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BWW Proscenium Series: Pittsburgh Tamburitzans Announce Accessible 85th Season

The Tamburitzans' 85th season will be its first hybrid season, offering both in-person and live-streamed events.

BWW Proscenium Series: Pittsburgh Tamburitzans Announce Accessible 85th Season

College students blasting music and dancing in their new home may elicit images from the movie Animal House. But the new residents of the Holy Ghost Center in Pittsburgh's Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood aren't partaking in such revelry; they're rehearsing.

The group of students is the Tamburitzans, and they are preparing for the organization's first hybrid season, offering both in-person and live-streamed events beginning in the fall.

"Our goal is to increase the accessibility of our show," says Company Manager and alumna Alyssa Bushunow.

The global pandemic accelerated the Tamburitzans' need to explore online and digital options. In the spring of 2020, the Tamburitzans were forced to abruptly cancel the remainder of its season.

"What the pandemic allowed us to do was take a look at the business model and say, 'OK - What kind of programs can we build outside of the two-hour performance,'" Ms. Bushunow says.

Another avenue the group is exploring actively is social media. Ms. Bushunow notes that what the Tamburitzans do is very visual - between the movements, the dances, and the costumes. It seems only natural that the Tamburitzans recently joined the video-focused social media app TikTok.

Still, nothing will replace the quintessential Tamburitzans show that travels the United States, stopping at over 40 venues and visiting dozens of states throughout the academic year.

For freshman member Alexandra Glova, performing on stage with the Tamburitzans has been an aspiration since she was in middle school.

"I was awe-struck," says Ms. Glova, recounting the first show she saw the Tamburitzans perform live in Dayton, Ohio years ago.

"I have to do whatever I can to be a part of this," she remembers thinking from a young age.

Unfortunately for the University of Pittsburgh sophomore, Ms. Glova has yet to perform in front of a live audience with the Tamburitzans. She is hopeful that, given the improving state of the pandemic, her on-stage premiere will take place at Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, the first official in-person performance for the Tamburitzans 2021-2022 season.

"I'm excited that I'll be able to be what I once saw and admired so much," she says.

Fellow ensemble member Karsyn Kuhn has been with the Tamburitzans since 2018, and similar to Ms. Glova, Ms. Kuhn was introduced to the Tamburitzans at a young age.

"I went to every single show growing up. I fell in love with it," Ms. Kuhn says.

Ms. Kuhn's family has generational ties to the organization; her grandfather, 89, and grandmother, 84, were both Tamburitzans in the 1950s, but neither has seen a live show in over a year.

"A lot of older people might not be able to go watch something that may be keeping them alive," she says.

Ms. Kuhn, like the rest of her Tammies, is eager to return to the stage and carry on the tradition that is the Tamburitzans.

"It's like a comeback show for us. Our first show is going to be super exciting," Ms. Kuhn says.

The schedule for the Tamburitzans' 85th season can be found here.

Photo Credit: The Tamburitzans

The BWW Proscenium Series previews and profiles local performing arts institutions on their journeys back to the stage following the global pandemic. Called the Proscenium Series, this compilation of pieces will showcase how institutions are breaking down the final barrier between stage and audience.


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