UAB Magazine Online Features
"A More Convenient Season" Shares Birmingham's Story
By Matt Windsor
Alys Stephens Center (ASC) in the world premiere of composer Yotam Haber's "A More Convenient Season."On September 21, Birmingham's past will engage its present in a unique conversation. For 75 minutes, the words of civil rights legends and footsoldiers, FBI agents and Klansmen, will echo through UAB's
The three-movement musical work, commissioned by philanthropist Tom Blount and produced by the ASC, caps Birmingham's commemoration of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963.
Speeches, oral history transcripts, and FBI interviews supply the text of a multi-faceted work that combines the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, a chorus from dozens of local choirs, electronic music, and a documentary film. (The work's title comes from a line in Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail.") The ambitious project might best be described as an opera, says Haber. "There are no sets or costumes, but in every other respect, this is an opera."
"A More Convenient Season," Saturday, September 21 - 8 p.m.
Jemison Concert Hall, Alys Stephens Center
Book online or call (205) 975-2787.
Tickets: $10 with promo code "positivepeace"
"A More Convenient Season" is the first world premiere in the ASC's 17-year history—a dramatic gesture that is "UAB's gift to Birmingham," says Theresa Bruno, chair of the ASC's corporate board. For Haber, a project that began as a 15-minute string quartet has been his constant companion for two years, evolving into what he says is "the most meaningful work I have ever made."
Essix Celebrates Birmingham’s Beauty and ProgressBy Grant Martin
Fifty years ago, Eric Essix saw the worst of Birmingham. As a young child living in the city’s Fountain Heights neighborhood, Essix grew up near the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement.
What: Eric Essix performing with Five Men On a Stool and Tracy Hamlin
“I had a great childhood and a great time growing up here,” says Essix, a renowned jazz guitarist—and member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame—who has served as the artist coordinator for UAB’s Alys Stephens Center (ASC) since 2010. “I experienced some of the segregation and discrimination, but I saw it all through the eyes of a young child. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I could look back and appreciate the changes that had taken place and the gravity of what had happened here.”
On Thursday, September 19, Essix will perform selections from his latest CD, Evolution, at the ASC’s Jemison Concert Hall at a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Essix says he sees the event as a celebration of progress. “When I began recording Evolution, I was inspired by feelings of healing and hope,” he says. “My goal for the album and for this event is to inspire other people to look at what we’ve done and the progress we’ve made in 50 years—to make them want to do even more to unify our community.”
Unique Team Inspires Spinal Cord Studies
By Jeff Hansen
At age 17, Candace Floyd, Ph.D., worked as an emergency medical technician and a hospital volunteer. She saw wreck victims and shaken babies who had suffered central nervous system trauma, and she resolved to help them.
Roman Reed of California was paralyzed when a tackler crushed his vertebrae in a 1994 college football game. After his injury, Roman and others convinced the California legislature to pass "Roman's Law," an added fine on traffic tickets that would fund spinal cord injury research. In 11 years, the Roman Reed Foundation has awarded $12.5 million to researchers in spinal cord injury and regenerative medicine.
In Alabama, Chatom native and nursing student T.J. Atchison was determined to bolster spinal cord injury research after becoming paralyzed in a 2010 car wreck.
These three young people, from different parts of the country, are now helping to push the boundaries of the field and set the stage for potential new treatments at UAB.
"There is nothing we can do to repair the damaged tissue, or regenerate it," says Floyd, now a UAB associate professor who studies both brain and spinal cord injuries. "It's a travesty. I vowed that I was going to fix that."
By Susannah Felts
Technological advances in the last 10 to 15 years have given everyone greater power to manipulate music, from professionals in state-of-the-art studios to kids with laptops. But when those kids come to campus with visions of music industry glitz in their eyes, they often need help figuring out how to turn their hobby into a career.
|Scott Phillips's new book offers secrets to success for students and teachers of music technology.|
Now they can turn to Beyond Sound: The College and Career Guide in Music Technology, written by Scott L. Phillips, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Music. (The book, published by Oxford University Press, is available at the UAB Bookstore, Amazon.com, and many other outlets.)
Written for students and teachers of music technology, Beyond Sound offers a comprehensive list of academic programs in the field. There are also chapters devoted to potential job paths for music technology graduates, and interviews with leading professionals working in recording studios, live sound engineering, film and TV, video gaming, and computer programming.
Phillips shared with UAB Magazine five key things students need to know and do to make their music technology expertise pay off. He points out that UAB’s unique music technology degree program, which he co-directs, is designed to reinforce each of these important ideas.