Masterworks Chorale to Honor Don Nixon This March

In 2004, Masterworks Chorale celebrated the opening of Coweta County's Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts. Now, 13 years later, on March 26, Masterworks is again marking a milestone in the life of the Centre with a concert entitled "A Musical Tribute to the Vision of Donald W. Nixon," the late Director and the man behind the founding and success of Coweta County's priceless jewel.

The featured work will be the "Song of Wisdom from Old Turtle," conducted by its renowned composer, Joseph Martin. Masterworks will be joined by students from the music departments of East Coweta and Northgate High Schools, who will also perform some pieces on their own.

The East Coweta High School Chamber Choir will sing "Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal," arranged by Alice Parker; "Sing Me to Heaven," by Daniel Gawthrop; and "Waiting on the World to Change," arranged by Deke Sharon.

The Northgate High School Chamber Chorus will present "Exaudi Laudate," by Beverly Patton; and "Carry Me Home," arranged by Susan Thrift.

Before the concert, instrumental ensembles from Newnan, East Coweta and Northgate high schools will perform in the lobby area. After the concert, William MacGavin is offering a Meet and Greet informative discussion on the didgeridoo, an Aboriginal instrument used in the orchestra of "The Song of Wisdom."

Since the Centre's founding, Masterworks has given many a glorious concert at the Centre and elsewhere, but for the singers, their 2011 debut at New York's Lincoln Center was a thrill they will never forget. Thanks to Nixon's leadership, Masterworks and members of Northgate High School's choral program joined choirs from across the nation for the premiere performance of "The Song of Wisdom from Old Turtle."

Inspired by a children's book called "Old Turtle," written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Cheng Khee Chee, Martin's composition combines a magnificent orchestral score with a dialogue between a chorus and a narrator. The "Old Turtle" story teaches children to value every facet of God's creation. Nixon felt that the narrative symbolized his own guiding philosophy.

"The Centre can only exist when the community comes together and sees the value of the arts and their contribution to daily living," said Nixon. "There's a spirit of drama and visual art, a spirit of choral and instrumental music -- all a little different but having the same message and the same purpose."

Masterworks embodies the musical element of Nixon's conception. "I had envisioned a community choir for several years," said Masterworks' Artistic Director Kathy Bizarth. "But before Don Nixon came, and before the Centre was built, there were no funds, no real interest, and we didn't have a facility."

Supported by the Coweta County Board of Education (which owns the Centre), Don Nixon made Bizarth's dream a reality. Being in the music business himself, he knew what an adult chorus could mean for the community and the Centre. So he reached out to Bizarth, then Choral Music Director at Newnan High School, and together they organized the Masterworks Chorale.

"And the Centre's new Director Cathe Nixon continues the graciousness extended by Don to me and the Masterworks Chorale, and we are most appreciative," said Bizarth.

"A Musical Tribute to the Vision of Donald W. Nixon" will be held on March 26, 2:00 pm, at the Donald W. Nixon Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts. All tickets are $15 and may be purchased on line at thenixoncentre.net or at the Nixon Centre box office during regular office hours and on the day of the concert.



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