By Joseph Pratt
The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) has dedicated their new Security Central Plaza, they’ve hung the first exhibit of the summer and are ready to move onto a summer of performing arts. The summer schedule of events is coordinated by SOMACC music and performing arts educator T.R. Beery. The goal is to have some sort of performing act each week there is an exhibit being shown within the confines of the museum.
A busy and tentative schedule has been released, showing at least eight musical performances within the next three months.
The schedule includes: Dwight Lenox, on June 20 at 7 p.m., which will be in the Kricker Gallery. Lenox performs everything from blues, to ballads, jazz and swing. Faith Esham and Dr. Stanley Workman Jr. will take the stage July 5 at 7 p.m., which will be in the Kricker Gallery. Both are classically trained vocal powerhouses. Frank Rosaly will perform July 11 at 7 p.m., which will be presented in the museum’s theatre. Rosaly is an integral part of Chicago’s music scene, navigating a fine line between improvised music, experimental, rock and jazz. Coolville Hotclub will jazz out on July 18 at 7 p.m., which will be in the Security Central Plaza. Coolville Hotclub is based in Athens, Ohio and play music inspired by the gypsy swing music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Houndog Harrison follows on July 25 at 7 p.m., which will also be in the Security Central Plaza. Houndog Harrison is Americana music blended with a touch of southern rock and Celtic. John Simon and Friends will be a little different from the other acts, and will perform August 24 at 12 p.m., which will be in the Kricker Gallery. This event is more than a concert and will feature an afternoon brunch while local favorites John Simon and Friends entertain with their blend of traditional music and storytelling for patrons. Keefe Jackson’s Likely So will perform August 29 at 7 p.m., which will be in the museum’s theatre. The music of Keefe Jackson’s all-reed group Likely So combines composition and improvisation with an emphasis on the interaction of individual musicians. Ladies of Langford wrap up the performances on September 5 at 7 p.m., which will also be in the museum’s theatre. The ladies of Longford will be celebrating their ten years of Celtic music, which is both traditional and contemporary styled.
The performances span the various locations of the museum, depending on the need and atmosphere of the musical acts.
“I think the environment you are presenting in can either positively or negatively affect the audience’s perception of the show,” Beery said. “An act like Dwight Lenox or Stanley Workman being in the Kricker space is good, because it is a larger space and they are larger voices. Acts like Coolville Hotclub are more laidback and suitable for the outdoors and beer. Then we have acts like Ladies of Longford, that are more traditional, and used to performing on a staged area and smaller space for a focused sound.”
Also, each show has a general admission cost of $8, with a reduced price of $6 for museum members and students. The only cost difference is for John Simon and Friends, which is a general admission fee of $12 and a reduced ticket price of $6 for museum members and students.
Dwight Lenox opens the summer season of shows.
“Dwight Lenox is a jazz and blues artist from this side of Columbus,” Beery said. “He has been here a number of times and some of our frequent concert goers will remember him. Not only is he one of nicest guys to work with, but he is also one of the largest voices we’ve had. Every time he has performed here for us, you leave feeling like he gave his all and topped his performances with the act you saw just then, which I appreciate in an artist.”
The following act will be the musical duo Faith Esham and local Dr. Stanley Workman. This production was put together by Beery himself, because it was something he really wanted to see.
“One of the benefits of being here is that I sometimes get to treat myself,” Beery explained. “I get to create performances that I just really want to see and I love both of their voices. They have great voices and work so well together; the energy they bring to the stage is something the audience really responds well to. Anytime we have either of them here, the turnout is positive, so we are going to have them both here at the same concert. We are hoping for a good reaction from this one.”
The Southern Ohio Museum is at 825 Gallia Street, in the heart of Portsmouth’s downtown, and has two entrances. The entrance on Gallia leads to the lobby and front of the museum and the Sixth Street entrance features a handicapped ramp. The Security Central Plaza is off to the left of the front entrance and is often reserved by the museum during their functions. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m; Closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. Tours are offered by scheduling. A museum official can be reached at 740-354-5629.
“Because we have the luxury of being able to offer these performances is the main reason we should be having them. Secondly, as a cultural center, it is important to have as large of a diversity in arts as we can,” Beery said. “We have the luxury of having a smaller and intimate space that can cater smaller performances, and I feel we have the responsibility of doing so for the community.”
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.