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December 2011
Utah's Art Magazine: Published by Artists of Utah
Page 6  
Tony Smith's FINALLY . . . a book about me on Ann Poore's canning table
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Culture Conversations: Music
Highway 89 Radio
Retro Style Radio Helps Sustain Modern Audiences

Much has been written in recent years about the problems facing many of the nation’s symphony orchestras and opera companies. It seems that they’re either burdened by financial woes or coping with finding ways to reinvent themselves and stay alive and viable in an ever changing world. And depending on whom you listen to, performing arts organizations are either on the brink of extinction or they’re here to stay – precisely because of what they are and what they represent.

The same also goes for classical radio. Its imminent end has been prophesied for years, and it’s true that some stations around the country, even in fairly large markets, have closed up shop. But despite what doomsday sayers have been predicting, radio’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. “I keep seeing reports on the death of radio, but radio has survived and it’s doing better than people are saying,” says Eric Glissmeyer, program services manager for Classical 89. Glissmeyer admits that radio in general, and public radio specifically, is up against some pretty stiff competition in the digitally and technically advanced 21st century. “Public radio listeners especially have a lot of different options today,” he says, “and it’s not just iPods that have had their effect on radio, but also Pandora, Spotify and other listening options.” But despite all that, radio in all its various forms and myriad formats has managed to survive – and actually thrive, according to “Media and the Mood of the Nation,” a study that was recently commissioned by the Radio Advertising Bureau in the United Kingdom. “That poll found that people are happiest when listening to the radio,” Glissmeyer said.

Over a thousand people across the United Kingdom participated in the survey using their smartphones to answer questions. The study found that participants had a 100 percent boost to their happiness and a 300 percent increase in their energy levels while listening to the radio when compared to respondents who weren’t using any type of media. Watching television and surfing the internet also brought a surge to people’s happiness levels but not to the extent that listening to the radio did.

While the study covered all of radio and didn’t limit itself to classical music specifically, the findings still support Glissmeyer’s contention that radio isn’t anywhere near being the dinosaur many claim it to be. “We’re a viable option,” he says, “but there are things we need to do to stay viable and also strengthen our position.” Among the things he mentions that are necessary to help ensure the future of radio is the need for emphasizing local content. “Local content is very important, and here at Classical 89 we have been dedicated to doing local programs for a long time now,” he says. For years, the station has been broadcasting performances by the Utah Symphony, Logan’s Utah Festival Opera and concerts from Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine. More recently, the station has begun airing concerts by the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series. “We want to be involved with the local community,” says Glissmeyer.

Earlier this year, Classical 89 took that community involvement a step further with its new program Highway 89, which brings local and guest artists into the studio for live performances and gives listeners a chance to get to know the players on a bit more personal level. “People want relationships, even vicarious relationships,” says Mark Wait, who is the on- air host weekdays from 2-6 pm and also an audio engineer who records all of the “Highway 89” segments. “People want to make friends and this is a low risk, fun way to get to know the musicians and hosts,” many of whom are volunteers from the community and not professional announcers. And both listeners and musicians have commented positively on the new program. Says Jackie Tateishi, “Highway 89” producer, “We’ve had good response from listeners, especially those who are musicians, and the reaction from the musicians themselves has been amazing.”

It was Walter Rudolph’s idea to have a program like Highway 89. Rudolph, the long time station manager of Classical 89, now retired, came up with the concept of having musicians come into the station to play a short concert and then broadcasting it. But at the time, the station was housed in the basement of the Harris Fine Arts Center at Brigham Young University and didn’t have the space or the capability to do that. It wasn’t until the station (along with BYU-TV) moved into its new facility on University Parkway, just east of the Marriott Center, that it was able to put Rudolph’s idea into practice, because the plans for the new broadcast center included space for a state of the art recording studio. “It was Wally’s pipe dream, really, until then,” says Marcus Smith, radio services manager for BYU Broadcasting and host of Thinking Aloud. “So it was a godsend when we were able to find funding and have the support of BYU. It allowed us to make good on our resources.”

Highway 89
debuted on September 22 with a performance by Utah Premiere Brass, a Provo-based British brass band under the direction of Kirt Saville. “So far we’ve had 135 musicians in the studio,” Takeishi says. Among the groups and individuals who have participated in the series up through the end of November are members of the music departments of BYU, Utah Valley University and the University of Utah; the Bonneville Chamber Music Festival at Weber State University; Provo’s Utah Lyric Opera and Utah Vocal Arts Academy; and Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition alumni Serhiy Salov and Dmitri Levkovich. While 135 seems an impressive number of musicians, especially for a new series, Takeishi is thinking in much bigger terms. “Our goal for next year is 500,” she says. And she doesn’t just want classical musicians, either. “We’re also interested in bluegrass, a cappella, jazz and Celtic music. We don’t normally have that kind of music in the studio, but we have found that a lot of jazz musicians are interested in being on the program.”

