Congo Masks & Music Saturday, Mar 14 2020 

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

Ngulu (pig) mask, Chokwep people

The Musical Instrument Museum is celebrating its tenth-year anniversary with a special exhibit, “Congo Masks and Music: Masterpieces from Central Africa” (November 8, 2019-September 13, 2020). We were treated to a collection of 150 masks, instruments, and costumes from the late 1800s to early 1900s from dozens of Central African cultural groups. The exhibition contextualizes masks alongside musical instruments in their authentic performance settings. It Introduced us to different peoples’ worldviews, histories, religious beliefs, and morals through intricate masks, constructed out of a variety of materials, showcasing remarkable artistry. The mask, we learned, may perform to frighten, protect, appease, bless, purify, honor, heal, exalt, encourage, distract, celebrate, or entertain.

We also visited the Artist Gallery which commemorates great musicians, innovators, and instrument makers. It is an interesting collection of instruments and their artists who have enriched our musical heritage. The Musical Instrument Museum is a great place to experience music, the language of the soul.

Melita Hunsinger Featured in Prescott Concert Monday, Jan 20 2020 

The Phoenix Symphony performed in Prescott yesterday afternoon. Until two years ago we were Phoenix Symphony season ticket holders usually selecting four performances. We discovered that many of our choices were ones also performed in Prescott. This year the Yavapai Symphony Association is sponsoring seven concerts, five with the Phoenix Symphony. Yesterday’s performance was the second this season featuring, Melita Hunsinger, Phoenix Symphony’s Principal Cellist, performing Robert Schumann’s “Concerto in A minor.” Interestingly, the three movements Nicht zu schnell, Langsam, Sehr lebhaft) are played without a pause. The concert started with Felix Jacob Ludwig Mendelssohn’s “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in E Major, opus 21.” The concert notes indicate that he “finished it on August 6, 1826 when he was 17 years old.” After an intermission, the concert concluded with Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 4 in A Major, opus 90.” Conductor Tito Munoz informed us that Mendelssohn did not allow this piece to be published in his lifetime and that he revised the second (Andante com moto), third (Con moto grazioso), and fourth (Saltarello: Allegro di molto) movements. He did not revise the first movement (Allegro vivace). This symphony, known as the Italian, was published posthumously in 1851, four years after Mendelssohn’s death at the age of 38. We enjoyed experiencing the Phoenix Symphony in Prescott. The Yavapai College auditorium has good acoustics, although the seats are not arranged to avoid possible obstructions from those seated in front of you.

Acker Night 2018 Saturday, Dec 8 2018 

Music Machine

Music Machine

Rain earlier in the day did not affect this year’s 30th anniversary of Acker Night. Some 600 performers in 145 groups in 140 businesses participated in this musical showcase that raises funds: to provide scholarships for music lessons, to purchase instruments, and to support local youth performing arts programs.

After admiring the Yavapai County Courthouse lights and taking photos within the gazebo, we took in some of the performers on Whiskey Row. “Sidekicks” performed country, bluegrass, and Gospel in the Prescott Trading Company. “Lady T and the Tramps” hit their acoustic Americana groove in the Clothes Hound. “Perfect Strangers” belted out their rock, country, and pop tunes in the Hotel St. Michael alley.

Rather than wait in the long line to get into the Elks Theatre on Gurley, we entered Liberty Lane to be entertained by the silky voice Renee Patrick Grant and the energetic keyboards from “Nicole Pesce.”

Along Cortez we admired the variety of banjos playing Dixieland with the “Hometowne Banjoleers” in Lamerson Jewelry. “Adam and Friends” rocked us in The Marketplace. “Road One South” performed the blues in Country Bank. “Music Machine” celebrated Christmas music on a theatre organ in an open area adjacent to Adrenaline Salon. Our dinner table with friends in Papa’s Italian Restaurant was in a back room far from where “Sax Appeal” performed. We enjoyed a taste of Italy in the pines.

Acker Night is another unique way to celebrate Christmas in Prescott.

