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Downtown Bristol Blog

Believe in Bristol Launches Kickstarter fo PUSH! Film Festival

Believe in Bristol has launched its Kickstarter campaign in support of the upcoming PUSH! Film Festival. The committee hopes to source $10,000 from the community to help fund the June event. “There are several costs outside of just acquiring the films to be shown. We have to be able to equip our venues with staff, merchandise, concessions and more,” says Associate Director of Believe in Bristol, Brad White. The campaign will last a total of 30 days, ending on Wednesday, March 11. There are several levels of support – ranging from $5 to $1,500+ — all featuring corresponding rewards. The Kickstarter can be found at

Former Shindigs Restaurant Set to Reopen as Basq

Basq, owned by Travis Rutter and Heather Garrison, will be opening its doors on Wednesday, February 18. The new restaurant will be serving lunch from 11-3 with dinner hours coming within a few weeks. For more information call(423) 747-4980

Downtown Bristol Events

Nashville Connection presents SHINE NIGHT Heroes Salute at The Paramount

February 19

CALLING ALL SINGERS AND SONGWRITERS: this is your chance to shine! February 19, at 5pm don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present your lyrics or song to top music industry professionals. This coming year, we will be holding 6 Shine Night events. At each of these events, you will have the chance to audition your singing or songwriting abilities live in front of a celebrity judge panel for a chance to be a finalist in our Nashville Connection — Heroes Salute singing / songwriting competition. The finalists from each location will move on to our final competition in Nashville, TN in July 2015!

The Nashville Connection — Heroes Salute gives a huge leg up in the music business and supports and salutes our military and their families!

The Paramount Chamber Players to present Age of Elegance and Sensibility

February 20–22

The Paramount Chamber Players will be joined by nationally renowned violinist Tessa Lark, winner of the prestigious Naumberg International Violin Award in 2012. Tessa Lark is consistently praised by critics and audiences for her astounding range of sounds, technique and musical elegance.In this concert, TPCP celebrates an age of elegance and sensibility, a time frame roughly spanning the nineteenth century, when composers were interested in conveying emotional range in agraceful and sophisticated manner. The ensemble will present Brahms’ lyrical composition Piano Quartet in A Major, op. 26. Balancing this major work is seldom-heard Swedish composerBernhard Crusell’s Quartet for Clarinet and Strings op. 2, no. 1 and a set of songs for the cello and piano by Gabriel Fauré. Appearing in this concert are TPCP members Craig W. Combs, piano; Luis Casal, viola; Cherylonda Fitzgerald, cello; and Eugene Jones, clarinet.Performances are on Friday, February 20, 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Kingsport, TN; Saturday, February 21, 7:30 p.m. at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, TN; and on Sunday, February 22, 3:00 p.m. as part of the Spencer-Miller Memorial Concert Series at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Va.

Tickets available at the door are $15 General Admission, $12 seniors, and students admitted free. On Saturday evening, tickets are also available through the Paramount Box Office 423-274-8920 or on line at Tickets for the Spencer-Miller Memorial Concert Series
performance on Sunday afternoon are available at the door for $10 adults, free for students.

RESCHEDULED History of African-Americans in Country Music at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

February 22

Originally scheduled for this evening, History of African-Americans in Country Music has been re-scheduled for Sunday, February 22, at 2:00 p.m. due to inclement weather.

From Bristol Sessions performers El Watson (1927) and Tarter & Gay (1928) to Darius Rucker, African-American performers have had a long and significant role in country music. Birthplace of Country Music Curator of Education and Outreach Thomas Richardson will give a lecture on the history of African-Americans in country music. Richardson holds an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Indiana University where he focused on African-American country music, writing his thesis on the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit

OSHA 10-Hour Construction Course

February 23

Make certain your workers are up to date on safety standards before the busy season! Topics covered include Record Keeping; Focus Four — Falls, Electrocution, Struck by & Caught Between;Personal Protective & Life Saving Equipment; Health Hazards in Construction; Scaffolds; and Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators & Conveyors. Training supplied by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The class is Feb. 23 from 8 a.m.-5:15 p.m. and Feb. 24 from 8 a.m.-noon in the Bristol Chamber of Commerce board room. Cost for Chamber members is $100 and $150 for non-members. Fees include all materials and lunch.

