The Odysssey Abridged earns Kennedy Center nominations

Northeast State Theatre has learned their recent production of The Odyssey Abridged: A Puppet Journey of Epic Proportions received several nominations of theatre students and the play’s director for the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

The play’s writer/director Brad McKenzie earned a nomination for directing. McKenzie serves an adjunct theatre faculty member and Northeast State Theatre’s technical director.

Irene Ryan Acting nominations went to Hannah Duncan for her portrayal of the goddess Athena and to Michelle Goodwin for her role as Eumaeus.

In the design and technical categories, Will Lambert earned a nomination for his work as the play’s lighting designer. Richard Curtis earned a nomination for his work as scenic artist and puppet designer. Kevin Carrier picked up a nomination as the play’s stage manager. Lambert and Curtis previously earned KCACTF nominations for their work at Northeast State.

This marks the third consecutive year a Northeast State Theatre production has earned one or more nominations from KCACTF Region IV judges.


Northeast State Singers present Christmas concert Dec. 3

Get your holiday season started off right when the Northeast State Singers perform their annual Christmas concert on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium (A202) on the main campus in Blountville.

NE State Singers Nov 2013 2The concert titled, “A Winter Wonderland” features performances of the grand Christmas and seasonal classics and some modern tunes that will start your holiday season off right.  The Northeast State Singers also welcome special guests “The Hills Are Alive” Sweet Adelines International Chorus.

The Sweet Adelines Chorus has graciously agreed to support the Northeast State’s Music Department’s fundraiser for their Performing Arts Annual Scholarship for Music.  The concert is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.  All contributions made will help support the music department.

The concert begins at 7 p.m.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert is open to the public.  For more information, contact 423.354.2474 or tcteague@NortheastState.edu.


Bring and toy and enjoy a concert by Wise Old River and The Rose Sisters

Bring a toy for needy children and enjoy an acoustic concert by local bands Wise Old River and The Rose Sisters at Northeast State’s Kingsport Center for Higher Education at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Wise Old River blends a variety of influences and instruments that combine tradition with originality. The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton (formerly of Virginia Ground). Jeanne Denton provides well-crafted harmony vocals and occasional percussion. Jim Denton adds acoustic lap steel, 12-string slide guitar, and bouzouki. Bassist Stephen Marshall joined the band in fall 2010 and plays with an Americana focus bridging musical styles with his honest sound and harmonic vibe. The band’s sound has been described as “eclectic-Americana.”

The Rose Sisters are a duo based out of Johnson City. Karla Diller and Jamie Collins are best of friends who met at college. Karla is from Canyon City, Colo., and Jamie is a native of Bristol. They play a set that’s grounded in Appalachian and Western music. Though they are from opposite sides of the country, their harmonies and styles blend together like sisters.

Both bands are local favorites and have appeared at venues such as Bristol Rhythm and Roots and the Down Home in Johnson City. The Rose Sisters will open the show, followed by Wise Old River.

The concert is free and open to the public; however, the College’s Students in Action group is asking patrons to bring a toy for distribution to needy children during the Christmas season. The toys can be for children of any age.

The Kingsport Center for Higher Education is located at 300 W. Market St. in downtown Kingsport. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, contact jlbarnett@NortheastState.edu or 423.354.5340.


Mars rover scientist to lecture Nov. 26

When NASA successfully landed an exploration vehicle on the planet Mars in August 2012, the mission achieved an extraordinary feat of exploration in our galaxy. The land also meant that the work of dozens of scientists involved in the project only had only begun.

One of those scientists was Kingsport native and Dr. Melissa Rice, a member of the Mars exploration team, who will visit Northeast State Community College this month to share her fascinating experiences and take her audience on a voyage to the Red Planet.

Northeast State invites the public to her presentation, “Exploring Mars with NASA’s Opportunity and Curiosity Rovers” on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at 1:30 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) on the main campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Rice is a Science Team Collaborator on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover and a faculty member at the California Institute of Technology.  She was involved in the landing site selection process for MSL rover and worked to assess the science potential of the planet’s Eberswalde Crater.  She has worked on mission operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity since 2007.

As part of her research, Rice compiled data from the rover’s 17 cameras to interpret the mineralogy, sedimentology and stratigraphy of Rover’s landing site on Mars in Gale Crater.  She is currently working with Dr. John Grotzinger on interpreting the stratigraphy and mineralogy of significant sections on Mars.

This research seeks to help constrain the habitability of ancient environments on Mars. Rice received her Ph.D. in January of 2012 in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University, with minor concentrations in Geology and Science Communication.


A look at The Odyssey's influence on pop culture

In one way or another, almost everyone has been exposed to The Odyssey – the epic Greek poem about Odysseus’ journey home after the fall of Troy. The Odyssey is a high school English staple, the basis for the film, O Brother, Where Art Thou, and origin of countless references ranging from The Simpsons to James Joyce to Xena: The Warrior Princess.

Stephanie Murray, an education specialist with a passion for mythology, will explore the poem’s continuing clout with pop culture with two presentations Nov. 21 at Northeast State’s Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.

The presentations – slated for 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – are a special tie-in with the Theatre Department’s production of The Odyssey Abridged: A Puppet Journey of Epic Proportions. Murray will provide an entertaining look at how Greek literature and mythology is firmly embedded in today’s pop culture.

Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Religious Studies from Lees-McRae College. She currently serves as an educational advisor for adult learners in North Carolina.

