Fayetteville State University Valentine’s Day concert features jazz artist Nick Colionne

01coverUAC020619001  “It’s something about being able to express yourself through notes,” old-school jazz guitarist Nick Colionne said of his love for the genre. “A lot of people don’t get into jazz or instrumental music because they don’t take time to know that there’s a story being told in instrumental music just like there’s words. I mean, there’s commas, periods, questions.” Fayetteville audiences will get a chance to hear what Colionne has to say through music when he brings “Nick Colionne’s Valentine’s Day Concert” to town Thursday, Feb. 14. The concert takes place at Fayetteville State University’s J.W. Seabrook Auditorium.

Colionne, who grew up on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois, is the winner of national and international awards for his music and showmanship. He traces his connection with jazz to “being that my stepfather and my mother listened to nothing but Wes Montgomery. ... (That music) touched me in my heart,” he said.

His stepfather played guitar, and by age nine, young Colionne was learning to play.

“When I got my first electric guitar, I had to learn Bumpin’ on Sunset’ note for note,” Colionne said. “To this day, Wes Montgomery is still my hero.”

Six years later, 15-year-old Colionne was regularly playing high school talent shows with The Mellow Tones, a band he’d formed with a few buddies. They even won a citywide talent show.

He was also cruising around town in a shopping cart due to his lack of a vehicle. “I was a free-playin’ guy,” he said. “I was goin’ around in a shopping cart. And that ain’t so easy in the snow in Chicago.”

Then, one summer afternoon, he bumped into Mavis Staples (of the Staples Singers) and Artis Leon Ivey Jr., better known as Coolio, in the common area of a recording studio space. “I told them I played guitar, and I knew a couple of the older guys who played with them,” Colionne said. “They said they needed a guitar player, so I went upstairs to another studio and auditioned for them.

“That was a Monday. On Wednesday, I went on tour with them.”

From that point on, every summer until he finished high school and then more regularly after graduation, he toured with the Staples Singers and other performers, including Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions. He briefly joined a heavy metal band at age 17, he admitted with a laugh, but he returned to jazz after a few years.

In 1994, he released his first solo album, “It’s My Turn.” That was the beginning of a career in which he’d receive numerous accolades. Among them, he won the International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Wave Jazz Awards in 2007; trumpet superstar Chris Botti had won it the year before. Colionne was nominated for that award again in 2009.

Colionne was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010 and won Performer of the Year for the Catalina Island JazzTrax Jazz Festivals in 2010 and 2011, as well as Artist of the Year at the 2011 Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival in Delaware.

He’s also received awards for his now 22-plus years of mentoring youth — primarily at St. Laurence Catholic School in Elgin, Illinois, and some West Side-area schools — as well as his championing of breast cancer causes. He was recognized with the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award in 2010, and he was named Alumnus of the Year at Malcolm X College in Chicago in 1996.

Though Colionne primarily mentors at schools near where he grew up and still lives, he also makes a point to visit schools and colleges when he’s on tour.

He said he never set out to be a youth mentor. It started because the principal of St. Laurence asked him to play for a fundraiser for the school, back when Colionne was still getting established.

“I met the kids (at the school); they asked me to come back, and I came back,” Colionne said. “Next thing I know, I was there twice a week, teaching kids to play the guitar. … Then I’m helping them put on passion plays and the Christmas program, and I’m chaperoning trips. Kids — when they love you, they love you unconditionally. The kids know I don’t get paid for coming there. I come there because I love them.

“I don’t want a check, I just want to be part of their lives.”

One of those children whom Colionne taught to play guitar is named Chris. Colionne first visited his elementary school when Chris was 8 years old. Chris later attended college on a guitar scholarship. Today, he’s worked as Colionne’s road manager for many years and is taking a break from that to welcome his first child.

As for Colionne’s work championing and raising money for breast cancer causes, he said this kind of work is a no-brainer for anyone who’s had a loved one struggle with it. “My mother is cancer-free now,” he said. “But my mother has had breast cancer four times. … My (significant other) had breast cancer. And I’m just a person. I don’t want to see another woman suffer with it, and whatever I can do, I do.”

A single conversation with Colionne makes it evident he’s remained humble, grateful to his audiences and rooted in his deeply personal love for jazz throughout his 20-plus year career.

It’s this attitude that’s led to him being often referred to as the best-dressed man in jazz. “I’m an old-school kind of cat,” he said. “I feel like people pay their hard-earned money to come and see me. I believe that for me to dress and look the best I can when I perform is showing the audience respect.”

He said his journey has been exceptionally personally rewarding.

At one point, he said, he and musician Brenda Russell were getting ready to travel for performances when a man approached them. “This cat was coming across the parking lot, and he was calling my name. He was like, ‘Man, I had to catch you. Will you sign this for me?’” It was one of Colionne’s CDs. The young man asked Colionne if he’d be willing to play at a tribute for the young man’s father.

“I was like, who was your father?” Colionne said. “He says, ‘my father was Wes Montgomery.’”

For his upcoming concert in Fayetteville, Colionne said, “I might get onstage and flip the script. I don’t think about it. I play what I’m feeling at the moment.

“I learned how to play guitar, God put the music in my heart, and I just let it go.”

He added there’s always a portion of his concerts called the “wild and loose section. We have only one requirement. If you have anything that will fall, take it off,” he said, referring to the fact that audience members will be encouraged to get up and dance.

“Nick Colionne’s Valentine’s Day Concert” in Fayetteville takes place just about 25 years from the release of his first album. The show is part of FSU’s 2018-19 Seabrook Performance Series and starts at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14. J.W. Seabrook Auditorium is located at 1200 Murchison Rd.

For tickets and to learn more, visit www.uncfsu.edu/nick-colionne.

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Fayetteville State University hosts STEM Expo

10STEM Dr. Marilyn Lanier is an assistant professor in the Department of Elementary Education at Fayetteville State University. She is also the founder and organizer of the “Fall in Love with Math, Science & the Arts Expo.” She put on the inaugural event in 2016. It had 25 booths and saw 300 attendees. Fast forward to 2018 and there were 64 booths, and 800 people attended the expo. This year, Lanier hopes to see well over 1,000 people at the expo, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 16, at Fayetteville State University Capel Arena.

It’s a celebration of math, science and the arts. The entire event is designed specifically to have fun but also to spark a passion for discovery and learning.

“The country is moving into science and math, so STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, covers a little of all these areas,” Lanier said. “This expo is a place where students can delve into science and try hands-on things. Students get to experience a variety of areas where they can see and get a good idea of what STEM is.”

Lanier promised guests will find plenty to keep them engaged — including a trip to the FSU Aquarium. “We will shuttle them over to the science building, where they can take part in observing organisms and do hands-on activities,” she said. “Last year, they were able to touch lobsters. It was such an amazing experience. You could see on their faces that they were excited about that.”

Look for static displays, including fire trucks, patrol cars, and an ambulance where people can get inside the vehicles and see how they work and talk to the people who use them. There will be plenty of other kinds of technology, too.

“We will have robots,” Lanier said. “They can get finger-printed, see small animals and even do puttputt. Science is everywhere and that is what we want to show people. For example, putt-putt involves physics.”

Though she leads the charge, Lanier said she is thankful for the support from the community. “When I started this, I wanted to connect with the community, and, because I’m a science person, I wanted to make hands-on experiences available to children. Being an educator, I know there is limited time in school where kids get a chance to do science hands-on.”

She is not alone in her enthusiasm for sharing the joy of learning. She partners with the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center and the Cumberland County Schools system as well as other institutions, including Methodist University.

The expo is free to attend. “We try to make things very accessible,” Lanier said. “We want to get the message of STEM out there. We will have a lot of giveaways, and each booth will have something children can walk away with. Children are given a little bag to collect the goodies from the vendors —and they will get a lot of goodies,” she added.

The expo is sponsored by Fayetteville State University Department of Education/College of Education. It will take place at Capel Arena, which is located at 1200 Murchison Rd. It starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Dr. Marilyn Lanier at 910-672-1631 or mlanier1@uncfsu.edu.


