Last week’s column about the uncertainty plaguing performing arts units and the influence of the COVID-19 vaccines’ faltering rollout at least stirred a little response. One of the few who reads this space paid attention.
They wrote to point out the dual fronts performing arts face in this campaign: “… the virus — real in itself — and the perception of the virus that is even larger than life.” They also noted it will take getting a firm hold on both of those for actual rejuvenation.
“Widespread inoculation is the catalyst for change, but it has to be widespread and that isn’t happening fast enough for anyone,” they wrote.
It’s understandable. Every week has carried new word of someone else in the arts community stricken by the coronavirus. Some have been giants who furthered Azalea City cultural life more than most average Mobilians have ever been aware. They are still in dire situations.
Until those stories cease, or people feel they are protected, it will be difficult to make ends meet for these groups. Plus, what’s the point of art that reaches no one, right?
Mobile needs these art forms. When ticking off the area’s quality-of-life metrics, the symphony and opera are often on civic boosters’ lists of superlatives. For some, their value is simply found in how they enhance pitches for corporate involvement or investment.
For others, it’s the presence of the art itself that makes life in Mobile more urbane and palatable. The flavor is the savior, more so than being a feather in a commercial cap. And the longer this goes on, the harder it might be to snap back to normal.
Alcott classic onstage and onscreen
If you’re especially eager to watch someone tread the boards, then set your sights on the Alabama School of Arts at the University of Mobile (5735 College Pkwy.) when they present the musical “Little Women” Feb. 25-28. Based on the classic Louisa May Alcott semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, the show follows the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — through the mid-19th century and their journey from childhood to womanhood.
Audience limitations in observance of pandemic precaution mean the 50 available seats sold out quickly. You can still catch it online for a fee. Go to umobile.edu/pas for more information.
All performances are at 7 p.m., except the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
For more information, call 251-442-2383.
MSO slashes price
As winter wears on, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has artistic relief in an offer for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. They have discounted a $99 membership for their final three shows in the yellow price zone. Individual tickets there are normally $64 so you would save close to $100.
Those shows take place in late March, early May and mid-June.
Wonderful seats both downstairs and in the upstairs mezzanine are still available. To get in on this exclusive deal, call the MSO box office at 251-432-2010.
USA shows go on
One of the constants through most of my two decades in this column space has been the plentiful contributions from the University of South Alabama. It seems a week doesn’t pass by that I’m not being showered with notifications from the West Mobile campus about their schedule of faculty concerts, recitals and other performances.
Most of that is thanks to the diligence of USA Department of Music Events Coordinator Keith Bohnet. The job he does is admirable, thorough and deserving of recognition.
If you aren’t on his mailing list, you’re depriving yourself. In normal times, he provides splendid opportunities for locals to not only immerse themselves in provocative art at very affordable rates but also to support the dreams of succeeding generations of artists.
Call 251-460-7116 for more information.
Obviously, that scenario has changed during the pandemic. Public attendance in USA’s acoustically ideal Laidlaw Performing Arts Center has been squelched. Technology has tried to take up the slack.
So, when the USA Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band staged their fall concert, it was in front of the Laidlaw Center and recorded. It will be streamed Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
The same group’s winter concert will follow suit Thursday, March 4 at 7 p.m. Attendance will also be virtual. William H. Peterson and Jason F. Rinehart will conduct.
Interested parties can go to southalabama.edu/colleges/music/livestream.html to catch the show. Save the address for future purposes. Bohnet said in some cases, program notes will be available, too.
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