is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Many Musical Hats of FDHS' Jessica Greene

Jessica Greene -- Her thoughts on being the voice of a new high school's singing students, and Kentucky Conservatory Theatre's musical mahareeshi.
" Growth comes with hard work, and no one can put you into a box. I use my personal experience to guide my focus on teaching and learning.  I push students to step outside of the comfort zone and to not allow the expectations of others to define their potential in life." -- Jessica Greene

To be a choral director takes more than a music degree. It takes an unusually talented leader to lead a choir. It requires the patience of a teacher, the passion of a lover, precision of a timekeeper, and pride of a performer to present master works by dozens of voices, all at different stages of maturity. At Frederick Douglass High School, the director of choral activities is Jessica Greene, who fits all those descriptions and more. She can be seen managing the stage at Studio Players, directing the musical components of Summerfest and Winterfest (Sweeney Todd is in rehearsal as we speak) and her alma mater, Berea College just finished American Idiot, which she also directed. She is involved in nearly every musical production in town and lauded by the best in the business.

"Dee Mason-Walker, Director of Choirs and Director of Bands at East Jessamine High School describes his relationship with Greene in glowing terms. "I met Jessica at an event recruiting teachers in Kentucky. She recruited both William and I to teach in Jessamine County."  As director of both band and choirs at East Jessamine High School, Mason-Walker has also benefited from and been delighted to work alongside Greene in several shows. "We have done Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls together, and hopefully many more! Jessica is the greatest! She was my mentor last year during KTIP, which is a first year internship program for new teachers in Kentucky. She was always available anytime I had questions. Jessica is so kind, hospitable, generous, and loving. She always has the best interest of those around her in mind -- she is what I call a servant leader. Her students are very lucky to have her. She will always give her best to them and expect the best from them. She is going to do great things at Douglass and I can’t wait to see them happen!"

Natalie Cummins, an expert props mistress who stage manages Studio Players, BCTC plays, and countless other presentations, speaks to Greene's multi-faceted talents as a director and stage manager.
"I love Jessica and cannot think of a better person to promote. I've worked with her steadily since she was music director on Spamalot in 2015, the year I was production manager at Summerfest. Since that time we've worked together on probably half a dozen shows with Summerfest, Winterfest, and The Rep. I admire her solid and immediate grasp of the material and her ability to explain nuances to cast in clear language. She's an excellent artist AND teacher. As a stage manager, I greatly appreciate
her organization and her explanations. Her consistency and high standards inspire all of us to achieve more."

Lexington's popular lead actor and director Bob Singleton has also worked with Greene. He, too, gives her high marks for musicality and communication. "I don't have enough command of the language to do this justice, but I'll give it a shot. I've worked directly with Jessica on our production of CLUE The Musical at Studio Players, worked closely with her on the Board of Directors at Studio Players, and have seen her in action as a director, an instructor, an actress, vocalist, instrumentalist, administrator. I've never come away feeling anything less than impressed, and I think she always leaves a place in better shape then when she arrived. She is a leader and a collaborator, a teacher and a student, she works in macro and micro, she knows when to push and when to pull back, when to nurture, and when to challenge. I don't know if there has ever been a detail that has slipped by her.  Her work ethic and work load is legendary. She is fearless. She could be an intimidating presence if she wanted to, but I think she's too considerate, too kind, and too intelligent to have to resort to that. Still, her reputation precedes her, it is massive, and fully earned. I'm fortunate to have spent some time in her orbit, and we're all fortunate to have her here."


BACKGROUND:
Coming from a musical family, Greene tells me that her parents both "sing very well and Dad dabbles with piano." Her siblings sing and play various instruments and have performed duets with her as well, in church and at home. Jessica says that throughout her Mom's pregnancy, her mother prayed her child would be a musician. "Her prayers definitely proved strong and I sang more than I talked, which is a lot. I started playing the piano at 7 and added the violin in the 5th grade.  I can remember wanting to sing the role of "Mary" in the elementary Christmas program and not getting the role. Instead, I was given the role of the donkey in "The Friendly Beasts." I sang, "I said the donkey shaggy and brown, I carried his mother up and down..." Even in elementary school I thought... why am I singing about the role I wanted?
She stayed in choir through middle school while taking private piano lessons and studying the Suzuki method for violin but I did venture into theatre and got to play little orphan Molly in "Annie" in middle school. I thought it was so cool that I had the first line in the show... "Momma, momma,
mommy!"

"In high school (in Goodlettsville, Tennessee), I split my time between violin and piano lessons at Vanderbilt's Blair School of Music as part of the pre-college training program. There were times when the
extensive training became overwhelming, and I told my mother weekly through tears that I was quitting. She would always respond with a kind but firm, "No, you're not!"  She knew that I loved music and that there was value in the training even when I couldn't see the benefit. I am so thankful for my mother 's wisdom!"

