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Today’s Email Announcements

1) Women’s choral ensembles perform March 28

A women’s choral symposium will be held Saturday, March 28, at 5 p.m. in the chapel of Boone First Baptist Church. The symposium will feature the Appalachian Treble Choir from Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music and N.C. State University’s women’s choir Vox Accalia.

The public is invited to attend.

Works to be presented include Bach’s “Suscepit Israel” from “Magnificat,” Michael McGlynn’s “Jerusalem,” Lenten pieces and spirituals, as well as Libby Larsen’s “A Book of Spells.”

2) The Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition Celebrating 13 Years!

The 2015 Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition is celebrating 13 years!  The Creator/Organizer of the event, Ann Fortney, says she is very proud of the quality of the event, the number of participants and entries she gets each year and the support from those participants and the community.  “Without the participants and the community support there would be no Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition; and it sure wouldn’t have lasted 13 years,” says Ann.

The Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition was created in 1992. It has gone through a few name changes over the past 13 years but has kept its mission true. To promote interest in the ever growing art of photography. To provide a quality competition for amateur and professional, young and young at heart in the region.

Ann states that she is very proud of what she has accomplished with the photography contest, because it has become more than just a regional contest.  She says that over the years that ten (10) states have been represented some multiple times including California.

She is always encouraging people to tell their friends, family, kids from all over to enter. Photos can be shipped in from anywhere as long as they arrive by the deadline.

There are three (3) levels of competition. “Youth” is for those 14 and under. Ann says the youth have a unique perspective when they are behind the camera.  “If the youth can hold a camera; then they can take a photo,” says Ann, “You give a 3, 4, 5 year old or older a simple point and shoot camera and it always amazes me what they will see or shoot that we would never see.”  “Amateur” is for those that do not compete regularly and place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in competitions or sell their works. “Proficient” is for those who sell their works of art, and/or places regularly in photographic competitions.

The competition will be in the following categories. The “Nature” category, which has absolutely nothing man made in it. The “Pictorial” category can be anything and everything. “The Carrie Penley Special Theme” Category, is a special category that will change each year and honors Carrie Penley, a woman who loved scavenger hunts. Ann said her mother; whom this category is named after, always supported her and the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition.  Together they came up with an award honoring Ann’s father and now it was Carrie’s turn to be honored. This year’s special theme is “Nursery Rhymes.” This will be photography depicting a Nursery Rhyme.  An example is: “Little Boy Blue” could be a photo of a child in blue with a horn, and etc.  Ann says, “I want the special theme to be thought worthy and challenging.  I want participants to have fun, and use their imagination to come up with that special theme photo.”

Participants can enter as many photos as they would like. There is a $5.00 entry fee for each photo. That entry fee money is returned as prize money. There are ribbons and prize money awarded for “1st, 2nd, and 3rd” places and ribbons for “Honorable Mentions”. There are also “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice” Awards. The “People’s Choice” Award is given to the photograph that you, the public, chooses. Each person that visits the exhibit will have a chance to place a vote for their favorite photograph and on June 20, 2015 at 3:30 p.m. the “People’s Choice” Award will be announced.

There is another special award, The “Jerry Penley I Love the Blue Ridge/Appalachians” Award.  This award is given to one photograph that best depicts the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region. “This award honors my father, Jerry Penley,” says Ann,” He lived his life in this area and loved photographing the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region.” She said when she went to him about creating a photography contest and exhibition, he didn’t hesitate in wanting to support her and help her create her event.  Those participants that enter the contest can enter another category such as the Nature, Pictorial or Special Theme and then by simply checking one more box can enter that same photo in the “Jerry Penley I Love the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Region” Award.  She encourages participants that want to enter a photograph for this award to go to their website, at www.penjaccphoto.com and look at the photos that her family, particularly her father, have taken.  Ann says, “By taking a quick look at our website; people can get a feel for what the “Jerry Penley I Love the Blue Ridge/Appalachians” Award is about.”

