SSU and SOPAA to kick off season


Joseph Pratt

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Shawnee State University (SSU), in partnership with the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association (SOPAA), will launch the 2015-2016 performing arts season with a performance by Under the Streetlamp later this month. The two entities are excited for this big band show to properly start their 20th season of working together.

Under the Streetlamp brings the “Great American Radio Songbook” to life, featuring the hits of Doo Wop, Motown and other classic Rock n’ Roll hits during their performance. Employing the motto, “retro never sounded so now,” the group also performs pop radio hits of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

Each performer will take on the role of lead singer at different points of the evening, in order to provide a few surprises for the audience. Officials with SSU state that Under the Streetlamp is often times contagious fun, and even encourage audience members to get up and sing and dance with them at their performances.

“These guys will provide the big ‘wow’ factor we want for the opening of the 2015-16 season,” SOPAA President Bob Mascari said. “People who loved Landau Murphy’s concert last year will really enjoy this performance as well.”

Vern Riffe Center for the Arts Director Joe Patti also said he is looking to the high energy of Under the Streetlamp this year and has already heard positive remarks from people who are going.

“We’ve had a few people say they are excited to see us bringing Under the Streetlamp in,” Patti said. “I was at Tim Hortons getting coffee one morning recently and I had one person come up to me and say they have friends in California who called and said they couldn’t believe Portsmouth, Ohio is getting Under the Streetlamp.”

Patti said he looks forward to these types of events, because they welcome large audiences with something for the whole family to enjoy.

“It is an extremely family-friendly show with those sort of clean-cut guys who aren’t going to be cursing or anything like that,” Patti said. “This music has been around for decades and have been sort of time tested, so it is going to be very diverse, but welcoming for the whole family.”

The group has been touring all over the country and enjoys performing in Ohio, especially with having Ohio roots through the group’s founder, Michael Ingersoll, who hails from Dayton, Ohio.

Ingersoll began the work as a small side project while the group members were all performing in Chicago. The four members of the group decided to continue to perform together and have watched their success with Streetlamp grow to highly acclaimed national tours and two PBS specials.

The show will open curtain on Thursday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.

Patti said that he and his friends with SOPAA and SSU will be there before the show, celebrating a twenty year partnership of hosting artistic offerings to the Portsmouth community. They will have drinks and hors-d’oeuvres starting at 6:30p.m.

“We are really going to make a night of it,” Patti said. “We are welcoming people to celebrate twenty years. The whole evening is going to be this sort of little event. We will have a dessert reception beforehand and then this really great concert to top it off and set the tone for the whole year.”

Tickets are $45 for the public, $40 for seniors, $27 for students, and $15 for children under the age of 12. Tickets may be purchased from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the McKinley Box Office in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, or online at

Additional information is available at the McKinley Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 740-351-3600.

“It should be a very fun show,” Patti said. “We have had lots of feedback and response about the group; people seem to be very excited for our season opener.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

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Courtesy Photo Under the Streetlamp Photo Under the Streetlamp

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