The Sanders family sings and witnesses wherever their lives take them. See “Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming” today at 2:30 p.m in Gadsden’s Ritz Theatre and share the joys and challenges of their lives in 1945. Let’s send off June and Pastor Oglethorpe in style to his new calling at a church in Texas. To reserve seats, call 256-547-7469.

Theatre of Gadsden will present “Gypsy” July 13-22. Auditions for this musical are April 15-16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz Theatre. Roles are available for ages 7 through senior adults. No preparation is necessary. Music from the show will be taught.

Piano recital in Anniston Thursday

“Transitions: Bridges and Passages” is the theme of Thursday’s Foothills Piano Festival recital by Andreas Klein. The recital, sponsored by Jacksonville State University, was originally to be held at JSU’s Mason Hall, but tornado damage has forced a change of venue.

The recital will now be held in the Parker Memorial Baptist Church chapel in Anniston. The chapel is in the Christian Life Center on the church campus.

The recital is at 7:30 p.m. It is a free event.

Klein will play works from the lives of Beethoven, Debussy, Prokofiev and Brahms. These works show the significant changes in these composers’ compositional lives and styles.

Klein has been reviewed as a dynamic performer possessing the four T’s of pianism: temperament, taste, touch and tone. He has traveled the United States giving master classes and recitals.

There are certain pivotal pieces that lead to composers finding new creative voices. While we celebrate their music, we probably fail to know of the hardships they endured before achieving fame. Beethoven and Brahms are examples. Surely their personal situations had a lot to do with the changes in their composing.

In the quartets that Beethoven wrote in 1825-26, the composer seems to think on a mystic and spiritual plane not found in his earlier music. In these, he distances himself from the accepted creative procedures of his time.

Beethoven is world-famous. His birthplace in the city of Bonn is a museum today. But his success followed a sad childhood. His father became a chronic drunkard; the family faced poverty. He had no friends; the only affection in his life came from his mother. However, he was taught the piano, and soon important musicians and members of the nobility were interested in his talent.

His deafness made him despair. Even so, he worked passionately on his composing. Music historians agree that his compositions in this period are more intense and his harmonies more daring.

Brahms, a writer of symphonic music, wrote ballads, rhapsodies and waltzes in his later life but, much like Beethoven, his childhood was unhappy.

The Brahms family lived in poverty and Johannes was often hungry. Still, he wrote little melodies with which his father was impressed. A local pianist was hired, but only so Johannes could earn a few coins playing the piano in dishonorable taverns.

It was not until he met a touring musician, Eduard Remeny, that he got a gradual start to becoming well known. His mother’s death inspired his first important work, a German Requiem. During his 63-year life, Brahms produced all forms of music except opera.

‘Living Last Supper’ at First United Methodist Church

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., “The Living Last Supper” by Ruth Elaine Schram will be presented at First United Methodist Church of Anniston by the Chancel Choir, Chamber Orchestra and Drama Troupe.

Each musical selection depicts the week leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and is dramatized further with monologues presented by each of the disciples. The setting attempts to replicate Leonardo DaVinci’s mural of The Last Supper.

Kathy Murphy directs the choir and orchestra. Howard Johnson and Mike Stedham will co-direct the drama. The service is in the sanctuary. Everyone is invited.

Anniston native makes rock documentary

Anniston native Edward Turner is the producer of “Ticket to Write,” a 90-minute documentary that explores the value of print journalism that covered rock music.

Magazines such as Classic Rock were the central source of information in the 1960s and 1970s, when rock music was at its highest level.

Turner’s purpose in producing the documentary “Ticket to Write” is to preserve this part of music history and explain that it was print journalism that provided the needed in-depth updates and reviews in which fans, especially teens, were interested.

With the coming of MTV, however, rock journalism’s popularity began to fade around 1981.

The film starts with the founding of Crawdaddy Magazine in 1964 and continues through the next 15 years. Rock magazines still exist, but they are not of the quality as in the past, according to Turner.

“For someone who loves rock music, it was quite an education for me to produce a film about people who write about rock music for a living,” Turner, the owner of Road Ahead Productions, said.

“To learn about the writers themselves — rather than the artists they write about — has been a fascinating journey. I was also interested in the perspective the musicians themselves bring to the film as they discuss what it’s like to be on the ‘other end’ of the critic’s pen, so to speak.”

Turner and his wife, Jerri Lynn, a native of Birmingham, live in Mountain Brook. They visit Anniston often, where a special interest of theirs is the Anniston Museum of Natural History, where Turner worked during summers during his college years. Jerri Lynn currently works with AMNH on student outreach.

To see the documentary, go to Amazon.com, search for “Ticket to Write,” then follow Amazon’s direction on how to rent or buy the video.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.

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