Over the summer, long-time Chapman University benefactor Marybelle Musco (D. Univ. ’13) donated $300,000 to her namesake, the Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Center for the Arts, to found and underwrite a new contemporary dance series that bears her name and also provides support for classical music.
“Following the Covid-19 shutdown, Musco Center for the Arts — as did all arts organizations — struggled to fund performances due to loss of ticket sales and ability to book performances,” Marybelle explained. “As a result, I wanted to take action to assure that world-class contemporary dance would continue to have a place at Musco Center.”
The Marybelle Musco Contemporary Dance Series, which kicks off on November 4, includes performances by cutting-edge professional dance companies Mark Morris Dance Group (performing “The Look of Love”), Camille A. Brown & Dancers (performing “Ink”) and MOMIX (performing “Alice”).
Chapman dance students within the College of Performing Arts will also benefit from the professional choreographers’ master classes, workshops and open rehearsals.
“Dance is my passion!” Marybelle continued. “The arts have always been important to me, beginning at six when I took ballet classes, followed by modern dance, folk dancing, ballroom and jazz.”
Founded in 2016, the Musco Center empowers Chapman students and faculty to reach the highest levels of achievement in fine arts education, production and performance.
“We are so fortunate that Marybelle‘s idea to found the new series and her gift allows such distinguished dance companies to perform at Chapman,” said Richard T. Bryant, executive director of the Musco Center for the Arts. “The contemporary dance series will bring together some of the world’s finest professional performers to interact with our students and with our community.”
In addition to supporting dance, a portion of Marybelle’s gift has also made possible classical music residencies, including the Australian Haydn Ensemble, Juilliard String Quartet and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as the employment of classically-trained professional musicians to perform alongside students for the recent live concert version of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
“We are grateful for Marybelle’s support of Chapman this year and in past years,” said Gabe Cagwin, vice president of development.
Beyond her support for the arts, Marybelle’s generosity has extended to various facets of Chapman University, contributing to its ongoing pursuit of excellence.
“My wish is that others will also support the Musco Center for the Arts by sponsoring programs that will benefit Chapman University and its students,” Marybelle concluded.