By Jamison Driskill
Those that know, know. Texas Tech University’s Presidential Lecture & Performance Series (PLPS) is one of the best season subscriptions available to members of the Lubbock Community. The Series, which is celebrating its 15th consecutive season, is a thoughtfully curated and remarkably diverse selection of one-night-only performances at the intimate 936-seat Allen Theatre located on campus in the Student Union Building.
PLPS brings in a wide range of spectacular performances including award-winning musicians, dance companies, theatre groups, comedy troupes and speakers. Past seasons have featured award-winning musicians such as Lyle Lovett, Anoushka Shankar, The Santa Fe Opera and Black Violin; dance companies such as BODYTRAFFIC, Ailey II and the Paul Taylor Dance Company; and a wide variety of speakers including David Sedaris, Tony Kushner, Cheech Marin and Judy Collins.
For the final performance of each season, PLPS hosts the Lubbock Lights Festival, an annual celebration of the musical heritage of the South Plains which aims to create conversation about the songwriting process while examining the musical roots and influences of our region. The weeklong festival consists of the participating artists visiting dozens of classrooms to discuss their process and offer insights to students within and outside Texas Tech and culminates in a concert accessible to all on the Allen Theatre stage.
This year, the PLPS season kicks off on Wednesday, November 3rd, with the internationally recognized a cappella pop-jazz ensemble, m-pact. Hailed “one of the best pop-jazz vocal groups in the world” by the San Francisco Chronicle, m-pact is respected worldwide as a cutting-edge trailblazer in the realm of vocal music. Emerging from an age of auto-tune and overproduction, this Los Angeles-based sextet has cultivated a new generation of ears hungry for the fresh, raw power of nature’s “first instrument” – the human voice.
Next up, on Friday, February 25th, PLPS will host the Grammy-winning Ranky Tanky. “Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In this spirit this Charleston, South Carolina-based quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B.
To round out the season, on Thursday, April 7th, PLPS will host the final performance of the Lubbock Lights Festival: Celebrating the Life and Music of Mac Davis. Mac Davis’s music and legacy will be celebrated by remembering him through an evening of conversation and listening to some of his best-known tunes. This special event hosted by Kenny Maines will feature many local musicians covering his songs to honor Mac Davis’s contribution to the world of entertainment.
All events begin at 7:00 pm, except for Lubbock Lights (8:00 pm), and take place in the Texas Tech Allen Theatre. Tickets are available now through Select-A-Seat (806) 770-2000 or www.selectaseatlubbock.com. Individual tickets are $20.00 (Lubbock Lights, $23); season tickets are $55.00 for all three season events. This year’s season subscribers will each receive a complimentary 16 oz MiiR stainless steel tumbler! These shows often sell out, so a season subscription is a wise move.
Texas Tech students receive one free ticket with valid TTU ID at the East information desk in the Student Union Building.
Visit https://www.ttu.edu/administration/president/lectureseries/ for more information and to buy tickets. Keep up with PLPS by following them on Facebook (@Presidential Lecture and Performance Series), Twitter (@PLPS_TTU) and on Instagram (@ttupresidentialseries).
Guest Blogger Jamison Driskill holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and dance from the University of Texas, a Master of Business Administration from Texas State University, and he is currently pursuing and Master of Fine Arts in arts administration in the School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University (TTU). He was
recently honored with the Award for Excellence in the Institute of Theatre Journalism and Advocacy at The Kennedy Center Region Six American College Theatre Festival, and he is a regular contributor to subTEXT, the TTU School of Theatre and Dance’s monthly newsletter. Jamison is also a professional actor, director, and teacher for stage, television, and film. Most notably, Jamison costarred in season three, episode two of NBC’s Friday Night Lights as a struggling freshman quarterback. Stage acting credits include Prince Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, in the American professional premiere of Shakespeare’s (debatably) Edward III at The Bank Street Theatre in New York City’s Greenwich Village; Timothy in TOSOS II’s production of Doric Wilson’s Street Theatre about the Stonewall Riots in 1969; and Florizel in The Winter’s Tale at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, California. He directed a production of Aimee Gonzalez’s Larius Likler at the Hyde Park Theater in Austin, Texas, for the annual Frontera Fest in 2007 which was Recognized as “Best of the Fest.” Jamison also worked for several years as a private acting coach in Los Angeles specializing in audition preparation, helping actors land television roles/, commercials, and feature films. He has studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and spent a wonderful year working on scenes from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot with the late Joseph Chaikin in his ongoing workshop in New York City.