In school, she played piano for show choir and the musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Once Upon a Mattress). "Our choir always performed 'Joyful Joyful' from Sister Act II, and I was determined to sing that Lauren Hill solo! I never got that solo, but I learned to accompany the song really well. I felt as if I was always going to be the person behind the piano and never in the spotlight."
"Senior year of high school, our show choir theme was 'Dance,' and the ballad was 'Cheek to Cheek.' The rules stated, as long as you were part of show choir, even in the band, you could audition for a vocal solo. I really wanted that 'cheek to cheek' solo, and I worked harder than I ever prepped for any piano jury or any chair challenge in orchestra. After three rounds of auditions, with choreography, I got the solo! We traveled our competition show to Branson, Missouri and I stepped from behind the piano and sang that solo on the big stage and those lyrics rang true: 'Heaven, I'm in
heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.'  I walked away with new confidence and the award for 'best female vocalist.' The award affirmed what I  had already realized: Growth comes with hard work, and no one can put you into a box. I use my personal experience to guide my focus on teaching and learning.  I push students to step outside of the comfort zone and to not allow the expectations of others to define their potential in life."

How did we get so lucky, as to have such a talented musician teaching in our midst? Jessica explains, "I came to the Bluegrass to attend Berea College, where I studied vocal music education and worked as the choral librarian. I did a few shows at the Berea Theatre  program and also served as musical director for a student-led production of The Wiz.
After Berea, I went to EKU and earned my Master's in choral conducting. During this time, my Berea Theatre Professor, Deborah Martin, asked me to serve as musical director for a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and it opened a floodgate of opportunities. EKU heard I directed for a Collegiate program and Homer Tracey asked me to be the musical director for Beauty and the Beast as part of my graduate assistantship hours. The father of a cast member of Beauty and the Beast was Scott Halverson Turner, who happened to be the current president of Studio Players and he spoke to me after the show about possibly directing the summer show at Studio players, The Marvelous Wonderettes. Seven years later, I've had the opportunity to work with Berea College, EKU, Studio players, Actors Guild of Lexington, Woodford Theatre, The Rep, Kentucky Conservatory Theater, Leed's Center for the Arts, East and West Jessamine High School, Scott County High School,SCAPA Bluegrass and Lafayette, The Lyric Theatre, AthensWest and now Frederick Douglass High School.

FDHS 
Greene is excited about the second half of her Frederick Douglass High School inaugural school year as Frederick Douglass High School's Director of Choral Activities and VPA teacher (Visual and Performing Arts). "My main focus is to ensure that the choral program is built for the diverse population of Frederick Douglass High School and to encourage students to be life-long appreciators and lovers of music, whether it becomes their career or not. For VPA I am developing curriculum with a focus on global competency through the study of music, dance, theater and visual art. We are studying the things that connect our world and our experiences. We study Visual and Performing Arts to remember where we've been and to know where we are going. In addition, I also will be serving as musical director for the spring musical," she adds.

KCT
Greene is associate artistic director at Kentucky Conservatory Theatre and works with KCT's executive director Wesley Nelson to develop ideas for shows, marketing Outreach and educational opportunities, and we present those ideas to the board for a vote. As a member of the working board, I also work to secure sponsorship and performance opportunities for the company and the actors who call us family. The current setup has Wes and I working as a team to direct productions and I absolutely love collaborating with him, however, we're looking forward to bringing in other directors in the future."
Because this past summer's offering filled Woodland Park with enthusiastic crowds, I asked what it was like to bring the Wiz full circle and produce it for Summerfest. Greene sincerely explains how special that production was to her. "This production brought an amazing amount of talent and diversity to the stage into the audience. Every night from the Bandstand, I could look out over Woodland Park at the diversity that is Lexington. It was a show that everyone could enjoy and a show with the relatable message. to my knowledge, The Wiz had not been presented in this area. As a woman of color, the show is so important to me because it allows a platform for actors of color that doesn't include the stereotypical subservient roles. A leading lady of color is a brown girl's dream as a performer. To see that role come to life was inspiring and completely fulfilling on the other side, to be able to bring diversity to a show that is traditionally all one race, was also fulfilling in a different way. Theater becomes a much more enriching experience when we bring together actors and creative team members from different backgrounds and experiences and I think theatrically what we saw was a collaboration of diversely talented minds to create the final product and make the production as popular as successful as it was this past summer."
Greene is eager to talk about Sweeney Todd which production has a dual benefit for our community.


 "Sweeney Todd is in rehearsal for Winterfest 2018. Our in-kind sponsor, Frederick Douglass High School, allows us to rehearse at the school in return KCT offers internship opportunities to students of Frederick Douglass High School. Students helped run the audition process where we had over 75 of the most talented local performers to attend! FDHS students have also been shadowing our stage manager and directors and will have the opportunity to work backstage and with the crew during the production that runs January 18th through 28th at the Grand Reserve. The cast of 12 is also a diverse team who will take on the lead roles and the ensemble parts, much like our production of My Fair Lady two years ago. There is a fire in these actors as they arrive to rehearsal well-studied and ready to make music and develop their characters with a guidance of Wes and myself! It's going to be an amazing production and another great night of up close, modern dinner theater with a surprise pre-show!


Not sure what the plot of Sweeney Todd? No problem, Greene summarizes, "Sweeney Todd: most people think the production is about a man who kills people and a woman who puts those people into pies. It is, but it's also about so much more! I've always thought about this show is a deeper study of Revenge versus the idea of redemption. Our production will explore that concept a little further through the lense of lust and how the Lust For Revenge keeps swinging from his true redemption which in this case would have been restoration. With a small cast, every role is a
standout role. We have cast members who have done several shows with KCT and a few who are making their KCT Debut with this production, but they are all talented and dedicated to their craft and this story."