RSVP by Feb. 18. For more information or to register, Email Karen Witcher or call 423-989-4850.

Documenting Appalachia: Appalshop Film Series at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

February 27

Friday, February 27, 7:00 p.m.
Film: Strangers and Kin: A History of the Hillbilly Image, Directed by Herb E. Smith, 1984
Special Event: Join Director and Head Curator Jessica Turner and Curator of Education and Outreach Thomas Richardson as they discuss the role of image, dress, and representation in Appalachian culture.

19th Annual Leon Kiser Tribute Show Appalachian Cultural Music Association at The Paramount

February 28

19th Annual Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute concert line up this year is amazing and includes:
Fiddlin' Carson Peters,Wayne Henderson,Breakin' Tradition,Cedar Creek,ETSU Pride, Bluegrass and Old Time bands, Jesse McReynold,the Kiser Family,Kody Norris, Kris Truelson,Lightnin' Charlie,Moorehead State University- Mountain Music Ambassadors,with Emcee Tim Harkleroad. Event takes place Saturday, February 28. Doors open at 6:30pm.

AAME Speakers Series at The Bristol Public Library

March 5

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, in cooperation with the Bristol Public Library, is pleased to announce the continuation of the 2014-15 AAME Speakers Series. The AAME Speakers Series features local and regional personalities sharing their expertise on topics that enrich and encourage the arts and general communities of our region. This series also provides a forum for member organizations of AAME to tell of their contributions to the Mountain Empire region.

This event, taking place on Thursday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m., will feature four regional composers whose work has gained an audience both within and beyond the Mountain Empire. Each composer will answer a series of prepared questions, and then the discussion will be opened up to the audience for general enquiries.
Benjamin Dawson teaches violin and viola at Suzuki Talent Education of Applachia. He studied composition with Dr. Maria Niederberger at East Tennessee State University, where he was a two-time recipient of the Kenton Coe Composition Scholarship. Benjamin's compositions have been performed by the Symphony of the Mountains, the SOTM Youth Orchestra, the Highlands Youth Ensemble, the East Tennessee Children's Choir, the ETSU Chorale, the ETSU Saxophone Quartet, the King University Symphonic Choir and various area churches. He has composed several independent film scores and is the “in house” arranger/orchestrator for Symphony of the Mountains. Benjamin won 1st place in the 2013 Music Teachers National Association (State Level, Tennessee) Composition Competition. In addition to teaching at STEA, he plays piano and violin at Abingdon Presbyterian Church, maintains a wedding music business, and serves on the board of Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy. Benjamin has performed with the Paramount Chamber Players, is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and is in frequent demand as a performer and teacher.

Scott Gendel is a professional composer, vocal coach, and pianist living in Emory, Virginia. Recently, he recorded his piece “At Last” with soprano Camille Zamora and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, as part of “An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing For Hope,” a recording on Naxos and GPR Records benefiting amFAR, The American Foundation for AIDS Research. Scott’s music is published by Classical Vocal Reprints, ECS Publishing, and the Tuba/Euphonium Press. His art songs have been recorded on Albany Records and Naxos. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Wisconsin in 2005, where he also designed and taught an undergraduate composition curriculum. Upcoming commissioned works include the song cycle “I’m Afraid It’s You” for tenor and piano, to be premiered by Brian Thorsett and Tracy Cowden at Virginia Tech this spring; "Advice to Those Like Me, With Hearts Like Kindling" for the Carnegie Hall debut of soprano Melody Moore; and “#dreamsongs,” a set of miniatures for choir, cello, and piano written for the Santa Clara University Choirs in Santa Clara, CA. As a pianist and vocal coach, Scott works regularly at Madison Opera in Wisconsin, as well as at The Barter Theatre, Opera North, and in collaboration with singers and instrumentalists in numerous recitals.

