Originality is the specter chasing down artists of all disciplines, and new work can often lead them down previously unimagined paths. Even the newest of beginnings, though, there’s often a twinge of the familiar lurking beneath the new surfaces.
This Thursday, September 3rd, at 6 p.m., Columbia artist Lucas Sams will be kicking off a new series at Frame of Mind eyewear boutique and art gallery in West Columbia that showcases fresh work from a familiar face. It’s called, fittingly, “[Artist name’s] Frame of Mind.” For Sams, that means a bit of old mixed with a bit of new.
“The pieces are basically the first images I made after many months of not working on any new original work,” explains Sams. “[These paintings] are both a return to how I was working a few years ago and a new synthesis of modes of expression and forms of representation entirely.”
The show promises to build on the shoulders of Sams’ already established style. One of the works is a reimagining of an older piece, and ideas aren’t the only things being recycled at this show—Sams also painted over one of his older paintings for this series as well.
What better way to spend a Thursday night than perusing new work from a young and very talented local artist? The show begins at 6:00 p.m. and runs until 8:00 p.m. at Frame of Mind’s art gallery on 140 State St. in West Columbia. Check out the Facebook event for more information.
Yes, the students are back and so is the traffic and the endless coffee shop lines, the scarcity of parking spaces with their hateful meters, the gridiron obsession, and the schnockered Greek groupies skittering across our main thruways like potted squirrels in a rigged game of chance.
The upside? We live in a university town and, as a city and an arts community, we are almost always invited to take advantage of the plethora of new arts experiences our universities offer us. Case in point–the calendar for USC’s School of Music for the month of October alone lists no less than 15 events, most of which are free.
Yes, Columbia is a university town, but these universities are part of what makes us an arts town–nay, an arts destination– as well.
Thurs., Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.
USC Concert Choir and University Chorus Concert
Main Street United Methodist Church
The USC University Chorus presents “Peace and Reconciliation” and includes freedom songs from the U.S. and South African traditions, spirituals, and texts that offer words of peace and hope. Featured composers are William Dawson, Jeffery Ames, Maurice Durufle, Robert Hugh, Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory.
Fri., Oct. 2, 1:10 – 2:00 p.m.
Music & Culture Colloquium: OutKasted Conversations: Searching for Contemporary Southern Blackness in Digital Spaces
School of Music, room 232
Presented by Dr. Regina N. Bradley, writer, scholar and freelance researcher of African American Life and Culture. She is a recipient of the Nasir Jones HipHop Fellowship at Harvard University (Spring 2016) and assistant professor of African American literature at Armstrong State University. Dr. Bradley’s expertise and research interests include hip hop culture, race and the contemporary U.S. South, and sound studies. Co-Sponsored by African-American Studies. Refreshments served.
Fri., Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Southern Exposure New Music Concert: Apparition with Soprano Tony Arnold and Pianist Jacob Greenburg USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
Contemporary music’s leading soprano, Tony Arnold consistently receives accolades around the world for the warmth and beauty of her voice, her extraordinary technical facility, superb musicianship, and riveting stage presence. Arnold’s long-time collaborator pianist Jacob Greenburg has been praised for his “brilliance,” “heroic dexterity,” and the depth and nuance he brings to interpretations of both old and new repertoire (New York Times).
Arnold and Greenburg’s Southern Exposure program will include American icon George Crumb’s haunting “Apparition,” which sets texts from Walt Whitman’s elegy for Abraham Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” (2015 is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death; Whitman wrote his elegy shortly after Lincoln’s assassination, in the summer of 1865).
Oct. 4, 3:00 p.m. Cornelia Freeman Concert Series USC School of Music Recital Hall
Single concerts: $12 adults; $10 seniors citizens, USC faculty and staff; $5 students.
Series tickets: $50 adults; $40 seniors citizens, USC faculty and staff. Reserved seating for this popular concert series is an additional $100 per series. Purchase tickets online, call 803-576-5763 or at the door.
Featuring the university’s esteemed music faculty performing a diverse repertoire, this popular chamber music series has been raising scholarship money for more than 20 years and takes place on Sunday afternoons in the fall.
Walter Rabl – Quartet for Piano, Clarinet, Violin & Cello, Op. 101
Joseph Eller, clarinet; William Terwilliger, violin; Robert Jesselson, cello; Charles Fugo, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonato in E Major Op. 109
Joseph Rackers, piano
Alexander Borodin – Prince Igor’s Aria (Prince Igor)
Giuseppe Verdi – There Stood a Gypsy (Il Trovatore)
Richard Conant, baritone; Charles Fugo, piano
Thurs., Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Jazz Faculty Recital USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
Fri., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Scott Price Faculty Recital: Sensory Friendly Concert
USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
We especially give a warm welcome to our patrons with autism and other special needs, as well as therapists and family members to attend and enjoy this free and sensory-friendly concert. The concert environment will be kept friendly for everyone including lighting and seating. Audience members are welcome to attend all or as much of the concert as they like, and can come and go as needed. Autism-related behaviors are understood and welcomed.
