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September 2021

Michael Alexander

Dear Friends,

With the hope that this message finds all our Friends of Beckman Auditorium and other Public Programming supporters in good health, I am writing with the good news that we are ready to announce the return of in-person events to Beckman Auditorium in January 2022.

Caltech has been closely following the news about COVID-19 and its variants that continue to threaten the health of communities worldwide. Caltech has also been taking a careful approach to reopening the campus to research, teaching, and events for students, faculty, staff, and the public. At this time, the signs seem optimistic enough for us to announce that we are planning our first performing arts event for Saturday, January 22, 2022—Naturally 7, who first wowed our audiences in November 2019. It was our last big concert before that season was cut short by the pandemic, and we are looking forward to their return.

Other events that we can now announce include Versa-Style, a local dance company rooted in the hip-hop tradition that has won the hearts of audiences young and old here in L.A. and on tour. They will be with us on Saturday, February 5, 2022. It is time to introduce this company that has had near sell-outs at the Ford Theater, Pepperdine University, and other locations close to our Pasadena audience.

March will feature the Zimbabwean choral group Nobuntu—five women performing beautiful harmonies reflecting a group singing tradition found in southern Africa. People familiar with South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo and similar groups already recognize this style of music that is sure to please world and choral music fans. They will be here on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

On April 9, 2022, Public Programming welcomes India Ink, a New Zealand-based troupe renowned for their mask work. Though they have toured the United States previously, they have only visited Southern California once before. Rooted in New Zealand's Indian immigrant community, the company tells stories about life in India with onstage musical accompaniment and it is bringing a new production to the U.S. on this tour.

In the works are additional musical presentations for later in April and May. Expect to hear news about them once we are able to confirm their appearances.

Of course, we will continue to be vigilant about health concerns and will be following all campus, Pasadena, county, and state guidelines for public events. Proof of vaccination and masks will be required to enter Beckman. We are asking the artists to prepare performances without intermissions that will last approximately 75 minutes to avoid unnecessary close encounters in the restrooms and lobbies. Your health and safety (along with that of the artists, crew, and staff) are our top priority as they have always been. Now, we just have to be more vigilant than ever before.

We will continue to produce online programs including our Behind the Book author series (expect two very exciting presentations in October and November) and our Science Journeys series aimed at middle and high school students.

Our Science Journey presentations by Caltech graduate students have been extremely well received by parents, educators, and the Caltech graduate student community. These presentations have also proved popular among adults who may not have a science background. I encourage all of you to watch one from our archives so you, too, can decide if you want to become a regular follower of this series.

Finally, we're excited to announce that our first four Watson Lectures have been announced for 2021–2022. The begin on Wednesday, October 20 at 5 p.m. Julia A. Kornfield (BS '83, MS '84), Caltech's Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemical Engineering, will present Megasupramolecules: From Disaster to Discovery.

As I have written in the past, I proudly hold a job originally held by Jerry Willis, Caltech's first director of public programming, who brought international touring artists to Beckman Auditorium. Considered a hero and leader in the touring arts field, he was respected from coast to coast. Some of our longtime supporters certainly remember him. The Friends of Beckman Auditorium dates back to his years at the Institute and I encourage all of you to consider making a donation to support the various series we produce. Your help enables us to provide low-cost tickets to students and free science presentations that encourage students to explore their curiosities and consider the sciences as a career choice.

Thank you for staying connected with us during the pandemic. I look forward to seeing all of you face-to-face in the new year!

Best wishes,

Michael Alexander

Director, Public Programming