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McGregor Hall to Feature Ernie Haase + Signature Sound; Opening Act Frank Sossamon

-Information courtesy McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

Ernie Haase + Signature Sound

Part of the JOY! Series

SPECIAL OPENING ACT BY VANCE COUNTY’S PASTOR FRANK SOSSAMON

SATURDAY, January 19, 2019, @ 7 p.m. ~ Doors Open: 6 p.m.

From its formation in 2003, Ernie Haase has built Signature Sound into one of the most popular and beloved quartets in all of Southern Gospel music. The group has traveled all over the world, offering energy, excitement and encouragement through its powerful brand of gospel music. EHSS continues to gain fans all around the globe with its unique performances and unmistakable four-part harmonies. EHSS is one of the most celebrated quartets in Southern Gospel History mentioned with the same “trailblazing” reverence as groups like The Statesmen Quartet and The Cathedral Quartet.

EHSS has sung and sold to millions worldwide, a feat that has not been accomplished by any other Southern Gospel quartet. From concerts in Latvia and India to South Africa and New Zealand, events all around North America, TV appearances on ESPN with NASCAR, multiple NBA appearances singing our National Anthem, and even a specialty tour of historic American theaters in support of the EHSS Broadway project featuring Les Misérables legend J. Mark McVey, Signature Sound is a world-renowned quartet that spans a wide variety of genres and cultures.

As group founder, Haase is a creative, hard-working tenor whose early roots with the unforgettable and legendary Southern Gospel quartet, The Cathedrals, helped begin his dream to form a powerhouse group of his own. Along with many appearances through the years on the widely regarded Gaither Homecoming Tour, his goal was soon accomplished and then some…as EHSS quickly gained an international platform in gospel music.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is both GRAMMY(R)-nominated and GMA Dove Award-winning, a radio favorite in the United States and internationally, and a leader in CD sales and long-form music video sales–with several RIAA(R)-certified Gold(R) and Platinum(R) DVDs.

Tickets may be purchased by:

DROP IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

(This is not a paid advertisement)

A TRIBUTE TO SAM WATKINS

SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT TWO O’CLOCK, MCGREGOR HALL PAID TRIBUTE TO ITS PRIME VISIONARY, SAMUEL MERRIWEATHER WATKINS, JR.

THE LATE SAM WATKINS WAS A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND PERRY MEMORIAL LIBRARY BEING IN ITS PRESENT LOCATION ALONG WITH THE PERFORMANCE AREA AND CONNECTING SPACE KNOWN AS MCGREGOR HALL. THE HENDERSON POLICE STATION TOO FOR THAT MATTER.

IN ADDITION TO A FULL 13-MEMBER ORCHESTRA, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MARK HOPPER, A LOCAL SOLOIST, JONATHAN O’GEARY, AND THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “REMEMBRANCE,” A SONG COMPOSED BY HENDERSON’S OWN DR. PHILIP M. YOUNG, REMARKS OF HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE WERE PROVIDED BY LONG-TIME FRIENDS DONALD SEIFERT AND THE HONORABLE JAMES W. (JIM) CRAWFORD, JR., BOTH OF WHOM ARE ALSO PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY. ALSO OFFERING REMARKS OF GRATITUDE AND TRIBUTE WERE DR. YOUNG AND JOHN WESTER.

THE PICTURE SHOWS THE MOMENT THE PERFORMANCE OF “REMEMBRANCE” BEGAN.

AND WHILE THE FOCUS OF THE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE AND THOUGHTS OFFERED WERE ZEROED IN ON THE VISION, LEADERSHIP AND DETERMINATION OF SAM WATKINS, THE WORDS, THE MUSIC AND THE ENTIRE GATHERING ALSO HONORED SAM’S TWIN BROTHER GEORGE WATKINS AND THE WATKINS FAMILY. FOR WHERE ONE WATKINS BROTHER WORKED AND SERVED, SO DID THE OTHER.

TO HEAR IT ALL, THE AFTERNOON WAS A CELEBRATION OF COMMUNITY AND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.

