Artists in Action: Anniston native comes home to kick off world tour
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Jan 27, 2013 | 2148 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New sounds and sound ideas contribute to some special entertainment in early February. A new band performs at Church on The Rock. A volunteer at the Berman Museum inspired the upcoming Chinese New Year activities. And those who missed KB Solomon’s performance last October in connection with the Freedom Riders’ Park project will get another chance to hear him when his one-man show comes to JSU.

KB Solomon for one night only at JSU

In recognition of Black History Month and the Freedom Riders Park project in Anniston, Jacksonville State University is bringing internationally known basso profondo and former JSU student KB Solomon back to the college for a one-night only performance. His one-man musical “Speak of Me As I Am” about the life of iconic musician, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson is set for Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ernest Stone Performing Arts Center.

Robeson’s music, words and spirit will come alive in KB Solomon’s portrayal at this event, which will launch his world tour. Solomon’s show, the result of at least five years of research, is described as not just a musical or play, but as a total experience. For those who are unaware of the magnitude of Robeson’s career, “Speak of Me As I Am” should be an inspiring tribute.

An Anniston native, Solomon chose to write the one-man show after hearing people say how much he reminded them of Robeson. His rare basso profondo voice will make audiences remember the many popular songs Robeson sang, such as “Old Man River.”

The pianist for the show is Equity Digital recording artist Michael Dulin of Birmingham. Classically trained at the famed Juilliard School in New York, Dulin has enjoyed success as a performer, producer, arranger and composer of original music for radio, television, film and theatre.

The performance is coordinated by the JSU President’s Office, Student Services, the Environmental Policy and Information Center and the drama department. Admission is $20 for the public, free for students of all ages. For tickets contact the Stone Performing Arts Center Box Office at 256-782-5648.

The Berman marks the Chinese New Year with art and literature

The idea of celebrating the Chinese New Year in Anniston came to Joel and Nancy Denney when they happened to see a Chinese zodiac calendar while dining at China Luck Restaurant.

“Three things came to mind,” said Denney, who had just traveled to Washington, D.C. to bring back a load of Dr. Oliver Foo’s art donations to the museum. “We want to recognize Asian art as a large part of our museum. The Chinese New Year was coming up, and we have an Asian population here in this area. It seemed the time to celebrate.”

And the area will celebrate, with activities for all ages Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Kim Westbrooks, the children’s librarian at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, will offer storytelling sessions at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Book authors Marcia Vaughn, who wrote “Dancing Dragon,” and Janet S. Wong, who penned “This Next New Year,” will speak from their own experiences and sentiments in stories and folktales about traditions of the Chinese holiday.

In addition, artist Jack Hadder will be on hand to demonstrate Chinese brush strokes throughout the celebration.

Van Dyke & Forever Called a ‘breakthrough’ in Christian music

It’s a new approach to Christian music. And the mixture of styles makes Thomas Van Dyke’s new band, Van Dyke & Forever Called, live up to the name of their concert last Sunday: “Breakthrough 2013.”

The worship service was at Church on The Rock, the home base for the praise and worship band, but Van Dyke plans for the band to play more local venues in the future. He would also like to showcase other Christian performing artists from northeast Alabama at Church on The Rock.

“I invite dancers, poets, violinists, all performers with a Christian message to contact me,” Van Dyke said. Performances at the church are the third Sunday of each month at 6 p.m. If interested, the number is 256-831-0040.

Band members are Van Dyke, guitarist and lead vocalist; John Waddell, keyboard; Kevin Wood, drums; Marcus Staples, saxophone; and vocalists Gudrun Van Dyke, Tederra Harris, Dawn Sweatt and Julie Vinson.
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