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Growing Midland Arts Department Spurs Broadway Month

Growing Midland Arts Department Spurs Broadway Month

Jan 23rd , 2014

A rapidly growing arts department and sustained advances in student involvement have prompted the arts department at Midland University to expand its annual interterm musical to an entire January Broadway Month. In addition to hosting a four-day production of the Broadway musical Kiss Me Kate, the ARTS at Midland will also put on Broadway Create and Broadway Acoustic performances throughout the month of January.

"We have seen so much growth and such a big demand that we had to add performance opportunities," said Erin Bradley, Midland Director of Performing Arts. "It is awesome to see the campus so active and students doing what they love."

This term upwards of 250 students are involved in the January productions - a number more than double that of the 2010 performance. Recent increases in the department numbers have brought about a significant boost in scheduled shows. This year Midland plans to put on a total of 15 main stage productions, which is more than a 60 percent increase from last season's nine shows.

"Our students have had a great time putting on these productions, and their efforts have been really well received by the community," said Bradley. "We are expanding very quickly and it seems like our students, parents, and community members are all excited to be part of our growing arts family."

This massive growth can be seen across the board in Midland University's arts programs. This year's band is more than twenty times the size of the group of just four years ago. In that same time frame, the university has expanded from one to two choirs while total choir participation has increased by roughly four times. Increasing numbers and interest has also inspired the addition of several new programs within the arts, including a dance arts group, a drumline and a full marching band.

Likewise, the university as a whole has seen escalating enrollment in recent years.  Since 2009 Midland's student population has more than doubled.  At a time when many schools are witnessing a decrease in enrollment, Midland's student population has reached an all-time high. This fall the university announced the arrival of one of its largest freshman classes in decades, stretching the campus population to nearly 1300 students.

The university's leaders have credited a large portion of enrollment boosts to the implementation of Midland's Four Year Graduation Guarantee. The innovative program ensures that students meeting basic requirements will graduate within four years. It is anchored by a team of professional advisors who guide students, promote accountability and provide a sturdy support system. Housed in the newly renovated Center for the Four Year Graduation Guarantee, advisors work on a one-on-one basis to engage students and cultivate individual habits for success.

In the same way, the institution has worked to personalize the collegiate experience by maximizing opportunities for growth through character-building activities. In addition to Midland's investment in the arts, the university has added 11 varsity sports in the last four years. In that time, the institution has built the athletic department into the largest in Nebraska, housing 27 varsity teams, 12 JV-level opportunities and more than 600 student-athletes.

Although extensive support and broad opportunities are the driving force behind enrollment advances, the experience itself has been a major catalyst for growth in activity within the arts.  Midland's art department is uniquely structured, offering students scholarships regardless of their major.  This approach allows students to pursue a broad array of interests and encourages character development through a wider range of individual interests.

Successive to this growing demand, the Midland arts department has set up a busy month, dubbing January "Broadway Month." On January 23rd-25th, Midland will present their version of the Broadway hit musical "Kiss Me Kate." All showings will be in Midland's Kimmel Theatre with shows beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday will also feature a 2 p.m. performance, and the final showing will be on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Complimenting the musical are the additions of Broadway Create and Broadway Acoustic shows. Through Broadway Acoustic, a student cast of singers, songwriters and dancers are spending the month traveling to more than 12 surrounding high schools and performing acoustic versions of their favorite songs. Additionally, Broadway Create will feature a cast of student actors, singers and dancers who will perform in a Broadway review.  Broadway Create can be viewed as a preshow to Kiss Me Kate and as a feature on Friday, January 31st at 7:30 p.m.

Those interested in attending a Midland Broadway Month event can contact the Midland Box Office at 402.941.6399. More information on the ARTS at Midland can be found at MidlandU.edu/ARTS.