SO WHETHER IT WAS THE WORDS OF WESTER, SEIFERT, YOUNG OR CRAWFORD, OR THE INSPIRING COMPOSING, PERFORMING OR JUST BEING IN AWE OF THE SPACE, A NUMBER OF SPECIAL THOUGHTS, PHRASES AND NOTES REVERBERATED THROUGH MCGREGOR HALL ON A SUNNY SUNDAY AFTERNOON ABOUT THE MAN, THE BROTHERS AND THE CHORUS OF SUPPORTERS WHO GOT MCGREGOR HALL TO WHERE IT IS, NOT ONLY A PROVISION FOR LEARNING AND THE ARTS BUT ALSO A REVITALIZATION OF THE VIBRANT BLOCKS OF HENDERSON THAT WERE, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN NO MORE IF NOT FOR THEIR HARD WORK.

AS THE ONES WHO SPOKE SUNDAY OF SAM WATKINS SAID IT: “THANK YOU.” “WELL DONE.” “HE WAS MY BUDDY.”

IT WAS AN AFTERNOON OF AMERICAN MUSIC, A TRIBUTE TO SAM WATKINS, AND IT WAS SO MUCH MORE.

Back by Popular Demand: Masters of Soul to Return to McGregor Hall

-Information courtesy the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND – Friday, January 11, 2019, @ 8 p.m.

If you missed McGregor Hall’s great presentation of Masters of Soul last year, now’s your chance to see what everyone is talking about! Take the ultimate stroll down memory lane with Masters of Soul as they bring a celebration of the legendary songs that defined Motown and Soul music.

This 90-minute show highlights the best of the Motown era with stylishly costumed, fully choreographed performances with various groups backed by a live band.

Based in Virginia Beach, VA, the 10-person cast consists of three lead male vocalists and three lead female vocalists backed by a four-piece band of seasoned musicians who have been touring together for decades.

Masters of Soul has performed to numerous sold-out audiences and garnered rave reviews across the country.

See for yourself their performance of hits by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Barry White, Sam and Dave, James Brown and many more.

Tickets may be purchased by:

DROP IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

(This is not a paid advertisement)

McGregor Hall to Present ‘Irish Christmas Dance Spectacular’ Dec. 20

-Information courtesy the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center website

McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center will present “Carol of the King: The Irish Christmas Dance Spectacular” on Thursday, December 20, 2018. The show starts at 8 p.m. – doors open at 7 p.m.

Enjoy this Riverdance-style Christmas extravaganza! The 20-member dance troupe performs lightning fast hard-shoe rhythms and graceful soft-shoe jigs.

Tickets may be purchased by:

DROP IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

(This is not a paid advertisement)

 

Don’t Miss the One-Night-Only Performance of ‘A Waffle House Christmas Musical’

-Press release courtesy Kaine Riggan

The iconic television star Joyce DeWitt, who played Janet Wood on ABC’s Three’s Company for seven seasons, is coming to Henderson, North Carolina for a special, one-night performance of a holiday musical comedy by North Carolina playwright Kaine Riggan.

“A Waffle House Christmas Musical” follows an unlikely mix of characters who are getting snowed in at a Waffle House outside of Nashville on Christmas Eve. It features original Christmas music written by Randy Travis, T. Graham Brown and others and a comedic script by Riggan.

Kay Gobbell and television star Joyce DeWitt (Janet on Three’s Company) star in “A Waffle House Christmas Musical” December 1 at 8 p.m. at Henderson’s McGregor Hall. (Photo Credit: Hatcher and Fell)

Grammy-nominated country music star T. Graham Brown will also star in the show and sing the song he contributed to the work, which was originally commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission in 2007.

The show is the latest in a line of box-office successes at McGregor Hall, a newly-constructed 1000-seat performing arts center that has sparked a revitalization of Henderson’s historic downtown business district.

“This play is really my favorite kind of piece to do”, shared DeWitt in a recent radio interview on WIZS. “It has strong, real characters who deliver a message that is both hilarious and touching. It is the perfect show to put you in the Christmas spirit.”

DeWitt, a friend of the playwright who lives in Santa Fe, also played Waffle House waitress, Rita,  in a sold-out, two-month run of the musical on Nashville’s Printer’s Alley in 2010.

Riggan chose his hometown of Henderson for this final workshop production of his work before it is pitched for publishing. Many of the show’s songwriters will attend the event, including another native North Carolinian, Jennifer Prince, who wrote one of the show-stopping musical numbers, “Packed Up, Prayed Up and Ready To Go.”

“A Waffle House Christmas Musical” plays Saturday, December 1 at 8 p.m. in Henderson. For tickets and information, visit www.McGregorHall.org or call (252) 598-0662.

