Pellissippi State Community College invites the community to celebrate Black History Month next week with a virtual concert featuring Knoxville Opera artists.
Knoxville Opera soprano Adia Evans and baritone Michael Rodgers will present The Black American Musical Experience at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, on Pellissippi State’s YouTube channeland Facebook page. The vocalists will be accompanied by pianist Brian Salesky,who also is the artistic director of Knoxville Opera.
The concert is free and open to the public.
“During the pandemic Knoxville Opera has had to find new ways to serve our community outside the theater through collaboration and innovation,” said Knoxville Opera Executive Director Jason Hardy.“We are so happy to collaborate with Pellissippi State in producing this program for Black History Month.”
The concert is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Blount County, Division Street, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains campuses. The deans of the four campuses wanted to host a virtual event to celebrate Black History Month.
“I originally asked Knoxville Opera for a performance about Harriet Tubman, but our discussion morphed into a richer, more informative presentation highlighting the history of African American music, spanning a number of genres, composers and performers,” explained Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman.
Partnering with Knoxville Opera to record the concert so that it can be presented virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also gave Pellissippi State students in the Media Technologies/Audio Production Engineering program the opportunity to practice their skills on a real project, she added.
“Opera is storytelling through voice,” said Hardy.“It is important for us, now more than ever, to listen to the stories that are told in this important genre of music. We are glad that Pellissippi State recognizes the healing power of music to uplift our weary hearts and bring people together.”
Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus will celebrate its 20th anniversary in a socially distanced way, in keeping with the challenges of marking milestones during a pandemic.
The celebration will take place noon-1:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, over Zoom. Those who would like to attend should RSVP to email@example.com call 865.329.3100 to receive the Zoom link for the event.
Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman, who has served as dean since the campus opened, will oversee thecelebration, which will include speakers sharing what Magnolia Avenue Campus did for them.
“This was the only east campus (of Pellissippi State) when we opened 20 years ago, and we had the opportunity to serve this community in a way that they had not been served before,” Tillman remembered. “There was a reluctance at first to come inside a college door, but now they had a place in the neighborhood, and we tried to make them feel comfortable.”
Among the students who have passed through the halls of Magnolia Avenue Campus over the years, one stands out in Tillman’s mind: a nail technician who came into the office 30 minutes into her first college class. Tillman recalled the student telling her, “I can’t do this. I’m too old,” but the Magnolia Avenue Campus staff encouraged her to stick with it.
That student ended up getting her degree in education.
“That always has stayed with me because she was so devastated that day,” Tillman said. “We have been able to change people’s lives.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.eduor call 865.694.6400.
Those who want to enjoy the concert will not need social media accounts to view the concert, as privacy will be set to “public.”
“Our annual Holiday Spectacular is one of the most well-loved events of the year, so we traditionally perform the show twice in the same night,” said Assistant Professor Meagan Humphreys, music program coordinator for Pellissippi State. “With so many of us working and learning from home this year due to the pandemic, we thought, ‘Why not bring the concert into people’s homes?’ It’s a very 2020 way to kick off the holiday season!”
This year’s concert will feature Pellissippi State’s jazz band, studio orchestra, percussion ensemble, bluegrass ensemble, guitar ensemble and brass ensemble as well as pieces by the College’s two choirs: Concert Chorale and Variations.
The eight songs will be a mix of sacred and secular holiday music, from “Away in a Manger” to “Jingle Bell Rock.”
There is no cost to view the concert, which will feature more than 70 Pellissippi State students.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.
The Pellissippi State Community College Media Technologies program will continue its free webinar series titled “The Art, Science & Impact of Digital Storytelling” on Dec. 1, with a focus on “Building Greater Knoxville’s National Reputation as a Creative Community.”
Thesession will take place 12:30-2 p.m. Eastern over Zoom. Registration is open now for professionals, faculty, students and alumni in digital, creative and strategic communications.
“Building Greater Knoxville’s National Reputation as a Creative Community” will focus on the region’s wealth of creative intellectual assets and highlight Knoxvilleas a major hub of production vision, talent and output.
The session, which will be moderated by Mary Beth West of Fletcher Marketing PR,will spotlight the future direction and demand for creative and production services. Panelists including Deborah Allen of Catalina Content, Doug Lawyer of the Knoxville Chamber and Joe Richani of Jewelry Television will address how the region can best position itself to grow and adapt to workforce development needs.
This webinar series is sponsored by The Hive, Bagwell Entertainment and Jupiter Entertainment and will conclude Jan. 22 with “The Media Technologies Workforce Pipeline & 2021 Employer Hiring Priorities.”
Pellissippi State Community College has announced it will not hold an in-person Commencement ceremony in Decemberdue to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Instead Pellissippi State’s summer and fall 2020 graduates are invited to participate in a Virtual Commencement, which will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, on the College’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
“Students, we know this has been a challenging time for you, and we are so proud of the strength and dedication you’ve shown throughout the year,” Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. said in a video announcement emailed to students and their families on Monday.“Thank you for being a prime example of what it means to be #PellissippiStrong.”
While Pellissippi State has only had 31 reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the Tennessee Board of Regents System COVID dashboard, the College continues to conduct most classes and student services virtually out of an abundance of caution. Masks are required for any faculty, staff and students who do report to campus.
With 303 summer 2020 graduates and 503 graduation applications for fall 2020 already received ahead of this weekend’s deadline, the College’s graduation committee decided a Virtual Commencement would be the safest option.
