TRAC presents REWIND of the Shoals Friday night

The Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC) is hosting a concert featuring REWIND of the Shoals on Friday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Demopolis Civic Center. REWIND of the Shoals is a ten piece Oldies/Motown band which prides itself in providing quality entertainment for all occasions.

The band is a very versatile and multi-talented group, performing the most requested hits from the sixties, seventies and eighties as well as many other top 40 hits from yesterday’s charts. REWIND of the Shoals features both male and female vocalists, keyboards, bass, percussion, guitar and a five-piece horn section consisting of three trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone.

If you are looking for that nostalgic 60’s/Motown sound, they have it. If you just want to “Rock,” they do that and 70’s disco. The band is comprised of some of the most talented, respected and dedicated musicians around. They are all very passionate about music and love to perform. The group always elicits a very enthusiastic response and will do whatever it takes to make sure the audience is pleased.

Tickets are $10 at the door and arts council member’s admission is included in the annual membership. Bring your own beverage or favorite spirits. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

For more information, contact Judy Etheridge at (334) 295-4254.

Two Rivers Arts Council hosting Artist Showcase Sunday

More than a dozen artists are slated to exhibit their work in the Two Rivers Arts Council’s Artist Showcase.

The event will take place on Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. at the Demopolis Public Library. The event started in 2003 and was an annual event until 2008.

“We are very excited to bring this event back to our community,” said Two Rivers Arts Council President Carolyn Cowling. “It’s an opportunity to see what the community is doing by way of art and hobbies. We hope everyone will come out and see the talent that we are fortunate to have here in the Black Belt.”

The event is free to the public and refreshments will be served. Artists may choose to sell their pieces during the showcase. If you are interested in displaying your art in the Artist Showcase, contact Carolyn Cowling at or 334.341.3375.

TRAC presents A Christmas Choral Sampler Nov. 17

On Nov. 17, the University of West Alabama Concert Choir and Singers, in collaboration with the Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC), will present A Christmas Choral Sampler at 6 p.m. at the Demopolis High School Auditorium. This is the first of three UWA choral concerts this semester.

The community is invited to come enjoy a preview of The University of West Alabama’s upcoming Dec. 3 performance of Handel’s Messiah, along with selections from holiday classics like The Boar’s Head Carol, of the Father’s Love Begotten, and the Twelve Days of Christmas!

“Thanks to the Two Rivers Arts Council, Demopolis is our first stop for Christmas caroling”, said Dr. Christopher Shelt, the group’s conductor. “We want to get the people of Demopolis in the Christmas spirit with excellent Christmas vocal music. The Nov. 17 Demopolis concert is one of two prelude concerts leading up to the Dec. 3 evening performance of Handel’s Messiah on the UWA Campus. The second prelude concert is earlier in the day on Dec. 3, a 2:30 p.m. family concert entitled “UWA Young People Sing at Christmas.”

Alongside UWA faculty and student players, Shelt is bringing in players from the Mississippi Symphony to accompany both the concerts on Saturday, Dec. 3. Two professional soloists, both trained by Shelt, will sing some of the Messiah solos along with UWA student soloists. A Christmas Choral Sampler will feature several preview performances of Messiah choruses along with other Christmas classics.

Within the next five years, Shelt, who is the new Professor of Vocal Music at UWA, wants to build an unparalleled culture of vocal music-making at UWA, the very finest in its history. He wants to see UWA a recognized vocal leader in the State of Alabama, bringing great vocal music of all kinds to the Black Belt Region, building a culture of great singing that impacts children and adults in our extended community. This vision includes producing Music Majors in the Vocal Arts at UWA, who will impact the world. Shelt is a formidable choral and orchestral conductor with three decades of experience. He is vocal pedagogy instructor and active student of vocal science with more than 18 years of university level experience, training studio teachers, music educators, and church musicians in state-of-the-art vocal methodologies. He is also a clinician and consultant in vocal music, doing many seminars in vocal pedagogy, locally and internationally, at conservatories in Peru and Indonesia as well as in other parts of the world.

