Patten Performances Directed At All Students

By: Cody Mohon

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop)- Whoever still believes the arts to be stuffy has clearly not been to the Patten Performances at UTC. Robert Boyer, the programmer for the Patten Performances, has been on the job for five years, and he says, “People around town are saying it’s going to be one of our best and most eclectic years.” With performances ranging from Japanese drumming to Romeo and Juliet, Boyer guarantees top-notch entertainment. The performances this year are:

Patten Series 30th Anniversary Season

“The Patten Performances are a showcase for the university. I program it in a way to show the community what’s possible,” Boyer said. Boyer believes in bringing in acts that encourage people to think outside the box or take on another viewpoint. He does this to attract students, but he found a way to still hold the attention of older generations as well. “I am very lucky to have a crowd of people who are 50 and up who are very adventurous. They have proved to me through their purchases of tickets this year that they are indeed interested in more innovative shows.”

The Patten Performances, which began in 1980 as the Dorothy Patten Performing Arts Series, was named after Chattanooga’s most famous Broadway actress. The proposal written in 1980 said the “firm intent of UTC is to present an eclectic series of performers of national reputation and superior talents…” Each year since then has done just that. View previous Patten Perfomance Series here. Now, the series has expanded to allow students the chance to interact with these artists through workshops and master classes on the day before the performance.

Although not all UTC students can interact with the performers, there is still an eagerness to attend the Patten Performances. Junior Krista Ashton, a Marketing major, still believes it is vital to have an outstanding arts series on campus. “Just because we aren’t majoring in the arts doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy going to performances. I went to several last year, and I consider them money and time well spent.”

Despite the fact that the talent brought in for this series includes Emmy and Grammy Award winning performers, tickets for students still average about the price of a movie ticket. “We are on the east end of campus and some students don’t know we are here. All of us in the Fine Arts Center are making an effort to say this is still a cool place to come” Boyer said. He encourages students to come out to performances to enjoy something new and different. According to Boyer, the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, where all the performances take place, contributes to the experience. “The audience responds quickly and loudly, and there is a certain energy about that stage that every performer and audience member just love.”

When asked why students should take advantage of the Patten Performances, Boyer says, “The argument I made to my children, both of whom graduated from UTC, is that if nothing else, it’s a different way of thinking. You are exposed to something for one night, it’s a public performance and you are in the midst of other people. So it’s not just about the performances, like when you watch a DVD. There is an interaction not only between you and the performer, but you and the audience and the performer. There is something about experiencing something like that as a collective that is very life affirming. Also, it’s a heck of a way to spend a couple hours.”

Learn more about the Patten Series by clicking here!

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