To participate in Pellissippi State’s Virtual Commencement, summer 2020 graduates and those students graduating this semester should submit a photo of themselves or a 5-second video of themselves via this form by Sunday, Dec. 6. Only a single file of 100 MB or smaller can be uploaded per graduate.
Students do not have to wear a cap and gown in their photos to participate in the Virtual Commencement, but those who want to should order their regalia as soon as possible to ensure the cap and gown arrive in time.Students who need financial assistance purchasing regalia should email Beth Correro at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Cap and Gown for Graduation” in the subject line.
Pellissippi State Community College broke ground today on its new Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center, a joint project with Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville.
The 51,000-square-foot building on the College’s Blount County Campus will help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees. Blount County has experienced $2.8 million in new capital investment and announced 5,500 new jobs since 2011, according to the Blount Partnership.
Named for longtime Blount County Campus benefactors Ruth and Steve West, the workforce development center will include space for Pellissippi State’s Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Engineering Technology and Electromechanical Engineering programswhile TCAT will have space for its Engineering Technology program, giving that college its first footprint in Blount County.
“I was on the Blount County Industrial Board for 20 years, and we brought a lot of diverse companies in and continue to do so,” said Mr. West, longtime owner of West Chevrolet and a former mayor of Maryville. “But it’s not like it was when I was young. A good attitude and willingness to learn, while important, are not enough in today’s economy. We need more specialized training to fill these jobs.”
The center will help fill that gap, with a unique, integrated approach to workforce development.In addition to Pellissippi State’s partnership with TCAT, the workforce development center also represents a K-12 partnership, offering dual enrollment classes for high school students, focusing on high-demand career skills. Meanwhile,a new corporate training center will givethe College’s local industry partners extra space and opportunity to train their employees at Pellissippi State.
“Our institutional mission at Pellissippi State is to provide a transformative environment that fosters the academic, social, economic and cultural enrichment of individuals and of our community,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “The Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center is going to embody that mission in a tangible way, helping us prepare Blount County students for high-demand careers that will sustain them and their families economically and allow them to stay right here at home instead of leaving in search of well-paying jobs.”
For example, the new building will include a 4,890-square-foot Culinary Institute that will allow the College to expand its Culinary Arts degree program and industry-recognized certification programs, increasing the number of graduates ready to fill in-demand culinary positions at hotels, restaurants, farmsteads, breweries, wineries and resorts across Blount, Knox and surrounding counties.
“The workforce development center will also help us serve our industry partners by providing more space to train their employees and offering individuals the continuing education that helps them move to the next level in their careers,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State.“And with the flexible space located right outside our new Culinary Institute, the College can provide the community space to host events and have them catered by our Culinary Arts students. It’s a win for everyone.”
Construction of the $16.5 million building, which was funded by the state of Tennessee and TCAT in addition to Pellissippi State, is projected to be complete in February 2022.
The Pellissippi State Foundation raised $5.5 million for the workforce development center.In addition to the Wests, the center also received significant financial contributions from donors such as the Economic Development Board of Blount County Government, the City of Maryville and the City of Alcoa; Arconic Foundation; Blackberry Farm Foundation; Blount Memorial Hospital; Care Institute Group; Clayton Family Foundation; Clayton Homes Inc.; DENSO North America Foundation; and William Ed Harmon.
For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Theatre companies across the country have had to get creative during the coronavirus pandemic, performing plays overvideo communicationplatforms or in open outdoor spaces.
But when brainstorming how Pellissippi State Community College could give its Theatre students the experience they need while still adhering to social distancing protocols, Professor Charles R. Miller didn’t look to the future of theatre.
He looked to the past.
“Why re–invent the wheel?” asked Miller, who serves as Theatre program coordinator for the College. “Radio drama has been around for 100 years.”
Pellissippi State will present a double feature of two short radio plays — “The Lone Ranger Redux” and the science fiction piece “Think Like a Dinosaur” — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
The plays will be performed back-to-back by Pellissippi State students, broadcast live on the College’s YouTube channeland recorded for later listening by Pellissippi State’s Audio Production Engineering faculty and students.
There is no fee to listen.
“In the past six months, we have seen a lot of Zoom theatre, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Miller said. “But radio dramas use the power of imagination.”
“The Lone Ranger Redux” is one of the original radio broadcasts of “The Lone Ranger” from 1933, with some updating by Miller and his Theatre students.
“There will be some socially aware commentary in it, in that the characters will step out of the play to remark on current events, but in a humorous way,” Miller explained.
For example, the character of Tonto, the Native American companion of the Lone Ranger, will react to outdated stereotypes and racial slurs in the script. Miller described the updated Tonto as “quietly, morally outraged in a way that’s also funny.”
The second radio play, “Think Like a Dinosaur,” is based on the award-winning science fiction novelette by James Patrick Kelly. Set in the far future and centering on alien technology and alien races, the play resembles “an episode of a sci–fi series, but self-contained,” Miller said.
“This play is a little more dramatic and thought provoking,” he added.
It’s the first time Pellissippi State has produced radio plays, Miller noted, and they are challenging the College’s Theatre students in new and different ways.
“You don’t have the distractions of the set, the costumes and the facial expressions, so everything you’re doing with your voice, your breath – that’s what the audience is getting,” he said. “It’s all you.”
Because of restrictions on having guests on campus during the coronavirus pandemic, Miller limited participation in the radio plays to Pellissippi State students instead of opening them up to the community. