus’ cultural series on Thursday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. when Great Jazz Divas, Davis and Dow come to York. Julie Davis and Kelly Dow bring jazz legends Billie Holiday, Sara Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and others to life through their performances. The show is infused with commentary, poetry, interview sound bytes and beautiful slides.

This show is a must-see for those looking for a great way to get to know the timeless female performers of the golden age of jazz and the historic legacy they left behind. Check out their Web site at www.davisanddow.com for a taste of their talent.

Penn State York’s The Cultural and Performing Artists Series is sponsored by Penn State York and MediaOne PA. Admission to most events is free, open to the public, and no ticket is required unless specified. For information regarding ticketed performances at The Pullo Center, please call (717) 505-8900 or visit them on the Web at www.pullocenter.yk.psu.edu.


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