facesaugsept2015b-49f95147Laura Cameron

On January 30 of next year, Laura Cameron will blow out 100 candles on her birthday cake. 

But the centenarian hasn’t slowed down a bit—and neither have her fingers. By next year, Cameron will have played the piano for 93 years. She started with lessons as a child (meanwhile her brothers and sisters took up the saxophone, flute and oboe) and has fond memories of playing piano with the whole family on Sunday afternoons as well as playing for soldiers at the USO during World War II.

After the war, she and her young family moved to Augusta for a job at the Veterans Administration and later she took a job at a facility known as the Savannah River Site, which was just being constructed—and where she would retire. But music was always in the background.

While Cameron is best recognized today for her soft background music performed during the Sacred Heart Garden Festival and Sacred Heart’s 110th anniversary, her ties to Sacred Heart and Augusta’s Catholic community go back even further than that.

As a high schooler, she was taught by Jesuit priests—one of whom later came to Augusta and invited Cameron to play during mass at Sacred Heart when it was still a practicing church. Cameron in fact ended up playing for all three major Catholic churches in Augusta at that time, which included St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity. 

While she doesn’t play as often as she once did, she still practices on her childhood piano, which holds a place of pride in her living room. “I’m not a concert pianist,” she says with a laugh, “but my hands go where they’re supposed to go. While Cameron is best recognized today for her soft background music performed during the Sacred Heart Garden Festival and Sacred Heart’s 110th anniversary, her ties to Sacred Heart and Augusta’s Catholic community go back even further than that.

As a high schooler, she was taught by Jesuit priests—one of whom later came to Augusta and invited Cameron to play during mass at Sacred Heart when it was still a practicing church. Cameron in fact ended up playing for all three major Catholic churches in Augusta at that time, which included St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity. 

While she doesn’t play as often as she once did, she still practices on her childhood piano, which holds a place of pride in her living room. “I’m not a concert pianist,” she says with a laugh, “but my hands go where they’re supposed to go.”


GA literary FestivalGeorgia Literary Festival

For the first time in its 14-year history, the Georgia Literary Festival will come to the Garden City. Sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book and the Georgia Humanities Council, this free festival is set for November 6 to 8 at Georgia Regents University’s Summerville campus.

The event will honor the city’s rich literary heritage by celebrating Augusta  writers Frank Yerby (The Foxes of Harrow, 1946), Berry Fleming, Erskine Caldwell (Tobacco Road, 1932, God’s Little Acre, 1933), Louise Shivers (Here To Get My Baby Out of Jail, 1983) and Starkey Flythe, known for his poetry and short fiction. 

Forty Georgia and South Carolina authors, including several New York Times bestselling authors, will give presentations and book signings, including Patti Callahan Henry, Joshilyn Jackson, Will Harlan and Karen White. A literary marketplace and children’s activities are also planned as well as a ticketed ($50) meet-the-authors cocktail reception at the Partridge Inn on November 6 at 7 p.m. 

For more, visit www.georgiacenterforthebook.org/Georgia-Literary-Festival


Traffic boxesHot News!

Traffic Boxes

Augusta’s streets and sidewalks just got a little more colorful. Twenty-three traffic boxes in downtown Augusta and other locations are part of a public art project sponsored by the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the city of Augusta and the Downtown Development Authority. Augusta artists, including Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman, Erica Pastecki, Jason Craig, Rhian Swain and Si-Long Chen were tapped to pick up their brushes after submitting design proposals and applications. 

Designs include depictions of the Godfather of Soul, Amen Corner, the Butt Bridge, Sacred Heart Cultural Center as well as more abstract designs.

Cities such as New York and Boston have long supported similar public art projects designed to help beautify their neighborhoods. 


Reclaimed WoodReclaimed Wood

SOMETIMES IT’S NOT until one of his handcrafted cutting boards are nearly complete that Tim Fitzgerald can see the patterns come to life. “There’s a lot of cutting and gluing and waiting, depending on how complex the patterns are,” says Fitzgerald with a laugh.

A former employee at a hardwood floor manufacturer, Fitzgerald started out playing with the leftover “garbage” wood, some of it antique. He built custom antique pine butcher block countertops for his family’s kitchen and cutting boards for every member of his family, until his wife urged him to make it a full-time business. 

Today Fitzgerald spends peaceful days crafting his unique cutting boards by hand, often working for weeks on each one to bring out the individual whorls and swirls in the grain. For more details visit www.hcboards.com.


