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Inclusive 'Spotlight:Out Loud' inspires and uplifts Clowes crowd

Brenda Williams & The Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble
Brenda Williams & The Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble
Freddie Kelvin

Anyone desiring an at-a-glance look at what’s available amongst Indianapolis’ vibrant performing arts organizations can do no better than to experience the annual “Spotlight” event that showcases them. And this year’s event held Monday was no different. Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University was the venue for the 20th edition, “Spotlight: Out Loud.”

Tasha Jones
Freddie Kelvin

The event, sponsored by Deborah J. Simon and Wayne P. Zink benefits the Indiana AIDS Fund, which raised $352,000. While the complete budget is still being finalized, the organization anticipates being able to grant up to 90 cents of every dollar raised, or $316,000, for HIV testing, treatment and prevention. Everyone associated with “Spotlight”—from the performers and stagehands to the lighting crew and marketing staff—donate their time,

Co-founder David Hochoy was the artistic director of “Spotlight ‘14” which saw 17 organizations represented in what was essentially a variety show. The number of groups who wanted to perform in the fundraiser grew to the point that the show became too long, so the decision was made to divide the show into two groups with one participating this year and the other in next year’s event.

Organizations represented and individuals who appeared in the show (in order of appearance) included Brenda Williams and the Pride of Indy Jazz Ensemble, Gregory Hancock Dance Company, The Bridge Collective and FAB Crew, Q Artisty, Motus Dance, The Fourth Wall, Bobdirex Productions, Tasha Jones, Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, No Exit Performance, Indianapolis School of Ballet, Kenyettá Dance Company and Nicholas Owens Dance Company, David Murray and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Doug Dilling and Asia La Bouche.

Over 1,000 people attended the well-programmed, technically well-executed 90 minute show, which was performed without an intermission. The show’s brisk pace was owed to the fact that there was no emcee making introductions and the identification of individuals and groups was made via names projected on a screen hanging high above the stage.

Standout performances included an excerpt from Q Artistry’s eccentric “Zirkus Grimm,” a musical adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales featuring Ben Asaykwee as ringmaster along with members of the original cast; the striking Tasha Jones, who delivered a gritty poem about addiction; young dancers from the Indianapolis School of Ballet in an excerpt from “Diamanté,” a world premiere choreographed by Victoria Lyras to “Palladio for String Orchestra: Allegretto” by Karl Jenkins; “Messing Around,” with music by Ray Charles, performed by the Kenyettá Dance Company and Nicholas Owens Dance Company; David Murray, representing the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra on contrabass in a dynamic performance of “Capriccio #2” by David Anderson; and Doug Dilling, accompanied by David Meek, who movingly sang “Bring Him Home” from “Les Misérables.”

Its primary purpose is to raise money and awareness for AIDS prevention and treatment, while at the same time promoting the high caliber of Indy’s performing arts groups. But at the same time, “Spotlight” is also one of the few totally inclusive events in Indy that brings the LGTB and other minority communities, and allies, together for a celebratory evening of inspiration and entertainment. And for that, it can truly call itself a community treasure.

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