Summer brings Hot Nights, Cool Music to Northeast State

Summer is coming and what better way to spend a few warm evenings than enjoying Northeast State’s “Hot Nights, Cool Music” summer concert series. The series begins May 14 and includes local, regional, and nationally known artists bringing eclectic sounds of music to the stage.

All shows are free and open to the public. All shows are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater on the College’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert series features the following performers:

“Hansel and Gretel” May 14 – Presented by University of Virginia’s College at Wise and the Southwest Virginia Opera Company, Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera tells the frightening story of a young brother and sister in the forest, captured by a witch who plans to eat them. The siblings must outwit their captor before dinner is served.

The Vaneese Thomas Group, June 9 Vaneese carries the rich heritage of Memphis soul and R&B, a music that has touched generations and crossed divides. At the same time she has combined all the influences of her background and experience ­– R&B, gospel, blues, and jazz – to cultivate a soul-stirring style that’s all her own. She has worked with an astonishing array of internationally known performers including Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Eric Clapton, Dr. John and others.

The Model City Wrecking Crew, June 18 The Model City Wrecking Crew is a five-piece band from Kingsport, TN performing classic rock music. The Crew performs material from artists including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, James Taylor, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, The Steve Miller Band, REM, and The Atlanta Rhythm Section among others.

The Vicki Genfan Trio, June 23 Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul and world music, Vicki is redefining ‘singer/songwriter culture.’ With a mastery of the acoustic guitar that borders on pure alchemy, audiences are mesmerized by the waves of sound Vicki creates with just two hands and her voice. Using 29 alternate tunings and the percussive technique she calls ‘slap-tap’, Genfan’s pure, expressive vocals dig deep and stir the heart to be the perfect accompaniment on many of her songs.

The Johnson City Community Band, July 11 – The band is made up of approximately 60 members and associate members who have a diverse background in music.  While lineups have changed over the years, one thing however has stayed the same – the band has grown and improved each year in the quality of members and quality of performances. This concert is also a FunFest sanctioned event.

Caravan of Thieves, July 18 – Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for the band’s mesmerizing vocal harmonies and fantastic stories.  Caravan of Thieves are musical and intense.  They entertain, dazzle and defy musical classification while welcoming the spectator to join the band throughout the performance in momentary fits of claps, snaps and sing-alongs.

Tri-Cities Gospel Music Camp Annual Concert, July 30 – Fans of the style, as well as newcomers to the method, will be treated to a concert and workshop by singers from Kingsport’s Tri-City Gospel Music Camp. Shaped-notes allow for a simplified way to read music. Based on squares, ovals, diamonds, and triangles – the distinctive shapes of the notes instantly tell what pitch to sing. The style gained a great following in colonial times when many singers were musically untrained.