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Catawba Co. Library To Take Part In Statewide Star Party, April 20

Newton, NC – The Catawba County Library is participating in a statewide celebration focused on outer space and celestial bodies. On Friday, April 20, from 6pm-8pm, the Conover Branch (403 Conover Station SE, 828.466.5108) will be welcoming folks for an evening of science, exploration, and fun, not to mention a strong dose of awe and wonder!

At the after-hours event, participants will learn to identify constellations and planets while completing educational activities that cater to young and old alike. The theme of this year’s party is Is Anyone Out There? so discussions will center around the prospect of life elsewhere in the universe, including talk about how humans might encounter it and what it might look like. The Catawba Valley Astronomy Club will be joining in and bringing their telescopes so that everyone can have a turn at navigating the night sky and making out the various star groupings and other prominent objects.

Activities will include:
•Making and learning to use a Kepler star wheel and red balloon covered flashlight
•Exploring a miniature ice planet
•Discovering the types of life that may exist on other planets, and designing alien life forms
• Learning the moon phases with Oreo cookies
•Participating in a demonstration on planet movements and learning how unknown planets are discovered
•Making a pocket solar system map out of cash register tape.

This month’s star party is North Carolina’s sixth, and the 2018 event takes place as part of the NC Science Festival and is supported by the NC Space Grant. Across the state, astronomy clubs, state and local parks, universities, planetariums, science centers, nature centers, and libraries are hosting public sky-watching sessions at 37 sites. Some 4000 visitors and 200 STEAM professionals and volunteers are expected to participate.

For a complete list of other star party locations in NC, visit

The NC Star Party coincides with Astronomy Day, which is observed on April 21 this year. Astronomy Day was first observed in California in 1973, and its goal is to foster an understanding of space, planets, stars, and other extraterrestrial objects and to bring astronomy professionals, fans, and the general public together.

For more information about library activities, please contact the Catawba County Library at 828.465.8664, at, or via Facebook. For the latest in library news, visit, or stop by your local branch.

Discovery High Students Plan Walkout On Friday, April 20

Newton, NC - Discovery High School in Newton, NC, plans a walkout this Friday morning, April 20, at 10am, in solidarity with the movement to end gun violence in our country and to remember those we lost that day 19 years ago, in Columbine, CO, at Columbine High School.

Please spread the word to all you know, to help push this movement forward with visibility and give the opportunity for the community to hear what the students and participants have to say. For more information, contact DHS student Paula Curry at

Catawba Hospice Golf Tourney Is May 14; Register By May 1

Newton, NC-Catawba Regional Hospice is gearing up for its 16th annual Friends Fore Hospice golf tournament, which will take place on Monday, May 14, at Catawba Country Club in Newton.

A yearly favorite, this community event brings together the casual and competitive golfer in support of overall hospice services. As part of its mission, Catawba Regional Hospice pledges to provide end-of-life care to all patients who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. Proceeds from Friends Fore Hospice support this pledge enabling patients who are underinsured or have no insurance to receive hospice care.

This is a great opportunity to put together your foursome and enjoy a day of fun, food, and challenge on a course designed by acclaimed architect, Donald Ross. Individual player costs are $125, and foursome costs are $500. This covers 18 holes, cart and green fees, practice range, light breakfast, buffet lunch and complimentary beverages. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third flights, and women’s flights. And for those with great skill or great luck, a hole-in-one cash prize of $10,000 is available on Hole 3.

Openings for teams are still available. Registration begins at 7:30 AM and shotgun starts are scheduled for 8:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Deadline for player registration is May 1st. For information on sponsorship opportunities or to register online, visit or contact Sue Mulay, Event Specialist, at 828.466.0466 ext. 2357. If you are unable to attend the Friends Fore Hospice golf tournament but are interested in donating, please visit

Photo: Players Leo Smith, Jason Lee, Mike Kane and Matt Fraser finish up a hole in the Friends Fore Hospice Golf Tournament.

