The Schaefer Center Presents Series Announces 2022-23 Season

Rising stars and living legends — from Yola to Mavis Staples and Complexions Contemporary Ballet to Béla Fleck — bring the best in music, dance and theatre to Boone.

BOONE, NC — The Schaefer Center Presents (SCP) performing arts series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, proudly announces its 2022-23 season (Sept. 16-April 22). The academic year series offers students, faculty, staff and the community a diverse array of music, theatre and dance designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the campus and surrounding area. This season features a veritable Who’s Who of artists, a lineup of both rising stars and living legends who will entertain audiences from September through April at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets go on sale Monday, July 18 at 10am.

The fall season opens in September with the country-soul, classic pop stylings of Yola, a 2022 four-time Grammy Award nominee for Best New Artist, Best American Roots Song, Best American Roots Performance, and Best Americana Album. Complexions Contemporary Ballet brings their newest blockbuster hit honoring two music icons, Bach and David Bowie, in October, and two of the world’s master Celtic fiddlers, Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, celebrate the Christmas holidays with their entire family. Spring heats up in February with the queen of R&B and gospel, Mavis Staples, one of America’s defining voices. Lucy Loves Desi, a hilarious and true, behind-the-scenes look at one of TVs most beloved comedies, takes the stage in March, followed by a mesmerizing performance by taiko drummers KODO. The season ends in April with a concert that spans the globe thanks to the musical sorcery of Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer and Rakesh Chaurasia.

Tickets are available at, in person at the Schaefer Center box office (733 Rivers Street), or by calling 828-262-4046.

This year, the APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series (SCP’s sister series) celebrates a decade of excellence, having drawn thousands of students and teachers from across the region for the last 10 years to experience the magic of live theatre. The series welcomes five in-person shows, marking the first return to live performances since 2019, plus three virtual offerings. The celebrated lineup features an intriguing variety of world-class music, theatre, and dance — two events of which (MacMaster-Leahy and KODO) are also part of the evening mainstage series. Registration for teachers and homeschoolers opens on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Visit for more information.


The Schaefer Center Presents 2022-23 Season…


Friday, Sept. 16, 2022 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Yola’s inimitable vocals share nuanced stories of allyship, black feminine strength through vulnerability, collective awakening and loving connection from the sexual to the social. Yola declares that it is only when we stand for ourselves, and acknowledge our complexity, that we can be truly alive. For Yola, living is more than merely surviving. Stand for Myself is the anthemic new album from Yola. Produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), the record is a timeless masterpiece marking an idiosyncratic sonic shift, which will defy all expectation — a sophisticated and diverse sonic mix of symphonic country-soul and classic pop, tracing an expansive musical thread to Yola’s most eclectic musical inspirations.

Tickets: $35 Adult, $30 Faculty/Staff, $20 Student


Complexions Contemporary Ballet in STAR DUST: From Bach to David Bowie

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, armed with a rich Alvin Ailey lineage and a cadre of 18 spectacular dancers, have re-envisioned ballet through technical precision, athletic prowess, and sheer passion. Their blockbuster hit, STAR DUST: From Bach to David Bowie, honoring two musical icons, has rocked the dance world and will make your spirits soar!

“This was simply one of the most exciting performances I’ve seen on the dance series, less a rock ballet than a rock concert…” — The Washington Post

Tickets: $25 Adult, $20 Faculty/Staff, $10 Student


Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy: A Celtic Family Christmas

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

The holidays truly become a family affair when married duo Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy — two of the globe's best and brightest fiddle players — invite their children onstage for an unforgettable evening of holiday fun.

