By Carol Mathieson
Sunday Music Series January Program Chair
For over 40 years, soprano Carol Mathieson and pianist Leonora Suppan-Gehrich opened the New Year for the Quincy Sunday Music Series with a concert of songs and chamber music in recital format called Carol Mathieson and Friends.
With the passing of Suppan-Gehrich, Mathieson continues to call together local musicians of professional caliber to sing in the new season. Quincy Sunday Music Series’ opening concert for 2018 celebrates the artistry of 13 such Friends who also draw the best from each new generation of young performers and patrons of the art with inspired teaching. The public is welcome to their program subtitled Spotlight on the Teachers of Music on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 4 pm in the Quincy Unitarian Church at 16 and Hampshire Streets.
Pianist Dylan Marney, who enjoyed collaborating with Suppan-Gehrich in recent January concerts, will accompany Mathieson and many of this year’s Friends, who include singers Scotty Allison, Lisa Blake, Karen Hetzler, Paul Shelor, Steven Soebbing, and Amy Stollberg as well as violinists John Basinger and Jane Polett, organist Rhonda Basinger, saxophonist Trent Hollinger, and trombonist Thomas Polett.
Witty songs of cats and beasts, sound sketches of mythic beings, Mozart opera both passionate and clever, love songs from Lieder and Scripture…a rich program performed by teacher-performers representing Culver-Stockton College, John Wood Community College, Quincy University, Trinity United Church of Christ, and private studio instructors.
Admission to the concert is free, but the Sunday Music Series welcomes donations to its mission of providing chamber music that features local professional musicians to the community for over 75 years.
Click here for more information.
Quincy University’s Pursuit in Learning in Society (POLIS) spring semester class schedule has been released. POLIS is an opportunity for lifelong learning for seniors. There are no tests. The atmosphere is casual and welcoming. There is even a coffee and cookie break after the first hour of each course.
Spring Class Schedule:
• Feb. 13 – “The Presidency and the Constitution” – Dr. Bill Postiglione
• Feb. 21 – “The Investment Environment” – Dr. Mitch Ellison
• Feb. 22 and March 1 – “Not Even Past: Race, Religion and History in William Faulkner’s Short Fiction” – Dr. Michael Keller
• Feb. 28 – “Canton, Culver-Stockton College and the Civil War in Northeast Missouri” – Dr. Scott Giltner
• March 8 – “Les Misérables: Themes, Motifs and Symbols” – Maryam Chaudhry
• March 9 – “Presidential Powers Under the Constitution” – Jim Palmer
• March 21 – “The High Country: Altitude and Latitude” – Dr. Alfred F. Pogge
• March 22 – “Rethinking the Center of Paul’s Theology: The Gospel and Faith” – Dr. Matthew Bates
• March 27 – “Important Women in the Life of Stephen A. Douglas” – Dr. David Costigan
• April 5 – “Ulysses S. Grant” – Beth Young
• April 6 – “The Role of Humans in the Emergence and the Re-Emergence of Disease” – Dr. Kim Hale
• April 11 – “Luther, the Jews, Nazi Germany and the Holocaust” – Dr. Wendell Mauter
• April 13 – “Ethical Dilemmas at End of Life” – Jonathan Miles
• April 18 – “Media Literacy: How Your Filter Bubble is Hiding the Truth and Making You Angry” – Nora Baldner
• April 19 – “The Other Side: The Palestinian Perspective” – Neveen Ayesh
• April 20 – “Gustav Holst’s The Planets: A Look at a Timeless Piece 100 Years After Its First Performance” – Dr. Christine Damm
• April 25 – “What is Legal Aid?” – Larry Ruemmler, J.D.
