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Today’s Email Announcements

TONIGHT: TAC Talk: Country Music Pioneers of Southern Appalachia

Beat the cabin fever and come out to TAC Talk at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum! Nothing warms the soul like country music.

G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter were one of the most influential musical duos in the history of traditional music, popularizing songs like “Little Maggie,” “Handsome Molly,” “Train 45,” and many others. Although their lives were both cut tragically short, their enduring legacy continues to resonate today. Their lives and music, which were strongly tied to Southwest Virginia, Northeast Tennessee and Ashe and Watauga counties, provide a fascinating insight into life in the Appalachian Mountains at the turn of the 20th century.

Free for members and $5 for non-members.

Next Wordkeepers Meeting Happening Saturday, December 15

The next Wordkeepers event will be held Saturday, December 15, from 4-6 p.m. at the Ashe County Arts Council in West Jefferson (303 W. School Street). Wordkeepers is free and open to the public and refreshments are provided.

Wordkeepers features writers reading their latest works in five-minute open microphone time slots. Writers interested in reading from their writing should email Chris Arvidson at chris@chrisarvidson.com to secure their first-come, first-served 5-minute slot on the bill. 

Wordkeepers was created by local writers Chris Arvidson, Julie Townsend and Scot Pope who are also the editors of the anthology “Reflections on the New River” from McFarland Publishers, which features many regular Wordkeepers readers.

Wilkes Playmakers Announce Auditions for BACK TO THE 80s

From the era that brought the world the Rubik’s Cube, Max Headroom and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes the “totally awesome” musical Back to the 80’s. In the style of movies such as Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Karate Kid, Back to the 80’s is a nostalgic romp through the greatest hits of the decade.

Back to the 80’s tells the story of the senior class of William Ocean High School, as remembered through the eyes of now thirty-something Corey Palmer. Seventeen-year-old Corey is madly in love with his next-door neighbor, Tiffany Houston, one of the coolest girls in the school, but she is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman, the hottest guy around. Michael and his friends are athletic and good-looking – the kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends dream of being. However, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on Feargal McFerrin, III, whose best friend is his computer and who believes the crazy notion that one day, CDs will replace cassette tapes.

Throw in a Star Wars dream sequence, high-energy dance routines, the obligatory 80s party scene, copious amounts of blue eyeshadow, twenty cans of hairspray, as well as some of the most popular songs ever written, and the result is a musical that will not only delight and amuse audiences of any age, but will also inspire any young cast. Back to the 80’s is a high-energy musical with contemporary flair!

Auditions will be held on Monday December 17 and Tuesday December 18 beginning at 6:30 p.m. All auditions will be at Benton Hall, home of the Wilkes Playmakers, 300 D Street, North Wilkesboro. There are 17 speaking roles as well as ensemble roles available. Roles are primarily for teenagers (ages 13-18) with a few adult roles available also.   Interested participants should be prepared to sing (one verse of a song, etc) and do cold readings from the script. Prepared monologues will not be required for this audition.

We are currently seeking a vocal director and keyboardists for the show. Interested people may email wpproduction@wilkes.net prior to December 17 to arrange interview / auditions.

Also, those interested in volunteering in all aspects of technical theatre (stage lighting, set construction, costumes, sound and backstage crew) as well as those interested in helping with publicity are encouraged to attend auditions to meet production team and complete an interest form.

Daven VanHoy will be returning as director for this Wilkes Playmakers production, following her highly successful production of last spring’s Seussical the Musical. Stan Dudek is returning as Musical Director following 2016’s well- received production of Beautiful Star An Appalachian Nativity.   Rehearsals will begin on January 7, with performance dates of March 14-17, 2019.

For further information, please email wpproduction@wilkes.net or call 336-838-7529 and leave a message. Follow Wilkes Playmakers on Facebook.

Three Days of Giving Blood Drive Begins December 17

Three Days of Giving Blood Drive is happening December 17-19 at the Holiday Inn Express in Boone.

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce’s Day of Giving is Tuesday, December 18 from 9:00-3:30. For every donor, a donation of $10 will benefit Santa’s Toy Box. All donors will receive a choice of a sweatshirt or a gift card!

For an appointment please call 828-442-4058 or go online to www.TheBloodConnection.org.

Donation dates:

Monday, December 17 – Noon to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, December 18 – 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 19 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Men’s Caroling Scheduled for Thursday, December 20

Area men are invited for the 49th year to join in a four-part harmony Christmas Caroling at area retirement homes on Thursday, December 20. Meet at 5 p.m. in the lobby of the ASU Music Building to review provided music, car pool to singing locations and finish by 7 p.m. 

For more information, call Roland at 828-264-8811.

Beech Mountain Seeking Input on Survey Through January 15

Help to plan Tomorrow’s Beech Mountain by taking this online survey.  The Town of Beech Mountain Planning Department and Planning Board invite you to take this online survey to assist in the updating of the Comprehensive Plan.  Your input will be invaluable in updating the Vision for the Town, along with the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.

The survey will be open from now until January 15, 2019.  Please take this opportunity for your opinion to be heard and incorporated into the long-range plan for the Town.

Click the image above to go to the survey or follow the link below:

Please note that a valid Beech Mountain address is required to complete the survey and only two responses per household or business will be allowed.

MerleFest Adds Brandi Carlile, Dailey & Vincent, and The Brother Brothers to 2019 Lineup

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce new artist additions for MerleFest 2019: Brandi Carlile, Dailey & Vincent, and The Brother Brothers. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, April 25-28.

