The Frisson Ensemble

The Frisson Ensemble will perform June 23 at the Oxford Performing Arts Center.

June is National Smile Month, according to an events calendar I’ve seen. In our area, maybe all of the upbeat music on offer has something to do with that. Events on tap here feature Broadway, classical and sacred melodies. It is that music that will likely bring on the smiles and good will.

There will be Broadway songs at CAST community theater’s Randy Hall Awards on June 10 to move the evening along.

A choir and orchestra are rehearsing now for Parker Memorial Baptist Church’s July 2 concert celebrating Independence Day.

The Frisson Ensemble, a strings and winds group from New York City, will perform June 23 as part of Oxford Performing Arts Center’s chamber music series.

And a choral music concert titled “The Prayer Project” at First United Methodist Church of Anniston wraps up the month with sacred music.

What more can we ask for musical variety?

CAST awards, new season

There songs performed at CAST community theater’s Randy Hall Awards on June 10 will represent the past and coming season, according to Stephonn Ammons, event chair.

The music includes a number from “Matilda, the Musical” as a preview for the upcoming season, as well as “Mamma Mia” from the recent production.

Anyone interested is invited to come to Anniston Museum of Natural History at 5:30 p.m. for the annual awards night. Call CAST at 256-820-2278 to RSVP.

For the upcoming season, CAST is offering:

• July: “A Night of One Acts.”

• Fall 2019: “Matilda, the Musical.”

• Christmas 2019: CAST Kidz, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”

• Winter 2020: “Fences.”

• Spring 2020: CAST Kidz, “Seussical Jr.”

• Spring 2020: “My Fair Lady.”

More details, including ticket prices and directors for the shows, will be announced soon.

Chamber music at OPAC June 23

The Frisson Ensemble, a strings and winds group from New York City, will perform June 23 as part of the Oxford Performing Arts Center’s chamber music series.

The eight young instrumentalists with the Frisson Ensemble will perform June 23 at 2:30 p.m.

According to Tom Gallant, Frisson director, they are “the best from the major music schools,” including the Juilliard School; Curtis Institute of Music, from Philadelphia, Pa.; and Yale, from New Haven, Conn. “They are the stars of tomorrow,” he said.

The ensemble showcases both familiar and rarely performed masterworks. “It is easy-listening music,” Gallant added. The group bills itself as “the next generation classical.”

“Frisson” is a French word meaning “sudden thrill.”

The ensemble is part of a chamber music series funded by the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama. Currently, the concert is sold out, but those interested in attending may put their names on the box office waiting list. Tickets are $30 each.

Contact the box office at 256-241-3322.

The musicians will play:

• Octet for Strings and Winds by August Walter.

• Preludes for Clarinet and Strings by George Gershwin.

• Divertimento for Oboe, Viola and Double Bass by Michael Haydn.

• Overture to “Italian in Algiers” for violin, viola, double bass, oboe and clarinet by Gioachino Rossini.

Gershwin was one of the great creative figures in American music, according to the “Encyclopedia of the Great Composers and Their Music.”

Michael Haydn, brother of the famous Franz Joseph Haydn, was an Austrian performer and musician. He became one of the most feted composers in Salzburg.

Rossini, of Italy, composed 40 famous operas and numerous songs, piano pieces, some sacred music and chamber music. He is well known for the “William Tell” overture.

Patriotic concert in Oxford

On July 4th, look to the night sky to enjoy the fireworks to celebrate the national holiday. But on July 2, look to the Oxford Performing Arts Center stage to enjoy a concert that sparks your patriotic pride with its voices and instruments.

Parker Memorial Baptist Church will present this concert as a strong reminder that our nation, united and diverse, is uniquely blessed.

We will hear hymn tunes, praise music, salutes, marches, our National Anthem and more. The rousing patriotic program will put us right into the mood for Independence Day. It is a free event.

More about the concert in next week’s column.

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