Celebrating Black History, more music than you can believe, and a whole lot of great theater

Classical Gas

Find out why The Harlem String Quartet is so hot when it joins The Delaware Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 7 to perform Mendelssohn’s Octet in E-Flat major, Op. 20. The Cincinnati Enquirer writes that HSQ is “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing, and intelligent.” The Champagne Chamber Series concert is in the Gold Ballroom of the Hotel du Pont. As always, enjoy complimentary bubbly, coffee and dessert. 652-5577, delawaresymphony.org

If you’re left wanting more traditional music, celebrate Claude Debussy’s 150th birthday with The Music School of Delaware on Feb. 8. Faculty members will perform some of his most beloved works at the Wilmington branch. 762-1132, wilmingtonmusic.org

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In the Spirit

Three area choirs will join the New Ark Chorale for its fourth annual Festival of Spirituals on Feb. 12. The founding choirs, St. Helena’s Church Choir and New Ark Chorale, unite with the Delaware Women’s Chorus, Center City Chorale and the DuPont Diversity Choir. Each choir will present its own program, then everyone will joing in a stirring three-song climax. See it at St. Helena’s Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington. Admission is free, but donations will be benefit the Sunday Breakfast Mission. newarkchorale.org

Know Your History

See and hear narrations, dance, music and historical information in “A Celebration of Black History,” presented by the Possum Point Players in Georgetown Feb. 10-12. Learn about the Lindy Hop, the Harlem Renaissance, the origins of hiphop and more from a diverse and talented group of performers whose knowledge of African-American culture is unmatched. According to PPP’s John Hulse, “This is an excited group who will bring their best to the Possum stage in a sparkling production you won’t want to miss.” 856-4560, possumpointplayers.org

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Pure Magic

Though “Magical Visions: Ten Contemporary African American Artists” opened at the University of Delaware last week, you’re not too late for the party. A reception with guest curator Keith Morrison happens Feb. 15. “Magical Visions” unites the work of several black artists—Terry Adkins, Sonya Clark, Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam, Barkley L. Hendricks, Kalup Linzy, Odili Odata, Karen Olivier, Faith Ringgold and William T. Williams—who have made big changes in media such as fiber, painting, photography, printmaking, quilt making and more. The exhibition continues through June 29 in Mechanical Hall in Newark. The reception on Feb. 15 is 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 831-8037, udel.edu/museums

Dueling Pianos—and a Touch of South Africa

The Grand Opera House provides another great week of entertainment, as usual. First, multi-platinum recording artist Bruce Hornsby arrives to play some of the music that earned him three Grammy awards. The New York Times calls his music “thoughtful, Southern-rooted songwriting…sophisticated and moody.” See why artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Tupac Shakur have collaborated with him.

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On Feb. 10, Grammy-nominated pianist David Lanz brings his New Age-style of music, as well as music from his new CD, “Liverpool,” which re-imagines the work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lanz “casts a meditative spell over the audience…captivating,” says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Tschaikowski St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra visits Feb. 11. Maestro Roman Leontiev will conduct a repertoire of works by famed Russian composers Ravel, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakov. Pianist Alexandre Pirojenko takes over as soloist for Prokofiev’s Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major. See why The Washington Post says he has “the technical skills to do anything he wants with a piano.”

Last, Ladysmith Black Mambazo brings the rhythms and harmonies of its South African home melded with the sound and feeling of gospel on Feb. 12. The New York Times calls the group “South Africa’s long-running musical treasure.” (We can thank Paul Simon for making them famous in the States—go buy a copy of “Graceland.”) 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org


Taking Over the Asylum

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” certainly resonated when it was made into a movie in 1975 and cleaned up at the Oscars. Now see why it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival in 2001 when the Second Street Players stage its performance of the 1962 Ken Kesey classic Feb. 10-19. Watch irascible Randal McMurphy turn a mental institution upside down when he and his fellow inmates revolt. It’s as scathing a criticism of institutional processes as it is downright hilarious. 422-0220, secondstreetplayers.com

On With the Show

Several great plays continue on area stages this week. First, no one does dark comedy like the Irish. Find out how a small community in old Erin really feels about Cripple Billy when he auditions for a Hollywood director in “The Cripple of Inishmaan” through Feb. 12  at Roselle Center for the Arts at the University of Delaware. It’s funny and touching.  831-2201, rep.udel.edu

In the gripping “Parade,” Leo Frank finds himself accused of murder and doomed to pay the ultimate price, thanks to corruption and sensationalized reporting. Can his wife or governor save him? The drama, based on a true story, won two Tonys in 1999. It plays at Wilmington Drama League through Feb. 11. 764-3396, wilmingtondramaleague.org

The drama “Miss Saigon” at the New Candlelight Theatre tells the story of U.S. soldier Chris and his love for native Kim in Vietnam during the war, as based on “Madame Butterfly.” The play runs through March 11. Don’t forget: dinner comes with the show. 475-2313, nctstage.org

As British wits go, Noel Coward is one of the greats. Clear Space Theatre Company pays due homage with its production of Coward’s classic farce “Blithe Spirit.” The plot: While researching his next novel, socialite Charles Condomine hires Madame Arcati to mediate a séance, but she somehow summons the ghost of his dead wife, Elvira. Let’s just say Elvira is none too happy about Charles’ new wife. See it through Feb. 19. 227-2270, clearspacetheatre.org

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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