This year photographic entries will be turned in at Rainbow’s End Floral and Gift Shop located at 214 E. Center St. Kingsport, TN.  Entries can be turned in Mondays-Fridays April 20-May 2, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays April 25th  and May 2nd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The deadline is May 2, 2015 at 3 p.m.  Entries can be shipped in as well to Ann Fortney 154 W. Wanola Ave. Kingsport, TN 37660, but must arrive by the deadline.  The judging will be Saturday May 9, 2015 from 10 a.m. till finished at the Kingsport Renaissance Center and will be open to the public.  The Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Exhibition will open May 31, 2015 at 2 p.m. and run through June 24, 2015.  Also on May 31, 2015 there will be an awards/reception from 2-4 p.m. at the Kingsport Art Guild Gallery and the Atrium Gallery.  “The ribbons will be already hanging on the photographs, but this is the time I get to give the monetary prizes out and those winners will be recognized,” says Ann.

Those wanting to participate in the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition can find applications at regional photo labs, framing/matting stores, hobby/craft stores, and some gift and specialty stores, the area libraries, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and etc. Applications can be found online and downloaded from www.penjaccphoto.com. Ann stated she does have a Facebook page dedicated to the “Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition” as well. Anyone wishing to receive updates and other information year round need only go there and “like” the page.

Ann said, “I need to recognize and thank my sponsors. Without them I couldn’t make this happen year after year. They are great and I deeply believe in supporting those that support the Kingsport Spring Spectacular Photography Contest and Exhibition and me.”  The 2015 Sponsors are:  Adventure Time Hot Air Ballooning, BAE Systems, Eastman Camera Club, Eddie’s Trophies and Gift Shop, Express Signs, Food City, Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Holston Valley Broadcasting Corp., Jim Williams and Associates, Attorneys at Law, Kingsport Art Guild, Kingsport Imaging Systems, Inc., Kingsport Renaissance Center, Kingsport Times-News, Penjacc Productions, Rainbow’s End Floral and Gift Shop, Spivey, King & Spivey, LLP, and Stir Fry Café.

3) Eat and Raise Funds for Presbyterian-Episcopal Campus Ministry at Come Back Shack

Are you going to be in Boone on Tuesday, March 31, 2015?  Can you make a special trip into Boone on that day to support campus ministry?

You’re going to eat lunch or supper on Tuesday, right?  Enjoy a great burger and help our Presbyterian-Episcopal Campus Ministry raise funds for their service trip to New York City in May.

    • Come Back Shack
    • 1521 Blowing Rock Road, Boone NC  28607
    • March 31, 2015
    • 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
    • Say, “PECM” and 25% of the profit goes to PECM’s fundraiser.

Here’s the menu:

    • http://comebackshack.com/catalog/menu-pd-6.php

Madeline says, “Please come out to Come Back Shack where 25% of the profits will go toward the Presbyterian-Episcopal Campus Ministry, PECM at ASU‘s mission trip to New York City this summer! We will be doing some awesome service work in NYC including working at a Food Bank in Harlem, working on an Urban farm, and volunteering at the Coalition for the Homeless. Be sure to come out and help support us and don’t forget to mention ‘PECM!!”

And, Natalie asks you to “Support the Presbyterian Episcopal Campus Ministry at ASU by eating at Come Back Shack! On March 31st, mention “PECM when you purchase your food, and we will get a portion of the sales. Money raised will go toward our summer mission trip. Thank you for your continued support!”

4) Holy Cross Episcopal Church accepting applications for 2015 Valle Country Fair Grants

Holy Cross Episcopal Church is accepting applications for 2015 Valle Country Fair Grants from eligible non-profit charitable organizations in Watauga and Avery Counties.  Please send your application as a PDF file to vallecountryfairgrants@gmail.com.  The deadline for applying is June 7 at 5 p.m. No late or incomplete applications or those sent via ground mail will be accepted.  To read the application requirements please visit www.vallecountryfair.org and click “Apply for a Grant” or contact Ann Gerber at vallecountryfairgrants@gmail.com.

