On stage

Clayton Center to shine with celebrities during 5-day opening

A leading senator, a star of country and pop, internationally renowned opera singers and concert pianists, faces familiar on television and film, and David Keith, movie star, these are the personages who bring celebrity to the grand opening of the Clayton Center for the Arts on the extended weekend of March 25-29.

Keith, Knoxville native, UT theatre alum, and film and television star for three decades, will play one more leading role at the opening weekend gala on March 27 in the main theatre of the Clayton Center. He is serving as emcee for the event, which will feature among others that evening, Senator Lamar Alexander, opera stars Delores Ziegler and John Wesley Wright, and film and television actors David Dwyer and Bruce McKinnon, all with claims to fame in their different fields.

Among Keith’s better known films are An Officer and a Gentleman, The Lords of Discipline, Heartbreak Hotel, and Independence Day. He is based in Knoxville, but frequently travels to far flung locations to do film and television work. However, he can often be seen on local stages. At UT, he has appeared professionally in Bus Stop, Catfish Moon, and The Rainmaker. And only days ago, starred in the Knoxville Opera Company’s production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Keith grew up in South Knoxville, graduated from Young High School, and entered the University of Tennessee, where he majored in theatre. His experience ranged from student productions to professional Shakespeare to summer stock to assistant to 50’s television personality Joe E. (Oooh! Oooh!) Ross.

His first professional experiences included numerous television pilots and a country and western musical. However, he became a favorite of film critics in such films as The Rose with Bette Midler, The Great Santini with Robert Duvall, and Brubaker with Robert Redford. Full-fledged stardom came with the hit romantic drama An Officer and a Gentleman with Richard Gere and Debra Winger. His scene-stealing success in that led to films that rested on his star power alone.

Keith is a board member and spokesperson for PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children, and frequently goes to Washington to advocate for that organization.

He is also well-known as perhaps the most famous-and possibly the most avid-fan of UT football. In 1989, he sang Elvis songs at half-time accompanied by the UT Marching Band.

Keith’s Clayton Center performance is yet another contribution to the artistic enrichment and cultural life of his home.

Jo Dee Messina is first touring concert

Country music star Jo Dee Messina is the first touring music concert to play the new Clayton Center for the Arts. Her concert is Friday, March 26, at 8 p.m.

Jo Dee Messina’s career has been built on country and country-crossover hits, and in those genres she is a musician’s musician, a singer-songwriter who, along with the likes of Reba McEntire and Shania Twain, has asserted the strength and independence of women as a theme of country music. Along the way, she has achieved nine number one singles, been nominated for a Grammy, and from one album had three songs that were number one songs for several weeks. Her hits include “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” “You’re Not in Kansas Anymore.” “Bye Bye,” “I’m Alright,” “Stand Beside Me,” and “Bring on the Rain,” among many others.

However, on her new album, Unmistakable, set to debut just weeks after her appearance on March 26, Messina offers “That’s God,” a song inspired by a moment of spiritual revelation. Always warmly personal and connected to her audience, Messina first shared the experience on which the song is based in story form in a concert.

On her official website, www.jodeemessina.com, Messina relates the moment of the song’s inception. She and her band were traveling in the mountains and were so overcome by the beauty of the place that they stopped just to take in the natural wonder. She put her five-month-old son in a stroller to take him for a walk. A majestic snow-capped mountain came into view, and Messina said to her son, “Look, Noah, that’s God right there.”

When Jo Dee Messina takes the stage, she does more than entertain her audience. She befriends them. She opens her heart to share her personal and professional struggles. Music is the medium, but the bond her fans feel comes from the honesty and openness she gives them.

Twin pianist to entertain Sunday

The Adams Foundation Piano Series concert will feature Richard and John Contiguglia on Sunday, March 28, at the Clayton Center for the Arts. The concert is part of the Grand Opening Weekend at the CCA.

Identical twins, Richard and John Contiguglia, are among the most acclaimed and versatile piano duos in the world today. The Adams Foundation Piano Series features America’s foremost piano performers in venues throughout the nation.

Additional events included as part of the Grand Opening weekend include: Maryville College Choir Concert, Thursday, March 25; Banff Film Festival, Monday, March 29.

Tickets are on sale Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Clayton Center for the Arts box office, on-line at claytonartscenter.com or by phone at 865-656-4444 and all Tickets Unlimited outlets.

MC graduates Ziegler, Wright bring talents home

Delores Ziegler and John Wesley Wright met for the first time on March 16. They will meet again on March 26 at Reagan National Airport on their way to Maryville. Three days later, they will sing a recital together. After years of traveling parallel paths in the world of music, Delores Ziegler and John Wesley Wright will make music together, back where they started.

Both Ziegler and Wright, natives of Georgia, graduated from Maryville College, though their times there did not overlap. By the time Wright arrived, Ziegler was an established professional, spoken of with pride in the music department. Neither had entered Maryville College with music degrees as their objective. She wanted to do something “serious” like psychology. He had gotten away from home on the promise of studying medicine, but was determined to be an actor/singer/dancer (in no particular order). She chose Maryville College on a whim because her best friend was going to go there. He visited Maryville because he only had one or two college brochures, and the MC brochure was “pretty.” Once on the campus, he learned that the Appalachian Ballet was housed there, and that decided him.

The possibility of a singing career first occurred to Delores Ziegler when she performed a solo in Harry Harter’s annual Christmas production of The Messiah. It was a Christmas event as well that set John Wesley Wright on the path to a musical career. He had auditioned for the Appalachian Ballet’s The Nutcracker and Harry Harter’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. He got the better part in the latter. Music won.

Ziegler studied voice at MC with Dan Kinsinger; Wright, who studied voice with Robert Ergenbright, won the Dan and Bertha Kinsinger Scholarship. Both were nurtured and encouraged by the music faculty, which included James Bloy, Robert Bonham, Victor and Sally Schoen, and Harry Harter. She went on to get a Master’s in Music at the University of Tennessee, studying with Edward Zamabara. With the encouragement of another Maryville alumnus, Hal Laster, Wright studied for a master’s and a doctorate at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Ziegler has had a distinguished career in Europe, meeting such luminaries as Mikhail Gorbachev; Wright performed in a nationally televised concert for the Belgian royal family. Now both have vocal careers in Maryland.

For the gala performance on Saturday night - now sold out - Ziegler and Wright will join a cast of scores of people, but on Monday night, the two will join each other in a recital featuring composers such as Purcell, Ives, Britten, Shubert, and Faure. Most of the songs they will sing together, some solo.

They will be accompanied by Dr. Tim McReynolds, a full-time vocal coach on the faculty of the University of Maryland. His career has included work as a vocal coach, pianist, or music director at such prestigious institutions as Towson University, the Washington National Opera Institute, the Aspen Music Festival, and American University.

Tickets for the Monday night recital are $15 and are still available at the Clayton Center box office at 865-981-8590 or on-line at www.ClaytonArtsCenter.com. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

After the opening. . .

When the gala opening is behind them, Clayton Center for the Arts staff won’t have time to sit around and relax. Already on the books are events scheduled through July, with more being added every week.

This list does not include private affairs, only those events that will be open to the public, either through ticket purchase or as a free event.

Schedule of Events:

• Banff Film Festival

Monday, March 29

7 p.m.

Main Hall

• Alcoa Middle and Alcoa High School Chorus Concerts

Thursday, April 8

6 p.m. (Middle school)

8 p.m. (High school)

Main Hall

• April Foolies

Saturday, April 10

7 p.m.

Main Hall

• Spring Concert

Maryville College Community Concert Band

Sunday, April 18

4 p.m.

Main Hall

• Maryville College Jazz Band

Thursday, April 22

7:30 p.m.

Recital Hall

• “Peter Pan and Other Works”

Appalachian Ballet

Saturday, April 24

7:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 25

2 p.m.

Main Hall

• Spring Concert

Orchestra at Maryville College, Community Chorus and Maryville College Concert Choir

Monday, April 26

7:30 p.m.

Main Hall

• Spring Concert

Youth and Children’s Chorals

Tuesday, April 27

7 p.m.

Main Hall

• Dr. Ralph Stanley and

Cherryholmes

Thursday, April 29

7:30 p.m.

Main Hall

• “Our Town”

Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, May 2

Times to be announced

Flex Theatre

• Ball in the House

Friday, April 30

7:30 p.m.

Main Hall

• Alcoa Middle and Alcoa High School Band Concerts

Tuesday, May 4

6 p.m. (Middle school)

8 p.m. (High school)

Main Hall

• Maryville College Dance

Ensemble Performance

Thursday, May 6 and Friday, May 7

7 p.m.

Main Hall

• Women of Courage Celebration

Featuring Amanda Ingram

Friday, May 7

7 p.m.

Recital Hall

• Vanilla Ice

With The Jay Storm Project and DJ Eric B.

Saturday, May 8

7 p.m.

Main Hall

(Tickets go on sale Friday, March 26, at 10 a.m.)

• Maryville High School Orchestra Concert

Monday, May 10

7:30 p.m.

Main Hall

• Maryville Middle School Orchestra Concert

Thursday, May 13

7 p.m.

Main Hall

• Wood & Strings Puppet Theatre

Friday, May 14

7:30 p.m.

Flex Theatre

• Van Metre School of Dance

Saturday, May 29

7:30 p.m.

Main Hall

• Artistic Dance Unlimited

Friday and Saturday, June 4-5

Times to be announced

Main Hall

• Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Series

June 14 through 25

Times to be announced

Multiple venues

• “The Music Man”

Presented by Foothills Community Players

July 2 -4 and July 8-11

Times to be announced

Main Hall

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