Three concerts on tap this weekend | Mt. Airy News

2022-07-05 16:47:08 By : Ms. Angela He

Jim Quick and Coastline will be in concert at the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (Hobart Jones | Surry Arts Council)

North Tower will take to the stage for a show on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Hobart Jones | Surry Arts Council)

The Extraordinaires will put on a show in a Saturday concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre. (Submitted photo)

Jim Quick and Coastline return to the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday followed by North Tower Band on Friday and The Extraordinaires on Saturday. All three bands are set to play at 7:30 p.m. each day.

Pulling from the threads of soul, blues, R&B, and Americana, Jim Quick and Coastline weave together their own genre of music known as Swamp Soul. Delivered with precision by frontman Jim Quick and his band, this group captures the true, honest spirit of traditions born and bred in the small southern towns of America.

North Tower has been one of the South’s party bands for more tha 35 years, providingTop 40, beach, funk, and oldies. Sizzling brass, super vocals, and a wide-ranging repertoire all contribute to making a night to remember.

The Extraordinaires are an interactive party band playing dance music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s including Motown, rock, R&B, beach, and Top 40. With four live horns, The Extraordinaires have the unique ability to bring the party atmosphere to any event.

Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

Impaired driving — talk with your kids

The Surry Arts Council Young Audience Series will begin this weekend with a Dance Party by Blanton Youell’s B-Dazzle Production.

The Dance Party will take place on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre andwill include music, bubbles, and lots of fun for everyone.

The Young Audience Series is a free interactive series of shows for children of all ages. The shows will take place at the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. from July 2 to August 6.

Upcoming shows include Saturday, July 9 “Stories That Sing” with Emily and Bruce Burgess, July 16 and July 23 “Storytime with Papa Pantalone” by Mark Donnell, July 30 Zumbini with Chrissy by Christina Kinzer, and August 6 a Dance Party with Blanton Youell.

Stories That Sing will provide a fun-filled, interactive morning of musical mischief hosted by the Burgess Family featuring sing-a-long books, visits from puppet characters, and an instrument petting zoo.

Storytime with Papa Pantalone will feature Mark Donnell’s interactive retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel in “The Most Famous Adventure of Little Red Riding Hood” and “Hansel and Gretel, A Woodland Tale or ‘How Do We Get Out of Here?’”

Zumbini with Chrissy features songs, activities, special instruments, and more, all in the name of movement.

For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

The Surry Art Council’s Summer Concert Series has two bands set to play this weekend. The Main Event Band will play the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Friday night. Holiday Band will take the stage on Saturday. Both shows will start at 7:30 p.m.

The Main Event Band is a party band performing R&B, soul, beach, country, and funk. Their performances also include music styles from the 80s and 90s as well as favorite songs of today. From beach to classic rock, from soul to country, from disco to Buffett, The Main Event Band brings a variety of music to the stage. Featuring top-notch vocals, a tight rhythm section, and a strong horn section, The Main Event Band offers a quality performance that is hard to rival.

The Holiday Band blends soul, blues, funk, and Carolina Beach music. Holiday has established itself as a a strong entertainment package with the always-present theme “Keep The Music Alive.”

Both concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

2022 Arts Alive Participants “Reach for the Stars”

Organizers of the annual Arts Alive say the 2022 version was a “blast” for all involved.

More than 100 participants ages 3-11 plus 15 volunteer middle and high school joined Emily Burgess, Shelby Coleman, and Tyler Matanick in two weeks of “Reaching for the Stars.” The camp ended with a parade down Main Street, a celebration complete with Dairy Center hot dogs, games, and face-painting, and a show featuring the participants on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Daily activities consisted of crafts with Emily Burgess, movement and singing with Tyler Matanick, and drama with Shelby Coleman.

16-12 Arts Alive participants and parents gather at Truist for the 43rd Annual Arts Alive Parade

16-15 Sidney Petree, front right, gathers with her family at the parade site. Sidney, age 9, is the 2022 Arts Alive tee shirt design contest winner.

16-23 The parade route is from Truist, down Main Street, to the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

16-32 Parents and participants make their way down Main Street.

16-46 Arts Alive volunteers assist with activities at the celebration.

16-55 Kids and families enjoy cornhole and activities before the show.

16-101 Participants enjoyed their chance to be an astronaut – even if just for a moment. Bruce Burgess created this incredible photo opportunity.

F16-105 Arts Alive participants figure out how to gain an advantage at cornhole!

Photos courtesy of Hobart Jones, Surry Arts Council

The Surry Art Council’s Summer Concert Series continues with three bands set to perform this weekend.

The Fantasy Band will play the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday night. Cassette Rewind returns on Friday and Jukebox Rehab will take the stage on Saturday. All three shows will start at 7:30 pm.

Fantasy is “The Carolina’s Most Entertaining Party Band.” Whether it’s beach music, Motown, funk, soul, or smooth R&B, Fantasy does it all.

Born in the 1980s and raised on radio, Cassette Rewind is the ultimate authentic ‘80s experience. Cassette Rewind provides performances of Prince, George Michael, Journey, Whitney Houston, and countless 1980s pop icons. Grab a Members Only jacket and a pair of leg warmers to get footloose and sing along.

Jukebox Rehab is a country music band based out of Winston-Salem. They deliver a monster country show that is steeped in classic country traditional sounds ensured to lift your soul.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

The 2022 Arts Alive camp kicked off the weekly summer camp series with more than 50 participants ages 3-5 years old along with middle and high school volunteers.

Emily and Bruce Burgess are working with arts and crafts, Shelby Coleman is hosting a drama class, and Tyler Matanick is working with music. Each class rotation emphasizes this year’s theme “Reach for the Stars.” Each class is teaching and reinforcing astronomy facts but the goal of Arts Alive continues to be to have fun and engage children in the arts to build future audiences.

Participants are looking forward to the annual Arts Alive Parade on Thursday, June 16 at 5:15 p.m. from Truist to the Andy Griffith Playhouse. The parade is followed by a celebration at the Andy Griffith Playhouse featuring arts, crafts, food, face painting and a performance by Arts Alive participants on the Andy Griffith Playhouse stage.

The Surry Arts Council will host a performance featuring Nadine Landry and Sammy Lind along with Kevin and Trish Fore at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, in the lower level of the Andy Griffith Museum, on Friday, June 10, at 7 p.m.

Nadine Landry and Stephen “Sammy” Lind are members of the internationally acclaimed Foghorn Stringband, out of Portland, Oregon. They play traditional fiddle music that has been passed on for hundreds of years, classics of the southwest Louisiana Cajun dance halls and songs that could have filled a 50s smoky bar jukebox.

Landry’s roots lie in the rural backroads of Acadian Québec, and her high lonesome vocals have delighted audiences the world over. Born in Minnesota, Lind has established himself as one of the most critically acclaimed old-time fiddle players in the country. Together they play fiddle tunes, early country and Cajun songs. They play true to the roots of American music with energy and respect. They are members of the Foghorn Stringband, the Dirk Powell Band and play with Cajun extraordinaires Jesse Lege, Joel Savoy and the Cajun Country Revival.

Kevin and Trish Fore are steeped in the traditional music of Surry County and the surrounding area. They have learned their music directly from local tradition bearers and old home recordings; they love spending time playing for people at community events, fundraisers, fiddlers’ conventions and square dances.

Music featured at this concert will include Landry and Lind performing songs and tunes as a duo and will be joined by the Fores to feature many signature tunes from the Round Peak tradition such as “Sally Ann,” “Lonesome Road Blues,” and “Breaking Up Christmas” just to name a few.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance or at the door prior to the show if available.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.surryarts.org, call the Surry Arts Council office at 336-786-7998 or email Marianna Juliana at marianna@surryarts.org.

Jim Quick & The Coastline will start a weekend filled with music at the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday. The Catalinas will take the stage on Friday and Kids in America will play on Saturday. All three shows will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Pulling from the threads of soul, blues, R&B, and Americana, Jim Quick and Coastline weave together their own genre of music known as Swamp Soul. Delivered with precision by frontman Jim Quick and his band, this group captures the true, honest spirit of traditions born and bred in the small southern towns of America.

The Catalinas always play a variety of music that suits all ages. Though known for Beach Music, regionally and nationally for the mega-hit “Summertime’s Callin’ Me,” The Catalinas play all styles to a high standard of excellence.

Kids in America is a high-energy, power-packed, ultra-fun, six-piece band paying tribute to the totally awesome 1980s. Kids in America covers all genres from this timeless decade including new wave, pop, dance, rock, hair metal, and sing-along iconic ballads. Kids in America specializes in recreating the 80s visually and musically by delivering authentic sound with a vivid show for your favorite 80s hits.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or annual pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

As part of the 50th Anniversary of the Mount Airy Blue Grass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention this year, Surry Arts Council held increased the number of workshops it held this year — bringing in some new sessions and courses for fans.

Twenty-two musicians led 39 workshops from Tuesday through Friday at Veterans Park. The heat drove the workshops from the grandstand into the VFW Building during most of the week but on Friday, overcast skies permitted some of the workshops to be held outside.

Traditional music enthusiasts of all ages from North Carolina and beyond attended the workshops. Some took notes, some took videos, and several hundred just watched carefully and learned new songs and new techniques. There were more young people than ever before attending the workshops ensuring that the traditions will be preserved and passed on.

All these extra workshops were made possible with a grant to the Surry Arts Council from the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Come Hear NC, and a subgrant to Veterans Park Inc from the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Several students from Meadowview Magnet were selected to have their art pieces on display in the Viticulture Center at Surry Community College as part of the Superintendent’s Art Contest in May.

Meadowview Art Teacher Krista Culpepper told selected students, “What a great opportunity to see your work hung alongside your fellow classmates and other art students throughout the county.”

Sixth grade students selected were Ameryka Garcia-Espinosa, Dare King, John Simmons, Quinn Simandle, Anali Lopez Bedolla, Heather Childress, Juliett Martinez, Kailey Cockerham and Kynlee Venable.

Seventh grade students selected were Sadie Sherlin, Kaylin Adame, Carter Klein, Katie Waddell, and Neira Mares-Hernandez.

Eighth grade students selected were Allee Glen Kiser, Aniston Lowman, Alexis Vanhoy, Byron Brown, Colton Moore, Charlotte Williams, and Westyn McCraw.

Alexis Vanhoy brought home a first-place award for her art.

The Surry Arts Council has received a $50,000 grant from the Chorus America Music Education Partnerships Grants program.

Through a new funding opportunity, Chorus America’s inaugural Music Education Partnerships Grants program provides funding of more than $1 million to 22 community organizations across the United States and Canada working to increase access to choral music education and promote non-arts learning and cultural literacy. The projects funded in the 2022-2023 school year also uphold the principles of access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Surry Arts Council is one of 22 grantees located across the program’s four regions – British Columbia/Northwest U.S., Central Appalachia, Southwest U.S., and Upper Midwest – that each received grants ranging from $25,000-$50,000.

The Surry Arts Council is partnering with the Mount Airy City Schools and the Surry County Schools to support a choral program for three elementary and middle schools. The students will be a part of a weekly after-school choral program taught by certified music educators in the school systems. The students will be immersed in choral music education and will also be taught different musical cultures by local guest musicians who will provide the students with authentic performance techniques and history relating to the music genre focus of each of the three schools. The students will be bused home following the after-school classes.

Participating students will also take part in monthly gatherings led by Surry Arts Council Artistic and Technical Director Tyler Matanick. These will be held at the Andy Griffith Playhouse and Historic Earle Theatre. These gatherings will promote cultural exchange among all the students in the participating schools.

For additional information, contact the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or email marianna@surryarts.org.

