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December 2015

Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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December 2015




Marc Broussard and youth choruses join the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra for a unique blend of popular and lesser-known music for the Christmas season.



Swamp scenes rooted in emotion and depth appear in the paintings of this artist, who shares how she honed her skills to portray her unique voice inside her art.




Nancy Brewer’s job running the shop was supposed to be temporary. 22 years later, her homemade delicacies and culinary classes help to keep Cajun culinary traditions alive.







Creating plans, maintaining records and setting financial goals for your business may just help you reach success while making the art you want to make.

The arts-integrated curriculum for young children plans to grow to more schools in Acadiana and beyond, and it is turning to the community for help.

Every alligator skin is different, as this family business knows. For generations, they have specialized in the hands-on process that produces high-quality alligator skins.

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22 4 December 2015

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Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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December 2015


8 OPENING NOTES Jenny Krueger, Executive Director 10 FANFARE Mariusz Smolij, Music Director & Conductor 16 GUEST COLUMN Gerald Broussard, Executive Director, Christian Youth Theater 26 UP TO THE CHALLENGE Lafayette General Foundation


28 FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC Tonio Cutrera and the ASO 42 SYMPHONY SEAUXCIAL HIGHLIGHTS “Four Seasons” Concert Maestro Circle 44 STANDING OVATION pARTners For Education 46 COMMUNITY SEAUXCIAL HIGHLIGHTS March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

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6 December 2015

Overture Magazine

December 2015 Vol. 3, No. 4


EDITOR Jenny Krueger jenny@acadianasymphony.org

PROJECT MANAGER Rebecca Doucet rebecca@acadianasymphony.org

ASSISTANT EDITOR Danielle Ducrest overture@acadianasymphony.org

ARTISTIC TEAM Alyce Ray alyce.ray@acadianasymphony.org

Hillary Bonhomme hillary.bonhomme@acadianasymphony.org

WRITERS Emily Brupbacher Johanna B. Divine Ann B. Dobie Danielle Ducrest ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Carolyn Brupbacher carolyncb@me.com • 337.277.2823

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gerald Broussard, Danielle M. Dayries, Rebecca Doucet, Jenny Krueger Mariusz Smolij MAILING ADDRESS 412 Travis Street Lafayette, LA 70503 ON THE WEB acadianasymphony.org

Overture Magazine is published nine times a year and distributed free of charge by Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music. No parts of this periodical may be reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of Overture Magazine. The owners, publishers, and editors shall not be responsible for loss or injury of any submitted manuscripts, promotional material and/or art. Unsolicited material may not be returned. Supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency.

Advertising in Overture Magazine does not imply endorsement by Overture Magazine or Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music. Overture Magazine reserves the right, without giving specific reason, to refuse advertising if copy does not conform with the editorial policies. Overture Magazine does not necessarily agree with nor condone the opinions, beliefs or expressions of our writers and advertisers. Neither the publishers nor the advertisers will be held responsible for any errors found in the magazine. The publishers accept no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers. © 2015 Overture Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

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Opening Notes

Through Gratitude, What We Have Becomes Enough Jenny Krueger, Executive Director


I love everything about this time of year. I love the music, the colors, the food, the gatherings, the frenzy of gift buying and the sparkle that is a

part of everything associated with this time of year. Though I don’t like some of the other items associated with this time of year like traffic, an

empty bank account and pants that don’t fit as well as they used to, I still look to this time of year with the same excitement and amazement as I did when I was a little girl.

December marks the end of our year. Most of us reflect on the year

behind us. Many more of us look forward to the year ahead. 2015 was

good to all of us at Overture. As we look ahead to 2016, we realize this

year could be challenging for many in our area. Our publication is no exception to that. I want to thank

those who choose to spend their advertising dollars with Overture. Not only are we honored that you have chosen our publication to reach the clientele you seek, but we are also grateful that you have decided to

invest in the arts through Overture. I know that budgets are likely to shrink in the next year. The executive team at Overture will continue to assess the impact of the economy on our publication, too. Our goal in

2016 will be focused around staying fiscally sound and continuing to provide you with the high-quality arts coverage you have come to expect. Be patient with us through this time, as our decisions and choices are always made in an effort to serve you better.

There is so much to enjoy in the December issue of Overture. Take a look and get lost in all the

artistically wonderful opportunities to enjoy this time of year in Acadiana. You can get started by taking a peek into the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra’s holiday concert, “Christmas Story: Rhythms of the Land,”

featuring legendary musician Marc Broussard and other artists with strong local roots and a deep connection to place.

