Vance County School Students Enjoy “Beauty and the Beast” at McGregor Hall

Vance County Schools fourth graders and their teachers enjoyed a wonderful performance of the “Beauty and the Beast” ballet on Monday, December 5.

The performance was held at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center.

The ballet was performed by the New York City Ballet.

The free performance was provided to the students and teachers by McGregor Hall and the Henderson Community Concert Association.

Fourth-grade students from Granville County Schools also attended. Almost 1,000 students and teachers filled the auditorium.

Vance-Granville Community Band to present free holiday concert on December 5th

The Vance-Granville Community Band will perform traditional Christmas fare as well as light classical and contemporary favorites during its ninth annual holiday concert on Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson.

This will be the first time that the Community Band has held a concert at the 1,000-seat venue, which opened earlier this year and is located at 201 Breckenridge Street in downtown Henderson. Admission is free of charge.

The band has prepared a program that includes seasonal music like “Wishing You a Merry Christmas,” a medley of Christmas carols arranged by William E. Rhoads; “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a medley featuring “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”; and “The Carollers March” by R.E. Holz, arranged by band member Bob Salzmann. Another piece, “The Night Before Christmas,” features a dramatic reading of Clement Moore’s poem by the band’s Claire Ramsey, with musical accompaniment.

The band is also set to play “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky; the overture from “Abduction from the Seraglio” by Mozart; a symphonic suite of music from the sci-fi franchise “Star Trek” to commemorate its 50th anniversary by Michael Giacchino, Alexander Courage and Gene Roddenberry; “Hallelujah” (featured in the movie “Shrek”) by Leonard Cohen; and “Riders for the Flag,” a march by John Philip Sousa.

The concert will also feature the “Old Vanguard Woodwind Quartet” playing additional selections of holiday music. The quartet comprises a bassoon, a soprano saxophone, an alto saxophone and a tenor saxophone.

Brian Miller, who retired as band director at Louisburg High School and now teaches for VGCC and Crosscreek Charter School, is the band’s primary conductor. Tracie Winstead, who plays bassoon in the band, is the associate conductor.

The Community Band, which is sponsored by the VGCC Division of Arts and Sciences, includes people of all ages, from all walks of life, and from throughout the region. No auditions are required. Rehearsals are held on Monday evenings from 7-9 p.m. at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center, on the Main Campus in Henderson, at Exit 209 on Interstate 85 (Poplar Creek Road). For more information, contact Brian Miller at (919) 496-5877 or at or Betsy Henderson at

Christmas with The Embers coming to McGregor Hall Dec 9th

The Christmas holidays will be here before you know it, bringing along aromas of cinnamon and gingerbread, stores
packed to the brim with shoppers and plenty of local events to make this season count.

So, where to begin? Why not stop in at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center and purchase tickets to this year’s “Christmas with the EMBERS?” An absolute great gift for a friend, an employee or just a nice treat for yourself!  This is an absolute can’t miss special event filled with holiday music for family, friends, residents and visitors
looking for a spectacular way to ring in the holiday season.

Those of you wanting to help your business gain exposure and build lasting relationships with key business leaders throughout Henderson/Vance County – become a sponsor!

For more information about this event, please contact the Henderson-Vance Chamber by calling 252-438-8414.

Tickets are on sale at, by calling (252) 598-0662 or by visiting the Box Office, T-F 1-5pm, at 201 Breckenridge Street in Henderson, N.C. Please contact McGregor Hall’s Executive Director Tommy Deadwyler at (252) 598-0662 or email him at

McGregor Hall to present “13 The Musical” Nov 18th and 19th

A hilarious, coming-of-age musical about discovering that “cool” is sometimes where we least expect it. This performance has something for anyone who is a teenager, who has been a teenager, or is raising a teenager!

Evan Goldman is about to turn 13, and he can’t wait. His life seems full of possibilities—that is, until his parents get divorced, and he is forced to move with his mom from big-city New York to “podunk” Henderson, NC. He was lucky his mom had gotten hold of the best overland park divorce lawyer, because if she hadn’t, he wouldn’t have had been in the custody of his mother. If Evan can’t get the coolest kids to come to his bar mitzvah, how is he going to survive the school year, not to mention, the rest of his life? And how will he ever accomplish that in a place where kids don’t even know what a bar mitzvah is?

Geek. Poser. Jock. Beauty Queen. Wannabe. These are the labels that can last a lifetime. Thirteen is a musical about fitting in—and standing out. As Evan navigates the world of cool kids and nerds, jocks and cheerleaders, first kisses and heartbreak, he comes to understand what it means to be a friend and that Henderson “isn’t so bad after all.”

