Some say it with music. Others say it with art. Jerry Marks highlights the blessings and beauty of America with acrylic paintings, while Parker Memorial Baptist Church uses sacred and patriotic songs to emphasize the true meaning of Independence Day. Both the concert “Celebrate God and Freedom” and the art exhibit can be enjoyed at Oxford Performing Arts Center this month.

Marks’ primary subject matter is history. His paintings reflect small and large towns, wildlife and people that help tell the story of America. Over the last several months, the Oxford artist has completed five new works while experimenting with different media, styles and tools to paint landscapes, still lifes and street scenes from Oxford’s and Anniston’s past.

“This is one of the better paintings I have done,” he said of ‘South Street, New York, 1870,’ his acrylic of a harbor and ship. “I love researching the old seaports and sailing days. This is a copy of work by another artist but with my changes. This is my version.”

“Deer in Snow” shows his use of the palette knife, which is a triangular-shaped blade. This knife plus a certain varnish on top gives the rocks’ texture more depth and a sparkle, he said.

In the past, Quintard Avenue in Anniston was so peaceful that, as a boy, he and his friends could play ball in the median. The memories, he added, are too good not to share through paintings and conversations with viewers.

Marks also displays his work in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., at the Williamsburg Art Gallery.

Marks’ display at the Martin-Lett Gallery at the Oxford Performing Arts Center is up until July 31.

Be sure and see his works this afternoon before and after the matinee performance of “Phantom of the Opera” by Jacksonville Opera Theatre.

Parker Memorial concert June 27

From Sandi Patty to Kate Smith, patriotism and praise to God have been popular themes for composers, singers and musicians.

Parker Memorial’s choir and orchestra, directed by Don Gober, will present these themes in a free concert June 27 at 7 p.m. at Oxford Performing Arts Center.

Freedom’s song will be raised in a variety of ways, including contemporary praise music and arrangements of well known hymns, all accompanied by the orchestra.

The HeartNotes, a ladies ensemble, will perform, as well as interpreters with movement from Anniston’s In His Steps Studio.

Some of the selections are:

“Join the Song” by Shannon Wexelberg, arranged by Phillip Keveren. The concert’s fanfare urges vocalists to sing as never before.

“Praise Medley” by Phillip Keveren. An upbeat series to include songs recorded by Sandi Patty.

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord).” A prayer-like number with thankfulness for everyday blessings, from the morning star to sunset and a symphony of blessings in nature each hour.

“Were you There?” by Bradley Knight. A powerful and dramatic song building towards the joy of Christ’s rising from the dead.

“God Bless America” by Irving Berlin (written during World War I), arranged by Joseph Martin. Most music historians refer to Berlin as the most influential and successful American songwriter of the 20th century. He was known for songs that consistently met public demand. Among his numerous awards was a special Congressional Medal in honor of “God Bless America,” according to the “American Encyclopedia of Music.”

“Let Freedom Ring” by Bill Gaither. An anthem of thanks for the freedom bought at Calvary.

Drama camps for kids

CAST Theatre announces a partnership with the JSU Drama Department for three summer drama camps.

A camp for teens ages 13-18 will meet June 19-23. Participants will perform a youth version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” Cost is $150.

A camp for kids ages 5-8 will be held June 26-30. Participants will learn about theater, puppetry, storytelling and more. Cost is $75.

A camp for kids ages 9-12 will be June 26-30. Campers will study improvisation physical and vocal techniques, theater tech and more. Cost is $75.

Register for all three camps at, or contact Emmalie Whitney, CAST Kidz Communications, at 256-499-1282, for more information.


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