Spring 2021 Georgetown University Department of Performing Arts Events

As the Brood X Cicadas in the DMV area (and humans alike, post-vaccination) have now climbed out of their holes, we pause to look back at the spring 2021 virtual semester. We hosted a full season of music, theater, and dance events, despite still being online due to the pandemic, and appreciate the prolific and profound work our students, faculty, staff, and guest artists accomplished collaboratively!

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Because of COVID-19, the usually public Friday Music Concert Series spring 2021 semester emerged as a collection of performances expressly created or curated online for students enrolled in the affiliated course “Live Music in the Context of Pandemic.” Designed by Profs. Anthony DelDonna and Bryan McCann, students met virtually each week to engage in live discussions with guest artists focused on their past and present work emphasizing different approaches to music-making during the pandemic. Each Friday afternoon was devoted to an associated digital musical performance featuring guest artists, and the series kicked off on February 5.

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Leah Claiborne, piano

Dr. Leah Claiborne, Assistant Professor of Music at the University of the District of Columbia, curated for Black History Month this previously recorded program featuring selections from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s 24 Negro Melodies for piano, including “I’m Troubled in Mind,” “No more Auction Block for Me,” “Going Up,” “Steal Away,” “Wade in the Water,” and “The Angels Changed my Names.” The video shown for the February 5 class session also includes the participation of Prof. George Shirley, Joseph Edgar Maddey Distinguished Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan.

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Pablo Fagundes, harmonica

This video presented to class on February 12, “Som lá em Casa nas Embaixadas” or Music at Home in the Embassies, is part of a series of pandemic concerts produced by harmonica player Pablo Fagundes in the foreign embassies of Brazil’s capital, Brasília. Each socially distanced performance features music from the country of the embassy in question, in combination with the virtuosic instrumental approach to choro and Brazilian jazz for which Brasília is widely celebrated. In this performance, Fagundes’s quartet plays music of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, as well as music associated with Belgium. This includes compositions written and performed by the great Belgian harmonica player Toots Thielemans, and the Belgian-born Roma guitarist Django Reinhardt. The selections are interspersed with a conversation conducted in Portuguese between Fagundes and Belgian Ambassador to Brazil, Patrick Herman. The conversation touches on the shared cultural affinities of the two nations. 

The quartet includes Pablo Fagundes, harmonica; Hamilton Pinheiro, bass; Pedro Almeida, drums; and Misael Silvestre, keyboards. The performance begins around the 4:12 mark.

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Paul Bratcher Trio

Jazz pianist and GU Music Program Prof. Paul Bratcher, director of the GU Jazz Ensemble, played the music of civil rights for the February 19 class with Eric Harper, bass and Mark Hunsberger, drums. Program includes “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (Spiritual), “Only Time Will Tell” by Paul Bratcher, “Seven Steps to Heaven” by Miles Davis, “I Have A Dream” by Herbie Hancock, and “Wade in the Water” (Spiritual).

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Andrew Finn-MacGill

Multi-genre award-winning fiddler, composer, and producer Andrew Finn Magill has been featured on NPR, MTV, and has over a million streams on Spotify. He is a 2009 Fulbright Fellow, 2019 North Carolina Arts Council Fellow for jazz composition and was signed to Ropeadope Records in 2018 for his Brazilian fusion project “Canta, Violino!” This video was presented for class February 26, and includes a Bossa Nova Medley of “Triste,” “Wave,” and “Girl from Ipanema” by Antonio (Tom) Carlos Jobim; a Maxixes Medley of “Graúna” by João Pernambuco and “Tempo de Criança” by Dilermando Reis; French musette/Brazilian choro: “L’Indifference,” a French melody that comes from the gypsy jazz genre (manouche jazz) forged by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt; and a Brazilian Samba medley of “Timoneiro” by Paulinho da Viola, “Folhas Secas” by Nelson Cavaquinho, and “Aquarela do Brasil” by Ary Barroso.

Mask & Bauble Dramatic Society

The 35th Annual Donn B. Murphy One Acts Festival 

Mask & Bauble presented their annual festival of student-written works, beginning with Under the City Lights by Catherine Shonack (SFS ’22) on March 5, featuring several city dwellers musing about their relationships to the city, accompanied by song, visual art, and movement.

On March 6, Timmy Sutton’s (COL ’20) Opening Set followed a group of band kids getting ready at a marching band competition, struggling with love, belonging, and their own identities.

Isaac Warren’s (COL ’20/GSAS ’21) “The Ponderosa” on March 12 and 13 brought together five generations of crewmates on a mission to find where “home” really is—on their doomed spaceship, or a planet no one’s seen in generations.