The 50th Annual Mount Airy Blue Grass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention, featured in a story on page 1A today, will feature more workshops than ever this year.

These will take place on Tuesday, May 31 through Friday, June 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at the Grandstand at Veterans Park. It brings master musicians directly to attendees who want to learn from them and play with them. The workshops are another way to enhance the experience for those from across the nation attending the Fiddlers Convention.

Instructors include Wes Clifton, Darrius Flowers, Kevin Fore, Trish Fore, Chester McMillian, Michael Motley, Lucas Pasley, Aaron Ratcliffe, Bill Sluys, Nancy Sluys, Martha Spencer, Emily Spencer, Kirk Sutphin, Adam Lowe, Mecca Lowe, Tammy Sawyers, Jim Vipperman, and the Mustard Cutters Band.

The workshops begin on Tuesday at 10 a.m. There are multiple classes in fiddle, banjo, and guitar as well as dances, jams, workshops focusing on vocals and playing together.

During the first weekend of June, thousands of old-time musicians and enthusiasts from all over the country and the world congregate at Mount Airy’s Veterans Memorial Park for the annual Fiddlers Convention. This year, the celebration of the 50th Annual Convention is featuring extra opportunities funded by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Come Hear NC. The Surry Arts Council received these funds that will be used to pay area musicians to host these free workshops.

The Tuesday through Thursday workshops are sponsored in part by a grant from the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources along with Come Hear NC.

The Friday workshops are funded in part by a subgrant from the Surry Arts Council to Veterans Memorial Park Inc. with funding from a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The workshops are all free. There is no advance registration. Instructors will gather at the grandstand prior to each class. A complete schedule of workshops may be picked up at the Veterans Park gate. For additional information contact marianna@surryarts.org.

The weather for the first weekend in June possibly will be sunny and hot, but there’s a 100% chance of pleasant sounds during the 50th annual Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention.

In celebration of this milestone, a special concert is planned Thursday night to help kick off the convention that will feature competition both Friday and next Saturday when it concludes.

And free old-time and bluegrass workshops are offered from Tuesday to Friday, designed to perpetuate the area musical legacy for another 50 years or more through passing it on to younger generations.

The Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old-Time Fiddlers Convention is held on the grounds of Veterans Memorial Park at 691 W. Lebanon St.

Established in 1972, it is dedicated to the two musical genres, along with dance, and traditionally is held on the first weekend in June — although the coronavirus forced its cancellation in 2020.

The event resumed in 2021 and gradually is recapturing its pre-pandemic stature based on attendance by the public and participation of musicians vying for cash prizes, trophies and ribbons in various competition categories.

“We’re about halfway there, I guess, three-quarters, something like that,” Veterans Memorial Park President Doug Joyner said this week of the convention’s recovery from COVID, judging by last year’s event and interest in the one upcoming.

Based on everything that’s happened, this year’s golden anniversary has special significance, Joyner added.

“It’s been going on a half-century,” he said of the convention, “and we’re glad that the park can be putting it on every year (now).”

Joyner hopes fans will come out and help celebrate the occasion.

The convention officially starts Friday at 7 p.m. and will resume next Saturday at 9:30 a.m. for a day-long slate.

However, there are always early arrivals who set up shop in camping areas at the park and provide music throughout the week.

The competition categories at the convention are open to both youth and adults, including old-time and bluegrass band, bluegrass and old-time fiddle, bluegrass and old-time (clawhammer) banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, dobro, dulcimer, autoharp, folk song and dance.

In addition to the performances during the convention, many impromptu jam sessions typically can be found when circulating around the grounds — and one never knows who might be involved.

Members of the group Donna the Buffalo have been spotted over the years along with other notable musicians such as Dom Flemmons of The Carolina Chocolate Drops.

The special Thursday night concert to celebrate the convention’s 50th anniversary will feature The Junior Sisk Band on the main stage at the park.

It is scheduled for 7 p.m., with $20 wristband tickets for the performance to be sold at the gate.

The admission cost to the park to attend both Friday and Saturday sessions is a $10 wristband each day.

Joyner says interest is high among musicians, including many returning performers.

“These people, they like to pick and grin,” he said.

“They keep emailing about it,” Joyner related. “I got a phone call the other night from a guy in England.”

That individual wanted to attend the convention in June 2021, but was prevented from doing so by COVID travel restrictions.

Joyner said he also has been contacted by a band in Russia which might show up for the event.

While convention organizers don’t relish capitalizing on others’ misfortune, the Mount Airy gathering also stands to benefit from the apparent demise of an early spring event in Dobson, the Surry Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. It has been cancelled the last three years due to the coronavirus and other factors.

“I think it will help us,” Joyner said of that development, particularly among the old-time musicians the Dobson convention was geared toward who desire a performance outlet to fill the void.

Another highlight of the convention week will be the free workshops in both the old-time and bluegrass styles.

The sessions are scheduled Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the grandstand area at Veterans Memorial Park.

Workshops are to feature the fiddle, banjo, vocals, guitar, jams, dance and more, organizers say.

Participating instructors and bands will include Emily Spencer, Martha Spencer, Kirk Sutphin, Kevin Fore, Chester McMillian, Wes Clifton, Trish Fore, The Mustard Cutters Band, The Pilot Mountain Bobcats, Nancy and Bill Sluys, Darrius Flowers and others.

A number of award-winning performers from the Galax fiddlers convention and others are among their ranks.

The special week-long workshops are made possible by grants from the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, with additional funding provided by the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources in honor of the convention’s 50th anniversary.

A complete schedule of workshops, jams and dances will be available at the park gate, according to organizers.

More information about the convention can be found at https://www.surryarts.org/mafiddlersconvention/index.html More information about the workshops can be found on page B12 of today’s paper.

Three Surry Arts Council Summer Concerts are slated for this week.

Fantasy Band will start off a music-filled weekend at the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday. Holiday Band will play on Friday and Cassette Rewind will take the stage on Saturday. All three shows will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Fantasy is sometimes called “The Carolina’s most entertaining party band.” Whether it is beach music, motown, funk, soul, or smooth R&B, Fantasy does it all.

The Holiday Band blends soul, blues, funk, and Carolina beach music and has established itself as a premier entertainment package. The Holiday Band has played thousands of shows from Cincinnati, Ohio to Cozumel, Mexico, with the always-present theme “Keep The Music Alive.”

Born in the ‘80s and raised on radio, Cassette Rewind bills itself as “the ultimate authentic ‘80s experience.” Cassette Rewind provides dynamic performances of Prince, George Michael, Journey, Whitney Houston, and countless 1980s pop icons. Grab a Members Only jacket and put on some leg warmers because nothing’s going to stop folks from getting footloose and singing along.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or annual pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be taken into the Amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to take a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

The Surry Arts Council’s Summer Concert Series has a full schedule this weekend starting with Band of Oz on Thursday. The Tonez will take the stage on Friday with CAT5 to follow on Saturday. Each show will take place at the Blackmon Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m.

The Band of Oz is one of the most successful groups in the Southeast and continues to get the best reviews from the top people in the entertainment business. The band now features a full horn section to total a dynamic eight-member group. They still perform well more than 200 shows per year for corporate events, festivals, concerts, wedding receptions, and many other public and private events.

The Tonez are an eight-piece band dedicated to keeping crowds on their feet dancing and enjoying live music. With a growing mix of oldies, Motown, rock & roll, country, funk, R&B, and beach music, The Tonez can play it all. The combination of a three-time Cammy-nominated core with a high-powered horn section, the Tonez feature seven vocalists, and every note of every performance is live — no recorded tracks.

Cat5 burst on the scene in June of 2019 from a trio of top East Coast Bands. The band performs everything from beach music, originals, top 40 country, ’90s country, old yacht rock, and classic rock. Cat5 is a group of professional musicians that have come together with a common purpose to provide the best music possible to audiences all over the world.

Each concert will begin at 7:30 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or Annual Pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. Annual passes are on sale for $135 (including tax.) For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

Members of a local drama group are putting their musical talents on stage in support of the theater they call home.

The NoneSuch Playmakers will present “Lift Your Voice for Jones,” a wide-ranging musical revue being staged as a fundraiser for the L.H. Jones Auditorium in Mount Airy on Saturday, May 21.

“The Jones Auditorium has been our home stage for several seasons now,” said NoneSuch co-founder Brack Llewellyn. “The J.J. Jones Alumni Association, which operates the space, has always been supportive of us. We wanted to do something to show our appreciation.”

Llewellyn noted that, like all other performance venues, the L.H. Jones Auditorium was dark for more than 18 months during the pandemic.

“But they still had to pay their power bill, and their water bill, and maintain the facility with no income,” he said. “Now that NoneSuch can get back on stage again, we felt a fundraiser might help them out a bit. So we’re doing it the best way we know—with a show.”

The May 21 revue features some of the theater group’s best singing voices, he said. The performers include Jennifer Johnson Brown, Dani Davis, Jennifer Freeman, Shanna H. Jones, Angela Llewellyn, Chris Powell, Billie Smith, Cindy Southern Marion, Jane Tesh — who doubles as accompanist — and Elkin resident Christine Werner Booher.

“It’s going be a truly eclectic evening,” said Llewellyn. “We asked our singers to choose three or four songs each that they would like to perform, regardless of the style. You’ll get to hear everything from pop to country to Motown to show tunes to Gospel. We even have some original compositions. We want everyone to come out and enjoy the music, and also to see what a great performance space the Jones Auditorium is.”

“Life Your Voice for Jones” will begin at 7 p.m. A minimum donation of $10. per person is suggested, with larger amounts will be “gratefully accepted.” The evening will also feature a silent auction and a raffle, with those proceeds also going to the organization.

The L.H. Jones Auditorium is located at 215 Jones School Road, Mount Airy.

Auditions for the Surry Arts Council’s production of “Music Man” directed by Tyler Matanick are being held on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday, May 18 from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Those auditioning should wear appropriate audition attire (no sweatpants or hoodies). Each auditioner should bring dance clothes/shoes for the dance audition and should prepare a 32-bar to 64-bar piece of any musical theater song. Sheet music should be brought for an accompanist to play along with the audition. Anyone not bringing sheeting music may sing a cappella. No monologue is necessary.

The public performances will be on Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 24 at 3 p.m.

The “Music Man” follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize — this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

For additional information, contact Tyler Matanick at 336-786-7998 or tyler@surryarts.org. Tickets for the shows are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street.

The Surry Arts Players will be performing “Little Women” directed by Shelby Coleman this weekend. There will be a Saturday performance at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday performance at 3 p.m.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, “Little Women” follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested – her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.

“Little Women” offers a night filled with laughter, tears, and a lifting of the spirit.

The production stars Raegan Amos as Jo March, Madison Stowe as Meg March, Cassidy Mills as Beth March, LillyRuth Beck as Amy March, Laura Hutchins as Marmee March, Scott Carpenter as Professor Bauer, Greg Matthews as Mr. Laurence, Django Burgess as Theodore Laurence III “Laurie,” Walker York as Mr. John Brooke, Shawn Murphy as Aunt March, Ashley Mills as Mrs. Kirk, Madelyn Holladay as The Hag, Alexis Holladay as Sir Braxton Prendergast, Kaitlyn Holladay as Rodrigo II, Thomas Holladay as Rodrigo, Abbie Schuyler as Clarissa, Kori Hawks as The Troll and Robert Parks as The Knight.

The Surry Arts Players are welcoming newcomer Laura Hutchens who has performed with the Piedmont Opera and serves as an adjunct professor of voice at High Point University. Madison Stowe is also a newcomer and is from Martinsville, Virginia. has performed in numerous community theater productions around the tri-state.