5) AppOrtho to serve as Presenting Sponsor of the 17th Annual Blood, Sweat & Gears Bike Ride

Excitement is building for the highly anticipated 17th annual Blood, Sweat and Gears (BSG) bike ride. The ride, which causes thousands of cyclists to flock to the High County on an annual basis, is scheduled for June 27, 2015.

This year, Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center (AppOrtho), a member of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, will serve as the presenting sponsor for the prestigious ride.

AppOrtho, which is located on State Farm Road in Boone, serves as the official sports medicine provider of Appalachian State University Athletics. Since opening in 2013, AppOrtho has worked diligently to provide exceptional orthopaedic care for local residents and visitors to the High Country, as well as Appalachian State University athletes. The practice, which is home to two orthopaedic surgeons, Drs. Evan Ekman and Bill DeVault, as well as Elyse Adams PA, is proud to support the healthy and active spirit of the High Country.

Cycling is a dynamic sport that reduces stress and body fat levels while improving muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. The sport, which appeals to the whole family, has enjoyed an up tick in popularity over the last decade across the mountain community. This up tick can be attributed in part to interest generated by bike rides like Blood, Sweat and Gears and its recently added sister ride the Beech Mountain Metric. AppOrtho is pleased to also serve as the presenting sponsor for the 2nd Annual Beech Mountain Metric, to be held on May 16, 2015.

AppOrtho is proud to partner with Blood, Sweat and Gears and the Beech Mountain Metric as these rides continue to promote health, community and interest in the High Country.

To learn more about Blood, Sweat and Gears visit  www.bloodsweatandgears.org. To learn more about the 2nd annual Beech Mountain Metric, which will be held on May 17, 2015, visit www.beechmountainmetric.org.

For more information on AppOrtho or Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit www.apprhs.org.

6) Easter Eggstravaganza at FaithBridge UMC

At the corner of Hwy 321 and Aho Road between Boone and Blowing Rock

Saturday, April 4th

1-2 p.m.

Games, Activities and Egg Hunt for all ages

7) International Sporting Event Returns to the Tri Cities

Professional, Elite masters, and other amatuers racers will return to the Tri Cities to challenge the local terain and each other June 6 and 7. Scantioned by USA Cycling the Slow Ride Omnuim brings the international sport of bicycle racing to Carter, Unicoi, and Washington Counties.

Sponsorship by New Belgin Slow Ride, Franklin Woods Community Hospital, Tennessee Donate Life, Tupleo Honey Cafe, and Carter County Tourism has provided a purse of $12,000 for the event. The prize list will continue to draw the high level of competition the spectators have learned to expecet for this event.

The first race, Carter County Roan Groan, begins at 9:00 am Saturday June 6 at Cat Island Park, Elizabethton. The profesional cyclist will compete on an 85 mile course through Carter and Unicoi Counties. Their finish will be at Carvers Gap after a category 1 climb of 7.25 miles. All the amateur categories will also finish at Carvers Gap after racing either 50 or 30 miles. This unique East Coast, mountain top finish brings racers from throughout the nation including previous Tour of Italy participants.

The second race Saturday at 5:30 p.m. is the Tupleo Honey Time Trial. It starts in Erwin on Temple Hill Road and goes 3.1 miles into Unicoi County. The close competiton last year had the first and secound place finishers seperated by less than one tenth of a secound on a course with a one mile climb.

