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October 2015

Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 1


2 October 2015

Overture Magazine


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October 2015 3


October 2015

features

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THE BUSINESS OF ART

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AMY WAGUESPACK: ACTING UP IN ACADIANA’S LEADING LADY

This director, acting instructor and founder of a theatre company loves putting all of the pieces together and teaches her students that collaboration is key.

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DAFFORD & GOULD’S “THE PUBLIC ART OF ROBERT DAFFORD”

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Photo by Anna Karin Skillen

There is more to art than the creation of art. This guide explores the business side of art and explains how artists can develop skills to market and showcase their work.

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AVA LEAVELL HAYMON: LOUISIANA POET LAUREATE

A failed attempt at rhyme led to a successful career for this poet. Haymon shares her experiences as poet laureate and why writing poetry can be the best introduction to poetry.

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Photo by Jillian Johnson

From conception to research to sketches to scaffolding, this book reveals how Dafford’s murals inspire communities to collaborate and take pride in local history and culture.

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MAGNOLIA SISTERS

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Cajun, Creole and string band tunes; vintage clothing; and rich, oldfashioned storytelling draw in audiences from near and far to hear the refreshingly new sound created by these four ladies.

THE PULL OF THE MOON

4 October 2015

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Photo by David Maynor

Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould

This co-founder shares tales of the Blue Moon Saloon, a hostel and bar that attracts musicians, bicyclists and scientists alike searching for a bed, a drink or just good music and the chance to dance.

20 Overture Magazine


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October 2015 5


October 2015

contents 8 OPENING NOTES Jenny Krueger, Executive Director 10 FANFARE Mariusz Smolij, Music Director & Conductor

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18 GUEST COLUMN Olivia Regard, President-Elect, Board of Directors, AcA 24 HAPPY NOTES The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi 28 LIVE FROM THE MET Opera on the Big Screen

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Photo by hungrynomad.net

12 CONCERT FEATURE The Old and the New: Musical Perspectives on Earth

32 ARCHITECTURE AROUND ACADIANA The Grand Opera House of the South 42 CULINARY ARTS Dark Roux 44 MEET THE INSTRUCTOR Miguel Ochoa 46 SYMPHONY SEAUXCIAL HIGHLIGHTS Generation ASO’s Symphony of Cravings: The Parc Hop 46 SYMPHONY SEAUXCIAL HIGHLIGHTS Acadiana Symphony Women’s League Tea

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Photo by Danielle Ducrest

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Photo by Ana Treuil

48 STANDING OVATION Be a Medici 50 COMMUNITY SEAUXCIAL HIGHLIGHTS “In the Creole Twilight” Book Release Party

6 October 2015

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October 2015 Vol. 3, No. 2

PUBLISHED BY

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 Catherine Schoeffler Comeaux Johanna B. Divine, Ann B. Dobie Danielle Ducrest ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Carolyn Brupbacher carolyncb@me.com • 337.277.2823

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Danielle M. Dayries, Rebecca Doucet Jenny Krueger, Mariusz Smolij Olivia Regard, Jennifer Tassin 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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October 2015 7


Opening Notes

Happy to be alive

Jenny Krueger, Executive Director

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What makes you feel happy to be alive? Is it the sound of children laughing, the energy of your favorite football stadium, dancing the night away with friends? Or is it something simple like the feel of an ocean breeze, the taste of a really good meal or holding hands with someone you love? These moments often catch us by surprise yet remind us of just how lucky we are to be in that moment at that time. For me, the feeling of fall instantly makes me more sensitive to how great it is to be alive. I love everything about the fall. Growing up in New Mexico, it was the smell of roasting green chile that symbolized that fall had arrived. In south Louisiana, it is football and all of the artistic activities that remind me it’s fall. I am happy to be reminded of the richness of our cultural landscape, and it makes me glad I’m alive. As you read through the October issue of Overture, I hope you are left with a small sampling of the richness of all that surrounds us. If you enjoy stories of camaraderie and hospitality, then you will want to read about the Blue Moon Saloon, its history and how it has come to symbolize everything that makes this area so great. Stay close to If inspiration and stories are more your style, then visit with the Magnolia Sisters as they travel the world using their musical storytelling as a window to the history and cultures of people very familiar to those who live in Acadiana.

anything that makes you glad you’re alive.

~ Unknown

From Shakespeare to locally focused theatrical works, Amy Waguespack shows us how sometimes the challenges of life can move us in a direction that can be transforming, not only for her but for the people that are lucky enough to work with her. Whatever it is that makes you feel alive, I hope you can spend more time doing that this fall. I secretly hope that spending a little part of your day reading Overture makes you feel happy to be alive and happy to be living in Acadiana. 8 October 2015

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October 2015 9


Fanfare

The Four Seasons and Beyond… Mariusz Smolij, Music Director and Conductor

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“Le Quattro Stagioni” (“The Four Seasons”) is a set of four violin concertos by Italian Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi written around 1720. Your ASO will present the entire cycle on Sunday, Oct. 18. The performance will take place at 3 p.m. inside the splendid acoustics of St. John’s Cathedral. Vivaldi’s musical descriptions of sounds and moods associated with the four seasons in northern Italy became one of the most recognized “classical” works in the history of music. The composer brilliantly captured the freshness of spring, the lazy afternoons of summer, the harvest celebrations of fall and the frosty bites of winter in such a way that his music connects with and inspires audiences in all corners of the world. There are many other wonderful compositions that bring together the familiar atmosphere of different parts of the year and the changes of nature around us. These compositions are lesser known but equally worth exploring. Below are a few examples of such works and suggested recordings. Argentinean master of tango Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) copied Vivaldi’s idea and wrote a set of four violin concertos representing the four seasons in Buenos Aires. Instead of focusing on the changes of nature, Piazzolla seems to be exploring our own changing moods and feelings as a year goes by. He often uses the medium of dance as a way of expressing the shifting emotions. [Recommended recording: G. Kremer, violin; Kremerata Baltica Chamber Orchestra]. Russian composer Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) also used dance as a form of expressing his artistic view of the different seasons. His ballet titled “The Seasons, Op. 67” describes in detail the different aspects of weather by creating appropriate individual dance scenes. For example, in the depiction of winter, separate dances portray frost, ice, hail and snow, respectively. Frost takes the form of a vigorous polonaise, after which the violas and clarinets present a short dance suggesting ice. Hail takes the form of a scherzo, followed in turn by the waltz of the snow. [Recommended recording: Cleveland Orchestra; V. Ashkenazy, conductor] “The Seasons, Op. 37” is a set of 12 short pieces for solo piano by the Russian composer Piotr Tchaikovsky. Each piece reflects a different month of the year. The work is also sometimes heard in orchestral arrangements, and individual excerpts have been very popular. For example, “Troika” (“November”) was a favorite encore of the famous composer and pianist, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and “Barcarolle” (“June”) received numerous arrangements ranging from symphonic to violin, guitar and even mandolin. [Recommended recording: S. Richter, piano] There is also a number of exciting symphonic works that carry artistic descriptions of single seasons. My personal favorite ones are: Symphony No. 1, “Spring” by Robert Schumann [Berlin Philharmonic/S. Rattle], P. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, “Winter Dreams” [Vienna Philharmonic/H. von Karajan], “The Fall of the Leaf ” by Gerald Finzi [London Philharmonic/A. Boult], “In Autumn” by Edvard Grieg [Köln Symphony Orchestra/E. Aadland], “Voices of Spring” by J. Strauss Jr. [Vienna Philharmonic/C. Kleiber] and “Summer Night in Madrid” by Mikhail Glinka [St. Petersburg Orchestra/A. Titov]. I hope that you will attend our live performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and also be inspired to explore other musical seasons by other composers. Musically yours, Mariusz Smolij

10 October 2015

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Thank You acadiana We have been successful because of You, acadiana…..Thanks for TrusTing us WiTh one of Your greaTesT invesTmenTs.

