Out & About

Here’s what’s coming up for the arts in January. Plus, gift ideas for the arts lover

Peabo Bryson performs during the Centennial Olympic Park’s 4th of July Celebration at Centennial Olympic Park on July 4, 2015, in Atlanta.
Peabo Bryson performs during the Centennial Olympic Park’s 4th of July Celebration at Centennial Olympic Park on July 4, 2015, in Atlanta. Invision/AP

It’s time to lift our eyes to the year ahead.

While it’s true that Macon Arts Alliance head Jan Beeland has announced her upcoming retirement, the good news is we will still have her in harness through March 31. While some officials jostle for position in front of the cameras, Beeland is quietly getting the job done. What an inspiration. If my views prevail, her last assignment will be to convince the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau that there are many things in Macon the readers of Southern Living, Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing would love to experience.

If your plans will take you to New York’s Lincoln Center between now and Jan. 11, keep your eyes open. You may well bump into a familiar face. Conducting the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in “The Merry Widow” is none other than Ward Stare. Yes, the very same fellow who can be seen on Adams Street on his way to conduct the Mercer University Orchestra. Alas, this production is not one that will be coming to the Douglass Theatre in its “Live in HD” series. Fortunately, Stare will be back in Macon later in January.

At Vineville United Methodist Church on Jan. 7, pianist Woori Kim Smith will lead off 2018 in the budget-priced Music and the Arts series, now in its 27th year.

A blockbuster event coming up on Jan. 15 at the Grand Opera House is “Elegy for Martin Luther King,” the world premiere of an original composition by Mercer University’s Christopher Schmitz based on work by Senegalese poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. Also featured will be the Hayiya Dance Theatre, Central High School’s Michael Scott and the Mercer Jazz Ensemble.

Another big event in January is the Tubman Museum’s 22nd annual concert and ball, “All that Jazz,” featuring Peabo Bryson on Jan. 27 at the Macon City Auditorium.

Not over yet

The year’s not over yet, so let’s re-focus. We’ve still got a couple of days before Christmas, and while we may be out of entertainment on most local stages (John Berry is at the Grand Friday night) there are still opportunities just up the road in Atlanta. Word is that the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” is sold out, but it is possible to get tickets for the Alliance Theatre’s production of the Dickens classic at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

If it’s shopping that you need to do, options are abundant. Some other columnists have already written extensively about local art sales. Certainly if you know who someone who has children and doesn’t have a membership in the Museum of Arts and Sciences, well there’s a life-altering gift. If they already belong to the MAS, what about Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, which features fabulous exhibits and large-format films multiple times each year?

My favorite recommendation is a membership to the Friends of the Library, which will also get you a subscription to the informative newsletter, the Bookworm. The upcoming Old Book Sale is just one of the events this marvelous organization supports to enrich our community. Ditto for the Macon Arts Alliance and The 567 Center for Renewal. Another long-lasting gift opportunity is to Theatre Macon’s endowment campaign. Ditto for funding for Little Carnegie of the South.

Larger in scope is a membership to the Americans for the Arts, an organization that supports the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

How about a trip to Atlanta’s High Museum of Art? With kids out of school, the High beckons to parents and students alike. I especially recommend “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design” (through Jan. 7) and “A Fire That No Water Could Put Out” (Civil Rights photography).

See you in 2018!

Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.