Tennessee based Swiss composer Maria A. Niederberger’s compositions feature a unique style that draws on the musical and cultural influences of her international life. Her works evoke a sense of fluidity, a shifting and flux between temporary solidity and its dissolution. Niederberger’s compositional output encompasses a range of instrumental, vocal, and orchestral works. They are performed in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her most recent commission is for a Contemporary Music Ensemble, a work to be performed at the Festival Música Hoje in Curtiba, in Brazil in August 2015. She has won the international Miriam Gideon Prize for Musical Composition and the Olga Brose Valente Prize for Excellence in Musical Composition. Her work has been recognized and supported by institutions like the American Music Center, Pro Helvetia (the Swiss National Endowment for the Arts), the International Alliance for Women in Music, the Schindler Foundation, the University of California, and East Tennessee State University. Throughout her career, she has been commissioned to write for numerous international musicians and contemporary music ensembles. Niederberger earned her Ph.D. in Theory and Composition from Brandeis University, where she studied composition with Martin Boykan, Arthur Berger, and Allen Anderson. Further composition teachers included Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Martino at Harvard University. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the Department of Music at East Tennessee State University, where she teaches Theory and Composition.

A Tanzania-born Tennessean, Evelyn Pursley-Kopitzke is a neo-classical composer and lyricist whose extensive opus includes chamber, choral, art, and orchestral works. Her music has been heard from coast to coast and in Europe. She holds a graduate degree in composition and studied with Drs. Margarita Merriman, Barney Childs, and Kenneth Jacobs. She is co-founder of the Greater Tri-Cities Composers’ Consortium. She received top honors in the Carton Savage international “I Wage Peace” project. Selected recent works include “Adagio, Beyond the Silence,” Soprano and Orchestra; “Expectations,” Percussion Solo on 11 instruments; The Constellations, a Symphony; and four movements of Second Sight, a 2014 commission by The Paramount Chamber Players.

Each of the AAME Speakers Series events takes place at the Bristol Public Library, located at 701 Goode Street, Bristol, Virginia.

Theatre Bristol's "Rumpelstiltskin" Opens March 13

March 13

Theatre Bristol is proud to open its 50th anniversary season with the classic fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin" on March 13 and running for three weekends in the ARTspace Theatre, 506 State Street, Bristol, TN.

Once upon a time there was a dwarf named Rumpels... wait, you probably know that part already. This reimagining of the classic fairy tale features two strong-willed sisters: Anya, shy and romantic, and Ingrid, outspoken and sensible. When their widowed mother is once again victim to the judgments of others, she tells a tiny lie — Anya can turn straw into gold. Soon, the story "spins" out of control when the King believes Anya is the reason their nation is out of money and demands she perform her special skill for the royal coffers. Mix in magical companions, mistaken identities, a short villain, and princess wannabes — is this a recipe for disaster? Or happily ever after?

It’s only fitting that the opening show of Theatre Bristol's golden season is a story about spinning gold.

It’s also fitting that directing the show will be long time Theatre Bristol veteran, Chris McVey. McVey has been a valuable friend to Theatre Bristol and the theatre community over the years as a talented and respected actor and director. Recently, McVey has directed Theatre Bristol’s 2013 production of “Anne of Green Gables, a New Musical” and 2014’s production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