• April 27 – “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time VI: The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts” – Dr. Len Biallas
• May 1 and May 3 – “Selected Poetry and Prose of John Donne” – Dr. Joseph Messina
• May 11 – POLIS Annual End of the Year Party- FREE- 2:00 p.m. in the North Cafeteria
The cost of a POLIS membership is $15 per semester, and each two-hour class is $4 to attend. Anyone is welcome to bring friends and attend one class free of charge. Registration is Wednesday, Jan. 24 and Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 from 2:00 pm-4:00 pm at Quincy University’s North Campus, or forms can be submitted by mail. Classes during the semester will be held at North Campus 2-4 p.m., and signs will indicate directions to the individual classes. All Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday classes are in the North Cafeteria which is on lower level one. All Friday classes are in Strieby Room 323-A on the third level.
To be added to the POLIS mailing list and receive a brochure describing all spring classes
plus a registration form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a name and address, call 217-228-5594, or visit the POLIS webpage at www.quincy.edu/polis.
By Cheryl Loatsch
Dance has always been the way Sarah Phillips expresses her full spectrum of emotion. Happiness, anger, joy, melancholy and more all find its way into her movement. She uses her movements and the music to tell a compelling and beautiful story.
Dance has been an integral part of Phillips’ story from her very first tendu.
“I remember when I was as young as three years old, feeling free to follow not only the beat of the music but my own unique rhythm,” she recalled.
"Strength and grace go hand-in-hand on the dancer’s stage, " she says. "This pairing also serves us well in our day-to-day endeavors. By accepting the outcome of daily events with grace and strength, one is able to persevere."
The inner strength Phillips found through dance became her personal anchor and continues to serve her when the life’s challenges appear.
For Phillips, the structure, focus and determination it takes to conquer the ballet barre has become a spiritual exercise. Barre techniques are some of the most important building blocks of all dance. Phillips sees the barre as a space where all dancers return and refresh their spirits.
As an instructor and adult dancer, Phillips is now experiencing the joy of instilling the love of dance in her students.
“There is no greater satisfaction than witnessing a child find the dancer within themselves,” she said. “My parents get the credit for encouraging me to dance. I see the pride they have in my dedication and journey as a dancer. The pride they have felt throughout my dance career is now magnified for me when I watch my students perform.”
Phillips teaches ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, character and hip-hop to ages three and up at Cheryl Loatsch Dance Studio in Quincy.
Arts Quincy is excited to share a new column with our readers: Let's Dance! Dance is a way of making us feeling more alive and is an outlet for the body, mind and soul. We look forward to featuring more local dancers in future Arts Quincy magazines. The following is about a local dance instructor and how dance is an integral part of her daily life. If you know someone to be featured in this area please contact us at email@example.com.
Usher in the new year with the gift that keeps on giving, Sunday Music! This free concert series happens once a month throughout the school year and there is no better time than now to enjoy one of the areas favorite ongoing music events!
This January, Carol Mathieson will mark her 42nd Annual New Year's performance with the Sunday Music Series (SMS). The program titled Carol Mathieson and Friends will join additional performers, professional musicians and educators from around the region to entertain you with solos, instrumental duets, trios, vocal ensembles and chamber music on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 4 pm in the Unitarian Church, 16th and Hampshire.
Mathieson, of Canton, Missouri, is known to the region for her involvement with Muddy River Opera Company, Quincy Civic Music Association and Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. She is Emeritus Professor of Music at Culver-Stockton College.
She and fellow colleague and friend, the late Leonora Suppan-Gehrich, performed the SMS New Year's concert together for many decades and would often entertain local audiences in other performance venues. Gehrich's gift of music is a cherished memory to Mathieson and the arts community.
As Mathieson recalls, it was quite an undertaking to perform those early concerts at the Unitarian Church in the 1970s. With a rented piano, volunteers and warm hearts, Mathieson and Gehrich made memorable recitals that SMS concert-goers looked forward to every year.
Mathieson reminisced how those early concerts took place right after New Year’s Day. “Many area musicians probably remember freezing fingers and frosty breath as we rehearsed without much benefit from the ancient and finicky furnace. We hoped against the possibility of blizzards...hopes that were not always fulfilled.”