The performing arts center is located at 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Both presentations are free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.NortheastState.edu or contact 423.279.7669 or jpkelly@NortheastState.edu.

The Odyssey Abridged performances are Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. with two matinée showings at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 and Nov. 24. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online now at http://www.northeaststate.edu. Tickets are free to Northeast State students with valid student identification.






College welcomes JFK Assassination historian

Regarded as one of the great turning points in American history and culture, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy happened 50 years ago this month. 

Northeast State welcomes former Kingsport educator and coach Tom Williams to campus to discuss his lifelong research into this tragic event and the controversial theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination.

Williams will lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at noon and 7 p.m. in the Northeast State Auditorium (A202) on the main campus in Blountville. Williams’ presentation entitled “The JFK Assassination: Fifty Years of Controversy” details his passion for collecting memorabilia and information about one of the most researched and controversial subjects in American history.

Williams lecture includes details of the Warren Report, the Kennedy family’s political connections, and the mysterious figure of Lee Harvey Oswald. Conspiracy researchers have attempted to link Kennedy’s killing to everyone from the Cuban government and the American mafia to the CIA and the Soviet Union.

Both lectures are free.  Conspiracy theorists, historians, and political junkies are invited to attend the evening event.  For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or e-mail jpkelly@northeaststate.edu.







Northeast State sets Veterans Day ceremony

Northeast State will commemorate Veterans Day with a special ceremony on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. honoring the sacrifices and return of the nation’s servicemen and women at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in Blountville.

The Northeast State Singers will present a musical salute to the armed forces. Northeast State students who are also military veterans will present the service colors.  All are military flag bearers represent the branches of services for which they served.

Northeast State enrolls scores of students classified as veterans, many of whom have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

The event is open to the public and the community is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Allan Anderson at 423.354.2598 or aranderson@NortheastState.edu.


Northeast State President takes NACCE pledge

The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, has announced that President Janice Gilliam, of Northeast State Community College has taken its Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge.

Through the pledge, presidents of community colleges throughout the country pledge to take five action steps that will increase their focus on entrepreneurship and the impact these colleges have on the economic well being of the communities they serve. Officials from five other Tennessee community colleges have also taken NACCE’s Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge.

With the economy still lagging in many regions of the United States, more than 200 community colleges throughout the country have joined the entrepreneurship forum, and by doing so, have committed to playing a greater role in stimulating economic development in the communities they serve. 

“We are proud to participate in NACCE’s entrepreneurship initiative,” said Northeast State President Janice Gilliam. “The College is already well on its way with established entrepreneurial programs and training, and we are seeking even more ways of embracing business-friendly measures across campus.”

Other Tennessee community college presidents joining the forum are: Carl Hite, Cleveland State Community College, Cleveland; Ivan Jones, Tennessee Technology Center, Shelbyville; Mark Lenz, Tennessee Technology Center, Nashville; Jerry Faulkner, Volunteer State Community College, Gallatin; and Gary Goff, Roane State Community College, serving Roane County and Oak Ridge, Campbell, Cumberland, Fentress, Loudon, Morgan and Scott Counties.

The Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge is in response to the Obama Administration’s Startup America call to action to stimulate economic growth state by state by encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. NACCE is a founding affiliate of the Startup America Partnership, an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders. 

According to NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle, the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge is a way for community colleges to advance entrepreneurship and create jobs across the country. Community college presidents who take the pledge commit to these five action steps: 

• Develop transparency of community college and community assets

• Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship

• Increase entrepreneurs’ engagement in community colleges

• Engage in industry cluster development

• Create broad exposure to their college’s commitment to entrepreneurship.

Founded in 2002, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. 

Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, regional summits, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars, a dynamic list-serv, and training resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. For more information, visit www.nacce.com.


The Odyessey Abridged sets sail Nov. 14

Get ready for ancient Greek adventure brought life with a kicking classic rock-and-roll soundtrack when the Northeast State Department of Theatre stages The Odyssey Abridged: A Puppet Journey of Epic Proportions this month.

The Odyssey performances are Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. with two matinée showings at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 and Nov. 24.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online now at www.northeaststate.edu.  Tickets are free to Northeast State students with valid student identification.

Based on The Odyssey by Homer, the play tells the story of Odysseus long journey home to after the Trojan War. The Odyssey Abridged is an original adaptation written and directed by Northeast State’s own Brad McKenzie. The award-winning Northeast State Theatre crew pulls out all the stops for this lavish stage production of actors, gigantic monster puppets, and special effects that will amaze audiences.

Odysseus recounts his long journey dodging man-eating scary beasts such as the seven-headed monster Scylla and the voracious Cyclops. He also must resist the temptations of the Singing Sirens, dodge the whirlpool Charybdis, and deal with the suitors courting his forlorn yet yearning wife Penelope. The “road trip” feel of the play follows Odysseus’ harrowing and often comic journey to return home.

Northeast State Theatre stays true to its reputation as the most innovative theatre department in the region with an elaborate production of actors and technical design. The lighting and sound effects that set Northeast State Theatre apart give a full three-dimensional treatment for audiences. The entire production seamlessly blends stage action and special effects to enliven the Greek classic. Don’t miss this spectacular play!

Northeast State Theatre is offering showtimes during the day for middle school and high school students. For more information, contact Northeast State Theatre at 423.354.2479 or e-mail emsloan@NortheastState.edu.