Music

Delta Cane

DeltaCaneMusic.com

by Mark Hodges

When you talk with Delta Cane vocalist Bethany Davis, you get the feeling she’s not really in the music business to pursue fame or fortune; she’s simply in it for the fun. Her attitude is positive and infectious as she excitedly talks about making music with her band as if it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her. After one listen to the group, you’ll find out what the excitement is about: On stage Delta Cane puts their exuberance on full display while performing.

Davis describes their music as “gypsy-grass,” a term that accurately reflects the mixture of bluegrass with an anything-goes attitude, incorporating elements of pop, folk and Creole. Thanks to this non-specific musical mélange the group appeals to fans of all ages and backgrounds 

Delta Cane, a melding of two different local groups who formed a new act with Davis, has gained lots of momentum in a relatively short amount of time. Over the past couple of years, the five-piece band has shared the spotlight with national and regional acts at local festivals such as Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que, the Aiken Bluegrass Festival and the Major Rager.

Current plans include an EP release later in the year that will feature video clips along with the audio, which will allow fans all over the world to both watch and listen. The EP will feature new material, about a half-dozen original tracks that show off their songwriting skills. From there, Davis says they will just keep on having fun making music.

Upcoming Shows:
August 9 – Still Water Taproom
September 3 –
Augusta GreenJackets Game
October 4 – Pendleton King Park


churchThis Month in History

A Church by Any Other Name

When it was formally organized on Friday, August 21,1885, Tabernacle Baptist Church was officially named Beulah Baptist Church. Two days later, during a special meeting requested by Reverend Charles T. Walker, the congregation of 310 voted unanimously to rename it Tabernacle Baptist Church. The church and it’s minister would go on to become nationally recognized, welcoming such acclaimed visitors as Booker T. Washington, John D. Rockefeller and President William Howard Taft. Tabernacle also served as a base for Augusta’s civil rights movement in the 1960s.


getaway augsept 2015Getaways

Little St. Simons Island

www.littlestsimonsisland.com

Why Go: Nestled just above St. Simons Island, Little St. Simons is like the shy younger sister of its brassier sibling. The island, which has been privately owned for more than a century, now makes its 10,000 acres of pristine woodlands and seven miles of sweeping beaches available to a limited number of guests who enjoy all-inclusive accommodations, including boat transfers, three farm-to-table meals, beverages and all activities. 

What To Do: As you breathe in the coastal air, feel your worries and anxieties float away with the tide. Sure, you could choose to stay connected to the outside world via the Internet, but why would you? The island is a serene back-to-nature getaway with plenty of hushed forested trails, shell-scattered golden beaches and gentle tidal creeks well-suited for kayaking or fishing, all offering glimpses of waterfowl, marine and forest life.

Where To Eat: As one of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Little St. Simons Island offers plenty of fresh local seafood, including Friday night oyster roasts (when in season), sweet Georgia shrimp and more. The all-inclusive fare, featuring locally grown ingredients, includes family-style breakfasts and dinners. A nightly  social hour with wine and hors d’oeuvres before dinner is the perfect time to share stories of your day’s adventures with other guests.

Where To Stay: The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island offers individual guest rooms as well as two and three bedroom cottages to accommodate couples and families, all offering rustic charm complete with private bathrooms, shared living rooms and outdoor patios. Larger groups (or those seeking an ultra-private experience) can even choose to rent the entire island.

Distance From Augusta: About 208 miles or three hours and 44 minutes. The boat ride takes 15 minutes from St. Simons Island’s Hampton River Marina.


AugSept screenOn Screen/Off Screen

Richard Brotherton, Guitarist

Guitarist Rich Brotherton is probably best known as the lead guitarist for Americana musician Robert Earl Keen, but what you may not know is that this musician who can play almost anything with strings is also an Augusta native. As a teen, he honed his craft performing with the Wright Spirit, St. Mary’s on the Hill’s folk choir, as well as playing gigs at local restaurants and bars. His career later took him to Idaho, Ireland, Cape Cod and Hawaii before bringing him back South to settle in Texas. Brotherton performed in May at Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que and will continue to tour with Keen through the fall.


glampingGlamping

Georgia State Parks

THERE’S NO NEED to pitch a tent when Georgia’s state parks offer the more glamorous camping (“glamping”) option of yurts—circular tents built of wood and canvas reminiscent of those once used by Mongolian nomads.

Yurts offer the peace and tranquility of a rustic camping experience with the luxury of a fully-furnished cabin, complete with hardwood floors, rustic décor, ceiling fans, electrical outlets, a fire ring/grill and a bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets. There’s even a skylight so campers can enjoy the experience of sleeping under the stars.