Eliana Ashkar, Joel Bacque, Teresa Hamilton, Sharon Henderson, Jason Louviere 337.267.4048 • 2000 Kaliste Saloom #101, Lafayette, LA 70508 Licensed in Louisiana Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 11


The Old and the New:

Musical Perspectives on Earth

By Ann B. Dobie and Mariusz Smolij

As the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra continues this season’s musical exploration of Earth, the second performance in the series, “Four Seasons,” includes both familiar and (probably) less familiar musical offerings. Residing comfortably in the former category is Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” featuring talented violinist Borislava Iltcheva. Vivaldi’s work, one of the most popular pieces in the Baroque repertoire, is actually a set of four violin concertos composed around 1720. Each pays homage to a particular season. In “Winter,” for example, the pizzicato notes played on the high strings evoke the sense of ice and rain. “Spring” features beautiful bird calls, and “Summer” includes sounds like those of a thunderstorm. When “The Four Seasons” was composed, the concerto form as we know it had not been established, and Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo helped to define the musical form. The work has since been arranged for almost any imaginable mode of presentation, including everything from arrangements for The Swingle Singers to others for Japanese koto instruments.

concert of this season, is no newcomer to the Lafayette stage. She is a welcome returning artist whose violin playing has thrilled audiences around the world. As a former member of the Donatello String Quartet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, she has performed at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York and the International String Quartet Competition in Budapest, Hungary. A native of Bulgaria, she holds prizes from several national and international competitions. Currently, she is concertmaster of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin at Southeastern Louisiana University. A much less familiar composition titled “Mountains of Epirus,” with solo part also performed by Borislava Iltcheva, is a work by Dinos Constantinides. The Greek-born composer is currently a professor of composition at LSU in Baton Rouge. The concertino makes an emotional connection with the beauty of the composer’s native land. The idyllic descriptions of the famous Greek mountains add another perspective to the musical explorations of Earth at this performance.

The final work on the program is Symphony No. 5 by Franz Borislava Iltcheva, who will perform with the ASO at its second Schubert, one of the most significant composers of the Romantic

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©Philip Gould

period. Often described as the “Prince of Song,” Schubert penned hundreds of songs to texts of many famous Romantic poets. He developed the Lied, a form of art song that was later followed by entire generations of composers. The singing quality of his music is also evident in Schubert’s orchestral compositions, including his fifth symphony. The lyricism of his orchestral writings seem to suggest an exploration of one’s soul, subtle feelings or inner being, in contrast to the outward looking works of Vivaldi and Constantinides. This romantic approach will provide an artistic variance and wide spectrum of sounds and styles to this special concert. Through music old and new and a remarkable guest violinist, the audience at the “Four Seasons” concert will discover contrasting musical perspectives on Earth. Concert goers will also have the pleasure of renewing their acquaintance with an old friend, Antonio Vivaldi. It is a winning combination. For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets, go to acadianasymphony.org.

Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 13


the

Business

Art

of

I was never quite certain why we call a guide to doing something well the “art of.� After much pondering, I realized that art is more than just a painting, sculpture, performance or another expression of emotion. Art involves a creative thought process, unique to each individual, which is articulated through fine-tuned techniques. We all have a bit of artist in our personality and daily lives.

By Danielle M. Dayries DMD & Associates, Inc.

Focusing your creative skills on not only your art but also your company will allow you to be successful in the business of art.

With this thought process, it is easy to see how art is present in several parts of our lives. Therefore, knowing that art can be transferred to business, then what about the opposite? What about the business of art?

Make a plan. Every successful business must start with a strong business plan, including an art business. When beginning a painting, drafting a story or choreographing a piece, you always start with an idea, growing that thought into a plan before execution. Your business is no different. Several small business organizations host libraries of useful resources to assist you in drafting your business plan. This will help you stay on track to achieve necessary goals and allow you to creatively plan the paths you are going to take to meet these goals.

Breaking the stereotype that a businessman is not artistic, we can also break the common thought process that artists can’t be business-savvy. Great art does not have to come while you are hungry, struggling to make rent and anxiously awaiting the next commission. In fact, maintaining a stable business will allow you to focus on your work rather than just making ends meet.

Get organized. It is time to break another stereotype. To be creative does not mean you have to be messy. To grow and maintain your business, you need to get organized. Keep track of business leads, finances and daily business needs. Just as you plan time to work on your art, preparing the perfect setting to concentrate, set aside time to tend to business needs.

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Explore other resources for income and grow your resume. Art does not have to be your only source of income, just like acrylic doesn’t have to be your only medium. You should explore other resources for income. These can even be art-related and enhance your art. For example, if you are inspired by the outdoors, perhaps you could find a part-time job as a natural tour guide. You also have an excellent opportunity to share your talents and train the next generation of artists through private or group lessons. Growing your business to more than just producing and selling art can not only increase your revenue stream but also your resume.

Photo by Danielle Ducrest

Build your brand and make it known. As an artist, you have spent time building your individual style and you must do so for your business. How are you going to portray yourself and your art to consumers? As an entrepreneur, you not only represent your work but also your business. Participate in festivals, shows and other events to showcase your art. Network with other artists, gallery owners and potential customers. It is crucial that you put effort into marketing efforts. No matter how great your art is, your business will only be successful if others know about it.

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You can have it all — pursuing your passions and building a successful business. Transferring your creative skills from your art to your business will ensure your success in mastering the business of art. As you master your business development skills, you will be prepared for the next article in our series, how to sell your art by becoming a marketer and merchant.

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Amy Waguespack Acting Up in Acadiana’s Leading Lady By Emily Brupbacher

16 October 2015

Photos by David Maynor

Overture Magazine


In 2003, Amy Waguespack created Acting Up in Acadiana, a resident theatre company that, in the last 12 years, has become renowned for its ensemble-driven shows that reflect our unique culture in south Louisiana. Waguespack has directed Acting Up’s presentations ranging from Shakespeare’s “The Twelfth Night” to original, more locally focused works such as “Sustained Winds,” a production about life in Louisiana during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For Waguespack, theatre is all about the creation and collaboration that goes on behind the scenes to make a piece of performance art really come alive for an audience. After a terrible car accident in college put an end to her aspirations of performing as a professional dancer, Waguespack remained drawn to the performing arts. “I have, over the years, had some fantastic experiences as a performer,” Waguespack says. “I’ve performed in all sorts of things: new works, Shakespeare, Pulitzer Prizewinning works. [But most of all], I loved the literature, the ideas, the concepts, the visions of how it should look and be told, the design, everything — putting the pieces together — which is why I find myself directing most of the time.” Years of acting and directing eventually led Waguespack to become an acting instructor. Through performing, she learned that the skills actors need — openness, collaboration and confidence in front of an audience — are skills that would benefit anyone. “I think directors should experience the acting side in order to understand that side fully,” explains Waguespack. “I want actors to have a common language in order to communicate easily during the creative process. I saw the value of developing the skills of an actor, even if you never pursue it as a career. Everyone needs to be able to collaborate, to concentrate, to present themselves in front of [a] group and so forth. And training-based acting classes help with those skills.” Waguespack’s acting classes are open to anyone ages 7 and up. And while Acting Up’s performances have been met with huge success locally, the goal is to become a better performer, not simply to put on show after show. “We are a training-based company and program,” says Waguespack. “We teach our students the skills of an actor. Those skills will serve them no matter what they end up doing for a career. At Acting Up, you can also expect a very collaborative, creative environment where everyone has a voice to contribute.” As the founder of Acting Up in Acadiana, Waguespack also views collaboration as something that should happen between the acting company and the community it resides in. “On Friday, July 25, almost exactly 24 hours after the horror at The Grand Theatre, I watched the Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” take the stage in spite of their fear and sadness and heal themselves and their audience with song and dance and laughter. The show was also dedicated to the victims.” For Waguespack, the greatest joy of her role as founder and director of Acting Up is the ability to contribute to the writing, directing and performing of some truly unique local theatre. “What I love most is creating and collaborating with some of the people that I adore the most in this world. Doing what I love with people that I love — it doesn’t get much better than that!” For more information about Acting Up in Acadiana, please visit actingupinacadiana.com. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

