Sumter County Fine Arts Council Opens season with ZuZu Acrobats

LIVINGSTON, Ala. — The Sumter County Fine Arts Council will kick off the 2017-18 arts season by welcoming the Zuzu Acrobats to Lyon Hall Auditorium on the campus of the University of West Alabama on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Originating in Mombassa, Kenya, the Zuzu Acrobats blend traditional “circus” acrobatics with popular dance moves and the result is an electrifying performance that has moved audiences all over the world. The acrobats have appeared on the television show America’s Got Talent, have opened shows for major recording artists and been seen on late night television. They have also brought their high-energy brand of entertainment to NBA arenas as a halftime spectacle.

Season tickets for the SCFAC will be available at the door for the event. At $25 for individuals and $35 for families, SCFAC season tickets are the best “bang for the buck” available for local entertainment.  In addition to the Zuzu Acrobats, this year’s line-up includes: Charles Lindbergh: The Lone Eagle; Community Psalm-fest with Wendall Kimbrough; The Story of Hanukkah and the Story of Christmas; The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Ensemble; The Rhythm of Life; and a Community Unity Concert led by the University of West Alabama Concert Choir. In addition, the SCFAC sponsors performance events for local school children and supports the UWA Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit and the Annual Sumter County Arts Competition.

The Zuzu Acrobats performance on September 12 begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $ 10 for adults, $2 for non- UWA students, and free for UWA students with student ID.

The Sumter County Fine Arts Council receives support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, from the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency), from the University of West Alabama, from the Black Belt Community Foundation, and from other agencies, businesses, and individuals. The Sumter County Fine Arts Council works to encourage the arts and art participation by promoting, developing and stimulating artists, and by programming arts events and performance events in Sumter County and the surrounding area, and has done so successfully for over 40 years. Events, reminders and information are available, on Facebook and on Twitter.

TRAC presents REWIND of the Shoals Friday night

The Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC) is hosting a concert featuring REWIND of the Shoals on Friday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Demopolis Civic Center. REWIND of the Shoals is a ten piece Oldies/Motown band which prides itself in providing quality entertainment for all occasions.

The band is a very versatile and multi-talented group, performing the most requested hits from the sixties, seventies and eighties as well as many other top 40 hits from yesterday’s charts. REWIND of the Shoals features both male and female vocalists, keyboards, bass, percussion, guitar and a five-piece horn section consisting of three trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone.

If you are looking for that nostalgic 60’s/Motown sound, they have it. If you just want to “Rock,” they do that and 70’s disco. The band is comprised of some of the most talented, respected and dedicated musicians around. They are all very passionate about music and love to perform. The group always elicits a very enthusiastic response and will do whatever it takes to make sure the audience is pleased.

Tickets are $10 at the door and arts council member’s admission is included in the annual membership. Bring your own beverage or favorite spirits. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

For more information, contact Judy Etheridge at (334) 295-4254.

2017 HWY 80 Songwriters Fest (gallery)

2017 Songwriter’s Festival

7-1-2017 — Demopolis, Ala. — Musicians and committee members gather for a photo before the 2017 Songwriter’s Festival in the downtown square in Demopolis. Committee members are (bottom row, l-r) Andy Renner, John Russell, Woody Collins, Mike Grayson, Bill Mason, Mike Baker, Laurie Willingham and Candace Dorriety. Artists include (top row, l-r) Taylor Craven, Paul Garner, Alan Hartzell, Megan McMillan, Brian Smith, Kenny Smitherman, Christina Christian, Taylor Hunnicutt, Jacob Broussard and Shawn Pfaffman.

Don’t miss out on a great evening of live, original music in the square in downtown Demopolis. The 2017 Songwriter’s Festival will kick off at 6pm. We have nine artists who will be performing original music, live in the Demopolis square. Come see us!

Eric Church coming to Tuscaloosa Amp Sept. 15

Eric Church is coming to the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on Sept. 15 with special guests Brothers Osborne and Ashley McBryde.

Tickets go on sale Friday, May 12 at 10 a.m. via

Pepper Jelly Festival – April 29, 2017

The Alabama Rural Heritage Center and The Town of Thomaston invite you to its annual Pepper Jelly Festival on April 29, 2017. This event centers around the restoration of the Marengo County High School grounds. It is a family-friendly event with plenty of food, entertainment by local talent, arts and crafts, as well as a time to visit with friends and family. Come enjoy the famous Thomaston Bar-b-cue! Get your jar of the most delicious pepper jelly this side of the Tombigbee. Entertainment includes Mitzi Gates, Trey Webb, Kayla Gill, Dana Thompson, Rebecca Vick to name a few! Excitement is in the air! The Town of Thomaston extends an invitation for all to come and experience a real down-home, old fashioned small town event! We start at 10:00 a.m. and the fun lasts through 3p.m.

Demopolis Singers offer history of Demopolis in White Bluffs Pageant

For 200 years the people who have called Demopolis home have looked over the white bluffs of the Tombigbee River.

To celebrate the history of the city, the Demopolis Singers will present a spring concert of narration, music and photographs highlighting different eras its past.

