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Here is some information about our upcoming ETSU Commencement Weekend activities in May 2017.

May 5, 2017: ETSU Classes of 1967 and Golden 50’s Club members meet at Centre at Millennium Park for registration and brunch at 8:30 a.m.; our of campus and city; Following the tour an Afternoon Social will be held at Reece Museum For more information about reunion activities, please call ETSU Alumni Office (423) 439-4218.
ETSU National Alumni Association’s Awards Banquet and Annual Meeting in Centre at Millennium Park Ballroom at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets available by calling ETSU Alumni Office (423) 439-4218.
May 6, 2017: ETSU Class of 1967 will have breakfast at Reece Museum at 8 a.m. before leading the class of 2017 at Commencement. For more information, please call ETSU Alumni Office (423) 439-4218.ETSU Commencement in MSHA Athletic Center begins at 10 a.m. and the afternoon commencement will begin at 2 p.m. For more information contact the Registrar’s Office (423) 439-4230.

The Spring, 2017 concert of Cantemus Women’s Choir, “Songbirds”, takes flight on Sunday, May 7th at 7:30 pm at Waverly Road Presbyterian Church in Kingsport. United by themes of nature, birds and flight, the concert draws upon baroque, romantic and 20th century works to create a rich and uplifting program of choral music. Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, Eleanor Daley, Sarah Quartel and Antonio Vivaldi are among the featured composers in the May concert.
Now in its third year, the choir brings together about three dozen women from the Tri Cities area, from Abingdon, VA to Greeneville, TN and points in between. The choir is under the direction of Patty Denmark, who is also the Director of Music at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and Assistant Choir Director at Dobyns-Bennett High School. Mixing a cappella music with a range of small instrumental ensembles, Cantemus has built an enthusiastic regional audience who’ve come to love their elegant and dynamic performances. In this concert, the singers will be joined on several pieces by the Cambia Flute Ensemble.
“Songbirds” is free and open to the public, though donation of $10 is suggested. For more information, contact Patty Denmark at
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On Friday, April 28, Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) will hold its sixth annual Spring Fling Gala & Auction, which gives attendees an opportunity to bid on auction items ranging from all-inclusive vacations and regional entertainment attractions to jewelry, collectibles and a wide variety of gift baskets.

Slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, the event will feature a live and silent auction, live entertainment provided by Fellowship Chapel Music, and a catered dinner from CJ & Company. Attendees will also be able to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a black 2009 BMW 135i Convertible. Only 399 raffle tickets are available, and the drawing will be held at the auction if all tickets are sold.
Last year’s Spring Fling Gala & Auction raised $48,000 for CCA. Proceeds from this year’s event will be used to help fund CCA student scholarships.
Admission to the Spring Fling Gala & Auction is $35 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets may be purchased at Cornerstone Christian Academy, 16210 Elementary Drive, Abingdon, Virginia, or by visiting For more information, call (276) 623-7164.

On Thursday, April 27th, the Acoustic Coffeehouse will host ‘Kryss Dula & Friends,’ and ‘Amythyst Kiah & Her Chest of Glass,’ who will play at 8PM, and 10PM, respectively. There is no charge for admission, but everyone is encouraged to bring as many non-perishable items as they can comfortably spare, to place in the Second Harvest Food Bank barrel at the front door. The Acoustic Coffeehouse is located at 415 W. Walnut St. For more information, call 434-9872 or visit

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park’s Artisan Series will offer a craft project on the third Monday of every month from March through December, providing visitors with opportunities to create handmade crafts with regional artisans.

For more information about upcoming workshops, please contact the park at (276) 523-1322.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park will host its First Saturday Community Coffee House on Saturday, May 6 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. WiseJAMS String Band will serve as the featured host for this month’s Coffee House.

The WiseJAMS String Band is made up of intermediate and advanced students from the 2017 after school music program. The band consists of students from the guitar, fiddle, and banjo classes. The group’s reptoire consists of ballads, fiddle tunes, and novelty songs from the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. The group has performed for events such as The Crooked Road Youth Music Festival and recently for the Governor of Virginia’s visit to the Southwest Virginia Museum.