Jewelie’s 407 Rena Drive

Lafayette

984-8009 October 2015 17


Guest Appearance

Arts as an Indicator

Olivia Regard, President-elect, Board of Directors, AcA

Life presents numerous opportunities for individuals to focus on their differences — geographical lines separate us, political differences divide us and social issues polarize us. Fortunately, in Lafayette, we have just as many, if not more, opportunities to unite as a community and to celebrate that which makes us unique. We live in a city that is revered for its festivals, food and fun. The arts play a critical role in these accolades and in bringing us together, allowing us to celebrate our collaborative spirit as well as our differences. Barriers imposed during our daily lives melt on the dance floor of dance halls and festivals. Social and economic lines dissolve in the classroom through programs such as PACE, which integrates art into the school curriculum and provides students the opportunity to learn and see life with a larger perspective. Divisiveness is suspended when audiences unite 18 October 2015

in joy and wonder, escaping the realities of life through music and theater. Art connects us as human beings at a core level, and it is during these moments — when our creative energies fuse — the beauty of Lafayette shines.

Photo by Denny Culbert

T

There’s nary a day in Lafayette where the arts in some form or fashion do not touch your life. Some days, it’s obvious: the celebrated weeks in April and October during Lafayette’s wonderful festivals, the second Saturday of each month when citizens fill downtown for ArtWalk, and the numerous nights when people fill the seats of the Heymann Center or the Acadiana Center for the Arts for a performance. Some days, however, the impact art has on your life and this community may not be so obvious. On these days, you may have to look for it with intention, but if you look, you will see the arts are an everpresent part of our daily activities, touching our souls and moving us in unseen ways; uniting us as a community.

The ability of art and artists to unite a community was never more aptly demonstrated than when tragedy befell Lafayette in July. In many ways, the community’s reaction was expressed in art and crafted by talented artists. Individuals and families joined together at the Acadiana Center for the Arts and throughout downtown to create prayer flags as a sign of love in the midst of despair. Musicians provided healing through music as the community gathered to honor the victims and their families and begin the healing process. Friends, acquaintances and strangers folded over 2,000 origami cranes to create two senbazurus as a symbol of hope for the future. When violence challenged our community, art and local artists united the community into a collective mind centered on peace, love and gratitude. Art is an indicator of the health and vibrancy of a city. The essence of Lafayette and the things we value collectively are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about our community, and in Lafayette, it speaks volumes.

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Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 19


&

Dafford Gould’s “The Public Art of Robert Dafford” By Johanna B. Divine

20 October 2015

Overture Magazine


That may be one reason he and documentary photographer Philip Gould hit it off immediately. “Many people in Lafayette were aware of Robert’s work since the late 1970s,” says Gould, “and I knew about the murals he’d done in all these river towns. I was a big admirer.” Having authored over a dozen books on Louisiana and Louisiana artists, Gould wanted to photograph a book about Dafford for decades. “We’d see each other and talk for awhile and I’d say, ‘Robert, we really need to do a book – it would be so great to chronicle your work in the context of these towns.’ We’d both agree on the idea, and then years would pass and nothing would happen. So when the opportunity came about with UL Press, we knew it was time. But that original vision is what really inspired the book. It would have happened one way or another.” “The Public Art of Robert Dafford,” with

Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

text and photographs by Philip Gould, was published in October 2014. The book not only chronicles Dafford’s murals depicting historical scenes from along the Mississippi and the Ohio River valley – including his prominent and iconic work throughout Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Mississippi, 10 other states and three other countries – it offers Dafford’s work a context in modern-day America. According to Gould: “These murals do not exist in a vacuum. They are essential elements in their respective communities.”

Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould, Cover Design by UL Press

“I’m on the side of a building in Gretna,” says Robert Dafford, explaining why he won’t be able to make it home to Lafayette for an inperson interview. Muddy Waters plays in the background, and the south Louisiana summer heat is almost audible over the crackling phone line. This is the artist’s life – not the sit-down-at-an-easel-and-paint-a-bowlof-fruit artist, but the hang-from-a-scaffolding-100-feet-off-the-groundand-paint-a-flying-fiddle variety. Still, over 40 years and 400 murals into his successful career, internationally renowned muralist Robert Dafford is as down-to-earth as they come.

No one knows this better than Dafford, whose work as an artist consists not only of putting brush to canvas — or in this case, concrete — but of collaborating with everyone from city council members to Revolutionary War reenactors to bring public art projects to fruition. “There is so much that goes into these projects,” says Dafford. “Some of the relationships have developed over the course of 20 years or more. Some things go very quickly and others take more time, but generally, you go and visit a community once or twice. You make plans and stay in touch by phone. You work with everyone to make sure there are funds raised, logistics are taken care of, scaffolding is in place, everything is done to the walls so we can paint on them and, of course, you work directly with the historians to ensure all the research and development is completed. For the project in West Virginia, I visited the state archives multiple times and became close friends with an historian there, who led me to some obscure texts and resources. This kind of relationship is key to answering all the really detailed questions: What style of clothes did they wear? What kind of fabric and buttons?

>>

October 2015 21


Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould

as the foreground to the view of the town from the river. “It’s incredible,” says Gould, “to watch how people interact with the murals. They are part of the fabric of the city. And in Covington [Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio],” Gould continues, “the 1000-foot mural wall lies right between downtown and the river. Countless people walk along the mural, take pictures, tell stories. There is a constant interplay between the paintings and the people.”

Dafford continues: “Many, many different people are involved in helping set up these paintings – each becomes personally involved and takes on a little bit of ownership. By having a variety of people involved, it becomes their painting. Pride develops about their history. They bring family and friends to see it, out-of-towners to see it, and they make it a central part of their community. Many of these paintings are on historic buildings in downtown areas, so the project is often part of the downtown redevelopment and historic preservation process. It becomes an economic driver of sorts. They save the building rather than tearing it down. A lot of the work that’s done is really about that – about attracting people, about preserving and revitalizing the community. A public art project places the downtown business alliance at the same table with people from downtown redevelopment, visitors bureaus, arts associations and many other players. Getting these organizations to come together and work on a project that benefits everybody – that’s really the point, the goal of the whole thing. If, in the end, people say, ‘Yes! Public art is a good idea!’ then I’ve done my job.”

As far as challenges in photographing Dafford’s work, Gould notes the difficulty in capturing the process. “[Robert] is so close to the painting, you can’t really see him working and see the painting as a whole. One of my favorite moments was when we were up in Portsmouth [Ohio] together and Robert says, ‘Philip, you should come up on the scaffolding with me and get a shot – it’s a really great view from up there!’ and my immediate response was, ‘No way, I don’t do scaffolding … ’ But, of course, the moment I said it, I realized that I would have to go up. So I did and quickly realized that he was absolutely right. It was a great view and a great shot. That became the title page photograph in the book. It’s Robert

in his world.” From Dafford’s perspective, this photograph depicts two important aspects of his work – movement and scale. “The motion of painting, it involves my whole body. It’s not sitting at an easel – it’s really more like dancing. And music is a big part of my work – I like to have music

Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould

Nowhere is the economic development aspect of public art more evident than in Paducah, Kentucky, where an entire arts and entertainment community has been developed with Dafford’s murals as the cornerstone. In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the murals serve not only as the backdrop of a beautiful downtown amphitheater but also

Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould

Which tools did they use? What kind of wheels were on the wagons? It takes a multitude of sources to find the specific details for each painting.”

