Sunday afternoon’s concert by Conway Composers Guild members at First Methodist Church was a delight.
It was an exposition of artistic creation in its purest sense.
UCA Professor Blake Tyson, percussionist, opened with a work he titled “Inside the Shining Stone,” followed by UCA Professor Paul Dickinson’s Five Haiku for Piano, suggested by his wife. Inspired to not just focus on the keyboard, Dickinson strummed the strings of the grand piano and tapped rhythms on its sounding board.
Hendrix Professor Karen Griebling marked the end of her sabbatical with “a musical triptych inspired by three Salvador Dali paintings,” “Persistence of Memory.” “The Red Orchestra” and “Three Young Surrealist Musicians.” Performing the piece were David Refro, French horn; Felice Farrell, cello; and Naoki Hakutani, piano.
Performance of this work repeated on Monday night at Hendrix.
UCA Geography Professor Michael Yoder, composer and jazz musician extraordinaire, performed on his electric bass guitar, accompanying Dylan Melton on clarinet for three pieces, “It Was Exactly Noon,” “Then What,” and finally, “Third on the List.” Pure-de jazz. I hope to hear more from this combo.
The final offering was “Dream Retrieval Ritual” by Ryan Gaston, a senior music major at Hendrix. He called on friends and fellow musicians to follow his energetic direction as instruments entered from the balconies, a narrator’s sighs were a major element, as were whoops and hollers and the rustling of scores.
Brenna Gilstrap was narrator; Natalie Kerr, flute; Bernard Smith, clarinet; Mariah Nehus, alto saxophone; Aaron Steinberg, tenor sax; Aaron Rice, trombone; Shin-Ae Lee, violin; Gary DeClerk, cello; Annalisa Crosmer, piano; Graham Senor, percussion; and Gabriel Pesek and Gaston, electronics.
Gaston is one to watch and hear. He won first prize last year in the University of Louisville Electro-Acoustic Music Competition.
According to its website, the Composers Guild’s mission is the cultivation and promotion of serious new music in Conway and environs.
Driving Miss Daisy
Tickets are going fast for “Driving Miss Daisy” at the Lantern Theatre. Some nights — opening night tonight, Friday night, and March 2 — are sold out. Best to call soon and reserve a seat or two for Saturday, March 1 and March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday and March 4 at 2:30 pm. Call 501-733-6220.
I’m so sorry
Apologies to Jerry Biebesheimer at UCA Public Appearances. I picked up from his Facebook page that he was asking for suggestions for some vacancies in next season’s offerings. I sent readers of this columm to his email and phone. He was overwhelmed with ideas. I hope he’ll forgive me. He did say that he got several requests for Simon and Garfunkel, a duo that hasn’t spoken to each other in two decades. That gives “Sounds of Silence” a whole new meaning.
Toad Suck Review
UCA’s Arkatext Literary Festival is in full swing through Friday, ending with Launchapalooza, officially welcoming the second issue of the Toad Suck Review at 8 p.m. in the Lewis Science Center, room 102. A reception will follow at the Bears Den.
Whitney in the ether
I was among the millions, I suppose, who spent Saturday connected to CNN with the four-hour funeral of Whitney Houston playing in the background. I didn’t listen to commentary about the service itself, but I enjoyed the music, especially Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys and the eulogies by Kevin Costner and Clive Davis.
I missed all the Bobby Brown drama.
Whitney’s voice was in the ether everywhere for the week preceding. I keep thinking about Dolly Parton getting 8 cents every time “I Will Always Love You” plays on the radio. Good for Dolly.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at email@example.com and 505-1234.)