In the title role as Rumpelstiltskin is Hunter Johnson. Playing Anya Mueller is Rachel Locke, with Frau Mueller by Jane Bass, and Ingrid Meuller by Sara Harless. Jacob Alvis is King Rolfe. Minister North is played by Steve Baskett, and Minister South by Jerry Matthews. They are joined by Aunt Marta played by Lee Ann Hitch, Captain Tanner by Coy Owens, Sweeps by Abram Moore, Jughead by Rori Simmons, and Pansy by Olivia Stevens. The South sisters are played by Katelyn Briggs (Sarah), Gracie Cunningham (Senta), Gabrielle Harman (Sigrid), Asha Parker-Holloway (Sonja), and Alayna Walker (Sally). Guide is played by Sarah Countiss, Frau Gudhoff by Mary Johnson, Frau Kinder by Terri McCall, and Frau Blixen by Cherry Stewart. The soldiers are Aaron Blankenship, Cody Wendt, Caleb Hale and Austin Blake. John Mullins plays Corporal Dern. The servants are Emmersyn Hardy, Molly Johnson, Grace Johnson, Hope Oliver, Carolyn Hitch, Mary Hitch, and Lucy Tester.

Sarah McCall is assistant to director Chris McVey, and stage manager. Assistant stage manager is Sabrina Briggs and costumer is Coy Owens. Mike Musick is the producer.

This show opens Friday, March 13, and runs three weekends:
Fridays, March 13, 20, and 27 at 7:30 pm;
Saturdays, March 14, 21, and 28 at 7:30 pm; and
Sundays, March 15, 22, and 29 at 2:30 pm.

Tickets can be reserved for Rumpelstiltskin by calling the ticket line at 383-5979. Please leave a message with the date you would like to attend; the number of reservations needed for adults, seniors, and students; name to contact; and telephone number. The reservation will be confirmed with a call and tickets held at the door.

Founded in 1965, Theatre Bristol is the oldest continually running children’s theatre in northeast Tennessee and now celebrating its 50th season. Its Main Stage season consists of up to five productions. Some of its performances take place in the ARTspace, a multi-purpose, black box theatre which seats up to 120. Theatre Bristol is entirely volunteer run and we invite you to get involved.

For more information, visit the Theatre Bristol's website or Facebook page, contact Theatre Bristol at 423-383-5979, or email

Jason Isbell at The Paramount Center

May 28

The Paramount Center for the Arts is excited to announce Jason Isbell with special guest Craig Finn of (Hold Steady).

Jason is returning to Bristol with his full band for the first time since releasing his award winning and critically acclaimed album Southeastern. Do not miss this, it will SELL OUT!

Presale 10% OFF, Begins: Wed. Feb 11th,, 10:00 am, ending at midnight Thursday, passowrd is 'Southeastern'
Public On sale: Friday February 13th 10:00 am

Also Coming Up

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Community Notice Board

Spring Fever at Wm. King Clothiers

November 30

Our carefully curated collection of spring sport coats are arriving daily. Made for us by Mr. Crit Rawlings of CRITTENDEN fame, these tasty coats would make a nice addition to one's clothing arsenal.

BIG Announcement from Serendipity

November 30

Hello loyal friends! I have something HUGE to announce to you today. Serendipity Boutique has been chosen as one of the best boutiques in the country and is NOW featured by an exclusive online retailer,

Who is
Shoptiques is an exclusive online retailer that hand selects the best boutiques all over the world, and features those unique boutiques on their online site.

We were approached a couple of months ago by shoptiques, and since then we have been working hard to curate a special selection of items for our first release. You can shop those items TODAY, as our boutique is now live on shoptiques website. We will continue to add new products weekly, so stop by often.

FOLLOW the link below to SERENDIPITY's online boutique:

Phyl's of Bristol Looking for Help!

November 30 – February 20

Phyl's of Bristol is looking for help! Position is 20-40 hours a week, with pay dependent upon experience. Position to be filled by February 20. Resumes accepted in peron. For more information call(276) 591-1652

Bristol Office Supply — Inspiring Style Through Technology

February 18

Check out Bristol Office Supply's great deals on wearable electronics. Click here to view the full ad.