From Ray Charles to Common – from Michael Bolton to the Alvin Ailey American Theater - UVI’s Reichhold Center for the Arts has hosted legendary artists and performers for over three decades. This year the center takes it over the top. Grammy Award winning singer Natalie Cole, on her second visit, delighted the Reichhold Center audience with an encore on Nov. 1, after performing for two hours straight to a packed Reichhold Center audience. This is Cole’s second performance at the center. “The intimacy that we have, especially with artists like Natalie Cole, is unique to Reichhold,” says Denise Humphrey, interim director of the University of the Virgin Islands Reichhold Center for the Arts. “You don’t experience any other artist, anywhere else, at any other venue, like you would here at the Reichhold.”
Up next on the line-up of legends is Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Babyface is a musical maverick who has ignited the hearts of music lovers for decades. A prolific song writer, hit-maker, superstar recording artist and record label owner and producer, Babyface has won 10 Grammy Awards. He has sold more than 500 million singles and albums, and has more than 100 chart topping R and B hits. He performs at 8 p.m. on Jan. 17.
“He will have everyone moving and grooving,” says Humphrey. “His performance is definitely going to be a nice kick-off for the New Year.”
Babyface’s cool, soulful love songs include hits like, “When Can I See You Again” released in 1994, “Every Time I Close My Eyes” in 1997, “Whip Appeal” in 2001, and “For the Cool in You” in 2001.
In 1989, Babyface co-founded LaFace Records. Three of the label's early artists were, TLC, Usher, and Toni Braxton. “You can expect a plethora of music,” says Reichhold Center Marketing and Sales Manager Ian Turnbull of Babyface’s performance. “He is a music icon. There are countless records that he has either written or produced songs for that resonate with millions. He is truly a hit maker.” This year, he released a duet album with Tony Braxton titled “Love, Marriage, and Divorce.”
“The performance that he is going to bring to the stage is going to appeal to the young and the young at heart,” says Turnbull. “His musical repertoire spans the last four decades.”
Babyface is just one of the award winning artists performing at the Reichhold Center this season. Nine-time Grammy Award winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin will perform at the Reichhold Center on Feb. 7. Franklin has bridged the gap between gospel and other musical genres for more than two decades. “His show, in my opinion, is going to be the most active performance,” says Turnbull. “He puts on a high energy show.” Franklin is known for leading urban contemporary choirs such as “The Family,” “God’s Property” and “One Nation Crew.” He is also the host and executive producer of the gospel talent show “Sunday Best,” the highest-rated gospel program in Black Entertainment Television network history.
This season, the Reichhold Center has added “The Sky Lounge,” which is nestled under the shaded perch above the upper uncovered seats. The Sky Lounge has a newly designed bar and lounge seating with an intimate setting. Patrons can be served drinks and light hors d’oeuvres, while they watch the show. “You have the best spot in the house,” says Humphrey. “You have space to dance and to really enjoy the performance.” Humphrey says that this season is designed for people to come out, relax, enjoy and be entertained.
The Reichhold Center and UVI’s Virgin Islands Tourism and Hospitality Program have partnered to run the center’s concessions for regular season shows. “They have turned that whole atmosphere of our Sky Lounge into something that is very unique, that people are loving,” says Humphrey. “The students are fantastic. I love their level of service and their interactions. They are very professional and it is a testament to the quality of service that is coming out of that program.”
The Reichhold Center, a 1,196 seat amphitheater, has had a great season so far. The Center’s 36th season opened with a sold out performances from Reggae Artists Tessane Chin, winner of the hit television show “The Voice,” and Virgin Islands own Pressure Buspipe. Chin received a standing ovation and treated her fans with an encore performance.
Other shows this season include performances by:
· “Spencers: Theatre of Illusion” on March 7 and 8 – during his visit in the Virgin Islands, Spencer will also visit schools and health service centers.
· The Dzul Dance Company on March 21 – this show-stopping company fuses contemporary dance with aerial arts, contortion and acrobatics to showcase indigenous Mexican Mayan culture.
· Jeffrey Osborne and Freddie Jackson on May 23 – Osborne will perform his hits “Stay With Me Tonight,” “She’s On The Left,” “You Should Be Mine,” and more. A former lead vocalist for the band L.T.D., Osborne’s solo career has earned him a total of five gold and platinum albums. Freddie Jackson earned legions of fans with the sultry songs “You Are My Lady” and “Rock Me Tonight.”
For more information on Reichhold Center shows visit www.reichholdcenter.org or call the box office at (340) 693-1559. For advertising and sponsorship opportunities contact Ian M. Turnbull at (340) 693-1554 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Reichhold Center’s 2014-2015 season is sponsored by Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, International Capital & Management Company, VI Lottery, Innovative and VI Council on the Arts.