Artober – Music. The sounds of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and indoor

Little Rock has a thriving music scene from jazz to blues to r&b to rock to soul to gospel to, well, you name it.

For over 50 years, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has been playing a pivotal role in that scene.  While they play programs that are largely classical music, they also incorporate many different styles of music into their offerings.  Last night, they played a concert with Tony and Grammy winner Heather Headley which spanned numerous musical genres.  The ASO is led by Interim Music Director Geoffrey Robson and Executive Director Christina Littlejohn.

Incorporated in 1966, the ASO now performs more than 60 concerts per season, which includes the Masterworks and Pops Concerts. In addition, the orchestra has a Chamber Series, River Rhapsodies, at the Clinton Presidential Center, ASO, I.N.C.: Intimate Neighborhood Concerts, and a busy schedule of statewide touring and educational performances in numerous venues, along with collaborations with Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Integral to the ASO’s activities are its resident string quartets, the Rockefeller and Quapaw Quartet; The ASO Brass Quintet, ASO Big Band, and the Arkansas Symphony Youth Ensembles, which comprises two string-only ensembles and two full orchestras. Through ASO education programs over 40,000 children each year experience the magic of music.

Distinguished guest artists including Bill Clinton, Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Mignon Dunn, Marilyn Horn, Andre Watts, Maureen McGovern, Bernadette Peters, Maya Angelou, and Doc Severinsen, among others, have appeared in concert with the orchestra in Arkansas.

Comprised of the state’s most sought after professional musicians, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is heard by more than 165,000 Arkansans each year, and consistently plays to high critical praise.

History of UAMS is topic of tonight’s QQA Preservation Conversation

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, indoorJoin the QQA for a free lecture and discussion this evening about the history of UAMS by Tim Nutt.

The success of the institution now-known as UAMS seemed uncertain after its rocky establishment in 1879. During the last 140 years, events, interesting personalities, and politics have shaped the state’s only academic health center.

Tim Nutt is currently employed as the Director of the Historical Research Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Previously, he was employed as the Head of Special Collections at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and as founding Deputy Curator of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System. He also served as the founding Managing Editor and Staff Historian of the award-winning online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

A native of Bigelow, Nutt received a B.A. in History from the University of Central Arkansas and a masters in Library Science, with an emphasis on archives, from the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Arkansas Historical Association and a Certified Archivist.

Event Info:

When: September 12, 2019

Where: Mixing Room at the Old Paint Factory in the East Village,1306 East 6th Street, 72202

What Time: 5:30 pm (reception); 6:00 pm (lecture)

RSVP: The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP .

Parking: There is parking directly in front of the doors that are marked “live”, “print”, “meet.” If those spots are taken. park in the parking lot to the right. There is also street parking in front of the building.

Entrance: Enter the event space through the door facing 6th Street marked “Meet.”

Questions? Call 501-371-0075 ext. 3 or email qqa@quapaw.com

Tonight the Oxford American kicks off its Jazz Series at South on Main with Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo feat. Erin Bode

Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo Featuring Erin Bode [JAZZ SERIES]The Oxford American magazine is excited to welcome Peter Martin & Romero Lubambo featuring Erin Bode to the South on Main stage!  The concert is tonight (September 5) at 8:00pm.

This is the first show of their Jazz Sub-Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, as well as their season sponsor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

 

Peter Martin is an acclaimed jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator. His touring career has taken him to six continents numerous times. In January 2011 Peter performed with a select group of jazz artists at the White House for a State Dinner hosted by President Obama, and he returned to perform for the Governor’s Dinner in February 2012 for the first family and other guests.

Peter performed on and arranged Dianne Reeves’ GRAMMY-winning release A Little Moonlight. He also appeared in George Clooney’s 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck, as well as being the featured pianist and an arranger on the GRAMMY-winning soundtrack. Peter has performed, toured and recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Betty Carter, Christian McBride, and Joshua Redman, as well as the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. In 2014 Peter was selected to tour with “Newport Now 60,” an all-star ensemble that toured nationwide in celebration of the iconic festival’s 60th anniversary.


In 1985, Romero Lubambo came to the United States, and brought with him a new sound in Brazilian jazz guitar.

Romero’s guitar playing unites the styles and rhythms of his native Brazilian musical heritage with his fluency in the American jazz tradition to form a distinctive new sound.

From the cool, sophisticated rhythms of his native Brazil to hard bop, Romero is a guitarist who’s comfortable in any musical setting. He is an uncommonly gifted soloist and musical improviser with a steady stream of unpredictably creative musical thoughts and the virtuosity to deliver them.

Lubambo is considered by critics to be “the best practitioner of his craft in the world today…the guitarist’s facility, creativity and energy are in a class all their own.”


In the decade-plus since Erin Bode began her professional recording career, she has garnered much critical praise for her pure voice, perfect pitch, and impressive phrasing and style. It is this talent, coupled with her reluctance to accept classification as a purely jazz vocalist that has led to reviews hailing her as “someone you won’t forget” and comparing her sound to the likes of Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones.

