The arts in New­ton

Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County un­veils its 2007-2008 Arts Se­ries

The Covington News - - Sunday Living - By Rachel Oswald

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion in New­ton County has once again put to­gether a var­ied and rich cul­tural pro­gram for the 20072008 Arts Se­ries, fea­tur­ing not only lo­cal but re­gional and in­ter­na­tional acts.

“We are al­ways look­ing for new in­no­va­tive ways to present a di­verse, high qual­ity art se­ries,” said Arts As­so­ci­a­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Bun­cie Hay Lan­ners. “One of the things that we re­ally try to fo­cus on is a mix­ture of dif­fer­ent art forms.

“One of the things that I’ve felt very strongly about is mak­ing the arts ac­ces­si­ble to all peo­ple.”

The newly re­leased sched­ule of pro­gram­ming for the 20072008 sea­son high­lights choral acts this year such as the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Vi­enna Boys Choir (Feb. 2) and the highly ac­claimed More­house Col­lege Glee Club (Nov. 17).

“We are so ex­cited about the Vi­enna Boys Choir,” Lan­ners said. “We hope that peo­ple will come away and say ‘wow I had a touch of Aus­tria.’”

Said Lan­ners of the More­house Col­lege Glee Club, “What a su­perb way to hear male voices, but also to ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional African-Amer­i­can spir­i­tu­als that are in­her­ent in their mu­sic as well.”

There will also be a Christ­mas in Cov­ing­ton con­cert fea­tur­ing the Ox­ford Singing Chil­dren and Ox­ford Youth Singers (Dec. 7) and a per­for­mance of “Saint John’s Pas­sion” by the New Trin­ity Baroque Orches­tra & Cho­rus (March 2).

“‘Saint John’s Pas­sion’ is from a classical mu­sic per­spec­tive one of the quin­tes­sen­tial choral works,” Lan­ners said.

Lan­ners said a spe­cial in­ter­est was taken in bring­ing acts to the county, which res­i­dents might not oth­er­wise have a chance to see.

“We are bring­ing the world to Cov­ing­ton be­cause not ev­ery­body gets to go out into the world,” Lan­ners said. “It’s a big task. Ev­ery year we look at a blank slate and say what it is we’d like to do this year.”

Lan­ners said the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion worked hard to en­sure that a variety of art forms and styles were brought to the county.

“For ex­am­ple we did not have a jazz per­former last year but we do this year,” Lan­ners said.

The jazz per­former this year is none other than At­lanta jazz vi­o­lin­ist Ken Ford who will be giv­ing a free con­cert on the Cov­ing­ton Square Sept. 28.

The jazz con­cert is one of sev­eral free per­for­mances host- ed by the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion and its cor­po­rate spon­sors this sea­son. On Oct. 13, the Par­ent’s Choice award-win­ning group Daddy A Go Go will give a free per­for­mance on the square dur­ing the Lit­er­acy Fes­ti­val.

On Feb. 7 there will be a free ex­hibit on south­ern iconog­ra­phy in print­mak­ing called “Re­turn of the Wan­derer” fea­tur­ing Boyd Saun­ders. Lo­cal art stu­dents will get their chance to shine dur­ing the month of March when the New­ton County Li­brary hosts a free pub­lic ex­hibit called “True Colours Youth Art Ex­hibit.”

The Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Com­pany will give two per­for­mances this year: a Christ­mas per­for­mance of the “Nutcracker” (Dec. 1-2) and a spring per­for­mance of “Cin­derella” (April 19).

“The bal­let is just one of our shin­ing stars,” Lan­ners said. “I’m very proud of our bal­let com­pany. Few would be­lieve that we have that kind of tal­ent in our com­mu­nity and our artis­tic di­rec­tor is so tal­ented.”

Cov­ing­ton denizens will also get a taste of Broad­way this year when the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion brings two mu­si­cals to Porter Hall: “South Pa­cific” (Sept. 14, 15, 21, 22) and “Oklahoma” (March 28-30). “South Pa­cific” will be a com­mu­nity theater pro­duc­tion and “Oklahoma” will fea­ture the Ox­ford Young Singers and the Ox­ford Singing Chil­dren.