Serving on the production crew is Director/Choreographer Shelby Coleman, Music Director Katelyn Gomez, Conductor Hollie Heller, Costume Designer Khriste Petree, Lighting Designer Tyler Matanick, Set Design by Shelby Coleman, Set Construction Tyler Matanick and David Brown, Set Painting Shelby Coleman and Lori Hawkins Beck, Prop Master Shelby Coleman and Cassidy Mills, Sound Engineer Tyler Matanick, Production Assistant Reese Cox, Pianist Teresa Martin, Trumpet Allen Nichols, Percussion RJ Heller, Clarinet/Tenor Saxophone Bobby Heller and Stage Crew Revonda Petree, Noah Petree, Reese Cox, Isabelle Cowan, Patrick McDaniel, and Noah Wilkes.

Performances are on Saturday] at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Tickets are $20. Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street, or at the box office one hour before the performances. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org.

The Konnection Band returns to the Blackmon Amphitheatre stage on Friday, while Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot will take the stage on Saturday night. Both shows will start at 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 2005, The Konnection has been tabbed as one of the East Coast’s premier party bands, specializing in a variety of music including Top 40, Rock, Country, R & B, Beach, and Oldies.

Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot are known as a Soul, R&B party band based out of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Their musical repertoire covers decades of hits from favorite artists and genres of music including soul, rhythm and blues, funk, reggae, jazz standards, country, 50s, 60s, and Carolina Beach Music. In addition to performing some of the most current hits that are topping the charts today, the group has had many successful chart-topping hits on local radio and internet stations across North and South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida.

Admission to each show is $15 or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass. Children 12 and younger are admitted free with an adult admission or annual pass. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available at the gates one hour before the concerts, online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

The Embers featuring Craig Woolard return to the Blackmon Amphitheatre on Thursday followed by North Tower Band on Friday and Envision on Saturday. All three bands are set to play at 7:30 p.m. each day.

The Embers are widely considered a musical marvel and have laid the groundwork for what has become known as ‘Beach Music’ in the Carolinas, Virginias, the gulf coast region of North America, and every beach in between.

“They are a true musical tradition with which many Americans have listened to from childhood to adulthood,” according to the Surry Arts Council, sponsors of the Summer Concert Series. “The Embers consider the genre of Beach Music as ‘music with a memory’ and have been creating lasting memories since its inception in 1958. Simply put – Heart and soul, rhythm and blues, feel good music.”

North Tower has been one of the South’s party bands for more than 35 years, providing the best in Top 40, beach, funk, and oldies. “Sizzling brass, super vocals, and a wide-ranging repertoire all contribute to making your event a night to remember.”

“Envision’s stage show is as exciting to watch as it is to dance to, covering hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, all the way up to the contemporary sound of today’s Top 40,” the arts council said. Although specializing as a party band, the group’s repertoire encompasses a wide variety of musical styles, including R&B, beach, motown/oldies, pop, dance, funk, and Jazz.

Admission to each show is $15, plus tax, or a Surry Arts Council Annual Pass, which costs $135, including tax. Children 12 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. The Dairy Center, Whit’s Custard, and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the amphitheatre area. Those attending are asked to bring a lounge chair or blanket to sit on.

Tickets are available at the gates on the nights of the concerts, online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org.

It must be spring — with summer not far away — because the Surry Arts Council’s popular Summer Concert Series gets underway this week.

And this year’s version is the biggest ever, with 54 shows planned from now through Sept. 22.

Legacy Motown Revue will open the series on Friday, April 29, with a showing beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Blackmon Amphitheatre, the long-time venue of the series.

The second show will be next week, when The Embers featuring Craig Woolard will take to the stage on May 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The series has been a mainstay of the local entertainment scene since its inception in 2005. Surry Arts Council Executive Director Tanya Jones has said that first year was a challenge, because many of the bands had larger cities and corporate concerts they could play, and Mount Airy’s series was new, without a history of success.

That changed quickly, and it wasn’t too many years after 2005 when Jones said many of the bands began to place Mount Airy at or near the top of their lists of favorite concert locations, even calling to see if they could get on the schedule.

Not only does the series offer an attraction for local residents, but some nights more than 100 folks travel from outside Surry County to take in a concert. Jones said there is even a shagging group in Kentucky whose members sometimes come to Mount Airy and stay on those weekends when there are three concerts spread over Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Dairy Center and Thirsty Souls Community Brewing will be at the concerts to provide food, snacks, drinks, beer, and wine for purchase. No outside alcohol or coolers are allowed to be brought into the Amphitheatre area.

Annual passes are on sale for $135 including tax. In addition to the Summer Series, the Annual Pass also includes admission to the weekly WPAQ Merry-Go-Round at the Historic Earle Theatre. Individual tickets for the Summer Series shows are $15. Children 12 and younger are admitted free at Blackmon Amphitheatre events when accompanied by guardians with tickets or an Annual Pass.

Summer Series rack cards detailing all the bands and dates are available for pick up at the Surry Arts Council, the Historic Earle Theatre, and the Andy Griffith Museum. The series may also be accessed online at www.surryarts.org.

Concerts cover a wide range of music styles including beach, Motown, Americana, soul, R&B, country and 80s tribute bands, to appeal to all listeners. Those attending are encourage to take a folding chair or blanket to sit on — although taking to one’s feet and dancing are encouraged.

For additional information on the Summer Series, contact RJ Heller at rj@surryarts.org or 336-786-7998. Annual passes and/or individual concert tickets may be purchased online www.surryarts.org or in person at the Surry Arts Council office or at the gate.

The Surry Arts Council is accepting applications for the 2022 Scholarship Programs from Surry County students.

Scholarships are available for college-bound students, current college students, and artists who are pursuing a degree or continuing education in music, drama, dance, television, film, communications, visual arts, commercial art, arts administration, or other arts-related fields. Scholarships are also available for youth who wish to attend summer art camps at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

All scholarship recipients must be Surry County residents. Applications are available online at http://surryarts.org/programs/scholarships.html or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. Staff members are available to answer questions or assist with applications. Completed applications must be received by the Surry Arts Council by Friday, May 13 at 5 pm.

Scholarships for Surry Arts Council summer youth art camps come from the Kester Sink Scholarship Fund, the Gravitte Scholarships, and other earmarked donations. Applications for summer camps are online or may be picked up in the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford or at Dr. John L Gravitte’s office at 140 North Pointe Boulevard. These scholarships do not require auditions. These applications are rolling and decisions will be made on or before May 30.

Funds for the Surry Arts Council Scholarship programs come from the Mildred Wolfe Robertson Scholarship Fund, the Sandy Beam Scholarship Fund, the Betty Lynn Scholarship Endowment, and the Jimmy Lowry Scholarship Endowment. In lieu of in-person auditions for the Scholarship programs, the Surry Arts Council Scholarship Committee will be reviewing digital auditions from all applicants. Applicants will be notified of the Surry Arts Council Scholarship Committee’s decisions by Monday, June 6. There is no digital or in-person audition requirement for summer camp applicants.

For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org

Six award-winning short films were screened at Surry Arts Council’s Historic Earle Theatre for student filmmakers, casts and crews, their families and friends, as well as the public on Tuesday.

The in-person event was hosted by Surry Arts Council staff including David Brown welcoming and presenting the awards, and RJ Heller handling projection and technical support. Brown noted the event is sponsored by Surry Arts Council fundraisers for school programs as well as a Grassroots Grant from the NC Arts Council, a Division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Each of the filmmakers whose film was screened won in one of the following various categories. In addition, Brian Hutchins, a student at UNC-Greensboro, won Best Overall for his film, “The Show Goes On.”

• “Deep Waters” written, directed, and edited by Jonathan Yamashita, home school; produced by Katie Debnam with actors Benjamin Ainsley and Sydney Tanner, director of photography David Kennedy, and boom operator Myles Wood. won Best Visual Effects.

• “Spies” directed by Charlie Johnson, J.J. Jones Intermediate School, won Best Animation.

• “The Woods” Teaser Trailer and “Knock Knock Lesson” directed by Lee Bodenhamer, Rock House Christian (home school,) won Best Cinematography and Best Director respectively.

• “The Show Goes On” directed and edited by Brian Hutchins, UNC-Greensboro, and produced by Blaise Gourley won Best Documentary.

• “Communion” directed and edited by Jonathan MacLeod-Jefferson, UNC-Greensboro, with actor James Stadler won Best Costume Design.

In addition to the awards and recognition, filmmakers were gifted two annual passes to the Surry Arts Council from Surry Arts Council Executive Director Tanya Jones as an extra thanks for their participation this year.

Students were encouraged to continue to express their vision and talent. Heller, Surry Arts Council director of operations, closed the evening by encouraging the students to get started on the submissions for next year’s screening.

For more information on school programming, movies at the Earle Theatre or volunteer opportunities for students, contact the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or email tyler@surryarts.org.

The Mount Airy Photography Club will offer a free presentation featuring Kevin Adams, at The Historic Earle Theatre at 142 North Main Street in Mount Airy on April 23,

Adams is one of North Carolina’s premier nature photographers. The presentation and workshop is entitled “365 Nights: A Yearlong Immersion into Night Photography.”

For this project, Adams took one photo for every day of the year, and at the end compiled them into a collage. In 2021, he created a different photo every night. The resulting images cover a plethora of subject matter: Closeups of household items, mobsters carrying chainsaws, Jack-O-Lanterns on fire, waterfalls, the Milky Way, and other photographic creations.

Adams says that without question, this was the most challenging and rewarding project he had tackled in his 40 years as a photographer. In his presentation, he will cover “the good and the bad,” and explain why taking on a project like this will be the best thing you can do, not only for your photography, but also for your well-being.

Adams is a naturalist, writer, teacher, and photographer who has had a lifelong love affair with nature and the outdoors. In addition to photo credits in all manner of publications, he is the author and photographer of nine books. An accomplished photography instructor, he leads photo tours and teaches numerous workshops and seminars throughout the year.

Often called the “MacGyver of Photography,” he designed and sells several unique products for night photographers. Adams lives in Waynesville with his wife, Patricia, their cat Lucy, eight chickens, and a colony of groundhogs that tear up everything and eat Patricia’s plants.

Some of Adams’ publications include books on his favorite topic—his home state of North Carolina. His nature and photography books include North Carolina Waterfalls, Wildflowers of the Southern Appalachians, Hiking Great Smokey Mountains National Park, North Carolina’s Best Wildflower Hikes, Our North Carolina, and Backroads of North Carolina. He is a regular contributor to Our State and other magazines. According to Adams, “the most rewarding aspect of my career is sharing my passion for photography and the natural world through presentations. I love to expose people to new places and techniques and see the excitement on their faces.”

This free presentation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by the Mount Airy Photography Club and supported in part by a Surry Arts Council subgrant from the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that “a great nation deserves great art.”

For more info on the photographer, visit www.kadamsphoto.com.

Creating a safe place for artists in Mount Airy was Donna Jackson’s goal, she called it a dream in her heart from God. The Blue House Art Studio was her creation and a gift to special needs artists of Mount Airy and their families.

Wendy Tatman made the announcement this week that Blue House is ceasing operations. After many years and a countless number of smiles, things happened quickly from the phone call last Thursday to the final dyeing of Easter eggs tomorrow with the result a sad one: the doors are closing on this artists’ space for good.

“We received a call from the Gilmer Smith Foundation informing us that the Blue House itself will be put up for sale,” Tatman said. “We do not yet know further details, but it seems that we will soon be displaced.”

