Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011


By Nancy Condit

Felicia Boswell, who played Felicia on Broadway, sings one of the songs in the finale of "Memphis."
Photo provided

The musical "
Memphis" opened an eight performance run Tuesday night to an enthusiastic, almost full house at the Civic Center Music Hall Tuesday night. The singing was terrific, and the dancing excellent to David Bryan, Bon Jovi's founding member and keyboardist, and Joe DiPietro's, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, new score about love, music and the beginnings of rock and roll in 1950"s Memphis.

Live music accompanied the show in the form a juke joint/orchestra nine piece The Memphis Band, with two keyboards, drums, a guitar, bass, trumpet, trombone, and two reeds.

Felicia Boxwell, who played the female lead of Felicia on Broadway, was excellent, as the show explored the roots of rock and roll from gospel to the blues to jazz to ballads to a song with a touch of opera.  Bryan Fenkart as Huey, the male lead, sang well, and played the role of one the passionate people who discovered negro music -- "
Memphis shows me how this life has to be.  Memphis lives in me.  Listen to the beat, to your soul" he sings at the show's end, after the love he and Felicia falls apart because the times won't allow it.

The standout of the second act was Julie Johnson, who belted out "Change Don't Come Easy" as she testified after going to a black church for the first time in her life.  Huey's mama, who was so appalled with his being with a dark girl, had herself changed.

Technically notable are the scenic design by Tony® Award winner David Gallo’s and
lighting design by Tony® Award winner Joe Dipietro.  Gallo’s two level box set allows action to take place on the stage and on the second level. 

Memphis" has more humor than other musicals, like "Hairspray," about integration, and, for that reason alone, it's is a better show, or perhaps it may show that peoples get on with life.  I leave it to audience members to make that decision.

Note: The
Civic Center ushers, who are volunteers, and extremely courteous and conscientious.

Memphis,”presented by Celebrity Attractions, runs through November 13th.  Tickets may be purchased via phone (800) 869-1451, (405) 297-2264, in person at the Civic Center Music Hall Box Office or online at

Remaining shows in Celebrity Attractions 2011-2012 Broadway Season includes THE ADDAMS FAMILY, STOMP, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, the add-on productions of MAMMA MIA! and the
Tulsa engagement of JERSEY BOYS.

c. Nancy Condit

Photo from the ACLU Oklahoma website

The death of Michael Sky Camfield this week is noted with sadness by Arts, Dance & OKC.

The American Civil Liberties of Oklahoma said on its website it lost a former co-worker, great advocate, and dear friend Michael Sky Camfield. Michael worked for the ACLU of Oklahoma from 1993-2009. For much of that time, Michael was half of the two member staff along with former Executive Director Joann Bell. During his time at the ACLU he was a powerful advocate for many Oklahomans.

Michael began working for the ACLU of Oklahoma in 1993. While he served many roles, the majority of his energy was devoted to finding unique ways to grow the membership and to develop an impressive and consistent fundraising base.

Perhaps the incident that received the most publicity in Michael's time with the ACLU of Oklahoma was with the video of "The Tin Drum."

In 1997, an Oklahoma resident complained that the academy award-winning German movie contained child pornography and therefore violated Oklahoma law. After a local judge viewed the movie and agreed with the complainant, the police subsequently went to neighborhood video stores and removed all copies, and obtained, without a warrant, the names of those who were currently renting it. One copy had been rented by Michael who got wind of the impending seizure and wanted to see if the movie was really objectionable. Police came to Michael’s house and asked for the cassette, which he handed over after some discussion of “the artistic merits of the movie.”

The ACLU of Oklahoma filed suit, and the court found that the city violated Michael’s rights by obtaining his rental records without a court order or warrant. The court awarded Michael the statutory minimum of $2500, but more importantly, a victory for civil liberties.  (From the ACLU of Oklahoma website.)

Michael began working for the ACLU of Oklahoma in 1993. While he served many roles, the majority of his energy was devoted to finding unique ways to grow the membership and to develop an impressive and consistent fundraising base.
 "Michael loved everything the ACLU stands for and he especially subscribed to the “Molly Ivins” idea of defending Civil Liberties and having a ball while doing it," former executive director Joanne Bell wrote the on Oklahoma American Civil Liberities Union webpage.

"He was devoted to the ACLU," Marjorie Ramana, member of the board of directors, said to Dance, Art & OKC.

Services will be 10:00 A.M. Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at the Asa Smith Memorial Chapel, Harrah, OK. Services are under the direction of Smith~Parks Funeral Service in Harrah, OK.