Another Acadiana native with a deep connection to place is Nancy Brewer. Take a short drive to Grand

Coteau to sample The Kitchen Shop’s legendary Gateau Na-Na and see how Brewer keeps the Cajun

heritage alive, one bite at a time. I hope that your December is filled with love, laughter and tasty treats. From all of us at Overture magazine, happiest of holidays to you! 8 December 2015

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Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

December 2015 9


The Gift of Music

Mariusz Smolij, Music Director and Conductor


Over 6,500 different languages are currently in use around the world. Some are spoken by over 1 billion people, some only by a few hundred villagers. Some languages are extremely descriptive, especially regarding local habitat, customs and culture. For example, the Sami language spoken in Northern Scandinavia has over 300 different words for snow. There are also strikingly simple languages such as Pirahã. Used in the delta of the Amazon River, it has a vocabulary that recognizes only two colors, “light” and “dark,” and does not include any numbers. Interestingly, study after study shows that every linguistic group and every culture knows and uses, to some degree, the language of music. Universally, mothers sing soothing melodies to calm their babies, and young men rely on upbeat rhythms for courage in times of danger or confrontation. Music is most importantly used to express a range of emotions from moments of happy celebrations to painful mourning. So, what is so special about music? Why do humans turn to music to express what words and other forms of art can’t communicate? In order to find some answers, I have turned to famous thinkers and included three of my favorite quotes: - Victor Hugo: “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” - Aldous Huxley: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” - Plato: “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form.” Clearly, music is one of the important factors that determine our humanity. It is a unique and universal language. It is also a true gift for those who want to live full, meaningful and inspired lives; for those who care about connecting with each other and celebrating significant moments together. Some are gifted with the talent to compose or the ability to perform music; most are listeners who share the gift of music, “the soul of the universe.” During the holidays, please consider sharing the gift of music. Let music convey your best wishes for the season. Bring friends to a concert, offer a music lesson to a child, discover a new Mozart symphony you never heard before or help the Acadiana Symphony share the gift of music by supporting its mission within our community. Most importantly, use the gift of music to enrich your own life!

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Christmas Story: Rhythms of the


Johanna B. Divine

12 December 2015

Overture Magazine


n keeping with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra’s season-long theme, this year’s holiday concert, “Christmas Story: Rhythms of the Land,” celebrates the artistic connection between music and planet Earth, featuring legendary musicians with strong local roots and a deep connection to place. As he programmed this year’s holiday concert, Maestro Mariusz Smolij paid special attention to invoking the spirit of the season. He started with a combination of popular favorites, such as the medley of carols and holiday tunes by Leroy Anderson and selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” Smolij added the “Danse Bacchanale” from Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera, “Samson and Delilah,” to evoke the time and place of the Nativity, along with selections showcasing traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church. “The challenge in programming a holiday concert,” says Smolij, “is that everyone expects to hear their favorite tunes. But, at the same time, my ambition is to compose an artistically valid presentation and high-quality orchestral performance that also includes some lesser-known selections. We want to create the holiday spirit, but not the same way or with the same melodies you hear while shopping at the local mall.” One of the most ambitious and exciting features of this concert is the collaboration with local singer-songwriter Marc Broussard. “Not every pop artist is the best fit for a symphony orchestra,” says Smolij, “and even with the right artist, not every song will fit with the orchestral sound. Finding the right material is half of the success, and it was my task to find something that is going to work well, be right for Marc to sing, for us to play, for an orchestrator to arrange and for the audience to enjoy. In the process of developing this collaboration, I got to know Marc’s repertoire quite well and am happy that he approved all of my selections without hesitation. This one-of-a-kind collaboration promises to be a real treat for concertgoers.” Featured artist Marc Broussard, raised in Carencro, Louisiana, is no stranger to large audiences, but this concert is a first for

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December 2015 13

him. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve got one job, always, as a performer – to connect with an audience,” says Broussard. “So this show is a lot like other shows, with one notable exception: I have never been backed by an orchestra, and my experience of how an orchestra ‘breathes’ is limited. For instance, a bass guitar has a distinct attack, whereas a tuba can have a less-impactful downbeat.” Adds Broussard, “Fronting an orchestra is going to be quite a different experience, I suspect, than fronting a rock band.”

kept me in school and out of trouble ... well, for the most part!” “Music education is an essential part of our operations,” says Maestro Smolij. “It’s important that children learn music by both practicing and performing, and what better opportunity than to sing at the Heymann Performing Arts Center alongside a symphony orchestra? In addition to the significant performance experience, their participation adds a special color of young voices and another element of variety to the repertoire.”

“I can assure you, there is indeed something very special, if not magical, to be standing between 100 musicians and 1,000 audience members to lead an orchestra …”

© danny izzo, nouveau photeau

Broussard also will rehearse The inclusion of area youth in with students at Truman Early the ASO Chorus is just one of Childhood Education Center, who Maestro Mariusz Smolij the added bonuses for this year’s will perform with the ASO’s Youth concert. Guest conductor Bob Chorus. “I am very excited about Dunn, winner of ASO’s “Death by working in music education,” says Chocolate” auction, will open the Broussard. “It’s such an amazing time to be making music and program by leading the musicians in the national anthem. the opportunities music presents to those who pursue its call can “Bob, our guest conductor, is not only a longtime supporter be tremendously rewarding. I, personally, have the best memories of ASO’s educational mission but also a good friend and an from being in chorus as a child. It was honestly one of things that

