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NPAC hosts a wide variety of events each year

January 30th, 2012 9:58 am by Staff Report

NPAC hosts a wide variety of events each year

While Greeneville was in the process of renovating the high school, local businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger stepped in and offered to provide additional funds to build a top-notch performing arts center in the heart of downtown Greeneville.

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - With more than 150 events held each year, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center (NPAC) has become the "Crown Jewel" of Northeast Tennessee.


Since its grand opening in January 2005, NPAC has brought numerous well-known performers to the Greeneville stage, including Alison Krauss, Earth Wind & Fire, Kansas, Air Supply, Kenny Rogers and Gladys Knight, just to name a few. Patrons can expect another star-studded lineup for 2012, with performances from the Frankie Valli tribute group, Let’s Hang On!, Crystal Gayle, the Kenya Safari Acrobats, Ballroom With a Twist, and Blood, Sweat & Tears, according to NPAC executive director Darrell Bryan.


The center does much more than just bring top performers to the stage. It also serves, twice a year, as the Federal Courthouse for the Naturalization Ceremony for new U.S. citizens, and holds numerous local and regional band and chorus performances and competitions as well as a quarterly Art Show sponsored by the James Ben Studio.


When the first Naturalization Ceremony was held at NPAC, there were approximately 400 new citizens sworn in that day to a "packed house," Bryan said. He estimated there were at least 900 people in attendance for the first ceremony. Since that time, NPAC has become the choice location for residents of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia who are becoming new citizens.


While Greeneville was in the process of renovating the high school, local businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger stepped in and offered to provide additional funds to build a top-notch performing arts center in the heart of downtown Greeneville.


"Mr. Niswonger provided $5.5 million to build a large performing arts center, equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and lighting," Bryan added.


The addition of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in downtown Greeneville has been a "win-win," Bryan said. "During the planning process of the center, we learned that a quality performing arts center makes a huge impact on a community. It helps revitalize the downtown. It brings people into town that spend the night in our hotels and eat at our restaurants."


Aside from the economic benefits, NPAC has opened other doors to the community. Last year, the Center brought the "Wizard of Oz" to town, and local school children were recruited to play the Munchkins and spent 30 days rehearsing with professional actors. Students from the local high school have learned how to operate the Center’s lighting, which has enabled one 15-year-old student to open his own, small professional lighting company.


To keep expenses down, NPAC works with other regional centers such as Abingdon’s Barter Theatre and Bristol’s Paramount Center for the Arts. Barter brings its children’s theatre to NPAC three times a year, and provides curriculum-based plays. This year, for example, students will see "Just So," "Call of the Wild," and "Romeo and Juliet."


During Greeneville’s Iris Festival, NPAC presents a name entertainer. This year, Crystal Gayle will be the featured performer.


Last June, the center held its first Bluegrass Festival, which Bryan hopes to make an annual event. Residents were treated to a free outdoor concert on the steps of the high school, and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver performed inside.


The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is a non-profit and is supported by ticket sells, grants, donations and fundraisers. As a regional performing arts center, Bryan added, NPAC tries to keep ticket prices affordable for everyone.


"Our prices are reasonable. The highest ticket has been $50, and I doubt you can go to Asheville, Pigeon Forge or Knoxville and see a quality show for that amount. We provide entertainment for everyone, and treat you like family," he said.


For more information on the Niswonger Performing Arts Center and upcoming events, visit the website at www.greenevillenpac.com or call 423-638-1679.

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