Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.
7 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$35.
Nobody does a cappella like Take 6. For more than two decades, the group has blended elements of doo-wop, gospel, soul and jazz to become one of the most decorated vocal groups of our time — 10 Grammys, 10 Dove Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. Formed at Alabama's Oakwood College in the early '80s, the sextet (hence the name) built its reputation on vocal acrobatics and gospel-tilted material. Their style bridges the gap between old-school harmony groups like the Ink Spots and the Hi-Los and the Motownphilly sound of '90s R&B heavyweights like Boyz II Men: bright, smooth, pop-infused soul. Thursday's performance finds Take 6 touring behind “Feels Good,” an album the group released after a four-year hiatus on its own Take 6 Records. The concert is presented by Lawrence Hamilton and the One Special Angel project at Philander Smith College. Proceeds benefit the college.
8 p.m., the Village. $23-$26.
Texan Pat Green spent the late '90s touring relentlessly and self-releasing albums, building up a strong regional fan base and selling more than 200,000 albums without major-label support. With a sound somewhere in between that of home-state heroes like Robert Earl Keen and Jerry Jeff Walker and the arena pop of bands like Hootie and the Blowfish, Green became a juggernaut in the college scene. When he signed to Universal in 2001, he appeared to be on the road to superstardom. Four albums and six years later, he's still dancing between regional and national success, but in these parts, he's unquestionably a big deal. KSSN brings him to the Village to make up a gig originally scheduled for last December. Local singer/songwriter and piano player Susan Erwin opens with Conway's Cyprus Creek, who walk the line between Southern rock and down-home country. As lead singer B.J. Moody sings in “Southern Nights,” they're “getting crunk — country-style.”
6 p.m., Alltel. $10 donations.
In my significantly less jaded youth, I went to a concert in the wilds of Kentucky billed as “the Woodstock of Christian music.” The first group onstage, a group of Christian rappers, chanted “Go Jesus! Go Jesus! Go!” Today, the message isn't any less blatant; it's just wrapped in better music. Unless you're listening closely, you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish Christian pop from secular. One would guess, however, that the thousands who will pour into Alltel on Friday know the difference. Seven of Christian music's top acts, including MercyMe, Skillet, Barlowgirl, NewSong, Mandisa, Group 1 Crew and PureNRG (inventive spellings and compound words seem to be a big deal in Christian music) will perform. Tony Nolan will speak and Real Encounter's Xtreme BMX/skate team will perform (a Power Team for the X Games generation?). Unlike just about all other Alltel concerts, there are no advance tickets. Admission is $10 at the door.
THE WORLD FAMOUS LIPIZZANER STALLIONS
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena. $21.25-$29.25.
Horse lovers need no selling of this show. Say “lip-izz” and they're in. For the rest of you, this is a rare chance to see men in epaulet-adorned jackets ride a centuries-old breed of horse in an esoteric riding style called dressage. Not grabbing you? Try this: Dressage, which is all about harmony between horse and rider (horse-whispering, too, probably), embraces moves that recall both ballet and battle. The former you can probably imagine — lots of tail-swishing and head-preening, beauty and grace, etc. The latter is what makes the Lipizzan “world famous.” In four ancient maneuvers called “Airs Above the Ground,” the horses do moves originally intended for war. Each has a name — Mezair, Capriole, Courbette, Levade — that sounds more befitting of dance than battle, but I quibble. One involves a horse “punching” with his forequarters. Another, the most difficult apparently, features the horse hopping on its hindquarters in a move meant to break through infantry lines while protecting the rider. Yet another finds the horse leaping and kicking mid-leap, presumably to ward off pursuers while jumping gulleys. Beautiful, graceful, ass-kicking horses.