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Painting by Robert Dafford, Photo by Philip Gould

playing while I work. Just being up there – you’re looking at the sky, the buildings, the river, down on the streets, seeing people way down there. You’re part of this different world, and I think Philip captured that. It was like someone being in my tree house – Philip got to come see my tree house!” He continues: “The scale of the art is so much bigger than me while I’m painting, and in that photograph, you can really see that compositional element, a huge sweeping curve that I’m working on. From the ground, you can see it for what it is, but up there it’s a whole different experience. I usually take a photograph of the building and do all of my sketches on the photograph, so they are to scale. Then I get up to the wall and either use scale measurements or rough estimates, blocking large areas of color and adjusting color and shapes more and more as I go. When I begin putting in the smaller details – like windows, tree branches, people, vehicles – it gets a little more difficult. Something like the keys on the clarinet, which are an inch or so in real life, end up being about fifteen feet long in the painting. That’s the magic. And very few people get to see that.” When asked what their hopes are for the book, Dafford responds quickly, “I’m finally able to show people what I’ve been doing for the last 40 years!” Humor aside, he continues: “Philip really captured the breadth and the depth of what I’ve been able to do. I came to realize through the process of working together that Philip had a very distinct and clear vision of what he was working towards all along. He not only was able to document the work, but he knows how to put a book together, and that is an art in itself. I am eternally grateful to him, to UL Press and to our friends and clients for their help putting this book together, and in such fine form.” For Gould, the book was an opportunity to see the world through a new lens. “My work as a photographer is to document the world around us. The opportunity to document not only another artist’s work but to explore that extra layer of seeing the world through that artist’s vision … now that is a rare gift.” In celebration of the 250-year anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians to Louisiana, Festivals Acadiens et Créoles will host a special exhibit of Dafford’s murals depicting the history of the Acadians. The exhibit is free and open to the public from Sept. 4 to Oct. 14, 2015, at the A. Hays Town Building at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. For more information about artist Robert Dafford, visit Dafford Murals on Facebook. For more information about author and photographer Philip Gould, visit philipgould.com. Copies of “The Public Art of Robert Dafford” are available through UL Press as well as major booksellers. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 23


Happy Notes

“The Four Seasons” Antonio Vivaldi

By Jennifer Tassin Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Italy on March 4, 1678, in the middle of an earthquake. Historians believe that his mother made a vow that her son would become a priest if the family was kept safe. The Vivaldi family survived the earthquake, and Antonio became the first of nine children. Antonio studied the violin with his father, Giovanni. They traveled all over Venice playing violin duets together. He began his seminary studies at the age of 15. He had red, flaming hair and was nicknamed the “Red Priest.” Antonio was very reluctant to pursue his education and often would leave Mass to compose music in the sacristy. Once he was ordained a priest, he was relieved from saying Mass due to his asthma attacks from the incense. Antonio instead was

named a violin instructor and composer for a girls’ orphanage in Venice. His female students were instructed on all of the instruments in the orchestra, even though some instruments were not considered feminine. There were Venetians upset by this, but his students loved it! He wrote over 350 concertos while teaching at the girls’ school. “The Four Seasons” is perhaps one of Vivaldi’s most famous concertos. A concerto is a piece of music written for a solo instrument and the orchestra. King Louis XV would ask for “Spring” (from “The Four Seasons” concerto) to be played often, since it was so well-loved in France. Vivaldi based “The Four Seasons” concerto on a type of poetry called the Italian sonnet. Here are excerpts from Vivaldi’s sonnets for Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn” and “Winter.”

“Spring” Springtime is upon us. The birds celebrate her return with festive song, and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes. Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven, Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more. What are some sounds that you hear in the springtime? Can you hear the birds and the thunderstorm? Did you hear the bagpipes? Can you hear someone dancing? Give yourself room to move around without touching anyone or anything. Pass out scarves or streamers (green, purple, blue, red and yellow). Each person should get their own. Move to the music of “Spring” using your scarf or streamer. Move your body at the same tempo, or speed, of the music. As you listen to the music, there are essentially five parts: trees, birds, a brook/stream, a thunderstorm and the sun. You can take turns dancing based on the color of your scarf or streamer. • The tree group will use the green scarf/streamer. This group dances first. Recording time 0:00-0:31. 24 October 2015

• The bird group will use the purple scarf/streamer. Recording time 0:32-1:14. • The brook/stream group will use the blue scarf/streamer. Recording time 1:15-1:46. • The thunderstorm group will use the red scarf/streamer. Recording time 1:47-2:23. • The sun group will use the yellow scarf/streamer. Recording time 2:24-3:26. Play the “Spring” piece and call out the groups. Only move when you hear the music of your group. Play the selection again and do not announce the group names. If a group goes at the wrong time, they have a seat. At the end of the piece, the last groups standing are the winners!

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“Summer” Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat men and flocks are sweltering, pines are scorched. We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard. • Recreate the sounds of rain by making your own shaker. Fill up an empty water bottle with uncooked rice. • Can you hear the animals and people in the hot sun? • Do you hear the gentle breeze? • Is the wind howling? Do you hear lightning and thunder?

“Autumn” The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in. The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber. The singing and the dancing die away as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air, inviting all to sleep without a care. Can you hear the farmers celebrating their harvest? Do some of the farmers get tired and fall asleep? Can you hear the horns playing? The guns shooting? The chase between the hunters, the dogs and the fox?

“Winter” Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds; running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill. To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain. Do you hear the horse’s hooves? Let your children use wooden blocks or make noises to sound like the horse’s hooves, and use bells to sound like the church bells. Try to keep a steady beat. Look up snowflakes on your computer or internet. How do snowflakes look? What are their shapes? How do they form? Do you hear any teeth chattering? Do you hear someone trying to hurry on the ice? Some great books to read about Antonio Vivaldi include: “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” by Anna Harwell Celenza “Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra” by Stephen Costanza Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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Ava Leavell

Haymon

Louisiana Poet Laureate By Danielle Ducrest • Photo by Anna Karin Skillen

Ava Leavell Haymon’s career as a poet and poetry advocate began with an attempt to write in rhyme and metric verse, which did not go well. Undeterred, she kept writing. Her prize-winning poems have appeared in literary journals and as four poetry collections. Also an accomplished playwright, Haymon’s plays have been produced by several theatres, schools and theatre workshops in Louisiana and Texas. Haymon was born in Mississippi, raised in Missouri and Texas, and made Louisiana her home in 1965. She taught poetry at LSU and promoted poetry writing as Artist in the Schools in East Baton Rouge Parish, and she’s held an annual summer retreat for writers and artists in New Mexico. A seasoned traveler, she’s also been on spiritual pilgrimages to the Himalayas and to a shrine in New Mexico. In 2013, Haymon was appointed as the 12th Louisiana Poet Laureate, a position that allowed her to continue traveling around the state and the country to promote poetry through a variety of activities. Her most recent anthology, “Eldest Daughter,” was released during this time, and she also became the editor of “The Barataria Poetry Series.” Her 2-year term as poet laureate came to an end earlier this year, and her successor, Peter Cooley, was named in August. Overture spoke to Haymon about her experiences as the Louisiana Poet Laureate, how a fictional talking spider helped to launch her poetry career and why it’s important to write poetry as well as read it. Overture Magazine (OM): Poets laureate may be expected to give annual lectures and live readings of their work, introduce poetry in new locations, encourage poetry writing in schools, and organize annual poetry festivals. They may be asked to write poems for special occasions. Does this describe your duties as Louisiana Poet Laureate? Ava Leavell Haymon (AH): In Louisiana, the official regulations say that the Poets Laureate will “represent poetry” while in the state and will “represent Louisiana” when they are elsewhere. In addition, he/she will give two public readings. The first half of that is grand language but vague; the second is easy to fulfill. This — blessedly — enables the Louisiana poets laureate to make the office whatever they choose. Most have understood the appointment as a service position rather than as simply an honorific. In my own case, the appointment came at a felicitous time. Three things came together and, in fact, within two weeks of each other: my 70th birthday, my last book’s appearance from the publisher (a big work, spanning many years), and the news of the appointment. The coincidence seemed a sign from the beyond, and I was able to throw myself into the job without being preoccupied with a salary job or with finishing off the book. I determined that I’d say yes whenever I was asked to make an appearance. I had wonderful support from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, who contacted schools and librarians all over the state about my willingness to work with them. Many replied. Consequently, I read and led panels and workshops at quite a few literary festivals, led classes in poetry writing in elementary and secondary schools and libraries all over the state, gave many readings, workshops for teachers, led panels, and arranged readings with other poets. I was interviewed on the radio, TV, in print. Whew! And I also had some interesting work outside the state. Most people don’t know what a poet laureate IS, but they all want to see one. People came to poetry readings [even though they] had never been to one before or read a poem since they were in high school or college. And [they] LIKED it.

