THE VAIL SERIES BASICS
WHAT IS THE VAIL SERIES?
IT’S THE ARTS, DONE DENISON’S WAY.
Sure, it’s a new season of highly diverse concerts, performed by world-class musicians. But the Vail Series is so much more.
It’s seeing Béla Fleck or Yo-Yo Ma on a small stage, six feet away from your front row seat, knowing he’ll be spending enough time here to interact with students and answer a question if you have one.
In other words, it’s personal. Even the Vail Series’ venue—Swasey Chapel—is known for its intimacy. There’s no need to hang around stage doors to meet performers when they come to Denison; they’re right there, up close and totally accessible.
And the arts are such an essential element of a liberal arts education at Denison that Vail Series tickets are free for students, faculty and staff.
WHO HAS PERFORMED ON THE VAIL SERIES?
IT’S AN IMPRESSIVE LIST.
Where to start?
Joshua Bell, Renee Fleming, Mark O’Connor, Itzhak Perlman, Wynton Marsalis, Leontyne Price, Emanual Ax, Dizzy Gillespie—the list goes on.
Since 1979, more than 100 individual artists have found their way to Swasey Chapel’s stage, but that
doesn’t include the dozens of ensembles or full symphony orchestras that have played here over
And some stay for a while. Last time he was here, Bobby McFerrin spent four days on campus and ended up jamming with students when he wasn’t in a classroom, having a workshop, or grabbing lunch in the student union.
Yo-Yo Ma and Yuja Wang have each been to Denison five times. They’re kind of like family.
HOW DID THE SERIES COME TO BE?
IT’S A COLLABORATION OF HIGH IDEALS — AND MAGNIFICENT
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.
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 through her retirement in June of 2013. Michael Morris is currently the Interim Director of the Vail Series.
WHAT KEEPS THEM COMING BACK?
Some may suggest it’s the venue—Swasey Chapel, high on the campus hill, is a beautiful and intimate place to sing, play, and dance.
Maybe it’s that combination of breezy sophistication and dedicated hospitality for which Granville
It might even be the Goumas toffees and caramels, the signature gift that visiting artists always find waiting in their rooms. (One legendary musician called after his departure to ask that several boxes be sent to his home—in Switzerland!)
But the real reason these incredible talents come back to this campus is the warm response they receive from Denison University’s students, faculty, and staff, and those fortunate few from the surrounding community who occasionally get hold of a coveted ticket.
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