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Today’s Email Announcements

Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance Presents Master Class, 2/23

By Anna Rhodes

The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance will present a master class on musical theatre featuring Broadway, film and vocal star Beth Leavel from 3:30–5 p.m. on Feb. 23 in the Valborg Theatre on the university campus. The class is free and open to the public, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

Leavel is best known for portraying the title role in the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.” She has also starred as Florence Greenberg in “Baby, It’s You,” as June Adams in “The Bandstand,” as Emily in “Elf” and as Donna in “Mamma Mia!,” among many other Broadway roles. Most recently, she starred in the world premiere of the new musical “The Prom” at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, which will move to New York in the fall of 2018.

Leavel, who has previously met with theatre and dance students at the Appalachian Loft in Manhattan, is looking forward to offering the upcoming master class in Boone.

“I am thrilled to come to the beautiful Appalachian State University campus to help students explore audition techniques, storytelling, acting, personalizing a song, as well as sharing some great stories about my 30-some years in show business,” she shared.

According to Theatre and Dance Department Chair Kevin Warner, Appalachian takes pride in offering a complete undergraduate experience.

“Our department frequently hosts professional guest artists in both theatre and dance to provide first-hand knowledge and feedback for our students,” he stated.

Leavel’s appearance in Boone was arranged by Keith Martin, the John M. Blackburn Distinguished Professor of Theatre at Appalachian. As classmates at UNCG in the ’70s, Martin directed and choreographed productions in which Leavel performed as a leading lady. The shows ranged from the intimate two-person musical “Do! I Do!” to a large-scale version of “Hello, Dolly!” where Leavel first played the role of Dolly Levi

“We’ve been inviting her to campus for years, but this is the first time a short hiatus in her thriving career coincided with our academic calendar,” remarked Martin. “We’re delighted to welcome Beth back home to her native North Carolina.” 

About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.

About Appalachian

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.


J.E. Broyhill Civic Center Presents 20th Annual Caldwell Traditional Musicians Showcase, 3/10

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s J.E. Broyhill Civic Center will present the 20th Annual Caldwell Traditional Musicians Showcase on Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Designed to highlight the achievements of local musicians, the series has presented more than 200 performers since 1998.  This showcase will feature soloists, duets, bands, and members of Caldwell County’s Junior Appalachian Musicians program.

Strictly Clean and Decent, consisting of Kay and Patrick Crouch and Ron Shuffler, will return as host band as they have each year since 1998.  The Crouches recently won the L.A. Dysart Man and Woman of the Year awards, presented by the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, largely for their work in promoting traditional music and musicians of the area.  According to Patrick Crouch, “the title of the showcase in 2001 was It Must Be Something in the Water, the only explanation for why there are so many great musicians in Caldwell County.”  The title of this year’s showcase, Still Something in the Water, pays homage to the 2001 showcase and will feature performers from throughout the history of the showcase as well as several musicians new to the series.

David Briggs, first director of the JE Broyhill Civic Center, originally conceived the idea of programming local traditional musicians on the center’s Showcase of Stars series.  He will return to help mark the anniversary and also to perform.

Roger Hicks and Lyndy Johnson will return after having performed on the 2001 showcase.  Both are finger-style guitarists who play a mix of Piedmont Blues and Tin Pan Alley, musical styles popular in the early years of the 20th century.   Hicks is listed in the Blue Ridge National Heritage area roster of traditional artists as both a musician and a potter.    

Making his first showcase appearance is Conrad Boudreau who will be joined by Donna Minton, a popular performer who participated in the 1998, 2001, and 2007 showcases.  Both Boudreau and Minton have worked with young musicians, encouraging them to carry on the folk traditions of the area.

Charlie Carpenter, who performed in 2005, will be joined by Todd McCloud making his first showcase appearance.  They have been highly visible in the local music scene for many years, both individually and with other bands.  Together, they are known for their unique and powerful duet vocals.

