Guest Blog: Discovering Passion Through Performing Arts and Television

By Cyndy Robbins, Director of Content at Vegas PBS

I had a clear understanding of the joy that performing arts can bring into our lives from a very early age. In the fourth grade, I was learning to play the clarinet. It was easy to carry from home to school on the bus, and seemed a fine instrument to play. Then one day the high school orchestra came to our school and gave a performance. It was my first time hearing stringed instruments, and the first time I recall music giving me goose bumps. I ran home and begged my mom to let me switch to the violin. My new-found passion was met with encouragement, and this latch key kid practiced her violin every day after school, and worked hard to earn the first chair position.

The passion I have for live performances is still with me today, and has expanded to include televised performances. Television productions capture performances and allow them to be seen by more people than could ever physically fit into any single venue space. During the broadcast of The Three Tenors original concert, I was brought to tears by Pavarotti’s voice and was rendered speechless when I realized that while the gift he gave the world is gone forever, it is still here with us, thanks to the power of television.

I am not alone in being moved by the power of the performing arts. I enjoy talking with our viewers who call to share their very personal stories with me. From the young man who was inspired to take singing lessons and is now performing in a local venue to the older gentleman who gave a performance a standing ovation in his living room after seeing something that brought tears of joy to his eyes, the arts have the ability to touch us all, from young to old, and as content director at Vegas PBS, I feel so fortunate to be able to be a part of bringing the arts into the homes of those who live in our community.

The synergy between The Smith Center and Vegas PBS is strong when it comes to bringing quality performing arts to our community. Ticket opportunities allow members of both organizations to come together. Giada Valenti – From Venice with Love debuted on Vegas PBS earlier this month. The Smith Center’s very own Myron Martin and Vegas PBS General Manager Tom Axtell teamed up to present the program, interviewing the charming Giada between program segments. We are looking forward to her concert on Thursday, November 16 at 8 p.m. at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz.

Broadway programming this fall on Vegas PBS will allow patrons of The Smith Center’s Broadway Las Vegas Series to be exposed to even more great titles, and the camera movements will allow for a totally different experience than the one that happens in a live performance. Broadway-themed programming is scheduled Fridays at 9 p.m. beginning October 20 on Vegas PBS Channel 10, and includes three new titles from Great Performances: In The Heights – Chasing Broadway Dreams (November 10); Prince of Broadway – A Tribute to Harold Prince (November 17); and Holiday Inn (November 24). Hamilton’s America will return on December 1, and is a wonderful companion for anyone planning on seeing Hamilton, An American Musical, when it comes to The Smith Center in 2018.

The partnership that The Smith Center and Vegas PBS have is one that helps both organizations reach the potential of our missions and amplifies our impact both here in our community, and throughout the rest of the country. It’s exciting for PBS viewers across the country to have access to Myron’s Cabaret Jazz venue, through the power of television. Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs was the first title recorded there to make its way into living rooms across America, thanks to distribution by PBS. An encore broadcast of this special is scheduled on Friday, August 25 at 9 p.m. on Vegas PBS Channel 10. And coming soon will be a brand-new title, featuring the unique sounds of Postmodern Jukebox! The special was recorded earlier this month to sold-out audiences. We’re looking forward to sharing it with our entire community in the future.

One of the artists who performed with Alan Cumming shared a very personal story with me, about how he lived in a rural area of Wyoming and as a child was exposed to the arts through his local PBS station. He said it opened up a whole new world to him, just like hearing the orchestra for the first time did for me. He went from that curious child watching the arts on television to being a featured artist on a national PBS program. It was a dream come true for him, and I hope you enjoy seeing his passion for yourself on August 25.

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