Sunday, October 11, 3:00 p.m.
Music Inspired By Art: Opus Two Concert
USC School of Music Recital Hall – FREE
William Terwilliger, violin, and Andrew Cooperstock, piano, play a premiere performance of new work by Meira Warshauer inspired by Christian Thee’s trompe l’oeil Secret Garden Orientation Gallery at the Columbia Museum of Art and works of art by Alex Powers and Philip Mullen.
Sunday, October 11, 4 p.m.
Reimagined: USC Symphonic Winds Concert
Koger Center for the Arts – FREE
Cormac Cannon directs Symphonic Winds for a diverse program including the music of Mathew Browne, Debussy, Gordon Jacob, Saint Saëns, Joseph Schwantner, Frank Ticheli and Paul Hindemith.
Tues., Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Ronald Davis Faculty Tuba Recital USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
Ronald Davis with Charles Fugo, piano, present the music of JS Bach- Sonata in E-flat major, Edward Gregson- Alarum, Blagoj Canev – Passacaglia and Paidushka, Jan Sandström- Song for Lotta, and Philip Sparke- Tuba Concerto.
Wed., Oct. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Sarah Frisof Guest Artist Flute Recital
USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
Sarah Frisof was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Kobe International Flute Competition, and 2nd Prize winner of both the National Flute Associations’ Young Artist Competition in 2008 and the Heida Hermann’s International Woodwind Competition in 2007. She is the principal flute of the Dallas Wind Symphony and a frequent performer with the Dallas Symphony. Her interests in outreach and education have led her to Zimbabwe and Brazil, where she directed music programs and participated in humanitarian efforts. She earned her Doctorate from the University of Michigan, her Master of Music from the Juilliard School, and her Bachelor of Music from Eastman School of Music. She will be accompanied by Winifred Goodwin for this recital and will play works of Gieseking, CPE Bach, Dohnanyi, and Burton. Jennifer Parker-Harley, USC associate professor of flute, will join her for a duet by Christopher Theofanidis.
Thurs., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Jeffrey Smith Guest Artist Trumpet Recital
USC School of Music Recital Hall – Free
Jeffrey Bernard Smith is professor of trumpet at the University of Veracruz, the Instituto Superior de Musica del
Estado de Veracruz, and the Centro Mexicano Posgrado Puebla. He joined the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra as principal trumpet in 2008 and has participated in many summer festival orchestras including the East-West International
Music Festival in Altenburg Germany from 1995-2000 where he has been a featured soloist on various occasions. Smith has appeared as soloist with the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra, Xalapa Symphony, Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra, the East-West International Music Festival, la Banda de Leon Guanajuato, and others. He is in high demand in Mexico giving courses, master classes, and lessons throughout the Republic including Xalapa Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Queretaro, Tlahuitoltepec Oaxaca, Merida, Leon Guajuato, Mexico City.
Sunday, October 18, 4 p.m.
USC Wind Ensemble Concert
Koger Center for the Arts – FREE
The program opens with Edvard Grieg’s Funeral March for Rikard Nordrak and continues with Antonin Dvorak’s charming Serenade in D Minor, Op. 44. After the intermission, guest conductor Paul DeCinque conducts David Maslanka’s epic work, A Child’s Garden of Dreams. This very powerful work is based on writings by Carl Jung and is one of the cornerstones of the wind band repertoire.
Tues., October 20, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
USC Symphony Orchestra: John Williams Extravaganza!
Guest Artist Michael Ludwig, violin
Koger Center for the Arts
Michael Ludwig and the USC Symphony Orchestra perform Signature Editions of composer John Williams’ most beloved film score classics, including music from Hook, E.T., Harry Potter, Schindler’s List, Superman, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, andStar Wars.
Save with a season subscription (6 concerts) and enjoy the best seats in the house: $150 general public; $110 senior citizens, USC faculty and staff; $45 students. Single concert tickets are $30 general public; $25 senior citizens, USC faculty and staff; $8 students. Call 803-777-7500 or Koger Box Office, corner of Greene and Park Streets (M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or online at kogercenterforthearts.com.
Tues., Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m.
