BY KAREN HOWE FERNANDEZ
October marks the beginning of a new era at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (BCT) when the BCT Presents series more than doubles to at least 15 major concerts a year. “It’s an exceptional month to kick off an exceptional season,” says Danielle McClelland, executive director of BCT Management, Inc.
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain opens the lineup on October 8, followed by country-blues singer Rhiannon Giddens on October 12, Loudon Wainwright III on October 15, Black Violin on October 17, and MarchFourth on October 21.
“Bloomington has created an identifiable cultural district,” says McClelland, which has raised the theater’s visibility, regionally and nationally, and allowed for the increase in shows. “Twenty-five to 30 percent of ticket sales for the BCT Presents shows are outside the 474 zip codes. We’ve also gotten better as an organization. Audiences want to attend, and artists want to perform at the BCT.”
“The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain regularly plays venues that host 3,000 people,” says McClelland, yet they’re coming to the BCT, which seats 620. The orchestra’s connections to the Bloomington’s UkeTones and the Ukulele World Congress in nearby Bean Blossom, Indiana, helped bring it to town.
“The BCT distinguishes itself through strong audiences and artists’ services. We take care of the artists first and foremost,” says McClelland. When Rhiannon Giddens, who has performed at the theater with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, was putting together a tour with her new band configuration, she called the BCT. “We want the shows to be great — it’s an equitable relationship that benefits the theater and the artist,” says McClelland.
Following Giddens, audiences will get to see Loudon Wainwright III, the singer-songwriter whose career spans a performance on TV’s M*A*S*H (1972–83) to a soundtrack composition for FX’s current crime series Justified. Then violin-and-viola duo Black Violin will take the stage with a combination of classical, hip-hop, and pop music. Next, the BCT will vibrate with the sound and spectacle that is MarchFourth, the marching band stage show known to many in Bloomington from its Lotus World Music & Arts Festival appearances. “It’s an exciting and diverse lineup, and marks a definite step up for BCT Presents,” McClelland says.
More information on the October lineup and beyond is available at buskirkchumley.org or at the BCT box office, 114 E. Kirkwood.