Picture Abilene in 1906 when it depended on agriculture for survival, embraced the 23.59 inches of rain it received each year and looked much more architecturally bare than it does now. In the new musical production Abilene 1906, Dr. Jack Boyd, former ACU professor of music, and Dr. Ed George, former chair of the Department of Music, have made the Abilene of old come alive with their portrayal of two dry days in June 1906.
This high-energy musical comedy, enjoyable for all ages, is part of the grand finale of ACU’s yearlong Centennial Celebration, said Amber Peck, director of Alumni Relations and chair of the Special Events Task Force for the Centennial.
Boyd, writer of the script and lyrics for the musical, said the President’s Council on the Centennial asked the two writers to create a musical that has “something to do with the history of ACU.”
“There are books you can read about the history of Abilene or the history of ACU,” he said in an ACU Today article. “What we want to do is provide a couple hours of escapism. But we do have real people included as characters, and you will leave knowing some things you didn’t know before.”
Through the years, Boyd and George have teamed up to write and compose more than six dramatic productions, including the musical Cedar Gap Homecoming in 1999, based on Boyd’s book, Cedar Gap Chronicles. Homecoming played to enthusiastic audiences in Abilene and spawned two subsequent plays, The Kids of Cedar Gap in 2001 and Christmas at Cedar Gap in 2002.
Performances of Abilene 1906 are Sept. 8 at 8 p.m., Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5, $10 and $15. Purchase tickets online at www.acu.edu/abilene1906 or call the Alumni Relations Office at 800-373-4220 or 325-674-2622.
Boyd received his bachelor’s degree in music education from ACU in 1955, a master’s degree in music composition from the University of North Texas in Denton in 1959, and a Ph.D. in choral literature from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1971. He was professor of music at ACU from 1968 to 1999, where he taught Chorus, Choral Conducting, Music History, Introduction to Music, and Church Music.George first came to ACU as a student in 1957 and received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from the university. He joined the music faculty in 1969, and in 1990 became the head of the Department of Music.
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