Greene adds that she is still finishing projects as new ones are beginning. "I am wrapping up American Idiot at Berea College. They asked me to be the alumni director as part of their 125th anniversary of theater. It's been so fantastic to come back to my alma mater to encourage and support the current students so they can one day take my place.
At FDHS, we want to make sure our students are exposed to diverse, high-quality live performances and art exhibits. The UK Jazz Ensemble came to FDHS last week and performed a free concert for our Arts students and due to our amazing facility, we were able to open the opportunity to other
students in the building. My VPA students were tasked with the assignment to write a review on the performance, and also complete an assignment on dynamics that happened to coincide with the unit we were working on. Our band students were able to see the next level of band opportunity available to them through a Collegiate program. Having live performance opportunities for students in the Arts or otherwise, allows the information to become real and tangible. As we continue to expose our students to the Arts and new authentic ways, we hope to continue recruiting students for our ensembles and programs, but above all, we want to encourage our students to appreciate the Arts in a way they may not have before.

What she is most proud of regarding the opening of the new high school's performances? Greene emphasizes she is most proud of the student leadership. " I love to allow students to take charge of their learning. We spent the first two months of school developing the culture of the classroom. This included classroom expectations, rehearsal technique and building a mission and goals. As the students started to realize that this was their program, they started to take ownership and it's excellence. They signed up for student leadership positions such as president, vice president, communication and section leaders and they voted on their leaders. The leadership team meets once a week to discuss how rehearsals are going and what they can do to grow the program. Then the president sits down with me and tells me how students are feeling and always asks, what can I do better?. It is important as an educator to always evaluate your Effectiveness and take student feedback as an opportunity to grow and not as an attack on your ability. Different students need different things and I want to make sure my learning environment is student-focused. This week, the a capella ensemble, the North Stars, began learning how to run a student-led rehearsal. we had to First create an environment of trust that would be conducive to peers leading peers. There will be mistakes, but greater learning comes from the ownership in student leadership."


"In my Visual and Performing Arts classes, I am most proud of the students willingness to try new things. Learning about other cultures in this day and age can open the floor to controversial ideals and stereotypes. After building an environment of trust and establishing the expectation for respect, we have been able to introduce new cultures and speak openly about what makes us different and what makes us the same while using respectful descriptions of the culture they are exploring. Watching my students practice Mudras (hand signs) from Indian culture and decorate sugar skulls to honor a lost loved one as part of the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Mexican culture, has been enlightening and has allowed my students from within those cultures to have a sense of belonging and the opportunity to share new things with me and their classmates.

FDHS' MUSICAL PLANS
Musical plans:  "The drama department has already presented produced its first show, a very successful rendition of "All I ever really need to know I learned from being a zombie," and they even competed at KTYA! They are rehearsing for their next production, Crazy Town, and we will be doing some musical theatre workshop's to assess our options for the spring musical. Our students are shining on stage and off stage as they learn to work Tech, running crew and front of house!"

When asked why parents should be happy that their kids are in her music program, Greene explains she is offering more than the musical nuts-and-bolts of singing. "I am not just teaching songs or the elements of Visual and Performing Arts. I am teaching students the importance of creative
expression and the importance of collaboration. A student who is a creative thinker can solve any problem that presents itself and through collaboration and appreciation for others from different backgrounds and experiences, they can find a solution that is best for everyone. If we think about our world today, it is a fast-paced, ever-changing society, which means, we are preparing students for careers that do not yet exist. Therefore, it is important to teach students that characteristics and basic skills that are necessary for whatever future they build for themselves. The ability to work in a team to achieve a common goal, to think critically about an issue and approach the solution in different ways and to effectively communicate with words, facial expressions and body language will take them far in life. Whether they want to pursue a career or degree in the Arts or not, it is always my goal to teach all students those basic principles. Those who are seriously interested in the Arts, I want to prepare them for the next stage, whether it be an audition, a performance or a collegic theory exam I want them to have the tools to succeed in life, on and off the stage."

MOMMA GREENE and UNCLE STEVE
Y

Married to Stephen Greene, Jessica is blessed with a life helper who has never missed any of her performances and also teaches (math) at FDHS. Steve actually mentioned her name during his interview with Principal Diaz. "My husband was very excited about the vision of FDHS, so when the position opened up, I knew I had to go for it. When I interviewed for the position, I remember wondering if it would be too difficult to return to the classroom after 2 years as a district arts coordinator. I knew my passion for student learning and the arts was so strong that I would fall back into the routine and my arts administration knowledge was strong enough to develop an effective curriculum for the Douglass population. I also knew that the opportunity to establish an arts program was a once-in-a-lifetime dream. The cherry on top is getting to work with my husband for the 9th year in a row! Our 5-year anniversary is in March and he has always been so supportive of my passion for the arts. He understands what tech week really means and he understands why I push myself so hard to create meaningful art and memorable opportunities for my students and anyone with whom I collaborate. He is starting to discover his passion for technical theatre and is getting to explore that talent even more at FDHS with the brand new auditorium! My EKU ensemble calls him travel dad, and each cast I work with knows that they can count on him to provide snacks, water bottles and erasers for music scores. Our students adopts us as momma Greene and Uncle Steve and they add to our family every semester. We love taking care of our 'kids' and supporting, mentoring and encouraging the in whatever field they choose to explore.


