STAPLES -- Centennial Auditorium's 10th anniversary performing arts season gets under way Oct. 13 with the folk-pop duo Neal & Leandra, followed by five other acts through April.
The lineup includes a big band, a finger-style guitarist, a boogie-woogie trio and two major choirs.
"Centennial's program planners are offering what they consider to be incredible performances at an equally incredible price," an auditorium spokeswoman said this week.
Tickets may be purchased for each performance or as a season-long pass at a reduced price, the spokeswoman said.
Kantorei, a vocal chamber music ensemble directed by Axel Theimer, will bring its performance to Staples on April 13.
Advance ticket prices for each of the six acts range from $6-$8 while the season ticket, allowing admission to all performances, costs $35 for adults and students. Call (218) 894-5416 or 800-213-6877 for more information.
"The special season ticket price is a result of a comprehensive effort to raise funds in support of the arts and to make them more affordable to the public," the spokeswoman said.
Centennial Auditorium is owned by the Staples-Motley School District.
The series is supported financially by a taxpayer-funded grant from the State Arts Board, advertising sales to area merchants, and private donations that are still being accepted.
Neal & Leandra, a husband-wife duo from Minneapolis, open the season at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13. The singer-songwriting couple has appeared at many lakes area venues over the years, as well as on Minnesota Public Radio.
Neal, a Montevideo native, and Leandra, who hails from Louisville, met at Gustavus Adolphus College in 1981 and began touring professionally in 1989. Since then, the couple has issued a half dozen CDs, a combination of cover and original tunes.
"Listening to Leandra's distinctively husky and lustrous voice might be as heavenly as listening to angels," said one reviewer.
The season continues Nov. 17 with the Jazz Arts Big Band of Fargo-Moorhead, which says its "mission is to promote, advance and perpetuate jazz, America's classical music." The group is now in its 10th year.
Finger-style guitarist Steve Cloutier is on tap for a Jan. 6 performance at Centennial.
The Faribault resident is billed as "a one-person guitar orchestra on the acoustic and digital guitar," with a music blend of pop, jazz, new age and classical.
He also mixes vocal music with his instrumental performances, but the highlight of his work involves the guitar, called by one reviewer as "musically clear, innovative and well-crafted. He is an original."
Company B, a female trio that compares favorably with the Andrew Sisters, comes to Staples on Feb. 10.
The group's promotional materials promise a show filled with "boogie woogie, comedy, costumes and fun for the whole family."
Next in the season's lineup is the Concord Singers of New Ulm, billed as one of the "foremost amateur German-language male choruses in America" and the southern Minnesota community's "ambassadors of good will."
Founded in 1931, the group has appeared in concert across the country, as well as television and radio. The group's membership is drawn from New Ulm and neighboring communities.
The season wraps April 13 with Kantorei, a vocal chamber music ensemble "dedicated to the performance of 19th and 20th century European music," its promotional material says.
The group was founded in 1988 by Axel Theimer, professor of vocal music at St. John's and St. Benedict's universities who continues as director.
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