Artists in Action: The season of singing is upon us
Nov 23, 2013 | 5074 views |  0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb Elementary students record songs at Dugger Mountain Music Hall in Piedmont. Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
Cobb Elementary students record songs at Dugger Mountain Music Hall in Piedmont. Trent Penny/The Anniston Star
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Words can’t always express the happiness that Christmas brings — but music can. We can count on composers and their inspirations to convey our feelings and help us celebrate each holiday season wholeheartedly.

Two such musical offerings arrive Dec. 8. The students of the Cheaha Creative Arts after-school program and the Cobb Elementary Mass Choir will present a program of Christmas music at St. Michael at 2 p.m. that Sunday. Then, at 6 p.m. the same day, children and adults will tell the Christmas story in the Bible with voices and instruments in Anniston’s First United Methodist Church’s annual Yuletide program “O Holy Night.”

Piano, violin and choir bring story to life

Anniston has some very motivated arts students, I’m told by music teachers, but they need our support. A chance to show interest in their progress comes Dec. 8 when piano and violin students in the Cheaha Creative Arts (CCA) after-school program and the Cobb Elementary Mass Choir perform at St. Michael’s and All Angels at 2 p.m.

Piano performers Brenton Ball, Morgan Calloway and Jordan Peters are directed by Vicki Brock, instructor with CCA and organist at Parker Memorial Baptist Church.

In the violin orchestra are Landon Wilkins, Madison Foster, Kimara Parki, Evelyn Veyerle, Carlton Fears and Travianna Fears. They are directed by Diane Chong, strings instructor for CCA. Chong also works with the Etowah Youth Orchestra and the Jacksonville State University/Community Orchestra.

“Our children really enjoy this activity,” said Susan Grimes, who directs sopranos, altos and tenors in the Cobb Mass Choir. “Everyone in it has chosen to be in it. We are very proud of our choir, as well as the students’ supportive parents.”

The 45-member choir has existed about five years, she said, and has been featured in several civic events including last year’s Christmas parade, the dedication of the Freedom Riders site on Highway 202 and twice at 17th Street Baptist Church during Black History Month.

Some of the songs will be familiar, such as “Joy to the World,” while others like “Who Would Imagine a King?” and “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child” will be new to the ear.

The choir is assisted by instructor Mashonda Turner and pianist Derrell Calloway. Everyone is invited, and light refreshments will be served following the program.

Cantata by FUMC Chancel Choir

It’s also the season for singing at First United Methodist Church, with almost all of the performing organizations in the church taking part in “O Holy Night,” an annual program. The groups’ selections will be inserted in between the songs in the evening’s cantata, “Appalachian Winter” by Joseph M. Martin.

According to Martin’s description of his work, if we listen closely to the glorious hymns it will fill the silence and give us peace even in the dead of winter. In addition, “Appalachian Winter” celebrates the legacy of early American carols and hymnody in the spirit of folk music. Sacred harp tunes are re-written for Advent and are sung along with new approaches to Shaker hymns and Appalachian harmonies. Narration brings together the movements in a tapestry of song and scripture.

According to Kathy Murphy, FUMC’s director of music, titles include “Mountain Carol,” “A Rustic Star” and a combining of the spirituals “Children, Go Where I send Thee” and “Go, Tell It On the Mountain.”

Everyone is invited.

Library puts county students’ artwork on display

There’s a new exhibit up in the Ayers Room of the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County. Art teachers throughout the county have selected their students’ top 20 works for display. Photography, paint, watercolor, crayon and charcoal are just a few of the exciting mediums in which the students display their prowess in visual arts.

The exhibit will be open through Jan. 31.
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