Letter Carriers Help MDA With $6 Crawdads Voucher On April 26

Hickory - The National Association of Letter carriers is joining forces with the Hickory Crawdads to fight Muscular Dystrophy.

The game is Thursday night, April 26th at 7pm At L.P. Frans Stadium. It is also Thirsty Thursday!

The NALC Branch 1250 in Hickory is conducting a fundraiser where a voucher could be obtained for free and it would entitle the bearer to a discounted ticket of $6 when presented at the Crawdad's box office. Out of the $6, $4 will be returned to the NALC and 100% of the proceeds would go to the MDA local branch in Charlotte.

Vouchers are available by leaving a note in your mailbox, with the number of Vouchers needed and they will be delivered the next day, through Wednesday, April 25.

For more information contact Larry Croft - President NALC Branch 1250 at 828-261-5710.

bloomHMA Floral Tableaux Weekend Is

April 26-29 At The Hickory Museum Of Art

Hickory – For four magical days, see Matthew Diffee’s cartoons and other art made even more exciting when surrounded by an artistic floral design show and related events during the bloomHMA Weekend, April 26-29, at Hickory Museum of Art (HMA). bloomHMA Weekend events are held in collaboration with members of North Carolina State Florist Association (NCSFA).

The central focus of the bloomHMA Weekend will be the floral designs inspired by 20 specially selected cartoons and other art in HMA’s Matthew Diffee exhibition One Man Group Show in the Coe Gallery. Sixteen members of NCSFA will contribute their designs along with, new this year, four specially invited HMA members experienced in floral creativity. Those four are Joann Wilfong, Nancy Wilfong, Tara Bland and Sharon Sturgess.

The bloomHMA Weekend begins with a reception between 6:30-8:00 p.m. Thursday, April 26 in HMA’s Coe Gallery. Surrounded by the floral designs and the Diffee exhibit, the bloomHMA reception will offer floral-inspired desserts, wine and beer. Further adding to the atmosphere, Denise Baxter and Suzanne Williams of the flute and harp duo Tapestry will perform music during the reception. Reservations are $15 for HMA members and $20 for nonmembers. Call 828-327-8576 ext. 206 to reserve space.

A bloomHMA Floral Artistry Workshop will be offered at the Museum on Saturday, April 28, the same workshop 10 a.m. - noon and then again 1-3 p.m. The workshop leaders will again be the accredited floral designers Stephanie Garrett, AIFD, CFD, NCCPF, and Jody McLeod, AIFD, CFD, NCCPF. Come and explore the textural elements that surround us every day. Featured will be techniques such as grouping, terracing and line, and the instruction will result in formal linear and vegetative parallel designs. Last year’s similar workshops were highly appreciated by participants.

Floral workshop reservations are $50 Members | $65 Non-Members. The registration fee includes instruction, all flowers, and supplies resulting in floral arrangements for participants to bring home. To register, call 828-327-8576 ext. 207 or visit Don’t miss out, sign up early! Several people already have.

The instructors: Stephanie Garrett has been in the floral industry for 21 years. After attending NC State University, she received extensive florist training from European and local designers. Garrett enjoyed a freelance career working with special event companies and local flower shops along with teaching design at schools across the Southern Region, before joining Ninth Street Flowers 4 years ago. She was named 2006 State, Regional, and National Designer of the Year and has won several interpretative design competitions on a state and regional Level.

Jody McLeod is a 28 year veteran of the NC floral industry. He is the owner of Annie V's Floral Design Studio in Clayton, N.C., and is an active member of the North Carolina State Florist Association (NCSFA). McLeod has served as NCSFA president and Chairman of its Board, is a former North Carolina Designer of the Year.

The floral designs in the Coe Gallery will be lovingly cared for throughout the bloomHMA Weekend so that visitors to the Museum can continue to enjoy the full splendor of the flowers for over three days.

