Elon announces lineup of cultural and special programs for the fall

An exciting list of performers, speakers and cultural events will engage the campus within new policies to keep the community safe this semester.

Elon University is reinventing its approach to cultural and special programs this fall, offering a mix of virtual and in-person opportunities to experience a wide range of events. The approach includes new policies put in place to keep the community safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers, concerts and other cultural events at Elon this fall will provide ways for the audience to engage virtually, with a few events allowing for limit in-person attendance with significantly reduced maximum capacity to maintain physical distancing. All attendees will be required to wear masks in accordance with Elon’s face covering policy.

Members of the external Elon community are welcome to view virtual lectures and performances. Viewing times will be limited to the date/time listed in the cultural calendar descriptions just as they would if they attend an in-person presentation. The links will be maintained in the Cultural Calendar descriptions which are organized in monthly pages at www.elon.edu/culturalcalendar.

As suggested in the Fall 2020 Task Force report, students will have first priority to attend events in person.

“Elon will continue the tradition of offering a rich and varied program of events during this time of COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Clark, executive director of the Office of Cultural and Special Programs. “Speakers like Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Jennifer Eberhardt and Douglas Brinkley will bring perspective and inspire discussion on the important subjects of bias, antiracism and historical context. Renowned writer Nikki Giovanni will bring us the power of language. Talented artists like John McCutcheon, Naturally 7 and Elon’s own students in art, theater, dance and music bring entertainment and an artistic perspective of today’s world. It will be a different but exciting fall season of cultural events.”

Fall semester cultural and special programs are scheduled to include:

Naturally 7

  • Thursday, Aug. 27, 5 p.m. Virtual performance, with link available here the day of the show.

Naturally 7 is more than a tightly orchestrated collection of great singers. Their vocal choreography is so perfectly interwoven that legendary music producer Quincy Jones declared, “Naturally 7 is the future of vocal music!” Their 20-year career includes three world tours with Michael Bublé, shared billing with global phenomenon Coldplay and appearances with numerous music icons including Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.

John McCutcheon Labor Day Folk Concert

  • Monday, Sept. 7, at 7:30 p.m. — McCrary Theatre and virtual performance with viewing details to be posted here.

Described as “Virginia’s rustic renaissance man,” John McCutcheon’s repertoire is rooted in a sense of community. His traditional selections and his huge catalog of original songs make a profound mark of place, family and strength. McCutcheon’s storytelling style has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor, and very few communicate with his versatility, charm, wit and pure talent.

Admission: Limited number of in-person seats will be available for students, faculty and staff beginning Aug. 17 at https://www.ticketreturn.com/Elon/Home.aspx.

Common Reading Lecture with Jennifer Eberhardt

  • Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m. — virtual presentation available at www.elon.edu/live.

The 2020-21 Elon Common Reading selection, “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do,” will be a focus of many first-year courses and spark discussion across campus to expose racial biases that exist at all levels of society and provide tools for addressing them.

As part of the Common Reading discussion, Eberhardt will join Paula Patch, senior lecturer in English and assistant director of first-year initiatives of the Elon Core Curriculum, in a moderated conversation with questions submitted by students in the Class of 2024.

Learn more about the Common Reading here.

The Second City Comedy Troupe

  • Thursday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. — virtual performance with viewing details to be posted here.

Performing social and political satire of scripted scenes, music and improvisation, The Second City is always original, daring and hilarious. Descended from a legendary who’s who of comedy (alumni include Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Bill Murray and many more), this premiere ensemble returns to Elon for another engagement with new, unbridled content. May contain adult/mature content appropriate for audiences 17 and older. This performance can only be viewed by members of the Elon University community.

Ibram X. Kendi, award-winning author, historian and antiracism scholar

“Being an anti-racist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.” Ibram Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. The Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, Kendi is the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Kendi is the author of “The Black Campus Movement,” which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016. His third book, “How to be an Antiracist,” was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and made several Best Books of 2019 lists.

Lecture by historian Douglas Brinkley

  • Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. — virtual presentation available at www.elon.edu/live.

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and professor of history at Rice University, the CNN presidential historian and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

Monumental in his contribution to American culture, Brinkley effectively applies historical lessons to our present experience. His presentation will provide up-to-the-minute focus on hot topics including the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic; race relations in America’s past, present and future; and the highs and lows of the United States presidency.

Reading by award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni

  • Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. — virtual presentation available at www.elon.edu/live.
Nikki Giovanni University Distinguished Professor, English.

Poet, radical, healer and sage, the prolific and perennially relevant Nikki Giovanni has shared her inspired and courageous voice for decades to touch our national consciousness on issues of race, gender, violence and inequality.

During the past 30 years, the outspoken nature of Giovanni’s writing and speaking has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.”

The Academy of American Poets voted Giovanni #1 poet for the spring of 2007. Giovanni has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her book Racism 101 includes bold, controversial essays about the situation of Americans on all sides of various race issues. Three of her volumes of poetry—Love Poems, Blues: For All the Changes, and Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea—were winners of the NAACP Image Award in 1998, 2000, and 2003. Her newly released collection, Bicycles: Love Poems, has been called one of her “most powerful offerings to date” by Essence magazine.

Department of Performing Arts presents high-octane rock musical “Beast Mode Champion”

  • Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 29-31, and Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 5-7, at 7:30 p.m. each night. Virtual performance, with viewing details to be shared later here.

“Beast Mode Champion” is a high-octane rock musical set in the sweaty and hilarious world of professional wrestling. The show, slamming to life in and around the wrestling ring, plumbs the murky depths of masculinity, identity and performance through a team of unlikely heroes, thrust into the arena of pro wrestling in search of power, fame and love. “Beast Mode Champion” is receiving its workshop premiere at Elon University, after being developed at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts by Dan Gibson ’10 and Alex Higgin-Houser.

élan Fall Concert — “A Tribute to Billy Joel”

  • Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m., with limited seating available in McCrary Theatre and remote viewing available. More details will be released here.

Many other events, including dance, theater and music from Elon’s Departments of Performing Arts and Music will be included on the Cultural Calendar, which is now online at www.elon.edu/culturalcalendar. Ticket information will also be included on the site. Events are subject to change or cancellation. Event updates, including additions, will be maintained on the cultural calendar.

Other strategies to promote the health and safety of the campus community during cultural events this fall include:

  • Online and call-in ticketing only; touchless tickets will be scanned electronically
  • No printed tickets or programs
  • Venues will be sanitized daily
  • Lines will be separated/distanced through lobbies and use a separate entrance to the theater
  • Signage in the venues will list safety precautions
  • Remote/virtual sessions with the artist/speaker will be offered for students/faculty prior to events when available

For more about major campus events and other information about steps the university is taking in response to COVID-19, visit the Ready & Resilient website at www.elon.edu/rr.