By: SDSU Foundation

Woodbine Productions’ 11th season brings some of the world’s finest entertainers to Brookings and appeals to all generations.

All proceeds from Woodbine Productions support music scholarships at South Dakota State University.

Opening the season on Sept. 24 is 17-year-old vocalist and pianist Ethan Bortnick’s “Generations of Music” show. Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s youngest solo musician to headline his own concert tour,” Bortnick has been performing around the world since age 5. With three nationally aired television specials, Bortnick performs a broad mix of popular and original tunes.

Bortnick has performed at venues around the globe, including large arenas with over 70,000 people.

“When I perform at someone’s home or in a huge arena, I just love every moment of it. When I see the audience enjoying the music, having fun, smiling and dancing, there’s just nothing better that that,” he said. Billy Joel’s musical director also serves as music director for Bortnick’s shows.

The connection to Woodbine Productions’ emphasis on scholarships is a natural fit, as Bortnick has helped raised more than $50 million for charities.

David Reynolds, director of the School of Performing Arts at SDSU, coordinated musicians who joined Bortnick for a 2017 videotaping in Sioux Falls.

“For many young vocalists in the SDSU Concert Choir and Brookings High Concert Choir, this will be a reunion of sorts,” Reynolds said. “We are very excited for our broader community to experience the energy and exceptional musicianship of Ethan, while also realizing the high-caliber musicians we have right here in our own program studying with Dr. Laura Diddle and high school vocalists led at BHS by alumna Denise Perry.”

On Nov. 6, Mandy Harvey of “America’s Got Talent” brings her ukulele, jazz vocals, original and familiar tunes and her indomitable spirit to Brookings. Known for winning the “golden buzzer” from judge Simon Cowell, Harvey is an American jazz singer and songwriter. She is also deaf.

While pursuing a vocal music education degree at Colorado State University, Harvey lost her residual hearing at age 18 due to a neurological disorder and left the program. Though her hearing loss is profound, her timing, pitch and passion are perfect.

Woodbine Productions is thrilled to bring a musician of Harvey’s accomplishment and personal journey to Brookings.

With three jazz recordings to her credit, and multiple national awards for inspiring others, Harvey promises an evening of outstanding music and the ability to inspire others to embrace their pivot.

On March 24, 2019, the Grammy-award winning vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo from South Africa will finish its North American tour in Brookings.

Named by the late Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the world, the group’s remarkable harmonies and unique melodies are most likely familiar to Woodbine fans. The ensemble was created in the mid-1960s and came to prominence in the United States through its work with recording star Paul Simon.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo has also recorded with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Josh Groban, Emmylou Harris and Melissa Etheridge. They have appeared on Broadway and have been nominated for Tony Awards and have won a Drama Desk Award.

Finishing the season, on April 2, 2019, Woodbine brings Postmodern Jukebox from its skyrocketing success with more than a billion views on YouTube to the stage of the Performing Arts Center.

The group is recognized for reimagining modern top-40 pop hits in vintage styles of 1940s swing, blues, big band, Broadway, or whatever strikes its fancy. Drawing from a collective of exceptional vocalists and instrumentalists, each presentation by Postmodern Jukebox is refreshing and perfect for bringing together young fans with their older family members.

“Whether you are already a Postmodern Jukebox fan or are looking for an excuse to be hip and cool with the kids,” Reynolds said, “this show is the perfect way to wrap up Woodbine in our completely finished Performing Arts Center.”

Season tickets will be offered for a one-day “in-person” sale at the Performing Arts Center from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28. Following that one-day sale, all orders will be handled by mail, or by calling the School of Performing Arts Office on the second floor of Lincoln Hall at SDSU at 688-5188. Single tickets for individual shows will be available beginning Sept. 4.

Woodbine Productions is a unique project coordinated by the SDSU Foundation in conjunction with the SDSU School of Performing Arts. Woodbine Productions is the brainchild of an anonymous donor who believes residents of Brookings and surrounding communities should enjoy exceptional entertainment in Brookings. The anonymous donor underwrites the entire cost of the project.

All proceeds from ticket sales are deposited in a scholarship account for support of students at SDSU who are involved in music performance and ensembles. Updates on Woodbine Productions are most readily available on their Facebook page and questions may be directed to the SDSU School of Performing Arts at 688-5188.

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