To date, Bode and her band have released eight albums and have toured the United States, as well as Italy, Asia, and Africa. The Erin Bode Group creates music forged from the Americana of its members’ Midwestern roots, infused with jazz grooves and made magic by Bode’s bell-like voice. Sophisticated arrangements and attention to phrasing, both vocal and instrumental, further distinguish the band’s fresh sound.

While Bode got her start singing standard jazz, her recent projects have been decidedly more pop-based. 2008’s Little Garden and 2010’s Photograph feature all original material by Bode, and showcase her love of poetry with songs that are rich in harmonic and timbral texture. For her most recent album, Here and Now, Erin has collaborated with producer and bassist Viktor Krauss, guitarists Matt Munisteri and Todd Lombardo, cellist Tara Santiago and GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist, Suzanne Cox.

 

Additional season partners include Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Cypress Properties, Inc., J. Mark & Christy Davis, Chris & Jo Harkins, Margaret Ferguson Pope—Thank You Aunt Margaret!, EVO Business Environments, Jay Barth & Chuck Cliett, Stacy Hamilton of Desselle Real Estate, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery Little Rock.

4-Show Jazz packages are available beginning May 13 via Metrotix.com or by calling (800) 293-5949Single tickets go on sale May 20 and are $35 (General Admission), $44 (Reserved), and $46 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.

The Oxford American kicks of 2019-2020 Concert Series with Amy Helm tonight at South on Main

Amy Helm [AMERICANA SERIES]The Oxford American magazine is excited to welcome Amy Helm to the South on Main stage!

This event kicks off their 2019-2020 Concert Series and is the first show of their Americana Sub-Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Stella Boyle Smith Trust, as well as their season sponsor University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Additional season partners include Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, Cypress Properties, Inc., UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, Margaret Ferguson Pope—Thank You Aunt Margaret!, EVO Business Environments, Jay Barth & Chuck Cliett, Stacy Hamilton of Desselle Real Estate, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery Little Rock.

There are no tickets available at this time. Please visit the venue on the night of the show when doors open to inquire about any potential ticket releases.


Amy Helm sought what she calls a “circular sound” for her new album. It’s a well-rounded one, marked by streaks of Americana, country, blues, and gospel, and the kinds of four-part harmonies that can burst open a melody and close the loop of an octave. It’s a sound that represents the feeling of community.

This Too Shall Light, released September 2018 on Yep Roc Records, comprises ten songs produced by GRAMMY-winning producer and songwriter Joe Henry. During the four-day session in Los Angeles, the musicians were directed not to overthink the songs, and Helm herself barely performed any of the selections while preparing to record. As a result, the sessions forced fast musical trust among the collaborators and yielded the vibrant instrumental improvisations heard throughout This Too Shall Light.

Although a profound songwriter herself, Helm and Henry jointly arranged a diverse collection of songs for the record, which range from Rod Stewart’s “Mandolin Wind” to Allen Toussaint’s “Freedom for the Stallion” and even the Milk Carton Kids’ “Michigan.” The title track in particular, written by Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor and Josh Kaufman, is a brilliant summation of the record’s sound and spirit.

Helm’s voice veers from commanding to supplicating within a single soulful verse, as she manipulates that message so that light leads throughout even the darkest of times.

Helm’s parents—The Band’s legendary drummer and singer Levon Helm and singer/songwriter Libby Titus—guided her training and influences. A lifelong musician and music-lover, she later became a founding member of the alt-country collective Ollabelle and served as a backing musician in her father’s Midnight Ramble Band. On This Too Shall Light, Helm says that two songs in particular pay homage to Levon—“The Stones I Throw,” a song he released in 1965 with Levon and the Hawks, and the closing traditional number, an a cappella version of the hymn “Gloryland,” which was passed from father to daughter.

While This Too Shall Light is only Helm’s second album under her own name, it serves as a comprehensive portrait covering her life’s journeys and recoveries; these songs are stories that, no matter where they take her, seem to end and begin in the same place like a circle.

LR Movies Monday: THE STORY OF DR. WASSELL and MACARTHUR

With the Arkansas Cinema Society’s FILMLAND 2019 later this month (August 21 to 25), Mondays in August will feature movies with Little Rock connections.  Today’s films are both about World War II military heroes and both had their world premieres in Little Rock.

One was released during World War II and starred Gary Cooper as Dr. Corydon Wassell. The other was released in the 1970s and starred Gregory Peck as General Douglas MacArthur.

Dr. WassellBorn in Little Rock on July 4, 1884, Corydon McAlmont Wassell (called “Cory”) was born to Albert and Leona Wassell. A grandson of Little Rock Mayor John Wassell, he graduated from what is now UAMS in 1909. In 1911, he married Mary Irene Yarnell, with whom he would have four children.  In 1914, the couple volunteered to be Episcopal missionaries in China.  He served there until 1927. Following Mary’s death and his remarriage, he and new wife Madeline Edith Day Wassell returned to Arkansas in 1927.

Dr. Wassell resumed his medical practice. Given his experience with malaria in China, he proved to be an asset fighting malaria among Civilian Conservation Corps members in Arkansas. He was subsequently called to active duty in the Navy in 1936 and stationed in Key West.

