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NPR's Neal Conan joins Ensemble Galilei to perform in next HBPA event

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HESSTON, KAN. – Ensemble Galilei and Neal Conan, host of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, will present “A Universe of Dreams,” including images from the Hubble space telescope, as part of the 2009-10 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series.

The concert is at Friday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Hesston Mennonite Church.

"A Universe of Dreams" is music, poetry and stories with host and narrator Neal Conan. It features projected images from the Hubble telescope. With evocative music inspired by the Hubble images, the performers present the perfect backdrop for works by some of the finest poets in America. Audiences have been swept away by this extraordinary combination of the spoken word and what has been described by critics as " that speaks to the heart in ways that transcend mere language."

Text for the program comes from the writings of Stanley Kunitz, Jim Harrison, William Shakespeare and a re-telling of a Navajo Creation Myth, all performed with Hubble images that have transformed our understanding of the universe.

Hailed for its unique blend of Irish, Scottish, early and original music, Ensemble Galilei has created an inspired sound on stage and CD. Touring both gorgeous instrumental programs and exciting collaborative projects, the group takes each audience on an exquisitely designed journey.

Mixing the colors and styles of early instruments with Celtic traditions, the group is equally at home with Irish reels, Medieval cantigas and English country dance tunes. Ensemble Galilei is versatile, virtuosic, energetic and very entertaining. Ensemble Galilei bring to CDs and the stage "All the precision of a first rate classical string quartet" and "communication between performers and audience at it best."

The members of Ensemble Galilei will spend two days in residency with students at Newton’s Chisholm Middle School in a multi-disciplinary workshop Nov. 12-13. Combining musical performance with creative writing and visual elements, the residency will culminate with a school performance featuring the ensemble and student workshop participants Friday, Nov. 13.

Prices for single tickets for the Ensemble Galilei concert at Hesston Mennonite Church range from $23 to $10 depending on seating section and discount eligibility (students and senior citizens). Season tickets prices range from $70 to $35 and include Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010); the Glenn Miller Orchestra (Thursday, March 18); and Chatham Baroque (Sunday, April 18). There is also a supplemental concert by the Lawrence Children's Choir Sunday, June 6 (season tickets do not apply).

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 620-327-8158 (Hesston College) or 316-284-5205 (Bethel College), e-mail, or purchase online at

This program is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, and is supported by Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

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