You don’t have to go to a game and wave a foam finger to be entertained at the University of Wyoming.
In addition to serving as Wyoming’s sports capital—Laramie is the place to be to see the Cowboys and Cowgirls compete for supremacy in the Mountain West Conference—UW is home to the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble, The Collegiate Chorale and other performing groups that help make the state’s only university a cultural mecca.
“Our ensembles here are really, really good. I’ve worked at other universities and we are truly a hidden gem,” says Nicole Lamartine, an assistant professor in the Department of Music who also serves as UW’s director of choral activities. “I don’t think people are aware of the talent that’s here, and I would just love for the people of the community and the state to attend one of our performances and see for themselves.
“It’s not just a concert,” she says. “It’s an opportunity for each audience member to enrich their own life and to share in the success of our students.”
The university’s 2012-13 calendar of cultural offerings includes the fall concert of Bel Canto and The Singing Statesmen (Oct. 11), The Collegiate Chorale’s fall concert (Oct. 18), the UW Jazz Festival (Feb. 2) and performances by The Happy Jacks, Vocal Jazz Ensemble and UW Wind Symphony, among others.
Also, UW’s Western Thunder Marching Band performs during halftime of each Cowboy football game inside War Memorial Stadium.
“We want to be one of the cultural centers of Wyoming and one of the ways we can do that is by offering music, dance and theatre from all over the world,” says Scott Turpen, a professor of music who has served as director of UW jazz studies for 11 years. “Our faculty, staff and student populations are a melting pot. So are our cultural offerings.”
Also, UW annually attracts renowned musicians and dancers through a Cultural Programs series that is the envy of surrounding states and the university’s Department of Theatre and Dance entertains with plays that can bring tears or draw laughs.
The 2012-13 Cultural Programs season opens Sept. 21 with Pacifica String Quartet and features 11 performances, including River North Dance Chicago (Jan. 31) and Aquila Theatre (March 7).
The Department of Theatre and Dance has six productions this academic year, beginning Oct. 2 with Blithe Spirit, a delightful comedy, and concluding in late April with William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
“Nobody expects to find culture in Laramie, Wyoming, because most people think it’s just a western town out on the plains,” says Cedric Reverand, director of UW Cultural Programs. “The surprise is, there is so much going on here. All you have to do is buy a ticket, sit back and enjoy the show.”
But, remember, leave your foam finger at home.