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Michael Kelsey to Mix Passion and Technology in Rose-Hulman Performing Arts Series Finale

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Michael Kelsey

Musical Magician: Acoustic guitarist Michael Kelsey will conclude the 2015-16 Performing Arts Series with a musical style that's all his own.

Blending technology, soulful rhythms and a unique improvisational style, Michael Kelsey is a dynamic musician who will culminate Rose-Hulman's 2014-15 Performing Arts Series with a show on Friday, May 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Hall Theater.

Kelsey is known as an acoustic guitarist who incorporates almost every inch of his guitar into a one-man performance that unites sound with the motion of music. He strives to create a story through each song, and, surprisingly, it often sounds as though he is playing more than one musical instrument.

Sometimes, he is.

For instance, the song "Awakenings" showcases Kelsey's skills on the guitar, drums, and keyboard, with some percussion added to his musical repertoire.

"Michael effortlessly crafts rhythmic songs, using only his acoustic guitar and everyday objects that happen to be around when he is performing live. This often makes Kelsey sound like a band unto himself," says Dan Tryon, director of performing arts at Rose-Hulman.

Folk artist David Wilcox has described Kelsey's work as the "Cirque Du Soleil on acoustic guitar."

Other musical numbers, including "Skat," "Midnight Voices," "Magic Ball," "Charade," and "Slow Movin' Train," are completely different, as is each of his shows.

After all, Kelsey never performs the same show twice.

Kelsey's musical roots sprouted in Lafayette, Indiana as a practicing musician who traveled from band to band hoping to get his big break. That has happened as a solo artist, with seven albums, and performances alongside Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and B.B. King at Clapton's Crossroads Festival.

He also won Guitar Center's "Guitarmagedon" competition, being chosen best-unsigned guitarist out of 3,000 artists, and he was a finalist for Guitar Player Magazine's national competition.

Tickets for Friday's show are $20 for adults and $15 for students. Patrons may purchase tickets online at hatfieldhall.com, by phone at 812-877-8544, or in person at the Hatfield Hall ticket desk, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and two hours before the show. Tickets and complete show information are also available at www.hatfieldhall.com.