ASO announces program for annual Home for the Holidays concert

Home for the HolidaysOne month from today, on December 19, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will present its traditional holiday concert Home for the Holidays

ASO’s traditional holiday show is back for a one-night-only performance including music from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter, music from the hit film Polar Express, and your favorites like “O Holy Night”, “Sleigh Ride”, and “It’s Beginning to look a Lot like Christmas!”

Vocalist Stephanie Smittle will be performing with the ASO for “It’s Beginning to look a Lot like Christmas,” “This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol),” “O Holy Night,” and “Mary Did You Know.”

Tickets are $16, $36, $57, and $70; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at; at the Robinson Center street-level box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 1.

Israel Getzov, conductor
Stephanie Smittle, vocalist

HOLST – In the Bleak Midwinter
TCHAIKOVSKY – Nutcracker Suite, Op 71a, “Waltz of the Flowers”
Arr. O’Loughlin – Christmas Canticles
WILLSON/Arr. Holcombe – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas*
FRASER – This Christmastide (Jessye’s Carol)*
SILVESTRI/Brubaker – Polar Express Concert Suite
ANDERSON – Sleigh Ride
TORME/ Lowden – A Christmas Song
ADAM/ Ryden – O Holy Night*
LOWRY/SCHRADER – Mary Did You Know?*
O’NEILL/Phillips – Mad Russians’ Christmas
O’NEILL/Phillips – Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24

*denotes a song that Stephanie Smittle will be performing with the ASO

Tonight at South on Main – Matt Schatz Collective featuring Lane Long and Madeline Bowdon

Matt Schatz Collective featuring Lane Long and Madeline BowdonExperience the Matt Schatz Collective featuring Lane Long and Madeline Bowdon tonight (November 19) at South on Main. 
The show begins at 8pm. Purchase advance tickets for $8 or pay $10 at the door. Tickets do not guarantee a seat, call ahead to reserve a table – (501) 244-9660
Matthew Schatz is a touring saxophonist and teacher from Little Rock.  He has played all over the world as a member of the B.B. King’s All Stars on the Holland America cruise line.  In addition, he has performed throughout the south with Tyler Kinchen and the Right Pieces, and locally with such favorites as John Burnette, The Funkanites, That Arkansas Weather, The City Boys, and many more.
Madeline Bowdon, a Jonesboro, Arkansas native, is currently residing in New York City and has been performing worldwide with multiple major cruise line production casts and theatrical productions throughout the United States. Some of Maddie’s favorite roles to perform have included Lizzie 110 in the Shade, Judy 9 to 5 the Musical, and “Extraordinary Girl” in the Green Day Rock Opera American Idiot and she has been fortunate to have performed with a host of Broadway renown artists such s Lorin Latarro, Marc Kimelman, and Michael Balderramma.
Lane Long, originally from Mountain View, has quickly become an influencer in the cultural scene of Conway, Arkansas where he now resides. His band, The City Boys, has become an overwhelming favorite in many of the venues around Central Arkansas, bringing a fun spirit and a crowd full of energy. He is equally at ease in many genres and a quick win with any audience he encounters.
Brian Wolverton has been an instrumental figure in the Little Rock music scene for a long time. He can be found among some of the most talented regional jazz rock and pop bands; at the Arkansas Repertory Theater; or with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
Steve Hudelson is a staple in the Little Rock Music scene, having played with for the Arkansas Repertory Theater, the Arkansas Symphony, and many jazz, rock, and pop bands.  He also tours extensively with Al Paris and the Heartbreakers.
Merideth McCoy is a  talented pianist and vocalist, and owner of Studio 5 in Benton where she teaches piano and voice.  She has helped to instill a love for music for many students as both a private teacher and a choir director
Kasey Earl is an extremely talented multi instrumentalist and vocalist.  He’s originally from Elysian Fields, Texas and is an alumni of the University of Arkansas at Monticello.  He can be found performing at a wide variety of events around the state of Arkansas.