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© danny izzo, nouveau photeau

instinctive musician,” adds Smolij. “That musical instinct is probably the most important factor in making this unique conducting experience fun for everyone. I can assure you, there is indeed something very special, if not magical, to be standing between 100 musicians and 1,000 audience members to lead an orchestra in the national anthem.” Dunn is looking forward to that moment. He and his wife, Judy, are thrilled to support the educational mission of ASO and to play a special part in this year’s holiday concert. “Judy and I support ASO because we feel their commitment to the education of children, and the subsequent involvement of music in education, is of paramount importance to our future growth as a community,” says Dunn. “I must agree with Mariusz that the role of conductor is a very exciting one. To be bathed in sound is electric, almost as though one feels the ‘spark’ as the orchestra plays. I shall prepare with some instruction from Maestro, but instinct will surely take over as soon as that drumroll fills the air!”

© danny izzo, nouveau photeau

“Christmas Story: Rhythms of the Land” featuring Marc Broussard and youth choruses will be performed by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, 7:00 p.m., at the Heymann Center in Lafayette. Tickets are available online at acadianasymphony.org or by calling 337-232-4277.

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Katie Broussard, Finding Neverland Photography

Unlikely Savior of the Arts


The world of downsizing, layoffs, cutbacks and reorganization are not welcoming news when it comes to the performing arts. Funding has been very hard to find in a healthy market, so is there any hope for the future? There is one simple answer — our children! How can that be? They have no money or resources to help fund anything. This is true, but what they do have is invaluable. They all have an amazing God-given talent to express themselves, and when they do, it is awesome to see! Watching a child perform melts our hearts, brings tears to our eyes and gently reminds us of how beautifully God created them. No amount of money could ever replace just watching your child perform, and the good news for parents is that the performing arts come with benefits. Washington Parent newsletter reports: “Research has long supported the benefits of children engaging in the performing arts. As recently as 2009, Johns Hopkins University School of Education reported ‘children showed more motivation, paid closer attention and remembered what they learned more easily when the arts were integrated into the curriculum.’” According to the American Alliance for Theatre and Education: “Students involved in drama performance coursework or experience outscored non-arts students on the 2005 SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component.” In addition, children learn to collaborate with other students, teachers, musicians and technical directors as well as learning to express themselves, present in front of others and develop lifelong friendships. So, how do children save the arts? By understanding that

16 December 2015

Katie Broussard, Finding Neverland Photography

Gerald Broussard, Executive Director, Christian Youth Theater

money does not drive the arts but that the arts create the desire to be funded. Once we see it, we can’t live without it. My family and I had the privilege of starting a youth theater program six years ago with no money, no theater background and no help. It was destined for failure with very little hope of ever surviving, but something amazing happened along the way! A few months into our journey, families from all over the city began to join the program. They were all saying the same thing: “We have been looking for a place to explore our child’s talent. So thankful you started this!” Looking back, we are amazed at what has happened. Over 240 kids are in classes every week, and close to 5,000 children have come through the program. They’ve performed 18 Broadway-style shows to 54,000 audience members. Our success has not been based on big bank accounts, talent or resources but on simply providing an opportunity that was not there. The resounding message is that, if we give kids opportunities to perform, it will change their lives, provide a great way to express themselves, bring families together, build community and help promote arts long into the future. In conclusion, while yes, we will always need money to buy buildings and hire people, what is most valuable for the arts — our children — is a precious gift that will always insure the future of performing!

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Kelli Kaufman An Intuitive Artist Emily Brupbacher • Photos Courtesy of the Artist

18 December 2015

Overture Magazine

The scenic swamps of Louisiana seem to have a life of their own, a history that evokes all the intrigue and exuberance of our state’s history. The dark waters, towering oaks, and unique flora and fauna make our beloved wetlands a living, breathing masterpiece.

is my favorite part because the painting develops a life of its own beyond my control. Sometimes, I intentionally wipe away everything, turn the canvas upside down and start the process again. Sometimes, I shift the whole drawing over an inch or two, while leaving parts of the first drawing in place. This gives

Kelli Kaufman grew up in the Acadiana area, and her unique paintings of Louisiana landscapes have distinguished her as one of the area’s most promising local artists. Kaufman’s paintings of Louisiana’s most haunting scenery manage to feel both familiar and surprising at the same time. For locals especially, her work is nostalgic and peaceful, harkening back to a time when the land was wild and untamed. And yet, abstract elements abound in Kaufman’s work, too — unique and unexpected strokes of a brush that make the painting more than just a pretty picture. “My creative process typically begins with a photograph or a memory of a place that speaks to me emotionally,” Kaufman explains. “Typically, I start with a charcoal or oil pastel drawing on top of an underpainting. After that, the photo usually gets tossed aside, and the intuitive painting process begins.” For Kaufman, this is where a painting truly comes to life. “This

Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

the canvas a “history” that could never be achieved on my own. Taking risks, experimenting and making lots of mistakes along the way … all of this allows a painting that is rooted in emotion and depth to emerge.” Growing up in New Iberia, Kaufman was inspired by the


December 2015 19

“Taking risks, experimenting and making lots of mistakes along the way … all of this allows a painting that is rooted in emotion and depth to emerge.”

