It’s a new year for us but a return to form for a local cultural institution. On the first weekend of January, area fans can help ring in 2016 via transcendent sounds.

That’s when Musica Sacra Chamber Choir will present its annual Epiphany Procession with Lessons and Carols at a pair of locations. Under the direction of Christopher Uhl, the group will present its 28th version of the ancient Christian ritual.

Also known as the 12th Day of Christmas or Three Kings’ Day, the Epiphany Feast marks Jesus’ manifestation to Gentiles. Celebrated on Jan. 6, it’s also the date the legendary Three Kings arrived. The procession is symbolic of both their journey and that of mankind to redemption.

The program includes scriptural readings in addition to carols selected to accompany the text. The chorus is divided into two groups, which travel to various stations around the church to sing carols antiphonally across the space.

The first performance is Saturday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m. at Saint Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church (601 W. Laurel Ave.) in Foley. The second performance is Sunday, Jan. 3, 4:30 p.m. at the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (2 S. Claiborne St.) in Mobile.
Donations are welcome at the door.  

For more info, go to Musica Sacra’s Facebook page or contact Sally McKenna at 251-610-1931 or by email at [email protected].


Science Cafés return in 2016
The USA Archaeology Museum’s popular Science Café program is set to reappear after the holidays with a lineup that sounds both intriguing and fun. The live and lively events are casual gatherings in the courtyard of the OK Bicycle Shop (661 Dauphin St.) that feature a conversation with a scientist or social scientist about a timely topic.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. the subject is “Animals Think Therefore … How Do We Know What Animals Know.” The speaker is University of Southern Mississippi Assistant Professor of Psychology Heidi Lynn.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. the subject will be “Five Ways the Earth is Trying to Kill You.” The speaker is University of South Alabama Associate Professor of Geology and Adjunct Professor of Marine Sciences Doug Haywick.

The March event is yet to be announced.

On Tuesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. the subject is “Chernobyl: 30 Years Later.” The speakers are University of South Alabama Assistant Professor of Russian Language, History and Culture Dr. Nicholas Gossett and Associate Professor of History Dr. Maria Kozelsky.

Finally, on Tuesday, May 3, at 6 p.m. the subject will be “The Lying Brain: What Cognitive Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Lying, Malingering and Cheating.” The speaker is University of South Alabama Professor of Psychology Jack Shelley-Tremblay.

All events are free.


January MAC shows feature interiors and exteriors
While many Mobilians might not instantly recognize the name Bill Woolley, they’ve likely seen his handiwork. After his U.S. Army hitch ended in 1954, Woolley found himself enrolled at the Memphis Academy of Arts. He later found employment as a professional window display artist, then relocated to New Orleans. Not only did his professional expertise land him national awards and a feature in the industry publication “Windows of the World,” but he worked for Gayfers, traveling to stores throughout the nation.

As a costume designer, Woolley created work for Stage, Memphis Cotton Carnival and New Orleans Mardi Gras. His January show at Mobile Arts Council (318 Dauphin St.) will feature costumes, handmade headdresses and watercolor designs of his Mardi Gras creations.

Alongside that show will be work from Mobilian Colleen Comer. With a bachelor’s in fine arts from Auburn University, Comer has shown in Charleston, South Carolina; New York; Paris and, of course, Mobile. Her show focuses on her paintings of buildings and interiors from everyday life. Her tendency is toward saturated colors that bring forth geometry and assorted shapes from the subject material.
According to her statement, her aim is for “each painting to exist as an individual idea and world, not as a mere representation.”

There will an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 8, 6-9 p.m. during the LoDa Artwalk.

For more info, call 251-432-9796 or go to mobilearts.org.


Exploreum offers foreign travel
In conjunction with an upcoming exhibit on Leonardo da Vinci, the Gulf Coast Exploreum is taking a stroll in his shoes. Or at least on the same streets.

The learning center at the foot of Government Street will offer a nine-day, custom-designed tour of Italy that includes the town of Vinci, the farmhouse where the genius was born, the church where he was baptized and the Vinci Museo Leonardiano. It is described as a journey with 4-star hotels, authentic meals, walking tours and airfare.

Other towns listed on the itinerary are Milan, Rapallo, Florence and the Italian Riviera. Other destinations are Santa Maria delle Grazie Church and Convent to see “The Last Supper” and Lake Como’s Bellagio.
The trip begins May 12, 2016, and is designed for ages 14 and up. More details can be found at newfrontiertravel.com/DaVinci.

More details on the imminent exhibit “Da Vinci’s Machines and Robotics” are to come. The show opens Feb. 10.