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‘Cool Spring on Ice’ at 4th Friday

09 Cool Spring on Ice The 4th Friday of the month is a special day in in downtown Fayetteville. Galleries, bookstores and shops stay open late. Artists showcase their works and musicians entertain guests at the various activities. And it’s free to attend.

The Cool Spring Downtown District has something extra special in store this month — Cool Spring on Ice. That’s right, Friday through Sunday there will be a temporary ice-skating rink in downtown Fayetteville.

It’s a project that has been a long time in the making. “Last fall we were trying to come up with something fun and a little different to do downtown,” said Melissa Purvine, Cool Spring Downtown District marketing and communications manager. “Ice skating is something that had been a success in other North Carolina cities, so we decided to give it a try.”

The response was enthusiastic. Within 24 hours of the Cools Spring Downtown District Facebook post announcing the event, more than 1,500 people replied as interested in or attending Cool Spring on Ice. At one week out from 4th Friday, Purvine said there were about 3,000 people who had responded to the event posting.

“We are excited to offer this to the community,” Purvine said. “It is something everyone can enjoy — from family outings to a date night or a group of friends. … I can’t wait to see people on the ice having fun.”

If all goes well, Fayetteville could see more ice-skating opportunities in the future. “This is for a weekend — to test the waters,” said Purvine. “We are in talks about possibly doing it again and maybe doing it for longer stretches of time, like a week or something similar.”

The temporary rink opens Friday, Jan. 25, at noon and will be open for 4th Friday festivities. It will also be open Saturday, Jan. 26, from 8-10 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 27, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. It costs $7 per 45 minutes. Skates are included in the rental price. Tickets are available at https://visitdowntownfayetteville.com.

There is plenty to enjoy in addition to fun in the rink at 4th Friday.

The Ellington-White Gallery will showcase “A National Juried Print Exhibition.” The show addresses issues involving social injustice. It will run until Saturday, March 30. It is free and open to the public. Call 910-483-1388 or visit www.ellington-white.com for details.

Fascinate-U Children’s Museum invites families to join in and prepare for the Chinese New Year. This includes making colorful 3D dragon art. It’s easy and fun for children. The museum is also open for free play from 7-9 p.m. Find out more at www. fascinate-u.com.

The Arts Council of Fayetteville/ Cumberland County opens its newest exhibition, “Take It For Granted.” The artwork includes works by awardees of the Arts Council’s Regional Artist Project Grants in 2016, 2017, 2018. The projects range from painting to sculpture to photography and quilts. The artists competed throughout an 11-county area for the grants they received. Visit www.theartscouncil.com or call 910-323-1776 for more information.

Headquarters Library’s exhibit is called “A Select History of Medicine and Dentistry in Cumberland County and North Carolina” and will remain open to the public through Feb. 28. Cal 910-483-7727 ext. 1359 or visit www.cumberland.lib.nc.us/ccplsite for more information.

4th Friday runs from 6-10 p.m. Call 910-223-1089 for more information.

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Trojan Athletics is changing Fayetteville Tech

11 FTCC Although the new athletics program at Fayetteville Technical Community College has existed only three years, it is already causing many changes that are positively affecting the college, both in and out of the classroom. New teams and new facilities are adding new opportunities for the college and the community.

The FTCC men’s and the women’s basketball teams are in their third year and are having their best seasons to date. At Thanksgiving break, both teams were in first place in the region. Although the teams have not maintained that position, their efforts have positioned them as teams to watch, and they are representing FTCC well. Their levels of play so far have given the three new teams a respected reputation with high expectations within the region.

Women’s volleyball opened in September with a strong schedule. Team members played all home games inside Horace Sisk Gymnasium at the Fayetteville campus. Though the gym is small, it created a great atmosphere that changed the perception of FTCC athletics on campus. The team performed well with good wins over other schools with longestablished programs. The campus welcomed the home team with a nice crowd in attendance for each match.

