2003 a very good year for arts, rock

Friday, December 26, 2003

Ground finally was broken in May on the long-awaited River Campus in Cape Girardeau, and rock 'n' roll made a comeback at the Show Me Center in 2003. Those two developments alone brighten the arts and entertainment outlook for the region in 2004.

The $36 million River Campus will be the home of Southeast Missouri State University's new School of the Visual and Performing Arts. The campus on the former seminary site on the Mississippi River will include a new performing arts center and is expected to be completed in 2006.

In an agreement reached with the city of Cape Girardeau in December, businessman Jim Drury agreed to drop the legal battle he has waged that kept the River Campus in limbo.

The rock bands matchbox twenty, Fountains of Wayne, Audio Adrenaline, Nickelback, Three Days Grace, Trapt, Styx, Kansas and John Waite performed at the Show Me Center during the year, ending a rock 'n' roll drought that dated back a decade or more. Show Me Center manager David Ross attributed bands' new interest in the Show Me Center to a change in the concert business that has made secondary markets like Cape Girardeau profitable.

Many bands had done just so-so in larger markets the year before.

Country music also had a good year with concerts by Montgomery Gentry with Emerson Drive and Toby Keith with Rascal Flatts.

The SEMO District Fair mixed the country of Phil Vassar, David Ball, Shenandoah and John Anderson with the Southern rock of the Marshall Tucker Band.

At the City of Roses Music Festival, the major draw was 1980s Grammy winner Christopher Cross.

The University Theatre returned to classics in 2003 by offering productions of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Glass Menagerie."

The River City Players, Cape Girardeau's community theater group, celebrated their 20th anniversary by repeating their very first production, "Same Time Next Year."

The Arts Council of Southeast Missouri moved into new gallery space on Main Street in Cape Girardeau and created a Visual Arts Cooperative. The organization sponsored its first Spring Arts Festival downtown. Freelance artist and muralist Craig Thomas received the council's covet Dingeldein Award for contributions to the arts.

The Jackson Area Arts Council debuted a monthly talent show in City Park.

Paul Schock, a member of the art faculty at Southeast Missouri State University, opened a community arts center in Scott City, a town heretofore not known for its cultural offerings. Schock aims to change that. He began by arranging for some of his students to paint panels on the exterior of a florist shop.

The university's Dr. Edwin Smith was honored as Missouri Art Educator of the Year.

The University Museum offered an exhibit of bridge photos to help commemorate the opening of the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge in December.

Central High School student Bonan Wang performed Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra.

A Valentine's Day presentation of "The Vagina Monologues" by Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs, Ellen Dillon, Lauryn Neilson, Nikki Redmond and Sarah V. Moore brought a full house to its feet in the Cape Girardeau Public Library's meeting room.

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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