Artists in Action: Take a flower arranging class Thursday
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Mar 17, 2013 | 5324 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“What a desolate place would be a world without flowers. It would be a face without a smile; a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth?”

These thoughts were penned by Clara L. Balfour in 1878, but her statements still ring true. Flowers, because of their shape, color and fragrance provide a favorite form of decoration. Floral arrangements are used to express love and faithfulness at weddings, to express remembrance in cemeteries and wherever there is cause for celebration.

Yvonne Boothe will lead a free lesson in flower arranging Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Public Library of Anniston/Calhoun County. The lesson, to be held in the Ayers Room, will show how using flowers and other materials in various containers is like creating a work of art, according to Boothe, who is the owner of Evans Flower Shop in Anniston.

Techniques in “saying it with flowers” have changed in the last 10 years, said Boothe. “The basic principles still stand,” she explained, “but people are moving away from the traditional styles in what they want. The sky’s the limit now in arrangements.”

Beside using china and crystal vases as containers, she selects old water pitchers, Mason jars and old watering cans to hold her blossom ensembles.

“All of these make their own statement,” she added.

The Tampa, Fla., native became interested in floral design and attended the Benz School of Floral Design in Houston, Texas. When her husband was transferred to Anniston, she took the job of floral manager at Gregerson’s Grocery and later was hired as a designer at Evans. She purchased the shop in 1997.

Everyone is welcome to come to the lesson.

Jazzin’ it up in Jacksonville

Andy Nevala can’t get enough of jazz. He directs three large jazz ensembles at Jacksonville State University, as well as a Latin ensemble and six smaller jazz groups, and he still manages to teach private lessons.

But his fascination with jazz is proving beneficial to the Jacksonville community, and he hopes to promote it throughout this area.

Nevala, director of jazz studies at JSU, has just organized a JSU Alumni Big Band that performs at Wake & Bake Pizza and Coffee Company in Jacksonville’s Public Square on the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. About 18 people, ranging from ages 20 to 80, play old standards such as “Bye, Bye, Blackbird,” “April in Paris” and “ Tuxedo Junction.” The response has been good, said Nevala. “We’ve played to packed houses.”

The catchy songs are fun to play and fun to hear, he said. “There’s the memories of a better time in America, the swing and the dancing. Jazz is America’s music. I want jazz to go forward in today’s popularity.”

Big Bands were originally called jazz bands, according to “Popular Standards” by Max Morath. Swing supplanted jazz as the defining description in the 1930s. The instruments heard then — and now — include the piano, drums, trumpets, trombones, clarinets, flute and the saxophone.

“Whether you’re in the spotlight or fourth trombone, it’s fun,” the band conductor said. “The jazz musician can be adventurous, too. In jazz you can take a song and play or sing it a different way every time — and stay within the composer’s design.”

Nevala played in the Glenn Miller Band in 2003 and 2004, an experience he treasures. “I felt a part of musical history,” he said. “I really gained a deeper appreciation for the writing of those hits of the day.”

At JSU, the alumni band will perform in the Jazz Festival, an all-day event in Mason Hall on April 5 (the last concert scheduled at 7:30 p.m.) and the Southeastern Steel Band Festival April 13 at McClellan Amphitheater, also an all-day event.

If interested in being a part of the alumni band, contact Nevala at 256-499-2464.
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Artists in Action: Take a flower arranging class Thursday by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star

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