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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Free summer events

Exciting performances, thought-provoking lectures

The School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions invites you to continue your education in one of the most enjoyable ways possible—by attending our free summer events series! We offer concerts and lectures at no charge to encourage you to take a chance and experience something new or listen to music you may never have heard, all while visiting our gorgeous campus.

See the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday pages for a list of past events.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 7:30 pm
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
The Savoyards Musical Theatre returns to the Schwartz Center stage with a presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, a two-act comic opera about what happens when an entire village partakes of a love potion. Tickets are free and available (up to four per person) in the Schwartz Center lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance.

This event kicks of the 2017 free summer events series sponsored by Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions. For more information about the series, which runs from June 27 to August 4, visit summer.cornell.edu/events.
Friday, June 30, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
Playing original soul music with deep grooves, funky beats, and gospel-inspired vocals, Stone Cold Miracle features rich-voiced diva LaTrece Stevenson backed by rhythm guitarist Dustin Stuhr (Urban Horse Thieves, Black Walnut Band, The Habits), lead guitarist Nick LaVerne (Screaming Meemies, Guardrail, The Habits), drummer Zaun Marshburn (Wingnut, Hank Roberts, Mary Lorson and Saint Low, GunPoets), and bassist Andy Adelewitz (Armageddon Monks).

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 7:00 pm
Kennedy Hall
Glenn Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Professor of American Studies at Cornell and dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, will demonstrate the power of storytelling in the courtroom, drawing on the iconic American trials of Leopold and Loeb; Alger Hiss; Dan White; and O.J. Simpson. Altschuler is the author or coauthor of eleven books, including Ten Great American Trials: Lessons in Advocacy (2016), coauthored with Faust Rossi, the Samuel Leibowitz Emeritus Professor of Law.
Friday, July 7, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
One of the Finger Lakes region's premier dance bands, The Destination has made its reputation playing classic R&B, funk, and soul, as well as covers by frontman Joe Lonsky. The nine-piece band features Joe and his wife, Karen, on vocals; horn players Ryan Zawel (trombone), Jeff Stockham (trumpet), and Mike Dubaniewicz (saxophone); percussionists Jorge Cuevas and Bill King; guitarist Pat Driscoll; and bassist Bill Avery.

It's a party! At this special concert we'll be celebrating the 125th anniversary of Cornell University Summer Sessions, which began its first formal Summer Session on July 7, 1892—so we invite you to share in some birthday cake provided by the Summer Session office, sponsor of the free summer events series.

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 7:30 pm
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
Nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Joe Crookston is known for his engaging lyrics, excellent musicianship, and charismatic stage presence. Named 2016 Folk Alliance International artist-in-residence, Joe engages audiences with story songs of Oklahoma towns, rattlesnake tails, Taoist parables, and drunk roosters—all crafted with wit, intelligence, and heart.

Tickets are free and available (up to four per person) in the Schwartz Center lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 7:00 pm
Kennedy Hall
The Zookeeper's Wife is a true story of people, animals, transcendence, and subversive acts of compassion. Jan and Antonina Zabinski were Christian zookeepers disgusted by Nazi racism, who decided to capitalize on the Nazis' obsession with prehistoric animals in order to save scores of doomed people. Diane’s talk will focus on how the power of human compassion can kindle our capacity for extraordinary acts of conscience and moral connection.
Friday, July 14, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
Dynamic vocalist Diana Leigh brings her swinging sense of phrasing and sparkling stage presence to one of Ithaca’s hottest new dance bands: the Savoy Stompers. A collaboration with the great alto sax player Jesse Collins, this band features world-class musicians and tight arrangements of classic swing, blues, and R&B tunes. Don’t forget your dance shoes!

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 7:30 pm
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
The Falling Waters Sampler features Ithaca fiddlers Judy Hyman, Tim Ball, and Rick Manning, who teach and perform annually at the Falling Waters Music Camp in Ithaca. Performing separately and together with the fine accompaniment of Bobby and Doug Henrie, these three exceptional local musicians will demonstrate a variety of traditional fiddle styles, from old time and bluegrass to Celtic, French Canadian, and swing.

Tickets are free and available (up to four per person) in the Schwartz Center lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 7:00 pm
Kennedy Hall
Georges Lemaitre was a Belgian mathematician, physicist, and Catholic priest who conceived the Big Bang model for the origin of the cosmos. Historical research over the past decade has not only shown how central was Lemaitre’s role in the search for cosmic origins, but also illuminates the unique difficulties Lemaitre faced in defending his scientific model in view of his very public profession as priest.

Jonathan Lunine, director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, will use this fascinating piece of twentieth-century scientific history to provide a perspective on two questions: who gets credit for what in scientific discoveries, and can a scientist be religious?
Friday, July 21, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
A favorite of social dancers throughout the Finger Lakes, The Pelotones play in a wide range of styles, from swing, jazz, and R&B to rock-and-roll and country. A lot of their repertoire is original, written by frontman Wayne Gottlieb (vocals) and Alex Specker (lead guitar, vocals). Completing the quartet are bassist Harry Aceto and drummer Michael Wellen.

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 7:30 pm
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
Combining stunning acrobatics, striking visual effects, physical comedy, and inventive choreography, Galumpha brings to life a world of imagination, beauty, muscle, and merriment. With world-class, award-winning choreography, the three performers create a sensory feast of images ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, delighting audiences at festivals, comedy clubs, and on the concert stage.

Tickets are free and available (up to four per person) in the Schwartz Center lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 7:00 pm
Kennedy Hall
Robert Morgan, Kappa Alpha Professor of English at Cornell, will talk about his novel Chasing the North Star, which was inspired by the true story of a runaway slave who was taken in by his family. In his novel, Morgan tells a tale of two teenage slaves who escape from plantations in the Carolinas, link up by accident, and make their way through many dangers and narrow escapes all the way to Ithaca, New York, in 1851. Told from alternating points of view, it is a story of both the horrors of slavery and the resilience of the human spirit.
Friday, July 28, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
Led by singer-guitarist Dave Yantorno, Not From Wisconsin offers pop music with a serious edge. String arrangements swell around somber lyrics, buttressing compact song structures. The band also includes Angela Comprone on violin and vocals, Brett Powell on drums and vocals, and Joey Arcuri on bass.

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 7:30 pm
Schwartz Center for Performing Arts
Violinist Stanley Chepaitis, chair of the string faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is fascinated by the similarities between Baroque music and jazz. “Both are based on the rhythmic language of dance beats. Both have evolved a texture that springs from counterpoint between an anchoring bass line and melody, with improvised harmony that glues the two together.”

Focusing on works by Bach and Telemann, Chepaitis has composed jazz pieces that reflect the spirit of the original in a new way, also allowing for the free improvisation that is essential to the jazz musician. Performing these pieces with him will be pianist Howard Spindler from the Eastman School of Music.

Tickets are free and available (up to four per person) in the Schwartz Center lobby beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the day of the performance.
Friday, August 4, 2017, 7:00 pm
Arts Quad
Honey-voiced Annie Rosen leads this eclectic Albany-based band with skillfully arranged covers of favorite jazz, blues, folk, and bluegrass standards. Backing her up are Jonny Rosen on guitar, Peter Davis on clarinet, saxophone, and keyboard, and Don Young on bass.

In case of thunderstorms or heavy rain, the concert will take place in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall.



"I love summer in Ithaca because of the series — keep it up SCE!"

"It's a wonderful community resource — a great variety of events and you can't beat the price!"