Authors of TWO DEAD – Van Jensen and Nate Powell – headline next OA South Words program

Image result for two dead book"The Oxford American is excited to continue its 2019-2020 South Words readers series with Van Jensen and Nate Powell, author and illustrator of Two Dead. Moderating the discussion is OA senior editor and author of Carry the Rock, Jay Jennings.

The program takes place at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.  Doors open at 6:00 PM, and there will be a book signing after the reading. Books will be for sale onsite.

Two Dead, a stunning crime noir graphic novel by Nate Powell and Van Jensen, explores intertwining threads of crime, conspiracy, racism, and insanity in the post-World War II Deep South.  Powell is the acclaimed DC Comics writer and the artist of the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-winning illustrated trilogy March. Jensen, a former crime reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a graphic novel writer who has written for the Pinocchio and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and DC Comics.

This special event is free to attend. Please reserve your RSVP tickets on this page.

Our Presenting Sponsor for South Words is the UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, and the reading series is presented in partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System’s Six Bridges Book Festival. Additional season partners include the Clinton School of Public Service, Arkansas Arts Council, Division of Arkansas Heritage, and Villa Vue at SoMa.

Van Jensen, a former crime reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a graphic novel writer who has written for the Pinocchio and Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and DC Comics. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nate Powell is an illustrator who worked on the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel trilogy March, for which he became the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. His work also includes You Don’t SayAny EmpireSwallow Me WholeThe Silence of Our FriendsThe Year of the Beasts, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero and he has received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, two Harvey Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels For Teens selections, and the Walter Dean Myers Award. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

Jay Jennings is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalLowbrow ReaderGarden & GunTravel & Leisure, and Oxford American, where he is a senior editor. He is the author of Carry the Rock: Race, Football and the Soul of an American City and the editor of Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.

Scenes from the Clinton Presidential Center Dedication on Nov. 18, 2004

Fifteen years ago, I was on the top level of the press riser during the Clinton Presidential Center dedication. I was the northernmost person on the riser through most of the ceremony. The only people who received more wind or rain than I were the sharpshooters on the rooftop.

Here are some of the photos I took that morning.

Early morning on the Library Site

Dawn is breaking, and a break in the rain on November 18, 2004. Hopes were improving.

Andrew DeMillo (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) and Lance Turner (Arkansas Business) in the print media rows of the press riser. DeMillo is now with Associated Press.

Mayor Jim Dailey prepares to be interviewed by Candy Crowley on CNN.

Crowds gathering.

As the rains started, staffers sought coverage.

The Philander Smith College Choir performed.

The Lyon College Drum and Pipe Band performed.

The Color Guard preparing to enter the ceremony.

The First Ladies entering the ceremony. Barbara Bush (center of the photo) looks like she is having fun!

The Presidents entering the ceremony without umbrellas.

President Jimmy Carter addresses the crowd.

President George H W Bush addresses the audience.

President George W. Bush addresses the gathering.

First Lady Hillary Clinton delivering her remarks (and getting even wetter due to an off center umbrella placement).

President Bill Clinton closing out the ceremony with his comments.

Opera in the Rock pays tribute to memory of Jessye Norman today

Opera In The Rock’s popular concert series “Divas in the Rock” will present a Jessye Norman Memorial Recital on Sunday, November 17th, at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, 4823 Woodlawn Dr., Little Rock, 72205.

Norman was a dramatic soprano, singing a broad range of repertoire across opera, concert and recital stages. She was a towering figure in the world of opera with a cavernous, rich voice who also performed in Little Rock in 2003 at Pulaski Heights UMC as a benefit concert for Philander Smith College.

This concert event will feature music from her repertoire including traditional African-American spirituals such as “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “Amazing Grace” alongside art song and opera arias from her signature roles in operas such as Bizet’s Carmen and Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah. Featured local performers include LaSheena Gordon, Shannon Rookey, Christine Donahue, Deidra Jones, Sarah Stankiewicz-Dailey, Victoria Mantooth and Kate Sain among others accompanied by singer-songwriter John Willis.

Free Admission with a $10 suggested donation at the door. All proceeds benefit Opera In The Rock’s mission to produce professional opera emphasizing collaboration and diversity. No advance ticket purchase required.