Cajun Masters Coming to UWG

Monday, January 4, 2010

In the spirit of Ballet Memphis and Jon Faddis and The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the third annual Live Art at the Townsend Center event will feature yet another unique entertainment opportunity, the Grammy-winning BeauSoleil, one of the country's foremost Cajun bands. The group will perform Saturday, Jan. 23, on the Townsend Center Mainstage with the traditional cast party to follow in the Dangle Theatre.

BeauSoleil began in 1975 in Lafayette, La. and has elevated Cajun music to domestic and international acclaim. Blending elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues and more, the band appears regularly on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" and has received 10 Grammy nominations. In 1998, they became the first Cajun band to win a Grammy in the traditional folk category.

The group recently celebrated its 29th release, Alligator Purse, which originated from a benefit concert assisting victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Community volunteers Michelle Morgan, Claire Cooley and Susan Fleck are co-chairing the event. According to Morgan, there are two main reasons to support the Live Art series, in addition to the obvious evening of outstanding entertainment.

"Last year, the Live Art committee was delighted to establish the P.J. Hovey Live Art Scholarship Fund for awards to the departments of art, music and theatre," Morgan said. "It is our intention to endow this fund as soon as possible."

The series was also established to provide at least one signature production annually at the Townsend Center, while raising funds to increase the premier programming each season.

"We strive for profitability and growth, and the executive committee for Live Art is pleased that the series has exhibited both during the first two seasons," said Morgan. "However, the philanthropic goal for this year's event is to take the fundraising component one step higher and raise at least $15,000 for increased quality programming at the Townsend Center and to endow the Live Arts Scholarship."

For more information on how to become involved in the Live Art event at any number of giving levels, contact Robert Jennings, director of the Townsend Center, at 678-839-4722 or rjenning@westga.edu.