A YEAR IN THE LIFE
This is Greene's year-in-review, which demonstrates just how busy this dynamic young lady's life transpires over the seasons:
"I usually book a show about a year in advance because I want to make sure I can do my research and prepare myself for their production. I am currently booked until July 2018 and have started thinking about Winterfest 2019. Here's a look at my past year:
December 2016 -- Berea College Christmas Special "Light" with CBS: Assistant Director
January 2017 - Began with Dreamgirls with KCT at the Grand Reserve as Music Director
February 2017 - The Rocky Horror Show at EKU, Vocal Director
March 2017 - The Drowsy Chaperone at SCAPA Lafayette at the Opera House, Vocal Director
April 2017 - Willy Wonka at West Jessamine High School as producer
May 2017 - The Broadway Live announcement at the Opera House (where I got to sing Motown tunes!)
June 2017 - Italy tour with the EKU A Cappella Ensemble, EKos
July 2017 - The Wiz with KCT Summerfest in Woodland Park as Music Director AND the 25th        Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Studio Players as Vocal Director
August 2017 - Reprised the role of Hairspray's Motor Mouth Maybelle at Leed's Center for the Arts
September/October 2017 - Focus on Frederick Douglass High School
November 2017 - American Idiot at Berea College as Director
December 2017 - My first full choir concert at FDHS!
Looking ahead Sweeney Todd at KCT Winterfest in January, KMEA Assessment for the FDHS Choir in March; The Christians with AthensWest as Music Director and Singing In The Rain with SCAPA as Vocal Director; in May we present the Spring Musical; and then begin plans on Summerfest!
I have loved finding out more about Jessica -- hope you have enjoyed it too. 
Parents and students of Frederick Douglass High School can rest assured their choral department is in good hands!  Go see FDHS shows and support this school arts program for happy holidays!





peace, kjt

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Eek! Halloween is on its way!

I have no idea what I am going to be for Halloween! I have a few ideas, but I can never be as clever as the folks who attend the annual Soiree at The Singletons house next week is the date. What will be my fate? Will I be cute enough to hate? I will make America great. LOL. Anyway, any suggestions?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Art For Healing a Heart

This year, I have learned, oh so much.  For instance, I've been silent when I wanted to be loud.  I have learned to be at peace when anger is at the front of my mind.  Further, I learned my grief can bring comfort to those in need.


My experience of grief manifested itself in a multitude of ways this year.  I lost my sister in January when she had a stroke and forbid me to see her.  I lost my good neighbor Phyllis, with whom I tried hot fudge sundaes and olive nut sandwiches all while plotting our next escapade to the Lexington Cemetery. She let me teach her how to TEXT, for God's sake.  Loved her so much!  She was almost 90, and had the best  sense of humor. She trusted me; it was a mutual thang that kept getting better throughout the past year.  She went to be with her beloved Joe in November, and though it was tough to say goodbye, I knew she was ready.  But yeeouch, that really hurt my heart. 




At Christmastime, my baby sister got mad at me, again, which she does every year at Christmas.  Sigh.  Grief.  Oy.


Grief for the passing of so many great musical artists has been abundant this year, starting with Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, George Michael just to name a fraction of those whose legacy is all that is left for the multitudes to enjoy. albeit forevermore. 


Many of my friends lost their spouses, mothers and fathers, too many to mention.  As my friend Mayme used to say, after the first death, there is no other.  You keep reliving them over and over when others die.  Yipes, this has been a tough year for grief, but hallelujia.  I have survived it, my grandkids love me, and two of them are actually in touch with me, and most importantly I am using art to heal my heart.


I am reading, writing a play about the family, painting, drawing, and having fun exploring just how bad my skills are at doing so. 


After reading GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Tracey Chevalier, I started trying to draw said girl with a pearl.  That has been hilarious, and my birthday twin, brother Addison, is attempting to do it as well.  It has been a Joy to fill my time with painting and drawing, even if I am poor at it, the level of Happy is beyond explanation. To share it with Ad has been truly inspirational.


The second book to inspire has been my birthday gift of THE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan.  It is a totally different piece, a graphic novel!  I still don't understand its meaning, but I am getting there via the artwork which is fantastical and striking ... on a boat ... :)


Happy New Year to all who have stuck in with this blog so far today. It really has no meaning, but to wish y'all a lovely holiday and to let you know I survived 2016.  With God, all things are possible!


Love love love and love,
Kimmy

Friday, October 21, 2016

courage



I admit I support Hillary Clinton.

It takes courage to say it here in the red Bluegrass state.

Her entire adult life's been spent fighting for the marginalized people of America... especially women and children, as the Bible directs us to do.

I am APPALLED at friends of mine from childhood who drop f-bombs everywhere regarding my gal, Hilldawg! Just sickening, the things they say. So called Christians, too!!

Now, I grew up in N Ky, where Democrats are scarce. My parents were liberal but *we* went to church every week. They were active in numerous altruistic efforts. They were religious when we were growing up. They didn't wait...

They were the best role models for a kid. They taught me courage.
Courage to believe.
Courage to seek justice.

For that, I am grateful!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Peter Suarez Talks About His One-Man Show (Coming to DAC This Week)!


