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The Arts

The arts—performing, visual and literary—are a part of the daily educational experience at Davidson. Students, alumni and the greater Davidson family are invited to enjoy and participate in various art forms on campus throughout the year. Sculpture. Readings. Plays. Exhibitions. Chorale. It is all happening here.

As Davidson grows its focus on broad collaboration across the arts and sciences, opportunities for involvement in the arts and a transdisciplinary approach to learning will continue to develop on and off campus.

Events are free-except those having a link to tickets-and open to the public.

Key: 900 Room = C. Shaw Smith 900 Room, Alvarez College Union; BT = Barber Theatre, Cunningham Fine Arts Center; CI = Carolina Inn; DCPC = Davidson College Presbyterian Church, DFPH = Duke Family Performance Hall, Knobloch Campus Center; Hance = Hance Auditorium, Chambers; Lilly = Lilly Family Gallery, Chambers; TTH = Tyler-Tallman Hall, Sloan Music Center

Please check back in August 2016 for a list of upcoming events in the 2016-17 academic year.


This is a sampling of 2015-16 Arts events. Please visit the individual department pages for a complete list.


Regina José Galindo

This exhibition spaned 15 years and comprised performance documentation of 23 works of art in the form of videos, photos and objects, as well as a live performance commissioned specifically for Davidson College. A full color catalogue accompanied the exhibition that featured an introduction by Lia Newman, an interview between Galindo and Rosina Cazali, and essays by Jeff Kidder and Kency Cornejo.

The Annual Student Juried Exhibition

The exhibit highlighted works produced during the academic year by both art majors and non art-majors. Works on view were selected by the studio art faculty. Awards were selected and presented by guest juror Jennifer Edwards, curator at Charlotte's own Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, on the evening of the opening.

Artist Series


Grammy Award winning cellist Matt Haimovitz and leading American pianist and host of NPR's From the Top program Christopher O'Riley joined together in a collaboration that blurred the boundaries between the classical and pop music genres. In Shuffle.Play.Listen., audiences heard a unique lineup of works from J.S. Bach, Bernard Hermann, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Piazzolla, and Prokofiev.


Drawing on the best talent from the many churches and communities in and around Soweto, South Africa, the two-time Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir returned to Davidson this season. The ensemble performs in six different languages and brings audiences around the world to their feet with the joy and power of authentic African gospel music and dynamic renditions of western spirituals.


Sprung from the brilliant mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this was an exhilarating tale of mystery, suspense, and intrigue. Sherlock Holmes skillfully maneuvered through the twisted web of London's most fascinating cases that only he could solve. Presented by the acclaimed British-American touring troupe Aquila Theatre, this thrilling performance was an unforgettable ride that kept you on the edge of your seat.

Literary Arts


German novelist, playwright, and essayist, Jagoda Marinić melds literary work with political action. Born to immigrant parents from Dalmatia, she speaks and writes about identity, memory, and integration. She is director of The Intercultural Center, Heidelberg.


Lee Smith is the author of 17 works of fiction including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and Guests on Earth. Her many awards include the North Carolina Award for Literature, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters award; her novel, The Last Girls, was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. Dimestore, a collection of personal essays, will be published in 2016.



Ta-Nehisi Coates' George Polk Award-winning Atlantic cover story on slavery and race, "The Case for Reparations," is one of the most talked-about pieces of nonfiction in recent years. A National Correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates is the author of The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me.


Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of three books of poetry: Lucky Fish, At the Drive-In Volcano, and Miracle Fruit. With Ross Gay, she co-authored Lace & Pyrite, a chapbook of nature poems. Her awards include an NEA Fellowship in poetry, a Pushcart Prize, and the Chancellor's Medal of Excellence from SUNY-Fredonia, where she teaches poetry writing and environmental literature. In 2016-17, Nezhukumatathil will be the Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi's MFA program in creative writing.



Since the release of their first album, "Wake the Hero," Barnaby Bright has garnered high accolades for their songwriting and sound. Grand prize winners of the NY Song Circle competition, their follow-up EP, "Gravity," was named one of the top 100 records of the year by Amazon. They continue to tour in support of their most recent album, "The Longest Day." Get a sample of Barnaby Bright's sound by watching their video for "Old Coats.


For the first time during Family Weekend, the traditional "big band" ensemble welcomed a parent, keyboardist Jim Kuster '80. Kuster began his formal music education at the Manhattan School of Music, where he attended the prep division prior to enrolling at Davidson. While here, Jim formed a band with two other core members, Chip Carter '79 and Roger Brown '78, who now serves as president of the Berklee College of Music.