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Children wrote poems who had never been asked to express themselves before. And they liked that, too. Fortunately, I wasn’t expected to write poems for state occasions. I don’t think the powers of the state would like to hear what I’d have to say to them. OM: Is there anything you wish you’d been able to do as poet laureate but didn’t have the chance? AH: I began a project with the LEH, writing curriculum for elementary school teachers who want to teach poetry writing in their classes. I haven’t finished this, but I intend to. The LEH will have the contacts to distribute this to Language Arts teachers all over the state. OM: You discovered a love of writing poetry in the middle of writing a story about talking gerbils, mice and spiders. Could you explain exactly what happened? AH: I was writing a young adult fiction novel that had escaped my control, and not only the characters but also the plot were inventing themselves as we went along. I was the one typing, but the words surprised me at every turn. There were pet gerbils in the story I’d planned, and to my dismay, they started talking. They began to make up a fairy tale to cheer up their owner, who used to read fairy tales to them and pretend they could listen. After many twists and turns in the gerbil’s new fairy tale, a very shy mouse had to climb down an old stone spiral stairway in the dark and damp cold to retrieve the gold ball of the (obligatory) princess. This was the pinnacle of the story. When he reached the very bottom, deep under the palace, the little mouse found himself in the cave of a spider. She gave him some liquid that made him sleepy, and she spoke in a kind of incantatory rhyme. Now, I am not a good rhymer, and here I was, trying to get a spider dialogue in rhyme and meter. It was very difficult work for me, and I was terrible at it. Somehow, this told me that writing poems was what I should be doing. I abandoned the young adult novel and have been writing poems ever since. I still can’t rhyme and meter a line without suffering over it for a long, long time. Fortunately, very, very few of my poems rhyme or use a fixed meter. OM: You’ve held writing workshops and taught classes for elementary, middle school, high school and college students. That sounds like quite a range. Were your experiences teaching various age groups different or similar? AH: The age span I’ve taught is even wider than that. I taught private poetry writing classes for 20 years, with students ranging from 25 to 80-plus. And teaching all these different age groups has convinced me that we all, from 6 to 100, have the same need for self-expression and an art form that will enable us to do it. And when I’m teaching, I say many of the same things, whether I’m teaching kindergarteners or retirees. OM: Would you recommend that more people attend poetry workshops, even if they don’t consider themselves poets? AH: Sure. But I think the best entrée into reading poetry is to begin to write it, whether the writing is likely to ever be published or not. We may evaluate a poem as “good” or not, but in every case, it is important to the human who wrote it, and it should be treated with great respect. When we read poetry and do not ever write it, we tend to read in order to evaluate or rank poems as better or worse than others. When we have had some experience in writing and are wanting to write more, we read poems — LOTS of them — to see how the poet managed to do what he/she did. To learn more about Haymon’s publications or her upcoming public appearances, please visit her web site at avahaymon.com. Overture Magazine


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For sports fans, Saturday afternoons are reserved for watching football, golf or baseball, but for other dedicated followers, the day is devoted to attending the Metropolitan Opera, right here in Lafayette. That experience is made possible by “The Met: Live in HD,” a series of operas broadcast directly as they are performed from the stage at Lincoln Center. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the program, which to date has sold more than 17 million tickets since its inception and currently reaches more than 2,000 movie theaters in 70 countries around the world. This year, the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series will send transmissions of 10 Saturday matinees to movie theaters around the world, one of them being Lafayette’s James Devin Moncus Theater at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. This year’s lineup is filled with audience favorites, six of them in new productions. Opening the series is “Il Trovatore” with popular soprano Anna Netrebko as Leonora. It will be followed by “Tannhäuser,” “Othello,” “Lulu,” and “Elektra.” Also on the bill is the first Met performance of “Les Pêcheurs de Perles,” not presented at the Met since 1916 when Enrico Caruso sang the lead. The three Puccini operas scheduled for this year, “Turandot,” “Manon Lescaut,” and “Madama Butterfly,” are perennial audience pleasers. “Roberto Devereux,” which will complete Donizetti’s “Tudor trilogy,” is especially notable because acclaimed bel canto soprano Sondra Radvanovsky will sing the part of Elizabeth I as well as the title roles in the companion operas. That feat, not repeated since Beverly Sills pulled it off at the New York City Opera in the 1970s, will be a first at the Met. “It’s a season that should please our audiences, both old and new,” said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager. The simulcasts have been warmly received in Lafayette, not only because they make the stunning productions and performances available to audiences that might never have such an opportunity otherwise, but because they offer experiences that not even those seated at the Met itself can have. For example, before the curtain rises and when it comes down at intermissions, the simulcast audience is treated to live interviews with the singers, conductors and directors, all of them hosted by well-known opera stars. Simulcast audiences are even able to watch the stage crews as they move scenery and make last minute touchups to the sets. During the performance the closeness of the camera work allows the AcA audience to see the singers’ facial expressions and observe their costume design in detail.

“The Met: Live in HD” particularly pleasurable as it takes lunch orders before the performance begins and has them waiting to be picked up at intermission. For those who prefer to bring their own snacks, the AcA allows “picnicking” in the auditorium, and the bar is open throughout the day. For those who cannot make the Saturday presentations, alternative access to the best of the operatic world has never been so available. The Saturday Matinee Radio Broadcasts continue, this being their 85th consecutive season. The Met is also carried on SiriusXM Channel 74 and streamed on their website at metopera.org. The PBS series “Great Performances at the Met” shows the simulcasts within months of their initial live transmissions. The venue of choice, however, is “The Met: Live in HD,” which is made possible by a grant from its founding sponsor, The Neubauer Family Foundation. The 2015-2016 series opens on Oct. 3. See you at the opera — the Metropolitan Opera, that is — in Lafayette. For further information, go to acadianacenterforthearts.org.

The Acadiana Center for the Arts makes attendance at 30 October 2015

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CRC588395 (12/12) CS 7338778 SUP031A 04/13

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the

Grand Opera House of the South

a “Beautiful Little Playhouse”

Photo by Danielle Ducrest

By Danielle Ducrest

Photo by Edward Leger

perform at the opera house. Huey Long made it a stop on his campaign trail. Other notable guests include Clark Gable, Enrico Caruso and William Jennings Bryan.

