“An Afternoon of Chamber Music” is back for the second time at Patrick Henry Community College on May 17 at 3 p.m. in Walker Theatre.
Professional musicians and singers from across the region will perform in the show, which is part of the Chamber Recital Music series. Performers include Julie Brown, Deborah Burgess, Regula Dailey, Michelle Dick, Sarah Wardle Jones, Tom Klingelhofer, Tim Loman, Sarah Martin, Katie Mitchell, Mike Mitchell, Robert Moody, Kelsey Newman, David Oakes, George Ray, Julie Shumate and Amy Stuart.
Musical selections include “Ombra Mai Fu (From Serse)” by George Frideric Handel, “Trio Sonata in D Minor, Allegretto” by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, “La Captive” by Hector Berlioz, “Duettino Hongrois, Op. 36” by Franz Doppler, “Ode to Trumpet” by Alfred Reed and many more.
Patrick Henry Community College will partner with Reynolds Homestead, a Commonwealth Campus Center of Virginia Tech, to expand offerings of non-credit courses in pottery and weaving at the site in Critz starting in January 2015.
Lisa Martin, senior program manager at Reynolds Homestead, said Patrick County already has a very strong market for these courses.
“We decided that some of the Artisan Center programs might be good ones to bring up to our area because we have a very strong artisan population,” she said. “Traveling all the way to Martinsville to take classes might be difficult for some students, especially if they live in the Meadows of Dan or Ararat area. It could easily be an hour-and-a-half commute one-way.”
The Artisan Center at PHCC will handle registration and processing for courses while Reynolds Homestead will deal directly with hiring instructors and setting the class schedule. PHCC also will provide equipment including looms and potters wheels.
“This is a nice partnership because each of us is providing things that the other can’t – we’re offering a space to bring more people into the program who can’t get to Martinsville, and PHCC is providing equipment that we don’t have so we can expand our offerings,” Martin said.
Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC president, said she’s excited at this new opportunity to bolster course offerings throughout the college’s service region.
“We’re pleased to expand our partnerships into Patrick County to allow us to offer career credit arts programming,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to reach more people and enable them to learn the skills necessary to become artisan entrepreneurs.”
The curriculum will stick to the same guidelines as the artisan certification at the Artisan Center, according to Kim Buck, coordinator of community development at PHCC.
“Students still will be able to receive a certificate of study in artisan entrepreneurship, and they can do so with a concentration in pottery or weaving,” Buck said. “From there, they can expand into other areas and work their way up to take more advanced courses.”
Although the partnership will begin with two programs, Martin said there is a possibility to expand in the future if there’s enough interest.
“We’ll start with courses we know people are interested in right away,” she said. “There’s some interest in woodworking, which may be a challenge because of the equipment involved. But we’re more than willing to expand if the need is there for artists who want to develop and hone their skills, and learn more about the business side involved in being an artisan entrepreneur.”
Martin added, “We’re part of Virginia’s Crooked Road music trail and the Artisan Trail Network, and we’re very committed to the economic development of our area artisans. This program is part of our mission to help our professional and recreational artists.”
Class dates and times will be announced in early January 2015. Students may register in person at The Artisan Center at 54 West Church Street in Martinsville, or over the phone by calling (276) 656-5461. A registration form can be emailed or mailed to potential students upon request.
An art professor from Patrick Henry Community College is showing an exhibition representing three years of work in a new show at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke.
Gerry Bannan’s “Vanitas” is described as a collection of still life arrangements connected to the art tradition vanitas, which comes from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible from a passage that states: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”
“The point behind this is the idea that the word vanity is referring to futility,” Bannan said. “When someone says, ‘all my efforts were in vain,’ it’s more about the futile than being egotistical. The purpose, spiritually, is to remember and be humble in the face of your own mortality. The vanity refers to the efforts and achievements that one makes in life, but one should always remember in the end that your earthly life is finite.”
Bannan used BIC brand crystal ballpoint pens to create nine pen and ink drawings on Mylar, a form of polyester material.
“A lot of people found that fascinating because these pens are such a common, every day, mundane writing tool,” he said. “But I have found them to be wonderfully versatile at art making in that they have a great range of tonal quality… People are familiar with them. When they look at my drawings and think about their experiences with BIC pens, I think it connects them to the work in a way that you don’t get connected to a bronze sculpture because it’s not something people do every day.”
Bannan’s drawings in the exhibit range in size from 12-by-16 inches to more than six feet long. The largest is 20 inches high by 72 inches long.
“People often ask how long they take to create, and they can take a very long time to make,” he said. “It takes months for some of the larger ones. Art making takes a lot of time, and sometimes people don’t realize the actual time that an artist needs to put into the creation of their work. People may think if a person is talented then the work just happens, but there’s always an element of actual time that needs to be put into developing the work.”
Bannan said his drawings also include a great deal of memento mori imagery, which is Latin for “remember death.” He said this is depicted by symbols including skulls, fading flowers, ribbons and scissors.
In addition to his drawings, he’s also displaying two still life tableaus from the setups he used in creating the artwork.
