Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Godspeed Scott Walters

scottwaltersdepartureFor twelve years, Scott Walters has been an advocate for many things in Little Rock.  One of these has been the arts — especially literature, visual arts and music.

His tenure as Rector of Christ Church saw the concerts by Mavis Staples and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the development of The Undercroft music venue, the creation of the Sixth Street Library gallery, and partnerships with the Arkansas Literary Festival.

As he moves on to his next adventure in Memphis, this is a chance to say farewell to him.

 

CHANGES AND CHANCES

A troubadour of truths once came
to a church of rock in a city built on a rock.
A language loving scholar with an interest in seemingly everything
He was a student of cultures (both pop and high).

He was called to aid people as they worked and watched and wept.
With his carpenter’s hands he
Crafted,
Carved,
Hewed,
Shaped.

During times of joy and woe, he shared insight he had gained.
In his brilliantly simple and simply brilliant words he referenced
Sacred Texts
NPR stories
YouTube videos
Childhood memories.

Like the philosophers of old, he raised questions not easily answered.
As he sought to make sense of a world that too often
Confounds
Confuses
Conflates
Confutes.

But, as in his carpentry days, he used his tools and
Found a way to restore equilibrium and return the bubble to the
Middle
Level
Even
Balanced.

Though at home in a pulpit,
he was equally at ease walking the streets
Be they the sidewalks of his city
Or a pilgrimage through Spain.

His unassuming manner was on display whether chatting with
Prize winning poets
Presiding Bishops
Preschoolers
And all other personalities included in this story of human redemption.

The troubadour and his family embraced the church of rock,
Its neighborhood and its city built on a rock.
As active participants in its life
Their impact spread far beyond the half of a city block.

Now

There are many more lessons to teach.
There are many more lives to touch.
There are new words to explain.
There are new worlds to explore.

When particles collide, they are forever changed.
(That is what physicists tell us in their not-so-ancient texts.)
Hurtling on their new trajectories, seeking new directions,
The particles are eternally impacted because of the contact.

This church of rock in the city on a rock
Is likewise evermore transformed by the troubadour and his household.
A dozen years of tears, laughter, memories
And ordinary time that twas always more than that.

In improvisation (this troubadour once noted)
there is a perfect response when met with a strange new reality.
It is two words which accept that revised status quo
And anticipate the unforeseen.

So now as the troubadour and his family
venture into their new realms
And as the church of rock in the city on a rock
Remains with a renewed purpose

Collectively everyone takes a breath,
A pause
A prayer
A smile
A tear

And utters with gratitude for the past
And anticipation for the future

“Yes, and….”


Creative Class of 2015: Scott Walters

scottwaltersOctober may have ended yesterday. But since this is about Creativity, the Creative Class stretches into November for one day this year.  Scott Walters uses his position as Rector of Christ Church to build connections and raise awareness of a variety of art forms and creative disciplines.

Through his leadership and encouragement, two different public gallery spaces have been created at Christ Church, an Arts at Christ Church series has been launched (featuring all types of music from Grammy winning soul to Renaissance chamber), the basement has been turned into The Undercroft music venue with regular performances, and a partnership with the Arkansas Literary Festival has been undertaken.

Concerned with the built environment, he has led walking tours of downtown which have focused not only on the history of the neighborhood but also looking at its present and envisioning its future possibilities.  Because Christ Church is at a hub of development in the River Market, Creative Corridor, SoMa, MacArthur Park and Hanger Hill, he is exploring ways to more actively integrate the church into its greater community.

Interested in historic preservation, he is currently shepherding an effort to restore the historic stained glass windows at the church. A student of poetry, philosophy and urban planning, he can often be found engaged in discussions about those topics.  But he is just as likely to discuss comedians, YouTube videos, and the local music scene.


October 2015 2nd Friday Art Night!

2FAN logo Font sm2It is time again for Second Friday Art Night!

