Thursday, June 11, 2009

Martha Giles Enchants the OFTA Audience

Almost seventy people turned up at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on Wed. June 10th for monthly OFTA(Old Friends Talk Art) program. Martha Giles, a talented performer on the Hammered Dulcimer, captivated young and old alike with her music and historical comment. She was able to get the audience to accompany some of her numbers by passing out various rhythm instruments. She was also adept at demonstrating how different sound textures could be produced by using varying kinds of sticks or mallets.

Even the very young had a chance to try out their technique.

Since Ms. Giles grew up in Monmouth and graduated from Monmouth College in 1977, there were many old friends in the audience. Among her former teachers present was her first music teacher Mrs. Harold Pedigo--some ninety years young and still going strong.

For more background on the artist including information on how to order one of her CD's go to her web site:

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Save funding for the Illinois Arts Council

Last week I attended the One States Arts Conference in Peoria. It was both an energizing and sobering experience. There was plenty of excitement and new ideas, but unfortunately also a major funding crisis right on the horizon. If you are from Illinois, please read the following letter from Ra Joy, the head of the Illinois Arts Alliance, and contact your state legislators immediately. Clicking on this link will get you to a site that will help you identify your legislators.
"State funding for the Illinois Arts Council will drop to $6.4 million, an unconscionable 75 percent cut from FY2009, unless the General Assembly acts to pass a responsible budget. Per capita state spending for the arts in Illinois will plummet from approximately $1.17 per person to a near national low of $.49 per capita.

We must act now to send a powerful message to our elected officials and legislative leaders. There is less than a month before the new fiscal year begins and these devastating cuts take effect. Here's what we need you to do:

Thank legislators who showed leadership by supporting full funding for the arts and encourage them to work with their colleagues to pass a responsible budget. Urge other lawmakers to step up and negotiate a comprehensive, responsible budget that protects our investment in the arts
We've made it easy for you to take action. Just enter your address and the appropriate message will appear. Thoughtful, customized communications are more effective than form emails and petitions. And take a moment to personalize your message by sharing what the arts mean to you and your community.

When the legislative session came to a close on May 31, lawmakers failed to pass a responsible budget that addresses Illinois' multibillion dollar deficit. Instead they passed a bare bones budget that makes catastrophic cuts to the arts as well as K-12 and higher education, childcare, college scholarships, health care, public safety, transportation, and local government.

This "doomsday" scenario would decimate the arts infrastructure in Illinois and put artists and cultural organizations at extreme risk.

Act now and urge your elected officials to protect the arts by passing a responsible state budget.

Many thanks for all you do,

Ra Joy
Executive Director
Illinois Arts Alliance"

The arts are in dire need on a national level as well. In last week's
Time magazine there was an article titled "The Culture Crunch" and it pointed out that "For arts groups in tough times, there's no bailout in sight."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Former Resident Martha Giles to appear at OFTA

Martha Giles is a gifted musician, illustrator, and teacher. A look at her web site will give you a full idea of her many talents, but chief among them would be her mastery of the Hammered Dulcimer, the ancient Great-Grandparent of the piano.

Giles will be playing the Hammered Dulcimer at OFTA (Old Friends Talk Arts) on Wednesday, June 10th at 10:00 a.m. at the Buchanan Center for the Arts. Her appearance in Monmouth is a part of her 2009 spring tour and her 2008 CD, titled “Inventio”, will also be available for purchase at the performance.
Martha grew up in Monmouth and is the daughter of Ken Giles, educator and long time principal of Lincoln Elementary School, and his wife Sue. Although Martha moved to Virginia in 1987, her brother Dave still resides in Monmouth.
All OFTA programs at the Buchanan Center are open to the public free of charge and last about an hour. Refreshments are also available at no charge. Please consider attending and welcoming this talented former resident back to her old home town.