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Community Concerts Brings Music Legends & Leno to Town PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Fayetteville is not the same place it was in 1935. But some things do not change, one of which is a love of music. In 1935, a group of music lovers came together to form Community Concerts. Over the years, the organiztion, like the city, has evolved.

First started as a Columbia Artists franchise that canvassed the nation in the early 20th century has grown into a local entertainment powerhouse that delivers top-notch productions to the community. Every season. Without fail. Today, just a handful of Community Concerts programs remain throughout the country, one of which if here inFayetteville.  Celebrating 80 years of bringing great music to the community, Community Concerts is launching its biggest season. Daryl Hall and John Oates open the 2015/2016  line-up on Dec. 5. Peter Cetera, Boyz II Men and Jay Leno follow with shows in January, March and April, respectively.

Michael Fleishman, long-time board member and current Community Concerts attractions director, joined the team more than 20 years ago and was a part of the organization when it made a conscious decision to veer away from the status quo. 

“Community Concerts used to be a lot of chamber music and choral groups,” he said. “We decided to turn to the pop music genre for our productions and then did our very best to wow our audiences every single year. We concentrated on bringing the best entertainment we could afford to Fayetteville. Once we did that, once we made taking care of our audiences our priority, things just sort of took care of themselves.”  

This year, the Community Concerts organization focused on bringing fewer shows but bigger names to Fayetteville, booking a $100,000 season. 

“Last year was our biggest season. This year is our most expensive,” said Fleishman.

Daryl Hall and John Oates are the top-selling duo in music history. Their music has not only entertained fans for decades, it laid the ground work for the next generation of musicians. Their acolytes include big names like Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Brandon Flowers of the Killers, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and MTV’s newest hipsters Gym Class Heroes.  Hall and Oates have graced the cover of Spin Magazine, had tours named in their honor (the Gym class Heroes “Daryl Hall for President Tour 2007”). Last year, the duo received the coveted nod and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

With more sales than any other performing duo, Hall and Oates continue to deliver performances that keep crowds on their feet. 

“This is going to be a great concert,” said Fleishman. “They’ve got so many hits.”

Chart toppers for the pair include: six number one singles, including “Rich Girl”, “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” from their six consecutive multiplatinum albums. Plus five Top 10 singles, “Sara Smile,” “One on One,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Method of Modern Love.”

In addition to touring, Hall currently stars in a web series called “Live from Daryl’s House.” It airs every Thursday at 11 p.m. EST on the Palladia Channel or at www.livefromdarlyshouse.com. The show has had a plethora of guest artists including Joe Walsh, Booker T and the MGs, The Blind Boys of Alabama,  Train, Cee Lo Green, Smokey Robinson, The Doors’ Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, Toots Hibbert,  K.T. Tunstall, Todd Rundgren, Keb Mo, Dave Stewart, Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump along with newcomers such as Nick Waterhouse, Chiddy Bang, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Matt Nathanson, Parachute, Plain White T’s,  soul diva Sharon Jones, Diane Birch, L.A. neo-R&B party band Fitz & the Tantrums and hot new alternative band Neon Trees. Adding a restaurant and music club to the mix, Hall opened Daryl’s House on Oct. 31 in Pawling, New York. The eatery/club serves as the backdrop for the show.

The two have no problems staying busy. In March, look for a new concert video release — the first in seven years. Daryl Hall and John Oates: Live in Dublin. It was filmed  on July 15, 2014 at the Olympia Theatre in their first ever Dublin performance.

Oates released a solo project called Good Road to Follow in March of 2014.  

In January Peter Cetera will electrify the audience at the Crown. 

“He was Chicago’s lead singer for a long time,” said Fleishman. “He has since gone on to have a successful  solo career. There is probably not one of his songs that you won’t recognize.”

Cetera performed with Chicago from 1968 through 1986. He was the lead singer, he wrote songs, he played the bass. Hits from that era include “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” “Baby What a Big Surprise,” “You’re the Inspiration,” “Stay the Night,” “Love Me Tomorrow,” “Happy Man,” “Feeling Stronger Every Day” and “Along Comes a Woman.”

Striking out on his own, Cetera recorded 10 albums and was nominated for an Academy Award for “The Glory of Love” from the hit movie The Karate Kid II.  He went on the top the charts with “The Next Time I Fall” with Amy Grant; “Feels Like Heaven” with Chaka Kahn; “After All” with Cher from the motion picture Chances Are; “No Explanation” from Pretty Woman and “Restless Heart.”

Four-time Grammy Award winners Boyz II Men have been changing the R&B landscape for more than 20 years. Accolades include nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards, three Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. 

With classics that appeal to all generations, Boyz II Men produced hits that include “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “One Sweet Day” and  “Motownphilly.”