Well-known in the furniture industry but not as performers, Anne and Alex Bernhardt will make a rare musical performance.  Both play several instruments and they have long been supporters of traditional music and dance through their involvement with the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention and the Caldwell Junior Appalachian Musicians program. The Bernhardts will play Cajun music for their first showcase appearance.  

Red Rocking Chair, a band playing “Bluegrass Plus,” has been together more than 12 years.  Although Patrick Crouch is the only Caldwell County native in the group, other members have a long musical association with the area.  Jack Lawrence performed with the New Deal String Band, Bluegrass Alliance, and most notably with the legendary Doc Watson for 23 years. Tom Kuhn, a native of Catawba County, performed throughout the Unifour in the 1980s with Long Time Gone.  Dale Meyer, a native of Burke County, is known throughout the region as a multi-instrumentalist who has collaborated with many Caldwell County musicians.  All members were active in Hudson-based jam sessions as early as the 1970s.

Rooted is a fresh acoustic band that plays Americana and roots music as well as originals in an acoustic setting.  Violinist/vocalist Sarah Seymour performed on the 2010 showcase as part of Sweetbriar Jam.  Other band members making their first showcase appearance are Jimmy Atkins on guitar and vocals, Drew Gray on resonator guitar, mandolinist Seath Gray, Katie Chapman on bass, and percussionist Morgan Smith.  

Also performing at this year’s showcase will be Blackberry Jam. Blackberry Jam is a band formed by members of the Caldwell Junior Appalachian Musicians.  The JAM program provides opportunities for children to learn to play and dance to traditional old time and bluegrass music.  

Nancy Posey will return for her third turn as emcee.  She is a mandolinist and songwriter and, as a poet, her writing is informed by traditional music and musicians.

The showcase will be presented on Saturday, March 10, at 7:30 pm at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.  Tickets for the show are $11 for adults and $5.50 for children/students.  

A Local Food Buffet dinner prepared by the JEBCC Catering Group will be available prior to the show at 6 p.m. Cost for the meal is $15 per person.  

For more information, or for tickets visit www.broyhillcenter.com or call the Civic Center Box Office at 828-726-2407.  

11th Annual Early Bird Wildflower Walk and Plant Sale, 4/21
Boone, NC – The Daniel Boone Native Gardens kick off the 2018 season with the 11th Annual EARLY BIRD WILDFLOWER WALK & PLANT SALE from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 21.  Native plants will be available from local vendors. Event is free.  Bring the family, hike Strawberry Hill Arboretum or visit historic Squire Boone Cabin.
“Don’t miss the display of unique spring flowers rarely seen,” said Andrew Jenkins, board member of the Gardens and curator of the ASU Herbarium.
Dr. Annkatrin Rose, Blue Ridge Chapter Chair for the NC Native Plant Society and board member of the Gardens mentioned that her favorite garden spring wildflower is Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata). “They will likely be in bloom right next to the Gatehouse during our sale and they are such a wonderful easy-care groundcover providing much needed food for pollinators in early spring.“
“The gardens contain more than 200 species of native plants, many of which offer the best display of color during spring,” added Robert Oelberg, landscape architect and board member.
Gail Hill, president of the Garden Clubs of North Carolina, recommended that all garden clubs visit this event. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens are a project of the Garden Club of North Carolina which has more than 5,000 members.
About the Daniel Boone Native Gardens
Opened in 1963, the mission of the gardens is to protect and conserve plants in addition to educating visitors about native plants of North Carolina. The gardens focus on wildflowers, ferns and trees. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens, is a volunteer organization, and is located at 651 Horn in the West Drive, Boone, N.C. Open from May to October. Suggested donation $2 for adults and free for children under 16.
For more information see www.DanielBooneNativeGardens.org or  visit Facebook.


Grandfather Mountain presents Adult Field Courses

Topics include birds, weather, geology, mushrooms and more

At Grandfather Mountain, education is literally a top priority.

After all, when your classroom is a mile high, the sky is the limit. Even for grown-ups.

The Linville, N.C.-based nature preserve and attraction is bringing its Adult Field Courses series back for 2018, offering participants the chance to explore Grandfather Mountain like never before.