The three-story brick building in downtown Crowley may be over 115 years old, but many locals remember it as the location of Dixie True Value Hardware, which occupied the ground floor from 1946 to 2010. The hardware store’s customers typically had no idea that anything special could be found just above their heads. That changed when the Grand Opera House of the South, as it is now called, held its grand opening in 2008, unveiling an opera house from another era. The building originally belonged to David E. Lyons, who was the deputy sheriff and a livery stable owner when he purchased the property in 1898. The ground floor opened in 1900 with a saloon, café, barber shop, bakery, pool hall and music store occupying the space all at once. Over the years, a bus station, a John Deere parts dealership and even a mortuary could be found on the ground floor. The building’s jewel was the second-story opera house, which opened on Nov. 23, 1901. Lyons’ vision was to create a place for railway travelers to stop halfway between New Orleans and Houston. The opera house hosted vaudeville and minstrel shows early on and silent movies and talkies in later years. Whenever Babe Ruth was in Crowley, he would 32 October 2015

Lyons was a “very generous man,” says Executive Director Kimberley G. Gattle. If visitors couldn’t afford tickets, Lyons often bartered with them. Gattle’s great-grandfather took care of Mr. Lyons’ cattle, and in return, Lyons gave him tickets for the Saturday night or matinée show. The opera house closed in 1939, and Lyons died in 1940. Other businesses moved out of the ground floor, allowing Dixie Hardware to expand. They removed the grand staircase and used the upper floors for storage, but the opera house remained. Gattle’s family acquired the building in 1999 to restore the opera house. They donated the building to a nonprofit organization, which has owned the building ever since. Today, Le Grand Hall, a separate business that rents the ground floor, occupies an open, echoing and inviting space. A beautifully carved wooden staircase leads up to the opera house. In its original heyday, the floor of the opera house purportedly had 800 18-inch-wide seats, but these seats have been replaced by 309 20- to 22-inch seats. Other than a few more details that conform to modern building codes, the opera house has been restored as closely as possible to its original design. Many fixtures needed to be replaced or repaired during the renovations overseen by architect Donald J. Breaux. A local artisan, Richard delaHoussaye, created exact replicas of the broken sconces of light fixtures. The longer, carved balusters on the staircase, created by Highland Cabinets, are inspired by the shorter balusters of the original grand staircase. Each box seat has pale blue, white and gold wall panels and panels of bas relief angels on the ceiling. The angel medallions, hand-painted by local Overture Magazine


Photo by Edward Leger

artisan Rhonda Stevens, are replicas of the originals. One of the original medallion panels is on display in a museum, also on the second floor.

Photo by Edward Leger

Like the ground floor, the opera house also has a rich history. The box seats, installed in 1908, don’t offer the best view of the stage and, instead, are oriented toward the audience. This is intentional. Lyons wasn’t formally educated, and wealthy residents of the area weren’t always nice to him. The box seats were his revenge, and they continue to cause some measure of drama today. Gattle says: “I have a season ticket holder who has had the same seats for seven years, and this year, he called and said, ‘My wife is so tired of people looking at us all the time. Please put us on the floor.’”

Perhaps the best feature of the opera house is its acoustics. Many guests have enjoyed performing here because of the sound quality, and Gattle attributes this to the curvature and condition of the ceiling. “We tried not to do anything to disturb this ceiling. So we didn’t varnish it, wipe it down, redo anything that we had to … We had to be very careful to preserve it.” Back in Lyons’ day, the opera house was not often used for opera. “It’s kind of like history is repeating itself,” says Gattle, who explains that the opera house hasn’t hosted an opera since its grand opening. Meanwhile, it has been blessed with performers, musical productions and more events. In a room backstage, Chubby Checker’s signature shares a wall with the casts of local productions of “Aladdin” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” A Louisiana artist has opened every season. Other performances have included 3D juggling and bubble artistry. Le Grand Hall, the opera house and a ballroom on the third floor have hosted Boy Scout gala dinners, weddings, fundraisers and baby showers. In 20152016, the Grand Opera House of the South promises another variety of performances including the Malpass Brothers, Jaimee Paul, the puppet show “Princess Thimbelina,” ventriloquist Taylor Mason and more. To learn about their season or purchase tickets, or to reserve Le Grand Hall, the opera house or the third-floor ballroom, visit thegrandoperahouse.org. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

October 2015 33


By Catherine Schoeffler Comeaux 34 October 2015

Photo by Gabrielle Savoy

Magnolia Sisters

Overture Magazine


The Magnolia Sisters play in living color, but close your eyes and the sepia-toned sounds of the past dance through your ears. Ann Savoy, Jane Vidrine, Lisa Trahan and Anya Burgess play mostly music from the Cajun and Creole archives, with a few 1930s string band tunes thrown in for added pep. “Really our focus is always on the creative side of our music — we create a sound,” explains Ann, the foundress of the band. As the Magnolia Sisters bring their talents to bear on the old songs, we hear the emotions of the original recordings brought to life, with the result being a refreshingly new sound.

Photo by Jillian Johnson

Their latest recording, “Love’s Lies,” nominated for a Grammy in 2014, is an eclectic collection of songs that cover a wide range of experiences. It opens with a newly written song by Ann, “La bonne vie,” full of timeless poetical imagery exemplifying the good life – owls hooting, starry skies, loved ones glimpsed through a window. The harmonizing on “Le deserteur” floats hauntingly above a low accordion drone, and we are transported by a story of desertion, romance and a traitor’s death. On “Malinda,” the Sisters play up the Caribbean sound in this song they learned from Canray Fontenot. Jane employs a lilting guitar while Ann’s banjolin and a shaker play around the melody, with Anya’s fiddle dropping in to complete sound. The collection plays around with the typical themes of south Louisiana music – longing, lying and missing home.

Typically bedecked in coordinated vintage clothing, the Magnolia Sisters move dancers to their feet here in south Louisiana, all over the United States and overseas. A performance ordinarily involves an accordion fiddle set followed by a double fiddle one, with a few harmonized acapella tunes thrown in to ground the performance. Storytelling banter often figures in, as well. “Some of our songs are very text-based, with rich stories that reveal a lot about the history of our people here,” notes Jane. “We like for our audiences to be able to gain a deep understanding of what we are singing, how Cajun and Creole music styles developed over time, and what it is like here in south Louisiana. We want people to feel a personal connection with our music and with us as musicians. So we talk a bit to help with that.” When asked about the Magnolia Sisters’ overseas tours, Anya’s

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October 2015 35


Photo by Jillian Johnson

meet genuine, friendly people and go to indescribably beautiful places. The music concerts and dances just get better and better as the tour continues. What a special way to solidify as a band.” Placing their hearts, talents and time on stages across the globe, the Magnolia Sisters tell the stories of the people of Acadiana, stories influenced by the various cultures that long ago made their way to south Louisiana from afar. The Sisters bring the old music full-circle – playing up the unique sounds that, to international audiences, often sound hauntingly familiar. On playing in France, Jane recalls, “The French people not only understand us, but they connect in profound ways as if they are watching their ancestors.” As this story goes to print, the Magnolia Sisters will be packing their bags and instruments for a three-week tour in Germany, the birthplace of the accordion. Here’s to another epic tour, ladies.

