Wingate University kicks off Performance Series

Joan Baez to perform on Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Wingate, NC – Wingate University announces its 13th Annual Performance Series featuring a diverse array of legendary performers, regional collaborations and cultural adventures during 2011 – 12. “The Batte Center is a truly lovely facility with several intimate performance spaces, so it was a breeze to find a stellar lineup of artists for the 11-12 Performance Series,” said Laura Kratt, Wingate’s new director of cultural events. “From Broadway to bluegrass and from The Beatles to The 5 Browns, we’ve got something for everyone at the Batte this season.”

Beginning in September, The Batte Center Presents series will include a rare visit by the iconic singer Joan Baez, Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Best Ukulele Hero” Jake Shimabukuro, the tight bluegrass harmonies of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway. An evening of Russian piano music with The 5 Browns will mark the Batte Center’s contribution to the Charlotte Tchaikovsky Festival; a collaborative celebration of Russian culture spearheaded by Opera Carolina, the Charlotte Symphony and NC Dance Theatre this March. Audiences can ring in the holiday season with a special performance of classic secular and sacred Christmas music by The Priests on their very first US concert tour. “Their debut album sold so fast it set a Guinness World Record and has attracted worldwide audiences from all cultures and faiths,” said Kratt. “If you hear their music or see them on PBS, you’ll know why their only Carolina concert is not to be missed.”

In addition to main stage events, the Batte will layer various pre-events to engage audiences prior to performances. Before the show, patrons can explore free curated activities ranging from pre-concert talks, receptions and gallery openings to Music in the Rotunda events. “Wingate provides a well-spring for growing cultural connections,” said Kratt. “Its Choral Program has a robust music exchange program with a South African university, so their Music in the Rotunda event before the Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert is sure to be amazing.” Openings in the C. Douglas Helms Gallery in the Batte Center will feature works by local artists, Wingate art faculty, as well as rarely seen private collections. “The Batte Center is a special place and we want to make a visit to the Batte a memorable experience,” said Kratt.

The Batte Center Presents its 2011-12 Season:

Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway
Sat., Sept. 10 – 7:30 p.m.
Five Broadway Stars step into 50 of the greatest Broadway musical characters to create one unforgettable evening of hits from musicals such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Jersey Boys, Chicago, Mamma Mia and Jekyll & Hyde.

The Return: The Ultimate Beatles Experience
Sat., Sept. 24 – 7:30 p.m.
"There are moments when it's hard to believe you're not watching the Beatles!”
--- Creative Loafing

Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories
Fri., Nov. 11 – 7:30 p.m.
With her Texas lilt and gentle demeanor, writer-performer Faye Lane serves up a Southern-fried cabaret show filled with endearing songs and delightful monologues about growing up in her mama's Texas beauty salon.

An Evening with Joan Baez
Sat., Nov. 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Legendary singer, songwriter and activist Joan Baez merges her distinctive vocal style with ballads, rock, gospel and country on such classic hits as The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, We Shall Overcome, and Diamonds and Rust.

The Priests: A Holiday Concert
Thurs., Dec. 1 – 7:30 p.m.
First US Tour! The Priests are three practicing Roman Catholic Priests from Northern Ireland who grew up singing together and, in 2008, their debut album featuring soaring harmonies sold so fast they set a new Guinness World Record! The Priests in concert will be a memorable evening of awe inspiring music as well as a celebration of faith, spirituality, tolerance, love and the power of the human spirit.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: A Holiday Concert
Fri., Dec. 2 – 7:30 p.m.
Called “the most dynamic bluegrass band ever” with the unbeatable harmonies, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver bring their traditional bluegrass sound to the Batte Center for one memorable holiday performance.

Jake Shimabukuro Thurs., Jan. 26 – 7:30 p.m.
He was named Rolling Stone Magazine’s Best Ukulele Hero in 2011. It’s rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It’s even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Fri., Feb. 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Guardians of indigenous South African music and dance, the Grammy award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo delivers an uplifting a cappella performance.

The 5 Browns – A Tchaikovsky Festival Event
Tues., Mar. 6 – 7:30 p.m.
“One family, five pianos and fifty fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years." --The New York Post The 5 Browns are appearing as part of the Charlotte Tchaikovsky Festival and will feature an all Russian Program.

Roger McGuinn
Fri., Mar. 23 – 7:30 p.m.
Roger McGuinn is co-founder and former front man for the folk-rock band, The Byrds, and will take you down memory lane with his favorite songs by Dylan, and other popular songs from his successful career.

Tickets go on sale to Season Subscribers and members of the Batte Center Friends group on Tuesday, June 28 by mail, email and fax. Friends of the Batte memberships start at just $50. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public in August. Tickets will be mailed out in August. Visit Wingate University’s Batte Center website at for a complete schedule of events, ticket prices, as well as subscriber and membership information or call 704-233-8316 or 704-233-8300.

Opened in 1999, the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center presents events in the McGee Theatre, Plyler-Griffin Recital Hall and Austin Auditorium. Located just a short five minute drive from Monroe, The Batte is just 2 blocks off of Highway 74 and only 30 miles east of Charlotte. Free parking is plentiful and all three performance facilities offer full wheelchair accessibility.

Wingate University Founded in 1896, Wingate University is a private comprehensive university with more than 2,300 students on two campuses in Wingate and Matthews, North Carolina. The University offers 34 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, physician assistant studies and sports administration, and doctorates in pharmacy and education. Wingate students gain the tools and support they need to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life. The campus community offers in-class learning, out-of-class experiences, strong mentors, a competitive yet caring environment and rewarding community service opportunities for a complete educational experience.

Wingate student athletes compete in 19 NCAA Division II sports, and the University has won the South Atlantic Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past five years.

Contact: Laura Kratt
Director of Cultural Events 704-233-8316