Vance County Arts Council Presents ‘Tidings of Comfort and Joy’ Christmas Music

-Information courtesy the Vance County Arts Council Facebook page

The Vance County Arts Council presents “Tidings of Comfort and Joy” with Christmas music to soothe the soul on Saturday, November 24, 2018, at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center. Music begins at 4 p.m. and admission is free.

Performers include “Brotherhood,” gospel recording artist Lynn Cooper, recording artist Ezekiel Taylor, Stella Jones, the Shiloh Baptist Liturgical Dancers, Marjorie Lewis, Tiffany Barnes, Alice Sallins, “Royalty” and “Small Wonder.”

Platinum sponsors are the North Carolina Art Council and Dr. Alice Clark Sallins. Bronze sponsors are Curtis Ellis and Michael Ellis.

McGregor Hall’s Popularity Continues to Grow, Study to Determine Economic Impact

While the next step in the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation’s quest to conduct an economic impact study of the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center on Henderson and the surrounding area is likely a formality, what is needed now is a contract with N.C. State University’s Department of Public Administration and its respective professors.

WIZS News conversations with Vance County Commission Chair Tommy Hester, who seems to have been the visible spearhead of this particular effort, reveal that the $17,500 to fund the study has been obtained by private, anonymous donation(s).

According to NC State representatives, the completion time for the study is estimated at four months, with the project to begin on January 7, 2019, and the final report to be submitted by May 6, 2019.  Dr. Bruce McDonald and Tom White from NC State came to Henderson October 8, 2018, to discuss McGregor Hall and its impact, to learn more about the facility and to spur still more progression in the team of people, volunteers and the community at large that is supporting the facility.

The recent local production of “Beauty and the Beast” has resulted in additional widespread publicity for McGregor Hall. (Photo: WIZS)

The recent local production of “Beauty and the Beast” has resulted in additional widespread publicity for McGregor Hall for a number of reasons.  The collective local and regional talent in the show and the sheer volume of people who attended the six public performances as well as additional school performances and side events exceeded 6,500 patrons.

Mark Hopper, Vice Chair of the Board for the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation and McGregor Hall, directed the play and directed the full orchestra as well.  In a recent conversation with WIZS’ John C. Rose, Hopper said, “We are a community and economic organization first and foremost, and it’s exciting that citizens are starting to share our vision for what we can accomplish.  Next spring, we have 11 weekends booked for regional and national dance competitions. That means that 700-900 people will arrive on Friday afternoon and stay through Sunday afternoon, with all of them eating in Vance County restaurants, lodging in Vance County motels, and putting Henderson on the map. It’s a very exciting time for McGregor Hall.”

Joyce Dewitt ‘Thrilled’ to Return to Role in ‘A Waffle House Christmas’

Henderson’s own downtown development director Kaine Riggan and special call-in guest and actress Joyce Dewitt were on air for Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program.

Riggan, writer, producer and director of the musical comedy “A Waffle House Christmas,” announced that the play will be performed at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson for one night only – Saturday, December 1, 2018 – at 8 p.m.

According to Riggan, approximately 600 of the 1,000 available tickets have already been purchased, and he hopes to see it become a sold-out performance. “I hope it happens for McGregor Hall and for downtown Henderson. That’s our crown jewel!”

The musical, which was first commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission in 2006, will feature five of the principal actors for the December performance, including Dewitt as Waffle House waitress Rita and country singer T. Graham Brown. Auditions for local actors to round out the cast were held last week.

Dewitt, most well-known for her role as Janet on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” said she was excited to return to this role. “In this case, I had done the play before with Kaine and I know that he is a very wonderful director and I know that he gathers terrific actors together. So the idea of coming back and doing this with a number of wonderful people that I did it with in Nashville was thrilling.”

The setting for the musical is a Waffle House in both the middle of nowhere and in the middle of a blizzard on Christmas Eve. The regular staff and customers are stranded there along with outside visitors. What unfolds are a few secrets, surprises and heartfelt human connections.

“The wonderful thing about these characters that Kaine has written is that they are so human, but what’s going on in their personal story is so meaningful,” said Dewitt. “The audience can relate to each of them.”

“It’s my favorite kind of material – funny, funny, funny – but also, at times, catching and poignant.”

According to Dewitt, when she is first approached about a role she asks herself if she believes in the material and if she can deliver the material in a way that will relate to the audience. She is pleased to have found both in this role.

“When the audience is walking out of the theater, what have we given them? What is in their heart? I genuinely believe this play is a perfect Christmas gift to give the audience.”