On the second Friday of Arts & Humanities Month, it is a great way to experience the richness the arts and humanities bring to Little Rock.  Among the offerings this month are:

Historic Arkansas Museum’s free opening reception of “Kat Wilson’s Layers”

Arkansas photographer Kat Wilson is widely known for her Habitats series inspired by the hard-working people living in her blue-collar Arkansas town. Wilson’s work has continued to evolve as she has exhibited across Arkansas at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Arkansas Arts Center among others, and across the nation through exhibitions in Reno, NV, and Chicago, IL. Her work has received national and international recognition.

In a new series, Wilson’s technical process of layering photographs draws out a painterly quality typically absent in the glossy surface of a photograph. Wilson gathers images from varying degrees, often pulling information in a complete 360. She then layers them in an effort to tell a broader story of the scene.

 

CALS Butler Center opening of “Photographic Arts: African American Studio Photography from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection”

This is the first exhibition of works from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection, featuring photographs of African American people, created in a studio setting during the 1860s-1940s. Many of the featured photographs were hand colored, which created artful and unusual effects on otherwise formal portraits.

Other exhibits at the Butler Center are “Disparate Acts Redux: Bailin, Criswell, Peters” – an exhibition created by three artists who have found community with each other during the past thirty years’ “Weaving Stories & Hope: Textile Arts from the Japanese American Internment Camp at Rohwer, Arkansas” – a collection of decorative patterns, landscapes, and still life compositions created on muslin and denim; and “Gene Hatfield: Outside the Lines” – an exhibition characterizing the life and vitality of his life’s works.

 

Christ Church opening of solo exhibit of mixed media works by Diane Harper.

Little Rock artist Diane Harper translates images from a military childhood into new works of art in painting, printmaking, and mixed media in what she calls a “posthumous collaboration” with her father. His was a colorful career as a forensic photographer in the U.S. Military Crime Lab, and later in the Arkansas State Crime Lab. He taught himself photography by taking volumes of photos of his family and their adventures together.

The driving motivation behind this collaborative work is not only for Harper to gain a sense of place, but to position herself behind her father’s lens to see how he saw her, his family, and the rest of the world


The Tallis Scholars tonight at 7:30 as part of Arts at Christ Church

TallisScholarsAs part of the Arts @ Christ Church series, tonight at 7:30pm The Tallis Scholars will be in concert at Christ Episcopal Church.

Through their recordings and concert performances, The Tallis Scholars have established themselves as the leading exponents of Renaissance sacred music throughout the world. Director Peter Phillips has worked with the ensemble to create, through good tuning and blend, the purity and clarity of sound which he feels best serve the Renaissance repertoire, allowing every detail of the musical lines to be heard. It is the resulting beauty of sound for which The Tallis Scholars have become so widely renowned.

Tickets are on sale in the parish office: $35, $20 for students. (501) 375-2342.


Tonight in downtown LR – Anonymous 4 in concert at Christ Church

anonymous4Renowned for their unearthly vocal blend and virtuosic ensemble singing, the four women of Anonymous 4 combine historical scholarship with contemporary performance intuition to create their magical sound. They return for the last time (2015 will be the last season for Anonymous 4 to perform) with songs from their 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War tour.

1865 focuses on the personal experience of men, women, and children from the North and from the South, toward the end of the Civil War and in its immediate aftermath — as told in songs originally written for the stage and for the parlor, and in songs and instrumental tunes from the hills and back roads of America.

Many of the songs in 1865 were published between 1861 and 1865; others first appeared in print earlier, but were sung constantly during the war years, perhaps in an effort to bring to mind the familiar and the good. Yet other songs and instrumental tunes are not datable; by the year 1865, they had already been passed down from generation to generation without the aid of the printed page.

Joining Anonymous 4 for this project is renowned old-time fiddler, master banjo and guitar player, and heavenly vocalist, Bruce Molsky. 

Anonymous 4 and Bruce have put our own stamp on the songs in 1865: sounds include 5-part harmonies on the Stephen Foster gem “Hard Times, Come Again No More;” “Home, Sweet Home” and “Listen to the Mocking Bird” accompanied by the banjo; an homage to the Carter Family on “The Faded Coat of Blue;” the high lonesome sound on folk songs like “Bright Sunny South” and “Brother Green;” Bruce’s inimitable fiddle and banjo playing on instrumental tunes “Camp Chase,” “Rebel Raid” and “Polly Put the Kettle On,” and the four-part a cappella singing of Anonymous 4 on the hymn “Abide with Me” and the timeless anti-war song “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground.”