Come out on Nov. 17 and hear A Christmas Choral Sampler, featuring selections from Handel’s Messiah along with selections from holiday classics like The Boar’s Head Carol, Of the Father’s Love Begotten, and The Twelve Days of Christmas. General admission is $10, while students and TRAC members are free. Tickets can be purchased at the Demopolis Public Library or at the door the night of the performance.

TRAC announces 2016 schedule of events

The Two Rivers Arts Council in Marengo County (TRAC) is starting their 2016 season with a membership drive and concert with 2BLU and The Lucky Stiffs on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 6-9 p.m. at the Marengo County History and Archives Museum in Demopolis.

2BLU and The Lucky Stiffs have been providing fans with their premium blend of blues, rock, funk, and gospel for years. Whether they are putting their original twists on Delta Blues when performing in an unplugged acoustic duo or trio, or bringing the funk in their electrified four- or five-piece configuration, 2BLU and The Lucky Stiffs create their own unique brew to rock your bones and soothe your soul.

The genesis of the band was the acoustic duo of Bruce Andrews and George Dudley, who adopted the name “2BLU.” With the addition of drums, bass, and percussion, the boys become “2BLU and The Lucky Stiffs.” Why the name? The guys are “lucky” to share a mix of music, faith, and life experience with anyone who will listen. On top of that, they’re a bunch of “stiffs,” old dudes who can’t quit playing and wouldn’t dream of quitting in the first place. 2BLU’s lyrical approach frequently reflects the band’s Christian faith, usually in a non-traditional format, mixing secular and faith themes in their tunes; exactly as life mixes the everyday grind with the divine. This combination represents the roots of the Blues. Diverse instrumentation includes custom hand-built lap steel guitars, bass guitars and hand percussion by bassist Jack Dudley of Don’t Fret Instruments.

Tickets for the 2BLU and The Lucky Stiffs concert can be purchased at the door. TRAC members are admitted with a membership card. Members of the Marengo County History and Archives Museum and students are admitted free. Water, spiced tea and snacks will be provided or bring your own beverage or spirit of choice and sweets or savories.

The TRAC is a nonprofit 501 c3 entity whose mission is to encourage and stimulate the practice and appreciation of the arts among the people living in Demopolis and Marengo County. The Council strives to bring quality arts exhibits and performances to the community and to encourage local efforts which enable the community citizens to create and make their own arts. The Council is run by a board consisting of Bill Barley, Frank Calloway, Carolyn Cowling, Judy Etheridge, Kaye Evans, Sarah Chandler Hallmark, Sheron Laney, Bobbi Mitchell, Morgan Walters, Laurie Willingham, and Morgan Allen. There are currently three board member positions available. Contact Morgan Allen at 334.289.1595 if you are interested in serving.

The TRAC would like to encourage you to become an arts council member. All members receive newsletters and a membership card that allows them admission to events. This year’s events include concerts by 2BLU and the Lucky Stiffs, Randy Glenn Band, Alabama School of Fine Arts, B.J. Reed, University of West Alabama and the Tiger Arts Guild’s spring production. An individual membership is $25 and a patron membership that includes two membership cards is $60. Membership brochures and more information are available at the Demopolis Public Library, the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce and at any of our events. For more information contact Judy Etheridge at (334) 295-4254, Morgan Allen at (334) 289-1595, or visit us on Facebook.

Two Rivers Arts Council adds Outdoor Music Instruments to Park

Diane Brooker with the Alabama Power Foundation, Mike Randall, Tony McClain, Sheryl Cunningham, and Kevin Schmidt from the Demopolis Horticulture Department.

Diane Brooker with the Alabama Power Foundation, Mike Randall, Tony McClain, Sheryl Cunningham, and Kevin Schmidt from the Demopolis Horticulture Department.

The Two Rivers Arts Council in Demopolis has added Freenotes Harmony Park outdoor musical instruments to Riverside Park in Demopolis.

The project has been funded by a variety of sources, but the idea started with one person-Kelley Tarpley.

