Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Ronan Tynan, one of the original Three Irish Tenors, has become better known as the New York Tenor.
Since 9/11, he has adopted New York City as his home, and New Yorkers, Rudy Giuliani in particular, have adopted Tynan as one of their own, which is saying something if you understand native New Yorkers.
Tynan and his brilliant voice stirred many New Yorkers during memorial services for 9/11 victims, and the name Ronan Tynan became well known on the East Coast.
In one of his rare tours, Tynan will visit the University of Central Arkansas’s Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway on Nov. 2. The 7:30 p.m. appearance will be his only one in Arkansas. Tickets range from $12 to $35.
“He has a massive tenor voice, a huge voice. We’re getting calls from all over the country for this show, because he doesn’t tour very much,” Guy Couch, who runs the UCA Public Appearances program, said in a recent interview about the upcoming season. “He’ll appear as a soloist, and that big voice, in our hall, that should blow people away.”
Speaking of big voices, Frankie Valli, one of the original Four Seasons, and some new Seasons kick off the UCA Public Appearances fall schedule on Sept. 29 in the 1,201-seat Reynolds Hall.
“While the other original Seasons stopped working in the ’70s, Frankie has never stopped,” Couch said. “He’s got a great band, and we’re adding five horns to it from our faculty, staff and some [Arkansas Symphony Orchestra] people.”
Making its first appearance at UCA this fall is the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez, a 55-member troupe that is the best Mexico City has to offer. The group will present a full stage of colorful costumes, dancing, music and more in two shows at the Reynolds Oct. 12-13.
The fall schedule closes with an all-male, award-winning a cappella group from Boston, Ball in the House, which will feature contemporary and R&B sounds. Ball in the House appears Dec. 7-8.
Tickets to all events at the Reynolds Hall are priced from $12 to $35.
Where to eat and sleep in Conway
If truth be told, Conway may be a bedroom community of Little Rock, but outside of your basic chain motels, of which there are many on I-40, there aren’t a lot of fancy places to rest your head.
Little Rock and North Little Rock, however, have a large array of hotels, motels and a couple of bed-and-breakfast places just a 20-minute drive away. A little more than a half-hour’s drive north is the Red Apple Inn, located on Eden Isle near Heber Springs on Greer’s Ferry Lake. Rooms begin at $90 with weekend specials available, and the dining at the Red Apple Inn is first-rate from breakfast to dinner. Call 501-362-3111.
Marketplace Grill, 600 Skyline Drive. For a chain-style restaurant, the quality of this food is as good as you’re likely to find: Flaming appetizers, prime rib, steaks, pasta, all in large servings. 501-336-0011.
Mike’s Place, 808 Front St. Thanks to Mike’s Place’s successful effort to get a private club liquor license, Conway has places to get a glass of wine with a good meal. The fare includes New Orleans-inspired steaks and seafood, as well as wood-fired pizzas. Look for a fine-dining Italian restaurant, Michaelangelo’s, in the same restored building downtown later this fall. 501-269-6452.
Oak Street Bistro, 713 Oak. Renowned for its creativity in combining interesting ingredients for wonderful salads, sandwiches, fine-dining entrees and splendid desserts, Oak Street was the second eatery to get a private club license. 501-450-9908.
Pasta House, 2751 Dave Ward. The locals love this Italian restaurant on Highway 286 West run by a Mexican family, and not just because they think it’s cute that this friendly family turned a former car wash into an eatery. 501-764-0032.
Stoby’s, 805 Donaghey. This is a longtime Conway favorite, close to UCA. The sandwiches are huge, the cheese dip is famous, and there are plenty of meats, cheeses and breads from which to choose. 501-327-5447.