“Nothing short of jaw dropping … There are performances here that will raise you up and performances that will leave you misty-eyed.” —The Guardian

Tickets: $25 Adult, $20 Faculty/Staff, $10 Student


Mavis Staples

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Mavis Staples, the queen of R&B and gospel, is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She brings her powerful message and equally powerful voice to the Schaefer Center for once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 “Her voice has only gained texture and power over the years.” —Pitchfork

“[She] provides the comfort of a higher power.” —People

Tickets: $40 Adult, $35 Faculty/Staff, $20 Student


LA Theatre Works — Lucy Loves Desi: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Playwright Gregg Oppenheimer — son of I Love Lucy show creator Jess Oppenheimer — spins this witty tale of Lucy and Desi’s battles with CBS, from who would play Lucy’s husband to whether Lucy could really be seen pregnant on TV. With their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, serving as advisor, this hilarious, behind-the-scenes, true story of TV’s iconic sitcom brings as much heart and humor to the stage as an episode of I Love Lucy itself.

Tickets: $20 Adult, $15 Local Resident, $5 Student


KODO (Tsuzumi)

Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

KODO is a group of Japanese artists, musicians and performers dedicated to the re-creation of traditional Japanese performing arts. The group, whose name can be translated as “heartbeat,” uses many musical instruments in performances, focusing primarily on taiko, traditional Japanese drums. To commemorate KODO’s 40th anniversary in 2021, they created two touring productions based on their name, whose characters mean “drum” and “child.” This tour, Tzuzumi, takes its name from the drum character and traces the group’s origins back to the beginning, reflecting on the history and reaffirming what has shaped KODO. This work opens with modern composer Maki Ishii’s “Dyu-Ha,” a piece performed for the first time in North America since 1989. Other pieces include Ishii’s masterpiece “Monochrome” as well as KODO signature pieces such as “O-daiko,” “Yatai-bayashi” and “Zoku.”

Tickets: $20 Adult, $15 Local Resident, $5 Student


Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer with Rakesh Chaurasia

Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 7pm

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

There’s a bit of the sorcerer in Béla Fleck (banjo), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Edgar Meyer (double bass), and their special guest Rakesh Chaurasia (bansuri – Indian flute). Most musicians hope at most for proficiency in their chosen form, but these gentlemen move from bluegrass to Western classical to Indian classical to jazz, transmuting genres into something uniquely their own as though they’d gotten hold of the alchemist’s tools that legendarily changed lead into gold. In any case, it’s music that transcends description — ineffable, indefinable, and very beautiful.

Tickets: $40 Adult, $35 Faculty/Staff, $20 Student



A student discount is available for all shows; a faculty/staff discount is available for most shows; and a local resident discount for Lucy Loves Desi and KODO is available with proof of residence in Watauga, Ashe or Avery counties. Purchase in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046, or visit

About “The Schaefer Center Presents”

“The Schaefer Center Presents” is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a "window on the world" through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit

Thank You to Our Schaefer Center Presents Sponsors

Explore Boone, Creekside Electronics, Hampton Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, Our State Magazine, High Country Radio (WZJS and WATA), WDAV 89.9 FM, WFDD 88.5FM, WKSK The Farm, and WASU 90.5FM.


APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series 2022-23

Study guides are available to download for each event.

Register at

Sept. 15- Dec. 15, 2022*

Dan + Claudia Zanes: Songs of Streets and Sunshine —Brooklyn

Recommended for Grades PreK-4

Free; registration required

Dan + Claudia Zanes introduce young people to songs and the stories behind them through videos that are part concert, part history lesson; part music class, part campfire sing-along dance party. Dan + Claudia offer young people of various ability levels a chance to experience music in a way that feels exciting, healing, relevant … and totally enjoyable!

Oct. 7, 2022

Appalachian State University's Department of Theatre & Dance presents

The Trolleys, by Sara West

Recommended for Grades 4-8

$1 per person**

In a world inhabited only by children, The Trolleys are a gang of six living just outside the city. They need their light jars to survive — but the lights have started to fade and no one knows why. Savage Kim and her gang head towards the city, following a mysterious song. Will they find more light before their jars go out? The Trolleys asks the question: “What happens if you inherit a world that isn’t safe?”

Oct 15, 2022-April 15, 2023*

ArtsPower Theater on Demand: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Recommended for Grades 3-6

Free; registration required

ArtsPower’s beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder chronicles the exciting adventures of the Ingalls family as they travel across the prairie in search of a little house to call home. Based on Wilder’s own childhood experiences, this original, one-act musical delights young audiences with the adventures of the spirited pioneer girl and her family.

