The third annual Arkansas Heritage Festival will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, August 26, at the Woodlands and features concerts, food, guest speakers, music, and vendors. One of several musical groups in the free program that continues throughout the day in the Woodlands Auditorium, the Hot Springs Village Strings take the stage at 10:00 a.m. with arrangements highlighting Arkansas’s rich musical heritage. The Woodlands Auditorium is at the Ponce de Leon Center, 1101 DeSoto Boulevard.

The concert opens with “The Entertainer,” written by Arkansas native Scott Joplin, born and raised in Texarkana, Arkansas. 

The Village Strings performance also features work by Composer Doug Woodruff, who lives in rural Arkansas.  His composition, “Arkansas Otter,” was inspired by an otter that lived in the pond near his cabin.  Woodruff wrote, “It would swim rapidly, gyrating in the water in unbelievable feats of motion, turning on a dime when chasing a fish, or lazily glide through the water, blowing bubbles as it moved blissfully along.” 

Woodruff’s two-movement suite honors the Dogpatch area of Arkansas in Newton County of the Boston Mountains.  “Caravan Spring” musically describes the hopes and aspirations of a group of Arkansans who met at the spring near Dogpatch to travel by wagon train to California in 1857.  “Campfire Shindig” celebrates contemporary Dogpatch in a musical depiction of people who have spent the day hiking, riding horses, or fishing and then spent the evening around the campfire singing, dancing, and playing games under the stars. 

“Moon River” celebrates the importance of geography to the state’s heritage as a tribute to the importance of the Mississippi River to the state, as well as summertime in recognition of how climate helps form the heritage of a region.

A de rigueur performance at any Arkansas heritage event is “Arkansas Traveller,” the official historical state song.  This piece is the quintessential fiddle tune. 

Directed by the multi-talented Maestro Phillip (Papa) Wilson, the all-volunteer string orchestra has captivated audiences in Hot Springs Village and adjoining communities since 1990 with an extensive repertoire, including classical, pop, and rock selections. 

In alphabetical order, the members of the Hot Springs Village Strings orchestra are Toni Black, violin; Catherine Blakely, violin; Lynn Border-Koon, piano; Sandy Brubaker, violin; Joyce Denton, viola; Kit Edscorn, violin; Claudette Healy, violin; Debbie Holliday, viola; Jim Kelly, string bass; Millie Gore Lancaster, Narrator; Mike Langhorne, percussion; Josephine Leong, violin; Kathy Ogilvie, violin; Barbara Reeve, cello; Doug Skinner, violin; Evelyn Steele, viola; Barbara Tornquist, violin; and Phillip (Papa) Wilson, Director.

For information, look for us on Facebook at Hot Springs Village Strings, email us at, or call 501-922-9245

Submitted by Sandra Brubaker
Publicity Chair for the Village Strings

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