On January 26, 1880, Douglas MacArthur was born in the Arsenal Building while his father was stationed at the Little Rock Barracks. Though he left Arkansas a few weeks later when his father was transferred, he returned to his birthplace on March 23, 1952. On that day he was greeted by crowds welcoming one of the USA’s most famous military figures.
Though Gen. MacArthur spent only a few weeks in Little Rock, he was baptized at Christ Episcopal Church. The location of the baptism remains a mystery today because the church was meeting in temporary locations due to the first structure having been lost to a fire.
When the General returned to Little Rock in 1952, he did pay a brief visit to Christ Church. He also spoke at the Foster Bandshell in the park which bore his name.
When General MacArthur died, he was granted a state funeral. He was one of the few non-Presidents to have been given this honor.
Today, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is located in the Arsenal building. It was created to interpret our state’s military heritage from its territorial period to the present.
Located in the historic Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal–the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur–the museum preserves the contributions of Arkansas men and women who served in the armed forces.
Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.
Tonight at 8pm, Nathan Laube will present an organ concert at Christ Episcopal Church. It is presented by the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Nathan Laube is a leading performer and pedagogue who is beloved around the world. His extensive recital career includes major venues spanning four continents, with appearances at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Cathedral, and the Sejong Center, Seoul. Highlight performances in the USA include Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; The Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas TX; Washington National Cathedral; Kauffman Center’s Helzberg Hall in Kansas City, MO; and Spivey Hall in Morrow, GA. His recent appearances have included the first inaugural recital of the restored Harrison & Harrison organ of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, as well as performances at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
He has two CD recordings available: the Stephen Paulus Grand Concerto on the Naxos label recorded with the Nashville Symphony, Giancarlo Guerrero, conducting, for which the Nashville Symphony received a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Compendium; and a more-recent solo recital recording on the Ambiente label recorded at the Stadtkirche in Nagold, Germany.
An Associate Professor of Organ on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and International Consultant in Organ Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, UK, Nathan is frequently asked to teach master classes and workshops in connection with his concerts, and often serves on the faculty for Pipe Organ Encounters in the USA—clinics presented by The American Guild of Organists designed to introduce young keyboardists to the pipe organ and its vast repertoire. He has also taught at the Oberlin Summer Organ Academy in Ohio and at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Summer Organ Academy in Philadelphia, and regularly presents masterclasses in the United States and in Europe.
The first 2nd Friday Art Night of 2020 also features an event at Christ Church downtown at 509 Scott Street.
Baxter Knowlton has painted hundreds of commissioned portraits for people all across the country. Come see his latest show: Arkansas Figures. The paintings in this show are portraits of only a few of the Arkansans he admires.
Bonus: there will be eats, drinks, and Isaac Alexander will be spinning tunes.
The exhibit will continue through March 31. The artwork is available for purchase.
On December 12, 1819, future Little Rock Mayor Gordon Neill Peay was born. The Peay family arrived in Arkansas from Kentucky in 1825. They quickly became one of Little Rock’s leading families.
Mayor Peay’s father, Nicholas Peay served on the Little Rock Board of Trustees (which existed before the town was incorporated) and later served on the City Council and was acting mayor.
It is Nicholas Peay’s Egg Nog recipe which inspired the Historic Arkansas Museum Nog Off! (2019 edition is Friday night!)
Godon N. Peay served as mayor of Little Rock from 1859 to 1861. During the Civil War, Peay served as Captain and later Colonel of the Capital Guard. He later received a pardon from the federal government. In the days leading up to the Civil War and during it, Mayor Peay was one of a group of civic leaders who corresponded with Union leaders. It has been said that this conciliatory tone is a reason that Little Rock fared better during Federal occupation and Reconstruction than did many other Confederate cities.
The Peay family owned the Peay Hotel, Little Rock’s first hotel, and were also co-founders of what became Worthen Bank. They were also a founding family of Christ Episcopal Church. Mayor Peay later served as Pulaski County Chancery Clerk.
He died on December 14, 1876, and is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery along with many members of his family. A nephew of his, Ashley Peay, served on the City Council in the 1920s. Mayor Peay’s great-grandson Joseph Barber Hurst, Sr. served on the Little Rock City Board of Directors from 1967-1971. One of Mr. Hurst’s sons, Howard, was born on Mayor Peay’s birthday.
Little Rock started functioning as the capital of Arkansas in June 1821. But by 1825 the settlement known as Little Rock was little more than a loosely defined group of structures. One hundred and ninety-four years ago today, on October 27, 1825, Territorial Governor George Izard signed legislation which started establishing a framework for Little Rock to function as a city.