Nov. 9, 2022

Western Piedmont Symphony: Explore the Orchestra!

Recommended for Grades 3-8

$3 per person**

This fun and informative educational concert is performed by Hickory, NC’s Western Piedmont Symphony under the direction of Maestro Matthew Troy. Students will have an opportunity to hear the individual instruments, the instrument families, and how they work together to create the magic of a full symphony orchestra. The program includes the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Belá Bartók, John Williams, Paul Dukas, Dmitry Kabalevsky, Johann Sebastian Bach, Lucien Cailliet, and Aaron Copland.

Dec. 1, 2022

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy: A Celtic Family Christmas

Recommended for All Grades

$5 per person**

The holidays truly become a family affair when married duo Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy — two of the globe's best and brightest fiddle players, the reigning couple of Celtic music — invite their children onstage for a morning of holiday fun. This celebrated tour features the entire clan in a spirited performance of fiddling, step-dancing, and delighting audiences.

Feb. 15 - May 15, 2023*

Pierce Freelon: Black to the Future

Recommended for All Grades

Free; registration required

Following his critically acclaimed debut children’s album D.a.D. in 2020, Pierce Freelon’s Grammy-nominated 2021 recording, Black to the Future (ages 5+), features elements of Afrofuturism, Black history, and archival voices to touch on imagination, arts, family and time-travel through a Black lens. Explore consent culture, creativity and counting in Kiswahili on this all-ages journey through space-time.

March 23, 2023


Recommended for Grades 3-12

$5 per person**

Kodo’s school program is a cultural and musical experience, designed to allow students to feel the sound of the Japanese taiko drum with their whole body. The students will get a chance to learn about KODO, taiko drumming, the various Japanese musical instruments, and the different sounds that these instruments can make. 

April 25, 2023

TheaterWorksUSA’s The Pout-Pout Fish

Recommended for Grades PreK-2

$3 per person**

Turn the poutiest of frowns upside down in this new musical featuring whimsical puppets and live performers in a sweeping oceanic adventure. When Mr. Fish sets out on a quest to find Miss Clam’s missing pearl, he discovers there is more to him than his permanently plastered pout.

*denotes virtual event

**homeschool groups and small groups pay $5 per person for all in-person shows

Register or learn more at

About APPlause!

Every season, affordable music, dance, film and theatre events are offered to students and their teachers from K-12 classrooms across the region. A variety of in-person and virtual events enable students to experience everything from high-energy acrobatics and Appalachian music to international dance and literary classics brought to life through theatrical productions. Featuring local, regional and world-renowned professional artists, the mission of the program is to share university arts resources with the public, private and home school network across our region. Study guide materials connect every performance to the classroom curriculum.

Thank You to Our APPlause! Sponsors

The APPlause! 2022-23 season has been generously supported by a grant from the JAMES G. HANES MEMORIAL FUND.



The Schaefer Center Presents series is proud to support our university partners by co-sponsoring three series across campus that are vital to the cultural life of the university. Visit for details.

Common Reading Program

  • Common Reading 25th Anniversary: A Celebration of Voices from Junaluska, Tuesday, Sept. 20

University Forum Lecture Series

  • Dr. Anette Gordon-Reed, Monday, Oct. 24

Visiting Writers Series

  • Poet Savannah Sipple, Thursday, Sept.22
  • Memoirist Neema Avashia, Thursday, Sept.29
  • Environmental Writer and 2022 Rachel Rivers-Coffee Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Leigh Ann Henion, Thursday, Oct. 13
  • Crime Novelist Scott Blackburn, Thursday, Nov. 10
  • Novelist Jessie van Eerden and Poet Thorpe Moeckel, Thursday, March 2
  • Poet Ricardo Nazario-Colón, Thursday, March 23
  • Past U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Thursday, April 20

Poets Nicole Brown and Jessica Jacobs, Thursday, April 27

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