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University of Iowa News Release


May 16, 2006

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The Bobs' A Cappella Antics Continue 'Spot' Adventures May 30 To June 14

The Bobs, the unaccompanied vocal quartet that has been dubbed "the Beatles of the a cappella world," will kick of a two-week residency through "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure" with three days of activities in Iowa City, culminating in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 1, in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.

The concert on June 1 will be preceded by a picnic at 6 p.m. on the Hancher Green, included in the ticket price.

Free Iowa City events will take place in Hancher, the Iowa Children's Museum and the Iowa City Public Library. Through the Spot program, the Bobs will also reside, socialize and perform in Spencer (June 3-5), Perry (June 8-10), and Marshalltown (June 12-14).

A full schedule of residency activities in each community is accessible on the Web at

"Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure" makes integral use of this interactive Web site. Children can become Spot Kids by registering at the Web site. Spot activities and information for parents are also available on the Web page, with special activities focusing on the Bobs and the art of a cappella singing.

The Bobs -- Matthew "Bob" Stull, Amy "Bob" Engelhardt, Richard "Bob" Greene and Dan "Bob" Finetti -- have taken the art of a cappella singing to a new level, combining antic humor and artistry to become, according to one critic, "one of the most entertaining acts on the live circuit today."

Their discography includes more than a dozen CDs, most recently "Rhapsody in Bob," released in 2005.

Multiple winners of the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, they do much more than transfer instrumental parts to voices. As an award tribute for their version of "Helter Skelter" put it, they have created "a new vocabulary of sounds and textures. The arrangement deconstructs the song line by line, transforming the Beatles classic into an a cappella, post-modern performance art piece."

Spot project residencies began in 2005 as a result of an $800,000 grant to Hancher from the Wallace Foundation, through its "Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation" (LEAP) program. The grant enables Hancher to enhance arts participation through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists over a period of four years.

Two artists will be involved each year -- romper rocker Dan Zanes and the ODC/San Francisco dance company were featured the first year, and Tomas Kubinek and San Jose Taiko were in Iowa last year -- with residencies leading up to a Hancher performance. This season's schedule started with David Gonzalez.

The Wallace Foundation grant, which is the largest programming grant in the auditorium's history, builds on Hancher's experience partnering with Pella, Decorah and Burlington in the Iowa Network Project, also made possible by Wallace funding. That $300,000 grant was the largest previous grant received by the auditorium.

The LEAP grant is being combined with resources committed by several UI programs and offices -- Academic Technologies, University Relations, the Division of Student Services, the Graduate College and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

During the course of the project, the University of Iowa Foundation is establishing a $200,000 endowment that will enable Hancher to continue its audience-development efforts with the technology and expertise developed through the project.

Douglas J. and Linda E. Paul are the Iowa City performance sponsors for the Bobs, through the University of Iowa Foundation, and the picnic is supported by the Hy-Vee Food Store on Waterfront Dr.

Tickets for the Friday, June 1 Hancher picnic and performance are $25/23/22; UI student and senior citizen $25/23/22; youth $12.50/11.50/11.

Hancher Auditorium summer box office business hours, beginning Tuesday, May 29, are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. The box office will be closed May 21-28.

From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Even when the box office is closed, tickets may be ordered online 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's Web site:

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail:

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073; cell: 310-430-1013;

PHOTOS are available at