He once starred in ZORRO: THE MUSICAL at Alliance Theatre in Atlanta
Peter Suarez is back in town; and look out folks, he likes to push buttons.  He is a singer, songwriter, actor, and first class performer that you may recognize from his days with various Bluegrass arts groups, including his 8 years leading the band, Michelangelo's Soup.  

His songs are performed at personal as well as professional events...maybe you've heard his music.  Or perhaps you saw him perform in various plays-in-the-park, Renaissance fairs, performing feats of derring-do ... such as setting himself afire.  He does that a lot; and he does it well.


I had the pleasure of sitting down with Suarez last week at Alfalfa's, where we talked about his upcoming show, and where he has been for the past few years. I met him 10 years ago through mutual friends, and I'm glad to say he has not changed one iota in regard to his courteous manner and entertaining personality.

He will once again be "sparking up" on stage at the Downtown Arts Center this week, but not in the pyrotechnical sense.  He has written a one-man show in which he portrays five characters, all crafted especially to poke fun at the world around us, and to purposefully guide us to introspection. His monologues will be thought provoking, buttons will be pushed, but his message is hopeful.  



He tells me he is "speaking to the Grand Us, in an aspect illuminated through the human experience of five people.  There are no costume changes, it is a simple show starring five curious characters to prod and poke and make us think.


No fire.

No smoke.

Simply a line of provocative characters telling it like it is. Every one of us has been there, we all have people inside, and it's illuminating to explore that facet of our personality.



Suarez started getting paid to perform when he was six years old, and he has never looked back, claiming he has "never held a real job."  His success was spotlighted when he choreographed the 2006 Silver Medal winning dance for the US Ice Dancing Team; he has danced with the Metropolitan Opera, Lexington & Louisville Ballet companies, and Cirque de Soleil.  These are only brief bullets on his impressive resume.  

You will not regret watching this fireball perform. The Tampa Bay Review says the performance is "...touching and puerile, funny and irreverent...a master of satire, even when aimed at himself."

To see the show tomorrow and Thursday, call 859.425.2550 today!!!

See you at the show.
Peace, 
Kimmy

Monday, September 12, 2016

Central Celebrates 200 Years With "CENTRAL FOLLIES," a talent show, on November 5




Did you know the Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is celebrating its TWO HUNDREDTH birthday?  In a year of recognition, Central Christian Church's ministers have geared sermons toward acknowledgement of the many parts that come together to bring about the historic two centuries of sharing bread and fellowship.  

The congregation opens its doors to all; and at 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Sundays, everyone is welcome at the Table.  Central's focus on music in worship will be accentuated and highlighted by the upcoming Follies at the Singletary Center, when church members perform in a church-wide talent show!  Check here for more details to come ;-)


From Central Christian's Pastor David Shirey, an outline of this year's landmark celebration of worship and community outreach:

200th Anniversary Year

Delighted that 2016 is Central’s bicentennial year, it is worth noting that it was founded by Disciples forebear Barton Warren Stone in 1816, the Hill Street Christian Church became Main Street Christian Church in 1842, which became Central Christian Church in 1894. Central's is a grand heritage worthy of a year’s celebration.

Last year, representative members of the congregation have gathered on three different occasions to plan for this gala year. Their times together have been fruitful, imaginative, and exciting.

More comprehensive information will be forthcoming, but am pleased to whet your appetite in a review of what's happened and what is to be.  Our 200th year has been marked by monthly themes with one Sunday’s worship focused on the theme and an additional special event to complement the worship. We also planned for three festive shared meals—a spring banquet, a summer picnic, and a fall Homecoming Weekend.

The monthly themes:
January- History
February-Disciple Beliefs
March- Lent/ Easter
April - Music
May - Unity
June - Education
July - Outreach
August - Our Historic Sanctuary (symbols and stories)
Septembe r- Life Transitions (baby dedications, baptisms, weddings, funerals)
October - Homecoming
November- Talent Show / Thanksgiving

In November, the many talents of the congregation and staff will be highlighted at the Singletary Center for the Arts recital hall -- The Central Follies.  An all-church talent/variety show to celebrate Central’s 200th at UK’s Singletary Recital Hall.

Matinee Show on Saturday, November 5, 2016



ATTENTION RADIO LISTENERS of Central's live broadcast of the 11 a.m. Sunday service each week: our radio station changed to WWRW 105.5 FM in September 2016!

 

Thanks for reading all this ... working without a safety net these days makes for some interesting cryptic notes!  I am doing fine; my family is doing well; my apartment is still mine; I have food and water.  

It's good to be Kimmy!!

 

Hope to see you at the show :)

 

 


Friday, September 9, 2016

The Stars Come Out for BadMouth Theatre Company's Theatrical Debut!

What would a beekeeper and a physicist have in common???

The Stars Line Up for Edgy New Theatre:
BadMouth Theatre Company debuts with Nick Payne’s Constellations

Who:     BadMouth Theatre Company
What:    BadMouth Theatre’s Theatrical Debut
When:   September 9-11, 2016
Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 at 7:30pm, Sunday, September 11 at 2pm.
Where:  Lexington Downtown Arts Center   
            141 E Main St, Lexington, KY 40507

Box Office: (859) 425-2550. Ticket Pricing: $15 General, $10 Student

Got a great message from Artistic Director Blake Taylor about BadMouth Theatre's debut performance of CONSTELLATIONS this week.  Just today have had a chance to post about it - check it out, it opens TONIGHT!!!!!


