Artists in Action: Vocal competition challenges JSU students
by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star
Apr 07, 2013 | 3816 views |  0 comments | 170 170 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To celebrate the accomplishments of voice students in the David L. Walters Department of Music at Jacksonville State University, come to the Second Annual Richard Armstrong Vocal Competition Saturday at noon in the performance center in Mason Hall.

This year’s winner receives a $500 award. Last year’s winners, placing first through third place respectively, were Eric Wilcox, Kaylon Gilley and Christina Booker.

According to Jarrod Lee, the event’s founder, the purpose of the competition is to assist current JSU vocal students by exposing them to the many different career possibilities included within their craft. Additional facets of the competition will be a master class and benefit concert this fall, he said. Lee, a 2008 JSU graduate, is now at Opera University of Maryland.

“Another very significant advantage is that the judges will talk with the competitors in addition to giving them written critiques,” Lee said.

The students will sing one aria, three art songs and an additional selection which may be an aria, an art song in any language or a musical theater selection. The winners will be announced at the end of the competition.

Richard Armstrong was Lee’s first voice teacher.

“He taught us that a performance means being the very best you can be at that moment. He also taught us to enjoy it and share the joy,” Lee recalls. “Our resounding theme for the competition is just that: Share the joy.”

The judges will be Roderick George, from the voice faculty of University of Montevallo; Dr. Claude Gossett, former voice instructor at Auburn University; and Jennie Wall, private voice instructor and area performer in northeast Alabama.

The event is free to the public, but donations will be accepted. All donations benefit the competition for 2014.

Deadline approaching for bus trip to Atlanta exhibit

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has become a stage for a variety of artists. One of its current exhibits throws light on two particularly fascinating painters because of their place in Mexican history. “Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics and Paintings,” the work of 20th-century Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is now on view.

Kahlo and Rivera were central figures of Mexican modernism and had especially interesting backgrounds. Kahlo, born on the outskirts of Mexico City, planned to study medicine, but when the bus she was riding collided with a trolley car, she suffered extensive injuries that kept her bedridden for more than a year. To combat her boredom, she taught herself to paint. Aside from a painting of hers aquired by the Louvre in 1939, her oils and drawings did not come into acclaim until decades after her death in 1954.

Kahlo was married to the more famous Rivera, who died in 1957. Rivera was famous for his murals that portrayed Mexican life and society. According to “ArtTalk” by Rosalind Ragans, the mural artists of his time developed a style that expressed their emotions about the plight of the people. Rivera became a controversial figure during his lifetime because of his radical political beliefs and his attacks on the church and clergy in Mexico. One of his most intriguing portraits is of Natasha Gelman, the wife of a highly successful Russian film producer. The shape of her dress mirrors the shape of the calla lilies and the shape of the bouquets of flowers follows the silhouette of her body.

The Visual Arts Society, which supports JSU art students, is coordinating at bus trip for May 4 to see the exhibit. The deadline to sign up is April 22. Everyone interested is welcome. Call Jane Greene in JSU’s art department at 256-782-5626. The cost of the trip if $35. The bus leaves from JSU’s Theron Montgomery Building parking lot at 8 a.m. and will also make a stop in Oxford at Books-A-Million at 8:30 a.m. The estimated return time is 5 p.m.
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Artists in Action: Vocal competition challenges JSU students by Hervey Folsom
Special to The Star

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