Marcia Ball will play at March event at Stark Park
Orange’s Art in the Park festival will be held in the spring this year and will include a free concert by blues and boogie pianist Marcia Ball, a native of Orange.
Darlene Zavada, director of the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau, which sponsors Art in the Park, said the artists had asked for a spring event instead of the traditional October date.
So Art in the Park will be March 29 at Stark Park. Zavada is excited to get Ball in the line-up. Ball played four years ago at a Music in the Park event as a thunderstorm blew in.
Ball has lived in Austin for more than 30 years and gained national fame for her unique style of piano playing and singing, which blends blues, jazz, boogie-woogie and Louisiana swamp pop. She was born in Orange and raised in nearby Vinton, La., where she grew up in a musical family and started playing piano when she was 5.
Rolling Stone magazine described her music as “rollicking, playful, good time blues and intimate, reflective balladry …her songs ring of emotional depth.”
She has been nominated for three Grammy awards and has won W.C. Handy blues awards for contemporary artists, and has even co-hosted the Handy awards.
Ball has been featured in numerous Public Television shows, including Austin City Limits, Performance at the White House with B.B. King and Della Reese, and in a special with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra called “Take Me to the River.”
In addition, she has been on National Public Radio in the Fresh Air series, and performed for an hour on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz.” Also, Ball has played and sang on “A Prairie Home Companion,” the long-running NPR show with host Garrison Keillor.
Ball is tall and commands a presence on the stage as she crosses her long legs underneath the electric keyboard and kicks in time to the music. She has been with her five-piece band for a number of years.
Booth and display space for Art in the Park is free for artists and vendors. The festival began in 2003. Through the years, the artists have included painters, writers, sculptors, wood-carvers, furniture makers and even bakers. More artists from out-of-town have been participating.
Reservations for spaces are being taken through the Convention and Visitors Bureau behind Orange City Hall on Green Avenue. Reservations may also be made over the telephone through 409-883-1011.