Concerts, with rousing and soothing music, can work magic on an evening’s mood. Theater productions too, can lift our spirits or change our frame of mind. Visual art, as well, brings us new thoughts. Three such events — a concert by the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra, a musical by the JSU drama department and an art exhibit at JSU’s Hammond Hall Gallery — are all scheduled this month in our area.

The JSU/Community Orchestra will perform Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Anniston. Directed by Darryl Harris, the program, featuring great variety, includes a composition by Strauss, recognized as “the Waltz King,” Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Louis Herold. From tranquil to rallying sounds, the program is one not to miss.

“Any Strauss waltz is exciting,” said Harris. “The ‘Kaiser (Emperor) Waltz’ is on par with this excitement. If you feel like you must dance the waltz, please, by all means do so.”

Here are the concert selections:

“Emperor Waltz” by Johann Strauss II, published in Berlin in 1889, is a familiar melody. Composed to celebrate a toast between two monarchs, it takes the mind to aristocratic Vienna, with beautifully dressed couples dancing in a palace ballroom. Strauss wrote this waltz for the listener as well as the dancer. His best known composition is “On the Beautiful Blue Danube”.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5 in E Minor” was first presented in 1880. While Rachmaninoff is considered Russia’s best-known symphonic composer, Tchaikovsky is considered the most popular one, according to “Music” by Roger Kamien. Look for the dramatic human appeal in this work and a spiritual touch in the opening and closing of the symphony. If words were written to go with this music, they would center on hope, even though fate was an additional element. The orchestra will perform the first movement only.

“Introduction and Allegro for Harp, String Quarter, Flute and Clarinet” by Maurice Ravel, regarded as a foremost composer in France. His melodic ideas and solos receive elaborate treatment in this chamber music work which premiered in 1907. Ravel is credited with raising the harp to its place of elegance. On Tuesday evening, the harp cadenza should be a display of true virtuosity. Monica Hargrave from the University of Georgia is the harpist, Jeremy Benson is the flutist and Mark Brandon the clarinetist.

“Zampa Overture” by French operatic composer Louis Herold. “Zampa,” first performed in 1831, is a romantic opera about a notorious pirate who takes to the high seas. A mysterious marble statue haunts the lovers involved. Occasionally staged now in France and Italy, the overture has also been performed by the U.S. Navy Band.

‘Guys and Dolls’ presented today, next weekend

 Looking for a lively and romantic evening? Come to JSU’s Stone Center for the classic musical “Guys and Dolls.”

In this plot the possibilities are endless: Can a gambler and a missionary fall in love? Will a 14-year engagement ever end in marriage? And can true love beat aces back to back?

The “musical fable of Broadway” inspired by the stories of Damon Runyon — music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows — features the familiar hits “A Bushel and A Peck,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat,” and “Luck Be a Lady.” It is presented today at 2:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m. For tickets call 256-782-5648.

Painting exhibit continues through March 2

The wax-based paintings by Erin Anfinsen are on exhibit now in JSU’s Hammond Hall Gallery. Anfinsen has developed six different bodies of creative projects since 2009: Collapse, Laundry, Remnants, Memory Work and an ongoing project from a 2017 National Park Service artist residency at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. The subject matter she explores is motivated by an interest in science, nature, memory and narratives of ecosystems in flux. “Changes to the smallest parts of an ecosystem can have a profound, systemic effect on an entire environment. This fact is reflected in many of the encaustic-infused paper works and animated films I produce.” the artist said

At the exhibit opening, her animation process for the exhibited film, “In the Tallgrass,” was a subject of interest.

This film was produced digitally during her artist residency at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. She explored drawing, photographing and observing the wildlife, plants and pollinators that live in the reconstructed tallgrass prairie at the park. From the notes, photographs and drawings, she recorded and created drawings on computer using a digital drawing tablet. These drawings became the digital plant and animal “puppets” Anfinsen animated to produce the three-minute film about discovering the biodiversity that thrives in tallgrass prairies. A musical score was included to complete a colorful film that attracted viewers.

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