Arts Association to launch new music series

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

On Sept. 20, the East Alabama Arts Association will kick off a new music series Fridays at noon at the Southside Center for the Arts at 1103 Glenn St. in Opelika. The series will showcase local and regional talent as well as the occasional touring artist.
Phillip Preston is the director of the East Alabama Arts Association. He said the series will feature a variety of music and will be a step forward in developing the Southside Center as an arts-centered gathering place.
“We’re fortunate to have a space that has good acoustic potential and can accommodate good instruments to play there,” Preston said about the Southside Center. The center’s Steinway grand piano was originally housed on stage at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts where the association presents its yearly Performance Series.
Preston says there are advantages to hearing music in a smaller venue. He says it is an opportunity to hear a concert in a more intimate setting. “It’s something like a cocoon someone can get wrapped up in,” Preston said. “There can be more direct communication about the works being performed.”
But Preston sees the series as more than a way to present music. He says the Association, in partnership with Envision Opelika, has been restoring the former Miriam Brown Elementary School and developing diverse programming that benefits the entire community.
Preston believes the Southside Center for the Arts could be important in focusing the region’s expressive, artistic point of view. And he thinks this new series could help that along.
“We need to provide the opportunity for that space to evolve and, in turn, encourage the community to discover new and exciting things about itself,” Preston said.
Initially, six performances are planned. Opening on Sept. 20 will be the local folk duo Martha’s Trouble. Following Fridays will feature a student brass quintet from Auburn University, Opelika pianist Mary Slaton, singer Jacquie Cruz with pianist Gary Klarenbeek, Montevallo University faculty flutist Brittney Patterson with pianist Eun-Hee Park and Auburn saxophonist Patrick McCurry with his jazz quartet.
Those interested can find more information at www.eastalabamaarts.com.

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