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majestic live oaks and murky bayous of her home state. Painting was always a hobby, and as a self-taught artist, Kaufman remained devoted to becoming better at her craft. “It takes a lot of hard work and a daily dedication to honing your skills as an artist,” says Kaufman. “The most important thing is to find your own voice in your work and stay true to yourself.” In 2010, Kaufman began to exhibit her work in local shows and galleries. In the following years, her work has appeared all over the southeast region from Atlanta to Jackson to Destin. “Selling your work can be both a blessing and a curse, in that it sometimes pigeonholes you into one genre or style, which can be stagnating,” Kaufman says. However, as both an artist and a person, Kaufman appears to be far from stagnant. The wife and mother manages to balance a busy family life all while owning her own gallery, which features her work as well as the work of guest artists. Her work can also be found at Dixon Smith Interiors in Baton Rouge. Still, Kaufman manages to find time to paint on a daily basis and is a supporter of the Acadiana art community. The Kelli Kaufman Studio and Gallery takes part in ArtWalk every second Saturday, and Kaufman serves on the planning committee and jury committee of The Big Easel art show, which takes place in River Ranch every spring. “I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love in a space that allows me to both create and exhibit my art while supporting fellow artists and being a part of the local arts and culture scene.” For more information about Kelli Kaufman’s work and studio, please visit: kellikaufman.com. For information on Dixon Smith Interiors, where Kaufman’s work can be found, please visit dixonsmithinteriors.com. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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and More!

The Kitchen Shop in Grand Coteau Emily Brupbacher

22 December 2015

Overture Magazine

Since its genesis as a charming small-town

gift shop, The Kitchen Shop in Grand Coteau has expanded to include everything from

homemade pastries to vintage-style wedding dresses. When Nancy Brewer took over The

Kitchen Shop in Grand Coteau 22 years ago, two of her close friends were successfully

running the store, which specialized in gifts

and trinkets. “My friends opened The Kitchen Shop and asked me to run it for a little while

when they went out of town,” explains Brewer. “I had just moved back from New York City,

Photo by John Slaughter

where I had gone to culinary school to be

a pastry chef. While my friends were out, I

opened a little lunch business out of the back kitchen of the shop, and it did really well. A year later, I bought the business.”

for generations, Brewer keeps the Cajun heritage alive, one

Since Brewer took over, the business has grown, and yet,

The Kitchen Shop effortlessly maintains its small-town feel. Part of that comes from Brewer’s culinary creations, which

have always been some of the shop’s best-sellers. Providing homemade baked goods that have been a staple in Acadiana

bite at a time. “Our food is nostalgic,” says Brewer. “We make things here that our great-grandmothers made generations

ago — pecan praline cake, pecan scones, lemon curd pies,

sweet dough pies and Gateau Na-Na.” Brewer’s Gateau Na-


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December 2015 23

Na has become something of a legend, a cultural throwback

For Brewer, what she loves most is continuing the unique

that customers today still clamor for. “The first Christmas we

Cajun traditions that make our home state so extraordinary.

over 2,000!”

says. “I teach classes here where I show people how to cook

made Gateau Na-Na, we made 80 pies. Last year, we made

The Kitchen Shop’s retail items also cater to that sensibility

“I love that doing this helps keep our culture alive,” Brewer sweet dough pies so that tradition continues.” For Brewer’s

of nostalgic homemade food that is so treasured in Acadiana.

customers, it’s nice to know that a day spent shopping,

spoons to books about local culture and cuisine, The Kitchen

season, can still be pleasant. “December is the best time to

hard to shop for. “I think there is an art to gift-giving that

small-town, very cultural and nostalgic, but we offer a very

“I love helping customers find the right thing for somebody.

places to eat and shop, so you can make a day out of it. It’s

Offering everything from cooking oils to teapots and gumbo

especially during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas

Shop is sure to have that perfect gift for people who are so

come out here,” says Brewer. “It’s very Christmassy, very

people don’t pay much attention to anymore,” says Brewer.

sophisticated collection of gifts here. Grand Coteau has great

Helping someone do something nice for a loved one is always

definitely worth the drive.”

time, especially the Gateau Na-Na. Anything to do with

5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. During the month of

exaggerating when I say we’ve sold over a hundred thousand

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit facebook.

a joy. Our pastries are always a popular gift around Christmas food or cooking is obviously popular around here. I’m not

of our gumbo spoons! People here love food, and many of our gifts reflect that.”

24 December 2015

The Kitchen Shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to

December, The Kitchen Shop is also open on Mondays from com/TheKitchenShopGrandCoteau.