USC Chamber Orchestra Concert
Johnson Hall, Darla Moore School of Business, level 1
On the program: JS Bach- Brandenburg Concerto, Mozart- Symphony 29, Cynthia Folio’s new work, Winds for Change for flutes, strings and percussion.
It’s pretty clear that cats “own” us humans and sometimes revel in ignoring us when we’re baby-talking our best to get their attention. But imagine if the humans were to ignore a cat. And what if that cat were a neglected feline goddess from an idyllic celestial world called Elysian – a world experiencing the dire consequences of its citizens’ emotional neglect. Resolving these conflicts is the premise behind Soda City Cirque’s stunning new show “Finding Elysian.”
“Finding Elysian is about the idea of co-existing worlds and time travel,” company member Kendal Turner explains during a company rehearsal at an Irmo gym. “It’s the case of a missing cat,” Artemis, who has been stolen and carried back to Elysian, where she was the goddess ruler before she ran away, unhappy about being taken for granted.
The delightful 90-minute play opens in the laboratory of scientist Tess (played by Kendal). Artemis the cat (played by Rachel Hipszer) plays on the floor while Tess conducts experiments in the hope of finding an alternate world and a vehicle for getting there. It is late, and Tess decides to go to sleep. She soon is awakened by a commotion in the other room, and she finds that Artemis is missing and there is a magic porthole now glowing from her wall. Believing she must be dreaming, Tess steps through the porthole.
What follows is a medley of discoveries accompanied by Elysians performing various vignettes that include fire-handling, trapeze, hula hoop, pole and belly dance, acrobatics, and more. Tess learns her cat’s true identity and that Artemis’s absence has created darkness and tumult where joy and love once resided. Ultimately, Tess joins forces with the Elysians to save Artemis and restore their ailing utopia.
The story is loosely based on the mythical Elysian Fields, which represent paradise or heaven in Greek mythology. “We are 100 percent collaborative,” Kendal says. “Anyone in the group can introduce an idea. … We all come up with the story idea together, and I write the script. Everyone is in charge of the individual pieces that they bring to the show.”
Standout performances abound. As Artemis, Rachel Hipszer is dazzling on an apparatus called the “canes” on which she seems to defy gravity (as cats are known to do). Exemplifying polish and enormous physical strength, she executes a number of amazing moves from a handstand position atop vertical canes. She also later performs a mesmerizing aerialist routine hanging from fabric silks that descend from above.
Mike Tanner, who plays Mason, makes spinning plates on a stick look easy. But his pièce de résistance defies imagination. He places three planks separated by spacers atop a single spindle, climbs on top and balances on the constantly rolling contraption while simultaneously maneuvering his body in and out of hand-held hoops. It is, truly, out of this world.
There a number of “firsts” in this – Soda City Cirque’s fourth official performance. “This is the first show when we have had multiple speaking characters,” Kendal says. It’s also the first time Soda City Cirque has had several fire performers on stage all at the same time.
For this performance, the troupe is partnering with Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter and giving free tickets to children from the shelter. “It’s always fun when there are kids in the audience,” Kendal says. “And they get to experience the magic that is live theater.”
As the visionary Gidget, Elizabeth Feretti is hypnotic on the trapeze, epitomizing grace and determination high above the circus floor. As faerie Lenora, Eva Romero captivates the audience with a pole performance that celebrates feminine strength and beauty. As Celeste, Gina Wolfe performs a trapeze-like routine hanging from a hoola-hoop and also carries out an exciting piece with a flaming hoola-hoop while she is flanked by several other fire performers. There really is so much to love in this production.
Kendal is especially proud of the show’s opening act, during which six company members pull off a grand acrobatic performance, creating geometric structures with their bodies.
“We have never done that before, multi-person ‘builds,’” she says. Troupe members are regular people, and most work a full-time day job. “We are all normal people with extraordinary talents. We are normal people with normal bodies.”
It is imperative that the company continually challenge itself. “We have three new members for this show. We are trying a lot of new things. We don’t want to stagnate,” Kendal explains. “In order to get our audience to come back, we have to keep testing ourselves. … Every time we do a show, I worry that no one will come out and see it. Is anyone going to care about this as much as we do?”
In the end, Finding Elysian is about finding balance, living consciously, and celebrating diversity. “For me, it symbolizes the simple act of saying thank you,” Kendal says. “A lot of us don’t take the time to say: ‘I see you; I hear you. Thank you!’”
Finding Elysian will be presented over two consecutive weekends, September 4-5 and September 11-12 at 7:30 p.m. at Conundrum Music Hall in West Columbia. Bring a lawn chair. Tickets are $20 for general audiences and $10 for children under 10. Available for purchase online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2118879. Find Soda City Cirque on Facebook.