Enter a ‘Winter Wonderland’ at Pellissippi State’s annual holiday concert

Group of students singing with Santa Claus in middle
Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff perform with Santa Claus during the 2018 Holiday Spectacular.

Pellissippi State Community College will wrap up its fall 2019 Arts at Pellissippi State series with its annual concert featuring all of the college’s instrumental ensembles and choirs.

The hugely popular Holiday Spectacular is a perfect time to catch performances of the musicians you may have missed earlier in the season.

There will be two performances of the Holiday Spectacular, which is themed “Winter Wonderland” this year: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

Both performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

The Holiday Spectacular will feature religious and secular selections performed by

  • Variations, Pellissippi State’s audition choir;
  • Concert Chorale, the college’s non-audition choir;
  • Faculty/Staff Choir;
  • Jazz Band and Bluegrass Ensemble, both audition groups;
  • Brass, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles; and
  • Studio Orchestra.

Among the selections this year will be familiar Christmas carols such as “What Child Is This?” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” as well as pop culture classics like “Christmas Time is Here” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “The Grinch.” And not only will audiences hear “Snow” from “White Christmas,” but the concert will end with falling snow, a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.

Plan to arrive early to the performance of your choice to get a complimentary ticket, as seating is limited to the first 495 guests per show. While the performance is free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.


Pellissippi State aims to ‘Pack the Pickup’ with food donations

Students with donated food items and Pack the Pickup poster
Pellissippi State students in Professor Lisa Fall’s Project Design and Management Class have been setting up Food Drive “Service Stations” this month to collect donations for “Pack the Pickup.”

How much food can fit in the bed of a pickup truck?

Pellissippi State Community College is hoping the answer is 10,694 items. That’s the college’s goal for this year’s TBR Annual Food Drive. TBR, The College System of Tennessee, is the largest system of higher education in Tennessee, governing the state’s 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology.

“Our theme is Pack the Pickup,” explained Drema Bowers, director of Student Care and Advocacy, noting that the goal equals the number of students enrolled at Pellissippi State this fall. “We are collecting donations, and then we will meet with our community partners on Dec. 6 to pack a pick-up with our donations.”

In addition to collection boxes on all five Pellissippi State campuses in Knox and Blount counties, community partners are collecting for Pellissippi State as well: Regions Bank on Hardin Valley Road, Integrity HR Services, King University, Food City, Maple Street Biscuit Company, Cotton-Eyed Joe and Sitel.

“We are fortunate to have so many of our local businesses support our Pellissippi Pantry,” Bowers said. “They understand the challenges that some college students experience, including food insecurity, and they are eager to help.”

Students in Professor Lisa Fall’s Project Design and Management Class have set up Food Drive “Service Stations,” in tandem with the pickup theme, across all five campuses to help educate students about food insecurity and the Pellissippi Pantry, which provides food for Pellissippi State students and their families.

“We know we have students who don’t eat, who live in their cars,” said Fall, who also is serving as co-advisor of X-Hunger, a new student club devoted to supporting the Pellissippi Pantry. “This isn’t New York City. This is right here on our campuses, right here in our backyard.”

Student places donated food in box
A Pellissippi State student places donated food into a box on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. Pellissippi State has set a goal of collecting 10,694 items for the TBR Annual Food Drive, one item for each student enrolled at Pellissippi State this fall.

In fact, at this time last year, Pellissippi Pantry had 67 participants, Bowers noted. That number is up to 98 participants this year, representing 305 total people in those participants’ households.

“I think what I’ve learned most by participating in the food drive is that there are more people than you think that have food insecurity,” said Pellissippi State student Amberlie John. “Being provided with the numbers of last year’s participants in total versus where we are just three months into the academic year is astounding. By raising awareness of this issue, we hope to help those in need feel comfortable speaking out and asking for help – and to not be shy or ashamed of what they are going through.”

Financial contributions may be made this year in lieu of purchasing items, Bowers added. Every dollar donated equals two units of food. You can give directly online at this link provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation: https://sites.pstcc.edu/foundation/pack-the-pickup/.

For more information about the TBR food drive, contact Student Care and Advocacy at 865.539.7417 or ppantry@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State Jazz Band takes the stage this Thursday

Jazz band on stage, playing instruments
The Pellissippi State Jazz Band performs last November. You can catch them again this Thursday, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center.

Works by jazz greats Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and others will be performed at Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Jazz Concert this Thursday.

The concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The Pellissippi State Jazz Band, under the direction of Tom Johnson, also will feature music by Broadway composer Richard Rodgers and a well-known bolero by Mexican composer Consuelo Velazquez.