Brandi Carlile: GRAMMY-nominated Brandi Carlile is currently celebrating her breakthrough new album, By The Way, I Forgive You, which debuted earlier this year at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Current Albums chart, Rock Albums chart and Americana/Folk Albums chart and Number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart—a career high for the Seattle-based group. Produced by Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, the album continues to receive overwhelming acclaim, including recent “Best Albums of 2018” coverage at Rolling StoneEntertainment WeeklyBillboard, NPR Music and more.

Most recently, Carlile joined forces with Sam Smith on a new duet version of “Party Of One.” Recorded at L.A.’s Capitol Studios, a portion of the profits from this recording will be donated to Children in Conflict via Brandi Carlile’s Looking Out Foundation as part of its ongoing campaign to raise $1 million for children impacted by war.

Beloved by fans and critics alike, Carlile has performed sold-out concerts across the world and has appeared on various TV shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Conan and CBS This Morning. Carlile will perform on Saturday evening at MerleFest.

Dailey & Vincent: Grand Ole Opry Members, Five-time GRAMMY award winners individually, three-time GRAMMY award nominees collectively, four-time DOVE Award winners, and winners of 35 IBMA Awards altogether (including 3-time IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award winners and 3-Time Vocal Group of the Year Award winners), Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, backed by one of the best bands on tour today, are some of the most reputable and elite entertainers in American music; bluegrass, traditional country and gospel music. Now on Season 3 of their nationally broadcast television series, “The Dailey & Vincent Show on RFD-TV,” Dailey & Vincent bring their music to a national audience on a weekly basis. After a decade spent performing together and with over 1,000 airings of their PBS special “Dailey & Vincent ALIVE – In Concert,” their concoction of fantastically instinctive vocal blends of Dailey’s tenor and Vincent’s reedy harmonies has gained them well-deserved praise for their own distinctive style and worldwide recognition as American Music gold. Their most recent live CD, Dailey & Vincent ALIVE, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and remained at the top position for over 15 weeks.Dailey & Vincent will appear on Thursday at MerleFest.

The Brother Brothers: The Brother Brothers are Adam and David Moss, identical twins carrying on the folk tradition for a new generation. Using minimal instrumentation, heartfelt lyricism, and harmonies so natural they seem to blend into one beautiful voice, the siblings draw on the energy and creativity of Brooklyn, New York for their full-length debut album, Some People I KnowThe Brother Brothers will make their MerleFest debut on Saturday.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4 day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2019 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The three artists announced today join over 75 artistsannounced last month via Rolling Stone Country. Headliners include Wynonna & The Big Noise, Keb’ Mo’, The Earls of Leicester, Sam Bush, Tyler Childers, and Peter Rowan and The Free Mexican Air ForceThe Late Night Jam presented by The Bluegrass Situation will be hosted by Chatham County Line. In addition to the above mentioned artists, the following will be performing at MerleFest ‘19:

American Aquarium, Andy May, Ana Egge & The Sentimentals, AZTEC SUN, Banknotes, Bob Hill, Cane Mill Road, Carol Rifkin, Carolina Blue, Catfish Keith, Charles Welch, David LaMotte, Dirk Powell Band, Donna the Buffalo, Driftwood, Elephant Sessions, Elizabeth Cook, Ellis Dyson & The Shambles, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, Happy Traum, Irish Mythen, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jess Morgan, Jim Avett, Jim Lauderdale, Joe Smothers, Jontavious Willis and Andrew Alli, Junior Brown, Junior Sisk, Larry Stephenson Band, Laura Boosinger, Lindi Ortega, Mark Bumgarner, Mark & Maggie O’Connor, Maybe April, Michaela Anne, Mile Twelve, Mitch Greenhill and String Madness, Molly Tuttle, Nixon, Blevins, & Gage, Pete & Joan Wernick and FLEXIGRASS, Presley Barker, Professor Whizzpop!, Radney Foster, Roy Book Binder, Salt & Light, Scythian, Shane Hennessy, Si Kahn & The Looping Brothers, Steve Poltz, T Michael Coleman, The Black Lillies, The Gibson Brothers, The Harris Brothers, The InterACTive Theatre of Jeff, The Kruger Brothers, The Local Boys, The Trailblazers, The Waybacks, Todd Albright, Tom Feldmann, Tony Williamson, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Wayne Henderson, Webb Wilder, and Yarn.

Additional performers for MerleFest 2019 will be announced in the coming months. The lineup and performance schedule is accessible via MerleFest.org/lineup.

Tickets for next year’s festival, as well as the Late Night Jam, go on sale at 10 a.m. EST November 13, 2018, and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 13 to February 17, 2019; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 18 to April 24. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.

About MerleFest

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Congress Completes Work on Landmark Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), ranking member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN), released the following statements upon the final passage of H.R. 6964, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act:

“Today’s passage of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act is a major victory for America’s youth,” Chairwoman Foxx said. “With these reforms, we can meet young people right where they are, making enormous progress in prevention and equipping more people to better serve juvenile offenders better and meet the needs of communities. This bill will improve program accountability while promoting evidence-based solutions to give more young adults the tools and skills they need to achieve lifelong success.
“Representative Jason Lewis has been a champion for young people through his leadership in making this bipartisan legislation a reality. Helping kids achieve the lives they want for themselves in spite of past challenges is close to his heart, and the 
Juvenile Justice Reform Act will help these young adults on the path to a better future. I commend Rep. Lewis for his leadership, and Ranking Member Scott for his passionate, steadfast partnership in this effort.”