AUGUST 21, 2005 guest column by Emil Kang, Executive Director
of the Arts The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
for The Chapel Hill News
I am looking forward to my first autumn in Chapel Hill –
the splendor of the turning leaves, football games at Kenan
Stadium, and a gentler transition to winter than my family
and I experienced in Michigan.
New to the college setting (beyond my years as a student),
I can only imagine what the normal pace is before the start
of classes and the launch of the new academic year. This year
will be well beyond the norm on the excitement and activity
front here at Carolina. We’re not just starting a new
semester, we’re launching what we call “A Movement
to Greatness,” with the reopening of the university’s
grand performing arts venue, Memorial Hall, and an unprecedented
season line-up for the new Carolina Performing Arts Series.
The transformation of Memorial Hall represents both an investment
in our future and a commitment to our community and region.
Memorial Hall and Carolina’s other performing arts venues
are just a short walk from Franklin Street and the heart of
downtown Chapel Hill, and just a stone’s throw from
Carrboro. We anticipate that many who come to our performances
on campus will enjoy the local shopping and dining.
Campus administrators and student leaders are collaborating
with leaders from local government and civic organizations
to develop strategies to encourage this kind of downtown foot
traffic and patronage. We’re also working together to
provide parking and shuttle options to facilitate a safe and
enjoyable experience for all who support the performing arts
The season kicks off the weekend of September 9 through 11
with gala celebrations featuring Tony Bennett, Itzhak Perlman,
Pinchas Zukerman, Leonard Slatkin and the North Carolina Symphony.
By season’s end, we will have presented more than 700
artists in more than 40 performances. The line-up reflects
the breadth and depth of American culture and connection to
the greater world, presenting students, faculty, and other
local performers as well as artists from as far away as Mali
Our goal is to appeal to the 18-year-old, the retiree, and
everyone in between. Performers include Bonnie Raitt and Nanci
Griffith, Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater, the Russian
National Orchestra, Midori, DJ Spooky, the Symphony, Carolina
Ballet, and more.
The performing arts are a gateway to the University, connecting
us with the larger community and, I hope, connecting you to
Memorial Hall has played a dominant role in campus life for
more than a century. Now, after being dark for three years,
the newly transformed Hall has been greatly expanded and enhanced,
with comfortable seating, air conditioning and additional
restrooms, and a stage that can house full symphonies, ballets,
and Broadway productions. The campus master plan positions
Memorial Hall as the centerpiece for a new Arts Common that
also incorporates historic Playmakers Theater, Gerrard Hall,
the Ackland Art Museum, and a planned music hall with performance
space. Community leaders worked with the University to create
I invite you to join us for our third opening weekend event,
“Carolina Performs,” on Sunday, September 11 from
2 p.m. to 10 p.m. This free daylong celebration highlights
the spectrum of student talent on campus, from rock bands,
jazz combos, classical music, and theatrical scenes to comedy
acts and dance. Show up any time and catch a rising star.
For more information on the season line-up and to see which
performances might most appeal to you and your family, visit
or call the box office at (919) 843-3333. Subscription packages
are on sale now; tickets for individual performances go on
sale a week from tomorrow: August 29.
I hope to see you at a performance soon. Please say hello
and let me know what you think of our “Movement to Greatness”
– and my personal quest to make the arts as popular
as Carolina basketball.
Emil Kang is executive director for the arts at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the university
in January after a five-year run as president and executive
director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He and his family
live in Chapel Hill.