The White Bluffs Pageant will be held Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. and Monday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in the First Baptist Church. There is no admission to the concert, which was made possible through a donation by the Alabama Power Greene County Steam Plant.

Directed by Ed Rush, the pageant will touch on events in Demopolis history, from the first Native Americans who lived along the river, to the French exiles who tried to start a vine and olive colony, the German Jews who settled in the rough frontier town, slavery and the Civil War, the Rooster Auction, the Depression, World War II, Civil Rights and the 21st Century.

Narrators dressed in period costumes will introduce each section, and the Singers, soloists and musicians will perform songs honoring the era.

As the pageant unfolds, photos of Demopolis and its people will be displayed in a photo montage prepared by Tim Hall. Janelle Baker is the accompanist for the Singers. Other musicians will join her for instrumental compositions.

Narrators dressed in the garb of the time include Bill Baker, Christopher Hoven, Sandra Booen, Jan McDonald, Jaclyn Figeroa, Brian Tripp, Lee Jordan, Tommy Carr, Ann Taylor Wood and Alex Williams. Soloists are Tristan Mullens and McDonald.

Demopolis Singers present The White Bluffs Pageant

Friday on the Square: Jazz Concert with Cashmere Williams and Band

Join friends, family and co-workers to experience Friday on the Square featuring a jazz concert by Cashmere Williams and his band on Friday, April 28 at 6 p.m.   
Cashmere Williams has become one of the most prominent musicians in the Southeast. He has recorded three albums on Lenoah Records Label established in 1998. He started playing the guitar in church at the young age of seven years old where he honed his skills and learned how to interact with different musicians. In 1995, he was accepted into Berkley College of Music on a partial scholarship where he majored in composition and arranging while studying with world-class musicians. In 2003, he was asked to back Ruben Studdard and began touring nationally appearing on shows like: The David Letterman Show, The Ellen DeGeneres show, the Jay Leno Show, The View, and many more. After three years on the road, Cashmere slowed down so he could focus on spending time with his newly born daughter Harmonie Williams which spawned his latest release “New Birth” Presently, cashmere’s working on publishing his first book due for release in 2016.
“Police Chief Tommie Reese encouraged the arts council to contact Cashmere Williams for a jazz concert on Public Square,” says Two Rivers Arts Council President Carolyn Cowling. “Last year’s concert was a huge success and the weather was perfect. I think our community is in for an entertaining night of music!”
The event is sponsored by the Two Rivers Arts Council.  The event is free and the public is encouraged to bring coolers, chairs, and blankets for this night of jazz in Public Square in historic, downtown Demopolis. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to the Marengo County History and Archives Museum located behind The Mustard Seed in the Rosenbush Building.
We encourage everyone in Marengo County to support the arts by becoming a member of the Two Rivers Arts Council.  An Individual membership is $25 and a patron membership that includes two membership cards is $60. For more information contact Judy Etheridge at 334-295-4254  or visit us on Facebook.

Disney’s Aladdin Jr. opens Thursday at DHS

Aladdin, played by Brian Tripp, reacts to Genie, played by Tyler Ward, in Monday’s dress rehearsal at DHS. Aladdin Jr. opens Thursday at 7 p.m. (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Prepare to be transported to the land of Agrabah this weekend as the Tiger Arts Guild (TAG) at Demopolis High School presents Disney’s Aladdin Jr.

“The beautiful colors and costumes, the uplifting music, we really just hope that patrons are able to come in and be transported to the world of Agrabah,” said director Jody Tartt. “The show is visually stunning, and ultimately my goal is for it to be an escape for those who come to see it.”

Tartt, who has led the theater program at DHS for 16 years, was quick to point out those who have helped make the show a success.

“My goal has always been to involve not only the entire arts department, but also other classes from campus, and this has been the perfect show for that,” Tartt said. “My theater classes of course play a role, but for this show we are also fortunate to have Madaline Jacobs directing the musical portion, and Charles Jones and his industrial maintenance students help us in assembling the set.”

From left, Genie (Tyler Ward), Aladdin (Brian Tripp), and Jasmine (Allison Polk). (WAW | Stewart Gwin)

Tartt also was able to once again partner with visual artist Garland Farwell, marking the 10th year the duo has collaborated on various projects

“Garland is always so gracious to give his time to this program and this school, and once again I have been blown away by his art and the intricacies in this set,” said Tartt.

For the set design, Tartt’s Theater Design class was tasked with researching Arabian architecture and art. A collage was then created and Farwell used that research, coupled with his real world experiences in the Middle East, to design the Aladdin set.

“The really cool part about working with Garland is that he brings his ideas, his designs, and our students tap into that. He directs them, gives them tips of the trade, and so what you see at the end of the day is a collaborative project between our students and Garland,” Tartt said. “Every time we collaborate on a project, his work far exceeds my expectations.”

More than 35 DHS students make up the cast and crew of Aladdin Jr., and for Tartt, that’s a good thing.

“I want to get as many students and teachers as possible involved,” she said.

Aladdin Jr. opens Thursday at the DHS Theater and runs through Saturday at 7 p.m. nightly. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students.