black violin

Blackwell Photography

For the first time in its 11-year history, the KCP Presents Performing Arts Series will extend beyond the Northeast Kingdom. The 2019-20 KCP Presents season, produced by St. Johnsbury’s Catamount Arts, will include four shows at NVU-Johnson’s Dibden Center for the Arts in addition to ten shows in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville.

KCP’s stretch beyond the Kingdom is part of a rigorous effort by Catamount Arts and partnering organizations to help other Vermont communities leverage their unique assets to become local arts hubs. With resources like Northern Vermont University, the Vermont Studio Center, and its proximity to Stowe and Smugglers Notch, Johnson is perfectly equipped to be a major player in Vermont’s burgeoning creative economy despite the town’s small size.

Of course, any town’s most important resource is its community, and KCP’s Dibden series relies on tremendous support from local businesses, civic organizations, and sponsors. “We’re excited about the talent that Catamount and Dibden are bringing to Johnson, says Nat Kinney of Concept2 Rowing, a key partner in re-establishing the Dibden Center as one of Vermont’s premier sources for world-class performing arts. “It’s going to be a great season.”

NVU’s Director of Theaters and Programming Tim Mikovitz, who has worked as a technical director for KCP Presents and for the Dibden Center, is also enthusiastic about the new partnership. Dibden is “the cultural center of (NVU’s) campus,” Mikovitz told Ari Elbaum of NVU News site Basement Medicine. “Art is integral to education and citizenship. I’m really excited about the season we have planned for this year and the future of the arts on campus.”

Built in 1971, Dibden was named for the late Arthur Dibden, President of Johnson State College from 1967-1969. After President Dibden died in office, the new arts center was named in his memory thanks to an appeal from students. The Dibden Center for the Arts houses a 500-seat auditorium, practice rooms, classrooms, and the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery.

Starting this fall, Dibden will also host four KCP Presents shows, bringing to Johnson the first-rate professional live performances Catamount Arts and KCP are known for in the Northeast Kingdom. KCP at the Dibden Center will feature American hip-hop and classical violin virtuosos Black Violin on October 13; Montreal’s thrilling precision dance company, Rubberband Dance, on November 16; legendary comedian and star of NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” Paula Poundstone on February 7, and the jaw-dropping, gravity-defying Peking Acrobats, darlings of China’s gymnastic arts tradition, on March 25.

Dibden season openers Black Violin, an exciting and popular musical sensation, is classically trained string duo Kevin Sylvester (Kev Marcus) and Wilner Baptiste (Wil B.) on violin and viola, respectively. Their hip-hop treatment of classical sensibilities, reinvigorating string arrangement with driving rhythm and infectious beats, has led to collaborations with Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Aerosmith, as well as a spot in President Obama’s Kids Inaugural Concert.

Tickets to see Black Violin at the Dibden Center for the Arts are available by phone at 748-2600 or by visiting www.catamountarts.org. Every ticket for the show includes a digital download of Black Violin’s forthcoming album, available approximately one week after ticket purchase. For more information about KCP Presents at the Dibden and/or KCP Present in the NEK, or to buy season tickets for either or both locations, visit www.catamountarts.org or www.kcppresents.org.