To her students, volunteers, and supporters she broke the news as gently as possible. “This is a difficult letter to write, and it may be a difficult letter to read. Here is the bottom line first: the Blue House Art Studio is closing, and it is doing so much faster than any of us anticipated. “

“The Gilmer Smith Foundation has put the Blue House building up for sale and the Art Studio Board sees no other option other than to ‘dissolve’ our Blue House Art Studio. We had hoped to hold classes through the end of April, but the necessity of disposing of all our supplies and furniture makes that too difficult.”

“We are sad to learn the Blue House Teaching Studio will be closing. The studio has meant so much to its students and their families,” Melissa Hiatt, director of the United Fund of Surry said. “It is certainly a loss to our United Fund family.”

Founded in 2004 by Donna Jackson as a safe space for her son Ben, she told Wanda Stark in 2013 that it came to her in a dream where she saw Ben opening the door to his own gallery to welcome her in. “I woke up that morning and I told my husband ‘I now know what I have to do. God has put this dream in my heart.”

Jackson’s son John III said he heard the tales “about all of the hard work she and many others put into that place to make it shine.” He acknowledged the closure as, “The end of an era.”

“The Blue House has provided a safe haven that fostered artistic growth and nurtured their special population of students to proudly display their works of art,” Hiatt remarked. Blue House is one of the 26 member agencies which are assisted in their goals by the United Fund of Surry. “We are thankful for the years of service the Blue House has given to our community.”

Tatman said the interpersonal connections she has made over the year will be hard to replace. “Very hard, I will miss my students. I will miss the connections, and I hope we will retain those connections.” She will be hosting her students for a final picnic at her home in May, a chance to connect and remember fun times with her students.

She also is hopeful that art education need not end for the students either or hopes to work something out. “We are working with Rosie and Lee Bolin at the Groovy Gallery in hopes of arranging some art class opportunities there for any of our students who would like to try.”

In the short term though, some of the students may find they have no safe space to create and therefore may do so at home. She does not want supplies to go to waste, “All students are invited to bring a box to class and gather art supplies that you would use at home.”

The process of getting the studio out of the Blue House is a truncated one. Tatman said she in unclear of the timeframe she must exit but will rent a dumpster and hire helpers as needed to “finish this rather giant job.” Staff, volunteers, and board who wish to reclaim any items contributed over the years are welcome to take those.

Non-profit groups are subject to rules when they shut down so any specific grants issued or funds remaining when the studio closes will be given to United Fund or the Webb-Midkiff Foundation. Some specific items such as sculptures by Bill Maxwell will be offered back to their families.

The remaining sundries of the office will then be offered to the sister organizations under the umbrella of The United Fund. Tables, chairs, and even a stand-up piano will be looking for new homes with other non-profits before going to the landfill.

“It has been a joy to work with all of you and a delight to get to know you. We all treasure the friendships and memories we have made together,” Tatman said in the letter to students.

“On behalf of our founder, Donna Jackson, and all the teachers and board members and volunteers who have worked at Blue House Art Studio and Gallery Group over the years, we thank you for your amazing support and help and belief in our vision.”

Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer return to the Historic Earle Theatre with their Unique Sound of the Mountains show on Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m.

Larry Sigmon was born in Callaway, Virginia. His father, Lewis Eldridge Sigmon, was a locally beloved banjo and fiddle player. Larry Sigmon taught himself harmonica as a child and then moved to guitar, learning to play by backing up his father. When he took up the banjo at 15, it became his main instrument, and he developed a signature hard-driving, rhythmic style.

The younger Sigmon’s first band was the Sugar Hill Ramblers, a six-piece group that performed old-time tunes and old country numbers for six years. He went on to play stints with Carl Scott and Richard Bowman until the late 1980s when he met bassist Barbara Poole at a local fiddlers’ convention.

He and Poole began performing together, winning countless ribbons in banjo, bass, and folk song competitions and playing at festivals, dances, and other concert venues. Their sound was so distinctive with just the banjo, bass, and Sigmon’s distinct singing, they became known as the “Unique Sound,” and gained a dedicated local following, particularly among flatfoot dancers.

The two drew upon a repertoire of old-time and bluegrass songs from Charlie Poole to Jimmy Martin and Bill Monroe, making songs their own through Sigmon’s strong vocals and Poole’s double-slap bass. Throughout their 18-year career, the duo performed at the Carter Family Fold, the Grand Ole Opry, and mountain music festivals throughout the South, becoming one of the most popular bands in the Blue Ridge Mountains until Poole passed away in 2008 after a long struggle with cancer.

Sigmon had quit performing until old-time musician and advocate Martha Spencer arrived to interview him for her online documentary project, Mountain Music Magazine. Like Sigmon, Spencer was raised in a musical family, the daughter of acclaimed old-time musicians Thornton and Emily Spencer and a longtime member of their family group, the Whitetop Mountain Band.

During their interview, she encouraged Sigmon to play some tunes, joining him on bass and playing Poole’s signature spirited double-slap style. The two took to each other immediately, and the “Unique Sound” was reborn.

This performance at the Historic Earle Theatre is part of the Surry Art Council’s Blue Ridge and Beyond Series. Tickets are $12 per person. For additional information or tickets, visit www.surryarts.org, call 336-786-7998, or email marianna@surryarts.org.

Auditions for the Surry Arts Council’s production of Little Women directed by Shelby Coleman are being held today, March 30 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

• Sing an approximately 32-bar cut from a musical theater piece in the style of the show;

• Be prepared to read sides with other auditionees.

Video auditions are available for those who cannot make it in person. Send a video of a 32- to 62-bar cut of a musical theater piece and a 30- to 60-second monologue to shelby@surryarts.org by 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

The public performances will be on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m.

Little Women is based on the American classic by Louisa May Alcott. This timeless, captivating story is brought to life in this musical filled with personal discovery, heartache, hope and everlasting love.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested – her friend, Professor Bhaer, tells her that she has to do better and write more from herself. Begrudgingly taking this advice, Jo weaves the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.

For additional information, contact Shelby Coleman at 336-786-7998 or shelby@surryarts.org. Tickets for the shows are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street.

Folks often enjoy hiking wilderness trails — a chance for some exercise while getting away from the modern world, clearing their head, simply communing with nature.

Sharon Short uses such sojourns to plan murders. Or at least germinate a few deathly ideas she might put into practice.

No, Short is not a serial killer. She’s better known to many people as Jess Montgomery, author of The Kinship murder mystery series.

Short is scheduled to be in Mount Airy on April 2 for an author meet and greet at Mount Airy Public Library, where she’ll be discussing her latest novel — The Echoes — which is the fourth novel in The Kinship series.

The series is not her first foray into the world of novel writing and publishing.

“My first published novel came out 30 years ago,” she said. It was a three-part series known as The Patricia Delaney eGumshoe Electronic mystery series.

“She (Patricia Delaney) was a woman who used computers to solve crime. It was very high tech at the time, now it would read historical,” she said with a laugh.

She has since penned the six-part Josie Toadfern Stain-Busting humorous mystery series about a laundromat owner and stain-removal expert who happens to solve crimes, along with stand-alone novels, poetry, and a collection of her columns.

Even before her first novel, Short was a writer and journalist and, she said, one in a long line of story tellers, having grown up with parents, grandparents, and extended family who all loved to weave tales for whoever would listen.

“I’ve been a writer essentially my whole life, since I could write as a little girl,” she recalled recently when talking about her career and her impending visit to Mount Airy.

After earning a bachelor of arts degree in English from Wright State University and a master of arts degree from Bowling Green State University, she spent ten years writing a weekly humor and lifestyle column for The Dayton Daily News. She still writes for the paper as a literary life columnist, and pens a regular column for Writer’s Digest called Level Up Your Writing.

But it is storytelling that she loves, though she struggled early on to find her place in the literary world.

“In my 20s, I tried my hand at writing a romance novel.” At the time, the romance genre was hot, filling the best-seller lists, but she said she struggled. Then came what she calls her “light bulb moment.”

She was sitting with a collection of mystery novels she was getting from the local library when her husband shared an observation.

“You’re writing a romance novel, but the only thing you’re reading is mystery novels. That seems to be what you are most drawn to as a reader.”

That, Short said, changed her life. She set to work penning a mystery novel. Once completed, she attended the Antioch Writers Workshop in Yellowstone, Ohio. There, a young Sue Grafton — just before she hit the best seller list with her Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series, gave Short a detailed critique of the first few chapters of her work.

“She was great, she was just such a good teacher, she reviewed the book I had worked on, the opening pages. She told me it had a good plot, the characters were interesting, but she said ‘You haven’t really done as much research as you need to in police procedure and your dialogue is a bit stilted.’”

Getting encouragement, as well as detailed pointers on where she needed improvement, from someone already with a few publishing credits under her belt was the final push for Short. While that first novel was never published — she said it was more of a learning experience — she soon published her first Patricia Delaney novel, and has been publishing ever since.

Her latest work, The Kinship Series, had its genesis when she and her husband were getting ready to go on a hike with her youngest daughter.

“She majored in outdoor education. She likes to do outdoor things, so we were going to visit her, do some hiking. I started doing some research on that part of the state, hikes that would be interesting to her and doable for us.”

In doing that research, she stumbled across the real-life accounts of a woman named Maude Collins, who in 1925 became the first female sheriff in Ohio history. She inherited the post when her husband, Fletcher, was killed in the line of duty. A year later, however, she ran for re-election and won.

“There have only been five female sheriffs in the state’s history,” she said, with the next one not winning the office until 1976. It wasn’t until after the turn of the 21st century that another would take the office in one of the state’s 88 counties.

“I found that really remarkable, that she was able to win election. My imagination was inspired. I wondered what if Maude didn’t know who killed her husband?” While the killer of the real-life Fletcher Collins was well-known at the time, Short said the idea of the mystery of solving such a crime took root and grew in her imagination into the Kinship series.

She said during her library visit she will be making a more detailed presentation on the series, with particular emphasis on the fourth installment, which is set to be released March 29. She said she would be glad to take questions from the audience, both on the series and about writing in general.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to chatting with readers and meeting the good folks of Mount Airy.”

More information on Short and her Kinship series can be found at https://jessmontgomeryauthor.com/ Her talk at the local library is scheduled for April 2 at 11 a.m.

The Surry Arts Players community theater will be performing Seussical JR. this Saturday and Sunday at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Shows on both days are at 3 p.m. This Junior show directed by Shelby Coleman is filled with Dr. Seuss classics, and more than 700 students in area schools will see the production on Monday.

Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, and all of the favorite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in Seussical JR., a fantastical musical extravaganza from Tony-winners, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

Transporting audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus, the Cat in the Hat, our narrator, tells the story of Horton, an elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos, including Jojo, a Who child, who gets in trouble for thinking too many “thinks.”

Horton’s challenge is twofold — not only must he protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

The production stars Mason St. Angelo as Jojo, Django Burgess as The Cat in the Hat, Max Barnard as Horton the Elephant, Walker York as Mr. Mayor, Gracie St. Angelo as Mrs. Mayor, Lilly Ruth Beck as Gertrude McFuzz, Raegan Amos as Mayzie La Bird, Hannah Hiatt as Sour Kangaroo, and Maddie Youell as Young Kangaroo. Coleman is grateful to the parents who supported their children in this production that has more than 50 cast members.