Maximum occupancy is six people (five at High Falls) and all you need to bring are sleeping bags or linens, cooking utensils, a cooler, food and family or friends.


welcome additionWelcome Addition

Scott Thorp, GRU Art Chair

Georgia Regents University welcomes a new art chair. Formerly a professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, where he also served as the design coordinator for the School of Foundation Studies, Scott Thorp is an artist, writer and educator with a specialty in creativity. Currently he is a contributing writer and consulting editor for ArtPulse Magazine with a soon-to-be-published book A Curious Path: Creativity in an Age of Abundance. With an MFA in drawing and painting from the Mount Royal Graduate School at the Maryland Institute College of Art, he has exhibited often in museums and galleries in the Mid-Atlantic, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art.


westobou2015 Highlights
September 30-October 4

Westobou Festival

Westobou Festival event tickets are on sale now. For the most updated information and details visitwestoboufestival.com or call (706) 755-2878.

THE EIGHTH SEASON OF WESTOBOU FESTIVAL unfolds in the heart of downtown Augusta, September 30-October 4. This year festival headquarters moves to the Augusta Common, which will be transformed into a creative playground where patrons can listen and dance to live music, ride the Westobou Wheel and play and imagine in the hands-on Fun Factory kids’ tent. Events on the Augusta Common will be admission-free.

The festival will also debut the Westobou Gallery, a permanent contemporary white-box exhibition space at 1129 Broad St. Throughout the upcoming year, this new space will provide a venue for a wide variety of rotating exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists of local and international acclaim. During the festival the premiere exhibition will be open daily and will remain on view through November. 

This year’s exhibition will be curated again by Susan Laney of Laney Contemporary in Savannah and feature the work of three female artists: Hiromi Moneyhun (Jacksonville, Fla.), Pamela Wiley (Savannah, Ga.) and Stephanie Howard (Greenville, S.C.).

Other daily events include the festival’s ever-popular Chamber Music Series and a new after-hours Late Night Series that will highlight local and regional talent at bars and restaurants downtown.

September 30-October 1

Opening night kicks off with a film screening (to be announced) at the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre on GRU-Augusta’s Summerville campus. (Check website for updates.)

On Thursday festival goers will enjoy an intimate concert featuring Ben Folds with Symphony Orchestra Augusta. Folds, who first found mainstream success as the leader of the critically acclaimed Ben Folds Five, has gone on to have a very successful solo career, recording multiple studio albums, a pair of records documenting his renowned live performances, a remix record, music for film and TV, as well as numerous collaborations with artists ranging from Sara Bareilles to William Shatner.  For this performance the Jessye Norman Amphitheatre will be transformed into a dreamy music venue under the stars.  

October 2-3

Friday festivities feature an exhibit reception at the Westobou Gallery plus a downtown gallery hop, culminating with  live music and a movie screening in the Common. Reception and gallery hop are free and open to the public.

Saturday morning marks the third consecutive year for the Color Run. Co-sponsored by Westobou Festival and the Greater Augusta Sports Council, the happiest 5k on the planet will offer participants a colorful opportunity to run through the streets of downtown Augusta. The start-line window will open at 9 a.m. on the parade grounds of the Old Richmond Academy, where a pre-race party, complete with music, dancing, warmup stretching and giveaways, will be in full swing. At the end of the race runners will be greeted by food trucks and live music in the Common. Registration begins September 1. Visit thecolorrun.com/augusta. 

Saturday evening the Imperial Theatre stage will host a dance performance by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The company has performed worldwide in more than 200 cities in 40 countries on every major continent and is recognized as one of the most innovative and powerful forces in the dance-theater world. The company’s repertoire is widely varied in its subject matter, visual imagery and stylistic approach to movement, voice and stagecraft and includes musically-driven works as well as works using a variety of texts. It has been acknowledged for its intense collaborative method of creation that has included artists as diverse as Keith Haring, Cassandra Wilson, the Orion String Quartet, the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, Fred Hersch and Jenny Holzer among others.

Those looking for a more casual evening can bring their blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a movie screening under the stars in the Common.

October 4

The final Westobou curtain rises on Sunday to an intimate evening with Nellie McKay at the Westobou Gallery.  McKay is a British-born American singer-songwriter, actress and former stand-up comedian, noted for her critically acclaimed albums and for her Broadway debut in The Threepenny Opera (2006). Her music, which has been heard on the TV shows Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Weeds and Grey’s Anatomy, has showcased different genres, from jazz to rap and disco to funk. My Weekly Reader, her newest album, is a collection of covers of songs made famous in the 1960s. The range of material is wide—from the Beatles’ “If I Fell” to Frank Zappa’s “Hungry Freaks, Daddy.” 

This article appears in the August-September 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.