A recent poetry reading at Catalyst, the downtown Anniston arts center that is home to the Anniston Council on the Arts & Humanities.

Submitted photo

Making music and appreciating music: We need people who do both if our community is to remain vibrant — and there are signs of it happening.

Meanwhile, after being awarded a $5,000 grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Anniston Council on the Arts and Humanities strives to bring a panorama of art resources together to plan for a potential new arts facility.

Auditions for Etowah Youth Orchestras

The Etowah Youth Orchestras has announced a second round of auditions to be held Tuesday to fill open spots in the EYO ensembles for the 2017-18 season.

There are open positions in the Etowah Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Etowah Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Etowah String Philharmonic.

Auditions will be held at the Music Center at Temple Beth Israel, 761 Chestnut St. in downtown Gadsden. Students need to register at the EYO website. After they register, they will be assigned a specific audition time, according to director Mike Gagliardo.

The EYO’s advanced ensembles will also begin preparations for a performance tour to Costa Rica in June 2019. Music for the season includes selections by Mozart, Wagner, Miranda, Stravinsky, Rodgers, Bernstein, Holsinger and Sousa.

“We are looking forward to an another great season with the EYO. It’s always a new adventure,” Gagliardo said.  

Last year, nine Calhoun County students participated in EYO.

The Etowah Youth Orchestras is a project of the Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation in partnership with the Attalla City, Etowah County, and Gadsden City Boards of Education, and the City of Gadsden.

Noonday music at First Methodist

As part of its outreach to the community, Anniston’s First United Methodist Church will present its musicians in a July series called “Noonday Notations,” each Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m.

Concerts will take place in the church sanctuary, 1400 Noble St. Bring a lunch or snack while you hear these free concerts.

“Spice up your lunchtime with great, familiar music,” said Kathy Murphy, director of music at FUMC. “You will hear a variety of compositions, fun and familiar, by the various ensembles within our church.”

Here is the schedule:

July 5 – Kathy and Steve Murphy perform on the piano, bassoon, celtic harps and in song. Most of what they will be presenting is well known. However, there will be a surprise at the end of the concert.

July 12 – The Wesley Bells, with some of their favorite selections with appropriate props and costumes

July 19 – The Lord’s Lefties Piano Quartet share several medleys of well-known Christian music as well as solos and duets.

July 26 – PNEUMA (Breath of the Spirit) Flute Ensemble will provide arrangements of well known music. Laura Fuller, director of the ensemble, will also perform a few solos.

For July 5, the selections include the first movement from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, “Brushy Creek” by Don Gillis, “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin — the King of Ragtime — and the Irish folk song “O Danny Boy” on harps.

For Beethoven, deafness must have been the worst of all setbacks. However, this gifted composer wrote his celebrated Fifth Symphony in 1805, when he could hear virtually nothing. The work was a triumph and became a musical symbol of victory.

Then, hear the syncopated rhythms of ragtime in “The Entertainer,” one of Joplin’s two greatest hits; the other masterpiece was “Maple Leaf Rag,” according to “Popular Standards” by Max Morath.

“Danny Boy” has been the subject of much speculation. The tune’s composer (it was first known as “Londonderry Air” ) is not known for certain, but many believe it was written by a blind harpist, Rory O’Cahan.

Also, the person “Danny” had no real identity; this could have been a marketing tactic. And where he was going in the lament? To war or to the New World? Despite its origins, the song has been popular for the last 100 years and recorded by hundreds of major artists.

Planning time for arts council

The Anniston Council on the Arts & Humanities has been awarded a $5,000 grant by the state arts council for the planning of an arts facility.

The Anniston council first identified vacant downtown buildings and will implement citywide strategic planning for the creation of a community arts facility.

The Catalyst, at 1224 Noble St., is the arts council’s temporary home, and represents an initial stage of planning for a multi-purpose arts center, according to Suzen Robertson, treasurer of the organization.

Currently, Catalyst hosts poetry readings, meetings, recitals, art exhibits, yoga classes and other functions.

Anniston is rich in the arts, as seen by the events calendar. “We have found that people love the performing arts, for example,” Robertson said. “But opinions differ on how they can be presented.”

Numerous venues for performances and exhibits exist, “but we need a home for the arts where all artists can gather, where the arts have an ongoing presence,” she added.

“We are entering a very intensive year-long work-study in order to move wisely, with lots of research,” Robertson said. “We will be talking with people in the arts and business community and with other arts councils in the region to explore different opportunities in how we can stretch and imagine to match the new facility with our resources — and what will be needed 30 years from now. Support from the community is welcomed.”

There is a website Robertson recommends on Anniston events. Visit

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at