WICA plans a weekend of the arts
June 25, 2008 · Updated 11:53 AM
"Weekend of the ArtsTwo celebratory concerts at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley*Tina Lear CD Sneak Preview, Friday, May 19, 7:30 p.m. *Classical Music concert, Saturday, May, 20, 7:30 p.m. Saratoga Chamber Playersl, Sing!Chronicity, the Devin Ossman Trio, Brass Quintet, world premiere of work by young composer Eric Lindsay. The Island Arts Council and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts are celebrating joint anniversaries with a gala celebration of music and art on May 19-20. The IAC is 20 years old this May, while WICA marks its fourth birthday. Performances begin with a sneak preview CD concert by singer-songwriter and recording artist Tina Lear, on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 20, also at 7:30 p.m., David Ossman emcees a classical music concert by several local ensembles, including the Saratoga Chamber Players, Sing!Chronicity, a trio with Devin Ossman and a brass quintet. The evening of local talent features an original composition by South Whidbey graduate Eric Lindsay and a display of works by several young artists. Following the performance the audience is invited to wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres hosted by the Star Store. Tickets for the Tina Lear concert on Friday are $10 and $5. Tickets for Saturday evening's concert are $15 and $12. Call the WICA box office, 221-8268.Concerts, exhibit celebrate years of arts support on the islandMusic, poetry, dance, performance, art: They are the intrinsic components of a community's cultural life.And thanks to the Island Arts Council, they are vibrant and energetic on Whidbey Island. The IAC has been nurturing the arts on Whidbey for 20 years now, after Island artists got together to establish a connecting and supportive group for artists on Whidbey Island, encompassing all disciplines of art: visual, literary, music, dance and theater. During that time it has instituted and supported events that range from the famous Island-style poetry slams and Choochokam, Langley's Festival of the Arts, to visual arts exhibits and artists' studio tours, community theatre productions and young peoples' creative endeavors, providing educational programs and scholarships.One of its goals became the establishment of a center in which artists of all genres could present their works, and four years ago a Whidbey performing arts center became a reality. The Whidbey Island Center for the Arts opened its doors in May of 1996. May 2000 also marks 20 years of the Island Arts Council, and so the arts community has combined to produce a weekend showcasing the achievements of both and giving the audience a hint of the youthful promise of the future.It's a two-day weekend blending the original, contemporary music of singer-songwriter Tina Lear, the classical musicianship of the Saratoga Chamber Players, the virtuosity of the Devin Ossman trio and the world premiere of a work composed by young music artist Eric Lindsay by commission from the Island Arts Council itself. Continuing the tradition of support for youthful artistic endeavors, the celebration also includes an exhibit of works by young artists selected by the IAC for the occasion. The weekend will end with a post-concert reception on Saturday hosted by Tamar and Gene Felton, who are celebrating the Star Store's 16th anniversary. Michael Nutt, an IAC past president and chair of its music committee, as well as a board member of WICA, came up with the idea of a joint celebration.A light came on in my head, he said. The IAC could celebrate its anniversary at WICA, which was basically built by the arts council. At the same time, it would be another opportunity to delineate between the Island Arts Council as an entity and the facility that is the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. A video produced for the occasion will be shown during Saturday's event, providing some insights into the early days of the IAC and its vision: To act as a vehicle bringing together the people in the arts community and promoting arts events on the island.With music from the Whidbey Island Marimba Band in the background, Islanders well-known in the arts community talk about the IAC and its achievements: * The nurturing of artists and audience, and the opportunity for local talent to be in a rich variety of theatrical productions, including classics like Hamlet -- David Ossman * The great things happening in the arts on the island -- from art exhibits to dance events. Quite remarkable for such a small art colony. -- Richard Proctor and Ron Childers * Making the visual arts more healthy and vital. -- Ed Severinghaus.* Teaching artists how to perform their work, in a friendly environment. The slam at the Dog House is really 'Island-style.' In other places it's a hostile environment. Here, nobody is afraid to get up and say, 'I can do this.' -- Barton Cole* Opening the eyes of the community as to how much the arts are a part of it. For example, the combining of professional musicians such as The Island Chamber Orchestra and high school strings. -- Michael Nutt* Seed money and grants for productions. It is not inexpensive to produce theater. -- Maureen Cooke * A view to the future: Taking the message further-- passing it on to the younger generation. -- Rob SchoutenThe video, called The First 20 Years, will be on sale at WICA this weekend.David Ossman will emcee the Saturday night event, which will include honors to past IAC presidents and a lobby exhibit displaying archival IAC material. Concert performers include the Saratoga Chamber Players and Sing!Chronicity, which was the first group to perform in the newly built theater in May of 1996. This year, in a prelude to the coming years for both the IAC and WICA, they will debut a world premiere of an original composition by South Whidbey High graduate Eric Lindsay, now studying at Indiana University, ranked number one in the country for music composition.Randy Hudson came up with the idea to recognize a young artist, Nutt said. We knew Eric could write this piece of music.Lindsay is one of five composition majors who has successfully passed into upper division work at Indiana. He began composing in 1991 at the age of 11, and has since composed more than 365 pieces. He will premiere an original work called Three Reflections, which was commissioned by the Island Arts Council. I wanted to write something that would not only have some special meaning to me, but also for the IAC and the arts community, Lindsay said. I also wanted to take into account the performers who have given me such excellent opportunities in the past to perform: Bill Humphreys, Brent Purvis, Ralph Pyle, and Michael Nutt. So, I saw it only fitting to write a choir piece with chamber string quintet, for I had SING!Chronicity and the Saratoga Chamber Players in mind from the beginning.The three reflections are from the poetry of Kenneth Patchen, who focused a great deal on love, loss, remembrance, safety, Lindsay said. His 'All is Safe' is a meditation of sorts; 'Country Excursion' depicts the anxiety of waiting beneath a tree for it to rain; and finally 'Be Music, Night' is sort of a lullaby. My settings of these poems focus on the beauty and emotions that I associate with the Island.Three Reflections will be the last work on the program. It's a difficult piece of music, Nutt said. It's been a challenge, but very effective. It's exciting. Eric is obviously going somewhere. We feel very fortunate that the IAC is in a position to do this.Lindsay has also composed a work called Four Left Feet, which will also be premiered at the concert by the Saratoga Brass Quintet.Another young composer will debut a work on Saturday evening, Trio No. 1 by flutist Devin Ossman. He will perform the piece together with Nutt on the violin and Buell Neidlinger on cello. The program also includes performances by Sing!Chronicity and Brahms' Trio in E Flat, performed by Robert Burnett on French horn, Michael Nutt on violin, and Kathryn Fox on piano.During the festivities the WICA lobby will be displaying archival IAC material from the last 20 years and will also have a unique arts display featuring young South Whidbey artists: Noe Astorga, Jacob Bloom, Isaac Layman, Amos Morgan, Matt Farrar and Briony Morrow-Cribbs. There will be three to five works by each artist, and most all will be for sale. The idea we had was to feature the young and upcoming artists from Whidbey for the anniversary occasion, said Ed Severinghaus, chair of the IAC visual arts committee. Both Astorga and Morrow-Cribbs have been recipients of IAC arts scholarships. The art work will be on exhibit from May 14 through June 30.Following the performance the audience is invited to wine tasting andhors d'oeuvre hosted by Gene and Tamar Felton, whose Star Store is celebrating its 16th anniversary. This anniversary concert is part of WICA's classical series, sponsored by The Star Store and Clinton Nursery & Florist , which is celebrating its 28th anniversary this year. "