Baseball and softball begin this spring, and their addition brings more changes to the campus. The college has received, through re-gifting from Cumberland County, the J.P. Riddle Stadium. Having this space will highlight the baseball and softball teams and add opportunities for lab space and work-based learning.

Several FTCC programs will have the opportunity to use real-world applications and classroom learning through this relationship with the county. Students in areas of study such as horticulture, culinary arts, business, civil engineering and others will benefit. It won’t be only the players competing on the field who enjoy many facets of the baseball/stadium experience.

The acquisition of the stadium has allowed for an additional opportunity for the FTCC softball team. Freedom Christian Academy has been playing baseball at J.P. Riddle Stadium for a few seasons and will continue to practice and play there, along with the FTCC Trojans. As a result, the Trojans will be able to share the softball field at FCA, which is built behind its campus, for games. The field at FCA is new and will be a great location for Trojan women’s softball home games. This is all possible through diligent scheduling of practice time, facilities and games. All FTCC games are on weekends; FCA plays during the week.

Trojan Athletics has positively affected campus life in only three years and is now reaching out into the community. The new teams have introduced many more studentathletes to FTCC. The Trojan logo can be seen throughout the campus more now than ever. Teams play games at various locations throughout Fayetteville — basketball at Reid Ross Classical School, volleyball at FTCC, softball at FCA and baseball at J.P. Riddle Stadium.

These teams present great opportunities for local student-athletes to perform. It is a great time to be an FTCC Trojan. Learn more about FTCC athletics at www.faytechcc.edu/athletics.

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18th annual Civil War & Reconstruction Quiz Bowl features new format

10QuizBowl Whether it is Academic Decathlon or Battle of the Books or a homeschool spelling bee, the thrill of intellectual challenge and conquest in middle school and high school is sweet. It’s sweet as a grown-up, too. Thursday, Jan. 24, history buffs and trivia fans of all ages will have a chance to test their chops at the Museum of the Cape Fear’s 18th annual Civil War & Reconstruction Quiz Bowl. It will be held in the Pate Room of Headquarters Library and begins at 7 p.m.

Leisa Greathouse, curator of education for the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, organizes the event and creates the questions each year.

“There is no age requirement,” she said. “Anyone of any age who would like to participate is welcome to do so.” A maximum of 15 contestants can take part; this is a change from previous years’ cap of 20 contestants.

The quiz bowl features 150 questions plus a few extra in case any are contested. In another departure from the past format, gameplay will be organized by rounds instead of categories.

One round consists of each contestant answering one question. Then the next round starts, with those contestants who answered incorrectly in the previous round having a strike.

“Three strikes and you’re out!” Greathouse said. “At the end of each round, we will look at the scoreboard and get to see just how close the contest might be. We will continue with rounds until a winner emerges, which is the last person without three strikes.”

Contestants will encounter questions about people, battles and events surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. There will be questions with images accompanying them, as well as multiple choice and true-or-false questions.

All ages will compete together in the one event, but winners will be crowned for an adult category (age 17 and up) and a youth category (age 16 and under). Winners will be the last adult standing and the last youth standing. Each winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.

This event serves as both a fun community-builder and a way to emphasize the importance of understanding and reflecting on our nation’s history. It’s been well-received and well-loved for many years. “Some of the contestants who began competing at 11 and 12 years old are now competing as adults,” Greathouse said.

The quiz bowl is especially relevant as the Museum of the Cape Fear continues to transition into the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center, a project with roots that trace back to 2007 but that picked up speed in the past few years.

The new center, according to nccivilwarcenter.org, aims to be “a teaching museum rather than a collecting museum.” It will be the first state museum in the U.S. to provide an interpretation of the Civil War and its aftermath from the perspective of an entire state — which will include perspectives that represent all walks of life and political and social affiliations.

Call Greathouse at 910-500-4243 to register in advance. If there is still room the night of the quiz bowl, contestants can sign up at the door.

The Civil War & Reconstruction Quiz Bowl is free and open to the public. Headquarters Library is located at 300 Maiden Ln. in downtown Fayetteville.

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