Roland (a bee keeper) and Marianne (a theoretical physicist) meet at a party. In that single moment, an unfathomable multitude of possibilities unfold. Their chance meeting might blossom into a meaningful relationship or a brief affair: it might lead to nothing at all. Each step along those possible paths in turn offers a new series of potential outcomes: a marriage can exist alongside a breakup and a tragic illness can exist on a parallel plane to a happily ever after. In this clever, eloquent and moving story, Roland and Marianne’s romance plays out over a myriad of possible lifetimes, capturing the extraordinary richness of being alive in the universe.

Directed by the BadMouth Ensemble. Featuring Griffin Cobb as Roland and Abigail Hamilton as Marianne.

Set, costume, and graphic design by Levi Kiess. Lighting and sound design and technical direction by Rebecca Clancy. Stage Manager: Andrea Nikki Ramos.

For more information on an upcoming production or to schedule an interview or in-house rehearsal visit, please contact Blake Taylor @ 859-699-6490, wbtaylor18@transy.edu.


See ya at the show!
Kimmy

Thursday, July 28, 2016

THIRD ANNUAL 10-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL OPENS TONIGHT AT STUDIO PLAYERS!


 
GREG JONES in THINGS THAT MATTERED  (Photo courtesy of Caleb Maas)
 
Tonight Studio Players will open its Third Annual 10-Minute Play Festival at the Carriage House on Bell Court, beginning at 8:00 p.m. -- no reserved tickets, simply show up well before the first play, which is called SANDBOX.

SANDBOX is a nice appetizer for the feast of six other plays to follow. It was written by internationally acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter Scott Mullen, directed by Western Kentucky University professor Jenny Christian and its cast includes familiar faces, Meredith Crutcher, Joe Gatton, Tom Phillips, and Esther Harvey.  It's a tasty opening for a night of plays that will tickle your funny bone & bring a tear here and there before you get tickled again. Short plays are the perfect way to see an evening of theatre, knowing if one play is not your cuppa, you can move on to the next 'course' in just a few minutes. What a lovely way to spend the evening with an appreciative audience and enthusiastic actors.
  (Photo courtesy of
Joe Gatton and Tom Phillips take on SANDBOX

Co-Producer Bob Singleton tells me the process of getting the manuscripts and selecting seven plays transpires in phases that begin the Spring.  "We posted an open call for plays in March, and accepted the first 150 for review. They come in from all over, and we always get more than the 150 cutoff. Those 150 scripts are distributed to five 'judges' (30 scripts each). Each judge selects 3 scripts from the 30 they read, for a total of 15 final scripts. We distribute these 7 scripts to the directors for them to read, and we set up 2 nights of unstaged readings. Local actors come in and perform the 15 scripts over 2 nights. It helps with the selection process to hear the plays out loud. The directors, producers, judges, and others are in attendance. We take feedback from everyone, and we ask the directors to list their top 3 choices to direct. We consider all of this, and a number of elements from a production logistics standpoint, and make the final selection of the 7 plays for production."

This is the third time for the play fest at Studio Players, and the fifth time Jim Betts and Bob have produced it. Singleton emphasizes,"Jim came up with the idea, I think in 2009 or 2010. He had secured seven scripts and five directors, and the Thoroughbred Theatre in Midway. I came on board to direct one of the plays, and ended up co-producing with Jim. We've expanded the selection process and moved the production to Studio Players, but the basic approach is still the same."

Singleton explains, "We get submissions from all over the world. I think this is the first year that all 7 plays that we're producing are by playwrights here in the States. We've had at least one overseas author in each of the previous seasons. We collected bios of the playwrights this year, and a few of them have fairly extensive credit in the film and television industry, in addition to play writing."

It's always a difficult decision when you ask a director what the choicest lines in the show are -- ESPECIALLY when there are SEVEN plays from which to choose -- but knowing Singleton would be his courteous and gentlemanly self, I asked anyway.  He tells me,"Favorite moments, that can be tough without spoiling too much (and tough to narrow down)...but some things that come to mind include: Joe Gatton coming into contact with sand; Cathy Rawlings working her magic; Tom and Jerry, the cartoon cat and mouse, brought to life onstage."

Those are just a few examples of the kaleidoscope of comedy and drama you will see performed by Lexington's finest actors, including Damon Greene, Spencer McGuire, Cathy Rawlings in Joe Starzyk's AFTER THE DARKNESS directed by Patrick J. Mitchell; followed by Dan Borengasser's THE THIRD PERSON, starring Jimmy James Hamblin, Aubin Munn, with Carly Moreno as director. Before intermission, you will enjoy SCRAMBLED by Brett Hursey, directed by Lexington Children's Theatre's Jeremy Kisling and features former Disney cruiseline star Elizabeth Ingram, and her partner, Benjamin Torres.

What?  There's more?  Yes!  The last three plays spotlight actors Natalie Cummins, Tommy Gatton, Greg Jones, Suraya Shalash, Sherry Jackson Thompson -- all cast in THINGS THAT MATTERED by Elin Hampton and directed by Mark Smith -- and THE BALLAD OF TOM AND JERRY by television's Liam Kuhn is directed by Sam Jenkins, features Tanner Gray and Kody Kiser.   

