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What you need to know for 01/19/2017

SPAC Walk of Fame to add two stars

SPAC Walk of Fame to add two stars

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck and one of the founders of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Jane Wait, will
SPAC Walk of Fame to add two stars
President and Executive Director Marcia J. White, left, holds up the new 2013 SPAC season brochure with Hon. Susan Phillips Read, Chairwoman, at the Desmond Inn in Colonie Thursday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Jazz legend Dave Brubeck and one of the founders of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Jane Wait, will be honored this year with stars on the SPAC Walk of Fame.

Brubeck, a celebrated jazz pianist, composer and band leader, died in December at age 91; he had performed at SPAC a record 13 times.

“He was an exceptional human being,” said SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White.

Brubeck’s most recent performance at the jazz festival was in 2009, when he appeared as part of a 50th anniversary of his album “Time Out.” In 2006, he performed as part of an 85th birthday tour of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and the state Senate gave him kudos for his lifetime contribution to music.

Brubeck’s family wants to be involved with the Walk of Fame honor, which will happen at some point during Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 29 and 30.

Wait’s family also wants to be involved with her star, which will be dedicated on May 24 at the kickoff event for the Saratoga 150 celebration marking that many years of local thoroughbred racing.

“They want to honor their mother, and we do as well,” White said at a quarterly meeting of the SPAC board on Thursday at the Desmond Hotel & Conference Center in Colonie. “She has stories about how SPAC was built.”

Wait and her late husband, Newman “Pete” Wait, were instrumental in starting the arts center, beginning with a feasibility committee. Jane Wait also served as the first chairwoman of the Action Council, SPAC’s fundraising arm.

The Walk of Fame honors and remembers people instrumental in SPAC, including local arts patrons and influential artists.

Current stars are named for Marylou Whitney, Charles Dutoit, George Wein, Chantal Juillet, Philly Dake and Lewis Swyer.

Also at Thursday’s board meeting, the arts center unveiled a positive audit of last year’s books. Auditors gave SPAC and National Museum of Dance an unqualified opinion, the highest rating it can get.

“I love it when they refer to our audit as boring,” said Richard Geary, SPAC’s chief financial officer.

Lawn ticket prices are rising $2 this year for the classical programs, from $22 to $24. During the 2011 season, lawn tickets cost $20. Children 12 and under still are admitted for free.

The top two seating tiers in the amphitheater also will increase between $3 and $5; amphitheater prices range from $30 to $80.

SPAC is changing pricing for its matinee performances, which used to cost $30 for any seat in the amphitheater. This year, there will be a tiered system just like there is for the evening shows, ranging from $35 to $45. Lawn tickets for matinees remain at $15.

In February, SPAC officials announced a $1 facility fee that is now added onto each classical ticket to be used for maintaining the grounds and amphitheater. The arts center also charges a box office service fee on top of the face value of each ticket.

SPAC also updated its website, spac.org, with a new version that looks good on smartphones, tablets and notebook computers. The number of people looking at SPAC’s website on mobile devices more than doubled last year, to 30 percent of visitors, White said.

Tickets for the summer classical season are for sale online now; people will be able to buy them by phone or at the box office starting May 15.

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