With a bright, catchy pop score from Tony-winning composer and pianist Jason Robert Brown, equal doses of humor and pathos, and a cast of wildly talented teens, Thirteen is irresistible to grown ups and almost-grown ups alike. A six-piece live rock band of local talent will bring the music of Jason Robert Brown to life.

Thirteen is the only Broadway musical ever to perform with a cast and band entirely made of teenagers. Some of the finest young talent from Henderson and beyond will bring the musical to our stage in a way you never thought possible.

WRAL TV’s Bill Leslie to Perform at McGregor Hall

Take a journey through North Carolina, as well as places like Scotland and beyond, with long-time WRAL News Anchor Bill Leslie. This award-winning North Carolina journalist is also an internationally acclaimed musician, singer and composer who performs across the globe with his group Bill Leslie & Lorica.

This five-member ensemble showcase a blend of Celtic, Folk and New Age music that includes albums that have topped World Music charts in the U.S and abroad. His most recent recording “Scotland: Grace of the Wild” was named World Radio Album of the Year in 2013.

Bill Leslie & Lorica’s soothing musical configurations include the guitar, Celtic whistle, violin, flute, piano, percussion and vocals. Bill seems to transport his audience into his music, inviting you to travel with him as he explores various melodies that often describe his journeys through his beloved home state such as his hikes among the ancient pines of North Carolina’s Linville Gorge.

McGregor Hall offers opportunity to leave ‘lasting impression’

The Performing Arts Center at McGregor Hall wants you to “leave your mark and ‘Take a Seat.’”

In addition to purchasing tickets for events in the new performing arts center, patrons are being given the opportunity to leave a lasting impression by naming a seat in honor or memory of individuals, groups, businesses and organizations.

“The completion of the Performing Arts Center at McGregor Hall marks an important milestone for our region,” said Tommy Deadwyler, director of the new arts and education center located in Henderson at 201 Breckenridge Street. “We have created the Take-A-Seat campaign to provide an opportunity for area citizens and organizations to mark their place in history on this important landmark.

“Soon our new center will have brass markers on each of the 997 seats in the hall with the names of those who have demonstrated their love of the arts.”

A gift or pledge of $1,000 secures the lasting tribute, noted John Wester, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation (ECCF).

“We started the Take-A-Seat campaign soon after our doors opened,” Wester said. “The heavy lifting has been done by some generous donors to get our beautiful new facility in operation. Start-up funding is needed now to help us secure the programming for 2016-2017 to attract patrons and meet ongoing facility needs.

“Already dozens are getting on board with Take-A-Seat to help us make this exciting new venture an immediate success. Already we have some individuals who want to remember family members with a memorial plate,” Wester added. “Businesses and civic organizations also are seeing this as a way to show their support and creating a lasting tribute for their entity.”

Wester added that the gift to the Hall is a meaningful way to mark a birthday, anniversary or holiday. Special gift acknowledgment letters are sent to persons who are specified.

Among those who have shown their support is George M. Harvin of Henderson, who has “taken” several seats.

“I want to remember my family and I want to show appreciation to the community,” Harvin said. “Those are the basic reasons, but this is also a fun thing. This is a really positive accomplishment for our town and I certainly want it to succeed.

“There’s the obvious fact that it is renovating and revitalizing downtown,” he added. “It’s also a show of pride in the community. That’s the biggest thing.”

“McGregor Hall belongs to all of the communities surrounding its central location in Henderson,” added Deadwyler. “We are seeing support grow from beyond Vance County’s borders to bring in friends from Granville, Franklin and Warren counties as well as Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and beyond.

“Contributions to McGregor Hall’s ‘Take-A-Seat’ campaign are welcomed from all individuals and organizations who will be enjoying the events our new theater is able to offer,” Deadwyler said.

“At every event, donors will have the pleasure of knowing their generosity has made it possible for someone else to experience the unique joy of entertainment, understanding and self-discovery that comes only with the performing arts available to our communities.”

For those who wish to make installments to make the contribution, the donation can be spread over four payments within the scope of a year. Credit card payments are accepted.

A brochure is available from McGregor Hall with more details on the project, and additional information and a pledge form are available on the web at Forms and payment information should be mailed to the Embassy Cultural Center Foundation, the Performing Arts Center at McGregor Hall, P.O. Box 1333, Henderson, NC 27536.

Questions can be directed to Tommy Deadwyler at (252) 598-0662 or or James Edwards, ECCF board treasurer, at (252) 213-8221 or

Hendersonian Gerald Alston Returns To Perform With Grammy-Winning Group The Manhattans

Legendary Rhythm and Blues group The Manhattans, featuring lead-singer Gerald Alston, will perform at the newly opened McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson, N.C., on June 18th at 8 p.m.  Born and raised in Henderson, Alston has been singing with The Manhattans since 1970 and led the group to several chart-topping hits like the Grammy-winning song Shining Star.