After gathering points for the Slow Ride Omnuim in the first two races, the final chance to win points in the three-stage race is the Franklin Woods Community Hospital Criterium on Blue Plum Sunday, June 7. Races begin at 8:00 a.m. with the professional race beginning at 2:30 p.m. Some riders will be vying to win the criterium race while others will be racing strategically for the Omnium win. The high speeds and closeness to the spectators gets the crowds excited, which in turn motivates the racers. Some people come for the food at on course restaurants but then get fully involved in the races. Main Street Pizza, Labels, and Tipton Street Pub have outdoor seating on the race course. The race is also visible from Tupleo Honey Cafe’s outdoor seating.

Just before the Pro race the Blue Pedal Kids Fun Ride will give age 10 and under kids an opportunity to ride the same course as the professionals and it’s for free! Kids Race riders will become our future Olympians?

Trail Work Days

Every Saturday beginning April 4th and running through the middle of November (except June 27 and September 12), staff and volunteers will meet at the Summit Trailhead at 9 a.m. and work until approximately 3:00 p.m., weather permitting. Tools are provided, but volunteers should wear close-toed shoes and bring work gloves, lunch and water. Most of the time will be spent on repair work on the Summit Trail or completing the Maple Run Trail. If you would like to be involved in a fulfilling project that will fill you with a well-deserved sense of pride, then join us on Saturdays at Elk Knob State Park. For more information, please call 828-297-7261.

Spring Ephemerals and Where to Find Them

Spring Ephemerals are those flowers that pop up before everything else and quickly disappear before the trees are covered in leaves. In most of the state, these flowers have come and possibly gone. If you think (like I do!) that beauties like blood root, trout lily, and trillium don’t stick around long enough, they are just starting to come up at Elk Knob State Park. Meet at the park office Sunday, April 5th at 2:00 p.m.

Trail Track Hike

The weather is finally warming up so let’s get outside and explore as plants spring to life after a long winter. We will use the Track Trail brochures and do some hands-on activities and exploration. Please dress appropriately for the weather and note that it may be several degrees cooler at Elk Knob than in surrounding areas. Meet at the trailhead parking lot on Sunday, April 12th at 2:00 p.m.

Year of the Amphibian

North Carolina State Parks are celebrating amphibians in 2015. Come learn about these interesting creatures and why they are such an important group in NC. Meet at the park office on Saturday, April 18th at 2:00 p.m.

Star Party

Join us for our 3rd annual Statewide Star Party on Saturday, April 25th! Come enjoy the dark skies of Elk Knob as we focus on the solar system. We will use the park’s 8″ Celestron telescope to enhance viewing of celestial objects. If you have a pair of binoculars, please bring them. It is likely to be cold at this time of year so dress appropriately for the weather. In the event of inclement weather, we will move inside the park office and use Stellarium so the weather won’t spoil the fun. Meet at the park office at 7:00 p.m. For more information, please call 828-297-7261.

Nature Splash Art

Come out and play with different ways to create leaf/bark patterns on Sunday, April 26th at 2:00 p.m. Art materials will be provided. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting paint on. Meet at the park office.

Elkland Art Center hosts an annual community arts parade in Todd called “The Liberty Parade”. This year’s theme for The Liberty Parade is “Justice for All…” Elkland and The Blackburn House will be hosting monthly conversations to explore issues of justice. Experiences shared in these community conversations will be incorporated into the parade. In this month’s community conversation we will be exploring environmental justice in the rural setting of Todd, NC. We will watch Elkland Art Center’s original documentary, “The Land Sustains Us” with thought provoking discussion to follow.

March 28th 2:00 p.m. Blackburn’s Chapel, 3986 Todd Railroad Grade Road Todd, NC.

Elkland Art Center hosts an annual parade called “The Liberty Parade” in Todd on the 4th of July. This year’s theme is “Justice for All…”. Please join in this visioning of what justice for all might look like.

April 1st 5:30 p.m.

Boone Unitarian Universalist Church 381 E. King St. Boone

11) Watauga County Gospel Singing


WHERE:           Mountain Dale Baptist Church

                            Vilas, North Carolina

WHEN:              March 28, 2015

                            7:00 p.m.

CONTACT:        Clint Cornett – 828-297-3270

                            Neil Oliver – 828-297-3653

12) Fiddling Fools at the Jones House

No Joke.  Three award-winning fiddlers will commence at the Jones House on April Fools Day (April 1), continuing the indoor house-concert series.  Local old-time fiddler, Cecil Gurganus, Watauga High graduate and bluegrass fiddler, Meade Richter, and celebrated old-time fiddler, Emily Schaad will each perform a set during the concert, which will end with some collaborative fiddling.

“I am especially excited for this concert, since these are all fiddlers who are or have been part of the Jones House old-time jam scene,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed.  “It will be fun to get to hear them perform; hear what they choose to play when they are not in a room full of other players.”

Cecil Gurganus teaches music lessons at the Jones House and is a regular attendee of the weekly Thursday night old-time jam session at the Jones House.  Gurganus moved to the High Country in the 1970s, and he has been a fixture in the old-time music scene, leading The Laurel Creek String Band, a favorite local square dance band.  The Laurel Creek String Band has also been a staple at many of the regional fiddlers conventions, accumulating a fair number of prize ribbons over the years.  Gurganus has won many ribbons as a solo fiddler as well, including the coveted blue ribbon at the annual Fiddlers Grove festival in Union Grove.  In addition to teaching and playing at the Jones House, Gurganus, along with his wife, Julie, help keep traditional called dancing alive in the High Country with a monthly dance at the Todd Mercantile and helping organize numerous other local square and contra dances.

“Cecil has been a mentor for many local musicians, some who have moved on, but many still in Boone,” Freed adds.  “He really plays a big role in keeping the local traditional music scene alive and well.”

Meade Richter is one of the students that worked with Gurganus when he was first starting out as a fiddler.

“Meade spent nearly all of his free time ‘wood shedding’ on the fiddle,” Freed says, “And it wasn’t long before Cecil and Meade were peer fiddlers instead of in a teacher-student musical relationship.”  In fact, Richter too went on to win the blue ribbon at the Fiddler Grove festival, in both the adult old-time and bluegrass categories.  Richter is in his last year of the bluegrass studies program at Eastern Tennessee State University, where he studies bluegrass fiddle.  He played with Sons of Bluegrass for his first several years in college and is now in a band called The Honey Chasers, with longtime friend Cameron Owens.

“Meade is a great musician, who really enjoys pushing boundaries and reinterpreting traditional music for the next generation,” Freed says.

Emily Schaad is another fiddler playing a big role on the next generation of fiddlers and violinists.  Schaad is finishing up a doctorate in music education, and she leads a youth orchestra in her home state of New York.  In addition to being a coveted teacher of both violin and fiddle styles, Schaad is a celebrated performer.  She won the old-time fiddle competition at the annual Clifftop Festival in West Virginia, which is known for a high level of old-time musicianship.  Schaad last performed in Boone with Old Buck, a band that includes North Carolina’s Riley Baugus.  This performance will give her a chance to showcase her fiddling in a smaller configuration and setting.

“The Mazie Jones Gallery is a great setting for a concert like this,” Freed says.  “There is no need for amplification; it sounds good; and the audience hears the natural and beautiful tones directly from the instruments.”

Seats are $20 per person, which includes light refreshments at the set break, when audience members will have a chance to meet the artists.  Doors open at 7:00 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For reservations and a complete list of the 2015 Winter/Spring series, please call 828.268.6280 or visit www.joneshouse.org

13) Racing Returns to Boone

Racing will return to the High Country Fairgrounds April 4 with an evening of full fendered door to door racing. Pit gates open at 3 p.m., front gates opens for fans at 5 p.m. and racing begins at 6 p.m. $8 for adults $2 for students 7 – 10 and free for children 6 and under. No alcohol or coolers please. 748 Roby Greene Road; Boone, NC www.mountainviewspeedway.com.