To give the gift of this play to yourself and/or a loved one, purchase tickets by:

DROP IN: 201 Breckenridge Street, Henderson, N.C. Monday – Friday 1:30 – 5:30 p.m

CALL: (252) 598-0662 (M-F 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

CLICK HERE: www.McGregorHall.org  (Use the eTix official site, online fees apply)

 To hear the interview in its entirety, please click here.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ Discussion: ‘I Couldn’t Believe I Was Sitting in Henderson!’

On Monday’s open line edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program, Town Talk co-hosts George Rush and John Charles Rose discussed McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center’s recent production of “Beauty and the Beast.”

With six shows performed over two weekends in October and November, the production drew a crowd of approximately 6,500 to the performance center. Additional promotions, such as Chick-fil-A’s “Crafts with Belle” night and the “Tea with Belle” event at McGregor Hall were also a hit, especially with the younger crowd.

The large cast of characters included former Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins as Belle; Jonathan O’Geary as the Beast, Josh Glasscock as Cogsworth; Brian Westbrook as Lumiere; Jackson Hopper as LeFou, Shana Fisher as Mrs. Potts; Lilly Hicks and Eva Hopper sharing the role of Chip and even McGregor Hall’s own Technical Director Matt Nowell as the villain, Gaston.

The musical also included a full, live orchestra and professional costumes and sets provided by the National Broadway Tour.

“I went to ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and I mean this in the most complimentary of ways, I couldn’t believe I was sitting in Henderson,” said Rose. “It was absolutely overwhelming to me to be present there and to be seeing and hearing what I was seeing and hearing.”

Rose explained that while McGregor Hall is a paid advertising client of WIZS, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own.

“Everyone in the show was out of this world in their performance. My absolute hats off to McGregor Hall, Breckenridge Commons, the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, Mark Hopper and everyone that was involved in the production,” said Rose.

Rose said that while he enjoyed watching the local talent, it was also encouraging to see actors participate from cities such as Raleigh and Durham. “That will help get the word out about McGregor Hall.”

“We have a destination here in McGregor Hall,” Rose said. “It goes beyond, in some aspects, DPAC or some of the other performing centers, because we have a lot less hassle here. Lines at restaurants are going to be shorter, food costs in Henderson are going to be less. We have a fantastic opportunity in Henderson and Vance County with this performing hall.”

To better understand McGregor Hall’s potential, the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation is currently in the planning phase with North Carolina State University to conduct a four-month economic impact study on the center.

Officials believe this study, set to begin in January, will serve the two-fold purpose of painting an accurate picture of the current impact of McGregor Hall on the Henderson/Vance County economy as well as establish ways to capitalize on that impact in the future.

Performances such as “Beauty and the Beast” bring in large crowds to not only McGregor Hall but also to restaurants, gas stations and other businesses, boosting the local economy.

And “Beauty and the Beast” is just the tip of the iceberg on the positive impact McGregor Hall has had since its grand opening in January of 2016.

Rose himself is a believer, “All of the things we heard about all of the years dating back, all of the positive things that we heard about our finally coming true!”

To hear Monday’s show in its entirety, please click here.

T. Graham Brown Joins ‘A Waffle House Christmas,” Local Auditions This Week

-Information and photo courtesy Kaine Riggan

Grammy-winning country star T. Graham Brown has signed on to join the cast of “A Waffle House Christmas.”

Having penned one of the songs in Kaine Riggan’s musical comedy “A Waffle House Christmas”, Grammy-winning country star T. Graham Brown has signed on to join the cast for the one-night-only engagement of the show at McGregor Hall on Saturday, December 1.

Brown will play Willie Wainwright, an ex-preacher who often comes into the Waffle House after having one-too-many at the bar. The show is set in a Waffle House just outside of Nashville on Christmas Eve and also features iconic sitcom star Joyce DeWitt (Janet from Three’s Company) as the third-shift waitress Rita Watson.

Riggan’s musical concept was originally commissioned by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission in 2005 as a collaborative effort to showcase Nashville songwriters. Over 250 songs were submitted and he chose 20 of them and tied them together with a comedic, family-friendly script.

Local auditions for the musical are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 9 (6 – 8 p.m.) and Saturday, Nov. 10 (2 – 4 p.m.) at McGregor Hall. Children age 6-12 are needed as well as several adult roles of varying age and race. A link to more information, available roles and rehearsal schedule can be found at www.DowntownDevelopment.org