Hickory Museum of Art was founded in 1944 to collect, care for, and exhibit American art. Today, almost 75 years later, the Museum has evolved into an arts center featuring an extensive permanent collection of art objects across all mediums as well as offering a variety of education classes for all ages. Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block, 243 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. Admission is free. For more information about museum exhibitions, art classes, field trips, and events, visit or call the Museum at 828-327-8576, ext 201. Business sponsorship information is also available at the same telephone number.

Magazine Bowl Craft Celebrates Earth Day At Ridgeview, April 20

Hickory - Hey teens! Celebrate Earth Day with a commitment to reduce and reuse by taking recycled magazines and transforming them into a decorative bowl.

Participants are invited to the Ridgeview Library on Friday, April 20, beginning at 3:30 pm to create colorful magazine bowls by taking colorful magazine pages, folding them into strips, joining the strips together and forming it into a small bowl perfect for trinkets.

All instructions and supplies will be provided.

Ridgeview Library is located at 706 1st Street SW, at the corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue SW, beside the Ridgeview Recreation Center.

All library programs are free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Hannah Norcutt at the Ridgeview Library, 828-345-6037 or or visit the library’s website at

Deadline Is Midnight Tonight, April 19! FOCUS Seeks Models

For The Swimsuit/Summer Guide!

Hickory - Celebrating 40 years in print this year, FOCUS’ annual Swimsuit & Summer Guide issue, will be on the stands Thursday, May 24! Thanks to all the great men & women who’ve entered this year!

The deadline to submit a photo to be a swimsuit model in FOCUS’ 2018 Swimsuit/Summer Guide Issue has been extended and is now tonight, Thursday, April 19th, at midnight, via email or postal mail!

The contest is presented by Michelob Ultra.

Email your photo—it can be just a clear cell phone photo, waist up, with a big smile on your face—to Include your home, business and or cell phone number as well as your address. You will receive a response from FOCUS to confirm your entry. If you don’t receive a response within a day or two, please call the FOCUS office to let us know.

Photographs may also be mailed to Focus Contest, P.O. Box 1721, Hickory, NC, 28603. All FOCUS models chosen to appear in the issue will be notified via email or telephone by the end of the day Monday, April 23rd. Call FOCUS at 828-322-1036 for more information. See the ads on pages 15 and 1 this week.

Again this year, women and men of all types, sizes and ages over 18 are encouraged to submit a photograph and try for a chance to be a part of this famous issue of FOCUS. If you were chosen to model for FOCUS in 2016 or before, feel free to enter again! Models chosen for 2017’s issue will have to wait a year to re-enter the contest.

Up to four men & four women will win free swimwear & lots of goodies from our sponsors, The Olde Hickory Taproom and The Hickory Community Theatre.

Feeling a little shy about posing in a swimsuit, but really want to enter? No worries, Hickory area professional photographer & Sponsor Spencer Huffman of Pixelated Perceptions will photograph our models for the Swimsuit/Summer Guide, and he’s a great man to work with. The models always say they have so much fun!

Our Sponsors

The 16th Annual Hickory Hops beer festival will be held on April 21, 2018, from 1 till 6pm. The festival is organized by Hickory Downtown Development Association and hosted by Olde Hickory Brewery at 232 Government Ave. SW, Hickory, NC 28602.

It offers plenty for everyone, from inexperienced beer novices to hardened beer fest veterans anxious for something unusual. The festival will feature live music and will take place rain or shine. No one under 21 will be allowed to enter, including non-drinkers/designated drivers; no coolers, no children, and no pets, please. Tickets to sample beers are $40 the day of the festival. (Advance sales have ended.) Designated driver tickets are $10.

Hickory Hops is sponsored by R.H. Barringer, United Beverages, Focus Newspaper and First Security Insurance. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone!

Hickory Community Theatre’s current production is True West, by Sam Shepard. It plays in the Firemen’s Kitchen Thursday-Sunday, through April 29.