The First Saturday Community Coffee House is an open-mic event and is open to all family-friendly performers. All interested musicians, storytellers, and poets should arrive by 6:30 p.m. for sign-up and scheduling. Admission is free to this program. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

For more information, please call the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park at 276-523-1322.

Rogersville Arts Council presents the “Art, Wine, and Cheese Stroll” on Friday, May 5, 5:00-8:00pm in Historic Downtown Rogersville. The “Stroll” takes you along East Main Street, visiting downtown merchants and their unique shops that offer home goods, gifts, primitives, local artisans work and eclectic finds. You’ll begin your stroll at the Historic Hale Springs Inn, where you will enjoy carefully selected pairings of wine and cheese, fantastic live music, and the work of talented local artists. From here, you are free to stroll on Main Street at your leisure, shopping with the participating merchants, snacking on delectable cheeses, and meeting more of our local artists who will have their works on display and for sale. There will be strolling entertainers on Main Street filling the air with music. The ticket price is $25, including the wine, and $15 for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

This event kicks off the 3rd annual “Appalachian Spring Festival” on Saturday, May 6 from 10:00am-4:00pm along Main Street, in Historic Downtown Rogersville. Bring the family as we celebrate music, a puppet theater, Maypole and other folk dances, local authors, artisans, food, and creative activity! From last year’s response, we are bringing back the acoustic music, interactive dance, and adding a Maypole event to the mix. Folks of all ages continue to come for the Chalk Art Contest; and last year the Rogersville Arts Puppet Show debut was a big hit. We are adding vendors and workshops this year, as well as having downtown restaurants open. Fee based activities include two workshops on traditional arts @$30 (“Weaving Sticks- an ancient, simple hand-weaving tool used to create a bracelet of your own design) all materials included, offered for 8 years old – up; kid’s trash art which will be judged and displayed @$3. The 4th Annual Chalk Art Contest @$6 is being held on the sidewalks of Depot and Main Streets. Come create a beautiful picture by yourself or with a team! There will be chalk supplies for purchase; and prizes to win in different age categories.

For further information about activities and events produced by the Arts Council, check Facebook,, or call 423-293-0882.

Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby and Virginia Arts Festival are bringing back Funhouse Fest, the 3-day music festival that gathers award-winning artists for three days of music-making. Funhouse Fest returns to the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, June 23-25, 2017.

Named after Hornsby’s 1998 song “Funhouse,” the festival is curated by Hornsby, who will be performing in three unique projects over the course of the weekend, and unites musicians known for their broad-ranging, genre-defying styles. Headliners for Funhouse Fest 2017 are nine-time Grammy® Award winner Sheryl Crow, two sets from festival host Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, the blues-jazz-roots ensemble Lake Street Dive, and genre-bending singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens. Acclaimed British female trio The Staves and the adventurous ensemble yMusic will offer individual sets while also collaborating on a one-of-a-kind performance, and acclaimed jazz saxophonist Kenny Garrett will be among the artists performing. Additional artists will be announced soon.

Headlining the Friday evening performance will be Sheryl Crow, whose eagerly anticipated new album Be Myself will be released April 21. In the rambling spirit of the weekend, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers will roll through a set of their Top 90s – “the hits and near-hits.” On Saturday, Bruce Hornsby headlines in an epic day of music that begins at 4pm with sets by The Staves and Lake Street Dive, an appearance by jazz master Kenny Garrett, and culminates in Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers plus a number of the day’s artists and surprise guests presenting Bruce Sings Jerry, a tribute to the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Sunday’s headliner is Rhiannon Giddens, whose gorgeous voice tells stories in song, from her debut album’s defiant “Tomorrow is My Turn” to the haunting “Factory Girl” EP to her most recent album, the 2017 Freedom Highway. Kicking off the Sunday lineup will be Bruce Hornsby with his longtime friend and drummer Sonny Emory, and The Staves performing with yMusic.

New this year, the addition of a second stage will keep the nonstop musical energy going and give 2017 Funhouse Fest audiences the opportunity to discover emerging artists and some sonic surprises. To enhance the experience, food trucks, craft beer breweries and wineries will be on site all weekend.

Tickets for Funhouse Fest go on sale March 17 at 10am. Patrons may purchase 3-day packages or single day tickets online at, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at 440 Bank St., Norfolk, VA.

The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park is offering a unique opportunity to take a ride through history with one of the region’s leading historians. On Saturday, April 29, join Dr. Lawrence Fleenor and museum staff for a day-long bus tour along the Wilderness Road. On this journey, you will travel by bus from the Anderson Blockhouse to the Cumberland Gap, stopping at important historical locations along the Wilderness Road.

Dr. Lawrence Fleenor, Jr., historian for the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association, will guide you on this one-of-a-kind trip. Dr. Fleenor has written several books on Southwest Virginia history, including “Appalachia Anthology,” “Forts of the Holston Militia,” “Bear Grass,” and “Benge!” As the guide for this trip, he will give you the stories behind the history and bring alive this important time in our region.

The bus will leave from the Southwest Virginia Museum at 8:00 a.m. and will return at approximately 6 p.m. Participants may bring their own lunch or may purchase one from the museum. Seating is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot today! The price for the tour is $25 per person; the optional lunch is an additional $6. The registration and payment deadline is Friday, April 21.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park at 276-523-1322.

Area 3 Special Olympics will be hosting our annual Track and Field Event on Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28, 2017. The events will be held at the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center on the campus of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. This event brings together athletes from Carter, Johnson, Unicoi, and Washington counties in order to participate in several athletic sporting events of their choice. The events available include wheelchair races, standing long jump, softball throw and several dash events.

On April 27TH, athletes from ages 8-21 will attend and on April 28th athletes from ages 22 and up will attend. Opening Ceremonies on both days will include a Parade of Athletes. The color guard will present the colors and all will unite in the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, singing The National Anthem and invocation. The torch run will be held on April 27th, which is made possible by the JCPD, EMS and local fire departments and their supportive service men and women. After the parade, specially selected athlete Garrison Buchanan will light the torch.

For more information, please contact the Special Olympics office at 1-888-915-7227. You can also follow or message us on our Facebook page, Area 3 Special Olympics, or our Twitter feed @Area3SpclOlympc. We sincerely invite all family, friends, and the public to come out and support these athletes on such an uplifting and exciting day for athletes, coaches, parents, and volunteers alike.

The 2017 “Gathering in the Gap” Music Festival, featuring Steep Canyon Rangers and Dave Eggar & Deoro, offers area songwriters entry into its annual songwriting contest. A crowd favorite, the songwriting contest showcases outstanding, but under-recognized, performing songwriters who represent the spirit and traditions of Appalachian culture. “Gathering in the Gap” will be held at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap on Saturday, May 27. Song topics include songs relative to Americana and related topics and topical songs about historic or current events. Song genres should have roots in Appalachian culture, such as Old-Time, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, Gospel, Blues and Rockabilly. A panel of professional songwriters, publishers, or other music industry professionals will judge entries based on the following criteria: originality, lyrics, melody, and relevance to criteria. Music production and performance quality of submittal are not considered. From the original mailed CD entries, panelists will choose 10 finalists, who will compete on the main stage in the Gathering in the Gap’s songwriting contest. Each finalist will be given a free-access ticket to the festival, along with a festival t-shirt. The top three winners will receive cash prizes and plaques.The entry deadline is April 28, 2017 by 4 p.m. with an entry fee of $10 for the first song and $5 for a second song. Please send a CD copy of the submission with a check or money order payable to the Friends of the Southwest Virginia Museum, 106 West 1st Street North, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219, or drop off during business hours at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap, VA. All entries must arrive by deadline, not by postmark. For a complete set of competition rules, a schedule of events, or a downloadable registration form, please visit the festival website at and click on “Songwriting Contest.” For more information about the songwriting contest or festival events, please call the museum at 276-523-1322 or visit the website mentioned above.

