Connect2Culture welcomes two touring performances this month and both will have you ready to move and sing along. Here’s what’s on for June:

BritBeat-A Tribute to the Beatles

It was 23 years ago that BritBeat producer and performer (he portrays Paul McCartney) Chris Getsla was preparing for his high school variety show. But it wasn’t just your average school show. “It was a theatrical event with specialty lighting brought in, and it was a big deal,” Getsla said. “You had to audition to be in it.”

Getsla and some friends had just started playing music and decided to audition for the show. He was inspired after seeing another tribute band and wondered how he could do it better. “We got some black turtlenecks and I had saved up some money for some guitars and we played ‘She Loves You.’ The faculty judges loved it.” The next year no audition was necessary, and the teachers said, “We want you to do Sgt. Pepper’s, and yes, the crowd went wild. I started to think we might be onto something good.”

It was Getsla’s parents who suggested the Beatles’ music to their son when he was in the seventh grade and needed to find a musician and a song to study for his music class. “They told me ‘you can’t go wrong with the Beatles’ and I was like ‘Who?’ They told me to listen to ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’” Getsla said. “I wasn’t really into music, but the Beatles’ music just resonated with me. Even though I didn’t grow up with them, I was hooked.”

The friends began researching and learning all they could about the Beatles and started to piece together the show audiences are now seeing and enjoying. “It is a tribute show and we are performing as the band,” Getsla said. “We cover their work all the way from the beginning to Abbey Road. There are multiple costume changes and a multi-media presentation that follows with our performance. A lot of people don’t remember that it was a very short period of time the Beatles actually toured their show. It was only two years and then they went into the studio to do Sgt. Pepper’s and beyond. Our show goes through the whole history.”

The true attraction to the Beatles for Getsla is the fact they did it all. “The magic of the Beatles is that they wrote all of their own music and performed it,” he said. “Next year is the 60th anniversary of the Beatles’ appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, so we’re going to keep playing the music and touring our show.”

Want to go?
June 17, 2023, 8 p.m.
Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Leggett & Platt Green
Tickets: $30-$35
Series: Curtains Up Series

Note: Attendees may not bring their own chairs to the concert. Chairs are provided by Connect2Culture. You may bring a blanket for ground sitting if you prefer.

A’lante Flamenco

Based out of Austin, Texas, A’lante Flamenco strives to present flamenco music and dance to audiences in a new and exciting way. By blending traditional and contemporary flamenco, the group produces popular flamenco shows as well as innovative, multimedia flamenco theatrical works that address relevant social issues and surpass cultural and linguistic boundaries. 

Artistic director and choreographer Olivia Chac’on and her partner and music director Isai Chac’on formed the company in 2011 after spending five years in Sevilla and Madrid, Spain, studying with some of the premiere flamenco artists there. Olivia Chac’on studied flamenco for 20 years prior to their travels to Spain.

“We intend to provoke an emotional response through the music and the dance,” Olivia Chac’on said. “We have a lot of details that come through with facial expressions and hand gestures, and one of my favorite parts of the evening is meeting the audience afterward and hearing what their emotional response was.”

The company will perform their program titled Love Letters for the Joplin audience. “Each piece is about a different kind of love and in the styles that are close to our hearts,” Olivia Chac’on said. “It comes through to people even if they are not familiar with flamenco at all. Some people relate to the music, some to the dance, but it is all about the emotion that is brought through you and your response.”

There are four musicians and three dancers traveling to Joplin, and Olivia Chac’on is quick to say the musicians are integral performers to the show. “They are very involved and they’re not just a backup band,” she said. “We’re eager to come and sing and dance for y’all. We like to educate the public about this art form and tell stories about it.”

The performance runs about 75 minutes and is a visual treat to all. “There are very rare minutes without dance in this show,” Olivia Chac’on said. “We’re driving to Joplin with so many costumes and musical pieces. We hope you like it.”

How will we identify Olivia Chac’on on the stage? “I’m usually the one in the middle,” she said. “And I tend to shout a lot. This is typical of flamenco; there is a lot of improvisation and the leader is shouting the next number or style of dance.”

And what road trip food will she be snacking on? “Austin is known for barbeque,” she said. “But we’d like to try some different versions of it along the way through Oklahoma and when we get to Joplin. Be thinking of where we should go when we get there.”

In addition to A’lante Flamenco’s public performance, Connect2Culture will host a Flamenco Music & Dance Workshop with them the night before on Friday, June 23, at 7 p.m. This is an introductory workshop and no experience is necessary. Ticket holders receive discounted admission to the workshop ($3 for ticket holders, $6 for non-ticket holders). Tickets can be purchased for both events at the Cornell Complex box office.

Want to go?
June 24, 2023, 7 p.m.
Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex, Beshore Performance Hall
Tickets: $20-$25
Series: Cornell Series