The classics and more

A range of classical, jazz and ragtime music featuring guest composers, pianists and playwrights performed last weekend for the first Academy for the Arts Festival.

The festival, hosted by the Randall Area Fine Arts Council, was held Friday through Sunday at Webster City High School. The council has also hosted the Ragtime in Randall festival for 25 years. Marcie Osmundson, President of the Council, said the event is a successor to the Ragtime festival, which will continue to feature that style of music but will now also include other genres.

“Bob McNutt, who founded the (Ragtime in Randall) Festival enjoyed a wide range of music and we just wanted to broaden the music we showcase,” Osmundson said. “That’s what Bob would have wanted.”

Featured performers at this Festival included pianist, composer and MacArthur Genius Award recipient Reginald R. Robinson and Brian Keenan, pianist and composer. They and other artists performed Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon in the Prem Sahai Auditorium at the High School.

Jane Cox, ISU theatre professor and playwright performed a one-woman show on the life of Elanor Roosevelt on Saturday.

On Sunday afternoon, several young, local artists, were invited to play on several pianos provided by the Council.

While music was hosted throughout the weekend, Osmundson said attendance was sparse for many of the events. She said the Festival was still successful in bringing good artists to Hamilton County.

“I’m so impressed with all of the things that have been happening. Sometimes, it’s frustrating when there aren’t many people here but it’s not about the number it’s the quality,” Osmundson said.

The Council is hosting several other upcoming events, which can be found at