I wondered how the sets were chosen to be designed, if they were all simple to do and if that was one of the criteria for selecting the plays.  Singleton points out,"The directors are responsible for designing their sets, but we work in conjunction with them to make sure we're okay from a logistical standpoint in terms of storage space, tech needs and resources for lights, sounds, costumes, set, transition time, and other elements. We help with supplying more complicated items, although we also try to limit the need for too many difficult things. Some shows have required us to stretch some limits, so to speak. We work with the directors to try to find the right balance between telling an effective story with the right amount of set/light/prop/sound elements."

Why should YOU put this on your list of things to do this weekend?  Singleton believes the actors' collective popularity is the marquee attraction. "I think a big draw is the collection of talent that brings these shows and this play festival to life. These are folks you've seen in many other productions all over Central Kentucky, coming together for a night of sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, sometimes zany theatre. It's pretty impressive to me, the array of stories you can tell in 10 minutes, and the gamut of emotions you can cover in that same span. It's a night of quality theatre, and it's a little different from the usual fare, so to speak!" he exclaims.


Sample platter of quotes:

From Scrambled: "Mom, I gotta go. She's got a spatula."
From Ballad of Tom & Jerry: "What would happen? I'd be a God damn hero is what would happen."
From Sandbox: "But it’s a quiet sandbox. A sandbox of non-judgment. Of
peace. Where Betsy can forget about her sex addiction."
From Press Pray: "You can't get more elevated than this"
From Third Person: "Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. In the
story of your life, you’re in the middle."
From Things That Mattered: "No one is even looking my way. Clearly, I’m damaged goods. Buying me would be like accepting a kidney from a drunk. A dead one."

The festival ends with PRESS PRAY, by screen and television writer Seth Freeman,and features Ryan Case and Laurie Genet Preston.  It is sure to be a wonderful icing on the 7-layer cake called the 10 Minute Play Festival.  There is not a bad seat at the Carriage House; get there early to enjoy the beautiful setting of the Bell Court venue, rain or shine, it's always a fantastic venue.  There are 3-minute breaks between the shows and one 15-minute intermission.

Well done, Studio Players -- can't wait to see the entire set of shows!

JULY 28 - 31, 2016

Sponsored by Context Financial

STUDIO PLAYERS' 2016-2017 Season:
Dixie Swim Club
Whodunnit, Darling?
Stop Kiss
The Ginger Bread Lady
The Fox on the Fairway

www.studioplayers.org

For more information about Studio Players, contact
Bob Singleton at bsingleton99@yahoo.com


See you at the show(s)!





Saturday, July 2, 2016

Art by Flag Fork Herb Farm's Mike Creech Sold At Farmers Market to Benefit Fund

I was at the Market today, it being Saturday and all, and on my out, stopped at my favorite (and only) geode stand.  As I looked at the ancient rocks and fossils, I saw some prints on the other side of the table.

They were created by Mike Creech, and there was even one of a scene depicting Exile, my favorite Kentucky homeboys, as the marquee attraction at the Dog in Richmond!  I loved it...almost bought it but hope it will be there next week.  

Creech is in a wheelchair due to an accident that left him immobilized from the waist down.

Mike and Carrie Creech were the owners of the Flag Fork Herb Farm and The Garden Cafe in Lexington.  If you enjoyed the food there, you were eating Mike's creations as the head chef!

Over three years ago, he was in a tragic accident while fishing near Cave Run Lake.  That day, his world would change dramatically when he broke his neck and became paralyzed from the chest down.


Through this challenging journey, spending months in rehabilitation at Cardinal Hill, he has shown great character and strength!  With determination, faith in God, great surgeons and the help of family and friends, Mike is improving.  Feeling and reponse are slowly returning to his body.  


Hats off to Mike and Carrie, his dedicated wife!  Currently in a wheelchair, in great spirits, he is able to communicate clearly.  He has participated in many research studies and outpatient therapy at Cardinal Hill.  However from his waist down...he is still immobile.  From his waist up he is quite limited and dependent on 24 hour help from others.  Movement in his arms and hands is the focus of daily therapy also aimed at keeping his upper body strong enough to balance while sitting.  He is able to operate the controls on his motorized wheelchair, feed himself, and even started back to his art work with the help of a care giver.

I encourage you to go to this link and give whatever you can to help his family raise the funds to purchase needed therapy equipment:

https://www.youcaring.com/mike-creech-487727

OR

Shiloh Center [a 5013(c) non-profit organization]
800 Compton Rd #37A
Cincinnati, Ohio 45231

OR

Call Dan Jackson with any questions: 513.522.5766

OR

Do it my way, and go to the Farmers Market stand on Short Street (on Saturdays) where the geodes are displayed...you will not be sorry you visited their kiosk!  Buy a print; all proceeds go directly to Mike!

peace,

Kimmy

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chevy Chase Inn's New Owners Want CCI to REMAIN Our Favorite Watering Hole


Chevy Chase Inn's new proprietors (Kevin Heathcoat, Will Pieratt and Bill Farmer) would love to restore a former landmark on Euclid Avenue. After a year of indoor and patio restorations, they've turned their attention to the outside of the building and its 'curb appeal.'


CCI is almost on-campus, and nearly every student who's attended UK in the last 80+ years has walked through its doors at one time or another. Horse farm owners and grooms from the world over have bellied up to its bar; and the spirit of the room when UK is playing ball on television is pure Bluegrass: unpredictable and entertaining!

