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WSU Arts Gala celebrates 10th anniversary

Ten years ago the right idea was advanced at the right time. Dean Mary Ellen Mazey of Wright State dropped her suggestion for an Arts Gala to an enthusiastic group of volunteers.

The event would feature the myriad layers of talent of the WSU arts students. Using the Creative Arts Center in its entirety, guests would have music, dance, theater, visual arts and, of course, lots of food to regale and inspire them.

Within minutes, the committee began to run with this ball of fun and joy. The result was the predicted creation of the hottest evening in town. Each year, the Gala has packed the Arts Center with beautifully gowned ladies and tuxedoed gentlemen who have to literally run between the venues packed with student artists.

The Arts Gala has a larger purpose, as well. It raises scholarships for arts students. This year, number ten, the total scholarship fund topped the magic one million mark. Nearly 600 smiling guests rubbed shoulders with the student body which included 77 scholarship recipients. Talk about a win-win situation.

Mary Ellen Mazey, temporarily retired and now provost of Auburn University, returned to survey her triumph. As guest of honor, she conducted the WSU Wind Symphony in a window-rattling rendition of “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

The evening is a whirlwind. Some guests follow the performance schedule, some the highly varied menus of the multiple food stations at the performances. I try to do justice to both!

I couldn’t begin to describe all the gustatory goodies. I can take a stab at the performances. Both the Wind Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra gave short concerts. The orchestra played for dancers, singers and a stunning rendition of two movements of a difficult Shostakovich piano concerto.

The stage of the Festival Theatre was filled with the singer/dancers of this year’s sensation, Smokey Joe’s Café. They compressed the entire show into a 30-minute endurance contest. To make it more of a marathon, the kids repeated it twice.

Other performances were a star-studded Broadway review beginning with Hair and ending with “One” from A Chorus Line. Singing groups, Hank Dahlman’s Chorus and a Barbershop Quartet expanded into a completely engaging octet played to full houses. A spirited Johnny Cash review introduced me to some songs I have somehow missed.

To my personal chagrin, I missed Kim Warrick’s opera singers. I heard rave reviews but too late! There were handsome young artists painting, original movies were playing continuously, all making a sensory overload which could only be calmed by the lavish dessert table.

Next year, I‘m not going to miss a single thing. How about joining me for Arts
Gala XI?

Baseball memorabilia at UD

University of Dayton has a fascinating exhibit of baseball memorabilia at the Roesch Library through June 14. Gleaned from the collections of Hall of Fame sports writer Si Burick and baseball buff Miriam Jacobs, it highlights the lore of “America’s Game.” The exhibit is full of baseball art and well worth a visit. The real art, however, was a stirring testimony to Si Burick held on March 29th.

Si was, and remains, a true icon in Dayton’s sports history. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing him can never forget him. We heard stories, let’s call them yarns, of this colorful and completely loveable character. They were told by his beautiful daughter Marcia, his handsome grandson Ken Goldstein and Dayton sports writer Marc Katz. The audience responded with gales of laughter well admixed with some tears of remembrance.

Marcia talked about growing up among Cincinnati Reds, football players and all sorts of Damon Runyanesque characters. She recalled those halcyon days of early baseball, travel by train and the old “real” ball fields now replaced by

Grandson Ken, himself a former varsity baseball player at Haverford College, told so many hilarious anecdotes. The best was having to carry an old, heavy typewriter up many stairs to the press box at OSU Stadium at age ten. After watching Si use his unique one-handed typing style, they would go back to their hotel and Si would read, and spell, the article to a waiting scribe at the paper. This took hours. Ken said he was finally given dinner at what should have been his bed-time.

Marc Katz was the young reporter working with the sage. His many reminiscences crystallized a beloved icon in warm and human terms.

The exhibit of baseball memorabilia is wonderful. The real art is the collector, Si Burick. We were so fortunate to have had him and to have known him.

Dayton Interfaith Trialogue April 19

The Dayton Interfaith Trialogue works to foster understanding, love and mutual respect among members of the three great religions - the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Together, they study, interact and work to heal the world of of intolerance, prejudice, terrorism and hate.

Each in their own way, and together, they are devoted to the principal of peace and human understanding. One of the major expressions of their work was the First Interfaith Concert held last year with great success. This year the concert will be held on Sunday, April 19, at 3 pm at Shiloh Church, at Philadelphia and N. Main in Dayton. The Trialogue has broadened the scope of the concert to include other faiths. The concert will feature the Dayton Peace Choir, the Baha’i Singers, Slavic dance ensemble Zivio, Celtic dancers, Buddhist singers and Native American flute player Douglas Bluefeather.

This is in addition to traditional music by such soloists as Jane Katsuyama, Khalid Moss, Jerry Kottler, Fred Chatfield, Doris Ponitz, Russ Elias, Damian Ballister and Steffin Johnson who is a Stivers graduate and WSU piano student.

The concert is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be accepted and a reception honoring the participants will follow.


Video game symphony to involve OHS musicians

On April 18, 2009 at 8pm, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra enters a world they have not ventured before, video games! They will present a special motion graphics with orchestra presentation of the best selling video games titled, PLAY! A Video Game Symphony.

This adventure into the virtual world, features music from popular games such as Super Mario Bros, World of Warcraft, HALO, Zelda and many others. This symphony of award winning music is performed by a full orchestra and choir. The choir actually is compiled of local high school students from Oakwood High School, Stebbins High School and Wayne High School.

There are 22 students from Oakwood participating in this multimedia sensation who have been rehearsing for over three months under the direction of Jeremy Storost.
“This spectacular concert attracts people of all generations to some of the greatest concert halls,” says Maestro Arnie Roth, Principal Conductor and Music Director of PLAY!

For tickets, call (888) 228-3630 or go to



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April 15, 2009
Volume 18, No. 15

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