Arts and Culture

Music played a major role in World War I both in uniting soldiers in a rhythm and a march, and also in uniting a nation behind a cause. Graduate music students at Utah State University will be presenting a program this Saturday which will combine both music and research from this era. This event will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the beginning of World War I.

Irving Berlin once declared “the history of America can be traced through its music.” Graduate students from the Music History Seminar course at USU will be tracing the events that occurred in World War I through music and lecture. Their goal is to present how music reflects the complex sentiments that come with fighting a war and, in turn, how music itself influenced individuals during that time.


Pharrell Williams, who frequently goes by just his first name, is the sort of pop star whom many people would like to view as a friend. Emerging from hip-hop, he makes charming recordings that suggest a deep appreciation of pop, soul and R&B music extending at least as far back as the 1960s. To hear Pharrell on his new album G I R L, you'd think his world consisted of grooving on catchy beats and flirting with women. It's a lightweight image that draws gravitas from his prolific work ethic and a shrewd deployment of those influences.

The aerospace museum at Hill Air Force Base announced that it will be reducing its collection of aircraft and other vehicles.

Hill Air Force Base Spokesman George Jozens said the nearly 30-year-old museum will be making the aircraft available to other museums worldwide in an effort to reduce costs.

“The museum needs to reduce its collection by about 18 aircraft, three missiles and a number of different support vehicles,” Jozens said. “The reason for this is it takes money to maintain and keep those aircraft up all of the time.”

A Native American dancer in full regalia competing in a pow wow dance competition.
Native American Student Council

Held in the spring to celebrate the renewal of life, pow-wows have traditionally served as vehicles for sharing and preserving Native American culture.  The Native American Student Council at Utah State University will be hosting their annual pow-wow this weekend. Jason Brough, the president of this council, is Shoshone and part of the north-western band.  

“If you go to the pow-wow, there’s a lot of spirituality that’s out there. It’s very much a religious ceremony, so you can still get those same feelings. You start hearing the drum going and that, I find, inspires people to learn more about the culture,” Brough says.

Pow wows are rife with symbolism, from the traditional regalia or special dress, to the symbolism of the circle which the audience and drum group form. Regardless of your background, there is something there for everyone.  

American Festival Chorus

Saturday evening over 300 singers will take to the stage of the Kent Concert Hall at Utah State University to perform in the American Festival Chorus’ “Night of Gospel Music.” Pastor Chantel Wright of New York City will be featured as a guest conductor.

Literally meaning “the good news,” the word “gospel” describes the very essence of this genre and tradition of choral music. Artistic Director of the American Festival Chorus and Dean of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, Dr. Craig Jessop says he has developed a love-affair for this music. Referring to guest conductor Chantel Wright he said:

"We brought her out two years ago in 2012 for an 'Evening of Gospel' because I knew Chantel could give us something Logan, Utah does not have. She came and the walls are still rocking from that concert and we had tremendous requests to ‘do it again, do it again."

pocket watch with heart design
Karol Renau

The Kimball Art Center located in Park City, Utah will present an unprecedented exhibit entitled “The Art of the Timepiece.” The collection owned by part-time Park City resident Karol Renau has never been shown publicly in this way.

Nearly 200 watches, clocks, and timepieces of every kind will be on display, showcasing the intimate and intricate art and science of watchmaking. Native-born Polish photographer and electrical engineer Karol Renau first began collecting, then fixing watches which introduced him to their fine inner workings.

“It is absolutely a hidden art because if you open some of these watches and look inside, it is absolutely stunning. There are such beautiful engravings and there are such artistic pictures inside. It’s absolutely amazing. For me it was almost like a discovery,” Renau said.

April Ashland / Utah Public Radio

Logan’s 27th annual chocolate festival is where amateur and professional chefs put their chocolate skills to the test.

In 1987, the Logan Planned Parenthood Advisory board created the chocolate festival as a way to raise money and interact with the community.

Over the last 26 years, the number of entries has ranged from 30 to 75. But one constant group of professionals emerge- the pastry chefs of Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread. Why? Well, because it's tradition.

"Crumb Brothers has done this since Crumb Brothers has been around. It's a fun tradition. It involves the whole community," said chef Samantha Powell.

Powell is joined by chefs Jen Rudd and Kanako Arnold in this year's competition team. With a history of winning, they say the pressure to do well is on.

"There is some pressure. It's fun and it's exciting. Really, I get so many ideas from the amateur division. They are so creative. But yes, there's a little pressure. You think you have to do something better and something more creative every year," Powell said.

"If it doesn't win, what does that say about it?" Rudd said.

"Did we fail the person before us? Things like that," Powell said.

Jerry Brooks recites poetry during the National Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV.
Jeri L. Dobrowski

At the National Poetry Gathering in Elko, the arts in all of its forms take center stage. Western rural artists understand how music, poetry and storytelling seem to communicate more intimately than by any other means. They use this to their advantage to share both the charms and the challenges of rural living.

Rural Sociologist and Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Utah State University, John Allen grew up on a cattle ranch in Baker, Oregon. His unique perspective combines academic research with real-life experiences to create a different take on what it means today to be a rural American.

“In a rural area you wave to everyone and you say hello, whether you like them or not you just go ahead and do that. In an urban area you’d look down and you don’t make eye contact,” Allen said. “I think it was really stressed to me, I was in an elevator one day and there are all these people and they’re touching you! And you have to ignore them! I can’t even drive down the street in a rural area and not say hello, but to have you leaning on me? There’s a real difference between how we look at interaction in a rural area vs. an urban area it has a personalization in a rural area that you don’t necessarily get.”

This week, hundreds of rural and urban folk alike are coming together at the 30th National Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV. Participants are being entertained with live music and poetry recitings as well as participating in in discussions regarding issues facing those living a rural lifestyle in a modern west.

The energy in the mountain air of the small community of Elko, Nev. is palpable this time of year. Rural westerners and urban-ites are again making the yearly pilgrimage to celebrate western culture. Through art and discussion, many have said that this special event borders on spiritual.

This year’s theme “Expressing the Rural West – Into the Future,” highlights the increased focus on technology in the rural west, and the opportunities and challenges that come with that.

“We want the event to be fun, first of all, and I think people come to the event to have a good time. A lot of the theme is reflected in entertaining things and things that show off the creativity of rural westerners,” said Meg Glaser, artistic director at the Western Folklife Center in Elko.

The week-long event is open to all, even those who don’t have a rural background. 

Logan Restaurant Holds Mural-Painting Contest

Jan 24, 2014
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As cars pass by Angie’s Restaurant in Logan, passengers may notice the north side of the building facing 700 North is a little blank and dull.

The restaurant’s management is hoping make the building more appealing by painting it, and they’re holding a contest to have local artists paint a mural on the north wall.

The theme for the contest is people, places and times of Cache Valley. The goal is to paint iconic Logan landmarks on the blank wall.

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