Photo by Chris Simon

Photo by Paige Rabelais

response comes with a big smile: “Epic. That’s the best way to describe them.” Like a long narrative poem in which heroines of great historical importance perform valorous deeds set in a vast scope covering great nations, with the action being important to the history of a people. Jane gives an example: “We drove over 3,500 kilometers [over 2,000 miles] in 15 days in France and England with maybe one or two days off the whole time. For some, this could be miserable, but the Sisters really get along. Each of us has our role in the band and we love taking little sightseeing/shopping/adventure stops when we can. We

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October 2015 37


The

Pull Moon of the

By Catherine Schoeffler Comeaux, Photos by Gwen Aucoin 38 October 2015

Overture Magazine


BRIEF HISTORY I swept the last bit of renovation debris out the back door of the Blue Moon Guest House in late August 2001. Several months prior, Mark Falgout and I had separately discussed with a mutual friend our dream of starting a hostel. Sharing a love of our culture and an enthusiasm for travel, we combined efforts in a business partnership. Bringing the new concept of a hostel to Lafayette, we made every effort to draw people in and let them know what it was about — a form of lodging which encourages interaction between travelers by offering common spaces and inexpensive, shared bunk-style accommodations. We joined Lafayette Convention and Visitors Center; we hosted “La Table Ronde,” offering French speakers a place to “parler en français;” and we agreed to host the Cajun Jam, which had lost its home when the downtown Chris’ Poboys closed. Our first Mardi Gras, the pearl-snapped Weary Boys brought Austin rockabilly to the makeshift stage on the back deck, luring the paradegoing crowd in from the streets. Word spread about the hostel. It became an informal gathering place. One evening ended with a crowd filling the guest house, cheering a member of Red Stick Rambler furiously bowing on his fiddle atop the front desk sometime beyond 3 o’clock in the morning. It could not be helped — music would be a part of what would draw people to the Blue Moon Guest House. Construction of the small bar off the back porch began — offering guests a place to sit, enjoy a drink, chat with locals and listen to music.

LAFAYETTE’S BACK PORCH Much hard work went into transforming the back deck into the Blue Moon Saloon — an expanded, covered, acoustically efficient, funky space that would draw locals from near and guests from afar. As coowner and guest house manager in those early days, it was beautiful to watch locals enjoying themselves out back — people felt comfortable, disarmed by the novelty of being on someone’s back porch coupled with the mystery of who that someone might be. It could be anyone’s home on any given night — the couple who bicycled up from Brazil, the Japanese noodle-maker motorcyclist, the English graduate student new to town or the French homeschooling family living on the road — the hostel attracts an eclectic variety of travelers. Locals embraced the Blue Moon Guest House and continue to do so — acting as cultural ambassadors — often taking visitors on excursions, giving rides or helping plan itineraries. The hospitality of the local people, along with the music of the saloon and a friendly welcoming staff, continue to be what draws people to stay at the Blue Moon in their travels. Five years into the life of the business, with bittersweet sadness, I ducked out of one of the liveliest endeavors of my life, though occasionally my mobile phone still receives calls from overseas inquiring about the bunk rate. The Blue Moon has evolved since then. Owners Falgout and his wife, Nicole LeBlanc, continuously surprise guests with new additions of art, intriguing found objects and structures that seem to pop up overnight — forever tweaking the place for a richer experience to be had by all. Accommodations have expanded beyond the original location, now offering a private bungalow nearby. The Blue Moon has been recognized by Southern Living as one of the “Best 100 Bars in the South.” Locally, Le Centre International honored the Blue Moon for enhancing the international reputation of Acadiana with an International Achievement Award. Traditions that took root in the beginning have since grown, and new ones have cropped up as well. Southern-rock-and-soul artist Marc

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October 2015 39


Broussard plays an annual Lundi Gras gig at the Moon that’s been a mainstay for over a decade. In conjunction with Festival International, the Blue Moon’s Rhythm and Roots series hosts mashup concerts between local and international musicians. Summertime brings the BluesBerry Festival featuring all foods blueberry and a blues show to match the sultry summer heat. The end of the year promises a merry and bright evening with the longstanding tradition of the Christmas Hoot, complete with a live band backing up an open mic for inspired carolers. Throughout the year there is a pattern of excellent local live music shows and consistently good new talent arriving from all points yonder. Sometimes the talent is Blue-Moon-grown on the back porch itself, fostered by the Wednesday-night Cajun Jam. I stopped in at the Cajun Jam recently. Despite the heat around town, the well-placed fans and a swamp cooler create an inviting space — the musicians arrive, as do the dancers, the lookers, the whistlers and the faithful enjoyers. “It’s been magic in my life,” fiddler and jam musician Patti Chaney-Pollock relates. “The jam has helped me to evolve as a musician and so many others, as well.” A faithful attendee since the beginning, she recalls several years ago playing next to a Texan-turnedlocal, who was just learning the fiddle. “I told him, ‘Wow, you’re gonna be good at that.’” The Grammy-nominating committee thought the same thing about this young man, Cedric Watson, one of Acadiana’s most unique talents, who incorporates Creole sounds from all over the world into his music. A relative newcomer to the Cajun Jam, commercial airline pilot Mitch Andrews tells me of a motorcycle adventure that took him and a buddy from Houston to the southernmost tip of Argentina. It was on their way home from retrieving their bikes off a ship in Florida that they stopped in for a bunk in the hostel on a Wednesday night. “I was amazed at the musicians. They weren’t pretentious; they’d teach you a song if you asked. I play bass. They let me play their instruments that first night I was here.” He goes on to tell me the story of how he bought a house nearby and now calls Lafayette his part-time home. “This place changed 40 October 2015

my life. It’s the people.” He smiles as he goes on. “Life will take you where you need to be. You just gotta let it.” Life has led many to the Blue Moon — for a bed, a beer, a night of amazing music or perhaps something much more. There’ve been weddings, memorial services, reunions, DJ dance parties, yoga classes and once a conference for an elite group of mangrove scientists. The wood of the Saloon dance floor shines with the story of good times, polished by the feet of travelers and locals pulled in by the Blue Moon. For an amazingly rich visual, audio and video experience of the Blue Moon via the comfort of your personal device, visit their website at bluemoonpresents.com, where you can also find the live music schedule, make a reservation, and read about a variety of traveler guests and local Blue Moonies on the site’s blog. Or stop in for a visit when you’re in downtown Lafayette.

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October 2015 41


Photo by hungrynomad.net

Louisiana Tradition Both Old & New

Photo by hungrynomad.net

by Emily Brupbacher

Here in Cajun Country, our food is a source of pride for locals. When we cook for loved ones at home, we combine ingredients carefully, often forsaking speed and convenience for tradition and heritage. Many of us learned to cook from parents or grandparents, and those family rituals remain just as important as the food itself.

wanted out. “Cory and I wanted a restaurant that would let us be more experimental,” says Trahan. “We also felt like it was vital Dark Roux support local farmers and suppliers. This idea — buying everything locally and putting our money back into the community we loved — was very attractive to us.”

At Dark Roux, diners are sure to find that family-style dining with a cultured, modern flair. “Our menu is designed for conversation,” says Ryan Trahan, Chef and Owner of Dark Roux. “We want it to be like you’re sitting down at your family’s table, talking about our food — the smell, the texture, the flavor.”

Trahan and his team began reaching out to local providers such as Gotreaux Farms, Market Basket and Brookshire Farm. “All of the food we purchase comes from within 200 miles,” says Trahan. “Going in that direction made us that much more excited to serve our food because it was such high-quality food; it made our dishes taste that much better.” It seems the old-fashioned farm-to-table approach is thriving at Dark Roux, even down to an outdoor garden, which Trahan says is comprised only of edible plants. “By next growing season, we hope to get 20% of our produce from our own garden.”

Dark Roux’s roots actually began back in May 2013, when Trahan opened Brick & Spoon, a franchise of Southern-themed food. The restaurant was a hit, and things took off even more when Trahan hired executive chef Cory Bourgeois. The two became fast friends, bonding over food. However, when Brick & Spoon started making moves to become a more corporate-driven restaurant franchise, Trahan decided he 42 October 2015

Sustainability and local loyalties aside, what remains all-important to Trahan and his team is the food itself. “I grew up in Crowley, and Cory grew up in New Orleans,” explains Trahan. “Together, we’ve tried to modernize what we grew up eating, and that influence plays a role in Overture Magazine


everything we create. It’s very collaborative and experimental, and we like to think we do it well because we love it so much.” It seems everyone on the Dark Roux team — from General Manager Aaron Brinkman to Mixologist Paige Tait — shares the same vision of collaboration, mixing nostalgia and tradition with something fresh and new. “Our General Manager, Aaron, pretty much talks to everyone that walks in,” Trahan says. “He understands what Southern hospitality is and how people should be taken care of. And Paige, our Mixologist, has been a huge hit behind the bar. She’s always asking questions, always experimenting. People love her drinks because she’s so creative.”

