POSTED ON NOVEMBER 2, 2011:
Oklahoma breathes life and adventure awaits
The Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Tulsa Race Riot, and the E.W. Marland story will figure prominently in a new symphony by University of Tulsa professor and composer Joseph Rivers -- commissioned by the Signature Symphony at TCC for its Nov. 5 concert. The symphony consists of four movements, each telling a story from Oklahoma history that highlights challenges faced by one of the various communities that came to our state and have contributed to it with their unique gifts.
The symphony, subtitled "Oklahoma Peoples in Trial and Triumph," will be accompanied by narration and visual media. Included in the stories are the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Dust Bowl, the Tulsa Race Riot, and the coming of the European American pioneers and oil men, culminating with E.W. Marland, oil man and one-time Oklahoma governor, and Lydie Marland, whose story and memory are preserved for posterity by the Marland Mansion of Ponca City.
"In recent years I have read extensively about these events and people, and was very moved by them. It struck me how unaware we Oklahomans are of these events and their significance, except perhaps only on a surface level," Rivers said.
"The state is made up of many different peoples with their own unique history, and most of them have only come here within the last 200 years. "The challenge of learning how to stake a future in a new land and to live together with others is a recurrent theme today. In addition, the human stories are our common heritage, no matter what our background, because all of us are subject to the same positive and negative aspects of human nature, as well as the possibility for great accomplishments. Rather than casting blame, we should see ourselves in every story as if it belongs to us, since they are all a part of our collective history."
Joseph Rivers further explains what affects, moves, or challenges him as a creative person and educator, "As a composer I took this opportunity to create a large vision for a symphonic composition. These stories moved me, and I wanted to tell them through art. Music helps to communicate the subtle emotions and meanings of the stories in ways that words cannot, but taken together with visuals and narration, can create a very powerful and moving effect.
"I also enjoy bringing many people together in an artistic project, and the result of collaboration is to make it much greater than if you were to do it all yourself. I have been moved by the helpfulness of such organizations as the Marland Mansion, Greenwood Culture Center and the Cherokee Nation. That so many have donated their time and efforts to tell these stories is very inspiring. Although it sometimes feels as if there is not enough time in the day to cover everything when undertaking such a project, the effort is more than worth it, for there is a sense that one is approaching something very sacred, and it is a special privilege to do so."
Vanessa Briceno Scherzer
The performance will be take place on Nov. 5 in the Van Trease Performing Arts Center of Education on the Tulsa Community College Southeast Campus, beginning at 8pm, and will also feature the Cherokee National Youth Choir and the Signature Chorale. Also on the program will be Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and Randall Thompson's Frostiana. For ticket and further information, visit signaturesymphony.org, or call 918-595-7777.
For the Younger Crowd
The PAC Trust I-Squared presents The Borrowers at the John H. Williams Theatre on Nov. 4 at 7pm and Nov. 5 at 11am. This coming-of-age tale is Charles Way's adaptation of a classic children's novel by Mary Norton, staged by The Playhouse Tulsa. ORU drama graduate Leesa Michaelson stars as Arrietty, the tween yearning to experience the grown up world. The play is set inside a dollhouse, under the floorboards and follows Arrietty and her family, played by Rebekah Peddy and Tony Schneider, as they adventure into the big world outside the dollhouse. For audiences ages 6 and older.
Actors and Children's Theatre presents Aesop's Falables, a rocking musical by Ed Gracyzk, at the Charles E. Norman Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Nov. 5 at 2pm and 7pm. The show is directed by Billie Sue Thompson, founder of the Actor's and Children's Theatre and recent recipient of the first Mary Kay Place Legacy Award for excellence in Tulsa Theatre.
Tickets for The Borrowers and Aesop's Falables are available online at tulsapac.com, or by calling 918-596-7111.
Unconventional Musical Adventure
Also on Nov. 5, Choregus Productions presents Time for Three at the John H. Williams Theatre at the the Tulsa Performing Arts Center at 8pm.
Described as "the groundbreaking, category-shattering trio Time for Three transcends traditional classification, with elements of classical, country-western, gypsy and jazz idioms forming a blend all its own." Time for Three features Zachary (Zach) De Pue, violin; Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violin; and Ranaan Meyer, double bass. The trio also performs its own arrangements of traditional repertoire and Ranaan Meyer provides original compositions to complement the trio's offerings. For tickets call 918-596-7111.
A Fresh, but Slightly Chilled Breath of Air
Nov. 4 will likely have a chill in the air and offers an opportunity to saunter the streets of the Brady Arts District to kick off your Friday night activities. The First Friday Arts Crawl starts at 5:30pm, where galleries open their doors for exhibits, new shows, art demonstrations and more. The Brady Arts District is just north of downtown at the intersection of Main and Brady.
While you are there, be sure to check out the new exhibit at the Tulsa Artists Coalition, "Don't Forget to Breathe" by Jennifer Libby Fay, which features painting and mixed media works. The exhibit runs through Nov. 26. Opening Night reception, also on Nov. 4, is from 6-9pm. Tulsa Artists Coalition is located at 9 E. Brady St.
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