Who knows how many names the place has been called over the near-century that Lexington's oldest bar has graced Euclid Avenue? The Eye, Eyeball, SeeSeeEye, the pub, the bar, THE place to meet friends who imbibe.


If you haven't been, well, look for the new sign, hopefully soon to be re-created.

The Squirrels! Steve Lyons, Bob Goff, Rex Hart, JP Pennington
Roger BonDurant and Wanda Barnett


WHO LOVES THE CCI?
I've seen people of all sorts come and go from the front door of to the back; perhaps they'll make a stop at the friendly but lone pinball machine room or bring in bbq or jambalaya from Toulouse & Bourbon next door. The back entrance takes you through a friendly crowd of patio lovers and if you're there on the right night, you'll hear the music of Roger BonDurant and his musical friends.

NEW SIGN?
But back to the sign, what's this about a new sign? I asked Heathcoat about all the goings on with the new ownership of CCI, and the fundraising campaign to buy of a new sign to replicate the OLD neon sign that adorned the Inn in its earlier days.

Rog B and Ronn Crowder
Heathcoat tells me how it came to happen that he went into partnership with Farmer and Pierratt. "We opened Bourbon n’ Toulouse 12 years ago and Bill [Farmer] was one of the first people we met in the neighborhood. We became quick friends and our friendship has only grown as the years have passed. As for the three of us deciding on trying to buy CCI, I was working at Bourbon n’ Toulouse one day in October of 2014 and Bill came busting into the kitchen and exclaimed “CCI is for sale. We have to buy it!” That conversation finished with a handshake and a shot of bourbon and we were all partners."

As I stated above, the idea started in October of 2014, but we did not finish the sale until March 2, 2015. I went to CCI and talked to Red Eye the day after Bill told me he had heard that CCI was for sale and asked him if the bar was really for sale. He assured me that it was and got me in contact with the owners to discuss the potential of us buying it. I learned that there were two other groups wanting to buy the bar, but neither of the other groups wanted to keep it as the oldest bar in Lexington. One group wanted to turn it into a high-end wine bar and the other wanted to gut the 100+ year old farm house and turn it into a retail space.  We had a lot of trouble securing a loan because the business had been down for many years in a row and the numbers did not make sense to bankers. Thankfully BB&T gave us a loan on what we were trying to save and not on what we were trying to buy.

As far as cajun influence, Heathcoat explains, "I’m from Kokomo, IN and Will is from Lexington. We both worked under Joe Vuskovich who was the founder of Jozo’s Bayou Gumbo and later opened Yats. Joe is a native of New Orleans and a career restauranteur. Will was his head cook for over 12 years.Joe later moved Yats to Indianapolis and that is where I got involved. I retired as an elementary school teacher after a solid four month career and found myself bouncing around restaurants while trying to decided what I wanted to do in life. One day Joe sat me down and told me that Will and I needed to move out of Indianapolis and open our own restaurant. He then called Will and told him that he needed to open a restaurant with me."

"His 'kicking us out of the nest' was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for the two of us! We didn’t know that you were supposed to have money to open a restaurant. We opened Bn’T on seven credit cards and $10,000 I borrowed from my brother. We should have never made it in this business, but hard work and a lot of luck has got us to where we are today."

He assures me the entertainment factor will still remain the marquee attraction. "The music will not be changing, we will just be adding to it. I want Roger BonDurant to play every Friday and Saturday, but we all know that is not realistic. After 30+ years, I think he deserves a weekend or two off! When he is not playing I replace him with some great up and coming musicians. It makes for a great mix of youth and experience. One thing we have changed recently is adding music on Sundays.  The Tallboys are playing every Sunday from 8:00 - 11:00pm.  They play every year on Fat Tuesday and are a perfect fit for CCI.

NEW PATIO PRIVATE PARTIES?
As of now, we’re only offering private parties as a reward for our Kickstarter campaign. It will be more of a “semi-private” party.People will have wristbands that will allow them access to a Bourbon n’ Toulouse buffet staffed by a member of Bn’T. We would never close off our entire patio to our regulars. They’re the most important part of CCI! We do have people that arrange to throw their own parties at CCI all the time from birthdays to wakes, anniversaries to divorce parties and everything in between. There isn’t much that hasn’t been see at The I over the past 83 years!

As far as the fundraising campaign, Heathcoat let me know where it stands. "We are currently at about 70% of our goal of $15,000. If we meet our goal by Thursday at midnight, we hope that we will clear $10,000 of that $15,000 after Kickstarter take their 8 - 10%, cost of goods on the rewards we are giving out and shipping to get those rewards to the donors.  Fully installed, the sign itself is going to cost around $20,000."

THURSDAY, JUNE 30 at CCI...TRY WEST SIXTH'S NEWEST
CCI puts this smile on my face ;-)
"We are having a tap takeover with West Sixth Brewing to close out the Kickstarter campaign on Thursday from 5:00pm to midnight. We will be featuring their brand new Half-Bite IPA that is being release on Wednesday. We’ll be one of the first bars to have it on tap. I’ve also hired a local DJ to come in and spin some classic 45’s. He does everything from Motown to Blues to Classic Rock. It’s going to be a great party. We’re either going to be celebrating or dropping a tear in our beer, but either way we’ll be enjoying some awesome beer from West Sixth!"