Welcome to the first installment of “Sumberg Says,” my monthly opportunity to share with the UCPAC community some of the things I’m thinking about as we navigate our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic and head into (hopefully) calmer waters in the months and years ahead. I thought I’d begin, well, at the beginning:
Though as a child I was more of a “sports kid” (baseball, basketball, golf) than a “performing arts kid,” I always loved music, and in particular live music. As the youngest child of three, with siblings six and eight years older than me, my musical tastes were definitely influenced by them, in particular my brother Richard. He was a fan of what was then called “folk rock”—Dylan, Neil Young, the Band, Arlo Guthrie, etc.—but would now definitely be known as “Americana.” Richard is a Dylan fanatic to this day, and in fact fronts a Dylan tribute band in Sonoma County, CA.
I can’t 100% remember who my first live concert was, but it was EITHER Dylan, Arlo, Harry Chapin, or the Allman Brothers (which probably tells you all you need to know about the kind of shows I hope to bring to UCPAC!). Over the years, I’ve probably seen Dylan close to 30 times—including his most recent appearance at the Beacon (interesting night, ask me about it next time you see me!)—and Arlo a close second. Other favorites I’ve come to appreciate over the years include Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Tom Petty, Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler, Tedeschi Trucks, etc. I think you get the idea. 😉
In terms of my career as a performing arts professional, let’s just say I was a “late bloomer.” After a brief stint as an attorney in downtown Boston, I spent about 20 years working for one Jewish community organization or another. But looking back, I can see the seeds of my interest in the performing arts in efforts to gather friends for music and other performing arts experiences: 10 or 12 law school friends would join me to see performers like John Prine and UB40; in my 30s I organized groups of 20-25 friends and acquaintances to attend interesting Broadway plays like Tony Kushner’s “The Dybbyk;” more recently I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival with groups of music-loving friends.
My “formative” experience for my current position at UCPAC was ten years as the Executive Director of the Fox Tucson Theatre in Southern Arizona. That’s a bit of a long story—maybe I’ll share it next month!—but “cutting to the chase” that experience cemented my love of running performing arts centers (and in particular historic theaters!). I can’t wait to share great music—and dance, and theater, and comedy, and family programming, and classic films, and so much more—with all of you. Please say hello next time you’re at “the PAC” (Invariably, I’ll be in the lobby, making sure patrons are happy and staff are engaged and enjoying themselves too).
Season’s greetings to you and yours. See you at the PAC!
p.s. Speaking of “classic films,” friendly reminder that we’re showing It’s A Wonderful Life twice this coming Saturday (at 2:00 and then again at 7:00). Prior to both films we’ll have one of Santa’s elves in the lobby to meet your children, and an organist playing our “biggest little Wurlitzer” organ! Join us!