Archive for August, 2011
Hi, Readers. It’s your friendly “Get Out” blog writer, taking a little road trip over to visit the fine folks at “Alt Arts.” As always though, I’m writing to you today to give you another great idea for how to get out and experience the Tri-State area. So here’s my idea:
Join The Band!
The Quincy Concert Band begins practicing this Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the band room at Baldwin School. The band is under the direction of the very talented Trent A. Hollinger, Director of Bands at Culver Stockton University.
This will be my fifth show with the Quincy Concert Band, and the lineup for this concert, titled “War and Peace,” is one of the most outstanding yet. Scheduled selections include the well-known “American Salute” by Morton Gould, “Hands Across the Sea” by John Phillip Sousa, “Children’s March” by Percy Granger, and “Mars: Bringer of War (from The Planets)” by Gustav Holst. There are also several pieces that will be new for most of the band, including “Shenandoah” by avant-garde composer Frank Ticheli, “A Hymn for the Lost and the Living” by Eric Ewazen (written as a tribute for 9/11), “Chester” by William Schuman, and “Suite Francaise” by Darius Milhaud.
The first time I walked into the Quincy Concert Band, holding my slightly dusty and neglected clarinet, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I knew I was rusty, as I’d spent the prior years playing mellophone in the University of Iowa Marching Band and largely ignoring my woodwind friend. What I found with the Quincy Concert Band, though, was a supportive group who welcomed all its new members, rusty or not. There are no auditions, and though there is some chair placement structure, the group mostly comes in to practice and arranges itself.
The music selection is perfect for getting back into good playing condition. There are pieces that are challenging mixed with songs that feel familiar to my fingers. Professor Hollinger has an aptitude for designing programs with strong thematic elements but with a compelling mix of classic band arrangements as well as contemporary pieces. The varied styles of his show programming keep the excitement level high, and help me to enjoy taking the pieces home to practice and come back the next week a better player than I’d been the week before.
So how do you get involved? Show up. The Quincy Concert Band welcomes all new musicians. Bring your band instrument, whatever it may be, and we’ll find a place for you. Percussionists are always needed as well. Practice is at the Baldwin Band Room (enter through the Maine Street Circle Drive entrance) each Thursday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. If you have questions, you can email our director Trent Hollinger at email@example.com or call (573) 288-6418.
If you’re not a musician or you can’t join the band, you can still “get out” and enjoy this top-notch community organization. The “War and Peace” show, presented by the Quincy Concert Band will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. at the Quincy Junior High School Morrison Theater. Our spring concert is scheduled for Sunday, March 11, at 2:30 p.m. in the same location. Tickets to the shows are free, and the entire band truly appreciates everyone who comes out to hear our performances.
There is nothing so exciting as exploring new worlds, be they real or fictional, past, present or future, and there is no easier way than with a good book. Local author Sarah M. Anderson is lending a helping hand to those of us with a questing mind with the release of “Eleanore Gray,” a novel started by her grandmother. Sarah has finished the book and is celebrating by hosting a signing at Great Debate Books in downtown Quincy.
I recently corresponded with the Mrs. Anderson to find out more:
Clara Robertson: This book is originally by your grandmother. What made you decide to finish the work?
Sarah M. Anderson: Goldie died in 1960, 16 years before I was born. I knew almost nothing about her for most of my life. When my uncle, James, contacted me about finishing this book, I saw an opportunity to find out more about my family history. To that end, I took the extra step of organizing a “Collective Biography” of Goldie, including a memory from each of her nine children. Those 22 pages helped me get to know my grandmother.
R: Tell me some more about the story behind “Eleanore Grey.” Is it historically accurate?
A: The story is set in 1902 in Dean’s Creek, Mo., which is in the heart of the Ozark Hills. Goldie was born in Dean’s Creek in 1908. From what my father and uncle tell me, the scenes of daily life in Dean’s Creek in the book are taken directly from Goldie’s memories of growing up in Hill Country. She went to a school and a church that are exactly like the ones described in the book, and the details about farming and canning are not only how things were done in Dean’s Creek, but how Goldie continued to do them later in her life. She would can about a thousand jars of preserves every summer!
R: Is there anyone else in the family involved in this publication?
