Little Rock Look Back: Dan Sprick

Future Little Rock Mayor Dan T. Sprick was born on May 19, 1902.  He served three terms on the Little Rock City Council (from 1935 to 1941).  In 1945, he was elected Mayor of Little Rock and served one term. During his tenure on the City Council, he was the sole vote against locating Robinson Auditorium at Markham and Broadway.  He had favored another location.

He was not alone, however, in being held in contempt of court and spending part of the day in jail.  On Monday, December 4, a dozen of Little Rock’s aldermen (which included Sprick) reported to the county jail to serve sentences for contempt of court. The previous Monday, the twelve council members had voted against an ordinance which had been ordered by the judge in an improvement district matter. The other aldermen had either voted in the affirmative or had been absent. Because the twelve had refused to change their votes since that meeting, the judge ordered them jailed.  After the aldermen changed their votes later in the day, they were freed.

His tenure as Mayor was relatively quiet. He took office the same month that World War II ended. While in office, the Sprick administration was marked by growth in the city budget and in city positions. As a part of that growth, there were many more new purchases taking place which had prompted extra scrutiny of the City’s purchasing procedures. A thorough investigation toward the end of his tenure found no malfeasance or misfeasance, it did note that the city needed to do a better job of anticipating cash flow. Much of the City’s focus during the Sprick tenure was on growth and keeping up infrastructure needs.

Sprick later served for ten years in the Arkansas State Senate (from 1961 to 1970).  During his tenure in the Senate, Sprick was closely aligned with Gov. Orval Faubus.  When the Little Rock high schools had been closed a year to ensure segregation, Sprick had served on the board of a private school set up by some of the leaders of the segregation movement.

His time in the Senate was also marked by controversy.  He was one of three Senators to opposed Muhammad Ali’s speaking at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  After an Arkansas Gazette editorial lambasted him, Sprick sued the paper for libel. The Gazette settled with him out of court because his health was poor.

One of the landmark pieces of legislation he guided through the Arkansas General Assembly allowed cities to collect advertising and promotion taxes.  The 1972 and 1973 upgrades to Robinson Center were funded by this tax (as have some subsequent upgrades). So the building he voted against while on the LR City Council benefited from legislation he championed while in the General Assembly.

Sprick died in January 1972.

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The Natural State Brass Band in concert today

Image may contain: textThe Natural State Brass Band presents its pre-Memorial Day concert on May 19 at 3 p.m. at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, 4823 Woodlawn, in Little Rock.

Admission is free.

Selections will include “American Overture,” “A Sinatra Salute!,” “Joshua Swings the Battle,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “John Williams: Epic Themes,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “America, the Beautiful,” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Kelly Singer in Recital: No Place Like Home

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After two years studying and performing in New York City at the Manhattan School of Music, Kelly Singer returns to Second Presbyterian Church to perform her master’s degree recital.  IT takes place today (Sunday, May 19) at 3pm.

The concert will showcase selections from Kelly’s master’s repertoire as well as favorites from past performances with Praeclara, including works by Mozart, Poulenc, Gilbert & Sullivan, and more.

Admission is free; no tickets are required. Goodwill donations will be accepted to support Praeclara and Wildwood Park for the Arts, two of the arts organizations that were artistic homes to Kelly during her years in Little Rock.

Come out to support Kelly and celebrate her accomplishments in a concert that offers both a retrospective on her past and a preview of the bright future that lies ahead for this talented soprano.

Little Rock Winds Chamber Players present SUNDAY SONATA today

Little Rock WindsLittle Rock Winds Chamber Players present Sunday Sonata 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Highland Valley United Methodist Church, 15524 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock.

As part of the Diversions chamber concert series, the program features soloists and ensembles of three to nine instruments, including a woodwind trio, a woodwind nonet, a brass quintet, the LR Winds clarinet section.

As the title suggests, the program’s focus is on music written in the sonata form but includes other forms as well, including a couple of popular song transcriptions.  I

Tickets are available at tickets.lrwinds.org and at the door and are $15 for adults, $12 for adults 65 and over, and free for students.

Program

  • Sonata from the Bankelsangerlieder (brass quintet) – Daniel Speer
  • Sonata for Brass Quintet – Henry Purcell / Evans
  • Fantasie for alto saxophone – Jules Demersseman
  • Petite Symphonie for Nine Winds – Charles Gounod
  • Sonatine for bass trombone – Jacques Castérède
  • Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano  – Francis Poulenc
  • Delta Jukebox (bassoon duet)  – Peter Schickele
  • America from “West Side Story” (clarinet choir) – Leonard Bernstein / Marani
  • The Music of the Night from “The Phantom of the Opera” (clarinet choir) – Andrew Lloyd Webber / Lavender
  • Puttin’ on the Ritz (clarinet choir) – Irving Berlin / Osterling

On Armed Forces Day, visit the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History

Today is Armed Forces Day.

The third Saturday of May is designated each year as a day to celebrate the men and women who serve in the various branches of the United States armed forces.

On Saturday, May 19, 2001 (which was Armed Services Day that year), the City of Little Rock opened the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.  Tomorrow, the museum celebrates its 18th birthday.

Though the museum is only 18 years old, the building in which it is located, is 171 years old.  Last year, the building was closed for several months as it received a much needed refurbishment.

Today, the Museum’s exhibits include

  • Vietnam, America’s Conflict
  • Fiction and Fantasy
  • From Turbulence to Tranquility: The Little Rock Arsenal
  • Capital In Crisis: Little Rock and the Civil War
  • Alger Cadet Gun
  • Camden Expedition
  • David Owen Dodd Story
  • First Call: American Posters of World War I
  • The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep: The Jeep During World War II
  • Through the Camera’s Eye: The Allison Collection of World War II Photographs
  • Conflict and Crisis: The MacArthur-Truman Controversy
  • Duty, Honor and Country: General Douglas MacArthur
  • By the President in the Name of Congress: Arkansas’s Medal of Honor Recipients

Visitors to MacArthur Park today can also interact with the various outdoor memorials and monuments which pay tribute to various phases of Arkansas’ military history.

Get Messy at the Museum of Discovery’s Messtival

The Museum of Discovery’s favorite messy day is back for the fourth year in a row! Spend Saturday, May 18 making messes that you don’t have to clean up!

It takes place from 10am until 3pm.

Here are some of the messy activities the Museum has planned:
    • Slopstacle Course
    • Bubbles/Foam
    • Human Carwash
    • Large-Scale Messy Demos
    • Pie Fight
    • Slime
    • Sand & Shaving Cream Play
    • Messy Twister Game
    • Mashed Potato Sculptures
    • Sloppy Slingshot
    • Graffiti Walls with Chalk
    • Finger Painting Mural
    • Bird Poop Droppings (not actual bird droppings)
    • Paint Pendulum
    • More!!
Messtival is included in regular museum admission or free for members.

Wear clothes that can get dirty and shoes for water play (water shoes, Crocs, sandals with straps, no flip flops.) Bring a change of clothes as well.

The Museum will have activities for all ages, including toddlers. Parents and guardians, we want you to get on the fun too – your kids will love it! Make some memories!