Over the years the musical options expanded for SMS performers as the congregation acquired its own pianos and updated their heating system! Today, the church is one of the most beautiful settings in the area for chamber music.
Mathieson says, "The new year for Sunday Music will begin with professional-caliber musicians performing together in a tradition that stretches back decades. It still enlivens the present, even as it honors the past."
Here is Arts Quincy’s Top 5 Christmas Fine Arts & Culture Gifts for 2017
1. Season Tickets
Season Ticket holders are some of the many people who make each performance great at Quincy Community Theatre, Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association and Quincy Civic Music Association! What gift recipient wouldn’t love a season pass to one of their favorite performance organizations? Not able to purchase the entire season pass? Individual tickets are available that can be used on date nights or special occasions for a reasonable price tag!
You are never too old to learn something new! How great would it be to sculpt an item from clay? Or become a master-woodworker? Many organizations offer educational classes that fit into even the busiest of schedules! Quincy Art Center, local colleges and studios continually offer special interest courses or seminars for a low-to-no cost! Additional discounts and scholarships may be available for those who qualify.
3. Gift Shops
Want to give a physical, gift wrapped present? Quincy Museum, Quincy Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home & Museum and Quincy Brewery & Arts offer books, ornaments, magnets, apparel and more in their gift shops! Did you know that many of Quincy’s small businesses support individual artists by selling their handmade products like artwork, furniture, clothing and more? Visit Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s website for a list of these entrepreneurs!
Why not support your favorite nonprofit club or alliance by gifting your loved ones a membership to the organization? Becoming a member to organizations offers various benefits and sometimes perks including discounts, entrance to special events or even a free bottle of wine! Quincy Woodworkers Guild, Great River Watercolor Society, Quincy Preserves or the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County all welcome new members and the dues are used to further each organization’s mission as well as provide exclusive opportunities for members. Click here for a full list of Arts Quincy's Partner Organizations.
5. Memorial Donations
Honor a friend or relative by donating to a special cause or organization in their name. Did you know that Arts Quincy works to foster, strengthen and expand the arts throughout Adams County? By donating to Arts Quincy, your tax-deductible gift makes a significant impact for groups, individuals, classrooms and more! Arts Quincy is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and reports show that 85 cents of every dollar Arts Quincy receives is put right back into the community! Learn how you can contribute by visiting artsquincy.org/supportus.
By gifting the arts this holiday season, you are giving a truly unique gift that will be enjoyed in 2018 and beyond while supporting a local nonprofit that relies on funds from its community to survive! See a comprehensive listing of Arts Quincy’s nonprofit partner arts organizations and what they have to offer by clicking here. Watch a video that tells you about everything Arts Quincy is, click here.
Quincy Public Library encourages parents to read with their children on Family Reading Night, Thursday, November 16, 2017.
QPL has a wealth of books to engage readers through a wide selection of material to meet any interest. In addition to print material, digital resources, including interactive storybooks, eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, and magazines for all ages are available to anyone with a valid QPL card.
“Reading with your children, not just on Family Reading Night, but every night, is a great way to show your kids the importance of reading in their daily lives,” explained QPL Children’s Librarian Bill Waters.
Study after study has shown that family engagement in reading has a positive impact on children’s reading skills and on their readiness for school. Children who are read to learn to read and write more easily; understand instructions better; and listen to their teachers more often.
There are lots of ways to engage your child with books and reading.
It’s never too early to start reading with your child. Babies from birth enjoy the comfort of hearing their parent’s voices and learn to engage with printed material at their own pace. Place your baby or toddler in your lap to look at the book together.
For ideas on fun, child-appropriate books, visit the children’s department at Quincy Public Library.
All Wars Museum Open House
Saturday, Nov. 11
Noon to 4 pm
It’s Quincy’s best kept secret.
That’s how All Wars Museum Curator and Marine Corps Veteran, Bob Craig explained it to us as we toured the expansive collection spanning all major conflicts in American history.