The dark comedy is the story of two brothers, Austin and Lee. When Austin is house sitting for their mom, Lee shows up and bullies his way into staying, too. Meanwhile, Austin’s trying to finish a screenplay, and before long, Lee is trying to take that over too, resulting in a showdown that changes both their lives. This play is rated R for adult language.Ticket prices are Adults, $16, Seniors/Students $14. For tickets go to or call 828.328.2283.

Models will also be featured at through the summer as part of our Summer Guide online and on our mobile app.

FOCUS’ Summer Guide is a handy reference for things to do & see - festivals, historic sites, amusement parks, conventions, all within a day’s drive of Western North Carolina. Be sure to pick up this issue on May 24th to plan a great summer!
Photos by Spencer Huffman

HCT’s Fan Club Thursday, 6:30pm

Meet The True West Cast! Snacks!

Hickory - The Hickory Community Theatre is hosting another of its “Fan Club Thursdays” on April 19 for True West, a dark comedy by Sam Shepard currently on stage in the Firemen’s Kitchen. There are three other performances this week as well.

“Fan Club Thursday” means the Theatre will open at 6:30pm instead of 7 with munchies and a no-host bar, as well as a chance to meet members of the cast. The performance begins at 7:30. Those attending the 6:30 – 7:00pm reception will also receive a glimpse of the set for Ragtime, coming up next at the Theatre.

True West plays through April 29, with performances on Thursdays (April 19 & 26) at 7:30; Fridays and Saturdays (Apr 20, 21, 27 & 28) at 8pm; and Sundays (Apr 22 & 29) at 2:30pm. This production is rated R for strong adult language.

Tickets are $16 for adults. Seniors, students and youth (18 and under) are $14. Tickets are now on sale online at or through the Theatre box office, in person or by phone at 828-328-2283. Box office hours are 12-5 Wednesday through Friday.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The 2017-2018 Season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. True West is produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and Dr. George Clay, DDS.

Photo: Joshua Propst (left) as Lee and Joshua Yoder as Austin in the dramatic comedy True West, at the Hickory Community Theatre. Performances begin this Friday, April 13th and continue through April 29th. Go to or call (828) 328-2283 for tickets and information. Photo by Ken Burns.

Catawba Valley Harvest Show Is Saturday, June 9, Newton

Newton, NC - The Catawba Valley Harvest Association Annual Harvest Show is set for Saturday June 9, 2018, at 10am (rain date is June 16). It will be at Sigmon Farm Park, 420 East N Street, Newton, NC.

Come see old time harvest and farm demonstrations with threshing, draft horses, antique tractors, steam tractor, steam engine, baler, binder, grist mill, Model TT truck, combines, wagon rides, pony rides, homemade ice cream and food. Fun for the whole family. Adults $5, children 12 and under free.

Visit our website at: or for more info call Kim 828-850-5808.

This annual event is a working wheat harvest with vintage equipment common 75 to 100 years ago. Come see farming history in action. Our club endeavors to preserve our harvesting heritage and educate the public in a way of life that has been all but forgotten.

This Sunday, April 22, Join Hymn Festival At St. Andrews Lutheran

Hickory - St. Andrews Lutheran Church of Hickory is excited to host a community-wide Hymn Festival. It will be held on Sunday, April 22 at 5pm at St. Andrews, located at 629 8th Street NE.

The public is invited and welcome to join this event, and hear and sing along with some of their favorite hymns.

This joyous musical program is part of the celebration of St. Andrews' 125 Anniversary year. The program will feature the Lenoir-Rhyne A Cappella Choir, St. Andrews Senior Choir and Bell Choir, and the Unifour Brass Ensemble.

Admission is free. An offering will be accepted for Lenoir-Rhyne's Music Scholarships. A reception will follow the program in the church Fellowship Hall.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Downtown This Saturday, April 21, Hickory Hops

Is All About Beer, Food, Live Music & Good Times!

