The Union Recorder

October 30, 2012

Photos and music for your pleasure

Tom Toney
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — “A tisket, a tasket, a brown and yellow basket, I sent a letter to my mommie, but on the way I dropped it.”

Have you ever heard a song start off with such angst and heartbreak?? More on this pitiful little girl and her dropped letter later. But first on the docket this week is something a bit more visual in terms of its artistic nature.

An exhibit of photos entitled “Unearthed: A Photographic Search for Native American History through the Landscape” opens this week at the Museum of Fine Arts located at 102 S. Columbia St.

Emily J. Gomez, the photographer of record for this fine show, will be present for an artist reception and talk from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1.

Gomez is an associate professor in the Art Department at Georgia College. She was driven to take these photos from all around the country by a desire to think about those Native Americans who lived here before us. The photos are meant to make the viewer wonder about who these people were and how different our lives and society may have been if they had not been “removed” in the way that most were.

Actually, it’s a really interesting topic for an artistic statement, using landscapes, monuments and various landmarks to explore a culture that has mostly vanished from our country.

The exhibit itself will run through Nov. 30 at the Museum. Regular gallery hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and by appointment. Give a call to (478) 445-4572 for more information.

Now if you go to Emily Gomez’s artist talk on Thursday, you could really make it a night on the town by heading over to Russell Auditorium afterward so you can “Dance the Night Away” with the Georgia College Jazz Band.

Courtesy of the GC Music Department, the Jazz Band will present its fall concert Thursday and Friday nights, Nov. 1 and 2, starting at 7:30 p.m. in that grand edifice of Wayne Street, Russell Auditorium. Admission is $5.

Some great tunes are on tap, including the song made famous by Ella Fitzgerald while singing with the Chick Webb Orchestra, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.” GC Music Therapy major Erlencia Mumphrey will be the featured vocalist for that swinging tune, and Erlencia simply has one of the finest voices I have heard in a long time. Hopefully you had a chance to catch her a few weeks ago doing a vocal stint of ethnic folk tunes during the Wind Symphony concert.

The origins of “A Tisket, a Tasket” actually date back to the 1870s where it appeared as a children’s nursery rhyme that was combined with an outdoor game. But in 1938, Ella Fitzgerald, in conjunction with Al Feldman, embellished the children’s rhyme into a jazz piece that became a huge hit.

Another of my favorite songs being performed by the Jazz Band is “Mack the Knife,” a piece composed by Kurt Weill for the musical drama “The Three Penny Opera.” And though most people associate the song with Bobby Darin’s hit version from 1959, this number also has a much older history, having debuted in Berlin in 1928. Singer Julie Overvold will provide vocals for this perennial favorite.

Lots of other great songs are on tap for this concert, including another personal favorite “Big Noise from Winnetka.” Co-written by composer and bass player Bob Haggart, the song was first recorded in 1938 and featured Haggart and drummer Ray Bauduc, both members of Bob Crosby’s Bobcats. In this classic and unique version, Haggart whistles the melody and plays the bass, while only Bauduc accompanies him on the drums. Halfway through the solo, Bauduc starts drumming on the strings of the double bass while Haggart continues to play with his left hand, creating a percussive bass solo. I’m not sure if this is the version that the GC Jazz Band is planning (WOW! That would be great), but lots of versions of this tune have been recorded since using slightly more standard instrumental aggregations.

The great and underrated Louis Prima is well represented in this concert, with two of his compositions from two different eras being featured — “Sing Sing Sing” from the 1930s and “Jump, Jive and Wail” from the 1950s. And the Duke of Ellington (as opposed to the Duke of Earl) has a possible trey of tunes for your consideration — “Mood Indigo,” “Jump for Joy” and “Take the A Train.”

Should be a great show. And you’ve got two nights to choose from to dance the night away.

There’s even more music on Monday evening, when the GC Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Ryan Smith, gives their fall concert in Max Noah Recital Hall starting at 7:30 p.m. During these percussion recitals, it’s always fun to just see what kind of instruments end up being used (and sometimes A-bused) as this usually goes far beyond traditional drums.

So lots going on this week. But let me give a shout out regarding what’s coming up from the Milledgeville Players.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a play that was planned for mid-November. Various circumstances have caused us to have to change direction at this time. But as the saying goes, one loss becomes another opportunity.

Though it’s still a few weeks away, start making plans for the nights of Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16 and 17, when the Milledgeville Players will present “A Christmas Present of Holiday Musical Treats.” This will take place at Allen’s Market starting at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

There will be a virtual cornucopia of songs devoted to Christmas and the holiday season presented during this cabaret of singing. There will be tunes that deal with both the sacred and secular side of Christmas as well as songs that just fit into that “most wonderful time of the year.”

And this will indeed be a present as admission is FREE. Of course, donations will be most gratefully accepted, but more than anything, we want you to come out and enjoy an early holiday program guaranteed to help start getting you into “the mood.”

More information will definitely be forthcoming in the next few columns.

Meanwhile, back to our story. When we last left our heroine, she was describing her wonderful basket and a letter intended for her maternal parent. And then....

“I dropped it, I dropped it, Yes, on the way I dropped it. A little girlie picked it up and put it in her pocket.”

Catch you on the flip side.

Tom Tony can be reached at