“There are so many places that the military and the arts world intersect,” Craig continued as he pointed toward a display of Revolutionary War-era heraldry and military insignia. “I think it would surprise people who have never visited our museum to see the great art and music made by or inspired by men and women who have served.”
The All Wars Museum at the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home at 12th and Locust is not just a collection of military memorabilia, but is a treasure trove of stories about the men and women from the area who have served. The heart of the collection is made up of art created by local vets.
Dan Waggoner, a Marine Corps Veteran who served during the Vietnam War, was among the artists we met with to learn more about the museum. Waggoner is a quiet and thoughtful man and is clearly passionate about what the museum adds to Quincy.
“I hope that this community understands that this museum isn’t a monument to war, but it’s really about representing people and their stories,” Waggoner explained. “Everything here is a part of the fabric of freedom.”
Waggoner has loved art his entire life, but had no idea that he had a real talent for oil painting until recently. In just over 2 years, he has completed over 60 portraits, including a set of 23 Adams County KIA (Killed in Action) veterans of the Vietnam War which are on display at the museum. He’s also begun painting the 23 KIA area soldiers who served in the Korean War. As Waggoner showed us his paintings, he pointed to each one with warmth and familiarity. Several of these men were his friends and classmates, and it’s clear what a personally meaningful project this has become for him.
“When you get back from war, you wonder what you’re going to do. You bring back baggage. Art gives soldiers healing opportunities. I struggled for years and years to find a positive outlet, but creating this art feels like I’m giving something back,” he explained.
“When I paint, I try to capture a bit of what each man was like in there. I want people to know a little about who they were. There is nothing that makes me feel better than when a family recognizes the personality of the soldier they lost in one of my paintings.”
Joe Laratta, an Army Veteran who also served in Vietnam, has a big personality and equally big grin. He specializes in replicas and dioramas at the museum which he completes to exacting detail.
“I’ll call a paint manufacturer to blend the right colors for a tank or I’ll research the sand color for a model of Normandy Beach,” said Laratta. “If you’re going to do something like this, you have to do it right. It respects the history to be accurate.”
Laratta also cited the healing power of the arts for himself. “There’s nothing normal about war. Nothing normal about carrying around an M16 and looking for bad guys. This is a way to work through this stuff. Vets are basically a society within a society and sometimes we need this connection to feel normal.”
Visitors will be surprised by the detail of even the enemy side of Laratta’s dioramas. For instance in one display, he vividly depicts the city-like life inside of the tunnels of the Vietcong.
“I think students who tour the museum especially benefit from seeing both sides and thinking about what life was like,” Laratta told us. “A soldier is a soldier, and even across enemy lines, there is a certain respect there and things we have in common. That’s why I go to this level of detail on both sides of the conflict.”
Laratta is one of they many volunteers who donate their time to the museum, which has no paid staff except for Craig. Craig wants museum visitors to know that every piece in the museum and every resident at the Veterans’ Home has a story. Those stories are what drive him to create his art projects, which include two seemingly disparate mediums: painting enormous murals and scratch crafting tiny miniature replicas of armament, soldiers and military vehicles.
“I do this because sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance,” said Craig. “Every soldier has paid an awesome price to preserve our way of life, and this is my way of making sure we remember.”
He said that the veteran-created art inspires conversations within the All Wars Museum that are a treasure all their own.
“Veterans seem to relax here and tell their stories. A POW (Prisoner of War) that had been held in the Philippines was in here telling us about his experience,” said Craig. “It was good for him to tell his story and good for us to hear it. We’ve had German and Japanese ex-soldiers tour the museum and have commented on how thorough and fair the collection is. We often have Veteran’s Home residents sharing important historical moments- like [current resident] Bob Erickson who was the man that played Taps on his bugle at the final flag ceremony at the cease fire as the US was leaving Korea. I’m proud to be able to tell these stories.”
Visitors can tour the All Wars Museum Tuesday–Saturday, from 9 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4 pm. The museum will also be holding a special Open House during Veteran’s Day weekend on Saturday, November 12 from noon to 4 pm with assistance from Arts Quincy. To make a donation to support the All Wars Museum’s art programs for veterans, send your check with notation that your donation is for the museum to: Illinois Veteran’s Home, 1702 N. 12th Street, Quincy IL 62305.