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Up to the Challenge Danielle Ducrest Before the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra’s “Christmas Story: Rhythms of the Land” concert commences on Dec. 17, a larger-than-usual party will be raging on the mezzanine of the Heymann Performing Arts Center. The Maestro Circle “seauxcial” reception can often be spotted before symphony performances, providing symphony supporters and community members an outlet to relax, mingle and speak in person to Maestro Mariusz Smolij and other members of the ASO. This particular Maestro Circle will be a little different — and perhaps rowdier with holiday cheer — as the employees of Lafayette General join the Maestro Circle on the aptly named Lafayette General Foundation Night at the ASO. The reception will include appetizers and drinks, and revelers can capture the occasion with photos courtesy of LOL Photeaux. During the concert, a section of seating will be reserved for Lafayette General employees. 26 December 2015

This evening will be the culmination of a series of events that led to the creation of the specially designated night. It began months ago when Rebecca Doucet and Jenny Krueger, deputy director and executive director of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music, brainstormed new ways of engaging community members at symphony concerts. The ASO already provides sponsorship opportunities in the Acadiana area to businesses and individuals, who can make a donation and, in exchange, see their name featured on marketing materials promoting symphony appearances. This is perfect for some, but others prefer greater involvement. With that in mind, the Ticketing Challenge was born. The ASO challenges a business to sell 100 concert tickets to their employees at the discounted price of $30 per ticket. If the business sells all 100 tickets, the funds would generate a $3,000 sponsorship that would contribute to the creation of Overture Magazine

a special night for their employees at a symphony concert. The business’s name and/or logo would be featured on all marketing materials for the concert, and the business would be eligible for a free advertising opportunity in an issue of Overture and the option for a discounted ad contract in further issues of the magazine. If the business accepts the challenge and doesn’t sell all 100 tickets, the business is expected to cover the remainder of the $3,000 sponsorship.

talented artists and writers. Some medical professionals are musicians. Robinson says: “We actually have a band. The band’s called ‘On Call.’ It’s made up of a number of doctors and nurses. “The reason they are artists is it’s their release.” Robinson adds: “They’re dealing with patients, and sometimes, the situations aren’t so great. How do you express that? Well, they do it through art. Some of them sing, some of them do it through music, some of them play an instrument.” A night of music at “Christmas Story: Rhythms of the Land” will hopefully be an enjoyable and welcome outing for many employees of Lafayette General and its Foundation. “There’s a bunch of different ways that we can think about partnering together,” Robinson says. He believes the community will see a partnership between LGF and the ASO in a positive light. “They see us partnering together, doing some great stuff. It helps them understand that their money is going to good causes that we’ve collaborated [on].”

For the first contestants of the Ticketing Challenge, the ASO set their sights on Lafayette General Foundation (LGF). Lafayette Generation has a large employee base that may potentially buy tickets, and their presence in the Oil Center — conveniently next door to the Heymann Center – ensures they wouldn’t need to travel far to attend the concert. The ASO chose the Christmas concert for the challenge because it features a local favorite, Marc Broussard. The ASO hopes this will give Lafayette General employees a special opportunity to attend a concert and have fun. “It helps us by exposing more people to a symphony concert, and it helps them by providing something of value to their employees,” Doucet says.

The ASO hopes to engage other businesses in the future by reissuing the Ticketing Challenge. Businesses who accept the challenge would sell discounted tickets to their employees for concerts at the Heymann Center or at Angelle Hall. One question remains: Who will they challenge next?

Lafayette General Foundation jumped on the opportunity. LGF and the ASO have been talking for a while about ways they can collaborate. “When we first met, we wanted to figure out ways to partner together and pick a project that makes sense,” says Cian Robinson, executive director of Lafayette General Foundation, “meaning it’s gonna drive revenue to [them], it’s going to provide benefit to us.” The arts play an important role in daily activities in the Lafayette General Health system. Last March, the foundation hosted “In Skilled Hands,” an art auction that exhibited pieces of artwork created by doctors, registered nurses and friends of LGF. The assortment of artwork and other items up for bid proved that many medical professionals in the area are Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

December 2015 27

Tonio Cutrera and the ASO

For the Loveof Music Ann B. Dobie

28 December 2015

Overture Magazine


Tonio Cutrera has done almost every job in the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. In fact, he was part of the organization before it even existed while he was a student at (then) USL. Although he majored in business, he was playing drums in campus jazz bands and the marching band. In 1981, when Allan Dennis, the newly hired university orchestra director, needed a drummer for the USL production of “West Side Story,” he hired Cutrera for the show and later invited him to come to L’Orchestre rehearsals. L’Orchestre, the University’s symphony, became the musical parent of the ASO. It was not uncommon at that time to find people in the community to fill in when there were not enough student players, and soon, Cutrera’s father, also a musician, was playing in the orchestra, too. Since the family had a music store and a truck to move pianos, Dennis


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talked Cutrera’s dad into letting him use it to move instruments, and that was Cutrera’s first involvement with logistics. As production manager for the ASO, he has now been dealing with the orchestra’s logistics for 31 years. He is responsible for lighting, staging, sound systems — just about everything that goes on behind the curtain.