Compiled by Nancy Condit

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Saturday, Nov. 12th, 10 am to 4 pm
Civic Center Music Hall – “Hall of Mirrors”
Admission Free

The 25th annual Peace Festival will be a holiday shopping bazaar, featuring tables of more than 50 social justice groups and local crafts vendors. It will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12th, from 10 am to 4 pm, in the Civic Center Hall of Mirrors, in downtown Oklahoma City. Admission is free.
“Live entertainment by local musicians and colorful fair trade goods on sale make this a popular event for supporters of human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace,” said Conna Wilkinson, Director of the Peace Education Institute, cosponsor of the event. All groups provide informative materials, in addition to crafts and goods for sale. Food items at many tables and refreshments will also be available for visitors.

A Children’s Activity Room will be supervised by adults during the event.

Fair trade goods available will include coffee, pottery, carving and weaving from Central America, Africa, and Asia, fabrics and clothing items. Environmental group Sierra Club will offer calendars, books, and other eco-friendly items. The Oklahoma Vegetarian Society will provide homemade snacks, egg rolls and recipes teaching visitors nourishment without meat

Peace House Director Nathaniel Batchelder said, “The Peace Festival celebrates and makes visible many nonprofit and volunteer groups working behind the scenes all year on issues concerning human rights, social justice and the environment in Oklahoma.” The Peace Festival is a time of public connection and support for these groups, he said.

From the Peace House website

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Performer and collaborator with fellow composer Francis Poulenc, UCO pianist David Forbat plays to choreographer Robyn Pasternack's contemporary ballet "Sincerely Beatrice."  Photo provided.

By Nancy Condit

Don Betz, president of the University of Central Oklahoma, led off the Kaleidoscope Dance Company Fall Concert with the High School Dance Festival last Saturday night.  "The arts are absolutely essential to our heart and our soul," he said from the stage of Mitchell Hall on UCO's campus.  The program also included guest artists fiddler Kyle Dillingham, UCO artist in residence, and UCO pianist David Forbat to "Sincerely

The concert opened with choreographer Tina Kambour's funny and then lyrical modern dance "Se je vous embrasse," to music composed and performed by fiddler Kyle Dillingham, with vocalist Emily Weeks.  Dancers in a restaurant gave a new meaning to table hopping as they circled from one table to another, and then walked on chairs and tables to talk to each other. Dillingham's jazzy music even included honkey tonk rhythms, to Weeks' lovely voice.

Dillingham played two solos.  He began the first with classical music, improvising to a French song -- UCO's country to be emphasized this year is France, and ending with classical music.  In his second solo, he played what must be his version of "The Orange Blossom Special" -- fast, fiery, with incredibly quick and long, anticipatory bowing.  Both selections were really well done.

Guest choreographer Chip Abbott's musical theater "Derrierre le Dos" (Behind the Back), to music by Larrons en foire by Raphael Beau from the Micmacs soundtrack, was a polished barefoot '40's style dance of a woman and two men against the background of seven dancers in beige short dresses or pants.  The men competed for the woman, while she enticed both of them until she made her choice.  The signature move of the dance was the slight mannered lifting of their skirts or pants as a punctuation of events in the musical theater dance.

Three high school dance programs performed with the college company.  In order of appearance they were Classen School of Advanced Studies, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, and Harding Fine Arts Academy.  Classen's "Happy Feet:," choreographed by Nancy Trait-Lira and dancers, featured the troupe in bright red leotards half-way down the thighs, white cuffs and slicked back hair to a 20's sounding dance to a contemporary French piece by Vial/Delaporte/Payen/Tilleke, moving as a troupe in funny stylized sophisticated moves as a troupe.  McGuinness' "It Sparks a Fire," choreographed by Brandi Gable to music "Blue Cassette" by Friendly Fires, was high energy jazz.  Harding's "Terra Firma," choreographed by Karen Voyles to music by Phoenix, was a mid-century style modern dance in long dresses of muted earth tones.

Choreographer Michelle Dexter's meditative "Bushido" with music by Dead Can Dance, opened to a capella chanting, and moved into rousing drumming.  The dancers, clad in Chinese style costumes, moved in simple patterns and progressed to more complex ones, moving within the beats of the drums.  All of the moves were controlled in spite of a very frenetic piece of music.  The piece closed with dancers collapsing one by one into supporting dancers' arms.

For sheer attention getting, choreographer Emily South's "My Lullaby" to music by Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums was one of the standouts, with hip hop jazz dancing zombies. And lots and lots of hair.

Choreographer Hui Cha Poos' energetic "Can Can" to "Always Can Can" by the Joann Strauss Orchestra sounded a lot like Offenbach.  The traditional costumes were worn by dancers with legs stretched high, heels held in their hands, ruffled skirts, and kick lines.

