NIC presents concert in honor of Popcorn Forum founder Tony Stewart

The North Idaho College Symphonic Band will honor NIC Popcorn Forum founder and longtime NIC political science instructor Tony Stewart with the “Bring on the Popcorn” tribute concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 in Boswell Hall Schuler Auditorium.
|photo1|Tony Stewart is a professor, lecturer, author and community activist. Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a concentration in government from Western Carolina University and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee. Additionally, he did work in the doctoral program in political science at Washington State University.
Born in Murphy, N.C., Stewart has been a political scientist and pre-law adviser at NIC since 1970. That same year, Stewart founded and continues to chair the NIC Popcorn Forum lecture series that has featured 539 lectures, panels and workshops over the years. He is also a founding member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations.
“This concert was intended to honor Tony and the great work that he’s done inspiring thought at the college and throughout the region,” said NIC Band Director Terry Jones. “He’s an amazing man who’s led an amazing life, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to honor him through music.”
The band will perform “Fanfare for Tomorrow: From the Threads of Our Past, the Fabric of Our Future,” a piece by written by Robert W. Smith chosen for the concert because Jones said he felt it summed up Stewart’s life, alternating between calm reflection on the past to triumphs of  today and the finale’s implication of the future.
The band will perform two movements of “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a piece written by Modest Mussorgsky and arranged by Alfred Reed that is based on actual paintings. This piece represents Jones’ first participation in the Popcorn Forum in the 1990s, the year the symposium featured the arts. Ever since that year, the NIC symphonic band has performed a musical concert during NIC’s Popcorn Forum, based on that year’s theme.  
“American Civil War Fantasy” by Jerry H. Bilik, highlights Stewart’s work as a human rights activist and his struggle for civil rights. The piece contains familiar tunes such as “Dixieland,” “Battle Cry for Freedom,” “Yellow Rose of Texas” and ending with “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” all familiar civil war pieces arranged with variations on the originals.
“These are twists on the original pieces, which to me signify issues that we’ve continued to fight over the years, like the battle for civil rights,” Jones said. “Issues that we will continue to fight as they arise with new, modern twists.”
 “Movement for Rosa,” written by Mark Camphouse in honor of American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, reinforces the struggle for human rights that Stewart, like Parks, has worked toward throughout his lifetime.
“Godzilla Eats Las Vegas” by Eric Whitacre is a funny piece during which you can hear the melodies of Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra and Liberace and hear them subsequently stomped by Godzilla. The piece, which features the band members in Elvis masks, is intended to remind concertgoers that despite Stewart’s dedication to very serious issues, he also has a great sense of humor, Jones said. He added that the piece reminded him of the year that the Popcorn Forum theme was natural phenomenon, covering the unexplained and even UFOs. 
Clips of the NIC-produced television show Public Forum, which Stewart started and has moderated for more than 30 years, and comments from people close to Stewart and his work will be shown during the concert, highlighting the significance of the pieces being performed.
Special guests including Norm Gissel, local human rights activist and fellow member of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations, and NIC President Michael Burke will speak at the event.
The performance is free and open to the public.
Information: (208) 769-3276.

For More Information
NIC Band Director Terry Jones, (208) 769-3258

Posted: Monday, April 3, 2006

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