’Twas the season all year round for good arts events, but there are several that stood out. My letter to Santa will ask that more of the same continues in the coming years.
Best museum event: Observance of the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 at the Berman Museum of World History. About 350 people came to the outdoor ceremony on a warm day. People of all ages had the chance to talk with World War II veterans. One of the veterans recognized was part of the assault in Normandy in 1944. Songs by the HeartNotes from Parker Memorial Baptist Church struck a chord among those who lived and survived that war. President Eisenhower’s speech to the troops was read early in the ceremony, setting the mood to celebrate an historic day.
Best book event: Reading of "The Newspaper Boy" by Chervis Isom in September. The book is about a young boy coming of age in Birmingham during the Civil Rights era, and his encounters with people as he delivered newspapers in the 1950s and early 1960s. "I was a serious kid," Isom said. "I learned volumes about the racial strife from reading the headlines each day. Newspapers and the people on my route helped me make sense out of the world I lived in."
Best art exhibit: Hawaiian heritage quilts at the Oxford Performing Arts Center in October. A very beautiful, intricate and colorful collection of 32 quilts celebrated the artistry of Charles Remington’s grandparents, who lived in Maui and Oahu. This tradition of handcrafting is different that American quilting.
Best JSU drama production: "The Mousetrap" by Agatha Christie in November. This was entirely a student production, with acting, scenic design, period costumes and just the right serving of intrigue, from the scream of a woman as the curtain opens to the secretive natures of the guests in Monkswell Manor on a snowy evening.
Best concert: The JSU University/Community Orchestra at First United Methodist Church on Nov. 18. This concert marked a strong start of the orchestra’s leadership by Darryl Harris, who is also assistant conductor for Etowah Youth Orchestras. It was a lively concert delivering great variety, including English folk songs and all movements of Mozart’s famous G-minor Symphony, a work said to be a perfect example of the classical era.
Coming in as a close second is the Mark Trammell Quartet on April 26 at Oxford Performing Arts Center. It was a Southern gospel concert featuring quality voices and close rapport with the large audience.
Best CAST production: "A Christmas Carol" in December. If any drama can dispel the darkness of a winter night, it’s this one. The adaptation by John Jakes by CAST had special touches: Charles Dickens appeared as one of the characters. Other special touches under Kim Dobbs’ creative directorship included a solo by Lisa Wade during intermission and fiddling throughout the townspeople’s gatherings by Jennie Hargrove. The acting — including four roles played by Jake Mathews — was admirable. The set picturing the streets outside Scrooge & Marley’s office took you to that time and place. Carolers and period costumes added to a production that spread good cheer that will be remembered for a long time.
Contact Hervey Folsom at firstname.lastname@example.org