“My husband and I came across these outdoor instruments while walking through a park in Baltimore,” said Tarpley. We found ourselves banging on the metal pipes with small anvils, laughing about how we wished we had taken piano lessons. Donn and I made sure that our children always heard music playing, encouraged them to play different instruments and gave them the choice “Sports or Marching Band” when they got to middle school. When we returned home, I talked to Morgan Allen about the instruments in the park and wished our community would place similar instruments around the children’s park. Morgan immediately found the company and requested a price quote. The quote didn’t seem outrageous, so we hatched a plan to start fundraisers. Music plays a huge part in my life and often provides solace that words cannot.  Hans Christian Andersen said it best, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

The arts council applied for grants and held a shrimp boil fundraiser in the fall of 2014.  The fundraiser was a huge success because the community supported it. Local businesses that helped sponsor the fundraiser included Parr’s Chevron, John Broussard, Malone’s Texaco, Vowell’s Fresh Market, and Batter Up. The Alabama Power Foundation donated funds and helped make the dream become a reality. The RC&D Council in Thomasville and the Alabama State Council on the Arts helped provide grant funding for the project.

D'miya Hawkins (L) and McKenzie Banks (R) are playing the tuned drums.

D’miya Hawkins (L) and McKenzie Banks
(R) are playing the tuned drums.

“Our grant request to the Alabama State Council on the Arts was not originally funded,” says Two Rivers Arts Council President Morgan Allen. “The Alabama Legislature later appropriated more funds to the ASCA and we received news recently that the grant was funded.  We are extremely grateful to Representative A.J. McCampbell and Senator Bobby Singleton for making this project possible.”

During the planning process one of the biggest issues was having the instruments installed. Barbara Blevins graciously agreed to help install them and advised the arts council on their placement. Mayor Mike Grayson was supportive and allowed the Horticulture Department to install the Tuned Drums and Griffin instrument.

The Freenotes outdoor instruments are for all ages and abilities. Designed with acoustic precision and perfect tone by a Grammy Award winning musician, Freenotes are built to maintain pure and soothing tones through years of rigorous play and exposure to the elements of nature. Freenotes are perfect for musical beginners and experts alike.

The Two Rivers Arts Council hopes the instruments will inspire a love of music and enhance the learning experience of the playground by the river. Through arts council memberships and donations, it hopes to add more instruments in the future. If you would like to become a member of the Two Rivers Arts Council or donate funds for more instruments, please contact Morgan Allen at 334-289-1595 or Beverly Youngblood at 334-289-3669.

Davis Piano Quartet to perform in Demopolis

By Judy Etheridge

The Davis Piano Quartet will be in concert on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Demopolis High School Auditorium.

Tickets will be general admission only with reserved seating for TRAC (Two Rivers Arts Council) members. Adult tickets are $10 while student tickets are $5.

There will be an artists’ reception immediately following the concert.

Four pianists having an extravagant amount of fun at two pianos, the Davis Piano Quartet is a fresh new group performing a mix of original works and transcriptions for this unusual ensemble.

The Davis Piano Quartet presents concert programs of the best of the eight-hand repertoire, much of it searched out from music libraries and other sources all over the world. The visual aspect of four pianists playing over and under each other at two keyboards is in itself entertaining and educational.

The Davis Piano Quartet members credit much of their success as an ensemble to the fact that they share a common musical education background. All are products of the University of Montevallo’s highly-regarded music department. The Quartet is named for the late Dr. Maxine Couch Davis, Professor Emerita of Music at Montevallo.

While at Montevallo they all studied with the acclaimed duo-piano team of Yarbrough and Cowan, and had the unusual advantage of in-depth exposure to and study of the specialized art of piano ensemble playing.

The group has also worked with the distinguished teacher, pianist and author, Lucien Stark.

The group consists of Beulah Askins Fowler, Cheryl Kiker Walls, Carolyn Duncan and Sandra Boykin Nelson. The group performed to sellout crowds at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and 2011. Audiences are guaranteed a performance unlike any heard before.