Excellent Art and Music at Stockton Today

SantoreArkNoah’s Ark by Charles Santore. This and all art images below © Charles Santore.

Ellen and I had a splendid afternoon at Stockton State College enjoying wonders for both the eyes and ears today. In their Art Gallery is an exhibition by children’s picture book illustrator Charles Santore. I’ve admired his work for some time, though I don’t buy the type of books he produces, picture books for young children, but I can highly recommend the exhibit, as seeing his work in person is a delight. There are sample illustrations in watercolor from about ten of his books, with a copy of the book to look at.

SantoreFrogA few of the books are written by Santore as well, including this one about a Frog Knight.

SantoreSheepSantore is skilled in drawing all subjects, but his animals are particularly appealing.

SantoreAliceCryingAbout half the exhibit features sketches, drawings, and a few finished watercolors from his upcoming illustrated version of “Alice in Wonderland,” here’s a sample drawing of Alice crying.

SantoreAliceRabbitSantore does sketches, then tight finished pencils for each illustration…

SantoreAliceColor…then a watercolor sketch, and finally a finished watercolor. I’m not sure how he transfers the image from the pencils to the watercolor, they’re completely separate — perhaps a light box? In any case, all the work is great to see. The exhibit runs through March 28th, and Santore will talk about his work on Sunday, March 1st at 1 PM. More info HERE.

LauridsenProgramAfter enjoying the gallery show, we went just next door to the Stockton Performing Arts Center for this fine concert of choral/chamber music. My main interest in the concert was to hear more music by Morten Lauridsen, whose choral version of “O Magnum Mysterium” I’ve loved since I first heard it a few years ago. I was surprised to find that the composer himself was there, and he played the piano part for the first short piece of his, “Sure on This Shining Night,” with Choral Arts of Southern New Jersey singing beautifully. Then the Bay Atlantic Symphony’s Chamber Group performed his longer piece, “Lux Aeterna,” and I loved every moment of it. Lauridsen’s music touches me deeply, it fills me with a warm, happy glow. I’ve liked choral music since I sang in the choir in my grade school, and I’ve now added Lauridsen to my short list of favorite choral music composers, alongside Ralph Vaughan Williams, Daniel Pinkham, Francis Poulenc and in recent years John Rutter.

LauridsenLauridsen met audience members in the lobby during intermission, so I was able to tell him how much I loved the work…

LauridsenDVD…and I bought an autographed copy of this DVD about him and his music that I’m looking forward to watching.

The rest of the concert was good too, a new piece by Ola Gjeilo, “Dark Night of the Soul,” again with the composer at the piano, and I liked it, but not as much as the Lauridsen work, and finally the familiar Vivaldi “Gloria in D.”  Fun, and well performed, all.

After leaving Stockton, we had a fine dinner at the Tuckahoe Inn, and were home by 6 PM. That was my early birthday treat this year, and I had a fine time!

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