You could have called Jennifer Cole’s presentation last week to the friends of the Macon Arts Alliance “A Tale of Two Cities.” We seldom think of it, but the similarities -- both past and present -- between Macon and Nashville are remarkable. Both cities have an industrial past and a rich musical heritage, have combined city/county governments and are experiencing a downtown renaissance.
Cole serves as head of Metro Nashville Arts and, significantly, serves on the mayor’s cabinet. I hope that readers saw the news account of her instructive presentation to the business, political and creative communities.
Her words were heard by a good-sized audience, and unlike preach-to-the-choir events, many of those who heard Cole were people in positions to seize upon the ideas that have worked well in Nashville.
In addition to Mayor Robert Reichert and chamber head Mike Dyson, there were all sorts of folks from community development and various foundations, including Alex Morrison from the Urban Development Authority, metaphorically brandishing the new Macon Action Plan. If this document can work in harmony with the MAA’s development plans, a hefty helping of political will can guarantee Macon a bright future indeed.
The big question: Will we seize this opportunity or will we dawdle?
MORETTI, HE IN COURT
The talented folk who provide the midstate with extraordinary top quality entertainment from September to May don’t take the summer off when June arrives. In recent days, for example, Mercer University’s McDuffie Center for Strings director Amy Schwartz Moretti and award-winning cello student Sihao He have performed for the U.S. Supreme Court justices at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner, with several arrangements by the Townsend School of Music’s Christopher Schmitz also on the program, as well as “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Meanwhile, a continent away, this week also saw Rome Chamber Music Festival founder Robert McDuffie performing in the Eternal City along with Elizabeth Pridgen, Julie Albers and others, among which were numerous past and current students in the Young Artists Program.
It’s comforting to know that at the end of the summer most of this talent will be returning to Fickling Hall.
Speaking of talent, some of this area’s best-loved performers are in the midst of “Summer Heat: A Soulful Cabaret” at Theatre Macon. Jim Penndorf directs, and performances go through Sunday.
Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.