Each and every year, our staff is dedicated to bringing the community unique programming tailored just for you. Whether to excite, entertain, educate, surprise, or provoke thought – or a combination of these feelings – we are all inspired by Norton Center programs. Sometimes profoundly. In the context of important cultural centers like the Norton Center, I always say that we are known by the company we keep

Have you ever attended a performance and left feeling like your life was changed? I’m not talking about change in the sense, “well, I’ll never get those two hours back,” which sometimes happens. I’m talking about when you saw your first orchestra performance and was mesmerized by so many people on stage creating harmonious music. 

Or, when you took your children to their first musical and the wonderment, enthusiasm, and awe they shared watching magic happen on stage. Or, when you almost didn’t go to a show you had tickets for because you had a bad day at work, and you were greeted at the door by a mess the dog left you in the kitchen. But, you went to the show anyway, and it relaxed you and even left you energized for the next day.

We can be fundamentally changed by the arts and the artists who share their talents. Sometimes you know what to expect and you know that you will be experiencing greatness. If you’ve seen any of the three Norton Center performances with Yo-Yo Ma, you just knew that you were going to have an exceptional experience. Same with Aretha Franklin, Wynona, Bobby McFerrin, and Tony Bennett. How many of you were excited to put on a tuxedo or formal gown to attend the Vienna Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel?  

Have you ever learned about an artist who has passed away and thought, “Wow, I can’t believe she’s gone. But, I’m so glad I saw her perform live.” As an example, the world recently lost legendary artist, Kenny Rogers. There were at least 1,400 people who were able to see him at the Norton Center on his final farewell tour in 2017. Some people were fortunate enough to meet him before the show. His stories were incredible. His songs were timeless. His connection with the audience was real. Experiences like these are long-lasting, memorable, and profound. 

We’ve all seen bucket list concerts at the Norton Center that we still talk about today—Dolly Parton, ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, and so many others. Which favorite artists did you get to meet or see at the Norton Center? Was there a particular show that left its mark, or inspired you to do something new? 

Whatever your story, we invite you to grab a drink and join us online for a chance to reminisce about your favorites and ours. To talk about how Jim Belushi and Howie Mandel made us laugh, or how you got to meet Styx or Cesar Millan at a meet and greet. Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 19 at 7:30 pm for a live Zoom chat with me and my cohorts from the Norton Center. Learn more about the event on our Facebook event page. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook to set a reminder!

If you’d like to see the full list of artists who have appeared at the Norton Center, click here

Steve Hoffman has curated, produced and presented cross-genre multi-disciplinary programs, events and seasons for nearly 30 years. Since 2010, he has served as Executive Director of Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts, in Danville, Kentucky, where he is responsible for its oversight, management and programming. Previously, Steve served as President and CEO of the National Steinbeck Center, in Monterey County, California – an international cultural institution and museum with a mission focused on the life, works and philosophies of John Steinbeck. Before that, he spent eleven years as the founding CEO of the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Steve is on the faculty of the University of Kentucky Department of Arts Administration graduate program and has taught courses at the University of Michigan and Centre College. Since living in Kentucky, Steve has served on boards and committees for The Gladys Project, the Heart of Danville, Leadership Boyle County, The Danville Community Arts Center, Heart of Kentucky United Way, Clayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College (Maryville, TN), and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals.