Vienna Light Orchestra stops in Fayetteville for the holidays

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Wrapping up its Magical Movie Scores tour and gearing up for its Christmas tour, Vienna Light Orchestra is heading to Fayetteville on Dec. 10. This 90-minute musical experience will be held in the beautiful and historical Hay Street United Methodist Church with show times at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Doors to the beautiful show open 1 hour before showtime. Don’t miss your chance to listen to world-class musicians and vocalists while bathed in the light of over two thousand candlelights.

Founded in 1999, the Vienna Lights Orchestra, named after the “capital of orchestral music,” brings a fresh and youthful take on their favorite songs and introduces people to the joys of orchestral music. After traveling to cities including but not limited to Calgary, Alberta, Costa Rica, Durres, Albania, Edinburgh, Kotor, Montenegro and London, VLO has come to the USA.

The Vienna Light Orchestra serves as a vessel to illuminate the world of orchestral music in a new light, both literally and figuratively. They weave their own intricate arrangements into beloved songs to keep the genre exciting and new. Loved by many all over the world, VLO makes it clear that you don’t have to be an orchestra enthusiast to enjoy their shows; simply sit back and enjoy the magical ambiance, beautiful instrumentals and stunning vocals sprinkled throughout.

This event offers a break from the bustle of daily life by immersing you in the safe, flameless candles intricately placed around the entire venue, ensuring you are safe and at ease. The Vienna Lights Orchestra is a wonderful place to bring loved ones and will surely bring a night attendees will never forget. VLO is recommended for everyone ages five and above, although children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, guaranteeing everyone’s safety and comfort. Make sure to get to the venue early, as the seating is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to their website, founder, producer and director of Vienna Light Orchestra, Steven Canyon, says, “When I was a teenager I wrote a song called Eternal Love. I was spellbound by the sweeping melodies that came flooding through the piano, which has become the rhythm of my life. Today, as part of [the] Vienna Light Orchestra, I’m thrilled to play a lot of the world’s most beloved music. My dream is to help make the entirety of orchestral music enjoyable, fresh, and delightful for everyone!”

Canyon continues, saying, “The Vienna Light Orchestra has youthful, excited, talented musicians who perform from their hearts and touch hearts every evening.”

Audiences worldwide have said, “The performers [are] amazing and angelic!” They call the experience “mesmerizing, transcendent, and positively stimulating to the senses!”

For more information and general inquiries on the Vienna Light Orchestral event in Fayetteville, visit or contact

Shop small, local this holiday season


The streets of Downtown Fayetteville brim with excitement and holiday enchantment on the day following Thanksgiving. A Dickens Holiday has been a cherished tradition for 24 years.

During the Dickens Holiday event, Downtown Fayetteville offers a fantastic shopping experience. In addition to the more than 100 vendors participating in the Dickens Holiday, the local downtown shops are not to be missed for great holiday shopping.

Get your day off to a great start by fueling up with a cup of coffee or a delicious breakfast.

Visit Rude Awakening Coffee House at 227 Hay Street for the opportunity to indulge in fantastic coffee, tea or smoothies. Enhance your experience by pairing your choice with a delectable pastry.

While you are there, be sure to check out their gift mugs for the coffee and tea lovers on your list. Not to be missed is their highly anticipated seasonal alcohol chocolates.
Get one for someone special, and one for yourself.

Let the shopping begin!

Pressed-A Creative Space at 120 Hay Street is a great place to start! They carry a variety of unique gifts, from a huge selection of crystals to tee shirts.

During the Dickens Holiday Event on Friday and Shop Small Business on Saturday, they will have 40% off crystals and 30% off crystal rings. Crystal bracelets will be Buy One Get One Free, and regular-priced shirts will be Buy One Get One 50%.

Don’t miss their Cyber Monday sale, where everything on their site will be 35% off. Visit their website at:

Another great downtown gift shop with over 60 artisans in their store is A Bit of Carolina at 306 Hay Street. A great place to find a single item or to put together a customized gift basket, they will have $15 Simply Southern Christmas Long Sleeve Tees, regularly $25.95, $5 Christmas Earrings, regularly $12.95, and Simply Southern Beanies, 1/2 off during Dickens Holiday.

Come back for Shop Small Business Saturday for 10% off gift boxes and gift baskets, gift with a purchase of $25 or more, while supplies last, and 25% off Simply Southern, excluding sale items.

Not to be missed is Cursive at 223 Franklin Street. You will surely find something amazing here for even the hardest person to shop on your list. Get a complimentary Bah Humbug ornament while supplies last when you make a purchase at the Dickens Holiday event. Also, enjoy free gifts with purchases of $50, $100 and $150.

Shop Small Business Saturday shoppers will get a swag bag with coupons and other surprises!

After a hectic day of shopping, take a break and enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner.
In downtown, there are a variety of options available to satisfy your cravings after a day of shopping, with more than 20 restaurants and cafes to choose from.

Cool Springs Downtown District’s website also does a great job listing them, including their location, the type of food they serve, hours and contact information.

Check it out here:

An after-meal stroll is the way to go.

Once you have satisfied your appetite, continue exploring downtown by immersing yourself in the Dickens Holiday festivities or taking a leisurely walk through the local bookstore. City Center Gallery & Books at 112 Hay Street is not only a great place to find your next read but also a place where local artists sell their latest creations.

They will feature a large selection of holiday books at great prices as gifts for the season.
There is a wide selection of unique art pieces you can get as gifts in all price ranges by local and regional artists. Mark that book lover or art lover off your shopping list!

One last stop to cap off the day.

It’s time to unwind from the day, and there’s no better place to do that than The Sip Room at 106 Hay Street.Feeling warm enough to sip some wine or champagne on the patio? If not, enjoy the great ambiance inside. Take advantage of their Dickens Holiday specials with $5 mimosas, $20 hookahs and $4 beers.

Have some wine lovers to shop for or want to get a head start on beverages for your holiday dinner? Don’t miss their 40% off retail sale. And the more you buy, the more you save with 10% off three bottles of wine, 20% off six, and 30% off 12 or more bottles.

When in doubt, give them a gift card.

Did you know that Cool Springs Downtown District offers a Downtown E-Gift Card? An easy gift to give and a great way to support the local downtown businesses.

For more information or to purchase a gift card, visit:

Art exhibit brings awareness to domestic violence

Love is one of the most intense emotions that is supposed to make an individual feel good and feel safe. Domestic violence is not.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in three women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. That is why a Domestic Violence Awareness Exhibition Event will take place Saturday, Nov. 18, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the SIP room on Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville.

“The purpose of the event is to spread the knowledge of domestic violence awareness and to share resources for domestic violence awareness,” said Takieyah Mathis, founder of the Standing Light Foundation and event planner of the Love Shouldn’t Hurt Domestic Violence Awareness Exhibition event. “It is so important to know that there are other dynamics about domestic violence other than a male hitting a female or vice versa.”

Domestic violence awareness is significant to Mathis because she was a victim of domestic violence as well as her mother.

“My mother was in a nine-year domestic violence relationship and I went through my own domestic violence situation when I was 19-years-old,” said Mathis. “My situation was bad but it was not as bad as my mom’s.”
She added, “My mom is the reason I left my situation because I was like, I have to get out of this and I am not going to go through this for a long
period of time.”

The event will entail a diverse panel of speakers, domestic violence resources, poetry and art displays and a toast to the survivors and non-survivors of domestic violence.

“I have an author who will share how her partner abused her and her children, a woman who will teach how to use firearms and the proper steps to protect yourself, and I will share domestic violence resources,” said Mathis. “We will have poetry and art displays and I am going to allow people to share their domestic violence story.”

The effects of domestic violence can be long lasting or permanent and victims of domestic violence can suffer from serious mental health consequences.

“My mom’s situation caused me more trauma than anything,” said Mathis. “It really affected the dynamics of our household because it affected my mom’s mental health which meant that she could not be a mom and properly function for us.”

“I want to break the stigma of domestic violence, especially by being a mom of boys,” said Mathis.
“We have to teach our sons that there are other ways to channel anger and learn how to positively communicate our emotions.”

Mathis’ one wish is for more community leaders to read this article and be more in touch with the little people and join the cause for domestic violence.

