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Introduction to the Arts: 101

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Imagine if you will, life without the arts. In essence, life without color, sound or texture. The arts are present everywhere we look and in everything we see. The laptop I”m using to write this article was designed by someone to be both pleasing and user friendly. Without the arts, that would not be possible. The arts are essential.

Here in Gwinnett County, we have many arts groups longing to be heard and seen. From Hwee Eng Lee”s Atlanta Chinese Dance Company to the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. I enjoy television, radio and movies as much as the next person, but nothing beats seeing a live performance or exhibit. Go see a play, a concert, a ballet or an art showing. Take a chance on a new form of entertainment for you and your family. I think you will find a great new source for education, inspiration and conversation around the dinner table.

In the coming year, two of Gwinnett County”s major arts groups will team up for an event of epic proportion. The Gwinnett Philharmonic and the Aurora Theatre will join forces with the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau to present one of the world”s most beloved musicals, Rodgers and Hammerstein”s The Sound of Music. Gwinnett Philharmonic”s Monte Nichols will conduct the orchestra while Ann-Carol Pence and I (of the Aurora) will oversee the actors, dancers and singers in the production. A cast of 20-plus actor/singers combined with a 30-piece symphony orchestra will undoubtedly make this the grandest arts event in recent memory.

What does it take to make an event of this magnitude come to life? It takes a belief by all the groups involved that together we can bring much needed focus to the arts in Gwinnett County. It takes a commitment to find those business leaders and individuals willing to make this not just a one-time event, but also an annual tradition that the County can point to as a jewel in the crown of its many achievements.

In the coming months I”ll keep the spotlight on Gwinnett”s diverse arts programming and keep you informed of events for you and your family. Make the arts a part of your life – you”ll be glad you did!

Anthony P. Rodriguez, Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre, Inc.