Arts scene: James Behlke landscapes, 'Pippin,' Anchorage Symphony Orchestra

Arts Reporter
The cast of TAU's "Pippin"
Courtesy of Theatre Artists United
A Minnesota shape-note group sings music from the 150-year-old "Original Sacred Harp" hymnal.
Carolyn Kaster

Party for Beth

Cellist Beth Leffingwell has been making music locally for the past 50 years -- and longer than that if you include her pre-Alaska tenure in Denver. The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra will properly note her contributions with "Cellobration," a concert featuring most available cellists in Anchorage, at 7 p.m. on Sunday at First Covenant Church, 12th Avenue and C Street. Admission is $20, $15 for ages 18 and younger, available in advance at or call 274-8668.

View from the bluff

Award-winning artist James Behlke is featured in a solo show of scenes of Cook Inlet in Alaska Pacific University's Grant Hall. "I live near Kincaid Park and I can easily access bluffs," he writes. "It is often windy and cold and the views are worth it. Recently I've fired up my camp stove-heated painting box to keep my iPad warm." He uses an app that lets him employ his finger as a stylus.

Music from the harp

It's called "shape-note singing," a uniquely American form of notation that uses shapes to denote pitches. The old folk tradition has been captured in a famous book titled "The Sacred Harp" and groups around Alaska are giving it a run-through. Among other things, the four-part style has the singers facing each other. Even if you don't have experience or think you can't read music, give it a try at 7 p.m. on Sunday, when the Anchorage contingent of shape-noters assembles at the Lutheran Church of Hope, 1847 W. Northern Lights Blvd. Songbooks are provided and it's free.

Meaning of life

Theatre Artists United, whose productions of "Rent," "Rocky Horror," "Tommy" and other musicals have drawn much praise, unveils its latest effort, "Pippin." The Tony-winning show follows a prince on a death-defying journey in search of happiness. He need look no further than, where he can get tickets for this show. It runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through March 30 in the Sydney Laurence Theater. There's also a 2 p.m. matinee on March 28. Talent includes Regina MacDonald, Leo Grinberg, Dean Williams and Danielle Rabinovitch. John Fraser directs, Steven Alvarez is in charge of the music and the choreography is in the capable hands of Kristen Vierthaler.

Compiled by arts reporter
Mike Dunham