Artists in Action: Pieta replica on display at Sacred Heart Church
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Mar 31, 2013 | 4952 views |  0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During the Easter season, visitors to Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church find the marble “Pieta” on display in the sanctuary particularly striking and meaningful. Pieta, a representation of the Virgin Mary cradling the crucified body of Christ, is a copy of Michelangelo’s sculpture (although three-fourths the size), which now stands in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The original, the only piece Michelangelo ever signed, was sculpted between 1498 and 1499, according to “Masters of Painting” by Bernardine Kielty.

Pieta was a gift to Sacred Heart from the late Dr. Dom Judge. The art collector, who was of Italian descent, wanted to contribute something extraordinary to the new church building in Golden Springs when it was being constructed, according to Rita Judge Smith, who was his wife.

“Dom wasn’t in good health and he knew his time was limited,” Smith said. “He looked through our books on artists, made his decision, and then we went to Italy to investigate the possibilities of ordering it. There were about five artists in the town of Cararra, northwest of Florence, which was located near the mountain that produced the marble. Dom commissioned the piece, stayed in touch with the artist, and finally the sculpture was sent from across the ocean.”

Sadly, it arrived two weeks after Judge died. “But it was a very interesting endeavor for us,” said Smith. “Now his passion for art lives on in Pieta.”

Visitors may see the statue prior to worship services at Sacred Heart. For further inquiries, contact the church office by calling 256-237-3011.

JSU faculty concert April 7 at FUMC

Usually concert programs contain works by composers, both old and living, whose work has been available for some time.

Not so for the faculty concert Sunday, April 7, at First United Methodist Church in Anniston. This concert by soprano Teresa Stricklin, flutist Jeremy Benson and pianist Dr. Gail Steward, features a musical lineup of original compositions by Steward, a musician residing right here in our area.

The repertoire includes three song cycles written within the last seven years (a song cycle is a group of songs connected by one idea). Steward has set her music to poetry, and her subjects range from a humorous narrative of a cat’s point of view to a description of Kate, a witch who legend holds is still active in Tennessee today .

“Teresa is our storyteller here with her young, exuberant soprano voice,” Steward said.

The character of Kate, called “the Bell Witch” in folklore, is a ghost who appeared in the home of John Bell Sr., a farmer in Adams, Tenn., in the early 1800s. The activity centered on Betsy, the Bells’ youngest daughter, worsening after Betsy became engaged to be married. In fact, Kate frequently cursed the family out loud. Perhaps she was jealous of Betsy. Perhaps she was someone whom Bell had cheated, some texts speculate. At any rate, the witch’s story represents all aspects of Steward’s final piece, “Of the Night.”

“I wanted to reflect the beautiful, the mystical, the children’s bedtime and the demonic. This will be a fitting finale,” Steward said.

The first set of songs uses American poet Sara Teasdale’s words as texts for mood and romantic pieces. On the lighter side, the final movement of Suite for Flute and Piano has a samba/tango feel, added Steward, and it serves as an exciting conclusion for the suite.

The audience at next Sunday’s event will be also hear about the creation of the Genesis Scholarship, a new music scholarship for first-generation college students majoring in music.

The concert is free to the public, but attendees may make a donation to the scholarship if they wish.

‘Paint Your Wagon’ looking for actors

The Theater of Gadsden is looking for young men and women to audition for the upcoming production of “Paint Your Wagon.” The musical contains several roles for men and women. The director is Michael Sweetin and the music director is Doris Day. The show will feature Michael Gagliardo and the Etowah Youth Orchestra. Show dates will be June 21-23 and June 28-30.

If interested, call Eric at 256-393-2291or Michael at 256-458-0786.
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