Innovative musical group to kick off Centennial Celebration

Jackie Valley

There have been T-shirts emblazoned with the year “2010” and a centennial float in a Kent parade, but now, events will kick off the university’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

A performance Friday night by Red {an orchestra}, a Cleveland-based orchestra, at Kent State’s Cartwright Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. will launch a series of events celebrating the university’s milestone as part of the Centennial Celebration.

“We wanted to do things that attract a broad range of our community to participate in the activities, and music is certainly one of those things,” said Kathy Stafford, vice president for University Relations.

Al Bartholet, general manager of WKSU who helped coordinate the orchestra’s visit to Kent State, said Red {an orchestra} incorporates multimedia elements into its performance to educate young audiences about classical music.

Bartholet said the innovative group is “always doing cutting-edge things,” such as using actors or projection screens onstage. He anticipates 500 people in attendance for the free event because all the available vouchers have been taken.

Stafford said the Centennial Celebration Committee is still finalizing the schedule of events and activities that will run through 2010. It will present a budget plan in the spring when the university creates its budget for the next fiscal year.

“That’s why nothing is engraved in stone yet because we still have to work out the funding process,” she said.

Stafford said there will be a kickoff event at the beginning of the centennial academic year in fall 2009 and a closing event in May 2010.

In addition, Stafford said the Centennial Celebration Committee will meet in April with a similar committee from Bowling Green, which also shares Kent State’s centennial anniversary, to discuss the possibility of planning an event in Columbus to get the legislature involved.

The Ohio legislature authorized the formation of two new universities – Kent State and Bowling Green – on May 19, 1910.

Back on campus, Stafford said the committee is also discussing the idea of holding a decorating contest of squirrel statues for student organizations but a final decision has not been made.

The next event planned for the Centennial Celebration is the grand opening of Franklin Hall on April 18 – an existing event Stafford said will be included in the festivities.

“One of the things we plan to do is tie the Centennial Celebration to events we will already be having in the next two years,” she said.

To contribute ideas to the Centennial Campaign, students and university or community members should contact Stafford at [email protected].

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].