The event is free and open to the public. Participants are asked to wear purple to the event.

The National Violence Domestic Hotline is (800) 799- 7233.

No one has a right to put their hands on you. Your last reprimand should have been when you were a child living in your parents’ house.

Please do not put your family in a situation where they have to plan your funeral. Take heed to this article and run for your life.

Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra hosts Four Seasons

Photo of Fabian

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is presenting Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.. The Four Seasons presents the musical expression of change.

Antonio Vivaldi composed these violin concerti in 1723. The sequence of the seasons are Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

Fabian Lopez, concertmaster, is the violin soloist for The Four Seasons concerti. A concerti is a piece of one or more soloists with three or more movements.

“When planning our opening season concert, we develop a classic program that is well-known and adored,” said Megan Woolbright, marketing director, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.
The musical program will also feature Legacy of Love, a musical tribute to Frances Grimes. Legacy of Love, composed by William Grimes, was dedicated to his mother on her one-hundredth birthday. She is a founding member of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra was founded in 1956.

Fayetteville Symphony is committed to diversity, reflected by the Baroque Suite, written by Adolphus Hailstork, a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) composer, and Brendan Slocumb, BIPOC violinist, Fayetteville native, and author. Slocumb is the author of The Violin Conspiracy and Secrets of the Symphony.

Female composers are featured in future programs such as Florence Price, classical pianist, organist and music teacher. Jessie Montgomery is a composer, chamber musician and educator.
Many of us have expectations of concerts at locations such as Fayetteville State University, Methodist University and churches. The Fayetteville Symphony has made these options available to the public. The Symphony on Tap series is classical music performed at local breweries. Beethoven, Bach, the music is free; pay for your beer.

“Symphony on Tap is a new series with the goal to engage the community through music and beer,” said Meghan Woolbright.
“Listening to Classical Music has health benefits, stress reduction, lowers blood pressure, lowers anxiety, improves cognition, positive impact on pain management and enhances blissful sleep,” according to studies by Better Sleep.

The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra is a primary factor in the quality of life in Fayetteville.

“The orchestra contributes to the quality of life in our city by making music accessible for everyone to experience," said Woolbright

Enjoy the musical experience of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m., at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 234 Green St. The tickets range from $5 to $32.


For more ticket Information contact Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra at, or visit

How the arts benefit academic performance

19aThe cost of products and services continues to rise and organizations everywhere have increasingly been feeling the pressure to reevaluate budgets. It’s no different in school districts nationwide, with school boards making difficult decisions about which programs to keep and which will have to go in order to save money.

Music and arts programs often are the first to be cut when school budgets are tightened. The organization Save the Music says that, during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, per-pupil spending in public schools decreased by approximately 7 percent across the country. This led to a trickle-down effect that resulted in the cancellation of art and music programs. Since then, many districts have continued to cut arts programs due to budget limitations. COVID-19 also did little to help the situation.

Art program cutbacks are rarely met with open arms, and that resistance has a lot to do with the positive effects such offerings have on students’ academic performance.
Better test performance

Numerous studies have found a correlation between early introduction to music education and a number of benefits for children. Music education can help develop communication skills, brain plasticity, language, and motor skills. A study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles used a database of more than 25,000 middle and high school students. The researchers found that students involved in arts performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with lower arts involvement.

Furthermore, data from 2015 from The College Board, which produces the SAT, found students who took four years of arts and music classes while in high school scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who only took one-half year or less.

Improved emotional states

In addition to better performance on tests, a review in Frontiers in Psychology examined several studies linking arts and aesthetic experiences with “broad improvements” in people’s emotional states. Those improvements included greater psychological and physical well-being.

Community involvement

Participation and even appreciation of the arts can have an impact as well. Researchers from the Department of Public Administration at the University of Illinois Chicago found that being an art curator or audience member leads to high levels of civic engagement and social tolerance.

The support and therapy company Evolve Treatment Centers reports that involvement in music and arts leads to overall higher GPAs, higher scores in math and reading and a reduced risk of behavioral problems and suspensions.
Music and arts education are important to students’ development. Keeping these programs alive in schools can benefit students in many ways.

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