Cov­ing­ton sis­ters and ac­com­plished or­gan­ists Alice Walker and Becky Ram­sey, along with world-renowned or­gan­ist Dan Miller will give a fes­ti­val con­cert at First Pres­by­te­rian Church on Oct. 21.

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion will also be host­ing a Creative Kids Camp at Ox­ford Col­lege from June 2-6 for ris­ing first through sixth graders. Reg­is­tra­tion be­gins in mid-Fe­bru­ary and will likely fill up quickly.

Cap­ping it all off, the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion will con­clude the sea­son with a party along­side the Yel­low River at the Por­terdale Mill Lofts on May 3. Fea­tur­ing the tal­ents of lo­cal artists and the mu­sic of Ge­or­gia’s pre­mier party band, The Grapevine, it will be a night to re­mem­ber.

“We think it’s go­ing to be a re­ally fun way to end the sea­son,” said Lan­ners of the event.

Sea­son tick­ets at a 20 per­cent sav­ings rate are avail­able from the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion for $175. Pa­trons also have the choice of pur­chas­ing six tick­ets to any Arts As­so­ci­a­tion show as part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Pick Six pro­mo­tion for $125.

There are dis­counts on in­di­vid­ual ticket prices for se­niors and stu­dents. Most ticket pric- es range from $15 to $22 for adults with the Vi­enna Boys Choir per­for­mance the most ex­pen­sive event of the sea­son at $27 a ticket for adults.

While some might think that the shows pay for them­selves, Lan­ners said that is not the case at all, as all of the shows are sub­si­dized by con­tri­bu­tions from cor­po­rate spon­sors and by in­di­vid­ual donors.

“Much of our suc­cess is based on col­lab­o­ra­tion,” Lan­ners said. “We could not do it with­out th­ese cor­po­ra­tions who have spon­sored each of th­ese shows.”

No gift is too small or too large said Lan­ners.

“We (New­ton County) are grow­ing by leaps and bounds and there­fore the needs for our ser­vices are grow­ing,” Lan­ners said. “We need to be able to grow the fund­ing. It is not some­thing that we can take for granted.”

Lan­ners said the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion was chal­lenged this year to come up with the nec­es­sary fund­ing when one of their reg­u­lar foun­da­tions de­creased their yearly fund­ing by $50,000. How­ever a num­ber of new cor­po­rate spon­sors have stepped up to the plate.

“We have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new donors in the ma­jor cor­po­rate donors cat­e­gory ($1,000),” Lan­ners said.

The Arts As­so­ci­a­tion of­fers a variety of ben­e­fits to donors at dif­fer­ent lev­els such as free tick­ets to shows and the op­por­tu­nity to hand out in­for­ma­tion on their busi­ness at Arts As­so­ci­a­tion events.

Do­na­tions can be made on­line at www.new­ton­count­yarts.org or in per­son at the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion of­fices Wash­ing­ton Street.

Tick­ets can also be pur­chased on­line or at the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion’s of­fice.

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Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

At the lofts: Art on the River is an evening of mu­sic, art and dance fea­tur­ing the tal­ents of lo­cal artists and the mu­sic of Ge­or­gia’s pre­mier party band “The Grapevine” in the Por­terdale Mill Lofts Atrium Satur­day, May 3, 2008.

Mu­sic: Mem­bers of Ox­ford Youth Singers serenade the crowd with hol­i­day fa­vorites dur­ing the An­nual His­toric Cov­ing­ton Court­house light­ing in Novem­ber of 2006. The Ox­ford Youth Singers with join with the vo­cal tal­ents of Ox­ford Singing Chil­dren in De­cem­ber for the Christ­mas in Cov­ing­ton Con­cert at the First United Methodist Church of Cov­ing­ton.

Dance: Cov­ing­ton Re­gional Bal­let Mem­ber Liz Stiller­man dances the role of Snow White in the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion’s April pro­duc­tion of the clas­sic fairy tale. Due to the over­whelm­ing pop­u­lar­ity of “Snow White,” the Arts As­so­ci­a­tion chose to pro­duce the bal­let “Cin­derella” in April of 2008.

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