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'Men and Women of Distinction' featuring late Francis McBeth to be rebroadcast on AETN Thursday

The Arkansas Educational Television Network looks at the life of world-renowned composer Francis McBeth in “Men and Women of Distinction” airing Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. McBeth died Friday, Jan. 6, at the age of 78.

“Francis McBeth will always be a point of pride for Arkansas,” AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly said. “He was a composer of international import, and we are proud to once again showcase him as a teacher, humorist, philosopher and historian who quietly made significant contributions to the world from his studio in Arkadelphia.”

McBeth began his career in 1957 as professor of music at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia. After retiring in 1996, he began traveling nine months of the year, conducting in 48 states plus Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada. His works totaled more than 100 compositions for orchestra, band, choral piano, organ, voice and chamber performances.

“Francis McBeth was the only real genius I have ever known,” AETN Commissioner Bill Downs, a longtime friend of McBeth, said. “He had a rich and varied life, from his gift of music, to working on old cars and telling a funny story.

“He was just a great guy, as well as a great artist. I and countless others will truly miss him.”

For many years, McBeth also conducted the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He is credited for making the symphony more appealing to the greater populous by sparking an interest in classical music in the average person.
Viewers will visit McBeth in his Arkadelphia studio where he spent countless hours composing his works. He discusses his ideas on developing a style and being persistent and patient. He also explains why one can never truly retire from creativity.
In addition to hearing many of McBeth’s compositions, viewers will share in the lives of those whom he has influenced through the years.

“Men & Women of Distinction” features interviews with prominent Arkansans known for their citizenship, character and accomplishments. The series has previously notable Arkansans, such as Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, Miller Williams, Jane Krutz and many others.

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