The first annual Virginia Creeper Fest will be held Saturday April 29, 2017 in Abingdon. The family-friendly festival celebrates the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Virginia Creeper Trail, and highlights the multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities along the trail. The festival includes hands-on activities and demos for all ages, live music, food trucks, and information about how to get outside and enjoy the Creeper Trail. Designed to be a hands-on experience, the VA Creeper Fest encourages attendees to practice, interact and get involved. From bouldering practice, stand-up paddleboarding demos, disc dog exhibitions, and field games for the kids, to tree identification along the trail and guided nature walks, there will be plenty to keep the hard core outdoor enthusiasts and novice nature lovers busy all day. There will be also be live music, food trucks and local outfitters throughout the day, as well as raffle giveaways.

The festival takes place in Abingdon, at the intersection of Green Spring Road and A Streets, near the trailhead. Additional activities, like nature walks and bike rides, will take place on the trail itself. A full schedule and festival guide will be available on .

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park    May 2017- Special Events and Workshops

Watauga Valley Fife & Drum Corps
Saturdays 10:00 am – 12 pm
The Fife & Drum Corps performs at historical events, dedications, and parades. This group is open to anyone ages 13 & up. Musical experience is welcome but not necessary; just come with a willingness to learn. Meet at the Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center. Lessons are free of charge, just call and let us know you’re coming!

Watercolor Painting: Figure Painting 9 am – noon
Instructor: Barbara Jernigan Min: 5 Max: open
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Cost: $12 (plus supplies) or $20 (includes supplies)
Learn and practice watercolor techniques and style.

Watauga Valley Art League Meeting and Program
Sunday, May 7 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Everyone is welcome to join the Watauga Valley Art League for their monthly meetings that feature a guest speakers and fellowship with area artists. WVAL meets the 2nd Sunday of each month, except October.

The Liberty Spinners
Tuesday, May 9 9:30 am – 11:30 am
This gathering of spinners and fiber artists is open to anyone interested in the art of spinning. Join us at 9:30 am on the 2nd Tuesday of each month (April to November).

English Country Dancing with Bob Thompson
Saturday, May 13 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Location: The Pine Room at the Wellness Center behind Syc. Shoals Hospital
Guest dance instructor Bob Thompson will lead the group in English country dancing focusing on 4 primary dance routines from the period. Light refreshments will be served.
Cost: $7.00 at the door. $6.00 for members of Friends of Sycamore Shoals

Bird Walk with the Lee & Lois Herndon TOS Chapter
Saturday, May 13 8:00 am
Meet other birders and naturalists at Sycamore Shoals for a morning of birding during the migratory season.

Learn to Play the Pennywhistle 10 am – Noon
Instructor: Martha Egan Min: 1 Max: 12
Saturday, May 13
Cost: $25(includes Clarke or Walton pennywhistle in Key of D, book, and CD)
$15 if you bring your own instrument
Popular in the British Isles in the 1800’s, this class includes the fundamentals of holding and sounding your pennywhistle, learning the first notes, and playing a song—or come and advance the skills you already possess. Music and other supplemental materials provided.

23rd Annual Siege at Fort Watauga
Saturday & Sunday, May 20 & May 21 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
It is the summer of 1776 and the Watauga settlement is at war. Join us as 200 colonial and Native reenactors present this dramatic retelling of the Cherokee attack brought on the settlers of the Watauga valley. Visit the living history camps, shop with period vendors, and witness battle re-enactments both days. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke and see history come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga. Contact the park for a detailed schedule.

Old Time Music Jam – Led by Art Lang
Sunday, May 28 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Enjoy the rich musical traditions of our region each month. Old time musicians of all levels are welcome. Don’t play and instrument? Come on over, kick back, and enjoy the tunes!

Traditional Arts Workshops
To join one or more classes, you must register in advance by
calling 423-543-5808 and pre-pay.

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