MTU Rozsa Center keeps arts alive through pandemic

A difficult year for performing arts wraps up
This is a recording of the TV6 Early News.
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 1:38 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - Despite beginning the calendar year with uncertainty – the MTU Rozsa Center was determined to provide quality entertainment for its community.

Director Mary Jennings reflects on how 2021 unfolded.

“All of us are professionals, arts professionals and artists and we want to have live shows,” said Jennings.

“So, not being able to have any live performances at the start of the year, it was challenging [and] it was hard. So, there was a lot of innovation at that point,” she added.

To keep people engaged without live shows – the Rozsa, like many – went digital.

It streamed performances and created the “Listen at Michigan Tech” app to bring local music to peoples’ fingertips.

“We really weren’t sure fully what to expect,” said Jennings. “Were we going to get shut down, were we going to start to have shows? Would it turn into what 2020 and the beginning of what 2021 was?”

Then, in October the Rozsa brought back live entertainment. Its “Music in the Mine” concert series filled the Quincy Mine House and Rozsa Center with eager audiences for three days.

“Every single show there were new audiences who were more comfortable coming back,” said Jennings. “As vaccines became more available and boosters became available, people kept choosing to come back for the first time. [That] was a real joy to see the space filled and people gathering here.”

Jennings says as of now – the future of performance looks good at MTU.

“Having our audiences remain masked will be important to be able to allow folks to gather together safely and continue to do that over the course of the semester,” concluded Jennings.

The Rozsa Center will resume programming in January with music inspired by the great lakes.

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