 

The concert starts at 7:30 pm at Christ Episcopal Church.  Tickets are $25, students $15, available at the door. CDs will be available after the performance for cash or check only.

 


Boston Brass in concert tonight

Boston BrassFor 27 years, Boston Brass has set out to establish a one-of-a-kind musical experience. From exciting classical arrangements, to burning jazz standards, and the best of the original brass quintet repertoire, Boston Brass treats audiences to a unique brand of entertainment, which captivates all ages.

Their 2014-15 program “And the Nominees are…” will poll the audience at intermission to determine the music selection on the second half of the program. The first half of the concert will be comprised of Boston Brass’s favorite repertoire, and the second half will be structured in categories by genre-Best Movie Soundtrack, Best Broadway Musical, Best Jazz Selection, etc.

Boston Brass is performing tonight at Christ Church in downtown Little Rock. It is a part of the ongoing Arts @ Christ Church series.  The concert starts at 7:30 pm.

Tickets are $20, $10 for students.


Dublin Guitar Quartet today at 3:30 at Christ Church

DublinGuitarQuartetDescribed as a “quartet with a difference” by the Irish Times, the Dublin Guitar Quartet is a one-of-a-kind classical guitar ensemble that occupies a unique space in the wider chamber music world. It is the first classical guitar quartet devoted to new music. Since its formation at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, DGQ has worked to expand the limited repertoire by commissioning new works and adapting modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire. Audiences can expect an explosive, entertaining, and completely novel concert experience.

With the help of eight and eleven-string guitars the quartet has created an original catalogue of arrangements by composers such Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Arvo Part, and Gyorgy Ligeti. DGQ’s work has brought the attention of some of the world’s leading composers. Recent activity includes a forthcoming release on Philip Glass’s Orange Mountain Music label, and a new 25-minute commission by New York’s Michael Gordon. The ensemble is also included on a recent recording performing Arvo Part’s Summa. The quartet worked with the composer in making the arrangement and received guidance during the recording process. The arrangement will be published by the composer’s own publisher Universal Edition.

In 2010 the quartet were involved in a very special performance of Repentance for cello, guitar trio and double bass by celebrated Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina. The composer was present as they joined the amazing Russian cellist Ivan Monighetti in a concert in St. Peter’s Church, Drogheda. DGQ’s recording of this work was released on the LCMS label in March 2012. In 2008, the quartet was honored to share the stage with legendary American composer Philip Glass in St. Patrick’s Cathederal, Dundalk. After hearing the quartet’s arrangements of two of his string quartets, the composer described them as “quite beautiful.” In 2010, DGQ performed the entire set of Philip Glass quartets to great acclaim.

Other performance highlights include the opening concert at the inaugural Guitar Festival of Ireland in 2004, which included performances by John Williams and Louis Stewart. In 2004, the premiere of Four Guitars by internationally acclaimed composer Kevin Volans was broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM, Ireland’s leading classical music and arts radio station. A premiere of Tilt by Donnacha Dennehy at the National Concert Hall as part of the 2006 Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (D.E.A.F.) was also broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM.

Dublin Guitar Quartet has been successful in bringing new music to new audiences. It has played alongside rock groups such as The Redneck Manifesto (Dublin) and Final Fantasy (Canada); performing in venues such as Vicar St., Whelan’s of Wexford Street, Project Arts Centre, Crawdaddy, and the Roisin Dubh in Galway. The quartet was also invited to perform at the Crash Ensemble’s ten-year anniversary concert in 2010.

The DGQ are also developing the electric side of the guitar quartet repertoire with works like Nagoya Guitars and Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich, and a forthcoming commission for electric guitar quartet by Michael Gordon.

The Dublin Guitar Quartet is supported by Music Network and the Arts Council of Ireland.

Tickets are $15, $10 for students.

The concert starts at 3:30pm at Christ Episcopal Church, Scott and Capital Streets in downtown Little Rock.