A: This book has passed through several hands. My uncle James, who is listed as a co-author, was the one to find the book after Goldie’s death and store it for decades. Cindy Lucas, my aunt, typed the original draft from Goldie’s handwritten manuscript on a typewriter, and my cousin James Jr., and his wife, Faith, moved the typed copy to a computer. While I was editing and polishing the manuscript, my parents, John and Carolyn Lucas, read many drafts to check for typos.
R: How long did it take you finish the manuscript?
A: I spent parts of a year working on this project. In total, I only added about 10 pages of text to the book, most of which came at the end. Most of that time was spent on proofing and organizing the “Collective Biography.” Proofing was important to me because I wanted the finished product to be something the whole family could be proud of.
R: What is your favorite memory from the process of finishing this book?
A: My favorite memory is getting a big box from James and pulling this crumbling sheaf of papers out of it. I learned so much about my grandmother just from holding her words in my hands. My grandparents struggled to get by, but writing this book was so important to my grandmother that she only wrote on one side of the paper—and paper wasn’t cheap. My grandfather bought her all the paper she wanted. That alone told me how much they loved each other. Goldie also doodled in the margins—flowers, women’s faces and heads, that sort of thing. It was a little like watching her think on paper.
R: You are an author in your own right. Is this book typical of your own work, or was it a new experience for you?
A: “Eleanore Gray” is completely different from my work. Goldie was a published poet, and her voice has a lyrical tone that I found almost impossible to replicate. Each time I added something to the book, I had to rewrite it about four times before I could get my voice to match hers. My own books feature modern-day cowboys and Indians, complete with brooding heroes, snarky heroines and absolutely no canning.
R: Where can this book be purchased?
A: “Eleanore Gray” is available at Great Debates in Downtown Quincy. I’ll be doing a book signing on Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and I’ll happily answer questions about self-publishing then. The book is also on Amazon.com. I hope to have an e-book version available soon.
R: Where can our readers find more of your work?
As mentioned in the interview, Sarah will be at Great Debate Books on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. I hope you can all make it out to help her celebrate this wonderful book!
While driving this week, I passed a sign that said “Adults are just kids with money.” Nowhere is that more true than at Gencon. After spending four days immersed in the creative world of gaming and gamer culture, I can personally attest to the fact that adults are indeed just big kids, and my own wallet will attest to the fact that we really are only separated by our paycheck. Walking the exhibit hall I found myself surrounded by walking sculptures, fan art and steam punk costumes so good I had to remind myself that I wasn’t walking around in a dream and those were in fact, people playing dress up. I mean, imagine turning a corner and coming face to face with her:
Then of course there were the actual sculptures like this one:
But, what really caught my eye were the minis, which brings us full circle to my last blog, where I told you we would look at two on the archetype gamers. This one focuses on miniatures gaming. There are so many different types of miniatures games from Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer Fantasy and 40k, Heroclix to Axis and Allies just to name a few. These games range from the intense investment of both time and money, to the completely relaxed, but what is truly breathtaking about them is that people take the time to paint these tiny statues, and they do it incredibly well.
To put the above photos into perspective, they are no more than two inches tall and have all been hand painted. To see the work of some of our local gamers, check out the guild meetings on Sunday evenings in the downstairs of Tangerine Bowl.
This week is a pretty exciting one for the gaming community with Gencon Indy approaching rapidly, and I am no exception. In honor of this, the largest of all gaming conventions, I will be returning to the world of gamer art, highlighting two of its most respected and long-standing positions. First, I will be taking a small detour from the visual media arts and taking you back to a long respected and mostly lost art form. Storytelling.
In ancient times and cultures, stories were told by elders and travelers, passing on legends and histories by mouth to each generation. Today, you can find written versions of most of these tales, but these bardic arts still exist if you know where to look for them. The storytellers of today aren’t village elders passing on fairy tales and scary stories. They are people of all shapes, sizes and ages with vast imaginations who create worlds, histories, cultures and environments from scratch and make them come to life for other people — who not only listen, but also who participate in the tale. These people are commonly referred to as the D/GM (Dungeon/Game Master).
The original Dungeon Master was not a small cartoon character from the ‘80s, but Gary Gygax, a visionary man who co-founded the gaming company TSR and changed the face of storytelling, taking it from a campfire farce and returning it to a much beloved pastime. Since the early 1970s, families and friends have gathered together around tables (or not) and gone questing together through the minds of today’s mostly ridiculed and generally overlooked modern Bard.