What a glorious time the last few weeks have been. For starters, we have been reminded that before we can solve a problem, we have first to acknowledge it. Macon-born violinist Robert McDuffie, for the second year in a row, reminded the community that while racial divisions still abound, the arts can address the human condition in a way that other forces cannot.
In 2015, McDuffie and players from the eponymous Center for Strings collaborated with actress Anna Deavere Smith at Beulahland Bible Church to present Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." This year, McDuffie continued the conversation with a drama that captured contemporary perspectives on Macon's racial problems.
"What Color Is Your Brother? An Evening of Music and Spoken Word" demonstrated once again the powerful truth that the arts and humanities are not superfluous fluff to be cut at the first sign of tight budgets, but rather voices that speak to the core of our being like no other medium.
McDuffie's efforts also remind us that our community will never reach its full potential until the specters that still haunt us are laid to rest. We have work to do.
Another March event that drew from our community's demographic richness was the Friends of the Library's Old Book Sale. It was a beautiful sight to see people of every description come together in such vast numbers to collect -- at bargain prices -- the "best that has been known and thought" and simultaneously support the beacon light that is our library system.
As a community we are indebted to both McDuffie and the Friends of the Library. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more events could draw the same cross-section of our city?
GETTING MAERZ RIGHT
Among the organizations that labor for the community's good is the Morning Music Club, which annually awards the Joseph Maerz Scholarship. I recently listed the 2015 recipients, but what about 2016? The main award goes to Kathryn Buchanan, whom you may well have seen at Theatre Macon and the Youth Actors Company. The senior at Veterans High School is a voice student of Martha Malone. Runner-up awards go to Tyler Frye, also a voice student from Veterans High and a student of Marie Roberts, and to home-schooled Erica Calhoun, a student of Susan McDuffie.
Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.