MIAC events to continue on Zoom

Eva Philips, Staff writer

The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many changes around campus, but they will not stop the Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture from bringing new and exciting programming to the Erie region throughout the spring season.

MIAC has adapted to public health guidelines by shifting programming to a virtual experience. Though this will be different from previous seasons, the virtual programming will be accessible from anywhere, making it possible to witness and celebrate artistic talent from near and far.

The spring season will kick off with a performance by the British vocal a capella ensemble VOCES8, which consists of two soprano singers, two altos, two tenors, a baritone and a bass.

In addition to performing onstage, VOCES8 has a music education charity, the VOCES8 Foundation, to spread the love of music even further.

The eight-person group has performed in venues worldwide and has had many high-profile collaborations, including performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of Ancient Music.

VOCES8 prides itself on its extensive repertoire of a capella and accompanied music and promises to inspire the audience through the art of singing.

VOCES8 will perform via a virtual Zoom event on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The month of March will bring a presentation from Sean Astin.

Astin is an actor, director and producer whom many will recognize from his critically-acclaimed performances in iconic films like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, in which he played the steadfast Samwise Gamgee, as well as his role as Bob Newby in the popular television show “Stranger Things.”

Astin, who is the published author of his memoir “There and Back Again,” advocates for important causes like volunteerism and mental health support, and his presentation is sure to inspire listeners.

Astin’s presentation will take place on Mar. 11 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.

The third and final event of the spring 2021 season is certain to be a night of pleasant music and captivating talent.

Acclaimed musician Chris Thile, a mandolin virtuoso, composer and vocalist, will share his talents with the Erie community in a livestream performance.

Thile has won multiple Grammy Awards and gained fame from his time as a member of musical trio Nickel Creek. He is also a member of Punch Brothers and a MacArthur Fellow, and hosts the “Live From Here” radio program.

Thile’s performance is set for Apr. 7 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.

These three performances, spread throughout the spring, are certain to bring inspiration and cheer to viewers. Admission for all three events is free, and the virtual format of the events make them especially accessible even during the busy spring semester.

Each performance is limited to five hundred viewers, though, so it is important to act quickly to secure a spot.

More information on each performance, as well as registration, is available through the MIAC website.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the world of the importance of arts and culture, and with that in mind, Mercyhurst is looking forward to welcoming VOCES8, Sean Astin and Chris Thile to share their talents with us this semester.