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Troy Arts Council presents annual arts awards

Catherine Jordan, chair of the Troy Arts Council annual awards committee, chose the words from a Negro spiritual to describe the commitment to the arts of the 2009 awards winners.

“‘May the work I’ve done speak for me.’ I always think about those words when awards are presented,” Jordan said. “And the works of the winners of the 2009 Troy Arts Council annual awards certainly do speak for them.”

The prestigious awards were presented last night at the beginning of the Southeastern Alabama Community Band Concert at the Claudia Crosby Theater.

In presenting the awards, Jordan said it was an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work on a committee to select award winners from such a fine group of finalists.

“Making a decision was very difficult because we have a lot of talented individuals in our community, as well as people who give countless hours back to our community,” Jordan said. “We want to recognize individuals who make outstanding contributions to the arts so they will know how much they are appreciated.”

Awards were presented in the areas of music, visual arts and volunteerism.

The recipient of the 2009 TAC Music Award was Ray Smith, a professional musician, educator and tireless advocate for the arts.

Smith began his professional career at 15 playing beach clubs in Panama City.

“Ray Smith has continued to delight audiences for 45 years,” Jordan said. “Among his professional credits are performances with the Florida Orchestra, Tampa Bay Symphony, Gulf Coast Symphony, Sarasota Opera, Tamp Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Geoffrey Ballet, Barnum and Bailey Circus and many Broadway musicals.”

Smith has also performed with Eddie Arnold, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kenny Rogers, Julie Andrews, the Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Platters, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Al Hirt, Bobby Vinton, Sammy Davis, Bob Hope and Liberace.

Smith continues to record and perform as conductor and soloist throughout the South.

“Last year, in addition to his teaching duties, he presented more than 100 concerts, recitals, lectures and clinics, including performances at the International Saxophone Symposium and the Jazz Hall of Fame where his Troy University groups were chosen as the best jazz band and best jazz combo in the South,” Jordan said.

Smith joined the faculty of Troy University in 1990. He currently serves as professor of saxophone, professor of music technology, director of the concert band and director of jazz studies.

Smith is the coordinator of the TroyFest Jazz Festival and a member of the Southeast Alabama Community Band.

Sallie M. Fenn was selected the winner of the TAC’s visual arts award. She was born in Clayton, raised in Pittsburgh and retired from the Library of Congress after 26 years of service and relocated to Troy in 2005.

Fenn’s art education began in the public schools of Pittsburgh and flowed into training at the College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute of Technology. She also studied with Diane Tesler, Dannie Dawson and Peter Thraser at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Va.

“Sallie’s exhibitions include juried shows at the Torpedo Factory, collective arts shows at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Arlington, Va. and the Library of Congress Annual Exhibition and a three-artists show at The Studio in Troy,” Jordan said. “Sallie’s medium of choice is either oil or pastel. She is more inclined to use pastel, which is suited for her style and technique because pastels can be used either as a drawing or painting medium.

“Sallie is drawn to the still-life genre,” Jordan said.

“In still-life, Sallie finds a special world that can be controlled by the placement and lighting of objects. The object’s texture, color and shape are influenced by the lighting and environments. Sallie thrives on the challenge to covey how she sees the objects on a two-dimensional surface using pastel or paint.”

Stephanie Campbell Baker was the recipient of the Troy Arts Council’s 2009 Volunteer Award.

“Stephanie Baker was born and raised right here in Troy and is a graduate of Pike Liberal Arts School and Birmingham Southern,” Jordan said.

“She was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and continues to devote time and energy to the members of Kappa Delta on the Troy University campus by serving as their adviser.”

Baker previously worked at NBC 13 in Birmingham and was involved with the Metropolitan Development Board there.

“Stephanie is employed at KW Plastics in marketing development,” Jordan said.

“She is a member of First Baptist Church in Troy and currently serves as the chairman of the board for the Pike County Chamber of Commerce. She served as president of the 2004 Pike County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Pike class and has been a member of the TAC for six years.

“TroyFest, Troy’s very own arts and crafts festival, has seen incredible growth under Stephanie’s leadership as chairperson for the past five years. She is very involved with the community and I’m sure she has touched your life in some way, whether you know it or not.”