It was almost inevitable that Cutrera would be involved with music, as he was born into a musical family. His father, Tony Cutrera, played bass, and his uncle, Buddy Cutrera, was a drummer. Building on what Cutrera remembers as a good musical education in the public schools of Lafayette, especially the training he received at Lafayette High, he continued to learn the drums by watching his uncle play, by playing gigs with the likes of the Harry Greig Orchestra and by performing with groups at the university. And in 1984, when L’Orchestre became the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, Cutrera was ready. He became one of its founding members. Today he serves not only as production manager but also as the orchestra’s principal percussionist. In the early days of the ASO, the staff structure was nonexistent, and Cutrera found himself not only playing in the percussion section but also running the first ASO office as general manager of the organization. He was responsible for running the entire operation, which involved managing everything from personnel to the library to arranging for concerts and working with media publicity. To some small degree, he even worked at fundraising. Although he served in that position for only a year or two, he has remained the ASO’s production manager to this very day. No doubt his degree in business and the MBA he earned later have helped him with the many aspects of his job. Cutrera’s long tenure with the symphony has allowed him to work with all of its conductors. He also has met his share of guest performers — pianists, violinists, singers and more. In the 30 December 2015

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process, he has been witness to some unexpected events. There was the night that someone at the Heymann Center polished the grand piano in preparation for a visiting artist. Unfortunately, he also polished the keys, making them so slippery that the pianist’s fingers were sliding from one to the other. Needless to say, the performer was not amused. Then there was the night of one of conductor John Shenaut’s last concerts, when he slipped off the podium during a concert and broke his arm. During the intermission, he was rushed next door to Lafayette General, and after treatment, he came back to conduct the rest of the concert. With so many different duties for the ASO, one wonders what Cutrera does with his downtime. As it turns out, he works. For the past 23 years, he has had a full-time job as sales manager and marketing director for a software development company called

EZBIS. He also plays drums professionally with other local groups such as The Skyliners. Why does Tonio Cutrera invest such time and energy and talent in the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra? Clearly it is because he loves the music — Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Ellington and more. He says that he finds personal satisfaction in playing good music, even if it is a piece he has performed many times. For Tonio Cutrera, the thrill and excitement of it all never goes away.

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December 2015 31





The Art of Finances

Throughout my three-part series on the business of art, I have shared with you insight and guidance to developing and marketing your art. Now onto another facet of the business of art — becoming financially savvy. This includes managing your expenses and income as well as preparing for any unforeseen issues. If you do not take the time to focus on your finances, they may be delaying the success and fulfillment you deserve. Make a Plan As I mentioned in the first article of this series, it is critical that you make realistic plans for your art business. As an artist, you are likely more prone to exploring your more creative and adaptive side rather than planning the future. However, this is the most crucial element to ensuring the success of your business. Yes, this means you will need to brush up on those basic math skills and start crunching numbers. While math may not be your bailiwick, these skills are the only way for you to effectively build and manage your business. In fact, by making a financial plan, you will free yourself of the need to take whatever business comes your way and actually be able to pursue your dreams. It can be the difference of working an odd-end job and landing your dream gig. Maintain Records You can use something as complex as accounting or business management software or as simple as a spreadsheet to maintain a written record of your financial activity. This is not only beneficial to creating and maintaining your budget, but it will enable you to view trends and compare your marketing to actual profit and loss activity. This will prepare you to avoid overspending during busy seasons and budget accordingly for slower seasons. It will also help you get a true snapshot of the cost of managing your business. 32 December 2015

By Danielle M. Dayries


Set Financial Goals Start with building a basic budget. This will give you a realistic view of your financial state. Next, you should set some financial goals. Build a savings plan into your budget; no matter how little you put away at a time, it will give you the cushion necessary to pursue new opportunities. As an artist, your cash flow may be less consistent as someone with a 9 to 5 job, so it will be helpful to constantly grow your savings, even a dollar at a time. Use your newly built budget to identify unnecessary expenditures. What expenses can you eliminate or cut back on? Challenge yourself to reduce your expenditures by a certain percentage each month. Think About More than the Dollar The key to making profit is having something of value to others. However, profit does not always come in the form of a dollar. Consider bartering as a supplemental form of income. This allows you to do what you love and acquire the things you need. You should keep it professional by always maintaining written records of your agreements and transactions, just as you would a cash sale. Do not sell yourself short; ensure the proper value of the trade and continue doing what you love. Begin implementing your newly developed business, marketing and financial skills, as well as some creative thinking and hard work, and your art business will begin to grow right in front of you. Do not neglect any part of your business, including your actual product or service. In my previous article, I included a piece of one of my favorite quotes by Andy Warhol. I ask that you keep this longer quote on hand as you develop your art career: “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art. Working is art. Good business is art.� Overture Magazine

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December 2015 33

Calling on the Community to Support Do-Re-ME! Danielle Ducrest 34 December 2015

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>> Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

December 2015 35

The music class is a part of Do-Re-ME!, an arts-integrated, homegrown curriculum created by curriculum directors of the Acadiana

