The history of Grayson County has been about more than just a developing city. It is steeped in the love of culture and art. From music to art to dance and theatrical performance, with this area’s love of culture has come the creation of many forums where area residents view and participate in the enlightenment that refinement can bring.
The Community Series at Austin College in Sherman is steeped in this area’s history. It began its 50th year celebration in the fall and in honor of the milestone year, during each performance the series has been commemorating individuals that have had a big impact on music.
The final two performances of the season will be held at 8 p.m. on March 23 and at 7:30 p.m. on April 7. The first performance will commemorate Community Series former manager Joe Hicks and the second performance will commemorate Sherman Symphony Orchestra’s original director Cecil Isaac.
The Community Series and the Sherman Symphony Orchestra were housed under the same umbrella until 2014.
“Music is one of the great accompaniments to life,” Community Series President John McGinn says of why students should experience art outside of a classroom setting. “It can literally go anywhere that human beings can go. Being on hand to experience live a bracing variety of music at the hands of world-class musicians — how can’t this help but inform and inspire students — or anyone — in other parts of their lives? With all the imperfections of this world that vie for our attention, what an inspiration to know that human beings are also capable of such positive, dazzling, engaging and wondrous things.”
Also, it can be a further joy to speak to those who have learned what it takes to participate in artistic activities, McGinn continued.
“Perhaps even learn some valuable tips for one’s own music-making,” he exclaimed.
The March 23 performance will feature the Red River Songwriters, who will perform at 903 Brewers in Sherman. The band, which started four years ago, is a group of songwriters who came together to create a musical festival just for the people of the Red River.
Lone Star Music Magazine says that the band’s “individual talents are specific and unique, when together, they bring out the best in one another … You can hear the proverbial pin drop and possibly a handful of teardrops slide down cheeks.”
This is not the first time that the group has performed as part of the Community Series so for those that remember the April 8, 2016 performance, the Red River Songwriters are back.
The Susan Lamb Cook Chamber recital will conclude the 50th anniversary Community Series. Susan Lamb Cook will be joined on stage by Austin College faculty members, Austin College Jazz Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra Director Ricky Duhaime, who will play clarinet and McGinn will play piano.
The performance in the Cruce Stark Auditorium at Grayson College in Denison will begin with Kol Nidrei, op. 47 for cello solo by Max Bruch. Then they will play Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio, K. 498 arranged for cello rather than viola. Brahms’ soulful Cello Sonata in E minor, op. 38, and Beethoven’s youthful Trio in B-flat Major, op. 11 is the perfect ending to the season of remembrance.
“From my early years to the present day, I know so well how transformative it can be to attend the creation of artistic experiences that are eloquent, moving and powerful,” McGinn says of art appreciation. “Community Series offers that to young people and more. For instance, jazz is essentially an improvised art form — ‘jazzing’ spontaneously around selected tunes. Performers not only need to be freely creative, they also need to listen carefully to one another, to look for opportunities to dialogue, to know when and how to grab an idea and run with it.”