Posts Tagged ‘Jim Crow’

Musical Chairs Make a Big Difference

November 20, 2017

Cameron Bean, Executive Director of Development for Columbia s State University, with Col. (Ret.) Hal J. and Marie A.Gibson standing by the new display for their donation of the Distinguished Chair in Conducting for the Schwob School of Music.

No doubt, one of the main reasons that the Schwob School of Music attracts extraordinarily talented student musicians from all over the world is that it has world-class instructors. And one of the main reasons is they are paid well, thanks to a large number of endowed chairs funded by generous benefactors.  Faculty members who are honored with Chairs in Music get significant supplements to their salaries.

Schwob Wind Ensemble conducted by Jamie L. Nix, The Hal J. Gibson Distinguished Chair in Conducting,

The latest faculty member to receive that honor is Jamie L. Nix, Conductor of the Schwob Wind Ensemble, thanks to Hal J. and Marie L. Gibson.  Cameron Bean, Executive Director of Development for Columbus State University, announced the addition of the Hal J. Gibson Distinguished Chair in Conducting at the Schwob Wind Ensemble Kick-off Concert for the 20th Anniversary CSU Conductors Workshop.  Bean said that Col. (Ret.) Hal Gibson is a retired Schwob School of Music faculty member, who, after leading the U.S.. Army Field Band and the United States Armed Forces Bicentennial Band, came to then Columbus College in 1976 to develop the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, gaining national recognition and acclaim for the Columbus State University band program. He retired from CSU in 1991. The Legacy Hall audience gave the Gibsons a standing ovation.

Col. Gibson and I had a nostalgic conversation during intermission. I got to know him when I accepted an invitation from him to emcee one of his Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s concerts. On June 1st. 1981, he reenacted a John Phillip Sousa concert at the Springer Opera House.  That was special for me because my mother, Sara McMichael, was in the audience. I informed the audience that she had actually attended  Sousa’s last concert at the Springer on February 18, 1922.

The 2nd balcony is used now for lighting, but it was built as a segregated balcony for African-Americans back in Jim Crow days. There was a second box office and flight of stairs that led to it.

The only seats left when her father decided to take her – she was about 11 years old – were in the second balcony, which was called the “peanut gallery” back then. That balcony was actually for “colored” patrons at that time.  However, for the Sousa performance, the high demand for tickets by whites led the Springer to close the second balcony to African-Americans and open it for whites. That was the way it was prior to 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress, ending racial segregation in public facilities.

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Thursday Special at the Friends Bookstore: “The Help”

August 22, 2011

Some rare times movies are actually better than the books from which they were adapted. That was not the case, in my view, as far as The Help is concerned. Not that the movie wasn’t good. To me, it was very well done.  I never expect a movie to be exactly like the book. Each has its own appeal in its own way. 

The biggest difference to me was that the book, brilliantly written by Kathryn Stockett, was more subtle.  The movie was anything but subtle. Another big difference was the way the  story was told.  Sections of the book are narrated by the main characters.  In a way, Stockett’s technique reminds me of Mark Twain’s telling of Huckleberry Finn, arguably the  Great American Novel, through  the words  of Huck.  I thought  she did an excellent job with the dialects.

When I heard the movie was coming out, I rushed to Barnes and Noble and got my copy because I always prefer reading the book before I see the movie.  To me, books usually offer so much more detail and, quite often, insight than movies, but movies, when done well, bring books to life.

Quite often when I see the movie first, I don’t read the book. But, sometimes I do. In this case, I would recommend that you do. As I said, it is brilliantly written. I think you’ll be glad. I’ll even make it easy for you. I’ll bring my copy with me Thursday when I start my Friends of Libraries Bookstore shift at 2 p.m. the Columbus Public Library.  The cover price is $16.  You can buy my copy for $4. First come, first serve

Fortunately, there is a little controversy about the book. It’s hard to get around that when you write about the Jim Crow South.  I say fortunately, because controversy sells, and this book is a runaway best  seller.  That’s as it should be.