Guest choreographer Leah Roman's hip hop jazz "Do It Like This," to music by "I'm in the House," "Do It Like This," "Took the Night," and "She Wants to Move," was full of moves people wish they could do, but don't, including one of the men ending the dance by barking twice at the full auditorium.  In the program notes
she is quoted as saying she hopes to share the happiness of dance with as many people as she can.

c. Nancy Condit

Saturday, November 5, 2011



With an extra hour in Sunday, November 6, downtown offers the following two events, ripped off the ethernet:
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art continues its exhibits of Poodles and Pastries, new paintings by Franco Mondini-Ruiz, and Faded Elegance: Photographs of Havana by Michael Eastman. 

Family day runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and also includes art making activities, face painting, and international dancing from a dance studio.

Should your mood carry you to the Pacific,

Visit the Downtown Library tomorrow for a Hawaiian program, or one of these other libraries later:               
  • Monday, November 7 at 1:00p.m. – Warr Acres Library, 5901 N.W. 63rd Street
  • Monday, November 7 at 7:00p.m. – Midwest City Library, 8143 E. Reno
  • Tuesday, November 8 at 1:00p.m. – Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard
  • Tuesday, November 8 at 7:00p.m. – Bethany Library, 3510 N. Mueller
  • Wednesday, November 9 at 10:00a.m. – Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 N.E. 23rd Street
  • Wednesday, November 9 at 2:00p.m. – Choctaw Library, 2525 Muzzy
  • Thursday, November 10 at 7:00p.m. – Belle Isle Library, 5501 N. Villa
  • Friday, November 11 at 10:00a.m. – The Village Library, 10307 N. Pennsylvania
  • Friday, November 11 at 2:00p.m. – Del City Library, 4509 S.E. 15th Street

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

The University of Central Oklahoma opens its fall Kaliedoscope Dance Company concerts tonight, November 3 at 7:30 at Mitchell Hall on the UCO campus.  They will also run Friday and Saturday night at 7:30. 

Guest artists are well known fiddler and UCO Ambassador in Residence Kyle Dillingham, playing a solo, and David Forbat, collaborator to composer Francis Poulenc, accompanying some of the dancers in the lovely classical "Sincerely Beatrice," choreographed by Robyn Pasternack.

Guest choreographers are musical theater choreographer and dancer Chip Abbott, who is based in New York City, Andrew Palermo, who is co-artistic director of company, conducts master classes, and works with special needs groups, including those who are autistic, and Leah Roman, a dancer from Phoenix, Arizona, who uses her passiion for dance to inspire others.

These concerts are held in conjunctiion with the 2nd High School Dance Festival, held with the concerts.
Participating in the festival of classes and some in a performance are Capital Hill High School. Norman North High School, Putnam City North High School, U.S. Grant High School, Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, John Marshall High School, Tulsa Central Fine and Performing Arts High School, Millwood School, Classen School of Advanced Studies, and Harding Fine Arts Academy.

Tickets are $14 and down, and are available by calling the UCO Mitchell Hall Theatre Box Office at 974-3375.

See my article in 
c. Nancy Condit

Wednesday, November 2, 2011



On November 14-15, 2011, Brightmusic Chamber Music Ensemble will present two performances of its “Founders’ Concert.”  Brightmusic’s original artistic directors – Matthew Dane and Christina Jennings – will join Brightmusic’s current artistic directors – Chad Burrow and Amy I-Lin Cheng – in a long-awaited reunion concert. 

The works on the program are: (1) Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun,” arranged by Rice University professor Michael Webster for flute, clarinet and piano; (2) Duo Concertante for Flute and Viola in C Minor by 18th Century French composer François Devienne; (3) 20th Century English composer Benjamin Britten’s “Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland;” (4) “INBOX” composed for flute, viola and piano by Dr. Edward Knight, Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at Oklahoma City University; and (5) German Romantic composer Max Bruch’s “Eight Pieces” for viola, clarinet and piano. 

The musicians who will appear are: Matthew Dane (viola), Christina Jennings (flute), Chad Burrow (clarinet) and Amy I-Lin Cheng (piano).

The performances will take place: (1) on Monday, November 14th at 7:30 pm at Casady School, 9500 N. Pennsylvania Avenue at Britton Road and (2) on Tuesday, November 15th at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 NW 7th Street at Robinson.  Admission is $10 per adult; students are free of charge.  A reception with the musicians will follow each performance. 

This concert is made possible by season grants from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Ad Astra Foundation.                                                                                    
Guest Artists and Brightmusic Musicians Appearing:

Viola:  Dr. Matthew Dane, former principal violist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra and associate professor of viola at the University of Oklahoma; currently principal violist with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston), as well as a violist with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado and the Boulder Piano Quartet; visiting faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder and adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State College in Denver; original Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Flute:  Christina Jennings, principal flutist with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra (Houston); assistant professor of flute at the University of Colorado Boulder; original Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Clarinet:  Chad Burrow, former principal clarinetist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra and associate professor of clarinet at Oklahoma City University; currently assistant professor of clarinet, University of Michigan School of Music; current Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.  For more information, see
Piano: Dr. Amy I-Lin Cheng, concert pianist and collaborative musician; former head of the piano department at Oklahoma City University; currently a member of the piano faculty of the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts and a collaborative pianist at the University of Michigan School of Music; current Co-Artistic Director of Brightmusic.

