University of Florida Performing Arts Launches New Festival: Chords of Color for a Causeâ„¢

May 20th, 2010 by CCAdmin in latestnews

For press inquiries, please contact Marilyn Patrick at 352-273-2483.
April 22, 2010

University of Florida Performing Arts Launches New Festival: Chords of Color for a Causeâ„¢

Gainesville, Fla. – Michael Blachly, director of University of Florida Performing Arts(UFPA), has announced the line-up for the first-ever Chords of Color for a Cause™ festival The festival is designed to promote the awareness of cancer treatment and research through performances, lectures and discussion groups with performing artists, medical experts and cancer survivors.

Chords of Color for a Cause™ is a new summer festival that features performing artists across multiple genres who are themselves cancer survivors or, have loved ones who have experienced cancer. The festival also brings to light the impact the arts can have on the healing process. “We are excited to be launching this festival,” said UFPA Director Michael Blachly. “This is a long-term effort and commitment on the part of both University of Florida Performing Arts and the University of Florida to increase awareness about this devastating disease as well as increase the understanding and appreciation of the arts as a healing tool.”

In addition to performing, artists will also participate in symposia and lectures, to be held at various locations around Gainesville. The symposia and lectures are designed to not only provide crucial information on cancer research, but also on how the disease impacts more than just the body. All Chords of Color for a Causeâ„¢ symposia and lectures will be free and open to the public. Information about specific dates, times and locations will be posted on UFPA’s web site. The end goal of these events is to empower people to take charge of their own health and well-being. “Our hope is that by bridging the arts and health care, we can make something typically seen as ‘scary’ less frightening and encourage people to participate in preventive measures and early cancer screenings,” says Blachly.

Chords of Color for a Causeâ„¢ is being made possible through funding from the UF President’s Office and the Dharma Endowment Foundation. UFPA is also partnering with Shands HealthCare. The festival will be kicked off by the RIOULT dance company. Formed by Pascal Rioult and his wife, Joyce, both former Martha Graham company dancers, RIOULT has become one of the leading modern dance companies since their founding in 1994. RIOULT will perform at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Thursday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. The company will perform several signature works including Prelude to Night, a work created by Mr. Rioult after his wife, Joyce, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Breast cancer survivor Rani Arbo will perform with her band, daisy mayhem, as a part of the festival. Arbo visited Gainesville in October 2009 to take part in AIM Together residency activities. She also performed at The Shands at UF Cancer Hospital Business Leaders Reception. Ms. Arbo found her experience with AIM Together to be “a return home, to my core beliefs about creativity and art. AIM Together … is building a masterful bridge upon which people can meet each other. I’m so glad to have had a chance to walk out on it.” Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem will perform in the Squitieri Studio Theatre Thursday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Gordon Goodwin, who has won a number of Emmy awards and Grammy awards, including a 2006 Grammy for his composition “Incredits” featured in the Pixar movie, The Incredibles, lost his younger brother to Malignant Melanoma. A month later, his father also passed away due to a cancer-related illness. Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, an 18-piece jazz ensemble that personifies the “big band” sound with a contemporary feel, will perform at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m.

As a young child, Ray Johnston dreamed of playing professional basketball. That dream came true when Johnston was signed to play for the Dallas Mavericks after participating in an open tryout. An on-court injury that wouldn’t heal turned out to be more serious. Diagnosed with leukemia, Ray Johnston’s basketball career was sidelined permanently. But that didn’t stop Johnston. He turned to another one of his passions – music. Since he began performing, Johnston has beaten leukemia not once, not even twice, but four times. Now in remission, Johnston’s incredible journey – from giving up one dream to developing a new dream – is being profiled in Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries on HDNET. The Ray Johnston Band will perform in the Squitieri Studio Theatre Friday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Beth Nielsen Chapman, a self-described “geographical mutt,” began writing songs as a teenager after her family settled in Alabama. She eventually moved to Nashville where, by 1990, she was writing #1 hits for Tanya Tucker and Willie Nelson. After losing her husband to cancer in the early 1990s, Chapman released Sand And Water in 1997; the title song was “a highly moving meditation on living, dying and surviving.” As she approached 2000, Chapman was recording Deeper Still, another album full of reflective work, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In many ways, the tone of the album foreshadowed her diagnosis. “It’s happened many times in my writing – the songs have preceded the events,” says Chapman on her web site. Beth Nielsen Chapman will perform in the Squitieri Studio Theatre Friday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Chords of Color for a Cause â„¢ performances are $15 per person (reserved seating). Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 27 at noon and can be purchased from the Phillips Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 352-392-2787. All lectures, symposia and other festival events are free and open to the public. For a complete list of all festival events, please visit

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