The Scene

Prairie Arts Council in Princeton to host opera concert featuring tenor Dane Suarez

Princeton native will be joined by pianist Nick Towns

Prairie Arts Council in Princeton

The Prairie Arts Council in Princeton announced that it will host the “Bring Him Home: Opera Concert for the Arts,” featuring Princeton’s acclaimed tenor Dane Suarez and pianist Nick Towns.

The concert will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, with a 5 p.m. gala at the Prairie Arts Center, 24 Park Ave. E, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at the Princeton High School Auditorium, 103 S. Euclid Ave.

“This fall, I am making my professional international debut at [the] Wexford Festival Opera in Wexford, Ireland, as Don Ferolo Whiserandos in Charles Villiers Stanford’s satirical opera ‘The Critic,’ as well as presenting a recital,” Suarez said in a news release. “I will be taking the opportunity to present as many of these pieces from the recital at the concert in Princeton. The audience can expect a diverse range of music, from heartfelt arias, art songs and musical theater to more contemporary and unexpected pieces – certainly something for every musical taste. There may also be some guest appearances from some of my colleagues throughout my journey.”

Joining him is Towns, whose mastery at the keyboard provides the perfect accompaniment to Suarez’s vocals.

“I am so excited to be collaborating with another Princeton native, Nick Towns,” Suarez said. “The pieces on the program will showcase his immense talent, and we can’t wait to share that with the city that raised us.”

The “Bring Him Home” concert is an opportunity to experience a great performance, but it also is a celebration of the arts within the community. The Prairie Arts Council has been dedicated to nurturing local talent and fostering an appreciation for the arts. This event highlights the incredible influence that the community has had in shaping artists who go on to achieve successful careers in the arts.

“Growing up in Princeton, I found my community in the arts,” Suarez said. “Through community theater productions for the Homestead Festival, children’s theater at Prairie Arts Center, PHS productions and being a part of Festival 56 seasons, it became clear to me that being on stage was what made me feel alive. There is a gratifying power that vulnerability on stage gives you, connecting deeply with the audience and creating a shared emotional experience. Performing at the Prairie Arts Center and PHS Auditorium again feels like coming full circle again and sharing that powerful connection with the community that nurtured my passion from the beginning.”

“When opera fell into my path, it was unexpected, but upon reflection, I believe it was always there, subtly shaping my journey,” Suarez continued. “My first role [was] as Louis in the Homestead Festivals production of ‘The King and I,’ and my second was as Amahl in ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ – technically my first opera. Operatic mezzo-soprano and former PHS choir director Joy Schertz recognized my talent at a young age and was my first voice teacher. Despite my teenage defiance, Ms. Schertz worked tirelessly to steer me toward a career in music.

“David and Shelley Gorenz also kept opera in my life by taking me to my first opera – ‘Rigoletto’ in Peoria – and to see Jerry Hadley perform at [the Bureau Valley High School] auditorium dedication. My late grandmother Mary McCauley, a dedicated music teacher and organist, had a profound influence on my musical journey. Her passion for music was contagious, and her encouragement was a constant source of inspiration. All of these influences combined to ignite and nurture my love for opera and performing.”

By attending this concert, patrons will be supporting the Prairie Arts Council’s mission to continue offering valuable arts programs and events that enrich the lives of residents in Princeton and beyond. Ticket sales will directly contribute to sustaining the arts in the community, ensuring that the Prairie Arts Council can continue to provide opportunities for emerging artists and cultural enrichment for all.

To buy tickets, email or call 815-875-2631, ext. 1014.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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