I refer to this time period as Little Rock’s “Articles of Confederation.” Like that phase of US governmental history, the trusteeship had limited responsibilities but still laid the groundwork for what would come.
It established that Little Rock citizens could elect a board of trustees to decide matters. Those trustees would choose one of their own to be a presiding officer. Though Little Rock would not be officially incorporated until 1831, this was the first step towards incorporation. The first trustees, elected for 1826, were Robert Crittenden, Joseph Henderson, Nicholas Peay, Bernard Smith and Isaac Watkins. Smith was chosen to be the presiding officer.
Crittenden had been largely responsible for the relocation of the capitol to Little Rock, where he owned a lot of land. He was a major political force in Arkansas politics during the territorial days. Watkins was a nephew of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had established the first tavern in Little Rock in 1821 and later he first mill in 1826. He was murdered in 1827 and the perpetrator was never captured.
Peay bought the tavern from Watkins in 1826 and continued in the tavern and hotel business the rest of his life. He later served on the Little Rock City Council and was acting mayor. His son Gordon Neill Peay served as Mayor of Little Rock. The Peay family also cofounded Worthen Bank and Christ Episcopal Church. Members of several branches of Mr. Peay’s descendants including the Worthen and Hurst families remain active in Little Rock affairs.
The Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists presents Janette Fishell in concert tonight. The program will begin at 8pm at Christ Episcopal Church.
Janette Fishell holds degrees with honors in organ performance from Indiana University and Northwestern University, and is Professor of Organ and Chair of the Organ Department at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, where she has taught applied organ and Organ Pedagogy since 2008. A recitalist with a wide repertoire and interest in music of all periods, she has an especially keen interest in the organ works of J.S. Bach and Petr Eben, both of whose organ works she has performed in their entirety. Her collegiate studies included work with Wilma Jensen and Wolfgang Rübsam; sabbatical study with Ludger Lohmann focused on performance practices of the German Baroque and Romantic periods, as well an exploration of historic European instruments.
Named Young Organist of the Year by Keyboard Arts, Inc. while still an undergraduate, Dr. Fishell is a recitalist and teacher of international standing. She regularly performs in many of the greatest concert venues throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Her numerous compact disc recordings include performances of the music of Marcel Dupré, Petr Eben and J.S. Bach. Pas de Dieu: Music Sublime and Spirited, a recording of French Romantic repertoire released by Loft Recordings in July, 2006, is the premiere recording on the C.B. Fisk Opus 126. She has been featured in live radio broadcasts worldwide, including recital broadcasts for BBC London, NHK Tokyo, and Czech Radio, and is a frequent lecturer and adjudicator. The author of numerous articles, a book on service playing published by Abingdon Press, and composer of several works for choir and solo organ, she is widely recognized as a leading authority on the organ music of Czech composer Petr Eben.
Her two solo recitals on the C.B. Fisk Opus 55 organ of historic Old West Church, Boston at the 2014 National Convention of the AGO were hailed as convention highlights, “a precious jewel … the perfect match between performer, organ and music. Fishell has emerged as one of the best Bach performers on the planet.”
The Arkansas Chamber Singers are performing at 3pm today (October 13) at Christ Episcopal Church. (They also presented this concert on Friday, October 11 at St. Mark’s Episcopal.) This concert kicks off their 40th season. The Arkansas Chamber Singers are under the direction of John Erwin.
This concert invites audiences to experience the ever popular and exciting Dello Joio composition “A Jubilant Song.” This ecstatic work with a virtuosic piano accompaniment is set to text adapted from Walt Whitman.
Also, on the program will be ‘a capella’ pieces by Felix Mendelssohn, “Kyrie,” “Ehre sei Gott,” and “Heilig,” all of which are written for double choir and are rich in Romantic harmony.
Featured on three concert will be three works for string quartet, piano, and choir that are quite simply stunning! “The Hope of Loving” by the young American composer, Jake Runestad, is set in six short movements, each by a different poet, extolling the virtues of love as the hope for mankind. Also by another American composer, Dan Forrest, the choir will sing “i thank you, God,” set to a text by e. e. cummings. This mesmerizing new work is serene and calming as well as powerfully inspirational. Brought back by popular demand is the stirring, evocative “Dark Night of the Soul,” by the wonderful Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo.
ADVANCE CONCERT TICKETS
$10 Student ($18 Adults, $12 Students at the door)