In September, Culver-Stockton College’s Professor Deb Myers and seven students entered the 53rd Originale Art Show sponsored by the Hannibal Art Club—and all entries received recognition. This competition features original artwork from area artists.
In the nonprofessional division, Linda Gower won the Brent Jacobson Memorial Achievement Award while Sherry Taylor and Amanda Brown won Excellence Awards. Merit Awards were won by Keelie O'Brien, Mary Phillips and Sherry Taylor. Nick Sorrill ’17 and Professor Deb Myers both won Merit Awards. Finally, Rachel Loyd Roundtree was the recipient of an Excellence Award in the professional division.
All are welcome to attend C-SC’s upcoming art events. On Thursday, Nov. 9, a reception will be held for the opening of the Joe Conover, Nick Kosciuk and Lisa Wiese art exhibit at 6 pm in the Mabee Art Gallery; the exhibit will be open weekdays, 9 am to 4 pm, until Wednesday, Dec. 13.
On Saturday, Jan. 20, the College will be having its Senior Art Show Opening and Reception at 6 pm in the Mabee Art Gallery. This show will feature seniors like David Quach of Keokuk, Iowa. Quach will be displaying his art work that incorporates augmented reality; this will create an interactive experience for visitors.
On December 3, 1818, with only 34,620 residents, Illinois became the nation's 21st state! The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is planning a year of activities to commemorate Illinois' 200th birthday!
The kick off celebration will begin on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the History Museum when three local historians will examine the early history of Illinois. The afternoon will begin with a reception with the speakers at 1:15 pm. The presentations will begin at 2 pm with a program entitled "Visions and Decisions: Early Statehood of Illinois." The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Interpretive Center.
Historians will also discuss the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which brought many settlers to what is now Illinois, and how the new state came to prohibit slavery. Speakers include Warren Speckhart, Dr. Neil Wright and Reg Ankrom.
Descended from one of Adams County’s first pioneer families in far Western Illinois, Speckhart will discuss some of the traditional history passed down through the generations of his first family. Speckhart is a well known Adams County farmer and retired school teacher, and has been active in sharing the history of “old Adams.”
Dr. Wright, assistant professor of political science at Quincy University, will examine the tensions—both personal and political—with which Thomas Jefferson struggled to envision a free republic in a land in which all but one state had legalized slavery. His topic will be, “Illinois, the Northwest Ordinance, and Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Vision.”
Ankrom, local historian, will discuss the issue that nearly derailed Illinois’ attempt to become a state and the controversy it caused after statehood. The title of Ankrom’s talk will be, “Illinois: Slave State.”
For more information about the program call 217-222-1835. For more information on local and statewide events visit illinois200.com.
This month’s Arts Quincy magazine features Susan Scholz (photo by Ryan Stark) who portrays Minerva Merrick. Minerva was an especially unique Quincyian whose earthly remains are interred at Woodland Cemetary. The following article, reprinted with permission from Beth Lane, recounts her curious tale.
By BETH LANE
About 100 years ago in Quincy, the phrase "Til death us do part" acquired new meaning for one woman and her two husbands. Mrs. Minerva Merrick, after enjoying her first 40 years of married life, became the widow of Dr. Charles Merrick in 1876. He left her a wealthy woman, living in a large home on 3rd & Chestnut Street.
After the passing of the doctor, she became interested in life after death and the study of spiritualism. This philosophy, based on the belief that spirits can communicate after death, rose in popularity in the early 1800s and flourished during and after the Civil War with its terrible loss of life. Many prominent people subscribed to these beliefs, including Mary Lincoln, Sir Author Conan Doyle and Mark Twain.