Symphony Conservatory and implemented by the Do-Re-ME! educational staff. Since the program’s launch in 2013, Do-Re-ME! has gained a presence at schools in Acadia and Lafayette Parishes, a promising start for the program. Do-Re-ME! intends to continue its current program and expand to other schools in Acadiana and perhaps beyond. Schools in Terrebonne and St. Mary Parish have expressed an interest in the curriculum. Do-Re-ME! is eager to meet that demand, and it is turning to private partners in the community for help to do just that. One million dollars: That’s the goal driving the pARTners for Education fundraising campaign launched by Do-Re-ME! In the course of three years, the administrative team behind pARTners for Education intends to raise that amount. The funds will allow them to maintain the program currently in place and implement the program in new schools in Acadiana. There’s potential to grow outside Acadiana, and an app currently in development can allow teachers across the nation to access the Do-Re-ME! curriculum. danny izzo @ nouveau photeau

The music classroom door opens at Truman Early Childhood Education Center, and a teacher ushers in the first class of preschoolers of the day. Co-teachers Daniel Gale and Jessica Eyster lead the kids in a half-hour of enthusiastic singing, dancing and playing instruments like maracas, tambourines and rhythm sticks. Gale and Eyster teach five or six Pre-K classes a day, five days a week, including ESL (English as a Second Language) students and a class of autistic students. The kids jump around and have fun, and all the while, they don’t realize they’re learning. Holding rhythm sticks can help to build the muscles needed to grip a pencil. Forming letters with the rhythm sticks help the students learn how to spell while developing fine motor skills. Dance moves during the songs further develop their gross motor and fine motor skills. Song lyrics help them comprehend lessons in math, science, social studies and reading. One or two songs played during the music class will correspond with lessons in their other classes; if the preschoolers are learning about the letter W, the number 3 and the color blue, Gale and Eyster will find educational songs about that letter, number and color.

The curriculum is designed for children aged 3 through 8, crucial ages when children learn rules of human behavior and the skills they need to achieve academic success. Do-ReME! engages children through visual, kinesthetic and auditory methods. Preliminary findings suggest that male students, in particular, have benefited from this sort of environment. “The ripple effect is that it will

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danny izzo @ nouveau photeau

help them feel successful and perhaps more engaged in the classroom,” says Rebecca Doucet, deputy director of the ASO & Conservatory. “If you have self-confidence,” she adds, “then you’re more likely to continue along that track [of success].” One of the goals of the program is to bridge the gap between kids who have been given better opportunities and kids who have faced difficulties in obtaining a well-rounded education. In Louisiana, many children who come from impoverished backgrounds or have faced other learning impediments are unprepared to compete against their peers in kindergarten and later grades. Do-Re-ME! believes it is one tool that can be used to combat that imbalance. Analysts must gather data over an extended period of time to determine the long-term effects of the program, but preliminary research has been positive. In the 2013-2014 school year, Do-Re-ME! students performed higher than students in a comparison school. Female Do-Re-ME! students at or above the 50th percentile scored 14.1 percent higher in math, 16.1 percent higher in language and 8.9 percent higher in print than girls in a comparison school. Male Do-Re-ME! students at or above the 50th percentile showed an even greater difference when they scored 22.4 percent higher in math, 26.7 percent higher in language and 20.8 percent higher in print than boys in a comparison school. The funds raised through pARTners for Education would benefit every area of the program during its continuation and expansion. This would include paying for supplies, equipment, development, salaries and benefits, teacher training, third-party research, legal fees and marketing. The training and interview process is rigorous, and educators on staff frequently modify and tweak the curriculum used in Do-Re-ME! classrooms in an effort to always provide the highest-quality educational experience for students. The pARTners for Education campaign officially kicked off in November, but donations can be made at any point between now and 2018. You can make a one-time donation, or you can pay part of your donation now and sign up to receive an annual invoice for additional installments. Individuals and businesses can become ambassadors and support the campaign politically or publicly. Volunteers can help during mini fundraisers throughout the year and spread the word about the program. Look inside Overture for the pARTners for Education appeal insert, or please visit acadianasymphony.org/get-involved/partners-foreducation for more information about pARTners for Education and how to make Do-Re-ME!’s expansion and continuation a reality.

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December 2015 37

Mark Staton Co. From the Swamp to the Showroom Emily Brupbacher 38 December 2015

Overture Magazine

Photo by Loren Amy

Founded in 1992,

Mark Staton

Co. has always been a family business. It’s a quality that’s evident

the minute you walk in the door of their impressive showroom and

are greeted like family. For years, Mark Staton Co. has specialized in selling high-quality alligator skins, and in the past several years, the

family has started branching out into more creative ventures such as purses, boots, belts, wallets and much more.

“My dad [Mark Staton] earned a doctorate in animal nutrition

degree and worked feeding and caring for alligators on alligator

farms,” says Karin Marie Hebert, vice president of operations at

Mark Staton Co. “Eventually he moved from that into working with the whole skins of the animals, focusing on finished leather as a

business. For a few years we lived in Papua New Guinea while he

managed one of the world’s largest commercial crocodile farms, but eventually we came back home to Louisiana, specifically Lafayette.

