Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2005

Ursa Major String Ensemble prepares for Jan. 22 show

JUNEAU - The Ursa Major String Ensemble, a 15-member youth strings ensemble, will play a special concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Northern Light United Church.

The pre-concert festivities begin at 6:30 p.m., and a $5 donation will be accepted at the door.

The program includes Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with solos by Ren DeCherney, Frankz Felkl, Ann Robinson and Lisa Ibias.

"This is a very famous string ensemble piece and a challenge for the group," conductor Guo Hua Xia said. "They worked very hard to get the pieces ready."

The ensemble will also perform Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nacht-musik," or "A Little Night Music" in English.

"This piece is also very famous and good for training and learning the Mozart style," Xia said.

Ursa, then 11 kids, traveled to China last June for a series of shows in Beijing and Shanghai. The pre-concert talk will include pictures and remembrances of the trip, and the show will end with some selections, plus Chinese folk songs, from the China tour.

Former Ursa members Megan Bush, Abe Levy and Nina Schwinghammer may play with the ensemble during the China section.

"The classical pieces are fairly short, and we thought people would be interested in the China trip," Xia said. "The Chinese New Year is also not to far away from the day we have our concert."

The Chinese New Year, year 4702 by the Chinese calendar, begins Feb. 9. and is the Year of Yiyou, or the rooster.

The ensemble has added a group of new players this year, including: Andrew Sigler, Pauline Zheng, Lindsey Clark, Isaac Stark, Kristen Jorgensen and Tesia Meade.

Costa's Diner to celebrate Australia Day on Jan. 26

JUNEAU - Costa's Diner, the new eatery that shares the Chilkat Kone Kitchen space in the Merchant's Wharf, will celebrate Australia Day with a special evening of trivia, contests, food, music and prizes at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26.

The event is sponsored by Australian Social Society and admission is free. Donations will be accepted,

This is the 217th anniversary of Australia Day, which commemorates the day Capt. Arthur Phillip assumed possession of New South Wales and became its first Governor.

The first formal celebration was held in 1918, according to

The event was called Found-ation Day in the early-19th century and was often marked by huge regattas. The Australia Day Regatta, held on Jan. 26 in Sydney Harbour for the last 169 years, is one of the largest such events in the world.

All of Australia's colonial capitals except Adelaide were celebrating "Anniversary Day" by the late-19th century. In 1946, the Australian government, and the assorted state and territorial assemblages, decided to observe "Australia Day" on the closest Monday to Jan. 26, according to

The date was changed to Jan. 26 in 1994.

Red Cross to host ball Saturday at Centennial Hall

JUNEAU -The American Red Cross of Alaska will host its second annual Red Cross Ball at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, at Centennial Hall.

This year's theme is "A Night in Shanghai," and the evening includes music by Ron Maas' Thunder Mountain Big Band, with vocalist Vicki Van Fleet.

There will be a silent auction and a light supper of hors d' oeuvres. Raffle tickets for a cruise for two will be available and surprise entertainment will precede the drawing of the winning ticket.

More Southeast travel package getaways will be offered at auction.

Advance tickets are $45 and available at Hearthside Books and the Red Cross offices. Prices are slightly higher at the door.

For information on reserving tables or credit card ticket purchases, call Kristine at 463-5713.

Fairbanks theater groups seek 10-minute plays for 8x10 festival

The Fairbanks Drama Associa-tion and The Looking Glass Group Theatre are inviting Alaska residents to send in 10-minute plays to be considered for the 4th Annual 8x10 Festival of New Alaskan Plays.

The festival will be held April 22-23, 2005, at FDA's Riverfront Theater in Fairbanks. Eight 10-minute plays will be chosen for the festival, which will feature staged readings of the selected plays.

Submissions must be postmarked no later than March 1 and sent to: 8x10 Festival, Fairbanks Drama Association/ Looking Glass Group Theatre, 1852 Second Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

The guidelines are: Alaska residents only. One entry per playwright. One author per play. No musicals or children's plays.

Submit five copies of each script, typed and bound, with pages numbered. Cover page with title and playwright's contact info, including phone and e-mail. Include a cast of characters page with brief character descriptions following cover page. The cast should be no more than eight characters.

Plays should be between eight and 12 minutes long, based on one minute of playing time per page of script. Cover and cast list pages will not be included in page count.

Submissions will not be accepted by e-mail or express mail. Scripts will not be returned.

For more information, contact: Peggy MacDonald Ferguson, Executive Director, Fairbanks Drama Association, at 907-456-PLAY or

'Swingin' in the Rain' tickets now on sale

JUNEAU - Tickets for "Swingin' in the Rain," the 19th annual Juneau Jazz & Classics' winter cabaret are on sale now.

The show is at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, at the ANB Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at Hearthside Books or

Jazz pianist Barney McClure will accompany each singer. The event includes a silent auction with desserts, dinners and artwork, refreshments courtesy of Rainbow Foods and a no-host bar courtesy of Alaskan Brewing Company and Goldbelt Hotels.

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