Down Art Avenue: Get into the spirit with early holiday entertainment
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Jacksonville News
Get into the holiday mood early, one entertainment event at the time. These events are offered now, and in early December. Here are two suggested avenues to celebration: The JSU University/ Community Orchestra’s Fall concert is Nov.26. It brings music to you that is enlivening, just what you need to get started with holiday preparations. “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 2 brought by the Knox Concert Series by the Alabama Ballet, is a treat for the entire family.

Both have drawn audiences from the eighteenth century on. “The Nutcracker” dates back to 1892 when it was danced in St. Petersburg, Russia, and horse-drawn carriages brought people on rough, muddy roads on a winter’s night to see the enchanting, shimmering acts on stage. The composers for the Nov. 26 orchestra are recorded in history as famous.

JSU Orchestra

These were the hit tunes of the times. Housewives hummed the tunes as they worked their chores, and businessmen remembered them as they rode to work in carriages. These compositions were music with beauty, variety, and lovely harmonies. They will sound from the JSU University/Community Orchestra concert Nov.26 at 7:30 P.M. at the Stone Center on campus. Symphonies and dances written by Vivaldi, Mozart, Leo Delibes, and Brahms are termed pure music – that is compositions written with simple beauty in mind. This kind of music will never go out of fashion with listeners.

One of the best known violinist virtuosos in Italy was Antonio Vivaldi, who lived during the time and place when the great violin makers were active. His life was fascinating not only because he was perfecting new styles in concertos: He was the musical director of an orphanage-conservatory in Venice, where he wrote a vast volume of music for an all-girl orchestra for Sunday programs. The selections by him in the Nov.26 concert are joyous and audience-friendly, then, and today.

In the piece by Mozart you will hear what was written for a school graduation celebration. It is light and lively and written when he was only 13 years old. The composer is called “The Miraculous Mozart” by music scholars today. He lived only from January 1756 to December of 1791, but in those years he proved that he was perhaps the greatest natural genius known to music. In the concert it will be easy to picture Mozart experimenting with the notes that seem like a laugh and a smile. That was Mozart, and you will enjoy his music that evening.

Johannes Brahms’ gypsyish Hungarian Dances No.5 and No.6 are not only lively, but passionate, dramatic, and robust. According to Great Music’s Greatest Hits, published by Readers Digest Association, Inc. Brahms reported that most of the melodies for the dances were old gypsy airs that he learned while accompanying the Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi on concert tours. But there was a problem: Conservative musicologists took issue with him over his writing’s authenticity. The subject was then debated in Viennese newspapers. But this attention served to promote his sales and make his name even better known.

There is no admission charge for the event.

“The Nutcracker” on Dec. 2

It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season without Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” In Calhoun County, the performance at the Anniston Performing Arts Center, sales in the lobby, and Sugar Plum party combine for an entire event. This year’s two school day performances, thanks to generous donors, make it possible for every third grade student in the county – over 1,600 children – to see the performance. Families will love seeing the performance. Its classical dance, classical music, and a memorable Christmas story are a tradition in this area.

Dancers in the cast from Kitty Stone are Kelcie Comicac and Jada Giddings, from Pleasant Valley is Layne Hill, and from White Plains are Briar Poytress, August Poytress and Sydney Davis.

The Nutcracker will be at 2 p.m. on Dec. 2. The phone number for the ticket information is 256-832 4554.
© 2012