The son of the Rev. J.B. Alston and Geraldine Harrison of Henderson, Alston was inspired by music at an early age, singing both gospel and secular music with his group The New Imperials. Along with his musically talented father, Alston’s uncle is the late Gospel-music great Johnny Fields of Henderson, a founding member of the group 5 Blind Boys of Alabama, and his aunt Shirley Alston-Reeves of Henderson is the lead singer of The Shirelles, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group. Along with earning a Grammy for the song Shining Star, Gerald Alston was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2015 after his 45-year career with The Manhattans as well as numerous solo records.

On June 18th, Alston will once-again perform in his hometown of Henderson as the lead singer of The Manhattans. “This concert is expected to be a sold-out show,” said Tommy Deadwyler, executive director of the newly opened McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson. “We are thrilled that Henderson’s new performing arts center allows us to host Gerald and his group within his hometown and we know the community is especially excited about this concert.”

ABOUT THE CONCERT: The Manhattans featuring lead-singer and Henderson-native Gerald Alston will perform at McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center (PAC) on June 18th at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale at, by calling (252) 598-0662 or by visiting the Box Office at 201 Breckenridge Street in Henderson. The 1,000-seat, state-of-the-art McGregor Hall PAC opened in February 2016 as part of Henderson’s revitalized downtown. Media passes available upon request. For interviews and more information, contact McGregor Hall’s Executive Director Tommy Deadwyler at (252) 598-0662 or email him at

McGregor Hall’s Diversity

From gospel music with The Hoppers and local group Unashamed Southern Gospel Quartet, to the Broadway musical The Buddy Holly Story, to the North Carolina Symphony, the new Performing Arts Center McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson has something for everyone.

Its executive director Tommy Deadwyler wants the public to know there will be a great deal of diversity in the performances and artists it has to offer Henderson and the surrounding areas. The new center has a chance to greatly impact our economy here. It’s about putting people in restaurants and hotels and revitalizing downtown Henderson.

Board member Mark Hopper said, “To be able to impact Henderson’s economy with the performing arts is just phenomenal and I’m really excited about that. In fact, I had nine calls in under three hours alone for restaurant recommendations the night of the Buddy Holly Story Musical. It’s quite inspiring that this facility was built on donations alone. Absolutely no city or county money was used whatsoever.”

It isn’t expected that Vance County will be able to support the center alone, but retirees in the southern Virginia Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake areas who drive right past Henderson on the way to Durham could attend a Broadway show for a fraction of the cost. The goal is for McGregor Hall to be a regional facility.

Chairman of the McGregor Hall Board John Wester said, “Most Broadway shows are at least $85 a ticket and that’s on the lower end. Once you add on gas, dinner in Raleigh or Durham, and parking, well it just makes so much more sense to stay right here in your hometown and see a great show for far less money.”

McGregor Hall doesn’t intend on competing with the DPAC in Durham, but it does have some wonderful upcoming performances to offer:

April 9: NC Symphony

April 30:  Vivace, a pop & classical vocal quartet out of Vancouver, Canada

June 18: The Manhattans with NC Music Hall of Famer Gerald Alston & Henderson native Dwight Fields

May 20: The McCartney Years – a Wings Tribute Band

July 7-9: The Henderson Rec Players – Fiddler On the Roof

September 17: Sandi Patty’s Farewell Tour – Contemporary Christian singer and 5 time Grammy Award winner (we are the only theatre in NC to have her!)

The response from the community thus far has been fantastic, and not only does the center have an opportunity for an economic impact on Henderson but has already offered educational opportunities. On March 8, 960 school children from Vance and Granville counties had the opportunity to see the NC Symphony’s performance for kids. Deadwyler said, “I was very impressed by the children’s behavior and the fact that so many of them dressed up for the performance. They were very engaged and excited to see the orchestra perform.”

Reverend Frank Sossamon, who was the Master of Ceremonies on the center’s opening night, echoed this sentiment when he said, “The new Performing Arts Center McGregor Hall is such a breath of fresh air for Henderson. It will allow the community to be exposed to various artists and performances that will challenge our citizens and young people to strive for more through education. We had a great response and large turnout on opening night. It was just a wonderful overwhelming experience.”

Another plus, McGregor Hall Gallery will also have meet and greets with the performers and a cocktail hour before performances.

For rental rates contact Tommy Deadwyler. (The Gallery is also available for rent at a reduced rate for non-profit groups)

For tickets call: 252-598-0662 or purchase online at: (Ticket prices vary according to the show.)

The Box Office is open Tuesday through Friday 1pm to 5pm and two hours before show times.

Staff Writer – WIZS