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Coming home Former Jazz Singers reunite for ETSU Homecoming Show

October 21st, 2011 2:21 am by staff report

Coming home Former Jazz Singers reunite for ETSU Homecoming Show

Members of East Tennessee State University's 1988-1989 Jazz Singers, pictured above during their final concert of 1989, will perform together again during this year's Homecoming Show. They'll be joined by the current 12BucsWorth ensemble, left. Perform


   The annual Homecoming Show presented by the choral program in East Tennessee State University’s Department of Music will feature a reunion of the 1988-1989 Jazz Singers, marking the first time the group has been together since the last performance of their Spring Spectacular on April 8, 1989.

   The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29, in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium.

   The singers, coming from as far away as Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, will reprise numbers that they performed during their final Spring Spectacular and at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Louisville, Ky., earlier that year.

   The returning Jazz Singers are: Scott Branson of Bristol, Va., truck champion at Toyota of Bristol and director of music at Woodlawn Baptist Church, Bristol, Tenn.; Cathy Cross Graham of Johnson City, a teacher at Providence Academy; Jeff Gray of Gray, a teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School and adjunct faculty member at Northeast State Community College; Tim Heath, originally from Chilhowie, Va., now area vice president for Georgia with Amedisys Homecare and Hospice, Atlanta; Holly Harris Hyatt, originally from Colonial Heights, now working in public relations for NASCAR in Charlotte, N.C.; Kelly Smith McClanahan, originally from Johnson City, now a second grade teacher and private voice instructor in Chattanooga; Tammy Arnett Morreale, originally from Johnson City, now a national director of human resources for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jacksonville, Fla.; Tuesday Arwood Reynolds, originally from Blountville and a professional singer and dancer for several years, now a special education teacher in Abingdon, Va.; Pam Russell, originally from Bristol, now a choral and drama director at Pigeon Forge High School; Greg Stout, originally from Abingdon, now a professional singer, dancer and musician at the Smith Family Dinner Theater in Pigeon Forge; Scott Self, originally from Gray, now a professional singer, dancer and actor in Pigeon Forge; and David White, originally from Clinton, now area superintendent for the Atlanta Public Schools.

   Members of the rhythm section that accompanied the Jazz Singers in 1988-1989 will also return to play for this special concert. In addition to Stout, they include Rod Bradley from Johnson City, who is executive pastor of Tabernacle International Church in Atlanta, and Mike Nelson of Bristol, Va., a teacher in the Sullivan County School System.

   Beverly Wiginton, director of the ETSU Child Study Center and the original choreographer for the Jazz Singers, will choreograph the production.

   In addition to the Jazz Singers, the Homecoming Show will feature a performance by the popular male gospel ensemble 12BucsWorth, which will present several gospel numbers made popular by such groups as the Gaither Vocal Band and Signature Sound, including “Boundless Love,” “Oh, What a Time” and “When He Blessed My Soul.” The group will also perform a selection of numbers associated with composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim from Broadway shows, including “Sweeney Todd,” “A Little Night Music” and “Gypsy.” Past appearances by 12BucsWorth have included invited performances at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the Tennessee Music Educators Association and the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses and at the White House in Washington, D.C. In addition, 12BucsWorth has taken concert tours of Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Venezuela. In March 2012, they will take a concert tour of Costa Rica.

   Current members of 12BucsWorth are John Bell, Jefferson City; Wade Cole, Jonesborough; Paka Cordeiro, Limestone; Daniel Couper, Johnson City; David Godsey, Bristol, Va.; Sean Johnson, Telford; Nick Monroe, Athens; Matt Neas and Matt Reaves, Greeneville; Seth O’Kegley, King George, Va.; John Overholt, Newport; and Caleb Smith, Chattanooga. Their accompanist is Matthew Brickey of Kingsport.

   Joining 12BucsWorth in the concert will be ETSU’s new pop women’s ensemble, 8-Times-a-Lady, directed by Dr. Zachary Marshall, assistant professor of Music. They will perform such popular songs as “Natural Woman” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” as well as a medley of songs by the group Journey. The members of 8-Times-a-Lady are Jessica Abdelnour, Barquisimeto, Venezuela; McKenzie Gentry and Kelsey Stubbs, Cookeville; Kelsey Holmes, Glade Spring, Va.; Erin Larkin, Kingsport; Mackenzie Payne, Greeneville; Sharvis Smith, Norton, Va.; and Tatum Spears, Weber City, Va.

   In addition, the traditional ETSU Chorale Bluegrass Band, made up of members of the Chorale who are also accomplished bluegrass musicians, will perform. Members are John Bell, Neal Brantner, Casey Byington and Zach Ross.

   Tickets for the concert are $10 and may be purchased by calling the ETSU Department of Music at (423) 439-4276. Tickets will also be available at the door.




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