Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Asheville Lyric Opera's Grassroots Award brings opera education to local students

This spring, the Asheville Lyric Opera began a new education and outreach initiative that seeks to foster an appreciation for the power of vocal music in youth from our area. This series was connected to the company's fifteenth anniversary programming, profiling the regional identity of Western North Carolina through the arts. The ALO was proud to receive funds for this program from Grassroots Arts Program and Wells Fargo.   

For years, the ALO has been an active part of the arts experience provided to students in Buncombe County Schools and through community organizations. In previous projects, students have participated in productions or hosted performances of their own. Education projects in recent years have featured diverse experiences presented directly to students. In 2013, students were invited to attend a guest lecture and master class by internationally acclaimed tenor, Lawrence Brownlee. This year, the project focused on bringing hands-on experiences to students in school classrooms or assemblies, as well as to meetings of community organizations.  

These activities included listening to live singing by an opera singer, participating in vocal exploratory exercises themselves, examining the way styles of singing adapt over times and places, and discussing the power of the human voice and its role in our communities.
In addition to these experiences with students, the Asheville Lyric Opera is continually working to partner with classroom teachers and youth leaders to identify ways in which arts organizations can work together with schools and community groups in order to best serve the youth in our area. Arts experiences for young people have proven benefits while strengthening pride and community involvement. The ALO strives to ensure these opportunities are offered to students of diverse backgrounds.

This project received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.  For more information about the education and outreach programs of the Asheville Lyric Opera, or if you are a teacher or leader of a community youth organization interested in becoming involved, please visit ashevillelyric.org/outreach or contact info@ashevillelyric.org or 828-236-0670.

"Costume Drama: A Fashion Show" returns to ACT

For the third year in a row, Asheville Community Theatre will hold their annual event Costume Drama: A Fashion Show, Asheville’s most unique fashion show. Local designers compete for cash prizes in this Project Runway-esque show, and proceeds from tickets benefit the theatre. Costume Drama: A Fashion Show will be held Monday, July 7 at 7:30 pm on the Mainstage of Asheville Community Theatre. Tickets are $20.00 and are available over the phone, online, or in person at the Asheville Community Theatre Box Office at 35 East Walnut St. in downtown Asheville.

Costume Drama: A Fashion Show is an incredibly popular event that has sold out every year.  Local designers choose a themed category and create wearable art using paper, elements of nature, or upcycled/recycled items - or can create a garment that will go through a transformation while on the runway. Audience members vote on category winners by ballot and on the Best in Show design by donating to ACT – one dollar equals one vote.
“I look forward to this event every year,” said Susan Harper, Managing Director at Asheville Community Theatre. “The creative talent in this community is absolutely jaw-dropping. We simply cannot believe our eyes at the innovative and incredible garments that come down the runway.”

Costume Drama: A Cocktail Show is directed by Sara Fields. 

Pre-show cocktails will be served at the cash bar beginning at 6:30 pm. A new signature cocktail, “The Seamripper,” will be offered in addition to wine, beer and champagne.
For more information on Costume Drama: A Fashion Show, please visit www.ashevilletheatre.org or call 828-254-1320.

Habitat starts new subdivision in West Asheville

Habitat Starts New Subdivision Thanks in Part to City and County Grants
Neighborhood will honor Warren Haynes’ commitment to Habitat

This July, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity will begin building a cul-de-sac of 25 single-family Arts & Crafts style homes off Johnston Boulevard in West Asheville. The neighborhood of Green Built NC-certified homes is expected to be complete by the end of 2016 and will be referred to as Hudson Hills.

Asheville Habitat purchased the Johnston Boulevard property in 2009, but only recently received funding to begin infrastructure work. “Our work is both capital and time intensive. We always need to be looking for land at least 3-5 years in advance to ensure we have available building lots for future Habitat homes,” said Lew Kraus, Executive Director.

Thanks to grants and loans from the Asheville Regional Housing Consortium, through the Home Investment Partnerships Program funded by Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Buncombe County Affordable Housing Services Program, Habitat was able to recently complete the infrastructure work, including grading, extending water and sewer lines, paving the street and installing sidewalks. Habitat volunteer crews will begin working on the site on July 7th.

The subdivision name – Hudson Hills - was selected by Warren Haynes and his wife Stefani Scamardo in honor of their son, Hudson. Habitat offered Haynes and Scamardo the naming rights to recognize their long-standing commitment to Habitat through Warren Haynes Presents: The Annual Christmas Jam. The street – Soulshine Court - was also named in their honor. About the name, Haynes remarked, “Soulshine is a song that resonates with many people and it's particularly meaningful to me because it was inspired by my father. He worked hard as a single dad to raise me and my brothers in Asheville, so it’s fitting that a street named Soulshine Court will be in my hometown and that it will be a place that 25 families will call home.”

In addition to this new subdivision, work continues on a 17-house subdivision in Swannanoa and a recently started home on Jeffress Avenue in Shiloh, stretching Habitat’s building program across three quadrants of the county simultaneously.

Carolina Day School welcomes new Head of School

Carolina Day School is delighted to announce Kirk Duncan as their new Head of School, effective July 1, 2014. Kirk’s career has included leadership and teaching positions in independent schools for the past 34 years. He is a seasoned head of school with prior experience at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta and most recently, Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, Maryland.

“When I learned of the Head of School opportunity at Carolina Day,” says Kirk, “It drew me in for a number of compelling reasons, in particular the opportunity for growth, the strength of the faculty and staff, and the community of families dedicated to the school’s success.”

In addition to his work over the years in a variety of schools across the country, Kirk has led highly successful capital and endowment campaigns and led strategic planning processes at several schools. Joining Kirk in his move to Asheville will be his wife, Sarah Wood, who is chaplain and religion teacher at Grace Church School in New York City. She and Kirk are looking forward to making their home together in Asheville.