MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University's Performing Arts Series celebrates its 13th year with a 2002-03 schedule of eight stellar performances that include reggae, string instrumental, jazz and contemporary Irish, and folk music as well as two premier dance companies.

This year's schedule begins with a special series kick-off performance by the Jamrock Reggae Band at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center. Tickets for this reggae dance party are on sale now and cost $2 for all students and $5 for adults. This concert is not included as part of the season ticket package.

Jamrock was founded in 1995 by Jamaicans living the United States who missed the sound of authentic reggae music. The success of this band has been its authentic Jamaican sound and "yard style" party reggae rhythms and standards.

The rest of the 2002-03 Performing Arts Series is as follows:

Cowboy Junkies

Saturday, Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

This long-standing band is known for its hypnotic/reflective/quiet character as well as its dynamic, grit-rocking alter ego. The band's latest CD, Open, is its 11th and is being acclaimed the group's "heaviest to date."

Turtle Island String Quartet

Saturday, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

The Turtle Island String Quartet was formed in 1986 and has been a dynamic force in the introduction of bold, innovative trends in chamber music for strings. It fuses the classical quartet esthetic with 21 " century American pop styles. The group, which derived its name from creation mythology found in Native American folklore, has recently played at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. "This string quartet stands tradition on its civilized ear," said People ivagazine.

Ailey 11,

Sunday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

World-famous dancer Alvin Ailey founded Ailey 11 in 1974 to provide a stepping stone for graduates of his dance school into the world of professional dance.

Many of the Ailey 11 dancers will eventuallybeinvitedtojointherenownedAlvinAileyAmericanDanceTheatre. Impossiblystrong, sensual and charismatic, these dancers provide physical and impassioned performances.

Chucho Valdez

Saturday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

Proclaimed by Time Magazine as the "greatest jazz pianist in Cuba, perhaps one of the greatest pianists in the world," the 57-year-old Valdez still holds the music world entranced. His latest

Grammy-nominated CD, Briyumba Palo Congo, is a new chapter in his ever-evolving exploration of African,SpanishandU.S.influencesinjazz. Hisquartetofpiano,bass,congasanddrumsmaybe one of Cuba's most valuable exports.

Wellspring Dance Company

Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers returns to Marquette for a second consecutive year for a workshop and performance. The dynamic Michigan-based company from Kalamazoo debuts three to five new works each season, and their perfon-nances are filled with intensity and beauty that hold an eclectic appeal to audiences.

Gaelic Storm

Thursday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., Great Lakes Rooms, University Center

Back again by overwhelming popular demand, Gaelic Storm brings its good-time party to Marquette to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. After getting their big break as the steerage band in the film "Titanic," the group has gone on to entertain record-setting crowds across the country. While the band plays the requisite Irish drinking songs and occasional melancholy tune, Gaelic Storm also performs exquisitely crafted traditional and contemporary Irish music.

John Gorka

Saturday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., Kaufman Auditorium

The Company You Keep is Gorka's eighth and latest CD and reflects the conflict between the joy and responsibility of marriage and parenthood that have entered his life. As always his music has the sharp turn of phrase and engaging melody that triggers one's imagination and soulful reflection. Rolling Stone has called Gorka the "preeminent male singer-songwriter of the new folk movement." The Minneapolis Star-Tribune said of Gorka, "One of the smartest and most authentic folk voices of the decade."

Season tickets for the Performing Arts Series are now on sale. The cost is $36 for all students, $78 for NMU faculty and staff and $84 for the general public. Season tickets can only be purchased at the Superior Dome ticket office. The price includes one free performance and reserve seating for all series events.

Individual tickets become available starting Sept. 9. If purchased in advance the cost is $6 for all students, $13 for NMU faculty and staff and $14 for the general public. If purchased at the door, the cost is $8 for all students, $15 for NMU faculty and staff. and $16 for general admission. Single tickets are available at the Superior Dome, Willy's Snak Shak in the University Center, the Forest Roberts Theatre, and at the door. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.nmu.edu/tickets or by calling (906) 227-1032.

All seating at the Kaufman Auditorium is reserved. There is general club-style seating at performances held at the University Center.

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