Many different musicians in the 15-piece ensemble will have solos, Johnson noted.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music, theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865.694.6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.


Pellissippi State invites all to celebrate international culture next week

Four students at a table
Pellissippi State students participate in the International Culture Festival in spring 2018. The next one is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 22, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.

Pellissippi State Community College will mark International Education Week with five days of activities on its Hardin Valley Campus next week, culminating with an International Culture Festival hosted by the college’s international students.

“We celebrate the week at Pellissippi State to highlight the many international experiences available to students from both here and abroad,” explained Theresa Castillo, assistant director of the Tennessee Consortium of International Studies, which is housed at Pellissippi State, and chair of the college’s International Education Committee. “The week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and to attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences with us.”

Pellissippi State has 96 international students enrolled in classes who are here on student visas from 35 countries, noted International Admissions Specialist Patricia J. Higgins. The college also has hundreds of students who were born outside of the United States and now live here permanently, she added.

“Many of the students celebrating with us at the Culture Festival are U.S. immigrants who are bringing their families with them to help celebrate,” Higgins noted.

All International Education Week activities at Pellissippi State are planned for the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and are free and open to the public:

  • Monday, Nov. 18: World Café featuring Brazil, 12:30-2 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center. This event, cosponsored by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, will feature music, culture and activities focused on the country of Brazil.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 19: Faculty panel on internationalizing the curriculum, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium. Professor Oakley Atterson, a Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence faculty fellow for Global and Diversity Learning, will share his project working with faculty to internationalize their syllabi to prepare college students for an increasingly interconnected world and the impact this project is already having in our classrooms.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 20: International film “Embrace of the Serpent,” 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Goins Building Auditorium. Through parallel story threads set 40 years apart, this odyssey follows two Western scientists who travel deep into the Amazon jungle looking for a rare plant that possesses healing powers. This film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Feature at the 2016 Academy Awards and Best International Film at the Film Independent Spirit Awards and was winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award.
  • Thursday, Nov. 21: Displays in the Educational Resource Center (library), all day. Displays will include films and books highlighting international themes as well as art, photos and journals from 2019 Tennessee Consortium for International Studies study abroad programs.
  • Friday, Nov. 22: International Student Culture Festival, 12:30-3:30 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center. Pellissippi State’s international students will share their country’s culture through music, food, dance and more. Cosponsored by the International Student Club and Access and Diversity, activities will include a fashion show of clothing traditionally worn in other countries and virtual reality tours that allow festivalgoers to “visit” countries around the world.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.


Pellissippi State play explores racial injustice, inspired by true story

Rehearsal for "Blood at the Root"
The cast of “Blood at the Root” rehearses the upcoming play at Pellissippi State.

Racial justice – or lack of it – in the United States is at the center of “Blood at the Root,” a play at Pellissippi State Community College this fall.

Written by Tony Award-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau, “Blood at the Root” was inspired by a 2006 incident in Jena, Louisiana, in which six black students were charged with attempted murder for a school fight after nooses were found hanging from a tree on campus – while the white students involved in the fight received three-day suspensions.

“Here we are, almost 20 years into the 21st century, and we are still having these conversations about valuing people – or devaluing people – based on skin color,” said Associate Professor Grechen Lynne Wingerter, who is directing the play for the Arts at Pellissippi State. “Of course it makes us uncomfortable, but it comes down to those of us who have privilege need to be listening to those who don’t. And theatre is the one way I know how to talk about difficult subjects.”

Audiences will have six chances to see “Blood at the Root” at Pellissippi State: 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 15-16, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17. There will be nightly talk-back sessions after each performance.

All performances are general seating in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Seating is limited, and advanced reservations for tickets are strongly encouraged.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for Pellissippi State students, faculty and staff. They can be purchased at www.pstcc.edu/tickets.

While “Blood at the Root” is inspired by the true story of the Jena Six, the plot is multi-layered, Wingerter noted. One fictional student involved in the fight gets outed as homosexual, for example, while eyewitnesses all have different perspectives of what happened.

“The heart of it is still the inequity of the justice system in America and how our systems were set up from the beginning for this kind of inequity,” she said.

The play centers on three black students and three white students, as well as the principal of the school and the district attorney. Wingerter has cast 14 Pellissippi State students – non-named characters are members of the ensemble – while five Pellissippi State students and one Austin-East Magnet High School student join Pellissippi State faculty, staff and alumni as members of the artistic production team.

“I’ve always wanted my students to understand the power of theatre and art in general and to recognize the need for everyone to truly have a voice and be seen,” Wingerter said. “Theatre has the ability to do that.”

Wingerter hopes audiences will take away from “Blood at the Root” the courage to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable.