Additional cast includes Thomas Holladay, Kori Hawks, Morgan Shipley, Tanner Price, Kinston Nichols, and Judy Adams as Wickersham Brothers; Lydia Beck, Maggie Wallace, Zinnia Burgess, Reese Cox, and Abbie Schuyler as Bird Girls; Noah Wilkes as Vlad Vladikof; Noah Petree as The Grinch; Brooke Nichols as Thing 1; Chloe Lawson as Thing 2; Matthew Adams as Elephant Bird; Kaitlyn Holladay, Ashton Freeman, Remi Devore, and Anne Rachel Sheppard as Featured Dancers; Claire Youell, Evelyn Casstevens, Noelle Snow, Ellie Kniskern, Chloe Vinson and Sidney Barker as Jungle Citizens; Genevieve Quinn, Makenna Wall, Avery Leonard, Owen Leonard, Lorena Arroyo, Ellyzabeth Rojas, Sidney Petree, Sierra Nichols, Catherine Douglas, Atticus Hawks, Prim Hawks, Kaitlyn Holladay, MaKenna Holladay, Anderson Holladay, and Samuel Holladay as Who Citizens.

Serving on the production crew is Coleman as director and choreographer, Music Director Darrell Beck, Stage Manager Lori Beck, Technical Director and Setbuilding Tyler Matanick, and Stage Crew Revonda Petree, Isabel Cowan, Patrick McDaniel, and Jordan Dover. Others assisting with design and setbuilding included Johannes Arnold and Bruce Burgess. Others helping with costumes include Amanda Barnard and Khristie Petree.

Performances are on Saturday, March 26 and Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m. in the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Tickets are $15-20. Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org.

After a two-year absence induced by the COVID pandemic, VOCE — a choral ensemble — will return to performances in 2022.

“Our name, VOCE, means voice,” the group said in a press release. “If you love to sing, if you love to sing with others, if you would love to take your singing to a whole new level, then please join us.”

VOCE will begin rehearsals for a modified spring/summer concert on March 21 at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Dobson.

“This season will be different for us all as we have had to adapt to a new way of life and learn to protect each other over the past two years, but the love of music is still with each of us,” the group’s statement read. “We look forward to making music and sharing it with you, our community. We will abide by the pandemic guidelines established by the VOCE Board of Directors during our early meetings, with future modifications as the COVID outlook changes.”

For more information, call 336-789-2035, visit the group on Facebook, or visit its website at vocemtairy.org.

Sons of Mystro will perform at the Historic Earle Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The violin duo will have two performances, one daytime performance for more than 425 local students and an evening performance open to the public.

Born in South Florida to a Jamaican father and Barbadian mother, Malcolm, 23, and his 20-year-old brother Umoja learned to play violin through South Florida’s public school system and attended Dillard High School for the Performing Arts.

Together, these brothers are Sons of Mystro. They use their violins to interpret reggae classics, American pop songs, and their own creations accompanied by a DJ and a drummer. They are winners of the Emerging Artist under 21yrs Old award at International Reggae and World Music Awards. Their debut recording, “Reggae Strings” is available wherever music is streamed or sold. Mentored by the classical meets hip hop duo, Black Violin, these artists’ stars are on the rise.

Sons of Mystro has played at many festivals and events, including The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, Legends Easter Fest, One Love Reggae Fest, Reggae Dancehall Awards, Sunfest, and the annual Jazz in the Gardens. They’ve graced the same stage with reggae, dancehall, and R&B veterans such as Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Dobby Dobson, Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul, Fantasia Barrino, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The performances are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Tickets are $10-$15 per person. For additional information or tickets, visit www.surryarts.org, call 336-786-7998, or email Marianna Juliana at marianna@surryarts.org.

Nearly two dozen individuals and bands competed in the recent Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition was held at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre.

All totalled, there were 19 separate entrants, coming from as far away as Taylorsville and Boones Mill, Virginia. The youth competed in two age levels: 5-12 and 13-18 with categories for both age groups in fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, vocal, dance, and other (which includes all other instruments and bands).

The Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition was sponsored in part by a TAPS grant from the Folklife Division of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

First place: Cheyenne Grantham of Boones Mill

Second place: Hunter Hiatt of State Road

Third place: Sam Wilkerson of Thurmond

Third place: Sylvie Davis of Leicester

First place: Wyatt Grantham of Boones Mill

Second place: Everly Davis of Leicester

First place: Judah Davis of Leicester

First place: Gatlynn Grantham of Boones Mill

First place: Maggie Wilkerson of Thurmond

First place: Josiah Wilkerson of Thurmond, Bluegrass Banjo

Second place: Emme Davis of Leicester, Mandolin

First place: Neely Sizemore of Elkin

First place: Bayla Davis of Leicester

Second place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville

First place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville

First place: Candace Noah of Dobson

Second place: Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain

First place: Jackson Dunning of Pilot Mountain

Second place: Bayla Davis of Leicester

Third place: Robbie Herman of Taylorsville

Third place: Neely Sizemore of Elkin

First place: Candace Noah of Dobson, Bluegrass Banjo

Second place: Natalie Sizemore of Elkin, Mandolin

First place: Highway 268 featuring Darrius Flowers of Pilot Mountain, Neely Sizemore of Elkin, Natalie Sizemore of Elkin, and Jackson Dunning of Pilot Mountain;

Second place: Grantham Family featuring Cheyenne Grantham, Wyatt Grantham, Gatlynn Grantham of Boones Mill;

Second place: Wilkerson Family featuring Sam Wilkerson, Josiah Wilkerson, Maggie Wilkerson, and Silas Wilkerson of Thurmond;

Third place: Davis Family featuring Bayla Davis, Sylvie Davis, Judah Davis, and Emme Davis of Leicester.

More than 200 area people turned out for the annual Surry Arts Council Arts Ball at Cross Creek Country Club on Feb. 18, showing their support for the arts and helping the council pursue a goal of raising $25,000 at the event to fund art programs in area schools.

The gathering featured a Mardi Gras theme that was incorporated through table decorations, booklets, and the silent auction.

“The Surry Arts Council is grateful to Airmont Florist, Cana Mount Airy Florist, and Creative Design Flowers who worked tirelessly to provide elegant centerpieces for the evening,” the agency’s officials said.

The guests enjoyed a seated dinner, live music, and dancing with The Band of Oz, and a silent auction with more than 400 donated items.

“The staff at Cross Creek Country Club went above and beyond with passed hors d’oeuvres and soup followed by a seated dinner featuring filet and salmon with key lime parfait and tiramisu for dessert,” council officials said.

Those who attended the celebration had a chance to meet and speak with local school administrators, who were on hand to greet guests. Dr. DeAnne Danley served as the liaison for Surry County Schools, and Dr. Phillip Brown and Mandy Brown represented the Mount Airy City Schools.

Melissa Sumner coordinated the Arts Ball and worked with Surry Arts Council Board members, school personnel, and volunteers to organize the event, sell tickets and ensure the arts remain a part of area school programming in 25 schools. The auction was successful with items ranging from tickets and gift cards to household items, purses, and jewelry.

This year, thousands of students have already enjoyed arts programming provided by the fundraising from the Arts Ball. In addition to directly paying for arts programs, the Arts Ball proceeds leverage grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and South Arts.

The TAPS grant provides support for several hundred students to have a hands-on experience with traditional stringed instruments. Jim Vipperman spends a week in each of three schools introducing students to fiddles, guitars, and Surry County’s traditional music heritage. Students are then able to attend the weekly free year-round lessons at the Historic Earle Theatre every Thursday afternoon if they wish to continue lessons.

Other cultural arts programs provided during the current year include two school performances of “The Nutcracker,” performed by Ballet for Young Audiences, two performances of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” performed by the Surry Arts Players at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, and three performances of “Pout-Pout Fish,” performed by Theatreworks USA, a professional touring company.

Additional programs include “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Have You Filled A Bucket Today,” productions from Virginia Repertory Theatre; two performances of Seussical Jr will be performed by the Surry Arts Players; two musical performances by Sons of Mystro that are funded in part by a grant from South Arts; Mike Wiley will be featured in four performances of “Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart;” along with multiple monthly free movies and additional programs that target students with special needs that are sponsored in part by the United Fund of Surry coupled with Surry Arts Council support.

The Surry Arts Film Festival for Surry County High School and Surry Community College Students will again be hosted at the Earle Theatre and students will have the opportunity to see their work shown in a movie theatre setting.

Arts programs funded by the Arts Ball result in more than 15,000 student contacts during this school year. Students receive free arts programs in their own schools and have the opportunity to bus to the Blackmon Amphitheatre, the Historic Earle Theatre, and the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Students also have field trips to the Andy Griffith Museum, the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, and the Siamese Twins Exhibit at no cost. These field trips include guided tours, scavenger hunts, and music.

The Surry Arts Council provides its venues to the schools for holiday and year-end choral and band programs at no cost to the schools. The Surry Arts Council also works with schools to host interns and provide art instruction in both in-school and after-school programs and many other partnerships.

For additional information, contact melissa@surryarts.org. To view additional photos of the event, visit www.surryarts.org.

An African drum and dance workshop will be held in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre on Saturday, March 19. The workshop will begin with drumming at 1 p.m. followed by an African dance workshop at 2:15 p.m. The workshops are free for all ages and are limited to 30 participants per session.

Tam Tam Mandingue of Winston-Salem will be providing 30 drums at each workshop. With an authentic imported drum for every participant, these education programs immerse participants in both the music and dance of West Africa.

Participants learn rhythms and songs that represent the traditions of several African ethnic groups, then learn dances that historically accompany the musical selections. Strong emphasis is placed on the traditional West African values of respect, community, and teamwork. Living Rhythms workshops broaden participants’ understanding of our increasingly interdependent world, and encourage them to embrace a life of critical thinking.

The African drumming and dance workshops are sponsored in part by the African American Historical and Genealogical Society with funding from a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

Contact Marie Nicholson at mariejnic@hotmail.com or RJ Heller at rj@surryarts.org with questions, to participate, or for more information.

The screening of “You Gave Me A Song,” a film about Alice Gerrard, will be held on Friday in Mount Airy.

The film offers an intimate portrait of old-time music pioneer Alice Gerrard and her remarkable, unpredictable journey creating and preserving traditional music. A Q&A session with Director Kenny Dalsheimer and Gerrard will follow the film. A short performance by Gerrard accompanied by Tatiana Hargreaves and Reed Stutz will start after the Q&A.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.

Gerrard is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Dickens and Gerrard as an important early inspiration.

Gerrard’s two solo albums, Pieces of My Heart, and Calling Me Home, were released on the Copper Creek label in 1995 and 2004, respectively, to critical acclaim in Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country, and other publications. These superb recordings showcase Gerrard’s many talents: her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals; and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo, and old-time fiddle.

As a musician, Gerrard has appeared on more than 20 recordings, including projects with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, and Matokie Slaughter; as an expert with in-depth knowledge of mountain music, she has produced or written liner notes for a dozen more. She also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films.

A tireless advocate of traditional music, Gerrard has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award.

In 1987 Gerrard founded the Old-Time Herald and the Old-Time Music Group, a non-profit organization that oversees the publication of The Old-Time Herald. She served as editor-in-chief of The Old-Time Herald from 1987 till 2003.

Gerrard performs and tours regularly with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad & Alice. When she can, she performs with the Herald Angels and the Harmony Sisters, and very occasionally with Dickens. Along with Mark Weems, she has recently formed the Weems Gerrard Band, a local band that specializes in country/honky tonk and original material. She continues to perform, teach, and document and can be found most afternoons at the dog park with her beloved pit bull, Polly.