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program Home Season, Davis Performing Arts Center

Letters and Poems, Episode 3

Hybrid in form, this project conceived and curated by Prof. Maya E. Roth created a virtual community throughout the entire academic year, and received its third and final installment March 6. Consisting of performances of great Letters & Poems and presented as part of the Davis Performing Arts Center’s 15th anniversary season, “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World,” this episode featured contributions by students with special shares by TPST faculty, staff and the spring’s theater projects.

For additional info and archival videos of Letters & Poems Episodes 1 & 2, see the full project site.

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Educarte: Brazil Meets Ireland

Forró, frevo, reels, jigs, and the button accordion. Exploring connections between the popular music and dances of Brazil and Ireland, this video for the March 12 “Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic” featured ethnomusicologist Paddy League, Ph.D., ethnochoreologist Kate Spanos, Ph.D., and accordion master musician Rob Curto.

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Modern Musick

The early music ensemble Modern Musick has been in residence at Georgetown University’s Music Program since 2012. Presented on March 19, this program with with Risa Browder, violin; John Moran, cello; and Dongsok Shin, harpsichord; includes Bach’s Sonata in G (BWV 1027/1039); Marais’s Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève du Mont de Paris; Corelli’s Violin Sonata, op. 5, no. 3; and Bach’s Sonata in G for violin & BC (BWV 1021).

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program Home Season, Davis Performing Arts Center
Theater & Performance Studies Program and the Program in Disability Studies

Totally Manageable, Easily Treatable

In her creative senior thesis project, double major in Theater & Performance Studies and Government with a minor in Disability Studies Grace Crozier (C’21) explored lived experiences of illness and wellness, access, and self-care, as part of the Davis Performing Arts Center’s “Seeds of Change” home season. Advised by Prof. Derek Goldman, the March 19-20 solo virtual performance of “Totally Manageable, Easily Treatable” was also co-sponsored with the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, and featured talkbacks moderated by Professors Jennifer Natalya Fink and Libbie Rifkin.

GU Concert Choir

Black Feminism, Margaret Bonds, and the Credo of W. E. B. Du Bois

The GU Concert Choir and Music Director Prof. Frederick Binkholder continued their multi-year exploration of the works of Margaret Bonds, participating March 24 in a Royal Irish Academy of Music guest lecture session with Professor John Michael Cooper (Southwestern University, USA). The ensemble performed selections from Bonds’ “Credo,” edited by Dr. Cooper, including the 1st Movement (“I Believe in God”), 2nd Movement (“Especially do I believe” with soprano soloist Katerina Burton from the Washington National Opera Cafritz Young Artists) and the 7th Movement (“I Believe in Justice”).

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Oh, He Dead

The acclaimed DC-based indie soul band Oh, He Dead’s lead singer C.J. Johnson and vocalist/guitarist Andy Valenti presented this concert from Valenti’s house in NE DC for April 9 class.

Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics in partnership with the GU Theater & Performance Studies Program

Here I Am

In this world premiere virtual performance April 13-17, Mélisande Short-Colomb told her powerful and moving story with a team of co-creating artists, including Grammy Award-nominated composer/singer Somi Kokoma and Prof. Derek Goldman, Direction and Script Development/ Dramaturgy. A native of New Orleans who began her studies at Georgetown in 2017 at the age of 63, Short-Colomb is a direct descendant of Abraham Mahoney and Mary Ellen Queen who were among the 314 members of the group known today as the GU272, enslaved people owned and sold by the Maryland Jesuits in 1838 to rescue Georgetown University from insolvency and bankruptcy.  More than an autobiographical chronicle, the show wove narrative, music, and imagery, exploring Colomb’s loving and complicated relationship with the institution that enslaved her ancestors.

The work was featured in a Washington Post (new window) article, and DC Metro Arts (new window) heralded the performance as “a work that may just be a lodestar of what is possible, powerful, and a permanent testament to what the theater can and should be in this time.” “Here I Am” was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by the Office of the President at Georgetown University. View the trailer below and read more about Here I Am.

GU Dance Program

Black Movements Dance Theatre

Prof. Alfreda Davis, Artistic Director

Black Movements Dance Theatre celebrated National Dance Week April 15-25 with virtual classes including an April 15 master class with former Alvin Ailey Principal Dancer Christopher L. Huggins, an April 17 Afro Jazz session with Alfreda Davis and Black Pearl Dance Theatre; and an April 22 community class with Horton technique specialist Sheryl Thomas. Events also included a discussion with performing arts advocate and award-winning civil rights attorney Saleema Snow (April 20) and the dance film premiere of “No Fear.”

