Cumberland Choral Arts presents 'Welcome to London'

15 choral artsAudience members may not recognize the Cumberland Choral Arts moniker just yet, but the voices will sound oh-so familiar when the group performs Friday, Feb. 28 at First Baptist Church. No stranger to the community, Cumberland Choral Arts was founded in 1991 as the Cumberland Oratorio Singers. The group performs a variety of pieces in the classical, opera, stage and screen music, jazz and other music genres.

“It is our first season as Cumberland Choral arts,” said Artistic Director Jason Britt. “People are starting to recognize the name, but we are still explaining it. We changed our name because it more accurately reflects who we are. We realize our listeners are not just people who strictly love classical music. We have audience members who like jazz and Broadway and contemporary music, and we strive to provide a variety of things for the interest of our audience. We are a community group. We do a variety of music, not just traditional choral music. If you come to ‘Welcome to London,’ you may hear something from the Beatles that night.”

 The concert will showcase three significant composers — Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and John Rutter. “We are going to be highlighting some famous British composers,” said Britt. “Elgar and Holst are both considered nationalist composers who epitomize their country through their music. We are showcasing them as well as contemporary composer John Rutter. We will be showcasing his traditional  pieces and one that is more jazz-related.

Additional performances this season include a celebration of black history month Feb. 22 called “Lift Every Voice and Sing. “Local black musicians will perform that night at 7 p.m.,” said Britt. Patrons can pay at the door. It’s  $15 per person. Season ticket holders will get a discount. Proceeds benefit Cumberland Choral Arts.”

The final concert in the season brings audiences full circle with “America, My Home.” It is set for May 8. The concert focuses on a few little-known composers, including some from North Carolina. The works of  Joseph Martin, Dan Forrest, Daniel Elder and Stephen Paulus are all on the docket as attendees are treated to more subtle and subdued harmonic structures, combined with flowing, sing-able melodies. Some of the works to be performed that night include “Good Night Dear Heart,” “Song for the Unsung Hero,” “Hymn for America” and Elder’s song cycle “Three Nocturnes.”

Inspired by the joy of singing and hearing choral music, the group’s mission is “to be a premier symphonic chorus through the outstanding performance of choral masterworks. With a commitment to excellence and education for over 25 years, we work collaboratively with all singers to foster a vibrant, diverse, and interactive choral community, educate our singers and audiences, and extend our reach to the youth of Cumberland County and the Sandhills region.”

Find out more about Cumberland Choral Arts at https://cumberlandchoralarts.org/ or by calling 910-215-7046. Tickets are available on the Cumberland Choral arts website.

Connect with the outdoors at the Cumberland County Master Gardeners’ 6th Annual Spring Garden Symposium

11 N1907P38008CThe Cumberland County Master Gardeners 6th Annual Spring Garden Symposium is set for March 21 at the Ramada Plaza in the Bordeaux Convention Center in Fayetteville. It will be filled with excitement and fun for anyone interested in gardening and the great outdoors. The symposium will run from
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is put on by the N.C. State/Cumberland County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Association.

Come ready to learn, as the symposium features several guests. The main speakers of the event will be Joe Lamp’L, Kerry Ann Mendez and Jason Weathington.
Lamp’L is the creator, executive producer and host of the Emmy-award winning national PBS series, “Growing a Greener World.” Mendez is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant. Her international gardening webinars have been viewed by thousands. Weathington is an N.C. State/Cumberland County Extension urban horticulture agent, educator and landscape designer.

Weathington, Lamp’L and Mendez will give presentations throughout the day. Lamp’L will discuss what takes place behind the scenes of his show, “Growing a Greener World,” drawing inspiration from his extensive travels across America. These travels set the stage for the series, providing content and inspiration. The presentation is titled, “Growing a Greener World — A behind the scenes look at some of our most popular stories from the past 9 seasons.”

Mendez’s presentation is titled, “The Budget-Wise Gardener: Plant the Best for Less! Money-Saving Tips for Purchasing Plants Plus Cost-Saving Garden Designs.” This presentation will be about finding ways to get the best plants for the best price. It also will discuss tips on how to design one’s garden and landscapes while also saving money in the process.

Mendez will also give a presentation called “Gardening Simplified: Plants and Design Solutions for Time-Pressed and Maturing Gardeners.” This presentation is based on Mendez’s book, “The Right-Size Flower Garden.” This presentation will be about simple, easy ways to keep up with one’s garden throughout the year, even when life gets busy.

Weathington’s presentation is titled “The Outdoor Room.” This presentation will be about how to create an enjoyable outdoor space.

Judy Dewar is the chairperson for the Cumberland County Master Gardener’s 6th Annual Spring Garden Symposium. Dewar said the purpose of the symposium is “Among other endeavors, to raise scholarship funds for the horticulture students at Fayetteville Technical Community College, offer grants to the high school offering horticulture programs, help fund the Jr. Master Gardener program and educate our county residents in NC State horticulture practices.”

Dewar also said the symposium allows the community to come together because it brings together people who are interested in sharing stories and practices on how to sustain the earth.

The symposium will also include a silent auction, raffles and vendors. The price of admission includes a seated luncheon.

For more information about the symposium, contact Judy Dewar. Visit eventbrite.com to register for the event.

Valentine’s Day events aplenty

11 01 the vine 1Lovers in and around Fayetteville can give Cupid the weekend off this Valentine’s Day. Choices abound for a fun experience with your special someone with options that include fine dining, concerts, theater performances, Vegas-style casino events and more.

The Vine  Enjoy an upscale Valentine’s Day listening to live jazz music by Fayetteville’s own Reggie Codrington while savoring a sumptuous meal at
The Vine.

The Vine co-owner Brad McLawhorn said the event is designed to be a step above dinner out at a restaurant. “We wanted to create an event that will make people feel special. We are taking reservations, and we can fit up three couples at a table. We want to give everyone an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle. They can come and enjoy a plated dinner where everything will be served to them. It is a personalized experience with live music by Reggie Codrington to provide ambience.”
The menu includes filet mignon,  salmon or chicken entrees as well as a vegetarian option.

“We wanted to make sure everyone has something on the  menu that will appeal to them,” said McLawhorn.

There will be several different side options, including a baked potato or honey cinnamon sweet potato or cayenne roasted red potatoes or cilantro lime rice along with multiple vegetables to choose from. Dessert options include New York-style cheesecake with a raspberry drizzle or a chocolate lava cake. McLawhorn also hinted that there will be a special surprise for the ladies who attend as well.

Reservations are available in 30-minute increment, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets cost between $75 and $225. The expanded menu for this event accommodates dietary restrictions and includes vegetarian options. Find out more at https://www.thevinenc.com/  or twobrotherscateringnc.com or by calling 910-584-9892.

11 02 1200x628 copyThe Crown Coliseum Complex has several events scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend. Set for Friday, Feb. 14, the Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre serves up an evening of suspense, mystery and murder alongside a gourmet meal.

“We are so excited for this event,” said Carolyn Swait, director of sales at the Crown Complex. “This is the first time ever the Crown has produced something of this magnitude ... We want the community to not think of it as another dinner theater but to have a different experience from the minute they walk through the door. We have given this a lot of thought and have carefully considered everything that is going into this.”

Produced, written and directed by Dr. Gail Morfesis, “Love Letters … Sleight of Hand” features Sylvester “Sly” Fox,  master of ceremonies and husband of Francine Maximillian, artistic consultant and original owner of “It’s all about You” booking agency. He came to Francine as an actor seeking jobs but has attempted to take over the business. He also has taken on several unscrupulous loans of which Francine is unaware. Francine is concerned about her husband’s attention toward her younger  protéges.

This interactive whodunit invites attendees to solve the mystery while enjoying a cocktail hour with hors d’ oeuvres and an open bar followed by a three-course dinner and dessert. Vegetarian options are available upon request. The murder mystery dinner starts at 6 p.m. Visit http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/ for tickets and information.