After the outbreak of World War II, he was stationed in Indonesia. In early 1942, he refused to abandon his patients after the Japanese started invading Indonesia. Instead, he was able to evacuate a dozen severely wounded men over 150 miles to get to a ship. It took ten days for the ship to get to Australia, during which time it was attacked numerous times.  His official Navy Cross citation notes that he disregarded personal safety while caring for others.

He became an instant international hero. During the early days of the war, his heroism was one of the few bright spots.  President Roosevelt praised him in a fireside chat. James Hilton wrote of Dr. Wassell in a book which was then adapted by Cecil B. DeMille into the 1944 movie starring Cooper.  Originally Arkansan Alan Ladd was wanted to play Cooper’s sidekick, but Ladd was pressed into military service and unavailable.

From April 24 to 26, 1944, Cecil B. DeMille was in Little Rock for the world premiere screening of The Story of Dr. Wassell. Little Rock rolled out the red carpet (literally and figuratively) for DeMille and a contingency from Hollywood.  Dr. and Mrs. Wassell also returned to Little Rock for the festivities.  Unfortunately, Gary Cooper (who played Wassell in the film) was unable to attend due to illness.  His costar, Laraine Day, was making another film and could not attend either.    Those in attendance with DeMille (and Mrs. DeMille) included actresses Signe Hasso and Carol Thurston, and actor Melvin Francis.  The latter played himself; he had actually been one of the sailors saved by Dr. Wassell.

Sold-out screenings of the movie took place at the Capitol and Arkansas Theatres. On April 27, 1944, a regular run of the movie started at the Capitol Theatre.  It would be released nationally on July 4, 1944, which also happened to be Dr. Wassell’s birthday.

Thirty-three years after The Story of Dr. Wassell was released, MacArthur was brought to the screen by Universal Pictures.  It was their attempt to capitalize on the success of the movie Patton, including sharing some of the same members of the production team.

macarthur-gregory-peck-1977-everettTold entirely in flashback, it stars Gregory Peck as the fabled World War II general who was born in Little Rock. It focuses primarily on events in 1942 during the war, his dismissal by Truman in 1952, and his famous address to West Point in 1962.

Peck initially did not care for the subject or the script, but eventually stated that he grew to admire the challenges MacArthur faced.  Peck later called it one of his favorites roles, if not one of his favorite movies.

Producer Frank McCarthy, who worked on both Patton and MacArthur once said of Patton and MacArthur: “Both were complex men but General MacArthur was complex on a much broader scale. Patton had no ambition except to be a soldier and to command a field army. He was strictly command.”

Most of the film was shot on the backlot at the movie studio, which impacted the quality of the film.  The production budget simply would not allow for overseas location filming.

The film was released in July 1977.  One of the premieres was held in Little Rock. Peck attended a reception in the Arsenal Building where MacArthur was born. Now the home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, in 1977 the building still housed the Museum of Science and Natural History (now the Museum of Discovery).  Since MacArthur only spent a few hours in Little Rock as an adult, it is possible that Peck spent more time in the building than the General did.

The evening of August 5, 1977, started with an exclusive reception for 100 people with Gregory and Veronique Peck.  The movie itself was shown at the Cinema 150, where its general run would start on Saturday, August 6.  Following the film, a reception and silent auction brought people back to the museum.  Tickets ran $250 a person for all events, $100 a person for the film and post-show reception, and $25 for the movie.  It sold out.

Governor and Mrs. David Pryor escorted the Pecks into the theatre.  Former Governor (and World War II hero) Sid McMath introduced Mr. Peck to the crowd.  He extolled the virtues of Peck and MacArthur.  (It is interesting that he should admire MacArthur so much, since the General and President Truman had a well-publicized tiff, and McMath and Truman had enjoyed a warm relationship.)  Little Rock City Director Jim Dailey presented Peck with a Key to the City.

Shark Week Remembrance of Roy Scheider

Actor Roy Scheider’s connection to Little Rock is a sad one.  He visited the City quite frequently during the last years of his life as he was getting treated at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  Despite UAMS’s best efforts, Scheider died in Little Rock on February 10, 2008.

Though he starred in several iconic films in the 1970s and 1980s, he is probably best remembered for his role in the Jaws series of films.

In the 1970s, Scheider received two Oscar nominations. His first, for Best Supporting Actor, was in The French Connection.  While Scheider did not pick up the Oscar, the film itself was named Best Picture.  It won four other Oscars that night. (As a side note: it was the first R-rated movie to win Best Picture.  Though Midnight Cowboy was re-released as an R-Rated movie after winning the Best Picture Oscar, it was initially released as an X-rated movie.)

Scheider’s second Oscar nomination came for playing Bob Fosse’s stand-in in the movie All That Jazz.  It, too, won four Oscars, though Scheider’s nomination would not result in a win.

Future of Academic Medicine focus of UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson talk at UA Little Rock Downtown;

UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson will be giving a talk at UA Little Rock Downtown about the history of academic medicine, the current challenges facing the field, and what he sees as the path forward.

The program will begin at 12 noon in the UA Little Rock Downtown location.  Copper Grill is providing sandwiches and salads.

It is free and open to the public.