“Building up these collections of objects is part of the drawing process,” he said. “The curator visited my studio and said she would like to have one or two of them included in the exhibition. It’s really great because it makes me think of them differently as maybe artworks in themselves, whereas before, I always thought they were in service of the drawing.”
Bannan received his bachelor of fine arts in printmaking from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pa. and his master of fine arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s participated in solo and group exhibitions in several states including Virginia, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Bannan also owns BanG Studios in downtown Roanoke, a fine arts gallery and studio he operates with his wife Betsy Bannan.
“Vanitas” will be on display until March 21, 2015. Bannan will give workshops and gallery talks in connection with the show, some of which are planned for early next year. Check www.taubmanmuseum.org for details.
Amy G. Moorefield, deputy director of exhibitions at Taubman, curated this exhibit. To find out more about Bannan’s work, visit www.gerrybannan.com.
The Patriot Players at Patrick Henry Community College are putting on a show this fall explores love and acceptance, and has cast members doing a little soul searching of their own.
On the surface, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: A Musical Comedy” is a comedic show that follows a group of pre-teens as they compete for the spelling championship of a lifetime, while also revealing funny and touching stories from their home lives. Director Devin Pendleton said he hopes audience members will walk away entertained but also enlightened about issues affecting youth.
“This show is a first for us in being able to showcase difference,” he said. “I think the show hints to the fact that we can all come together in a diverse way, which is what theatre is. We have the opportunity to forget all the issues that await us outside the theatre door and feel safe – even if it’s only for a few hours.”
Bryan Dunn, a theatre instructor at Magna Vista High School and playing the role of William Barfee, said his character takes nerdiness to a new level.
“He’s someone who has been bullied all his life and feels the only way he can control things is to bully everyone back,” he said. “But in the end, he actually allows people to be nice to him and he allows someone to change him.”
As part of the show, the community will have the chance to give a donation to Stand for the Silent, a group started in 2010 by a group of students at Oklahoma State University after hearing the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Smalley. He took his own life at 11 years old after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully. The group’s mission is to address the issue of school bullying through education and understanding.
“Stand for the Silent speaks to secondary age school kids, which is where school was the worse for me,” Pendleton said. “It wasn’t until high school that I started to develop my way in figuring out who I wanted to be. With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, we're excited to bring awareness to this very important issue.”
Stand for the Silent reports that 60 percent of fourth through eighth graders say they are the victims of bullying. The organization asks that everyone take a pledge to respect each other and help victims of bullying. More information can be found at ww.standforthesilent.org.
“Stand for the Silent is very honored and proud to be supported by the PHCC Patriot Players and their show, ‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,’ Kirk Smalley said. “We are so appreciative of everyone for helping us to take a stand against bullying by raising awareness to it and youth suicide.”
"Spelling Bee" characters run the gambit of personality types seen in school age children, including the loner, overachiever and the dreamer. The role of Logainne S., played by Sarah Webb, is the definition of a “try-hard,” according to Webb.
“In many ways I connect with my character because I do try my hardest to do my best at everything,” she said. “I think about all the pressure I’m under as a student, trying not to crack under it and trying to please everyone. I can definitely relate.”
“Spelling Bee” also deals with characters trying to find their place in the world. Dunn said, “I think I work on finding myself every day. I look at my students and see different parts of what I was and how much I’ve grown, but I also have an understanding of how much more I have to learn.”
Brandi Collins-Burnette, a speller and part of the ensemble, said identifying with the underdog made her want to try out for “Spelling Bee.”
“I suffer from dysautonomia with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or known as POTS, so I know a little about relating to the underdog and dealing with challenges on a daily basis,” she said. “I wanted to do this show to bring a little awareness to that.”
She also added that going through middle and high school, there was a time where she didn’t know who she was as a person.
“I was the chubby kid and I had an eating disorder in high school, but being in theatre in high school and as an adult has really helped define who I am,” she said. “It’s a place of acceptance with open arms for all people. It really has given me a place to find myself.”
Jane Leizer, program director for Patriot Players, said “Spelling Bee” is a show that will make audience-goers laugh, cry, and make them think about issues that young people deal with on a daily basis.
“Let’s face it – growing up is hard,” she said. “Sometimes, kids need to talk and be recognized for the struggles they go through. Hopefully, this show will open up a dialogue among kids, parents and teachers.”
Leizer said with each Patriot Players show, there’s a new issue to tackle.
“‘Purlie’ talked about racism and love, and Shrek taught us that everyone is capable of love – even an ogre,” she said. “We have actors ranging in age from 13 to 62 in this show, and they learn a lot from each other. I’m 63 years old and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Theatre allows you to look at all the wonderful things you can imagine and see them come to life.”
The show is rated PG-13 for some adult humor and minimal adult language. Performances run Nov. 6-8 and Nov. 13-15 at 7 p.m. in Walker Fine Arts Theatre. Tickets are $12 and available now at the PHCC Switchboard or by calling (276) 638-8777. They also will be available for purchase at the door. For additional information, visit www.patrickhenry.edu/patriotplayers.