Photo by Loren Amy

He wanted to be back in Alligator Country.”

And while Mark Staton Co. still deals in whole skins, they have

gained a reputation for their distinctive, handmade alligator skin

products in recent years. “A few years ago we started moving into retail — anything from sandals to belts, bracelets to keychains,”

says Clint Hebert, sales manager at Mark Staton Co. “Each of our products is handmade, so there’s a lot of time and craftsmanship

>> Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

December 2015 39

Photos by Loren Amy

40 December 2015

Overture Magazine

that goes into each item.” Mark Staton Co. also collaborates with

customers on custom orders. “We’ll get customers who come to us

with a picture of a wallet from a magazine or a handbag of theirs that they’d like in a certain color of skin,” says Karin Marie. “We can create patterns based on what our customers want.”

Each unique item goes through a rigorous hands-on process to

ensure its quality and appearance are second-to-none. Everything begins with hunting season, which for alligators is solely during

the month of September. “We’ll have trappers bring in hides, and

we cure them with salt and prepare them to be sent to a tannery to

get tanned and dyed,” explains Clint. When the skins return to the company, it’s time for skin selection. “We take a good look at the

skin and consider what product it would best be used for. Because

each alligator is different in terms of markings, scarring and texture, skin selection is a very important part of the process.” After skin

selection comes the cutting and sewing. Once everything is stitched

together, the item goes through the finishing process, which includes

touching up all the edges and polishing the product. All products are examined by as many as six staff members before it is deemed ready

Photo by Loren Amy

to be delivered to the customer.

“Depending on the complexity of the product, it can take months,

especially if it’s a custom order,” says Clint. “Some of our own ‘house items’ can be done much quicker, but everything is still

handmade.” The care given to each handmade item has put Mark Staton Co. products in high demand, both locally and nationally.

The company has sold alligator hide, as well as their custom-made



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finished products, to luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

While the creative aspect of the company is fairly new, it’s

something the family hopes will continue to grow. “A lot of what

we do comes from hearing what our customers want and then giving it to them,” says Karin Marie. “We just want to have our name associated with high-quality skins and products.”

For more information about Mark Staton Co., please visit


Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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The tree will grow as new oak leaves and branches are added.

December 2015 41

Symphony Seauxcial

“Four Seasons” Concert Maestro Circle October 18, 2015, St. John’s Cathedral

Photos by Carolyn Brupbacher & Alyce Ray

Sunday afternoon at the Cathedral was the perfect setting for Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” concert. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the setting inside the Cathedral was beautiful. An hour prior to the concert, ASO hosted its Maestro Circle reception outside where guests mingled with the ASO Administration and Maestro Smolij enjoyed appetizers and fruit-infused water. The inside of the church was packed with concert goers eager to hear the sounds of the violin performed by Borislava Iltcheva.

As Rick Rowan and Silvia Bertolazzi from Carpe Diem shared: “We have been listening to recordings of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ for over 20 years. But hearing it live and played so well by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra was truly a unique and refreshing experience. We were moved physically and emotionally by the nuances of the performance. The setting of St. John’s Cathedral enhanced a reflection and introspection that recordings just can’t provide. We’re so lucky to have such a professional and artistic organization here in our city. It makes us truly proud and we can’t wait for the next performance.”

42 December 2015

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December 2015 43

Standing Ovation

ASO & C recently launched pARtners for Education, a three-year, $1 million campaign to support the expansion of Do-Re-ME!; build upon and expand the research analysis of DRM’s effectiveness; and develop a portable, technology-based curriculum. We wish to applaud our Founding Partners below for their belief in and support of Do-Re-ME! To join the movement, visit acadianasymphony.org/get-involved/partners-for-education. TRAILBLAZER $100,000+ Anonymous Louisiana Department of Education INNOVATOR $50,000+ IBERIABANK Pinhook Foundation PIONEER $25,000+ United Way of Acadiana REVOLUTIONARY $15,000+ Anonymous Stuller Family Foundation Whitney Bank LEADER $10,000+ Lea & Kurt Carleton Pugh Family Foundation PARTNER $5,000+ AT&T Gannett Foundation Vernon Moret, Jr. Moody Company Foundation MPW Properties Dru & Harry Patin 44 December 2015

ASSOCIATES $1,000+ Mr. & Mrs. Chip Billeaud Isabella de la Houssaye CIRCLE OF FRIENDS UP TO $999 Danielle Boudin Shep Baumer Bradley DeHart Deborah Edwards Cindy Gunawan Mary Neiheisel, Ph.D. John O’Meara David Romagosa Sangeeta Shah Overture Magazine



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December 2015 45

Community Seauxcial

March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction October 20, 2015, The Petroleum Club

Photos by Carolyn Brupbacher

The Roaring ’20s was the theme for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction and evening gala. Supporters enjoyed some of Acadiana’s most enticing dishes prepared by local signature chefs. Celebrating in the festivities was the 2015 March of Dimes Ambassador child, little Blaze Vidrine, and his family. All proceeds raised go to the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality.

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December 2015 47

48 December 2015

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