Over the past decade, Tatiana Hargreaves has been at the forefront of an up-and-coming generation of old-time, bluegrass, and new acoustic musicians. From placing first at the Clifftop Appalachian Fiddle Contest to her bluegrass fiddling on Laurie Lewis’ Grammy-nominated album The Hazel And Alice Sessions, Hargreaves shows a musical fluency that flows between old-time and bluegrass worlds with ease. She has toured with musicians such as Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, and Jake Blount. She currently tours with banjo extraordinaire Allison de Groot and teaches bluegrass fiddle at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Reed Stutz brings instrumental fluency and a unique voice to string band music, artfully complementing whatever music he is a part of. As a mandolin player, multi-instrumentalist and singer, he has performed around the country with musicians including Alice Gerrard & Tatiana Hargreaves, Bella White, Bruce Molsky & Allison de Groot, and George Jackson, playing at festivals such as Grey Fox, IBMA World of Bluegrass, Porch Pride, and Old Tone Roots Music Festival. His mandolin playing and singing can be heard all over Bella White’s acclaimed debut album “Just Like Leaving” on Rounder Records, and he appears on Joe Troop’s album “Borrowed Time.”

The film screening and short performance is free and open to the public. It will take place at the Historic Earle Theatre on Friday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. For additional information, visit www.surryarts.org, call the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998, or email Marianna Juliana at marianna@surryarts.org. This film and this event are made possible in part through support from Presenting Sponsor The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as part of their “She Changed the World: NC Women Breaking Barriers” and “Come Hear NC” programs.

The annual Tommy Jarrell celebration — to commemorate the life and music of the influential local musician, is set for Feb. 24-Feb. 26 at the Historic Earle Theatre in Mount Airy.

The celebration includes concerts, a youth competition, workshops, and a film screening. The popular festival has something for every old-time music lover. The yearly event celebrates the music and teachings of Surry County native and old-time music pioneer and icon, Tommy Jarrell, who lived from March 1, 1901 to Jan. 28, 1985.

Many of the activities are scheduled at the Old-Time Music Heritage Hall at the Historic Earle Theatre at 142 North Main Street.

On Thursday, Feb. 24 there are free youth lessons. Flatfoot dance is at 4:30 p.m., fiddle lessons are at 5:30 p.m., followed by guitar, banjo, and mandolin lessons at 6:15 p.m. The music lessons are taught by Jim Vipperman, Brown-Hudson Folklore Award recipient as a traditional musician and teacher. These lessons are sponsored in part by a TAPS grant from the Folklife Division of the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The Southeast Sirens Tour will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The tour is presented by The Surry Arts Council and Pine State Marketing and features Caitlin Krisko & The Broadcast and Abby Bryant & The Echoes. Tickets are $15.

Friday at 7 p.m. is the free screening of “You Gave Me A Song,” a film about Alice Gerrard. The film offers an intimate portrait of old-time music pioneer Alice Gerrard and her remarkable, unpredictable journey creating and preserving traditional music. A question and answer session with Director Kenny Dalsheimer and Gerrard will follow the film.

A short performance by Gerrard accompanied by Tatiana Hargreaves and Reed Stutz will follow the Q&A. This film and event are made possible in part through vital support from Presenting Sponsor The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources as part of their “She Changed the World: NC Women Breaking Barriers” and “Come Hear NC” programs.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Gerrard has made an indelible mark on the history of traditional music. Her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder) and influenced scores of young women singers. Her subsequent four solo albums including Bittersweet, produced by Laurie Lewis, and Follow the Music, produced by Mike Taylor of His Golden Messenger — further showcased Gerrard’s many talents: her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals, and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo, and old-time fiddle. Gerrard’s 2015 album, Follow the Music was nominated for a Grammy. Her most recent release, Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-1969 on Free Dirt Records, has found critical acclaim for its intimate peek into previously unheard Hazel and Alice practice tapes.

Gerrard has appeared on more than 20 recordings, including projects with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, Luther Davis, and Matokie Slaughter; with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad & Alice, with the Harmony Sisters, the Herald Angels, Beverly Smith, and with Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle.

Old-Time workshops are on Saturday from 1:30-5:00 p.m. at the Earle. The workshops are $25 per person and participants may register online www.surryarts.org or rj@surryarts.org or call 336-786-7998. Through classes, presentations, workshops, and performances participants will learn from some of the most esteemed and respected musicians in the field: Chester McMillian, Martha Spencer, and Emily Spencer.

The workshops will take place in the Historic Earle Theatre and will include fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, singing, and dancing – whatever participants want to learn. Martha Spencer is a singer-songwriter, mountain musician, and dancer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She grew up in the musical Spencer family and learned to play several instruments (guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, mandolin) and flatfoot/clog at a young age. She has played shows, festivals, and led workshops across the US, Australia, UK, and Europe. She just released a solo album and has been included in articles such as Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Wide Open Country, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Americana Highways, and PopMatters.

Emily Spencer is a certified PK-12 teacher and has taught fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and bass in the schools and at Wilkes Community College and Wytheville Community College. Since childhood, she has played music and started playing with the Whitetop Mountain Band in the 1970s with Thornton Spencer and continues with the band today.

Chester McMillian was born in Carroll County, Virginia, into a musical family and community. He has played traditional Old-time Round Peak style music since childhood. By the time he was 11 or 12 years old, he was living in Surry County and taking an active part in the Round Peak music community. In 1962, Chester married into Dix Freeman’s family, and the two began playing a lot of music together. Chester played guitar with Tommy Jarrell for fifteen years, and he developed his guitar style specifically to play with Tommy. He has also played and recorded with Dix Freeman, Kirk Sutphin, and Greg Hooven, with whom he founded the group Backstep.

On Saturday the WPAQ Merry-Go-Round starts at 11 a.m. with workshop instructors and participants followed by bands including Grace ‘N Grass.

Lew Bode and Jim Vipperman will preside over the Tommy Jarrell Festival Youth Competition on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre below the Andy Griffith Museum. Categories include fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, vocal, dance, and other (which includes all other instruments and bands), in two age levels: 5-12 and 13-18. Contestants will have three minutes to perform and can have one accompanist, though no recorded backup is permitted. Contestants may register at the event, there is no fee for competing, and trophies are awarded following the competition.

Whitetop Mountain Band will take the stage on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the Tommy Jarrell Birthday Concert and Dance, hosted by Lew Bode. The Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Known for their high energy and charisma on stage, Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have performed at all sorts of venues throughout the United States and abroad including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Folklife Festival, World Music Institute, Carter Family Festival, Dock Boggs Festival, World Fair, Virginia Arts Festival, Floyd Fest, Ola Belle Reed Festival, and Merlefest. Tickets are $10.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.surryarts.org or call the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998. Tickets can also be purchased at the door before each show if they are available. Select Tommy Jarrell Festival events are supported in part by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The Surry Arts Council kicked off its 2022 Fund Drive last week, showing off many of the events the council has planned for the coming year, along with setting its fund drive goal for 2022.

Board members, staff, volunteers, and members of the community gathered at the Andy Griffith Playhouse for the kickoff, admiring a new rack card that was front and center — featuring the 54 2022 summer series concerts. Photos of Surry Arts Council programs were shown on a screen in the Andy Griffith Playhouse lobby for attendees to enjoy.

Brian Royster, president of the Surry Arts Council Board of Directors, reviewed the Surry Arts Council’s successes during the challenges and uncertainties of 2020 and 2021. As many doors closed, the Surry Arts Council figured out ways to open new ones. Venues have all reopened and the priority remains keeping the community safe while keeping everyone engaged with the arts. Royster shared that the Surry Arts Council is excited about what the future holds. He thanked all those who have already made donations.

Will Sheppard, Surry Arts Council held prayer for the meeting, utilizing the prayer as an illustration of how arts connects with the lives of individuals. He emphasized strength, wisdom, and faith along with the need to pray for teachers, leaders – both local and national — and the weak.

Sheppard acknowledged the role of supporters, parents, grandparents, kids, teachers and programmers noting that arts can bring beauty and peace during challenging times. He emphasized the importance of the success of the fund drive to ensure that the arts remain a part of the community. He encouraged members to share the Surry Arts Council story with others.

Nicole Harrison, 2022 fund drive co-chairman and Surry Arts Council board vice president, gave an overview of the past year and the programs that are in progress and upcoming. She noted that the council already has more than $90,000 of its $175,000 raised. She focused on the many upcoming programs that are planned and her hopes for another safe year of arts programming.

Harrison announced that the summer amphitheatre series is scheduled to kick off on April 29 with Legacy Motown Revue. The 54-concert series is the largest ever. She shared that the Arts Alive theme this year is “Reach for the Stars” and that participants will focus on learning constellations and associated mythology while enjoying arts activities.

Arts Alive will once again kick off the Surry Arts Council summer weekly camp series on June 6. Harrison shared that she was a child of the Surry Arts Council participating in dance, Arts Alive, and plays while growing up. She said now, her daughters are participating and she is honored to work with the Surry Arts Council to keep arts programming alive for her children and for our community.

Harrison pointed out that the council’s dance program, led by Shelby Coleman, has more than 100 dancers enrolled who attend weekly classes. They are working in preparation for the May recital. She pointed out that the Andy Griffith Museum continues to thrive and that there were more than 40,000 guests during the first seven months of 2021-2022. Daily guided behind the scenes tours of the Andy Griffith Playhouse have continued to be popular with visitors.

Tyler Matanick, technical director, has started a theater boot camp and he is also teaching voice lessons. Harrison emphasized the quality of life and economic impact of the arts. She noted the fact that many have stated that the in-person programming has been an important for their family’s emotional health during the pandemic. She shared that upcoming programming includes the Arts Ball o Feb. 18 featuring Band of Oz at Cross Creek Country Club. All the proceeds from this event support free cultural arts programs for 25 area schools. She reviewed some of the school programming that has already touched thousands of students.

The Surry Arts Council and Pine State Marketing are presenting “Sirens of the Southeast Tour” that will feature Abby Bryant & The Echoes, and Caitlin Krisko & The Broadcast at the Earle Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 24. On Feb. 25, Alice Gerrard, old-time music icon, will host a free showing of the film “You Gave Me A Song” at the Earle at 7 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session and a short set of live music.

The Tommy Jarrell Concert on Saturday, Feb. 26 will be hosted by Lew Bode and will feature the Whitetop Mountain Band. Martha and Emily Spencer, and Chester McMillian will lead old-time workshops in the afternoon and Lew Bode will assist Jim Vipperman with the annual Tommy Jarrell Youth Competition at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre. The Earle is showing first run movies with “Marry Me” starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson running through Sunday, Feb. 20.

High energy drumming and dance workshops will be held in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre beginning on Feb. 19 in association with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society. These will be held monthly through May.

The Surry Arts Council is working with area high schools on the upcoming Film Festival. Student entries will be shown on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Earle to the filmmakers and friends and family.

Tanya Jones, Surry Arts Council executive director, closed the kick-off by introducing staff and thanking staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters for their hard work and creative solutions to the challenges of the past two years. The Surry Arts Council oversees programs at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, the Historic Earle Theatre and Old-Time Music Heritage Hall, the Andy Griffith Museum, the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, and the Blackmon Amphitheatre.

Membership, giving opportunities, ticket purchases and program information are available online www.surryarts.org or by calling 336-786-7998 or emailing rj@surryarts.org. Movie information can be accessed by calling 336-786-2222. Pledges and contributions may be made online or by mailing checks or pledges directly to the Surry Arts Council, PO Box 141, Mount Airy, NC.

The Surry Arts Council is celebrating Black History with Living Rhythms African drumming and dance workshops in conjunction with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society; the Earle Theatre will be showing King Richard; Mike Wiley will be performing in five area schools with his show entitled Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart; Sons of Mystro will be performing for students at the Earle and will also be performing in the evening for the public on Thursday, March 17.

The arts council will be joining with the African American Historical and Genealogical Society again in April to provide a one-hour drumming and dance interactive performance at the Multicultural Festival on Market Street.

