Jackson arts council plans monthly talent show at park

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Jackson soon will have its own version of the television show "American Idol," albeit a gentler one for those who audition.

Auditions will be held next weekend for the BYOC Sunday Showcase to be sponsored by the Jackson Area Arts Council. The showcase will offer residents a chance to show off their performing talents. The monthly talent show will be held at the City Park Band Shell beginning April 27.

BYOC stands for Bring Your Own Chair. The band shell amphitheater has no seating. Audiences for Jackson Municipal Band concerts often bring lawn chairs or sit on blankets on the ground. Many bring picnics.

The free family-oriented performances are expected to last about an hour and begin at 4 p.m. Family picnicking will be encouraged.

The idea grew out of a desire to make more use of the band shell, said Shane Anderson, director of the Jackson Parks and Recreation Department. Besides band concerts, it is used only for a few civic and church activities during the year.

"We looked at it as a facility that needs more usage, especially with the performing arts," Anderson said.

Open to possibilities

Ann Swanson is on the six-member committee that will conduct the auditions. Vocal and instrumental music, dance, comedy, storytelling and dramatic presentations are the types of performances the committee is looking for, but Swanson said the showcase will not be limited to those.

The only limitation would be placed on objectionable language or costuming or suggestive behavior, Swanson said. "We're open to what the possibilities might be."

She said some shows might involve a number of performers while others could be devoted to just one.

Last year, the arts council sponsored a highly successful follies show that featured many of the city's talented performers. Swanson said she hopes they come out for the auditions.

Auditions are open to anyone, not just Jackson residents.

Individuals who come to audition should appear in costume when appropriate and bring musical instruments or tape or CD player if needed. The arts center has a piano.

Performing musical groups are asked to submit a taped performance. They will not be required to perform live at the auditions.

Nonmusical groups will be asked to perform at the auditions.

Other dates scheduled for talent shows are May 18, June 22, July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19.

The arts council is in its formative stages. A board of directors is taking shape, and a president will be elected, Anderson said.

He started the arts council two years ago as a parks and recreation program with the goal of others taking it over. "The leadership I'm hoping will come from the arts community and outgrow the Parks and Recreation Department," he said. "We need someone with arts in the heart rather than someone like me."

sblackwell@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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