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Highlights: Celebrate Juneteenth, Nancy And Party With The Dogs

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Celebration for Nancy

Nancy Cooper Maier wrote poetry, music and songs for decades. She was also the last editor of Fayetteville’s one-time alternative newspaper, the Grapevine. She died in February.

Maier finished a CD of children’s songs in 2008, but bouts with cancer prevented the CD’s official release. Her partner Marshall Carter, along with John Two Hawks and other area musicians will debut this CD, “Every Little Thing” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fellowship Hall of the First United Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville.

Performances by Harmonia, Susan Shore, John Ray, Renee Janski, Two-Hawks and Maier’s Everyone Can Sing Community Choir will fill the evening with Maier’s original songs and diverse songs from around the world.

During her seven-year battle with cancer Maier increased her commitment to creativity and music. With Carter’s help she released her first CD, “ Love Again” in 2003, planted a peace garden, filled her home with bright acrylic paintings, added two more dogs to her existing three dog family and in 2006 began the Everyone Can Sing Choir.

Maier and Carter traveled to British Columbia where Maier graduated from the Getting Higher community choir leadership program. In subsequent years her work with both choir members and private individuals healed many an injured spirit with song.

Maier and her music were dedicated to the concept that it’s everyone’s right to sing. She believed that experiencing the harmony of voices creates an accord in the heart that can’t be duplicated. Her Everyone Can Sing Community Choir members will testify to that.

Continuing to sing and preparing for this concert after Maier’s death, provided a deep uplifting effect said choir members who are now led by one of their number, Sharon Donnelly.

Maier made a difference to Fayetteville. All who attend the concert are guaranteed to feel the beauty of her gifts, the songs that keep on singing. Proceeds from CD sales will benefit the Seven Hills Homeless Shelter and Spay Arkansas. Ginny Masullo

Celebrate Juneteenth

Celebrate the 145th anniversary of African American emancipation at a Juneteenth celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Jones Center in Springdale.

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Tex., Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest, the last major vestige of slavery in the U. S. After Granger’s reading of the order, former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America’s second Independence Day celebration.

The NWA Juneteenth celebration will include a cookout, ice cream, guest speakers, music, games and inflatables for the kids, art displays and exhibits by local non-profit organizations. There will be a silent auction, which will benefit student scholarships at the University of Arkansas and Juneteenth T-shirts will be available for $10. This year’s keynote speaker is Paul Adams, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the UA. Free.

Party With The Dogs

Bring your dogs-or just yourself and your friends-to Dog Party USA on Saturday and howl at the summer sky in “Singing for Mutts & Meows.” Dog Party USA is hosting the benefit for Spay Arkansas, the local nonprofit organization that is working to establish a spay and neuter clinic in NWA.

This will be the first appearance by a new band, Shulertown (Shulertown, for you newbies, was the original name for the Dickson Street area). The band is made up of some veteran musicians-Jason Reddecliff, Charlie Platt, Owen McClung and Tom Lawson-who cut their chops in bands like Punkinhead, Ultra Suede, Jupiter Hollow and Mothership. Influences for the band’s original songs range from Johnny Cash to Dinosaur Jr. After showcasing some of their own songs, the band will lead a karaoke party. The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. A $15 cover (or $25 for two and younger than 12 free) gets you music, BBQ, hot dogs, libations and lots of fun. The event will end at dark. Dogs should be vaccinated and leashed.

New Music

This seems to be the week for new music, with a number of local bands rolling out new CDs and the premiere of a new musical.

Friday night, Strange Heroes will have a CD release party at George’s (see story on page 15). On Saturday night, the popular award-winning punker bluegrass band Cletus Got Shot will release their new CD “UnAmerican” at Smoke and Barrel. NAMA Band of the Year for 2009, 3 Penny Acre will have a CD release party at Greenhouse Grille on Sunday.

And, composer and musician Ryan Cockerham will rollout his musical, “Most Extreme Ocean Adventure” at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Concert Hall.

Cockerham, a prolific cutting edge composer whose music travels from sounds reminiscent of Phillip Glass to hip-hop, says he struggles with boredom, so he is continually re-inventing himself within the medium of sound. He recently released two CD’s, “Rapper’s Today Vol. 1″ by his hip-hop quartet The Strut and “Gypsy Dance.”

The new musical is based on Columbus’ voyage to America and uses Columbus’ ocean crossing as the subject of a popular reality show, in which the hero must battle sea monsters, storms and rescue famous historical figures from the unpredictable sea.

“I really want to push the bounds of this genre,” Cockerham said.

A trio of actors will fill the on-stage roles and Bob Mueller, professor of composition at the UA, will conduct the live orchestra. Admission is free.

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