“We want our customers to experience food in a way that is new but familiar at the same time.”

– Ryan Trahan Owner and Chef at Dark Roux

Combining Louisiana tradition with a fresh originality, Dark Roux is a spot locals shouldn’t miss. “I hope people come to Dark Roux and just have a great time,” Trahan says. “We want our customers to experience food in a way that is new but familiar at the same time.”

For more information about Dark Roux, please visit darkrouxla.com. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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Photo by Ana Treuil

Miguel Ochoa

MEET THE INSTRUCTOR

44 October 2015

il

Photo by Ana Treu

By Emily Brupbacher Overture Magazine


Miguel Ochoa is currently the Conservatory Registrar and a Conservatory teacher, whose lifelong passion for music heavily impacts the way he instructs his students. Ochoa teaches Voice as well as a music theatre workshop focusing on Rhythm and Cues. As a student and performer of opera, Ochoa understands that being a great singer takes proper technique and determination. “Many people think singing is easy, but it can be a big challenge,” says Ochoa. “My job as a vocal teacher is to teach students how to breathe, where to place the sound, facial expressions, body language, phrasing, music theory and many other things.” And while Ochoa effectively trains his students to use their instrument properly, he admits that natural talent and good technique aren’t the only requirements. “Confidence is one of those challenges students must learn to overcome in the studio. Unlike other instruments, your voice isn’t one you can buy.” For Ochoa, the goal isn’t to have his students be the best performers out there, but to have them simply be the best they can be. “Each student is different in so many ways — age, experience, interest and so on,” Ochoa says. “One thing I establish in my teaching is motivation. Not every student is going to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have potential to be their best!” Students who study at the ASO Conservatory have the rare opportunity to learn from instructors who are not only talented and capable teachers

but also working professional musicians who can model what it means to live the life of a performer. Ochoa’s experiences studying and performing opera for the past several years allow him an understanding of what his students need to succeed. “The best part [of what I do] is working with an organization that strives to offer the best to its community,” Ochoa says. “It’s a privilege to teach under an established conservatory of music that is only one of three in the country partnered with a symphony orchestra. Having the opportunity to perform and teach is what I value most about being an ASO Conservatory instructor.”

©danny izzo, nouveau photeau

Ask 100 people what makes a good teacher, and you will likely get 100 different answers. Good teachers do so much more than just teach; they also challenge, inspire, nurture, encourage, question and motivate. At the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music, teachers are constantly at work with students of all ages, instruments and skill levels to foster a love of the arts and an appreciation for the hard work it takes to be a musician.

Above all, his relationship with his students and his desire to see them succeed is the driving force behind Ochoa’s instruction. “It’s a special feeling when you see students accomplish goals. That final smile at each performance is what influences me to never stop teaching.” To learn more about Miguel Ochoa and other instructors at the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory of Music, please visit: acadianasymphony. org/conservatory.

Blog.LafayetteTravel.com

Discover the food, music & culture at the heart of Cajun & Créole country.

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October 2015 45


Symphony Seauxcial

Generation ASO’s Symphony of Cravings: “The Parc Hop” Tour of food and spirits at Grub Burger Bar, E’s Kitchen, Agave, Indulge and The Grouse Room

September 15, 2015

Photos by Carolyn Brupbacher

The beautiful people were out at the Parc Hop, the Symphony’s signature event to launch its new, fresh group of young professionals called Generation ASO. Spearheaded by Megan Domingue and her committee extraordinaire, more than 85 of Lafayette’s hippest, coolest 30- and 40-somethings came out to tour the Parc, grab delicious bites with refreshing drink pairings and enjoy a diverse sampling of music by the ASO. The rain didn’t stop this group from having a blast! Be on the lookout for their next event!

Acadiana Symphony Women’s League Tea September 16, 2015

Photos by Carolyn Brupbacher

The Acadiana Symphony Women’s League new membership autumn tea was held at the beautiful home of Dr. Sangeeta Shah, ASWL president. Past presidents were presented with a single rose as a token of their support and efforts throughout the years. Members and guests enjoyed delectable eats, and all were looking forward to the ASO’s first performance of the season, “Amadeus: Circle of Life.”

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Standing Ovation

Be a Medici Contributors 2014 – 2015

Thank you to the generous supporters of ASO’s “Be a Medici” annual fund campaign that supported general operations of the organization during the 14-15 season, helping to ensure the gift of music and education. Your gifts were leveraged to make a significant impact on ASO. The annual fund supports programs and services that are critical to the organization, such as providing scholarships, upgrading equipment and instruments, and attracting top musicians and instructors. Because gifts to the annual fund are immediately expendable, they are put to use each year to help meet the ASO’s most urgent needs. The following Medicis have made a lasting impression on Acadiana’s artistic legacy: Celina Atwi Eugenie Battle Jeanne Billeaud Don Blair William & Nan Bonin John Bordelon Thomas Borland Angelle Boustany Jack & Roberta Brink Anna Broussard Carolyn Bruder Joretta Chance Mary Christiansen John Coleman David Cortez Mary DeRouen Grace Ducrest 48 October 2015

Carmer Falgout Joyce Fincke Cassandra Fontenot Jade Gaspard LJ Gielen James Guglielmo Katie Guidry James & Carolyn Guilbeaux Cindy Gunawan Michelle & Mark Hamilton (In honor of Tonio Cutrera) Michael Hanisee Anne Marie Hightower Barbara Hightower Mona Hollier Willianna James Carolyn Jourdan

Jordan Kellman Ted Kergan Ralph Kraft Thomas Lasalle Maria Leonpacher Robert Lowe Anthony Malachino Joan Marshak Melanie McKenzie Virginia Minvielle M&M International Nancy Mounce-Cochrane Mark and Pam Mouton Mazie Movassaghi Jack Naumann Mary Neiheisel Pat Olson

Lisa Osborn Amelia Prevost Norris Rader Loretta Richard Victor Schneider Adele Smart Cranston Smith SofterWare Mabel Stutes Amanda Todd Madonna Warnken Monte Warren Irena Wiewioroski Mary Wilkinson Dr. Joe Wilson

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Community Seauxcial

“In the Creole Twilight” Book Release Party September 18, 2015

Photos by Carolyn Brupbacher

The Saint Street Inn was the scene for the “In the Creole Twilight” book release party by author Joshua Clegg Caffery. A musician, poet and author of folklore, Caffery explores the folk heritage of southern Louisiana in his forthcoming collection, “In the Creole Twilight.” The book’s pen and ink illustrations are done by Joshua Caffery’s wife, Claire. Joshua Caffery, a native of Franklin, Louisiana, was also a founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers and a longtime member of the Louisiana French band, Feufollet. He was nominated for a Grammy for his work on the Feufollet album, “En Couleurs.” He also served as the 2013-2014 Alan Lomax Fellow in Folklife Studies at the Library of Congress.

50 October 2015

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Two SchoolS

one campuS

Girls, PreK3 - 12

Boys, PreK3 - 12

Wednesday Walkabouts Open House October 7, 14, 21, & 28 | 9:00-11:00 am Take a casual look into the daily life of Sacred Heart where you can see students and teachers in action. Call us today to learn more about the tradition of excellence at Schools of the Sacred Heart.

Catholic

337.662.5275

Independent

Single-Gender education

www.sshcoteau.org

SSH accepts qualified students of all races, religions, national and ethnic origins. Acadiana’s Publication for the Arts

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52 October 2015

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