11 02 FAYCOMMUNITY2019 WebSliders TEXASTENORSCommunity Concerts presents the third performance in its five-show season this year with The Texas Tenors Friday, Feb. 14. The Texas Tenors take the stage at the Crown Theatre at 7:30 p.m. for a night of amazing music as the trio celebrate 10 years together. The group was honored earlier this year as one of the top 50 acts in the world. They were the only vocal group from the United States invited to compete on NBC’s primetime series “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.”

For tickets and information, visit http://www.community-concerts.com/.

11 04 Logo Wine and Chocolate Festival copyWine and chocolate are a classic combination when it comes to romance. Saturday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Carolina Uncork’d Wine & Chocolate Festival welcomes the public to taste selections from regional wineries and chocolatiers as well as spirits and craft beers and more at the Crown. There will be more than 100 of Carolina’s premier wineries, breweries, distilleries, cideries, restaurants, cheese makers, bakers, and chocolatiers in attendance.

From selfie photo booths not yet seen in the Sandhills to life-sized games like Connect Four and beer pong, the event is the perfect place for a unique Valentine’s Day experience. “We’ll have the sweet spot, which offers different sweets and chocolate to taste throughout the day,” said Swait. “We’re adding a man cave and beer garden. We want to make it enticing for men. Valentine’s Day is centered around women. We thought this would entice women to bring their guys. There will be beer, whiskey, cognac, life-sized games and more. The Ladies Cove will feature a martini bar with a huge ice-sculpture martini glass with cosmos coming through it. There will be chocolate martinis and other specialized cocktails for the event, as well. Several of our sponsors are customizing cocktails as well. There will be games on the stage along with demonstrations, prizes and giveaways. We have so many fun surprises people are going to really enjoy.”

The VIP experience includes one-hour early entry to a session; a premium swag bag; limitless samples of wine, craft beers, spirits, ciders and more; sampling of gourmet fondue bar chocolatiers and the region’s savory food bites; early vendor shopping experience; exclusive door prize giveaways.

Attendees must be 21 or over. Tickets cost $15 for designated drivers/nondrinkers, $35 for regular tickets and $50 for VIP tickets. There is a military discount of $5.  For information and tickets, call  910-438- 4100.

11 05 Shrek Showpage Banner V2 1024x202“Shrek: The Musical” is a fairytale musical for the young and the young at heart. In this production, the unlikely hero, Shrek, embarks on a life-changing journey. He is accompanied by Donkey as he takes on the task of rescuing a fiercely independent princess Fiona — who has a big secret. With themes of self-acceptance, trusting others and loving yourself for who you truly are woven into the story — and the songs, too — A night at CFRT’s “Shrek: The Musical”  is a lovely way to spend a whimsical evening (or afternoon) with your special Valentine.

The show runs through Feb. 16. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday evenings with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit http://www.cfrt.org/ for tickets and information.

11 06 VALENTINES 2Take your sweetie on a Valentine’s Day carriage ride through downtown Fayetteville, Friday, Feb. 14 from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 15, from 1-9pm. Rides last about 20 minutes each.  Tickets for group rides are $15 per person or $10 for children under 10. Private rides for a truly romantic experience are also available for $60 per couple.  Tickets may be charged over the phone at 910-223-1089 or booked online at www.visitdowntownfayetteville.com.

N.C. Spring Home Expo offers ideas, solutions for homeowners

10 N1804P43006CSpring is right around the corner. It’s the perfect time to show your abode some love, spruce things up and maybe tackle projects that got put on hold during the winter months. Whether that to-do list is a mile long or you are just looking for inspiration, the North Carolina Spring 2020 Home Expo is the perfect place to start. The Expo runs Feb. 21 through Feb. 23 at the Crown Complex Exposition Center, and according to David Laughlin, marketing director at Nationwide Expo, there is something there for just about everyone. Come browse the latest in home design, remodeling, automation, improvement, outdoor living and more — much more. The more than 100 vendors are ready to serve, teach and inspire.

