ANTHONY DE MARE, Pianist
Although I am a concert pianist, two of the most moving performing arts experiences for me were in the theatre.
One was just a few years ago in New York, during a performance of the revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. It was a British production, directed by the young Sam Buntrock, who had also worked in film and animation. The incorporation of animation within the set design throughout the show was stunning. I was also particularly struck by the simplicity of the staging and how it reflected the inner wisdom of Sondheim’s work, especially the richness of the musical score, as well as leaving an emotional impact on the viewer. The entire production moved me to tears many times over. Being so aware at the time of how this experience completely enveloped me, I realized this production deepened my love and respect for Sondheim’s work even more.
I remember leaving the theater and having to go sit down on a bench outside, feeling like I was still immersed in the pool of water that was the central aspect of the set design. I was just so lost in thought, feeling and revelation.
DAVID SAMUEL, Student
When I was a second semester freshman here at the University of Maryland, I came to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to see The Bluest Eye, which was directed by Walter Dallas. At the time I was thinking about switching from sociology to theater. And the entire performance just had me riveted: my jaw was open, my eyes were watering. When I enjoy something my eyes get really big and I just couldn’t stop watching it.
…I was thinking, “I can’t talk to them, I can’t possibly take class with them.” Then I started taking class with them and started doing performances with them and now they’re some of my dearest friends.
ROBERT GARNER, Donor
I first arrived at College Park August, 2002 to rehearse with the marching band. There’s no real way to describe the joy and sense of belonging you get immediately upon finding a group of 250 people who all feel the same passion that you do. It essentially is a very large family, and at an institution like Maryland it’s really important to find a family to be a part of. And I found one.
The reaction the community had to all of us being down there is something I’m going to take with me the rest of my life.
DR. HOWARD KAPLAN AND ROMANA LAKS KAPLAN, Donors
The Center’s presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this season brings back memories of my first date with Romana. We go back to 1954 for that one. I was a young man in the army, stationed at Walter Reed, and I read whereby the Old Vic Company and the Saddlers Wells Ballet had put together a joint performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Being in the military, I ran right down to the USO and got a pair of tickets, which I found out later were scarcer than hen’s teeth.
I called a friend of mine up in New York (where I'm from) and said, “Look I’ve got two tickets to this performance, do me a favor — get me a special date.”
ANNE-MARIE LEMAIRE, Patron
When I was a young girl growing up in Vienna my family used to go to the Salzburg Festival and I remember the first time I ever saw their presentation of Jedermann (this means Everyman in English). It’s a medieval morality play about a rich man and what he has to do to save his soul on judgment day, a classic play. The festival displayed it outdoors in the plaza in front of the Cathedral. It was so impressive; I think it was one of the greatest things I ever saw.
I have adapted to this country, I’m happy here, I like it. But there’s always a certain nostalgia for this kind of a life.
EMILY CANTRELL, BM Viola Performance, UMD School of Music
I've been studying a musical instrument since I was two-and-a-half, and studying viola since I was 10. So going on 12 years I’ve really been preparing for a life as a performer.
Everyone in the audience, at least in my experience, wants you to do well. They’re there to see a performance that they can connect to and there’s this indescribable energy emanating from them.
JANE HIRSHBERG, Community Engagement Manager, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
A while back I was working on a project with a 200-year-old shipyard located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We asked people to share personal stories and historical events from the shipyard. One of the groups we worked with was the Officers’ Wives Club, who had all kinds of stories about the challenges of being in military families, especially when their husbands were on submarines for months at a time.
One day, as he was standing next to a friend at the open locker, the friend asked, “What in the world is all that??” The officer/husband said, “That’s my baby!”
ANGEL GIL-ORDÓÑEZ, Music Director, PostClassical Ensemble
I was studying in Madrid at the university and at the same time at the conservatory in April 1978. A conductor I knew only by name — but knew by reputation as a very strange person, difficult to deal with — arrived in Madrid as a guest conductor with the London Symphony. I went to that performance, and that’s the reason I’m a conductor right now, because that experience was a lifetime experience.
I never in my life heard an orchestra sound like this. I thought, “What is going on here?” It was a total discovery.
ANA PATRICIA FARFÁN, MFA in Dance, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and Fulbright Scholar
When I was fifteen and living in Mexico City, I had the chance to attend a concert given by a marionette company. They “played” Rossini, Schumman, Revueltas, Cage … The precision and grace in the movement that these stick-boned beings showed that night left a deep mark on me.
I was looking up, admiring the mastery of these Moiras’ fingers while feeling myself tangled, trying to decipher the exact source of the marionettes’ movement.
CHELSEA FREEMAN, Student
Last semester I saw Rent here at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. A few of my friends were in it and it was just – it definitely moved me to tears and I don’t cry very often. It was very passionate and all the students were really invested in it. It was such a nice moment to see that happen and see them take the craft and take their art to the next level.
It was very passionate and all the students were really invested in it.