Benson Sculpture Garden Monday, Jul 30 2018 

Child of Peace

Child of Peace

Loveland, Colorado has been described as “a sweetheart city which has a love affair with the arts.” The Benson Sculpture Garden currently has 158 pieces of sculpture on a 10-acre park situated around a privately-owned lake, amid trees, flowers, and natural habitat areas. We visited the day before part of the park was going to be closed for the 35th Annual Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried sculpture show. This year’s official dates of this show are August 10-12. I took photographs of the following sculptures with the date they were added by the Loveland High Plains Arts Council:

  • “High Plains Warrior” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Windsong” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Double Header” by Kent Ullberg (1986)
  • “Rice Ritual” by Carla Knight (1989)
  • “Child of Peace” by Edward F. Hoffman III (1990)
  • “Flora” by Jo Hess (1990)
  • “Keeping the Ball Rolling” by Jane Dedecker (1990)
  • “Sophie” by Tony Hochstetler (1990)
  • “Akicita” by Dan Garrett (1991)
  • “Mujer del Logo” by Tom Ware (1992)
  • “Between Broncs” by Garland Weeks (1998)
  • “Circle of Life” by J. Chester Armstrong (1998)
  • “Prairie Flowers” by George Lundeen (1998)
  • “Rebecca and Friends” by Dee Toscano (1998)
  • “Dance of the Eagle” by Allan Houser (1999)
  • “The Escape” by Curtis Zabel (2000)
  • “Lillith” by Rosalind Cook (2000)
  • “The Actor” by Dee Clements (2001)
  • “The Potato Man” by Susan Geissler (2001)
  • “Louis Papa” by Pat Kennedy (2001)
  • “Monday” by Maureen K. Scott (2002)
  • “Breeze” by Blair Buswell (2003)
  • “Harvest” by Seth Vandable (2003)
  • “Resting on a Rough Sawn Bench” by Robert McDermott (2003)
  • “Evening Jazz” by Warren Cullar (2004)
  • “Fiesta” by Carol Gold (2004)
  • “Headin’ for the Gathering” by Rick Jackson (2006)
  • “The Garden” by Susie Chisholm (2008)
  • “Duet” by Jeff K. Laing (2009)
  • “Pelican Ahoy” by Jim Green (2013)
  • “Happy Dance” by Richard Pankratz (2015)
  • “Book of Peddlers” by Jack Morford (2016)
  • “Tree Top Stretch” by Daniel B. Glanz (2016)
  • “Amore” by Kim Kori (2017)

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Jul 26 2018 

John Wayne

John Wayne

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College offers extraordinary exhibits. The permanent collection has strong holdings of “Art of the Southwest” from indigenous, Nuevomexicana/o artists. I especially liked “Our Lady of Guadalupe” by Eulogio and Zoraida Ortega. Marisol presents a satirical portrait of John Wayne’s macho image with her mixed media piece “John Wayne.” Dale Chihuly’s “Orange Hornet Chandelier” was a bright spot in our visit. I was impressed with their collection of M. C. Escher paintings of “Perception and Deception.” I was surprised at how many special exhibits were offered. Alex Harris, for example, presents a series of photographs (through July 29th) of Northern New Mexico landscapes taken from the front seat of different classic cars in “Red White Blue and God Bless You.” Within the “Year of the Dog” exhibit (through October 14), Frank and Sharon Romero present some wonderful images of dogs. Sculptor John Frame uses an animated film to portray his “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale” (until September 16). Conceptual artist Tom Marioni has a fun exhibit with “The Art of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art” (until September 9th). Unfortunately, because we were leaving Wednesday morning, we missed his evening beer drinking event. The Bemis School of Art Gallery featured interesting work by three Colorado College students. The interior courtyard has several sculptures including “Opus 1” by Bill Burgess. The grounds have more sculptures. I was especially interested to see Prescott resident Doug Hyde’s “Hopi Basket Dancers.”

We walked around the Colorado College campus and stepped into the Tutt Library where we learned that the school has about 2,000 students and that their unusual curricular format is based on eight 3.5-week classes per year. Colorado College is a very interesting college. We had dinner in Old Colorado City where we learned that it was briefly the territorial capital. The city celebrates its mining history with old mining ore cars decorating street corners. Although closed, the windows of the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery intrigued us with its handmade figurines.

2018 Prescott Bluegrass Festival Sunday, Jun 24 2018 

Central Valley Boys

Central Valley Boys

This year we attended Prescott Bluegrass Festival sets on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we heard traditional bluegrass from the Central Valley Boys, California; the seasoned musicians from the Sonoran Dogs, Tucson and Phoenix; and the rock side of the headliners Ryan Shuge and the Rubberband. The Central Valley Boys were the best costumed, but we progressively enjoyed the musical virtuosity of each ensuing group. On Sunday we returned for the set by Tom Paxton and the Don Juans. Interestingly, these Grammy winning singer-songwriters performed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix on Saturday night ($38.50-$43.50). The 37th annual Prescott Bluegrass Festival was free!

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