“Boyz II Men continues to deliver high-energy shows that audiences love,” said Fleishman. “They are known for great harmonies and relatable songs.” 

The band is set to release a new album in September called Collide. Two of the tracks, “Better Half” and “Diamond Eyes” are featured on a special episode of ABC’s hit show,
The Bachelorette

The group’s charity, Boyz II Men House “lends support to individuals and organizations that focus on improving quality of life and helping to unlock human potential, while contributing to the health and vitality of those less fortunate.”

Funny man Jay Leno kept America laughing for decades. Talk show host, author and stand-up comedian, Leno closes out the 2015/2016 season of Community Concerts.

Leno’s comic career spans 40 years. He performed for the armed forces during conflicts in Bosnia and Afghanistan and serves as master of xeremonies for several charity events each year. This big-hearted entertainer is sure to have the audience in stitches. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.community-concerts.com.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 November 2015 )
A Dickens Holiday Welcomes Christmas to the Community PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Stephanie Crider   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

112515_cover.pngThe day after Thanksgiving is a special time in Downtown Fayetteville. It is a celebration of history, tradition and goodwill; it is A Dickens Holiday. Come for a visit and travel back in time to the Victorian era. With the lively atmosphere, characters in costume and period decorations, it’s easy to get lost in the old-time traditions and activities of the day. Every year the Downtown Alliance and the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County team up to deliver what is intended to be Downtown Fayetteville’s kick-off  to the holiday season. The fun starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.

“There are so many favorite events that people have come to expect each year,” said Mary Kinny Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County marketing director. “It is a lot fun but also a day where people can learn new things. We want people to come and learn about the Victorian era, to learn about how they dressed, to hear music they’ve not heard before.”

This year, the Arts Council invites photographers to bring their cameras and participate in an entirely new event: The Art’s Council’s A Dickens Holiday Photography Contest. It is free to participate and there are cash prizes for the winners as well as an opportunity to have works used in promotional materials for future events. Photographers can submit up to 10 images. 

“We have so many talented photographers in this community and we are always looking for new ways for artists to participate in events,” said Kinney. “We want them to have a chance to participate and bring their unique perspective to this event.” 

Visit the Arts Council website to enter. 

Bringing characters from the past to life is an important element to the Dickens Holiday celebration. Characters from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol roam the streets while other Victorian-era characters such as the Coventry Carolers mingle with the crowd as well, performing throughout the day. 

“We do plan to include historical tributes that include other characters, too,” said Kinney. “Of course, Queen Victoria will be there as well as other historical figures who lived during Victorian times.”

Adding a special twist to the event is New York Times best-selling author Charlie Lovett. With his new book The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge hot off the presses, Lovett tells the story of Scrooge 20 years after A Christmas Carol. Don’t miss the book signings and dramatic readings at 3, 4 and 7 p.m. at the Rainbow Room on Hay Street.

Vendors selling their wares offer up spiced cider and confections that were likely sampled in Queen Victoria’s court. Others offer items common to the 1800s including jewelry and other artistic pieces. Stores will be open for shoppers to experience the best that downtown has to offer.

In the 1800s, the Fisk Jubilee Singers shared “slave songs” with the world. They performed for royalty in Europe sharing the music of a culture the kings and queens had never experienced before. During Fayetteville’s A Dickens Holiday, Arts Council Board Member Rangel McLaurin leads local singers in a musical tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Visit Annie’s Ale House, a Victorian Pub. Enjoy a beer, wine or nonalcoholic cider and experience traditional period pub music. It is located inside the Arts Council and is open from 1-9 p.m.

SkyView hosts this year’s Gingerbread Community of Hope Competition. The project is a joint effort between Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity and H&H Homes. The Community of Hope is made by community members and offers a unique perspective on what a community can be. The deadline to enter a gingerbread structure is Nov. 20. Applications are available that the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Find out more by calling 920-4657.

Pictures with Santa are a fun holiday tradition for many families. A Dickens Holiday adds a twist to that long-held event. Look for Father Christmas in his authentic Victorian sleigh in front of the Arts Council throughout the day. Prints are $6 or $15 for three.

See downtown from a new perspective with Dickens Carriage Rides that feature a horse-drawn tour of downtown. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets go on sale at noon at 222 Hay Street and sell out fast.

The Queen Victoria Carriage Rides offer a longer tour and leave from the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets are available now by calling 678-8899. 

The second floor of the Market House opens from 1-9 p.m. with an exhibit featuring what life was like in Fayetteville during the Victorian era. Visitors will find literature, military items and even a Victorian Christmas tree. The display is interactive and includes some common household items from the 1800s that many people may not recognize.

