Go, See, Do | East Hill Singers, KU Theatre performance, Veterans Day Parade and Nerd Nite

photo by: Contributed and Journal-World File Photos

Left to right: Nerd Nite, the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade, the East Hill Singers.

How often have you seen a choir of prison inmates perform for the general public?

That’s what Leigh Lynch, executive director of Arts in Prison, asked me when I called to discuss the East Hill Singers prison choir performance in Lawrence this weekend.

“It’s a very unique opportunity because we have the privilege to take the inmates out into the community,” she said.

The group, made up of 12 minimum security inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility and some local volunteers, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St. Prior to the concert, the audience can view an art exhibit beginning at 3 p.m.

The choir has previously performed in Lawrence, with some of the inmates being local residents.

photo by: Kevin Anderson

Kirk Carson directs inmates and volunteers during rehearsal of the East Hill Singers at the Lansing Correctional Facility in 2012. The choir returns to Lawrence Sunday for a performance at Plymouth Congregational Church.

Lynch said the program is beneficial for the inmates, noting that the recidivism rate for prisoners in the program is much lower than the state average.

“I believe that is so low because we take men who have been incarcerated — sometimes for two years, sometime for 20 years — outside of the walls and they get to be in communities,” she said. “It kind of takes the edge off of both communities and inmates when it comes to having to interact with each other.”

She said 5,000 Kansas inmates are released from prisons each year to return to civilian life.

“They are coming back to everyone’s community,” she said. “Everyone should be invested that these men and women come back as the best version of themselves.

“An event like this is important because it helps inmate and community for that time when they come back.”

Lynch said the performance, called “Conceived in Liberty,” will focus on songs about the founding of the United States. The show is free and open to the public.

Here’s more that you can go, see and do this upcoming week:

KU Theatre presents “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

A University of Kansas alumnus returned to Lawrence to direct a play about a boy on the autism spectrum who attempts to solve a murder mystery.

Harry Parker, the chair for the theater department at Texas Christian University, will direct “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for KU’s University Theatre this and next weekend. Parker received his master’s and doctorate degrees from KU.

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. today at Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall, 1530 Naismith Drive. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens, $15 for KU students and $10 for children.

The play is told through the eyes of Christopher, a 15-year-old English boy, who discovers the neighbor’s dog has been murdered, according to a news release. Christopher, who is on the autism spectrum, chooses to investigate the dog’s death and records each fact in a “murder mystery” book, which provides a look inside of his mind.

“This play is about someone who accomplishes what he sets out to accomplish despite the barriers that face him. And that’s a universal story,” Parker said in the news release. “Christopher will not let go of what he wants to discover, learn and do with his life. He may have different, maybe even more profound, obstacles than a lot of us have, but nothing stops him.”

photo by: Contributed photo

Harry Parker

Attendees will also be able to learn more about autism and how it is reflected in the play when Parker and mental health professionals speak with the audience after tonight’s show.

The show’s Broadway run won five Tony Awards, including best play. The show will run tonight through Sunday and again on Nov. 15-18.

Additionally, the theater will provide “sensory friendly” accommodations — the light and sound cues will be softened and the house lights will be dimmed — for the 2:30 p.m. Sunday performance.

Veterans Day Parade

On the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade will march down Massachusetts Street in honor of those who served in the United States armed forces.

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, a ceasefire between the Allied Powers, including the United States, and Germany brought the end of World War I. In the United States, the day was recognized as Armistice Day, and became a national holiday. After World War II, the holiday was expanded to honor all veterans and was renamed Veterans Day.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A group of veterans march in the Veterans Day Parade through downtown Lawrence on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

The Lawrence parade is a rain-or-shine event that will begin lining up at Seventh and Massachusetts streets and will end at South Park. The opening ceremony will be in the 600 block of Massachusetts Street, led by the Rev. Verdell Taylor. The parade is put on by the Lawrence Veterans Day Association.

Opening ceremonies start at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by the parade at 11.

“The parade is usually held on a Monday when it falls on a weekend, but the committee was insistent that for the 100-year anniversary, the parade be held on Sunday,” Michelle Mailand, vice chair of the parade association, told the Journal-World in September.

Additionally, church bells will ring at Plymouth Congregational Church and Trinity Lutheran Church at 11 a.m., marking the 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month, 100 years to the day that the World War I armistice was signed in 1918.

This weekend, you can also check out a Lawrence Arts Center show featuring the experiences of local female veterans, which I wrote about earlier this week.

“Rethink: I Am a Veteran” opens at 7 p.m. Friday at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St. More performances are scheduled for 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and veterans.

Nerd Nite 76: Tales from the Tabloids

Nerd Nite 76 will focus on “scandalous” stories of three famous people. The event begins 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Nerd Nite returns this month with sensational tales ripped straight from the tabloid headlines.

Nerd Nite is a monthly informal lecture series where people can give brief presentations about something they are passionate about.

Three local presenters will tell the “scandalous stories” of Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a famous crime boss; Catherine The Great, the longest-serving female leader of Russia; and Theda Bara, an iconic actress from the silent-film era.

This month’s event takes place at Maceli’s, 1031 New Hampshire St., on Wednesday. Doors open at 7 p.m. and presentations begin at 8 p.m. Admission is $1.

Do you have an event you’d like to share with us? Please email Dylan with information of your event at dlysen@ljworld. Submitting information does not guarantee it will be included in future articles.


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