The Vail Series celebrates our 45th Season!

With a new academic year, we welcome you to enjoy the arts with us during our 45th season. The arts have the power to bring people together, to heal, to soothe, to revive, and to celebrate the world around us. The Vail Series proudly presents a season of amazing world-renowned artists and incredible rising stars to perform in our beautiful Swasey Chapel and our newest state-of-the-art performance venue, Sharon Martin Hall in the Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts.

To kick off our season, we welcome collectif9, an incredible Canadian string ensemble. The Juno-nominated Montreal based string nonet performs “with an infectious energy and vigor that grabs an audience’s attention (The WholeNote). This ensemble performs with the power of an orchestra and the intimacy of a chamber ensemble, mounting engaging and intriguing programs around the world. At Denison, they will perform Rituaels, an amazing program that brings together works from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. Prepare to be immersed in sound that will soothe and excite you.

What can we say about Take 6, the most awarded a cappella group in history? With ten Grammy Awards, ten Dove Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a Soul Train Award, and more, Take 6 (Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley) continues to bring extraordinary vocals to their worldwide audiences. We are thrilled to have them come to Denison’s campus and thrill us with their vocal acrobatics!

By now, we hope you have seen Third Coast Percussion, one of Denison’s Grammy Award- winning Ensembles-in-Residence, perform on campus. Even if you have, you won’t want to miss their multidisciplinary program, Metamorphosis. With choreography by Movement Arts Is (Lil Buck and Jon Boogz), Metamorphosis has garnered amazing reviews from critics and audiences alike. “If any classical music lover…wants to experience a musical performance that is propulsive, exciting, and full of gorgeous sounds all the way through, and that is not history but part of life today, then seek out a night for Third Coast Percussion’s “Metamorphosis” tour.” – New York Classical Review. TCP will be joined on stage by Trent Jerry and Cameron Murphy, movement artists who specialize in street choreography in an engaging performance with special lighting direction and music by Philip Glass, Tyondi Braxton, and Jlin.

One of Vail’s hallmarks is celebrating and supporting younger artists who are starting out in their professional journeys. This season we are incredibly excited to welcome to Swasey Chapel Young Concert Artists on Tour - four extraordinary rising stars: Lun Li (violin), Daniel McGrew (tenor), Joseph Parrish (bass baritone), and Albert Cano Smit (piano) will dazzle on stage and on campus as they join us for a residency in February.

Grammy Awards - nominated Wild Up brings their innovative programming and exciting energy to Swasey Chapel as part of our TUTTI 2024 New Arts Festival. Based out of Los Angeles, Wild Up is a modern music collective committed to creating thought-provoking and exciting concerts, creating a sense of community. Together with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Raven Chacon, this evening promises to be a concert like no other, and one you shouldn’t miss!

To end our 45th season, we couldn’t be more delighted to conclude the season with Kittel & Co, a five piece band that inhabits the space between classical and acoustic roots, Celtic and bluegrass aesthetics, folk and jazz sensibilities. Jeremy Kittel is returning to Vail after performing here with Aoife O’Donovan, but this time he’s bringing his band that will bring down the house with their amazing artistry. And if you want a sneak peak of Jermey Kittel, he’ll also be on campus in March, performing his fiddle concerto with the Denison University Symphony Orchestra.

This promises to be an exciting season and we hope you’ll spend our 45th with us!

Yours in the arts,


About The Vail Series

The Vail Series was endowed by a generous gift from the late Mary and Foster McGaw in honor of Jeanne Vail, class of 1946. Just as it was intended to do, the Series enriches the artistic experience of the entire Denison community, giving us the opportunity for faculty, staff, and Denison students to attend concerts with world-renowned artists for free. Programmed creatively with the mindful pursuit of learning across traditional academic boundaries, the Vail Series was directed by Lorraine Wales from its inception in 1979-2013 and by Michael Morris from 2013-2019. Ching-chu Hu is currently the Director of the Vail Series.

Since 1979, more than 200 individual Vail Series artists have found their way to Denison’s classrooms and stages, but that doesn’t include the dozens of ensembles or full symphony orchestras that have played here over the years. And some stay for a while. Last time he was here, Bobby McFerrin presented two concerts, performing with ten student groups over the two-night engagement. Many artists arrive on campus days ahead of their concert to visit classes and student groups.

The Vail Series really is much more than a series of concerts by world-class artists. It’s seeing Yo-Yo Ma or Béla Fleck or Ladysmith Black Mambazo or the Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine. You’ll see them on a small stage, six feet away from your front-row seat, knowing they’ll be spending enough time here to interact with students personally and answer a question if you have one.

The Vail Series joins in bringing the contemporary classical Grammy Award-winning string quartet ETHEL, who have been awarded honorary degrees for their impact at Denison, and Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion to campus, each for two full weeks a year, as Denison’s ensembles-in-residence. They take the arts from the performance stage to classrooms. They play in a variety of surprising locations across campus, and often just grab lunch and chat with students in the student union.

August 9, 2023