The African drumming and dance workshops are sponsored in part by the African American Historical and Genealogical Society with funding from a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

These programs will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19, March 19, April 16, and May 21. Each workshop will begin with drumming at 1 p.m. followed by an African dance workshop at 2:15 p.m. in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre on the lower level of the Andy Griffith Museum. The workshops are free for all ages and are limited to 30 participants per session.

Tam Tam Mandingue of Winston-Salem will be providing 30 drums at each workshop. With an authentic imported drum for each participant, these education programs immerse participants in both the music and dance of West Africa. Participants learn rhythms and songs that represent the traditions of several African ethnic groups, then learn dances that historically accompany the musical selections.

Strong emphasis is placed on the traditional West African values of respect, community, and teamwork. Living Rhythms workshops broaden participants’ understanding of our increasingly interdependent world, and encourage them to embrace a life of critical thinking.

On May 28, a dance workshop will close out the series. In addition, a one-hour interactive performance will be held at 5 p.m. on April 28 at the Multicultural Festival on Market Street. Contact Marie Nicholson at mariejnic@hotmail.com or RJ Heller at rj@surryarts.org with questions, to register/participate, or for more information.

The celebration continues Wednesday, March 2 and Thursday, March 3 with performances by Mike Wiley. Wiley’s play chronicles the life of Jackie Robinson. Acclaimed actor and playwright Mike Wiley has spent the past decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre to young audiences and communities across the country.

In the early days of his career, Wiley found few theatrical resources to shine a light on key events and figures in African-American history. To bring these stories to life, he started his own production company. Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the African American legends.

Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has also appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.

The finale will be a performance by Sons of Mystro on Thursday, March 17 at the Historic Earle Theatre. The violin duo will have two performances, one daytime performance for local students and an evening performance open to the public.

Born in South Florida to a Jamaican father and Barbadian mother, Malcolm, 23, and his 20-year-old brother Umoja learned to play violin through South Florida’s public school system and attended Dillard High School for the Performing Arts. Together, these brothers are Sons of Mystro. They use their violins to interpret reggae classics, American pop songs, and their own creations accompanied by a DJ and a drummer.

They are winners of the Emerging Artist under 21 years of age award by the International Reggae and World Music Awards. Their debut recording, “Reggae Strings” is available wherever music is streamed or sold. Mentored by the classical meets hip hop duo Black Violin, these artists’ stars are on the rise. Sons of Mystro has played at many festivals and events, including The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, Legends Easter Fest, One Love Reggae Fest, Reggae Dancehall Awards, Sunfest, and the annual Jazz in the Gardens. They’ve graced the same stage with reggae, dancehall, and R&B veterans such as Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Dobby Dobson, Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul, Fantasia Barrino, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The performances are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Tickets are $10-$15 per person for the public show.

For additional information or tickets visit www.surryarts.org, call 336-786-7998, or email rj@surryarts.org.

Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush, along with his band, will return to the Historic Earle Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 12, in a show set to begin at 7:30 pm. The show is part of the Surry Arts Council’s Blue Ridge and Beyond Series. The Earle is the halfway point on Bush’s 2022 tour with 28 dates spanning through September.

An originator of the progressive bluegrass movement, often called the “Father of Newgrass,” and member of the ground-breaking band New Grass Revival, Bush is an International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame member, four-time Mandolin Player of the Year, and a multi-Grammy winner.

Bush first came to acclaim as a teen fiddler, when he was a three-time national champion in the junior division of the National Old-time Fiddler’s Contest. He recorded an instrumental album, Poor Richard’s Almanac as a high school senior and in the spring of 1970 attended the Fiddlers Convention in Union Grove. There he heard the New Deal String Band, taking notice of their rock-inspired brand of progressive bluegrass.

Bush joined Ebo Walker and Lonnie Peerce in the Bluegrass Alliance. Bush played guitar in the group, then began playing mandolin after recruiting guitarist Tony Rice to the fold. Following a fallout with Peerce in 1971, Bush and the remaining band members formed the New Grass Revival, issuing the band’s debut album the same year. Walker left soon after, replaced temporarily by Butch Robins, with the quartet solidifying around the arrival of bassist John Cowan.

New Grass Revival was hired by Leon Russell as his supporting act on his 1973 tour, issued five albums in their first seven years, and eventually became Leon Russell’s backing band. New Grass Revival reached new heights with a three-record contract with Capitol Records and a conscious turn to the country market but at their pinnacle called it quits. Bush then worked the next several years with Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers, Lyle Lovett, and toured with the Flecktones.

After a quarter-century of making music with New Grass Revival and collaborating with other bands, Bush went solo. He has released seven albums and a live DVD over the past two decades. In 2009, the Americana Music Association awarded Bush the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist.

“With this band I have now I am free to try anything. Looking back at the last 50 years of playing newgrass, with the elements of jazz improvisation and rock and roll, jamming, playing with New Grass Revival, Leon, and Emmylou; it’s a culmination of all of that,” said Bush. “I can unapologetically stand onstage and feel I’m representing those songs well.”

Tickets for the Feb. 12 show in Mount Airy are $55-$80 and are available online at www.surryarts.org, via phone at 336-786-7998, or at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street. For additional information, call the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998 or contact marianna@surryarts.org.

Balsam Range will be performing in Mount Airy later this month as part of the Blue Ridge and Beyond Series, with a concert scheduled for Jan. 22 at the Historic Earle Theatre.

The 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range has become one of the genre’s most award-winning acts. Since forming in 2007, the group has garnered 13 IBMA awards on the heels of eight critically-acclaimed albums. Balsam Range has left audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals from coast-to-coast, selling out venues across the nation and has made multiple appearances at the Grand Ole Opry.

In addition to winning Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range vocalist Buddy Melton won IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year and bass player Tim Surrett won IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year in 2018.

Melton performs on the fiddle and lead and tenor vocals; Darren Nicholson plays mandolin, octave mandolin, and sings lead vocals, baritone and low tenor vocals; Dr. Marc Pruett plays banjo; Surrett plays bass and dobro, and sings baritone and lead vocals; and Caleb Smith plays guitar and performs lead and baritone vocals. The five original members are all acoustic musicians and singers from western North Carolina. They adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surrounds part of their home county of Haywood where the Great Smoky Mountains meet the Blue Ridge, the Great Balsam Range.

The concert is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Additional concerts planned for the Blue Ridge and Beyond Series include Sam Bush on Feb. 12, Dailey and Vincent on March 12, and The Lonesome River Band on April 30. Martha and Emily Spencer along with Chester McMillian will host old-time workshops during the Tommy Jarrell Celebration and Whitetop Mountain Band will be the featured band at the dance on Feb. 26.

Tickets for the Balsam Range performance are $55 Preferred, $50 Orchestra, and $40 Balcony, and can be purchased online at www.surryarts.org, by calling 336 786-7998, in person at the Surry Arts Council office 218 Rockford Street, Mount Airy, or at the door of the Earle one hour before the performance.

Six non-profit organizations in Surry County have been awarded Grassroots Arts Program Subgrants. The Surry Arts Council will award the winning organizations in the upcoming year. The grants provide funding for quality arts programming within the local community, including multicultural events, with $10,526 being awarded overall.

A committee of six panel members was hosted by the Surry Arts Council to discuss the grants in mid-December. Members of the subgrant committee included Surry Arts Council board members Terri Champney, Swanson Snow, and Lenise Lynch as well as other representatives in the community including Kelly Merritt, Kathy Pruett, Jody Crawford and Heather Elliott. The Surry Arts Council Board of Directors approved the committee’s recommendation to fully fund all six projects at its December meeting.

The African American Historical and Genealogical Society of Surry County received $3,500 for artist fees to offer African drumming and traditional African dance workshops to the community at no charge. Mount Airy Downtown Business Association received $1,000 for artist fees and marketing associated with Mayberry Farm Fest. The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History was awarded $1,100 for artist fees to offer traditional Mexican dance workshops and a Cinco de Mayo celebration with traditional Mexican dance, related crafts and a historical presentation by the Lam Museum of Anthropology.

The Mount Airy Photography Club received $1,000 for artists fees to bring a professional photographer for a community workshop and presentation. The Round Peak School of Music was awarded $1,000 for artist fees to offer a community program which will consist of traditional Appalachian music taught by local old-time masters. Veterans Memorial Park Inc. was awarded $2,962 to assist with artist fees for free workshops, jams, and demonstrations prior to the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention. The six projects will enrich the lives of thousands of adults and children in and around Surry County.

Since 1977, the N.C. Arts Council’s Grassroots Arts Program has provided North Carolina citizens access to quality arts experiences. The program distributes funds for the arts in all 100 counties of the state primarily through partnerships with local arts councils. Surry Arts Council is the designated county partner in Surry County and manages the funds received from the N.C. Art’s Council Grassroots Arts Program. The Surry Arts Council subgrants 50% of the funding received from the Grassroots Arts Program to county agencies that provide arts programming.

For additional information, contact Marianna Juliana at 336-786-7998 or marianna@surryarts.org.

Thursday evening, the Embers were back in town at the Andy Griffith Playhouse with the group’s annual Christmas Show.

More than 300 local residents and band followers from out of town enjoyed traditional holiday songs by one of the region’s more popular band.

The show was complete with Santa, Frosty, and Rudolph,” officials with the Surry Arts Council said of the event. “The stage and lobby helped ensure that the Christmas spirit was present from the time you entered until you departed.”

The Surry Arts Council is presenting “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” directed by Amanda Barnard, this weekend.

The show opens on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Another performance will be held on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. More than 700 area students will see the show on Friday.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys Herdman are an awful bunch. They set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s toolshed, blackmailed Wanda Pierce to get her charm bracelet, and smacked Alice Wendelken across the head. And that’s just the start.

When the Herdmans show up at church for the free snacks and suddenly take over the Christmas pageant, the other kids are shocked. It’s obvious that they’re up to no good. But Christmas magic is all around and the Herdmans, who have never heard the Christmas story before, start to reimagine it in their own way.

The production stars Jason Hoerter as Father, Bob Bradley, Julia Ann Banfield as Mother, Grace Bradley, Ava Chrismon as Beth Bradley, Mason St. Angelo as Charlie Bradley, Brooks Harold as Ralph Herdman, Gracie St. Angelo as Imogene Herdman, Tanner Price as Leroy Herdman, Noah Wilkes as Claude Herdman, Maddie Youell as Ollie Herdman, and Noelle Snow as Gladys Herdman.

Additional cast includes Crystal Folger-Hawks as Mrs. Armstrong, Jessica Schuyler as Mrs. McCarthy, Billie Smith as Mrs. Slocum, Jordan Dover as Mrs. Clausing, Alexis Holladay as Mrs. Clark, Noah Petree as Reverend Hopkins, Alex Bowers and Jack Denny as Firemen, Anne Rachel Sheppard as Alice Wendleken, Caroline Williams as Maxine, Thomas Holladay as Elmer Hopkins, Maggie Wallace as Beverly, Atticus Hawks as Hobie, Claire Youell as Dana, Chloe Vinson as Doris, Morgan Cooke as Juanita, and MaKenna Wall as Shirley.

Singing in the Angel Choir is Juliet Barnard, Jackie Delacruz, Addison Graves, Isabell Hoerter, Kaitlyn Holladay, MaKenna Holladay, Lily O’Neal, Genevieve Quinn, and Abbie Schuyler. Serving as Shepherds are Anderson Holladay and Samuel Holladay, and portraying Pageant Angels are Prim Hawks, Paisley Montgomery, and Adella Smith.

Serving on the production crew is Director Amanda Barnard, Music Director Jane Tesh, Stage Manager Madeline Matanick, Assistant Stage Manager Abby Brady, Technical Director Tyler Matanick, Costumes and Props Mistress Shelby Coleman, Light Board Operator Max Barnard, and Stage Crew Ella Pomeroy and Walker York.

