Proving that "love is a battlefield," lovers of culture will have a lot to fight over when the box office of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center opens for the 2009-2010 season.
The first season concert will feature pop stars Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo who will perform September 11, followed by Kris Kristofferson in January, Steve Tyrell in March and Three Dog Night in June.
As a video of the Grammy-nominated band played for a select preview audience Thursday night, COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook started singing along to "Joy To the World," clearly caught up in the excitement.
The popular Cabaret series that sold out last year is returning, expanded to four nights, featuring song stylists Linda Purl and Kevin Spirtas, who will entertain patrons enjoying light refreshments in an intimate club-like setting on the main stage.
In celebration of instrumental music, the community favorite R. K. Downs Invitational Jazz Festival returns on the center's mainstage in February. And as part of a free "Stimulus Series," the Santa Clarita Symphony will play an accompaniment to the silent classic film "Daddy Long Legs," featuring Mary Pickford.
College students and community actors will perform the American tribal love-rock musical "Hair," which shocked and delighted audiences in 1969 - the year College of the Canyons opened - in performance for three weekends in October.
To mark the college's 40th anniversary and the PAC's 5th anniversary, the 2009-2010 season will be filled with the music that defined the five decades following 1969, when the college opened.
"I am very excited about the new season," said Adam Philipson, the center's managing director. "We are very grateful for the community's unwavering support that has made this center such a success."
MTV darling and popular club performer Benatar is sure to delight audience members with familiar songs such as "We Belong" and the classic "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."
A mainstay of the American music songwriting scene, Kristofferson penned songs for some of the biggest names in music including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Cher. With a repertoire of songs that explore love, gratitude, aging, war and his ever-present theme of freedom, such as "Me and Bobby McGee," "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "For the Good Times," Kristofferson's music still resonates today.
The season will close with a performance by the legendary rock band Three Dog Night on June 5. From 1969 to 1974, no other group achieved more top 10 hits including the No. 1 singles "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)," "Joy to the World" and "Black and White." The Grammy-nominated band has toured the globe for the past four decades and their music releases from the past decade alone have sold more than 1 million copies.
The season has plenty in store for kids too-specifically crayons, toads and bunnies. With trumpets blaring, the life-sized crayons in "The Crayon Court" will take its young audience on a whimsical and vivid adventure on October 3. Called "a sweet spirited, pop-style celebration of color, art and music" by the LA Times, the show is the brainchild of two-time Emmy-nominated puppeteer Thom Fountain.
On January 30, learn about friendship in the fun-filled musical adventure "A Year With Frog and Toad." Based on the beloved characters created by Arnold Lobel, Frog (the cheerful and popular one) and Toad (the grumpy one) journey through the swamp while learning life's lessons.
Spend the afternoon on May 1 with "Max and Ruby," Rosemary Wells' beloved bunny siblings who encounter some trouble putting on a play for their grandmother. With plenty of mischief, the family-friendly musical production is also based on the top-rated Nickelodeon television show.
With seven critically-acclaimed albums and standing-room only concerts around the world, the traditional Irish group "Danú" will usher in the holiday season-and the Great Performance series-on December 4 with a high-energy, moving holiday experience of ancient and contemporary Irish music with members of the college's very own choral programs.
Featuring virtuosi players on flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion and bouzouki, Danú will take you on a musical journey to Ireland.
The holiday season will continue with country star Phil Vassar when the Go Country acoustic holiday show returns on December 6.
Fans of the dance will enjoy presentations by the Lula Washington Dance Theatre in April and the touring company from "Dancing With the Stars" titled "Champions Of The Dance,' who will perform in November.
Over the years, the center's efforts have been towards introducing students in the Santa Clarita Valley to the performing arts, and this year will be no different.
"What is most exciting is the degree to which the PAC has become involved in being a cultural leader in the Valley," said Dr. Floyd Moos, dean of fine and performing arts at the college.
"Most of the professional performances are linked to educational partnerships and interdepartmental collaborations with the college, community and surrounding K-12 districts through master classes, school assemblies, classroom visits and school bus-in performances," added Moos.
When the uplifting "Spirit of Uganda" performs on February 6, the African group will remain in town until February 8 to do a special educational performance for local schoolchildren.
Ambassadors of Uganda's 2.4 million orphans, the 22 children-from ages 6 to 18-personify the resilience and promise of Africa's next generation as they promote awareness of Uganda's dual crisis of AIDS and civil war, and raise funds to support themselves and others in their homeland.
Their performance, which Newsday called "so dynamic they are transformative," is rich with melodic tones of standing drums, dynamic choreography, bright, layered rhythms and gorgeous call-and-response vocals that bring to life the sounds and movements of East Africa.
"We are also excited to add a new grant funded Stimulus Series of three free concerts for the community with members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Clarita Symphony and the return of the Air Force Band of the Golden West," said Philipson.
Also part of the season are performances from the college's outstanding performing arts departments including dance, choral recitals and music from the Symphony of the Canyons. The college's Theatre department will stage productions of "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," "Keely and Du" and Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Community favorites returning to the PAC include the Santa Clarita Regional Theatre, which will present "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in July and August and "Rent" in March; the Santa Clarita Master Chorale with "Tis the 10th Season" in December, "A British Invasion" in March and "Water Music: Songs For the Thirsty Soul" in June and the Santa Clarita Ballet with its holiday classic "The Nutcracker" in December and "A Fairy Tale Weekend of Ballet" featuring Cinderella and Snow White in June.
Series subscriptions will go on sale at 11:30 a.m. on July 16. Individual tickets will go on sale on August 13.
For complete season details, go to the Performing Arts Center Website at: www.canyonsPAC.com .