Hickory - The stage is set for the 16th annual Hickory Hops beer festival on April 21. A great way to celebrate North Carolina Beer Month, this popular event, which attracts fest-goers from throughout the eastern seaboard, is staged across the railroad tracks from Union Square in Downtown Hickory. Organized by the Hickory Downtown Development Association and hosted by Olde Hickory Brewery, this afternoon program offers plenty for everyone, from inexperienced beer novices to hardened beer fest veterans anxious for something unusual. Pouring for five hours, the second longest running beer fest in NC begins at 1pm, rain or shine. Live music and plenty of beer is guaranteed for all (age 21 and older). Food is available at many downtown restaurants during the festival. Brewers sell t-shirts, pint glasses, mugs and sundry of other breweriana.

The Red Dirt Revelators play at Hickory Hops on Saturday

The Tarheel State has over 240 active craft breweries, and counting. All but a handful of the 53 breweries present for the festival call North Carolina home. In addition to perennial fest participants like, of course, Olde Hickory, Highland, Natty Greene's and RJ Rockers, Hickory Hops 2018 will introduce seven new NC breweries, including the inaugural appearance of D9 (Cornelius), Fainting Goat (Fuquay-Varina), Mountain Layers (Bryson City), Oak & Dagger (Raleigh), Tobacco Road (Raleigh), Southern Pines (Southern Pines) and Rivermen (Belmont).

Complementing the Hickory Hops festivities, the Carolinas Championship of Beer makes its 13th appearance this year. Several weeks before the fest, festival beers are subjected to a blind-judged competition. In early April, over 460 beers, spanning 165 different styles, were analyzed by a panel of certified judges, brewers and experienced judges. Gold, silver and bronze medals in each category will be presented to winning brewers at a private brewers’ dinner held the evening before the festival. During Hickory Hops, engraved plaques will be awarded to three Best of Show winners.

Hickory Hops is a celebration of all things beer. Throughout its history, Hickory Hops has become one of the South’s favorite festivals. This brewer-friendly event, always one of the first of the spring/summer fest season, brings out the best from local and regional craft brewers. Barrel aged and conditioned ales will be featured by many, as will other special or seasonal ales and lagers. Sour beers and India Pales Ales are extremely popular. The Hickory audience has always shown its appreciation and respect for this brewed art. Brewers are available to answer questions, share tasting notes and enjoy the day. Many past fest-goers have described the beer festival as “the most fun [they’ve] ever had in Downtown Hickory.”

Hickory Hops is staged next to the Olde Hickory Station, 232 Government Ave SW. Enter through the main gate across from the Post Office for a day of tasting new brews and the familiar ones you already know and love.

The 54 Brewers featured at Hickory Hops 2018 are: Appalachian Mountain, Asheville, Aviator, Bearwaters, Bird Song, Blowing Rock, Boojum, Booneshine Brewing, Brueprint, Carolina Brewery, Catawba (Palmetto), Crank Arm, D9 Brewery, Deep River, Duck-Rabbit, Fainting Goat, Foothills, Fortnight, Four Saints, French Broad, Frog Level, Front Street, Gizmo, Granite Falls, Highland, Huske Hardware, Innovation, Liberty, Loe’s, Lost Province, Lynnwood, Mash House, Morgan Ridge Railway, Mountain Layers, Mystery, Nantahala, Natty Greene’s, New Belgium, New Sarum, Oak & Dagger, Olde Hickory, Oskar Blues, Pisgah, Preyer, Raleigh, Rivermen, RJ Rockers, Southern Appalachian, Southern Pines, The Unknown, Thomas Creek, Tobacco Road, Top of the Hill, and Wicked Weed.

Tickets may be purchased online in advance with a credit card for $30 (plus $4.95 processing fee) by visiting or at the main gate on the day of the event for $40 cash only.

