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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features December 17, 2014

12/17/2013 6:01:00 AM
Column: Acker Night was a feast of sounds - and sights
Courtesy photo/Steve Simmonds
Belly dancers Ustadza Ely, in front, and Terri Walden relied on perfect balance to perform their slow dance beneath platters containing burning candles atop their heads.
Courtesy photo/Steve Simmonds
Belly dancers Ustadza Ely, in front, and Terri Walden relied on perfect balance to perform their slow dance beneath platters containing burning candles atop their heads.

Jerry Jackson
Courier columnist

As always, last Friday's Acker Showcase's venue menu involved a chockablock of block-to-block downtown businesses featuring energized entertainment. And the courthouse lighting? Well, those responsible have outdone themselves this time around by providing the most spectacular blaze of color imaginable. So hats off to all those in Arizona's Christmas City who have had a hand in making it all possible.

The musical feast featured top-drawer vocalists and instrumentalists galore - some 132 groups in all - including many with catchy "handles". For example, on Cortez Street, the Thumb Brutes were doing their folk and bluegrass shtick at the Prescott Downtown Athletic Club, and the folk duo of Bighead & Bunny was performing at So Forth & What Not By Tatianna.

At the Old Firehouse Plaza, the MylHy group entertained with classic rock, pop and country music at Seams Sew Right Quilt Studio #4. On Gurley Street, on the other hand, the Worth Waiting 4 barbershoppers were harmonizing at the Prescott Station Bar & Grill, while Sax Appeal was offering up its jazz, classical and holiday selections at Bashford Court. Also on Gurley, Bethle-Hymn was playing our little town at the Whiskers Barkery Activity Center and Sistah Mary Grace was doing her folk, rock, pop and country vocalizing at Whiskers Barkery.

Switching to Montezuma Street, The Gurley Girls were living it up at Livy Lou's, and Last Accordion Standing (where are you when we need you, Lawrence Welk?) was playing at Treat Center on Courthouse Square.

Wife Pat and I mingled with no telling how many thousand others in sampling the many offerings, and I'd like to elaborate on a couple of them, both on Gurley Street - one having to do with sight and the other with sound.

Sight-wise, there was a troupe of belly dancers in the Burmister Building whose choreographic precision and colorful costuming were a pure delight. One dance routine by Ustadza Ely featured an elaborate costume with angelic diaphanous wings that was a crowd-pleaser, while another segment involved Ustadza and another dancer, Terri Walden, who carefully placed platters mounted with burning candles atop their heads and then performed a slow dance routine. Very intricate, with readiness relying on steadiness.

And elsewhere on Gurley, at the Huckeba Gallery, the duo that's known as The MIX - comprised of guitarist-vocalist Rick Jordan and vocalist Mary Alberts - did numbers ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. First, the ridiculous: Rick sang that Elvis favorite - "Blue Christmas" - in stuttering Porky Pig fashion, with Mary slapping him on the back on occasion to interrupt his stuttering and get him back on track ... sort of. But then there was the sublime: They teamed up for a moving song called "Our Prayer" that included high-pitched lyrics - in Italian - by Rick. All I'm saying is that if the song doesn't make your spine tingle, then I think that you should contact the spine-tingler guy for a checkup and possibly some maintenance work. The way that Rick and Mary present it puts it right up there at the top of the breathtaking scale.

Contact the columnist at editorial@prescottaz.com.

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