This fall, Durham will host a cadre of well-known performers plus local productions that have grown into recognized, not-to-be missed events. For those visiting Durham in the next few months to get students settled in for fall semester, attend a Blue Devils football game or have a health check up at Duke Medical Center, you will find a wealth of activities within a few minutes of Duke Tower. Some of the many events and fall pursuits in the area will be profiled here during the next month to help with advance planning for your trip.
Fall classes begin at Duke University on August 30 with orientation for new graduate and undergrad students getting underway on August 24. Duke University is within a short walk (and an even shorter drive) from Duke Tower which hosts many parents, students and faculty throughout the year.
In addition to the first day of classes at Duke, August 30 also brings internationally-recognized singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant to the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). DPAC is just 1.5 miles (4 minutes) from Duke Tower and brings a broad range of top-ranked live entertainment to our city year round.
Durham is one of the stops on Merchant’s first major tour in seven years. Over her nearly 30-year career, she has been recognized as one of America’s most respected recording artists with a reputation as a gifted songwriter and a captivating performer. After rising to fame with the folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant became even more prominent as a solo artist during the 1990s. Her self-produced debut album, Tigerlily (1995) sold five million copies in the U.S. alone. Her socially conscious songs established her among the preeminent women in pop music.
Merchant took an extended break from recording and touring after the birth of her daughter in 2003. During this time, Merchant researched, wrote and recorded songs adapted from the works of various classic and contemporary poets. Entitled, Leave Your Sleep, it was released in April and is her first studio album in seven years. She and her band will perform songs from her new album as well as favorites from throughout her career. Ticket information is on the DPAC’s website.
In addition to the nearby DPAC, Duke Tower is also close to many outstanding restaurants featuring a wide range of cuisines. Many are located in the Bright Leaf Square and Ninth Street areas. Prior editions of this blog provide the details. If you’ll be in Durham at the end of August, include an evening of enjoyment in your plans starting with a wonderful meal at a nearby restaurant followed by the Natalie Merchant concert.
If you’re visiting later in the fall, this column will include local events throughout the season to consider in your plans.