Sweet Spring!

Blount countains can stay happily busy in March and April

Have you looked at the calendar? Winter is on its last leg and, though struggling to hold on, Spring has almost Sprung!

Blount Today likes to keep up with the happenings in Blount County, and we were overwhelmed as we began preparing our Spring calendar. Nevermind that the full menu of sports events -- everything from AYSO to T-Ball to organized school sports is gearing up and filling days and weekends.

What I was happy to see, however, was a good mix of events beyond the traditional ones we think of as moms and dads. Special events are growing like dandelions in Blount County this spring. And, to make the enticement even sweeter, many of them are fund raisers for good causes in the area.

Four events need your attention now.

Appalachian Ballet Spring Show has an incredible line up. Tickets are on sale now for the Saturday, March 29, show at the Bijou in Knoxville. The shows are at 2 or 8 p.m.

In their 36th season, the Appalachian Ballet Company continues to excite with new creations as well as the traditional classics.

The Spring Fare will begin with Act II from the famous ballet Giselle. Starring Beth Everitt as Giselle (last seen as the sugarplum fairy in ABC’s Nutcracker) with guest artist David Ingram from North Carolina Dance Theatre.

The second part of this 90-minute show will feature the award-winning ballet With Chaplin (Chaplin played by ABC director Amy Moore Morton); Into the Depths, a modern work by Laura Gagnon; and Quiet Blush, a new work presented with live music from members of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra.

The finale of the performance features guest RobinElla and band members singing as Appalachian Ballet Company dances several of her songs.

Tickets available by calling 865-982-8463 for details. Reserved seats. Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door with a $5 discount for students and seniors.

Rising Star of Tennessee isn’t until April 18, but if you want to BE the Rising Star, get you application in now.

This is your chance to show off your singing talent and take home big prizes including recording studio time with a producer, professional head shots, a make-over day at the spa, and much more.

Patch Ministries of Blount County is the host of the Rising Star of Tennessee vocal contest this April. This fundraising event is open to all ages and genres of music and will raise funds to make repairs on homes for low-income families, disabled neighbors, and the elderly.

Rising Star of Tennessee is open to all solo vocalists who submit a complete application, along with appropriate release forms, a recent photograph, a song on CD or cassette tape, biography, and a $25 entry fee, to the Patch Ministries office by April 4. Information and applications are available at www.patchministries.org or by calling 865-661-7824.

All performances will be held at Monte Vista Baptist Church at 1735 Old Niles Ferry Road in Maryville. The live adult semi-final round is at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 18, and the youth semi-final road is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 19. Finals for both groups will be at 7 p.m. on April 25.

One hundred percent of proceeds will fund Patch Ministries' annual budget to serve families in Blount County.

As a non-profit Christian organization, Patch Ministries identifies people living in substandard housing, evaluates their specific housing needs, and coordinates community resources to address them. Its mission is to eliminate unsafe and unsanitary housing in Blount County. Since 2003, Patch Ministries has helped more than 60 families.

If you have a great voice and just aren’t sure how to make a demo CD, Patch has that covered, too. On March 22 and April 3, you can make your demo for free if you enter the contest. Reserve your time slot by calling 661-PTCH (7824). The session on March 22 is at RiverSound Recording Studio with time slots from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. On April 3, Monte Vista Baptist Church is the venue from 5 to 8 p.m.

April Foolies will have you rolling in your seats on Saturday, April 5. This fund raiser will be at 7 p.m. at Maryville College Alumni Gym. Tickets are $10, with seniors and students paying $5. Bring extra money to bribe the judges, however.

This is the 5th annual April Foolies. Some of the local favorites will be back by popular demand, but some even truer talent has emerged that you won't want to miss.

April Foolies, the spring community-wide "talent" show to benefit two local children's agencies, will be offering a new scope of performances for your viewing pleasure. The event will showcase several youth acts including the Fort Loudon Middle School Trashcan Band. This highly acclaimed band is a creation of Scott Hinds, the bassist from Pistol Creek (which happens to be last year's winning April Foolies team) and the recently disbanded, Buford's Atomic Outhouse.

The Trashcan Band is comprised of around twenty 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. The band started as a summer camp activity, but has grown into a crowd pleasing array of thumps and beats with performances similar to Stomp. Not only has the band performed at school pep rallies, but also at Opryland Hotel for the American Camping Association National Conference.

These students, along with local blue-grass bands, dance teams, and even some surprise performances, will keep you smiling all evening. April Foolies is great fun for your entire family, and is a wonderful way to support the agencies in our community that offer so much needed support to our local children - Success by Six and New Hope Children's Advocacy Center.

You can catch the Trashcan Band kids and their innovative musical display at Maryville College on Saturday, April 5th at 7 p.m.

Limited seating is available, so get your tickets today at New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center, United Way, or Blount Today. For more information or to become a sponsor, please call 981-2000 or 982-2251.

Art on the Runway will herald spring for the fashion minded. Presented by Fine Arts Blount, this fund raiser helps with their art programs during the year.

This nod to April showers features not only a fashion show by Judy Gardner of the Silk Purse, but an auction of hand-painted umbrellas, done by some of Blount’s finest artists.

The evening will feature heavy appetizers, the live auction, door prizes and the latest in fashion and fashion tips from Judy Gardner.

Art on the Runway Fashion Show and Hand Painted Umbrella Auction is Thursday, April 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 314 W. Broadway, Maryville.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased from any Fine Arts Blount member, Natural Approach, Blount Today or The Chamber of Commerce. Call 405-5725 for additional information or to purchase tickets.

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