Artists in Action: Education, appreciation help keep creativity alive
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
May 26, 2013 | 5211 views |  0 comments | 402 402 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For music to continue to fill the air — at evening concerts, Sunday services and gala events — there must be musical education for our youth. The Etowah Youth Orchestra’s Summer Strings program serves this purpose for future violin, viola, cello and bass players. And in order for CAST volunteers to get their due applause, there must be the Randy Awards.

A keynote summer for strings

The Summer Strings program in Gadsden promises to be a valuable use of summer hours for young musicians. The program is open to students with one to two years experience playing a stringed instrument. The classes, taught in group settings by EYO Associate Conductor Roland Lister and Assistant Conductor Rachel Sherrod, will be held June 4 through July 23 from 10:30 a.m.-noon at the Music Center at Temple Beth Israel, 761 Chestnut Street in downtown Gadsden.

Most students registering are going into sixth or seventh grades, Lister said, explaining that by then motor skills are developed and they are ready for the challenge.

“They have coordination by that time, and the needed strength in their hands and fingers,” he said. “The lessons should give them a head start for future learning, especially for orchestral performing.”

The instructors will incorporate some music theory and facts about the selections’ composers, Lister added, and Summer Strings students will have the opportunity to audition for the EYO ensembles.

Both instructors are graduates of Jacksonville State University, and both majored in music. Lister taught string techniques in the Gadsden City Schools, directing elementary, middle and high school orchestras until 1998 when he retired and began working with EYO.

Sherrod teaches beginning/intermediate strings in the Etowah County School system as well as private violin and viola lessons through the Gadsden Community School for the Arts and at Lake Guntersville Music Academy. She now plays with the Gadsden Symphony Orchestra.

The cost of the program is $80, which includes all materials. Instruments will be provided as needed. Financial assistance is available for qualified applicants and applications can be requested.

The EYO has also announced a second round of auditions for the 2013-2014 season of the EYO. Auditions will be held June 10-13 at The Music Center at Temple Beth Israel. “Currently we have openings for string players at all levels, flutes, clarinets, bass clarinets, bassoons, baritone, saxophones, French horns, trombones, tubas and percussionists,” said Mike Gagliardo, EYO’s music director.

For more information about the Summer Strings program or EYO auditions, contact Sherrod at 256-543-2787, ext. 33.

Randy Awards to honor performers, volunteers

The community is invited to share in the celebration of the eighth annual Randy Awards, at Classic on Noble in Anniston June 20. The doors open at 7 p.m., dinner and the ceremony begin at 7:30 p.m.

It’s an event that keeps the creative spirit burning by honoring those who enabled a season of CAST shows to go on. The Tony Awards-style program recognizes individuals not only for stellar performances, but the volunteers who decorated the lobby, sold tickets and concessions, sewed costumes, painted scenery, built sets, searched for props and much more.

The Edel Y. Ayers silver bowl will be presented to the person who has gone above and beyond to keep the theater alive.

The trophies, which bear the comedy and tragedy masks of theater, are called “Randys” in memory of CAST founder and playwright, Randy Hall. Hall, whose day job was as an Anniston Star journalist, had at least eight of his plays produced in our area, some of which went on to be performed in other parts of the country.

Kim Davenport will serve as chairperson. Tickets are $20 per person. Reservations must be made by June 15 by calling the CAST office at 256-820-CAST.
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