In tribute to her husband's memory, Mrs. Merrick had constructed, at the substantial expense of $8,000, a lovely brick building named Merrick Hall. The building stood at the northwest corner of Fourth and Lind Streets and was used as a meeting hall and lecture venue for séances and spirit communication.
Mrs. Merrick became a mainstay of the spiritualist movement in Quincy. She seized every possible chance to converse with her dearly departed husband through the agency of various mediums and believed that she was receiving direct communication from him. Quincy was a regular stop on the travelling spiritualist circuit, and Mrs. Merrick played host to many of them. She also promoted Spiritualism through her weekly publication called "A Fountain of Light." The circulation for this journal that was printed in Quincy included a geographical area of several states, although actual numbers of subscribers were few.
In short order, she attracted the attention of Charles Orchardson, a distinguished looking older man, and his travelling companion, medium Vera P. Ava. Orchardson was the brother of well-known English portrait painter, William Orchardson, and by most accounts a talented painter himself. He was also a proponent of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto and sympathetic to anarchists.
Vera P. Ava was an adventuress billing herself as a medium, who was wanted on various charges of fraud and theft as far away as New York City and as close as Elgin. She was short and blue-eyed, weighed more than two hundred pounds, and always wore padded wigs to hide a deformity.
A few days later, Elgin Police detective Powers arrived and arrested Vera Ava for stealing money from a widow in his city. Orchardson and Ava had been boarding at the home of the widow Robinson at 827 N. Third, conveniently close to the Merrick estate. A short time later, Orchardson moved from the boarding house room he had shared with Ava into Mrs. Merrick's home. Mrs. Merrick was so fond of him she considered legally adopting the 45-year-old man, calling him the son she never had.
A bound copy of the Merrick's "A Fountain of Light" can be found today in the Historical Society library. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Mrs. Merrick's thoughts: she was fervently in favor of women's suffrage and temperance, against "Free Love," concerned with the plight of the poor and orphans in Quincy, and outspokenly against the death penalty. She traveled twice to Missouri to petition the governor for clemency in the case of the two Talbot brothers, who had been sentenced to hang for the murder of their father. When she failed and they were hanged, she eulogized them in her paper.
For some time both Mrs. Merrick and Orchardson quite contentedly wrote and published books and articles on their various philosophies, until a spirit communication changed everything. Mrs. Merrick was told by a male medium (and friend of Mr. Orchardson) that a directive from Dr. Merrick himself instructed his widow to marry again to protect her estate. Minerva, who believed firmly in guiding her actions by both inspiration and otherworldly communication, promptly proposed to Orchardson. He promptly accepted.
The 70-year-old bride and her 45-year-old groom were married on April 12, 1893. Her wedding gift to him by one account was $50,000 in cash. It scandalized the city. But their wedded state lasted just over a year before Mrs. Merrick-Orchardson died (and possibly reunited with her first husband) on June 11, 1894. Fifteen days later, her widower submitted her will for probate.
Soon after that, Vera Ava reappeared in Quincy, newly released from Joliet Women's Prison where she had served two years for theft. She applied for the newly vacated position of Mrs. Orchardson but was soundly rejected. In a rage, she offered her services to the previous Merrick family heirs who had been cut out of the will in favor of Orchardson.
The heirs, two nieces and a nephew, filed suit, saying among other things that Minerva Merrick was "possessed of an insane delusion as to communications from spirits and that she was controlled … by an insane delusion in the making of her will." They carefully said that belief in spiritualism was not an insane belief; but that she had been under undue influence at the time she created her will in favor of Orchardson. A second suit was filed to annul the marriage.
After much entertaining publicity, courtroom drama and an appeal to the state supreme court, Orchardson- lost. The court declared the Merrick-Orchardson marriage null and void, finding there had indeed been "an insane delusion." It took four years after the odd couple had been married, but they were indeed parted after death, rather than by death. And Quincy added another interesting case to its legal history.
Beth Lane is the author of "Lies Told Under Oath," the story of the Pfanschmidt murders near Payson, a member of the Historical Society and a facilitator of writing and creativity workshops in Quincy.