A year-long nod to composer Steve Reich continues with “Music for 18 Musicians” on Wednesday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. at the University of South Alabama’s Laidlaw Performing Arts Center Recital Hall. This latest show honoring Reich’s 80th birthday is the third in a four-part series.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning artist brought classical minimalism and phasing into the public consciousness with pieces such as “Clapping Music,” “Drumming” and “Different Trains.” Alongside Philip Glass and John Adams, Reich showed a receptive audience new ways to perceive music.

The piece in focus March 23 was composed by Reich from 1974 to 1976 and premiered at Town Hall in New York City. It features four female voices along with violin, cello, a handful of pianos, clarinets and assorted percussion playing on a cycle of 11 chords.

In 2003, David Bowie cited it on a list of favorite albums entitled “Confessions of a Vinyl Junkie.” He whimsically described it as “Balinese gamelan music cross-dressing as minimalism.”

Tickets are available at the door only. Admission is $8, $5 for USA faculty and staff, USA students, youths under 18 and senior citizens. Cash or check only.   

For more information or for those in need of special accommodation, call 251-460-7116 or 251-460-6136.

Mid-March means annual Fairhope fest
There are two clear signs of mid-March in the Mobile Bay area. One is mass bedlam around Callaghan’s Irish Social Club. The other is just as well-attended but a little more genteel.

The 64th edition of the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival will unfold the weekend of March 18, 19 and 20 throughout main thoroughfares of the Eastern Shore community. This legendary local happening runs Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The annual event will feature more than 230 exhibitors from around the Southeast along with entertainment and cuisine. Free to the public, there will be a juried exhibition with prizes awarded.

The list of live entertainers includes a theater group and chorus from Fairhope High School, Eastern Shore Twirlers, Baldwin County Youth Orchestra, Neil Dover, Rondale and the Kit Katz, The Memories, The Gypsy Chicks and Zuri Middle Eastern Dance Troupe and Youth Unashamed sponsored by Fairhope Community Church.

Also taking place will be the Eastern Shore Art Center’s 44th annual outdoor art show. It will include more than 125 artists and will be in front of the center’s facility, along Oak and Section streets up to Magnolia Avenue.

For information on the ESAC show call 251-928-2228, ext. 103, or go to esartcenter.com.

For information on the citywide event, go to annualartsandcraftsfestivalfairhope.com.

UM building named for gospel artist
Roger Breland is more than a recognized name among religious music fans, he’s now a namesake. The University of Mobile announced it has christened its school of music in honor of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame member.
Breland joined the university in 2002 as an artist in residence before becoming executive dean in 2003 then vice president. The university credits his guiding hand as helping them embrace both classical and contemporary Christian training, adding academic majors, forming 22 performing ensembles and presenting concerts that have been broadcast worldwide.

It was also under Breland’s watch the university founded the 8Eighty Records label, built an on-campus recording studio and formed the School of Worship Leadership. The university increased from 45 music majors, with 60 in choir and four vocal or instrumental ensembles, to 227 students who major or minor in music.

“Roger Breland’s emphasis on excellence is at the heart of the music program he envisioned and was instrumental in building at the University of Mobile,” UM President Dr. Mark Foley said in a news release. “For more than four decades, Roger Breland has been a mentor to young Christian musicians.”

Breland earned a bachelor’s in music education from Troy University. Prior to starting the gospel ensemble TRUTH with his wife, Linda, in 1971, Breland served as minister of music and youth at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile.

Murder Mystery with a bit of blarney
When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, what comes to mind? Green attire? Corned beef and cabbage? Flutes and leprechauns? Well, by one group’s reckoning you can’t have the day without a little alcohol and bloodshed.

The Mobile Mystery Dinner Players are ready to top off your annual Irish shindig. Polish up your shillelagh and get ready for this troupe’s latest comedic whodunit, “The Mystery of Shamrock Pub,” on Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Mobile Carnival Museum (355 Government St.).

The evening centers the titular confines in County Cork’s good ol’ Blarney, Ireland. The cast of fictional and farcical characters lead the audience through misfortune and hilarity in a quest to solve the crime in uproarious fashion.

The menu includes Irish potato soup, spring mix salad, O’Brady’s Beef Roast, new potatoes, cabbage, Irish soda bread and dessert. An unlimited wine bar is available for the duration of the evening.

Cost is $59 per person. Reservations are required and all sales are final two days before the play.

Due to adult innuendo, mature audiences are suggested.
Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m. The event begins at 7 p.m.
For more information, call 251-865-7398.