GU Music Program: Live Music in the Context of a Pandemic

Claudia Chudacoff, violin
Kathryn Brake, piano 

Violinist Claudia Chudacoff serves as concertmaster of both the National Gallery Orchestra and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, and in 2015 retired from her position as concertmaster of the U.S. Marine Band’s White House Chamber Orchestra, in which she served during four Presidential administrations. Characterized as a “compelling and imaginative performer” by The Washington Post, pianist Kathryn Brake has performed as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestras.

Their April 16 program featured “Blumenstucke Op. 19 for piano solo” by Robert Schumann; “Prelude for piano solo” by Kaija Sariaaho; “Rhapsody no. 1. for violin solo” by Jessie Montgomery; “Secret and Glass Gardens for piano solo” by Jennifer Higdon; and “Sonata in A Major, Op. 100 for violin and piano” by Johannes Brahms.

Black Theatre Ensemble

Inside Look: Jeremy Guyton

Black Theatre Ensemble presented a series of discussions with alumni to share their past projects and perspectives on the broader arts industry. On April 16 they welcomed Jeremy Guyton (C’12), whose most recent credits include “Foreign to Myself” (Goat in the Road Productions), touring with Solange, and “Gomela/ to return” (Junebug Productions).

Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society

Man of La Mancha Concert

Book by Dale Wasserman
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

Directed by Sam Kehoe (SFS ’23)
Produced by Cory Kleinman (COL ’21)
Stage Managed by Joey LaScala (SFS ’23)
Technical Direction by Morgan Smith (NHS ’22)
Music Direction by Sarah Edmonson (COL ’23)
Choreography by Zoe Corrigan (MSB ’23)

On April 16 and 17, Mask & Bauble did an abridged concert version of this poignant musical, in which the poet Miguel de Cervantes is thrown into a bleak prison despite having done no wrong, and as he awaits punishment tells the tale of a man transforming into Don Quixote, a knight who pursues high and noble causes even in an unchivalrous and ignoble world.


A cappella ensemble GraceNotes performed this ABBA Medley, arranged by Daniela González Landero at the April 17 Cherry Tree Massacre event. Group Music Directors: Ria Pradhan and Talya Inbar.

Capitol G’s

The Capitol G’s a cappella group performed this arrangement of “Stacy’s Mom/1985.”


The Acappella ensemble Saxatones also performed at Cherry Tree “Hold Back the River” by James Bay, arranged by Jack Holtze. Musical Director: Lekha Medarametla.

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program Home Season, Davis Performing Arts Center

Okinawa Field Trip

In the inventive and cross-cultural Okinawa Field Trip developed by Prof. Natsu Onoda Power and the Ensemble, Doug, a dugong, guided groups of audiences on a virtual “bus” from Georgetown to “imaginary” Okinawa to encounter a mythical creature from Okinawan folk tales, sample Okinawan delicacies, meet local artists and observe a contemporary-day protest against the construction of a new US Marine base in Henoko Bay. From April 19-29, the show served as the featured spring production of the Davis Performing Arts Center’s 2020-21 Virtual Season, “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World,” programmed by Artistic Director Prof. Maya E. Roth.

Georgetown Environment Initiative, Georgetown Humanities Initiative, and The Lab for Global Performance and Politics

We Hear You: An Earth Day Roundtable With Youth Climate Artists and Activists

Moderated by award-winning actor/producer and alumna Caitlin Nasema Cassidy (C’11) and featuring five GU students and alumni, this April 22 Earth Day conversation launched We Hear You—A Movement, a large-scale, women-led performance project centering youth voices in the movement for climate justice.

Nomadic Theatre

Dear Elizabeth

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Amy Li (COL ’22)
Produced by Ashanee Kottage (SFS ’22)
Stage Managed by Joseph Ravago (COL ’23)

From April 23-May 1, Nomadic Theatre presented Sarah Ruhl’s moving “Dear Elizabeth,” exploring one of the greatest correspondences in literary history – the 400 letters exchanged between 1947-1977 between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop.

Black Theatre Ensemble

Inside Look: Isaiah M. Wooden

Black Theatre Ensemble hosted alumnus and former GU faculty member Isaiah M. Wooden (C’04) on April 23 to present his previous projects with Tarell Alvin McCraney (Author of Moonlight), BTE, and more.

GU Theater & Performance Studies Program Home Season, Davis Performing Arts Center

Co-Produced by Black Theatre Ensemble and Theater & Performance Studies Home Season, and co-sponsored with the Georgetown Humanities Initiative


Created by Fatima Dyfan (C’21)
Directed by Mar Cox (C ’16)

Stage Managed by Erin Crowder (C’22)
Advised by Prof. Maya E. Roth

This April 24 viewing party of senior African American Studies major and TPST minor Fatima Dyfan, advised by Prof. Maya E. Roth, celebrated the magical journey of a Black radical feminist in the making, followed by a virtual discussion/afterparty. Part of the Davis Performing Arts Center’s “Seeds of Change: Reimagining the World” season.