Your entry fee gives you a five-ounce tasting glass, a wristband enabling you to leave the festival and return through the gates, and a festival program describing more than 300 beers on tap and the 54 breweries who have prepared them for you. Plus, an afternoon of live entertainment from the Red Dirt Revelators and the Baby Black Orchestra may be heard from the festival stage.

Designated driver tickets are available for $10. Designated drivers are not allowed to taste anything since; after all, they will be driving. Hickory Hops promotes responsible drinking and encourages patrons not to drink and drive. Designated drivers will be able to enjoy water, music from two great bands, and an afternoon of fun with their friends.


Celebrate NC’s Women Authors On Thursday,

May 3, With Dessert, Wine & Chocolates

Hickory - The public is invited to enjoy a Dessert, Wine & Chocolates evening celebrating North Carolina’s female authors beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, in the Keiser Room at the Salt Block. Authors Kimmery Martin and Angela Pisel will be the guest speakers, and may be joined by a third author, still to be announced.

The evening’s program is presented by the Friends of Hickory Public Library in partnership with Patrick Beaver Library. Although the program is free, there is limited seating and tickets must be obtained in advance, either at the circulation desk at Patrick Beaver Library, beginning Tuesday, April 10, or from any Friends member. The event is for those ages 21 and older.

Kimmery Martin

Charlotte physician Kimmery Martin’s debut novel The Queen of Hearts has been named a 2018 Most Anticipated Book by Southern Living, Elite Daily and Writer’s Digest. It explores “the startling secrets in a friendship between a cardiologist and a trauma surgeon.” Read more about Kimmery at

With Love from the Inside is Angela Pisel’s well-received first novel, the story of a mother on death row for allegedly killing her infant son and determined to reconnect with her daughter to make sure she knows the truth. “Like nothing else I’ve read this year” — New York Times Bestseller Elin Hilderbrand. Learn more about Angela at

“We are so pleased to present this very special program with these amazing authors, and we hope that many of their fans, along with their yet-to-be fans, will join us to enjoy a delicious evening of conversation, dessert, wine and chocolates,” says Rochelle Walton, president of the Friends board.

Anyone who has questions or needs more information may contact Library Director Sarah Greene at (828) 261-2275 or

Angela Pisel

Nominations For Community Relations Awards Due By May 5

Hickory - The City of Hickory Community Relations Council (CRC) is currently accepting applications for the 2018 Human Relations Awards. The annual Human Relations Awards are designed to recognize any individual, youth, or organization/business that has gone “above and beyond” in promoting good human relations in the City of Hickory. “There are many in our community doing great work on a daily basis,” said Clise Plant, Chair of the CRC. “We hope to receive a large number of nominations.”

The community is encouraged to nominate individuals or businesses who meet and excel in the CRC’s mission of promoting positive human relations in the City of Hickory and beyond. Nominees need to be currently involved in promoting human relations within the City of Hickory.

Nominee applications can be found on the CRC’s webpage on the City’s website,, under Boards and Commissions. Completed applications are due to the Hickory CRC by May 5. Completed nomination forms should be sent to:

ATTN: Chief Thurman Whisnant, 347 2nd AvenueSW, Hickory, NC 28602 or to

The winners will be announced and recognized at the annual Spring Human Relations Award event to be held at the Highland Recreation Center Community Room on Tuesday, May 22. Further details of the Human Relations Award event are in the planning stages and will be announced in the near future.

For more information, please contact staff liaison Chief Thurman Whisnant at the City of Hickory Police Department, at (828) 261-2600

Tiny Art Show Intake At Full

Circle Arts This Week, April 19-21

Hickory - The entry dates for Full Circle Arts' "Tiny Art Show" are fast approaching. We are looking for artists from the greater Hickory area to enter this widely acclaimed exhibition. Small works can be put in many places in the home or office to give the owner pleasure every time he/she looks at it.

