Suffolk to Host the Virginia Arts Festival

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The city of Suffolk will host the Virginia Arts Festival for the first time since the Festival’s inception in 1997.

A regional initiative, the Virginia Arts Festival serves to unite Hampton Roads by way of music, dance, theatre and art. Attracting national and world-renowned entertainers and artists, the month-long Virginia Arts Festival presents more than 130 performances, yielding more than 70,000 patrons.

Aside from the Festival’s commitment to artistic excellence, regional tourism development is a high priority, as best exemplified by the Festival’s $40 million economic impact over the past eight years. Together, the Suffolk and the Virginia Arts

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Festival will work to develop an audience for the new Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, attracting top artists in the seasons to come.

The 2005 Virginia Arts Festival season will include performances in Suffolk by the Miami String Quartet, the Koresh Dance Company and the Imani Winds. Tickets for the

Suffolk events are available via the Suffolk Visitor Center. Tickets for all performances are available through Ticketmaster at (757) 671-8100 or through the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at (757) 282-2822.

The Evening Chamber Music concert is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, at St. Paul’s

Episcopal Church in downtown Suffolk. A Festival favorite, the concert will feature one of America’s most esteemed ensembles, The Miami String Quartet. Many of these performances are heard around the world on the National Public Radio’s &uot;Performance Today&uot; broadcasts. Tickets for this concert are $25 per person.

The Israeli-born Ronen Koresh Troupe will mesmerize audiences with its exhilarating fusion of ballet, modern and jazz dance. The Koresh Dance Company will perform at King’s Fork High School on Wednesday, May 18, at 7:30pm. Tickets are $25-35 per person.

Additionally, the Virginia Arts Festival is offering 600 Suffolk middle school students a rare opportunity to spend a half-day with the Imani Winds. One of the United States’ only African-American/Latino chamber groups, the Imani Winds’ unique classical music &uot;rocks,&uot; entertaining all ages with music, stories and extensive audience interaction. From 9 a.m. until noon on May 4, King’s Fork Middle School will hold a full matinee performance by the Imani Winds, a concert by the King’s Fork Middle School Band, and coaching sessions with the 8th grade band students. This event is not ticketed and is one of 80 education and outreach programs offered by the Virginia Arts Festival.

The Suffolk Visitor Center is located in the heart of historic downtown Suffolk in the Prentis House (c. 1800) at 321 North Main Street. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (757) 923-3880 or 866-SEE-SUFK toll free for more information.