Rachmaninoff's "All-Night Vigil" is celebrating its 100th anniversary of the writing and premiere of the timeless "Vespers," a work that has been described as his finest achievement and called the "greatest musical achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church." The Davidson College Choral Arts Society joined with the Davidson Singers to perform the hour-long masterpiece sung in its original Church Slavonic.


Two nights of sold out shows ushered in the season of holiday cheer with festive music, dance, theatre, and art all in one exciting and family-friendly show that featured the finest talent Davidson has to offer by showcasing the college choirs, symphony orchestra, and jazz band, along with community ensembles: Davidson Community Players, Dance Davidson, and Young Voices of the Carolinas. Make plans to attend next year as many people are calling the Gala their "new holiday tradition."


Our annual Lessons & Carols Christmas Vespers service featured music from the Davidson College Chorale and Brass Ensemble with prelude music by the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra.


The Davidson College Choirs performed a one-night-only sing through of the Christmas portion (plus a few extras) of Handel's Messiah. Joined by an orchestral chamber ensemble, student soloists, and guests, many enjoyed this evening of jubilant choral revelry.


Set in rural Appalachia, the story focuses on 19-year-old Susannah (soprano Grace Hauser '16), a pretty girl who attracts the attention of the church elders. Despite her innocence, the church community shuns her and names her a sinner. When the local reverend (baritone and Professor of Physics Dan Boye) seeks Susannah out, he finds himself interested in more than saving her soul. A heartbreaking tale of lost innocence and isolation, Floyd's Susannah is not to be missed.


Guitarist Wayne Henderson is widely recognized as an exceedingly talented musician and expert luthier. Henderson has brought his finger-picking style of guitar playing from his shop in Virginia to the stage at Carnegie Hall, and has also won a NEA Heritage Award for his guitar making. Only producing about twenty instruments a year, the 10+ year waiting list for Henderson's instruments have included the likes of Eric Clapton and Doc Watson, among many others.


International jazz superstar Delfeayo Marsalis joined the Jazz Ensemble for this special performance. Marsalis, one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today, is known for his "technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor..." (Los Angeles Times). He is "...one of the best, most imaginative, and musical of the trombonists of his generation" (San Francisco Examiner).

In January 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton, and Jason) earned the nation's highest jazz honor-a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. You won't want to miss this exciting concert with a living jazz legend.


David Holt & the Lightning Bolts enlivens old-time music with a newtime jolt. The wide diversity of ages, styles, and dynamic personalities gives the spark that keeps their music fresh, fun, and fired up. At the heart of the group, four-time Grammy Award-winner, host of "Folkways" on PBS, radio host, recording artist and multi-instrumentalist David Holt has lead the charge to preserve, promote and perform traditional Appalachian music for the past three decades. Sample a few songs on Amazon.

Armed Man: Mass for Peace

The Davidson Choirs and Pro Arte Orchestra combined to perform a work that has been described as a "firebomb of orchestral and human voices." Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace blends the universal themes of war and peace, and combines the traditional mass with other musical, religious, and historical sources. These include a fifteenth-century folk song, the Islamic call to prayer, texts from the Bible and the Mahabharata, along with words from the works of Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Sankichi Toge, who survived the Hiroshima bombing.



Two fellows reject America, declare God an illegitimate ruler and set out to establish a paradise among the birds. Prof. Keyne Cheshire provides this new translation of Aristophanes' comedy, preserving the subversive, riotous humor of its native Greek. Expect a fun production marked by inventive gags, a healthy dose of filth and a live rock band.


In 1959, a white family moves out. In 2009, a white family moves in. In the intervening years, change overtakes a neighborhood. Damningly insightful, Bruce Norris's Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning comedy takes on the issues of gentrification in our communities, leaving no stone unturned in the process.


Q&A with Playwright and cast to follow reading. It's the summer of 1992 in Medford, N.J. Adam and his gang of friends face life after high school. Matt and Hayley are sweethearts with secrets. Tara is hoping she can ditch state school for an Ivy education. And Pete needs to face his not-so-secret desires. But when the fivesome encounters a mysterious visitor from another world, their lives are forever changed. A dark comedy about that time when everything and nothing feels possible. Q&A with playwright and cast followed the reading.


An Evening with Robert McDuffie & Friends

Grammy-nominee and one of the most sought-after violinists, Robert McDuffie presented a concert to benefit Davidson College and WDAV. He is founder of both the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia. He was accompanied by an ensemble of students from Mercer.

WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition

Classical Public Radio 89.9 FM WDAV, with the generous support of OrthoCarolina, presented the Young Chamber Musicians Competition for musicians ages 14-24. Aspiring young chamber ensembles competed for a chance to win their share of $12,000 in cash prizes. To view and hear the four finalist ensembles, please visit WDAV.