VPAC’s STARS series returns for 2021 school year
Thousands of Eagle County students to enjoy high-quality performances at the VPAC during the STARS series
This year’s STARS Series at the VPAC at Beaver Creek, kicking off Sept. 23, will bring children up close for cultural acts, international music sensations, a family music band featured on Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon TV, the world’s oldest and best known collegiate a cappella group, a traditional Irish ensemble, musical circus and more.
Founded in 1998 by Pat and Pete Frechette, all STARS performances and transportation are provided free of charge to Eagle County students in kindergarten through eighth grade and available via a lottery system. The program places an emphasis on providing an array of performing arts genres from dance and theater to world music, knowing that the performing arts are an opportunity for children to expand their minds while encouraging self-expression, creativity and confidence. Performances also sometimes provide a platform for discussion on pertinent childhood issues, such as bullying, cultural awareness or how to deal with challenging homework.
Here’s a look at this year’s lineup:
David Gonzalez Cuentos: Tales of the Latinx World
Thursday, Sept. 23 | 10 AM & 12:30 PM
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Kicking off the series on Thursday, Sept. 23, is David Gonzalez Cuentos, who will present a vivid picture of the people and rich cultures of the Spanish-speaking world on the VPAC stage with colorful tales from the Caribbean, South America and the Bronx. Cuentos sprinkles Spanish language words throughout his stories and songs in a way that young audiences can repeat and retain their sound and meaning.
Hot Peas ‘n Butter
Tuesday, Sept. 28 | 10 AM & 12:30 PM
Hot Peas ‘n Butter is a multi-cultural, award-winning family music band featured on Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon TV. Founded by professional musicians Danny Lapidus and Francisco Cotto in New York City, Hot Peas ‘n Butter thrills young audiences across the nation every year with interactive, roots music from around the world. With eight award-winning albums and numerous music videos, Hot Peas ‘n Butter performs a combination of traditional Latin music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, jazz, bluegrass, country and rock, bringing fans of all ages to their feet. Hot Peas ‘n Butter perform Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Friday, Oct. 8 | 10 AM & 12:30 PM
Academic subjects will never seem boring again when the pop culture phenomenon Schoolhouse Rock Live! musical takes the stage on Friday, Oct. 8. With megahits like “Conjunction Junction,” “Just a Bill” and more, this show will be a trip down memory lane for some parents and a fresh spin on education for the students.
Wednesday, Oct. 27 | 10 AM
Jarabe Mexicano, performing Wednesday, Oct. 27, are endorsed as cultural ambassadors by the Mexican Consulate in the U.S. The border band performs with a distinctive brand of versatility and charm with musical selections that range from traditional Latin folk to the more contemporary genre. Jarabe Mexicano highlights the importance of family connections and the power of cultural remembrance for Latinos living in the United States and beyond. Performing at the VPAC ahead of Halloween, Jarabe Mexicano presents one of Mexico’s most dynamic and cherished holidays: Dia de los Muertos.
Thursday, Dec. 16 | 12:30 PM
DSQ Electric is an international music sensation where Mozart meets Rihanna and Bach meets Bon Jovi. The Dallas String Quartet brings a fusion of classical and contemporary music on both traditional and electric strings. DSQ Electric has performed internationally as well as “at home” for U.S. presidents, professional sports organizations and more. DSQ Electric performs at the VPAC on Thursday, Dec. 16.
The Whiffenpoofs of Yale
Friday, Jan. 7 | 10 AM & 12:30 PM
Every year, 14 senior Yale students are selected to be in the Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best known collegiate a cappella group. On Friday, Jan. 7, the Whiffenpoofs perform at the VPAC.
The Queen’s Cartoonists
Thursday, Feb. 10 | 12:30 PM
The Queen’s Cartoonists play music from classic cartoons and contemporary animation. The performances are synchronized to video projections of the original films, and the band leads the audience through a world of virtuosic musicianship, multi-instrumental mayhem and comedy. The Queen’s Cartoonists perform Thursday, Feb. 10.
Thursday, March 17 | 12:30 PM
Goitse, pronounced “go-wit-cha,” is an informal Gaelic Irish greeting meaning “come here.” The popular multi-award-winning quintet Goitse has become a leader of the new generation of traditional Irish ensembles and performs Thursday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!), at the VPAC.
Playing By Air
Thursday, April 7 | 10 AM & 12:30 PM
Playing By Air captivates audiences with a joyful fusion of music, juggling and circus in which traditional theatricality meets absurd comedy. The award-winning performers put on a performance with a contagious attitude of expressive play and creativity. The name Playing By Air is a pun based on the musical concept of “playing by ear” and highlights the elements of the show: fun, humor, music, creativity, improvisation and filling the air with flying objects. Several unusual musical instruments are used as well. Playing By Air takes the VPAC stage on Thursday, April 7.
For more information about the STARS Series or to fill out a school group request form, visit vilarpac.org/stars.
What: Support the Arts Reaching Students (STARS) program
When: Performances take place Sept. 23 to April 7 – times vary
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Cost: Free for students and teachers via a lottery, or $15 for adults/$12 for children
More information: Visit vilarpac.org/stars.