There have already been so many local music offerings this April – from Abendmusik Alexandria to the St. James Episcopal Concert Series to the Shreveport Opera. Nonetheless, here are a few more music events this April that I hope you will take advantage of in the second half of this month.
There will be musical theatre… April 15-19, Holy Savior Menard Theatre Arts will produce Guys and Dolls at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. This classic Broadway musical has won numerous awards, seen countless revivals, and has become a favorite of school and community theatre companies. Its song “Luck Be a Lady” even became a hit for Frank Sinatra! In the capable hands of director Cherise Rino and the Menard theatre students, Guys and Dolls is sure to be a win all around! April 23 through May 3, Theatre Louisiana College will stage Once Upon a Mattress – another piece of 1950s stage memorabilia. Based on the familiar fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, this beloved musical comedy ignited Carol Burnett’s career as an actress and comedienne. Plus, Alexandria Country Day School will stage The Lion King, Jr. on April 24 & 25 at Coughlin-Saunders, and Pineville High School will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella April 23-26 at the Pineville High Performing Arts Center.
There will be grand outdoor concerts… Thursday, April 16, the United States Air Force Band of the West will return to Alexandria thanks to the Arts Council of Central Louisiana and Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. Presented at the Alexandria Amphitheater on the Red River, this free concert features the full 45-member Concert Band in all their glory as they play everything from patriotic Americana by “The March King” John Philip Sousa himself to Renaissance fanfares and Broadway show tunes. Two days later on Saturday, April 18, return to the Amphitheater for Jazz on the River hosted by the Arna Bontemps African American Museum. Also free and open to the public, Jazz on the River will include performances by the Cole Brothers Reunion Band, Bobby Rhodes and the Ministry of Jazz, and the aptly-named Bontempian Big Band. Finally, on Tuesday, April 28, the Red River Wind Symphony will give a concert entitled Nautical Excursions indoors at Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. With the seafaring theme, listeners can expect to hear Variations on Barnacle Bill the Sailor, music from Pirates of the Caribbean, Victory at Sea, and much more.
And, there will be classical music too… Thursday, April 16 at 7:30 PM, local pianist Mei-En Chou and colleague Chiao-Ju Hung will present a piano duo recital at Louisiana College’s Presser Recital Hall. Calling themselves MusiC2, Chou and Hung are giving a series of concerts throughout the United States and Taiwan as part of their tour It’s a small world after all (there are dates in Natchitoches and Shreveport too). To go with this theme, musical selections will be by composers from across the globe including Americans like Amy Beach, Samuel Barber, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk (who called New Orleans home); Europeans like Brahms, Dvorák, and Saint-Saëns; and Asians like Si-Zhi Chen. If you don’t mind travelling a little, cellist Milovan Paz (who recently played at Abendmusik Alexandria) has his graduate recital Tuesday, April 14 in Natchitoches; Milovan promises music by J. S. Bach, Saint-Saëns, Manuel de Falla, and David Popper. Then, Saturday, April 18, mezzo-soprano Gillian Lynn Cotter (of the Shreveport Opera) is giving a recital at First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport; meant as a fundraiser, Gillian’s recital will help her attend classes at the prestigious Aspen Music Festival this summer.
There is clearly quite a lot for music lovers in Central Louisiana to enjoy this April! I’ve done my best to cover the basics on these events, but please follow the links or contact me to learn more. Be sure to take advantage of all the great music Central Louisiana has to offer!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.