Takeishi concedes that Highway 89 is a deliberate throwback to the days when it was standard practice for radio stations to broadcast live. “This is old school style broadcasting,” she says. “It’s something that went away for so long that it now seems modern and progressive.”

No one associated with Highway 89 believes that this type of program will be the cure all for what ails public and commercial radio, but they do believe it can go a long way to help promote radio’s long term well being and aid towards its sustainability. “Classical public radio has always been accused of lacking spontaneity,” Wait says. “And that’s true. There is so little freshness in what we do, but Highway 89 is the kind of thing that can make a big difference. People can be connected to the performers and the music in a way they can’t through CDs. It brings in an element of spontaneity.”

For inquiries regarding Highway 89 send an email to highway89@byu.edu.

Hints 'n' Tips: Plein Air
Painting Architecture
How To Treat Buildings in Your Plein Air Paintings

Including architecture in a painting is always a great way to create interest and hold the viewer's attention. Additionally, some sort of manmade structure in nature is usually an engaging subject. The important thing is to look for an interesting pattern of light and shadow, as you would with any composition. Structures can range from the simple inclusion of a shed or barn in a rural landscape to a full-blown cityscape that features very little natural elements. Either way, it is the light that breathes life into any subject, whether it be indoors or out.

One of the usual problems associated with the addition of architectural elements is the tendency of the beginning painter to view the physical structure as a separate entity from the rest of the natural elements in the picture and, consequently, tighten up when rendering that part. It’s important to try for an overall feeling throughout the picture plane so that each subset of the painting acts in accordance with the good of the whole. This is a gestalt thinking process that must be adhered to in order for the painting to hold together as a unit.

Let’s use a barn as an example. How does one paint a barn convincingly and at the same time make it hold its place in the picture plane so that it works as a unified element in the composition? First of all, realize that it is an important participant in your painting, but not so important that it requires a kid glove handling or special treatment with regard to technique. The technique applied should be the same general technique used throughout the painting. In other words, if the general handling of the painting is loose and fluid, don’t switch to a pointillist paint application to render the barn.

Your first consideration should be the value of the barn in relation to the things around it. It is these relationships that will give it a sense of reality even more than the details of the wood and metal surfaces. Once the general value and coloration of the barn walls and roof are laid in with a thin application of paint, it’s a short leap to apply thick paint to finish the process. Details such as boards and metal roof should be suggested rather than delineated in a tight fashion. It’s important not to tighten up here, paint with gusto and don’t be afraid to overlap edges; it’s the artistic merging of these edged that will give your painting that painterly quality so desirable in this type of work. A few dark and light accents, a hard edge here and there and a softening of other select edges will finish off your efforts to create a barn that is both interesting and believable. Just remember to have fun and go for it, you have nothing to lose but a few daubs of paint and a little canvas.
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Notes for Bob and Bill

Utah's First Color Photograph
Leo Hafen's 1908 Lumière Autochrome

The first color photograph in the state of utah: we know who created it and have a description of what it looks like, but we don't know if it still exists.

In 1908, John Leo Hafen created the first color photograph in the state of Utah, using the Lumière process, first developed in 1903 and patented the previous year in France. What became known as Lumière Autochrome involved lampblack and dyed (red, green, blue) starch grains mixed on glass plates. These served as a color screen that made the panchromatic silver halide emulsion it was coated with appear as a color image. The finished slide tended to be dark, and special lighting arrangements were necessary for optimal viewing, but the colors were true to nature.

Since Hafen was producing this first color work in the winter months, he visited the nearby Huish greenhouse, where he could capture hues from across the visible spectrum. The Deseret News, whose editorial staff saw the photograph, described it as representing "the inside of a Provo greenhouse, showing geraniums, lilies, ferns, hyacinths, daffodils, rubber plants, callas, etc., all in their natural colors."(March 9, 1908)

At the time, Hafen, oldest son of painter John Hafen, had a thriving photography business in Provo with partner Ed Olson. Hafen's brother Joseph has written that the firm held an exclusive contract with Eastman Kodak for all work in Utah south of Salt Lake City, and did a large mail order business for the company. When Hafen developed his color photograph, Joseph recalls, leading chemists from Kodak came to Provo to learn Leo's technique.

Hafen's life turned out -- at least briefly -- as colorful as his color plate from inside the greenhouse. After becoming ill and having to give up his photography business, he earned a living as a farmer and gardner, and in the West Tintic Mountains joined family members and friends in a separatist community that evolved into a controversial end-of-days sect, complete with economic failure, sexual scandal, secular trials and ecclesiastical excommunication. After the dust settled, Hafen joined others in the group's core in California, and, while he may have quit the business of photography, a recently discovered document referencing one of his works, produced shortly before his death, reveals he never gave up the art. All of that, though, is the subject of a longer article in a future edition.

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