GU Music Program

GU Chamber Music Ensembles Program

Prof. Netanel Draiblate, director
Profs. Netanel Draiblate and Grace Kim, coaches

The GU Chamber Music Ensembles rehearsed from their respective homes all semester, and their final video includes the String Trio in G minor, Op. 6 by Leo Weiner, featuring Beau Reitz, violin; Declan Wicks, viola; and Lucie Xu, cello; as well as Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by pianists Sherry Wu and Dr. Grace Kim.

Saturday, May 1 at 7 p.m. ET – Sunday, May 9 at 11:59 p.m. ET

GU Dance Program 

GU Dance Company

Something’s Up!
Prof. Raina Lucas, Faculty Artistic Director
Lydia Good, Student Artistic Director

This May 1-9 spring dance festival featured virtual performances created remotely by student choreographers, faculty, and professional guest choreographers Maurice Johnson and Ashley Daigle, discussions with choreographers and dancers, and an open community dance class for participants of all levels. Below are some GUDC student-created works.

Michelle Du and Chloe Holman 
Title of Piece: for its own sake
Choreographers: Michelle Du & Chloe Holman
Dancers: Michelle Du & Chloe Holman
Videographers: Michelle Du, Camille Holman, Chloe Holman
Video Editing: Michelle Du
Music: “Coalescing” by David Gledhill

This piece explores the feeling of reaching the flow state: when one becomes wholly immersed in an activity, the mind becomes free from all other thoughts, and one becomes extracted from the self as if untethered by time. The creation of the piece was somewhat of an exercise of the flow state in itself, primarily drawing upon improvisational dance movement and exploratory film work.

Hannah Joyce 

Title of Piece: angels
Lead Choreographer: Hannah Joyce
Assistant Choreographer: Juliana Peacock
Dancers: Hannah Joyce and Juliana Peacock
Videographers: Hannah Joyce, Juliana Peacock, Macy Uustal
Video Editing: Hannah Joyce
Music: “Angels” by Khalid

This work was inspired by the idea of divine control and guidance, as we are watched by angels and the spirits of our loved ones who are always with us in our hearts, dreams, and the beauty of nature. The piece is dedicated to Amanda Kay, in the loving memory of her father, Richard Kay.

Title of Piece: Renaissance
Lead Choreographer: Hannah Long
Co-Choreographers: Lydia Good & Katie Henderson
Dancers: Lydia Good, Katie Henderson, Hannah Long
Videographers: Alyssa Hirai, Ethan Knecht, Sarah Long
Video Editing: Hannah Long
Music: “Spring 1” by Vivaldi, Recomposed by Max Richter

Dancers move through frames, bringing pictures to life and sharing a story of revival and rejuvenation. 

Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics

Verge: A Student Arts and Politics Festival

This new student arts and politics festival, created through the first cohort of student Lab fellows, brought together students interested in the intersection of politics and the arts May 8-9, featuring discussions on specific topics in the field, live performances, online pieces, and films. https://globallab.georgetown.edu/projects/verge/

Black Theatre Ensemble

Inside Look: Reginald Douglas

Black Theatre Ensemble wrapped up its “Inside Look” series for the season on May 6, with an in-depth look at the world of theater production, direction, and publication with alumnus Reginald Douglas (C’09), Associate Artistic Director at Studio Theatre in D.C.

GU Music Program

GU Jazz Ensemble

Prof. Paul Bratcher, Music Director

The GU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Prof. Paul Bratcher, recorded in the spring semester 2021 works including Phil Wilson’s “Basically Blues,” as seen in the video below.

GU Orchestra

In a cross-course collaboration, student composers from Prof. Carlos Simon’s composition classes created works that were performed by student members of the GU Orchestra, Prof. Angel Gil-Ordóñez, Music Director.

“Meandering” by Matthew Hua (C’22)

“Firelight” by Brian Weinberger

GU Music Program

Guild of Bands

Prof. David Murray, Director

Ensembles of the Guild of Bands created videos as their final projects of the semester, including the following five:

“Indie Game Dev Hell” by The Flannel Kings

No Heroes! Waifu Safari

“How did you know?” by Joshua Wertheim

“Want It” by The Doinks

Sonic Honey – Spring 2021 Live

Theater and Performance Studies Program

Performing LGBTQ+ History

Prof. Michael T. Williams’ Theater & Performance Studies Program class “Performing LGBTQ+ History” (TPST 242) produced compelling work this semester, gathered into this digital video archive (new window). Prof. Williams says, “I’m very much in awe of these daring and justice-minded students, floored in so many ways by how passionately and critically they met the creative and investigative provocations of the course.”

Congrats to all on a great semester!