Campus, public unite for annual celebration of art

Thousands 'Connect/ReConnect' at the Leonard Bernstein Festival

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Art was the source for connections, discovery, renewal, and community during the annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. An estimated 5,000 people participated in the five-day event, which was created in 1952 for Brandeis’ first commencement under the direction of famed composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein.

The festival began on Wednesday, April 28 with the unveiling of the public art installation “Source/ReSource” at the Rose Art Museum. More than 250 community members brought water in bright copper buckets to fill the water sculpture – a metaphor for the university itself. The ceremony featured students and faculty singing music of spiritual traditions (“Prachim Bakeneh,” “Shall We Gather at the River,” and “Simple Gifts”), a dance by faculty member Susan Dibble, a reading by actors (based on community responses), and blessings of the water by the Brandeis Chaplaincy. If you haven’t seen “Source/ReSource" yet, it will remain outside of the Rose through June 30. Click here to read a Metrowest Daily News article on the public art installation.

Nearly all festival events were filled to audience capacity. The Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra received a prolonged standing ovation for its concert of music by Bernstein and Copland. Other highlights were a moving concert honoring Irving Fine, who founded the university's School of Creative Arts, and hired Bernstein; the Brandeis Theater Company’s elegant production of “Love’s Labour's Lost;” outrageous ‘happenings” and daring performance art; student-produced plays and visual art exhibited across campus; and all of the university’s a cappella groups uniting for the first time to sing “We Are the World” in a benefit for Haiti relief.

Families from Waltham and many other Greater Boston communities attended the events on Sunday, May 2. A vibrant mix of student and guest artists dazzled the crowds with performances and activities, including folk music hosted by Livingston Taylor, dance from diverse cultures, Big Nazo creatures, jugglers, aerialists, marionettes, the SpringFest rock concerts, and tours of the Rose.

Hundreds of Brandeis students, faculty, staff, and alumni contributed their time and talents to this year’s festival, which was one of the most successful in the event’s distinguished history.

The Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts is sponsored by the Office of the Arts and produced by Ingrid Schorr. It is made possible by the generous support of Eric Green, P'05 and ’07, Danny Lehrman '64, Fern Lowenfels '59, Adam Dinkes '95, Ann Tanenbaum '66, Jolie Schwab '78 and David Hodes '77, Ruth Ann Perlmutter, and the Aaron Foundation.

Slideshow images by Mike Lovett.

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