Fascinate-U Children’s Museum is open from 

1 p.m. to dusk. Guests can make a Victorian ornament. Children can take their creations home or donate them to hang on the community tree. Find out more at www.fascinate-u.com.

Don’t miss Tuba Christmas at Hay Street United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. The concert takes place in the church sanctuary.

Gilbert Theater debuts It’s a Wonderful Life at 8 p.m. For tickets and information, visit Gilbertheater.com

The Museum of the Cape Fear’s Poe House is decked out for the holidays and is open from 10 a.m. to 

4 p.m. Tours are free and offer an in-depth look into what Christmas was like in Fayetteville during the Victorian era. Call 486-1330 for information.

An event like no other in town, the Candlelight Procession kicks off at the Arts Council at 5:30 p.m.  Bring a candle (available at local merchants as well as the Arts Council — while supplies last) and join the crowd on an evening march from the Arts Council to the Market House.  

“This is my favorite part of A Dickens Holiday,” said Kinney. “The procession isn’t until 5:30 p.m. but people start gathering at the Arts Council building as early as 3 p.m. sometimes. To see the excitement building as they wait, anticipating the procession is really something. Then to see the thousands of people come together to make their way to the Market House is so heartwarming. One of the greatest things about Fayetteville and this community  is the way people enjoy coming together with total strangers who immediately become friends. There is a sense that we are one community — one group of people — yet we are from all over the world and from all walks of life – so diverse and unified all at once.

After the procession, fireworks light up the Market House and Dickens After Dark begins. Immediately following the fireworks, Dr. Gail Morfesis and The Woman’s Club of Fayetteville will present a 15-minute excerpt from their production A Christmas Carol Revisited. This is a brief preview of the full-length production at the Woman’s Club on Nov.28 and 29. Find out more by calling 624-2651.

Find out more about A Dickens Holiday at www.theartscouncil.com or by calling 323-1776. Find out about the Downtown Alliance at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com. Photos courtesy of Wick Smith.


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 November 2015 )
Fayetteville: Sanctuary City for the Homeless PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Bill Bowman   
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Is Fayetteville a sanctuary city for the homeless? It could happen. Actually, it is happening. Why? Because we live in a community where love, generosity and compassion far outpace vision and aggressive, competent and compelling  leadership at both the city and county levels. Together, they are not even visionary enough to see the advantages of leveraging this pure and unfiltered outreach of Christian generosity for the betterment of the Fayetteville community.

What a shame. A blind man could see why our community fails to mature socially, culturally and economically just by the way we communicate or fail to communicate among ourselves. Unfortunately, instead of seeking prosperity and solutions for our community, our city and county leadership are collectively more concerned with finding fault with each other and making excuses for their lackluster achievements. 

A perfect recent example is the case of Operation Inasmuch’s dispute with St. Luke’s AME Church on Hillsboro Street over building another 40-bed homeless shelter. A community shattered needlessly. Why? Basically, because  building another homeless shelter is viewed by Hillsboro Street residents as creating another enabling haven for the homeless rather than a solution to a problem perceived to already be of epidemic proportion. This comes even after homelessness  has been publicly  proclaimed one of the biggest concerns and highest priorities of the community.

Why? Because city and county elected officials cannot come together to address the actual problem and find feasible solutions and remedies. No, they can only sit back with their political heads in the sand while dozens upon dozens of homeless men, women, children, veterans, vagrants and exploiting panhandlers cripple local businesses, terrorize residents and tarnish Fayetteville’s reputation and our quality of life. A stroll down Maiden Lane demonstrates how our elected officials have allowed our downtown Headquarters Library to be transformed to a  quasi-homeless haven at the detriment of the community.

City and county elected officials must work together to find real solutions to problems our community faces like homelessness, crime, littering, economic development, utility expansion and, of course, the need for expanded park and recreation facilities.

The solution? First, residents need to get active and vote. Second, they need to stop voting for the same old political hacks who say nothing and do nothing but serve as partisan placeholders. Third, demand that our elected officials state what their vision is for the community and how they plan to improve our city or county. Fourth, start holding our political leaders responsible. Speak out. Demand the facts, details and explanations of why things are or are not being accomplished. Fifth: Demand transparency. To be sure, no city or county resident has ever benefited from anything that goes on behind closed doors.

The lack of harmony and leadership in dealing with the Hillsboro Street homeless shelter and our failure to come together with adequate solutions to our homeless problem indicates a serious lack of vision and leadership – not necessarily a good position for a community with aspirations of greatness! 

2016 will be and can be a big year for Fayetteville and Cumberland County. However, vision and leadership are imperative for that success. And, that will be up to us. 

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 November 2015 )

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