Generally pieces of "tiny art" are very affordable and make wonderful gifts. Make no mistake these small gems are just as demanding and difficult for the artist to create and portray as larger paintings and sculptures, but they project an intimate quality and appeal to the imagination in all of us.

A tiny pizza - an example of tiny art!

The artwork can be no larger than 7 inches in any direction and the total with frame and/or pedestal for 3-D works can be no larger than twelve inches side to side or top to bottom. The entry fee for this show is only ten dollars for up to 5 entries. Ribbons will be given and visitors will vote on the artwork to determine a People's Choice Award.

In the past we have had wonderful responses to this show and have sold quite a few pieces of art.

All work should be suitably presented and properly wired for hanging. We cannot accommodate two dimensional artwork which does not have wire hangers because of our hanging system. Artwork should conform to the art world's general idea of good taste. We prefer not to accept standing photo frames.

Please deliver artwork to our gallery at 42-B Third Street NW, Hickory during our regular gallery hours, Thurs.- Fri., Apr. 19-20, 11 am - 5 pm and Sat. Apr. 21, 10 am - 2 pm. Reception will be Thursday, May 17, 5:30 - 8pm in conjunction with the Hickory Art Crawl.

FCA is a non-profit artists’ cooperative located in downtown Hickory, 42-B Third Street NW. More information about Full Circle Arts, classes, membership, or other upcoming events is available at 828-322-7545. You may also write to Full Circle Arts, PO Box 3905, Hickory NC 28603, or email Please visit our website at

Money Smart Week At Ridgeview Library

Starts April 23 With Workshops For Students & Adults

Hickory - Celebrate Money Smart Week and learn the basics of better managing your money with these events held all week long.

Students in Kindergarten through Fifth grade are encouraged to learn the basics of sticking to a budget by visiting the Art Mart at the Ridgeview Library on Monday, April 23 at 4 pm. Students will be given the opportunity to purchase a variety of craft supplies with play money and use the supplies to make a creation of their very own. They will have to plan wisely as there is a set amount of money to be spent.

Teens in grades Sixth through Twelfth are invited to join a representative from the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union to learn smart money management tips and how to make the most of their money at the Library on Tuesday, April 24 at 6 pm.

Adults are encouraged to also join a representative from the North Carolina State Employees’ Credit Union on Thursday, April 26, beginning at 6 pm to understand more on managing your credit with information on how to build better credit, manage and cope with debt, and how to best repair your credit score.

Money Smart Week is a nationally recognized program to help consumers learn how to better manage their personal finance. This week is a collaboration between many organizations including the American Library Association, the Federal Reserve, and Ally Bank. For more information please visit:

Ridgeview Library is located at 706 1st Street SW, at the corner of 1st Street and 7th Avenue SW, beside the Ridgeview Recreation Center. All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Hannah Norcutt at the Ridgeview Library, 828-345-6037 or or visit the library’s website at

WPS Masterworks Concert V Full Circle:

Ode to Joy – Beethoven’s 9th

April 14, 2018
By W. Gerald Cochran

Hickory, NC - The final concert of Western Piedmont Symphony’s 53rd season, “Celebrating John,” at P.E. Monroe Auditorium on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University was truly an ode to joy, coupled with some sadness, as it was the culmination of a monumental 27-year career of Maestro John Gordon Ross as Music Director and Conductor of the orchestra. The program was a reprise of the first concert of his first season in 1991, opening with Ludwig van Beethoven’s (1770-1827) Overture: The Consecration of the House, Op. 124, and concluding with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125, the Choral Symphony. For this performance, the orchestra was joined by the Hickory Choral Society, the Lenoir-Rhyne A Cappella Choir, and the Catawba Valley Community College Chamber Ensemble, with soloists Caroline Whisnant, soprano, Jan Wilson, alto, Benjamin Werley, tenor, and Adrian Smith, bass.

