The town was dressed in its Sunday best last week while vying for top ranking as a part of Rand McNally and USA Today’s Best of the Road competition, and the Arts Center joined in on the entire craze. As a finalist for “Most Beautiful,” Danville showed its best side as judges and crews swept through the town in the quest for the best.
Regularly-scheduled events sailed on without a hitch, such as Lunch with the Arts and Starry Night Studio. On-lookers stopped into the Arts Center Wednesday and Thursday as film crews set up out front, catching Main Street shots and curious pedestrians.
A folksy bunch
Wednesday, folk musician extraordinaire of more than 45 years, Conrad Shiba brought the house down with applause set after set during a special musical Lunch with the Arts. Shiba — a self-taught musician who learned by picking up his uncle’s ukulele as a child — sang and accompanied himself on the guitar, banjo, ukulele and hammered and mountain dulcimers.
“Some who make these instruments get really creative with the design,” Shiba told the crowd as he held up a beautifully crafted dulcimer. He shared some history behind some of the instruments and his technique, told stories behind some favorite folk songs then softly sang and picked for the lunching audience.
Follow the jam
Music instructor Jack Covell surprised visitors with an impromptu jam session on guitar Thursday, with students Laura Couzens and Adrian Carideo accompanying him on their saxophones. Some gritty, low-down blues and jazzy tempos echoed down the marble hallways, encouraging exhibit visitors to hang outside Covell’s office while the trio played off one-another.
Couzens, 15, has been playing sax, guitar and singing for the last four years; Carideo is working into his eighth year studying music.
“They are just so much fun to jam with, I wish I had them here all the time,” Covell said through his heavy guitar licks. “They’re both good. You can tell they love to play. That’s what it’s all about.”
Time for camp
Back by popular demand, the Arts Exploration Camp hits CAC the second week of July — camp size is limited, so parents or guardians are encouraged to return registration information as soon as possible.
Nancy Martindale, longtime education coordinator, has been working tirelessly to ensure kids get the maximum exposure to the arts allowed.
Designing a banner to be used in next year’s camp, creating T-shirts and making a blueprint cloth are just a few of the artistic endeavors participants can look forward to, Martindale said.
“And this year we have introduction to dulcimers, so children will get to strum and pick by following beginning instructional booklets,” she said. “We’re very excited about this because for some children, it could be the first time they pick up an instrument. We’re hoping it’s not the last.”
Paper mache, music and movement, a theatrical and acting project and creative writing will also be included, led by CAC docents, some who are former educators. Various volunteers will be on-hand, including Bonner Scholars from Centre College.