Masks are required for all audience members.

For tickets or other information on the show, visit www.surryarts.org or call the Surry Arts Council at 336-786-7998. Tickets will be available at the doors one hour before performance time subject to availability.

PHOTOS – Guests of all ages enjoyed photographs with “The Nutcracker” who was seated at the front of the Andy Griffith Playhouse prior to performances on Sunday afternoon.

SURRY ARTS COUNCIL dance students danced with the company during selected scenes.

Santa is usually the big Kahuna when it comes to kids wanting to visit with and have a photo taken during the holidays, but recently the jolly old elf had a run for his money.

Guests of all ages were excited to have their pictures snapped with the Nutcracker on Dec. 5, when the Ballet for Young Audiences was onhand to perform the holiday favorite. Before the show, The Nutcracker himself spent some time in the lobby, visiting with folks and letting them get pictures.

More than 500 people turned out for the show at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. An additional 750 students from around Surry County were bused to shows on Monday.

“This was the first time that school students had bused to the Andy Griffith Playhouse since the pandemic and it was great to see buses filling the parking lot and students filling the auditorium,” said Tanya Jones, executive director of the arts council.

Longtime western music group Riders In The Sky will be making its Mount Airy debut on Saturday.

The multi-Grammy Award winning, Grand Ole Opry members will perform for the first time at the Historic Earle Theatre on Main Street, in a concert set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Riders In The Sky’s presentation of “Christmas the Cowboy Way” blends a festive mix of western music classics, traditional Christmas music, and Riders’ original yuletide carols in a holiday show aimed at delighting all ages.

“They will even invite the audience to join them in singing a couple of traditional holiday classics,” the Surry Arts Council said in announcing the show. “And all this yuletide charm is augmented with the classic, western favorites Riders have been singing for 30 years. This is a truly a show that will delight all ages.”

Riders In The Sky has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 30 years, recorded 37 studio albums, performed in all 50 states, and performed in 13 different countries. Some may remember their appearances on shows such as Hee Haw, and more recently, the group recorded music with Disney/Pixar, including the theme-song “Woody’s Roundup” from the film Toy Story 2.

Ticket prices range from $35 – $65, and can be purchased online at www.surryarts.org, at the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford St, by phone at 336-786-7998, or at the door one hour before the show.

The Surry Arts Council has something for everyone during the holidays — and just in time for using tickets to events as holiday gifts.

The celebration begins with laughter with John Floyd’s Comedy Night at the Earle on Thursday, Dec, 2 at 7 p.m. as part of his going Comedy Night Series.

Next is The Nutcracker performed by the New York Ballet for Young Audiences at the Andy Griffith Playhouse on Sunday, Dec. 5, at both 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Guests will be welcomed to the theater by The Nutcracker himself with photo opportunities for fans of all ages.

This classic story of Clara, a young girl on the brink of womanhood, whose dreams are both childlike and tinged with romance, comes to life. There will be two additional shows for more than 700 area school children on Monday, Dec. 6.

The Earle has a full month of Holiday movies. Showings of Disney’s Encanto are on Friday, Dec. 3 -Sunday Dec. 5; Elf Dec. 10-12; Clifford the Big Red Dog Dec. 17-19 (there will be photo opportunities with the big red dog at the 3 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday); and Sing 2 Dec. 22-Jan. 2. For all show times, call the Earle information line 336-786-2222. The movie Polar Express will be shown free of charge to more than 1,400 students at the Historic Earle Theatre Dec. 14-16. Watch for more new releases at the Earle in the New Year.

Shelby Coleman will lead the annual Gingercookie workshop for Special Friends followed by one for children of all ages on Friday, Dec. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Madeline Matanick will host weekly art classes on Tuesday evenings. Youth classes will be held from 5-6 p.m. and teen and adults from 6-7:30 p.m. These workshop creations make great gifts for family and friends.

“Riders in the Sky: Christmas the Cowboy Way” will be in Mount Airy for the first time ever on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Earle Theatre. These award-winning four-part harmonizing cowboys will don their sequined Yuletide outfits and delight all ages. The show will feature their unique brand of cowboy humor sprinkled with original songs. They will even invite the audience to join them in singing a couple of traditional holiday classics.

They are members of The Grand Ole Opry, won a Grammy for writing and performing songs for major motion pictures including “Woody’s Roundup: from Toy Story 2” and others.

On Thursday, Dec. 16, the Surry Arts Council welcomes the Embers back to the Andy Griffith Playhouse for their annual performance of “Christmas with The Embers.” This show features favorite holiday classics. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and will include an appearance by Santa.

The Surry Arts Council will present the Christmas favorite, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m., and on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Amanda Barnard is directing the show. The awful Herdmans show up for snacks at auditions, take over the Christmas show, and ultimately win the hearts of everyone when they hear the Christmas Story for the first time. In addition to the public performances, the arts council will host two performances on Friday, Dec. 17 for more than 700 area students.

On Saturday, Jan. 4, the band “Backstep” will entertain local bluegrass and old-time fans with their version of Breaking Up Christmas. The show will be at the Historic Earle Theatre and music and dancing starts at 7 p.m. S

More holiday gift opportunities for shows in the new year include Balsam Range, Sam Bush, Dailey and Vincent, and Lonesome River Band.

For more information or to purchase tickets or register for these events, email rj@surryarts.org, call 336-786-7998 or visit www.surryarts.org.

The Surry Arts Council will be subgranting funds from the North Carolina Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program to Surry County nonprofit groups who provide arts programming. The subgrant application is available online at www.ncarts.org.

Applications must be received in the Surry Arts Council office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. Award notifications will be made on or before Dec. 31.

Applications may be mailed to the Surry Arts Council, PO Box 141, Mount Airy, NC 27030, emailed to rj@surryarts.org, faxed to 336-786-9822, or dropped by the Surry Arts Council office at 218 Rockford Street.

Call 336-786-7998, or email tanya@surryarts.org if you have questions regarding this application.

Surry Arts Council will be bringing a new musical revue — “All Together Now!” — to the stage this weekend, with performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Performances will be Friday through Sunday, November 12-14th at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

The Friday, 7:30 p.m. performance will feature area adult performers. The Saturday 7:30 p.m. performance will feature youth performers, and the Sunday show, at 3 p.m., will feature all of the cast members.

Local actors in the show include Ashley Mills, Cassidy Mills, Aspen Jackson, Katelyn Gomez, April Delacruz, Jordan Dover, Christine Werner-Booher, Shawn Murphy, Madeline Matanick, Tyler Matanick, David Timm, Walker York, Raegan Amos, Genevieve Quinn, Maddie Youell, Morgan Cooke, Maggie Wallace, Lydia Beck, Kori Hawks, Kinston Nichols, Candace Noah, and Reese Cox. The show is directed by Shelby Coleman with choreography by LillyRuth Beck and Shelby Coleman.

A wide selection of songs is featured in this new musical revue from shows including Rent, Les Misérables, Into the Woods, Matilda, Hairspray, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, Once on This Island, Little Shop of Horrors, Mamma Mia! and many more.

The show is part of an international effort, with the arts council joining more than 2,500 theatrical organizations from all 50 states and more than 40 countries in producing their own local production of “All Together Now! A Global Event Celebrating Local Theatre.”

Theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI) created this revue for theaters across the globe to use as a local fundraising event performed over the same weekend of Nov. 12 – Nov. 14. S

All Together Now! features songs from MTI’s beloved catalogue of musicals including Annie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Come From Away, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, Godspell, Guys and Dolls, Hairspray, Into the Woods, Les Misérables, Little Shop of Horrors, Mamma Mia!, Matilda, My Fair Lady, Once on This Island, Rent, Waitress and many more!

Tickets for the performance range from $7-10 and may be purchased at www.surryarts.org/livetheatre or at the door 30 minutes before the performances. For information contact shelby@surryarts.org or 336-648-8095.

After a pandemic-forced hiatus, the Surry Arts Players recently celebrated a return to the stage for live shows.

On Friday, Oct. 29 the Players met at the Surry Arts Council for the celebration. Since the pandemic the Surry Arts Players have had the opportunity to perform Back to the 80s and The Wizard of Oz on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Each year the Surry Arts Players come together to celebrate and give awards as a thank you for the hard work community theater volunteers and actors have put into that season. This year’s theme was Surry Arts Players Past, Present, and Future.

The entertainment part of the evening included songs from shows that have been performed in past seasons as well as a preview of what is coming in 2022. Performers included: Katelyn Gomez “I Cain’t Say No from Oklahoma,” Emily Mauck “Happy Talk from South Pacific,” Michael Senter “Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka JR.,” Raegan Amos “The Winner Takes it All from Mamma Mia!” Corey Barr, Allie Pell, and Raegan Amos “Video Killed the Radio Star from Back to the 80s,” Jordan Dover “Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz,” Django and Zinnia Burgess “Alone in the Universe from Seussical JR.,” Aspen Jackson “Astonishing from Little Women,” and Gregory Matthews “Marian the Librarian from The Music Man.”

This year’s OPIE Awards Winner were David Tim, Newcomer Award; Amanda Barnard, Ovation Award; Scott Carpenter, Ovation Award; Gracie St. Angelo, Spotlight Award; Cassidy Mills, Scene Saver; Lillyruth Beck, Scene Saver; Ashley Mills, Stage Mama; Patrick McDaniel, Bandit, and Katy Denny, Golden Hammer.

Theaer at the Andy Griffith Playhouse for the upcoming year includes MTI’s All Together Now opening on Nov. 12; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, directed by Amanda Barnard; Seussical JR, directed by Shelby Coleman; Little Women directed by Shelby Coleman; and The Music Man, directed by Tyler Matanick.

Acting classes, youth acting troupe, and musical theater dance classes with Tyler Matanick and Shelby Coleman are ongoing. For more information on auditions, classes, or becoming a part of the Surry Arts Players, contact shelby@surryart.org or call her at 336-648-8095.

Area youngsters had a chance recently to express their creativity with a couple of pumpkin decorating workshops at Surry Arts Council.

Shelby Coleman, Surry Arts Council artistic, dance and education director, hosted the annual workshops. One was held for exceptional classes in area schools on Thursday, Oct. 21 in the Surry Arts Council Dance Studio. On Friday, Oct. 22, participants of all ages and their parents enjoyed decorating pumpkins and dancing to Halloween music.

Participants selected their pumpkins from the “pumpkin patch” outside the dance studio. Surry Arts officials wanted to offer a “special thanks” to The Farm for donating the pumpkins for both workshops.

Rhonda Vincent and The Rage are making their way back to the Historic Earle Theatre for a concert this week.

Vincent is a multi-award-winning artist, whose awards include a 2017 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA’s) Song of the Year 2004, and IBMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year for seven consecutive years (2000 – 2006). She won the award for an eighth time in 2015.

In February 2020 Vincent was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She has performed with a number of the biggest-name artists, such as Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, and Willie Nelson. Performing alongside her is The Rage, consisting of Hunter Berry on fiddle, Mickey Harris on bass, Aaron McDaris on banjo, Jeff Partin on dobro, and Zack Arnold on guitar.

In 2001, Rhonda Vincent and The Rage won the IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year award.

She and her band are scheduled to be in concert at the Earle Friday, Nov. 5 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

All Preferred and Orchestra tickets are sold out. Balcony tickets are available for $35 and can be purchased online while they last, www.surryarts.org, at the Surry arts Council office 336-786-7998, 218 Rockford Street, Mount Airy or at the door of the Earle one hour before the show. The Earle is located at 142 N Main St, in Mount Airy.

© 2018 The Mount Airy News

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