“A person should hear a little music, read a little poetry and see a fine picture each day so that worldly cares may not destroy the sense of beauty, which God has implanted in the human soul.”

This advice from German poet and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe shouldn’t be hard to follow as the arts are certainly available in our area.

Members of the Presbyterian Church of the Good Shepherd heard a little music from a big instrument recently when tuba musician Ryan McKinney performed special music for the worship service. In June, The Berman Museum’s commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day will include patriotic singing and bagpipes.

Fine pictures can be viewed at Nunnally’s Noble Street Gallery where metal works, prints, etchings, watercolors, oils, woodwork, book assemblages, pearl jewelry and greeting cards fill the walls and shelves through July 31. Another good exhibit featuring the seascapes and wildlife paintings of Tom Hutchinson is in place through June 30 at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County.

A summer of sound

Ryan McKinney’s 55-pound tuba not only fills his arms, it fills his calendar as he prepares for several possible performance opportunities. The son of Clinton and Karen McKinney, the White Plains High School junior returned this month with a high rating from the All-State Solo Festival in Huntsville. He now begins a summer of practice as he gets ready to play for community functions such as church orchestras and possibly musical productions. Honor band auditions are another test to which he has become accustomed.

McKinney chose to play the brass instrument, he says, because it is big, loud and low in range. It requires a musical ear, strong lungs and the ability to count for rhythms — “and you have to be able to carry it,” he explained. It helps that he is 6 feet 4 inches tall, and that his note range is four octaves. He also loves the sounds he can get out of the tuba and works hard at his daily practices, which include lung and lip exercises.

When asked if his work pays off, McKinney said, “Music is its own reward — and, of course, scholarships would be nice, too.” He is undecided on his choice of college, but is looking at Jacksonville State University.

Indeed, it takes a love of music to play solos like the one he played for Good Shepherd and All-State. “Introduction and Dance” by French composer and bandmaster Edouard Barat moves from slow to very brisk and requires 18 notes played in three beats in some measures.

“His zest for music is as big as his horn,” said Jean Corlett, his piano accompanist for the All-State competition. “It was exciting to be a part of his accomplishment.”

Other influential musicians in McKinney’s life are tuba instructor Chris Hosmer and Wendy Etter, the school’s band director.

This summer’s work includes a one-week band camp and half-time preparation with the White Plain’s marching band, The Blue Brigade, for the upcoming football season.

“I enjoy the band,” McKinney said. “It’s taken me to lots of new places and taught me to work hard.”

Berman Museum observes D-Day

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the public is invited to the Berman Museum June 6 at 10 a.m. for “a salute to veterans who sacrificed so much on the beaches of Normandy,” according to museum fliers.

The commemorative service will be held outside in front of the museum, weather permitting, and will feature patriotic music from the Alabama National Guard Brass Quartet, an invocation and reading of Eisenhower’s Prayer by Chaplain George Gray, a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes by Chief Deputy Matthew E. Wade of the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office, a flag-raising ceremony by the Young Marines, and songs by the HeartNotes of Parker Memorial Church.

Special guest Brig. Gen. Charles L. Gable of the Alabama National Guard will speak, and retired Maj. Gen.l Gerald Watson will recognize World War II veterans, as well as active and retired military members. After the Benediction and Taps, all present may view the exhibit “WWII: A Walk in Their Boots” in which items such as correspondence and medals on loan from people in the community will be on view. A reception follows. The exhibit will be open through July 4.

Free admission is extended to all. For groups of 10 or more, please call ahead to 256-237-6766.