Musical Works To Be Performed:

Claude Debussy (arranged by Michael Webster), “Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun” (flute, clarinet and piano):  The teachers of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) at the Paris Conservatory considered him insolent because he thought his own rules of composition were superior to theirs.  Another young nonconformist, Eric Satie, suggested to Debussy that they create their own music – and make it “without any sauerkraut.”  Debussy became the finest French composer of his time and, in doing so, created that new music.  He was a revolutionary whose style did not trigger musical warfare.  Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun was his early orchestral triumph.  Premiered in 1894, its exotic, sensual sounds created a “dreamlike trance” that “set twentieth-century music on its way.”  [Schoenberg]  Debussy disliked the label impressionist, but the way he painted with his music certainly “enlarged music’s color wheel.”  [Dubal]  Prelude was a watershed composition, occupying “a place in musical history comparable to the Eroica Symphony.”  [Schoenberg]  The arrangement Brightmusic will play was written by clarinetist and Rice University music professor Michael Webster.

François Devienne, Duo Concertante for Flute and Viola in C Minor, op. 5., no. 3: 
François Devienne (1759-1803) was a French contemporary of Mozart – a composer, performer, teacher and scholar.  The youngest of 14 children, he moved to Paris at age 20, where he studied, taught and performed bassoon and flute with ensembles including the Paris Opera.  In 1793 he authored an important book about flute technique.  When the Paris Conservatory was chartered in 1795, he became one of its first flute professors.  Devienne composed 12 operas and approximately 300 other works.   Jean-Pierre Rampal’s performances of Devienne’s works revived his music for the concert-going public.  Devienne composed six duets for flute and viola, each in two movements.  They were unusual for their time because the composer assigned approximately equal importance to each instrument.
Benjamin Britten, “Lachrymae: Reflections on a Song of Dowland” (viola and piano):  Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) created a wide variety of music but marched to his own drummer.  He “made his mark before World War II and never substantially changed his style,” [Schoenberg] even though this “went against the grain of the postwar era.”  [Ross]  In Lachrymae  he “revives the Elizabethan world” of composer and lute player John Dowland (1563-1626).  Britten wrote Lachrymae to perform with violist William Primrose at the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival.  Britten’s “reflections” are ten short variations on Dowland’s song, “If My Complaint Could Passions Move.”  Typically, variation style states the theme first, followed by the variations.  Although Dowland’s song makes a brief appearance at the beginning of this work, Britten reveals Dowland’s song, as the Renaissance composer wrote it, only at the end.

Edward Knight, “INBOX” (flute, viola and piano):  Dr. Edward Knight (b. 1961) is a Professor of Music, Composer-in-Residence and Director of Composition at Oklahoma City University.  He has composed works for orchestra, symphonic band, percussion ensemble and piano trio, as well as a clarinet sonata, cabaret songs, two fanfares and two original, full-length romantic musical comedies.  The four movements of “INBOX” explore a world in which a flood of information awaits us each morning: “Do Not Delete” (the joy of spam and viruses), “Classmate Quest” (the connection of classmates now living in different worlds), “” (the romance of cyber dating), and “EBay Bid Wars” (the frenetic world of online auctions).  “INBOX” was commissioned and premiered in 2009 by Matthew Dane, Christina Jennings and Alexandra Nguyen.  Ed Knight serves as a member of the board of directors of Brightmusic.

Max Bruch, “Eight Pieces,” Op. 83 (clarinet, viola and piano): Max Bruch (1838-1920) was one of the most prominent practitioners of 19th-Century German Romanticism (probably one of the composers whose “sauerkraut” Debussy and Satie wanted to leave behind).  He composed instrumental and choral music for the concert hall, theater and church.  He was also a conductor and, from 1891-1910, a professor of composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik.  His music was, like Mendelssohn’s, conservative in form and harmony, but it reflected “deep thoughtfulness and melodic richness.”  [Dubal]  Bruch composed his autumnal “Eight Pieces” at age 72 for his clarinetist son.  Seven of the eight are in minor keys that “draw the mellowest sound possible” from the instruments.  [Reel]  “Eight Pieces” is a work of special meaning to Brightmusic:  It was performed at Brightmusic’s second concert on January 13, 2004, by the same four wonderful musicians who will perform it at this concert. 

Brightmusic is on the Web at
From the press release