Dibden offers wide array of programming

The loss of live performances at Johnson’s Dibden Center for the Arts due to COVID 19 restrictions was not a surprise to students and faculty. Despite this setback, the Performing Arts Department was able to put together a wide variety of events and concerts at both campuses this summer and semester.
“The program has changed significantly with COVID but we have proven very adaptable and the response has been fantastic,” says Dibden’s Technical Director, Tim Mikovitz.
The Performing Arts program produced 20 events over the summer, 10 on each campus that consisted of five concerts and five movies. Many of the events were performed in the VAC lot but as attendance and interest grew, the Bentley lot was used for additional performances. For the fall performances, all concerts have been held in the quad and will continue.
Labor Day weekend kicked off a semester-long schedule of performances that Mikovitz describes as eclectic and exciting. “We’ve got a really varied line up that draws on the vast amount of talent in the state,” he says. “This includes locals and transplants.”
Taking the stage to date has been a popular West African funk band called Sobouyouma, a talented student artist, Mad Mesa and Latin-American female performer, Marcie Hernandez. Although Hernandez gave a solo performance, she will be back with her band in the spring. Upcoming highlights for October include a festival star from Madagascar, Mikahely, whose organic, Malagasy-infused sound has become hugely popular in Burlington, where he now lives. Also bracing the stage is student and contemporary folk singer Autumn Chamberlain. “We’ve been having all of our performances on the quad, outdoors, and they have been well-received, even on the chillier nights!” says Mikovitz
Students will be able to live stream these events on their computers in addition to the department’s regular programming. Additions to the programming will be a continuation of the drive-in concerts and Game Nights, which are being held on Tuesdays at 7p.m. at the Stearns Performing Space. “We provide video games on the big screen where students gather at a safe distance and play with controllers,” says Mikovitz. “We have some tabletop games as well.”
Mikovitz is also excited about expanding and diversifying the music entertainment at the school to include the dining hall and other locations. “We have dinner jazz in the dining hall on Wednesdays and the campfire jams on Thursdays at the Lower Pond,” says Mikovitz. The Campfire Jams are an interactive and creative musical experience led by an accomplished musician who performs while encouraging student participation.
Dibden is still open to student learning and programming. Mikovitz says his goal of keeping academic and creative education moving forward is due in part to the hard work of his faculty. “Academically, the faculty have been great about adapting to remote learning and creative,” says Mikovitz. He credits Assistant Professor, Co-Chair of Fine and Performing Arts Isaac Eddy with maintaining the performing arts curriculum. “Isaac has pioneered the devised performances curriculum completely online, and music lessons and ensembles are also continuing to meet virtually.”
Events and programming will be student-based only to provide exclusivity and to prevent any outside spread of COVID-19 to the campus. Mikovitz also wants to assure students are enjoying the events and is using student feedback to improve future programming. “I have an intern who is working on the student pulse on each campus to provide guidance on what is working and which direction we should pivot. We really want to know who they are and where they come from.”

Coming events

October 9 Autumn Chamberlain (student)
October 16 tbd
October 19 & 20 Mystery Feast (virtual)
October 21 Video Artist Chelsea Knight 1pm (virtual)
October 23 Danny & The Parts
October 29 & 30 Performing Arts Dept Devised Piece (virtual)
October 31 Halloween Freak-Out with Pontoon
November ? Dance Club multim
edia performance (student)
November 6 Chris Lyon Band