October 8, 2013, South Orange, NJ: The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) recently received two grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in support of performances by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Blues musician, Corey Harris. The awards come from the Foundation’s Mid Atlantic Tours Program and American Masterpieces Program, with performances taking place at SOPAC during the 2013-14 season.

“The South Orange Performing Arts Center is deeply grateful to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation for its support of performances by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Cory Harris,” says Mark E. Packer, SOPAC Executive Director.  “This funding is critical to bringing superb cultural programming to the residents of our region at affordable prices.”

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation offers support to presenters interested in engaging artists from within the region and internationally on the Mid Atlantic Tours roster. The program places special consideration on touring contemporary dance, folk/traditional, jazz, and theater and providing presenters with affordable performance fees. On Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:00PM, the multi-Grammy and Billboard Latin Music award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra will perform at SOPAC as part of this program. The 13-member ensemble is led by Oscar Hernández, who has enjoyed a prolific musical career as a pianist performing, arranging, and directing the groups of Rubén Blades, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Julio Iglesias, and Paul Simon. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra has led the resurgence of interest in the salsa music that emerged from the streets of New York City in the 1960s and 1970s.

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On Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:30PM, Acoustic Delta blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, Corey Harris, will perform at SOPAC as part of the American Masterpieces tour: “[r]evolutionary road.” The tour highlights a critically acclaimed new generation of artists working in quintessential American traditional music genres from blues to bluegrass to gospel to jazz. Mr. Harris has carved out his own niche, recording renditions of old songs in the blues tradition while creating an original vision of the genre by adding influences from reggae, soul, rock and West African music. With one foot in tradition and the other in contemporary experimentation, he is a truly unique voice in contemporary music. The 2007 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Award” recipient has performed, recorded, and toured with many of the top names in music, including B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Buddy Guy, Ali Farka Touré, Dave Matthews Band, Tracy Chapman, Wilco, and Natalie Merchant.

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists' capacity to create and present work, advance access to and participation in the arts, and promote a more sustainable arts ecology. Funding for these tours is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program, with additional funding from the Delaware Division of the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

About SOPAC: Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The multidisciplinary arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages.  To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC—a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory.  SOPAC is also a home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N’ the Hall performances and Seton Hall Theatre productions.  SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in residence, Midtown Direct Rep, and its dance company in residence, Lydia Johnson Dance.  For more information, visit SOPACnow.org