Published on 9/14/2017
The June 2017 issue of Naperville Magazine published the article “DREAM JOB | BRIAN LYNCH” featuring an interview with North Central College’s Director of Fine & Performing Arts, Brian Lynch.
“Since opening its doors in 2008, North Central College’s Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center has brought many world-class artists to the city of Naperville. Fine Arts Director Brian Lynch plays a starring role in what makes Wentz such a sought-after venue.”
You have a very impressive theater resume—touring companies of Aspects of Love, Cats, Les Miserables, a 1984 Jeff award for outstanding choreography— how did you land at North Central College?
My wife has been on the faculty there since 1986. When I was touring, the dean of faculty at the time, Jerry Berberet, came to see me perform as Jean Valjean in Milwaukee. When he heard I was leaving the show after being on the road on and off for eight years, he invited me in to talk and ended up offering me an adjunct position teaching in the theater department. What started as one advanced acting class turned into a full-time job in which I was heading up the project to build the Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center.
What does having a world-class facility like Wentz mean to Naperville?
The fine arts facilities at North Central College add to Naperville’s greatness. Cities of our size simply do not have concert halls of Wentz’s caliber. I routinely have agents asking me to book their artists because they have heard of the reputations of both the college and the city.
You’ve booked many prominent artists, from Yo-Yo Ma to Herb Alpert to Colbie Caillat. Who was your favorite?
Yo-Yo Ma was amazing. The finest cellist in the world was cracking jokes with us backstage before he went on and bared his soul through music. The late Gregory Hines was another favorite. As part of his show, he invited members of the audience on stage to dance with him. Several of my tap students did. He ended up thanking me from the stage for keeping the art form alive. I also got to sing a duet with Patti LuPone. Okay, one more: Bernadette Peters—absolutely amazing! We’ve had so many, it’s really difficult to choose.