March 12, 2009...
Music has always been a major part of life in Bob Tedrow's household. Bob owns a Homewood music store and sells the concertinas he builds world-wide. So it's no wonder that everyone in Tedrow's family plays an instrument, some more than one. But 16 year old Alex Tedrow isn't just a player, she's a competitive Irish step dancer. She competes all over the world, most recently in Ireland. It all started with an invitation from a neighbor to go on an afternoon outing.
Alex Tedrow competes in the world championships of Irish dance next month in Philadelphia. She's also a plays a mean concertina with her dad backing her up on guitar.
As an orchestral soloist, Colin Currie is anything but typical. For starters, he's helping shape the standard repertoire for percussion by having pieces written for him. Then, there's the forest of different instruments he uses. He has to scurry around the stage just to play them. This weekend, Currie plays James MacMillian's VeniVeni Emmanuel with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. As he tells WBHM's Michael Krall, there's an infinite number of percussion instruments...
It's taken five years for the play The History Boys to make its way from Broadway to a Birmingham stage. It tells the story of a group of English schoolboys struggling to get into Oxford and Cambridge. Director Billy Ray Brewton tells WBHM's Tanya Ott that they've got two teachers whose approaches are diametrically opposed. (LISTEN)
Director Billy Ray Brewton. Actor Ron Dauphinee plays the English teacher Hector. He says this role brings his own story full circle. In the 1950's, Dauphinee had a teacher who changed his life. (LISTEN)
Actor Ron Dauphinee and director Billy Ray Brewton, talking with WBHM's Tanya Ott. Theatre Downtown's production of the play The History Boys is on stage through this weekend at the Levite Jewish Community Center.
Speaking of history, 2009 is the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The humanitarian effort to bring supplies to the people of Berlin was in response to one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. To mark the occasion, the Southern Museum of Flight presents an exhibit of historical photos and comments from former pilots like Alabama resident Gene Cushman. Cushman remembers what went into the massive effort. (LISTEN)
Fans are mourning the death of legendary Alabama bluesman Willie King. He died of a heart attack in Pickens County over the weekend. King's music has been compared to Howlin' Wolf and John Lee Hooker. But, in addition to standard blues elements, King touched on the political. He invoked abolitionist John Brown and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior in his songs. In an interview we recorded a few years ago, Willie King told me - the blues offered an escape.
Alabama bluesman Willie King died this week. He was 65. The Alabama State Council on the Arts had just selected King for this year's Alabama Folk Life Heritage Award. His annual Freedom Creek Festival was slated for late May and friends say they hope to keep it going as a memorial to him. Willie King's funeral will be held Sunday at city hall in Aliceville, Alabama.
Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall, with help this week from Andrew Yeager and Erica DeShazor. I'm Greg Bass, and we'll see you next week.