By Emily Osgood
The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN) is becoming a cultural hub by offering programs and performances that appeal to a variety of audience members. While hosting crowd favorites like Open Mic Folk Night and housing an ever-changing art gallery, TCAN is hoping to attract even more people by reaching out to the younger generation. David Lavalley, Executive Director of TCAN, is focusing on bringing in a new generation of music lovers. “Our commitment is to the entire community and I think that young people deserve some nights that are dedicated to music that they enjoy.”
Rock Off Main Street has always been a hit with the high school set, but now TCAN has taken its local band showcases to a new level and has upped the stakes. For the competition that is currently running, high school bands were each asked to submit an original song; bands with the best songs were then chosen to compete in one of three showdowns. The finalists from that round will face off on April 22nd at TCAN, hoping to snag the grand prize of a $1,000 scholarship to attend Berkelee College of Music’s Summer Program. Only four musicians will be chosen, so the competition is fierce, even amongst band mates. Tickets can be purchased at the door for only $8, and fans are encourage to come cheer on their favorite band. Didn’t make it into the competition? Regular Rock Off Main Street showcases will resume after the winners are named.
The Center plays host to many concerts, comedy shows, and other productions, and even offers classes for children who are interested in the arts. But the highlight of their spring season is the Kaki King show, featuring Joe Robinson. Lavalley believes that this production will also draw in a younger crowd: “…When we get ideas for bands and musicians that appeal to [them], I always follow up on those…I’m really very interested in bringing musicians here that are of interest to younger audiences.”
More evidence that TCAN is reaching out to a younger, hipper audience in hopes of introducing them to, or fostering an existing interest in, the arts? Facebook and YouTube pages. Their Facebook page contains comprehensive information about upcoming events and their YouTube page (username: “natickarts”) features videos of both professional and novice musicians performing at TCAN; videos are posted by the Center and by audience members.
For more information about The Center for the Arts in Natick and all it offers, please visit www.natickarts.org.
Photos courtesy of David Lavalley (pictured)
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