“This is going to be a great show,” said Laughlin. “This time of year, a lot of people are huddled inside doing projects or gearing up for spring cleaning, spring redecoration and bigger projects, too. That’s what makes this such a timely event. There will be everything related to homes and living spaces, including things like tile, wood, carpet and bath and kitchen vendors. If you’re looking for something for a project — big or small, do-it-yourself or to hire out — there are vendors who can help, and they are all getting together at the Crown.”

For people looking to get work done, the Expo is an opportunity to shop around, get quotes and interview different vendors. “They do all sorts of projects, indoors and out,” said Laughlin. “And, often, they can do it in a day or two. Many of the vendors don’t have storefronts, so you’ll get good pricing. Virtually all the vendors are local. There are some national companies, but the ones who will come into your home are 85% to 90% local and include businesses like plumbers, HVAC companies, electricians, — you name it.”

The show is also perfect for people thinking about buying or building a home. Find out what the latest trends and technologies are, compare products and prices and talk to financial institutions about how to make it happen. “If you’re thinking about buying a house, we will have bankers, lenders and mortgage companies — everything you can think of,” said Laughlin. “You don’t have to own a home to enjoy the show. Mattress companies will be here, kitchen companies will be selling the latest gadgets, and there will  be cooking demos and food samples and all sorts of other vendors, too.”

Like many other industries, technology changes fast in the home=building and home improvement arena. From solar products to home safety, Laughlin said it’s always interesting to see the latest trends and technologies. “My favorite thing about this is the education. I learn something at every show.”
Don’t miss the main stage, where vendors will do presentations. And come ready to bring home some the swag. “There is always swag, like key chains and pens and visors, but the other thing is there will be giveaways as well,” Laughlin said. “At one show, a roofing company gave away a new roof.”

With vendors offering products and services that cover anything home- and even apartment-related, the expo is an obvious choice for a way to constructively spend a few hours. Tickets cost $5 per person. Find out more at http://www.crowncomplexnc.com/events or by calling 910-438-4100.

Better Health hosts ‘Evening at Casino Royale’

08 kay V3qzwMY2ak0 unsplashBetter Health has been serving the Cumberland County community for the past 61 years. For the past 23 years, the organization has offered fun and entertaining ways to raise funds for the nonprofit, and this year is no exception. Preparing for its largest annual fundraiser thus far, the theme for 2020 is an “Evening at Casino Royale,” and it is sure to be an unforgettable event. Event chair, Jennifer Hammond, has gathered a group of excited volunteers who are looking forward to making sure the evening is not only tremendously successful, but it’s enjoyable, too. Mark your calendar for Feb. 29, and get your tickets now.

The annual fundraiser event is designed to raise funds for Better Health and to educate those in attendance about what this longtime nonprofit offers to the community.

Director Amy Navejas said, “So often, we hear people who are not familiar with the organization, but they come in, are blown away by what we do and how long Better Health has been serving the community. This event is a way for our community to come together to support those in need, show appreciation for all of the physicians and volunteers who make it all possible and have a great time.” The dedicated staff and board of directors will also be in attendance for those who would like to meet them and hear more about this incredible organization.

The evening will begin with attendees receiving tokens from the 2020 Casino Sponsor, the Cobb Tilghman Group of Merrill Lynch. They will trade the tokens with the pit boss for play money where they can try their luck at the blackjack, roulette, craps and poker tables. Attendees will also enjoy great music, have the opportunity to bid on splendid silent auction items, munch on scrumptious food provided by Elite Catering, and sip adult beverages.

All of this fun takes place at the locally owned Carolina Barn at McCormick Farms, only 11 miles from the Market House. The address is 7765 McCormick Bridge Road, Spring Lake.

All the money raised will help Better Health continue to support the community. Better Health provides free diabetes education, emergency direct medical aid for the uninsured, emergency dental extractions and free medical equipment loans and even childhood obesity programs. All of this is made possible through fundraisers and devoted volunteers made up of Certified Diabetes Educators, nurses and more.

The event is Saturday, Feb. 29, from 7-11 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, want to be a sponsor or have questions about the event, email director@betterhealthcc.org,  visit www.betterhealthcc.org.  or call Better Health at 910-483-7534.

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