When my sons were students at Georgia Southern, they were both involved in music, especially Calvin, who earned a degree in music. Josh’s degree is in English, but he played on the indoor drum line and still plays several instruments for fun. Often the boys would call me and tell me to put a particular date on the calendar and come to Statesboro for a night of classical music. We heard music teachers and students in concert, as well as traveling groups. Once we had the pleasure of seeing and hearing a Russian group perform. How we enjoyed these outings. It never bothered me that I got back home late and had to rise early the next morning.
I really didn’t understand how much I missed those outings until Saturday last. My musical diet was deficient, and I didn’t even realize it until I had a chance to supplement it a bit without ever leaving the city limits of Baxley.
Technically, I had to drive into the city limits, but Baxley’s a bit closer than Statesboro.
Saturday evening, January 28, 2012, the Arts Council of Appling County sponsored the 2nd Annual Classical Showcase at the fine arts center. The group hoped to bring a taste of the beauty and tradition of musical heritage throughout the world to Baxley for an evening. Local musicians came out to perform fifteen different selections--vocal, instrumental, and combinations--from the biggest names in music like Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert, among others. If anyone present had any doubt about the talent of Appling County citizens, he surely left with an altered opinion. I was spellbound during the entire performance and delighted that I had chosen to spend my Saturday evening listening to classical music.
To begin the program, Dr. Stan Brobston led the audience in singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and Terry Hester accompanied on the piano. The performers included musicians and ministers of music from several churches, a physician, a high school band student, and several business people. I saw people that I’ve known for a long, long time performing musical feats that I’d never seen them perform before. I had no idea they were so talented, but I was especially pleased to see neighbors in concert.
After the last strains of the music died away, Don Sears, emcee for the evening, invited the audience to a reception in the lobby. Art displays decorated the area and provided a chance to examine the work of local artists. People sipping on sparkling beverages simultaneously admired a seascape and relished the cream puffs from the refreshment table. They milled about, meeting and thanking the musicians.
And of course, the air filled with chatter as it always does when friends and neighbors get together for a night of fun. I appreciate the efforts of the Arts Council. If you, too, need a musical supplement, never fear; this production is an annual one. If you’d like more information or would like to become involved in the council, call 912-278-2772 for more information.
Far too often, I hear disparaging remarks about Baxley and small town life. I think perhaps we, the people, need to take a closer look at what is available to us and take advantage of it. Too quickly we turn up our noses at classical music or classic books because somewhere in history, we started associating them with school and forced learning. In doing so, we cheat ourselves of the world’s best. The classics have stood the test of time. They are the best.
Music fills our souls with the universal language. Every body can respond. By all means, let’s keep our country, pop, rock, the oldies, bluegrass, and every thing else out there that fills our ears every day, but on occasion we just might benefit from a dollop of the classical. Mark your calendars for this time next year.