“The last couple of years in this country have pointed out all the things that divide us,” Wingerter said. “The only way to move forward is to be willing to be uncomfortable for a bit, to admit, ‘I haven’t lived these experiences, but I can see that that is difficult.’ It is easy to pretend that if something is not happening to us, it’s not happening. But until we talk about it, nothing is going to happen.”

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music, theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.


Pellissippi State hosts War Dog Memorial March for pooches and their people this Sunday

Humans and their canine companions can help raise money to build a War Dog Memorial Dog Park in Knoxville simply by strolling around Pellissippi State Community College’s pond this Sunday.

Pellissippi State is partnering with PetSafe and other sponsors to host the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation War Dog Memorial March 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Participants will walk their pooches on Pellissippi State’s 0.75-mile paved walking loop while learning about “war dogs” and Knoxville’s plan to honor them with a new dog park at Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park.

Festivities begin at 2, with the walk starting at 2:30 p.m. This year’s grand marshal is Marine Corps War Dog Sgt. Rush, who has served six tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and participants are sure to spot several local celebrities, including Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., walking dogs.

Young-Williams Animal Center will be on site with adoptable dogs and will be offering discounted vaccinations and microchipping. Participants are asked to bring a sack of dry dog food to support this local no-kill animal shelter.

Dress up your dog for a chance to win a prize for the Most Patriotic dog. The march also will feature a custom dog house auction and door prizes. Pellissippi State’s student club for veterans will be selling Sweet P’s barbecue sandwiches, mac ’n cheese and banana pudding.

To register for the march, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vhsf-war-dog-memorial-march-presented-by-petsafe-tickets-62958428354. Single dog registration is $20 while those bringing more than one dog may register for $15.

The registration fee includes an event bandana for your dog while matching event T-shirts are available at the march for an additional cost.

Registration ends Saturday, Nov. 2.

There’s also an opportunity, at the same link, to donate even if you can’t make the march. Donations will be accepted until Sunday, Nov. 3.

The VHSF War Dog Memorial March is sponsored by PetSafe & Radio Systems Corp., Young-Williams Animal Center, WIMZ 103.5 radio, Powell Animal Hospital, River Dog Bakery, Woodmen Life Chapter 803, Sweet P’s BBQ and Pellissippi Patriots, the student club for veterans.

Pellissippi State hosts Knoxville mayoral, city council candidates on Magnolia Avenue Campus

Several Knoxville mayoral and city council candidates will stop by Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus to talk to voters Wednesday.

The meet-and-greet will be held 10:15 a.m.-noon in the lobby of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Avenue.

So far both Knoxville mayoral candidates, Indya Kincannon and Eddie Mannis, have confirmed their attendance, as have five of the eight city council candidates: Charles F. Lomax Jr. (At Large, Seat A), Janet Testerman (At Large, Seat B), Amy Midis and Amelia Parker (At Large, Seat C) and Charles Al-Bawi (District 5).

Thursday, Oct. 31, is the final day for early voting in the City of Knoxville regular election. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

“Even if you do not live in the City of Knoxville, please stop by and bring your questions,” Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman said. “The candidates have a wealth of knowledge about local government and will be happy to discuss issues with you.”

To view a sample ballot of the the City of Knoxville election, visit http://knoxvilletn.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_109478/File/Election/SampleBallot_2019_GeneralElection.pdf.


Variety abounds at Pellissippi State’s Fall Instrumental Concert

A student playing a trombone
Pellissippi State music students perform in concert in November 2018.

Where can one hear both marimba music from Mexico and a medley of cop and detective television themes from the 1970s and ‘80s?

Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Instrumental Concert on Monday, Oct. 28, will include these and much, much more from the college’s brass, guitar and percussion ensembles and the studio orchestra.

The free concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The evening’s diversity will include:

  • The brass ensemble, directed by Tom Lundberg, playing selections from ballet to opera by Italian Giovanni Gabrieli, French composer Leo Delibes, American composer Collier Jones and Spaniard Manuel Penella;
  • The guitar ensemble, directed by Chad Volkers, performing a series of character pieces telling a story using musical imagery, taking the audience from a tumultuous boat ride and the sounds of the earth to a circus and finding a mouse in the house;
  • The percussion ensemble, directed by Paul Hayes, exploring the unique and eccentric, including marimba music from Mexico, a flamenco-inspired mallet duet and a trio using some of the more neglected instruments in the percussion family; and
  • The studio orchestra, directed by David Slack, playing a medley of cop and detective television themes composed by Mike Post, Jack Elliot, Allyn Ferguson, John Parker and Henry Mancini.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.