“These courses allow students to examine specific aspects of the park ecosystem through fun field excursions,” said Amy Renfranz, director of education for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees and operates the park. “Our course leaders are experts in their fields and include professors, naturalists, scientists and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists.”

The series runs from April through September, with topics including bird migration, weather, geology, rare plants, fungi and forest ecology.

According to Corey White, Grandfather Mountain naturalist and course instructor, the series is not only educational, but extremely fun.

“It was a blast!” White said of the 2017 series. “Being with adult students in the field and seeing their faces light up with ‘Aha!” moments was just fantastic.”

Each course is limited to only 12 participants, making for a more intimate, personalized experience.

“As an instructor, you get to give more attention to any questions that come up from any particular guest,” White said. “Also, these are very hands-on programs, offering more engagement between the resource itself (e.g., the mountain) and the participants, where I can even kind of step back out of the way.”

In fact, about halfway through his previous geology course, White noticed that his class size had somehow grown.

“It turns out I had some passersby — or hikers-by, I guess — kind of drop in on some of our lessons during the presentation on the trail,” he said. “I asked if they wanted to go ahead, and they said, ‘No, we’re just eavesdropping.’”

They eventually moved on — and may very well register for one of 2018’s offerings. Courses cost $40 per person (or $20 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club program), with registration required in advance.

Most courses run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise stated, and participants are asked to bring their own lunch to be eaten in the field.

Courses include: 

Spring Migration in the Canadian South – April 28

Hosted by Jesse Pope, executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, this six-hour program will explore the birds of Grandfather’s mountaintop island.

Extreme Weather of Grandfather Mountain – May 30

Grandfather Mountain is home to an official weather station in partnership with Appalachian State University’s Dr. Baker Perry, who has studied weather and the changing climate in regions around the world. Hosted by Perry, this course will introduce participants to the extreme weather of Grandfather Mountain. Activities will include a short classroom session on mountain meteorology, participation in the collection and reporting of daily weather data, and a visit to the Grandfather Mountain meteorological station on the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

Grandfather’s Geology by Foot – June 16
There are 300 million years of history written into Grandfather’s rocks. Join naturalist Corey White, MEd., to learn to decipher the stone, and discover a world so complex and amazing that it will change your perspective of the Appalachian Mountains forever.

The Rare Plants of Grandfather’s Rocky Summits – July 21

Grandfather Mountain is a hot spot of endemism, as well as home to many peripheral populations of the High Country’s native flora. This course will meet at the height of blooming endemics on Grandfather. Join Amy Renfranz, naturalist and GMSF director of education, in an exploration of these plant species, including Blue Ridge Goldenrod, Roan Mountain Bluet and Heller’s Blazing Star.

Fungi of the Cloudland Forest – Aug. 11

The Southern Appalachians are world-renowned for different types of fungi, from mushrooms to lichens, and are home to more than 2,000 species. Join expert Dr. Coleman McClenaghan for a chance to observe many kinds of fungi at higher elevations and learn how to identify them by size, shape and color.

Exploring the Disappearing Spruce-Fir Forest – Aug. 25

Join John Caveny, GMSF’s own natural resource specialist, and explore, examine and discuss one of the most endangered forest types in the United States, the spruce-fir forest. During this field course, participants will explore off the beaten path to find some of the largest red spruce trees on the park property. Participants will learn about the forest ecology and wildlife and assist Caveny in gathering scientific data to benefit the foundation’s Natural Resource Management Program.

Celebrate Migration on Grandfather Mountain – Sept. 15 

Join Jesse Pope for a six-hour course on raptor migration. In 2015, more than 11,000 raptors were observed in September as they soared over Grandfather Mountain on their annual migration South. Learn why they do this, and become an official “watcher” yourself.

Registration and More

Each adult field course is limited to 12 participants and costs $40 for general registration or $20 for Bridge Club members.

To register, or for more information, contact Judi Sawyer at judi@grandfather.com or (828) 733-2013. To learn more about the Bridge Club membership program, visit http://bit.ly/2Cq88Bf.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.