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Downtown Bristol Events

American Patchwork Series: The Land Where Blues Began

April 2

Crisscrossing the towns and hamlets of the Mississippi Delta, Alan Lomax, filmmaker John Bishop, and black folklorist Worth Long captured remarkable performances by Johnny Brooks, Walter Brown, Bill Gordon, James Hall, William S. Hart, Beatrice and Clyde Maxwell, Jack Owens, Wilbert Puckett, J. T. Tucker, Reverend Caesar Smith, Bud Spires, Belton Sutherland, Othar Turner, and more.

About the American Patchwork Series

From 1978 to 1985 Alan Lomax traveled the American South and Southwest with a television crew to document regional folklore with deep historical roots. From the resulting 500 hours of footage Lomax wrote, produced, directed, and narrated five one-hour documentary films focused on African American, Appalachian, and Cajun music and dance:

The Land Where the Blues Began
Jazz Parades: Feet Don't Fail Me Now
Cajun Country
Appalachian Journey
Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old

These five films were broadcast on PBS in 1991 under the title "American Patchwork Series." The series title and the films themselves illustrate Alan Lomax's conviction that “America has a patchwork culture made of the dreams and songs of all its people.”

The series will run in the Performance Theater at Birthplace of Country Music Museum each Thursday in April at 7:00 p.m., free and open to the public.

KP presents Brunch with the Bunny

April 4

Enjoy brunch with the Easter Bunny Saturday, April 4th at KP. Reservations Only. Please call KP at 423-764-3889 to reserve your spot today.

$10 per person (includes craft activity for the kids)

Bristol Ballet presents Unbroken Circle: Bristol's Music in Motion

April 11–12

Ballet Meets the Bristol Sessions and Beyond!

Bristol Ballet, in cooperation with the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM), presents Unbroken Circle: Bristol’s Music in Motion at the Paramount Center for the Arts April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and April 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Unbroken Circle: Bristol’s Music in Motion challenges the imagination through the lyrical poetry of our region’s music and the ethereal beauty of classical dance. The imaginative combination of ballet, the music of the Bristol Sessions, and beyond, honors Bristol’s music legacy with innovation and originality by marrying two forms of creative expression in an unexpected way.

The visionary behind the project, Bristol Ballet’s Artistic Director Michele Plescia cleverly inflects the show with imaginative details and nuance. 19 dancers from Bristol Ballet’s Senior and Apprentice Companies will perform Plescia’s original choreography.

“I wanted the program to be reflective of the history involved,” said Plescia. “For example, knowing that the Bristol Sessions took place in an old hat factory, part of the costumes will include 1920s style hats. Thomas Richardson has been exceptionally helpful in guiding us to make sure that our production truly reflects the music behind the history.”

Richardson is curator of education and outreach for Birthplace of Country Music Museum and served as an advisor on the project. BCM was helpful in providing program notes about the songs being used and provided education to the dancers about Bristol’s music legacy.

“Being part of such an inventive interpretation of our region’s music is of particular interest to BCM,” said Richardson. “The museum demonstrates a very modern way of telling Bristol’s story. Bristol Ballet’s Unbroken Circle is a very interesting concept and we were thrilled to be involved.”

Both recorded and live music selections have been chosen for the performances including “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Pretty Polly,” “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow Tree,” and “The Longest Train I Ever Saw.” There will be a dance to “Sixteen Tons” and a worship section featuring a medley of “Moonlight Sonata/Amazing Grace/Bound for the Promised Land” and “Down to the River to Pray.”

The Empty Bottle String Band, composed of former and current members of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music studies, will perform “Coat of Many Colors” and the finale, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

“Our goal at Bristol Ballet is to broaden the horizons of balletomanes and country music fans,” said Plescia. “We would love to see both of these audiences come together for this production and develop an appreciation for each art form.”

Unbroken Circle: Bristol’s Music in Motion is sponsored in part by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets to the performances are $6 for children, $10 for students and seniors, and $15 for adults. Tickets may be purchased at The Paramount Center for the Arts box office or online at www.TheParamountCenter.com. Call 423-274-8920 to purchase by phone.

For more information about other Bristol Ballet programming, visit www.BristolBallet.org. For more information about Birthplace of Country Music, visit www.BirthplaceofCountryMusic.org.

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