“The Consecration of the House” was written while Beethoven was working on his ninth, and last, symphony, and the concert where that symphony was premiered opened with this overture. Written to celebrate the opening of the Josephstadt Theatre in Vienna, it is quite possibly one of his grandest overtures. Starting as a slow, ceremonial march, the work builds up to a great extensive fugue.

The Symphony No. 9, Op. 125, was Beethoven’s crowning achievement and is one of the most glorious works in the classical music repertoire. Starting from quiet nothingness in the first movement, it culminates in the grand “Ode to Joy,” with chorus and soloists singing the words of Friederich Schiller’s famous paean to freedom and the brotherhood of man, and an exhilarating testament to the human spirit. The first performance was given in Vienna on May 7, 1824 with Beethoven sitting in the middle of the orchestra. Now totally deaf, he could neither hear the performance nor the tumultuous applause at its conclusion. It was not until they turned him around to face the audience that he realized what a tremendous success his composition had been.

What a tremendous success this last performance of these works was for the Western Piedmont Symphony, Maestro Ross, the choruses and soloists. While the performance in 1991 was well done, it certainly could not compare to this performance, and the sold-out house expressed its appreciation and adulation with a long standing ovation. The orchestra has grown and prospered in those 27 years, and has become a very fine instrument, a tribute to the musicians and to Maestro Ross. The choruses were superb, and the soloists exceptional as well.

The next season will feature four concerts, with four guest conductors, each auditioning to step into the Music Director’s roll. These concerts will be very exciting and will usher in the next era of the Western Piedmont Symphony.

Ragtime The Musical Cast Set By HCT’s Livingstone • Opens 5/11

Pamela Livingstone, the Hickory Community Theatre’s Artistic Director, has just announced the casting for Ragtime the Musical. Based on the acclaimed novel by E.L. Doctorow, this powerful show will be on stage in the Jeffers Theatre from May 11th through the 27th.

In the principal roles are Allison Andrews as Mother, Kayla Ferguson as Sarah, Donovan Harper as Colehouse Walker, Jr., and J. David Ingle as Tateh.

The supporting and ensemble roles are played by Steve Austin, John Bates, Thomas Belk, Mason Burr, Cristin Cartwright, Tiffany Christian, Sierra Doyle-Rios, James Grose, Kaylyn Hall, Kayla Harper, Juan Holguin, Tylan James, Dennis Kevitt, Emma Lee Kurts, Ella May, Lucas Packard, Jairo Pereira, Shawn Philips, Angelina Prendergast, Jordan Randall, Shania Robbs, Jordan Smith, Loren Statema, Auguste Theilemann, Justin Thomas, Jack Verner and Kathryn Whalen.

Like the novel on which it is based, Ragtime the Musical follows the lives of a family of upper-class WASPs, an African-American couple and some Eastern-European Jewish immigrants intersect as they try to make a success in America.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The 2017-2018 Season is sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. Ragtime is produced by The United Arts Council of Catawba County, The City of Hickory Community Relations Council and David and Susan Walker.

PHOTO: The cast of Ragtime, opening May 11th at the Hickory Community Theatre (Top to bottom, left to right) James Grose, Ella May, Juan Holguin, Auguste Theilemann, Angelina Prendergast, Kaylyn Hall, Jordan Smith, Tiffany Christian, Dennis Kevitt, Cristin Cartwright, Lucas Packard, Sierra Doyle-Rios, Mason Burr, John Bates, Jairo Pereira, Donovan Harper, Shawn Philips, Loren Statema, Kayla Ferguson, J. David Ingle, Steve Austin, Jordan Randall, Justin Thomas, Kathryn Whalen, Shania Robbs, Emma Lee Kurts and Tylan James. Not pictured are Allison Andrews, Thomas Belk, Kayla Harper, Jack Verner.

Performances begin May 11th on the Mainstage in the Jeffers Theatre. Click or call (828) 328-2283 for tickets and information. Photo by John Koval.

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