Pellissippi State presents Fall Bluegrass Concert on Thursday

Hardin Valley Thunder performing
The Pellissippi State Bluegrass Ensemble, also known as the Hardin Valley Thunder, performs at the college’s Fall Bluegrass Concert last year.

Bluegrass fans have an opportunity to hear a local ensemble before they perform internationally in 2020.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Bluegrass Ensemble, under the direction of Associate Professor Larry Vincent, will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The ensemble, which was established in 2009, has performed in prestigious venues in the Knoxville area – the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre and the Museum of Appalachia, to name a few – and has appeared on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special on multiple occasions.

The group, which is also known as Hardin Valley Thunder, is scheduled to perform in Slovakia and Hungary in 2020.

This year’s concert will feature 14 songs by artists such as Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley and Hank Williams. The ensemble is comprised of Andie Bradley on fiddle; J.T. Coleman on bass; Jonathan Maness on mandolin and Dobro; Marshall Murphey on banjo, mandolin and vocals; AnnaBelle Rabinowitz on vocals; David Sharp on guitar; Isaac Scott on fiddle and vocals; Hannah Sloas on vocals; and Vincent on guitar.

The Fall Bluegrass Concert is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.


Knoxville author Charles Dodd White headlines Emory & Henry Literary Festival

Charles Dodd White
Charles Dodd White, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State, will be the featured author at Emory & Henry’s Literary Festival this week.

An associate professor of English at Pellissippi State Community College is the featured author at the 38th Annual Literary Festival at Emory & Henry College this week.

The works of Charles Dodd White of Knoxville will be the focus of this year’s festival, which is themed “Gothic Realism in Appalachian Literature.”

White will present a reading and hold a book signing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Emory & Henry’s McGlothlin Center for the Arts – Black Box Theatre, as well as present a session on genre and tone and give a public interview on Friday, Oct. 25.

“It’s a great honor to have my work discussed by scholars,” White said. “You spend so much time sitting in a room alone trying to say something worthwhile that it’s meaningful when others respond to that value and talk about it in a way they talk about other pieces of serious fiction.”

Founded in 1982, the Emory & Henry Literary Festival celebrates an outstanding writer with ties to Appalachia. The designated writer participates in the festival, which includes papers by visiting scholars, and meets with students in various forums.

White is the author of three novels and a short story collection. He was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for fiction last October, and his latest novel, “In the House of Wilderness,” was named the 2018 Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in June.

“Given the depth of characterization, the accurate depiction of the natural world and the lyrical prose present in Charles White’s fiction, it is not at all surprising that Emory and Henry College has chosen to devote this year’s literary festival to his works,” said Pellissippi State Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Byrd. “Charles is an immensely gifted writer and an important voice in Appalachian studies. Pellissippi State is fortunate to call him our own.”

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will feature three sessions on Thursday and three on Friday, all in the MCA – Black Box Theatre, 30481 Garnand Drive, Emory, Virginia.

Presentations on White’s work include:

  • “Charles Dodd White’s Writing Life” by Associate Professor Wayne Thomas of Tusculum University at 3:30 p.m. Thursday;
  • “Gothic Realism in Charles Dodd White’s Short Fiction” by Lecturer Jessica Cory of Western Carolina University at 3:30 p.m. Thursday;
  • “A Shelter of Others” by Assistant Professor Bethann Bowman of Young Harris College at 1:30 p.m. Friday;
  • “Surprising Tenderness in Charles Dodd White’s Novels” by Professor Thomas Alan Holmes of East Tennessee State University; and
  • “Father and Son Relationships in the Work of Charles Dodd White” by Instructor Denton Loving of Lincoln Memorial University.

White himself will present “Writing What Bothers You:  Changing Genres when Changing Tone” at 10:30 a.m. Friday in addition to his reading, book signing and public interview sessions.

“I started trying to write seriously more than 25 years ago,” said White, whose next novel should be published late in 2020. “In that time a lot has changed, but I’m still under the weird impression that being a writer is simply one of the most interesting things you can do with your time.

“I’ve been pleased that my books have been getting increasing attention over the years,” he added. “It’s also rewarding to realize you change as you develop. I’m working on a book of essays at the moment. I like trying to tell the truth of the world in the form.”

Other presenters will focus their sessions on the broader topic of Gothic Realism, including former Pellissippi State Professor Carol Luther, who will present “The Gothic Tradition in British Literature: An Overview” at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

For a complete schedule of the 38th Annual Literary Festival at Emory & Henry, visit https://www.ehc.edu/calendar/view/event/date/20191024/event_id/40725. For more information, contact Literary Festival Director Nicole Drewitz-Crockett at ncrockett@ehc.edu.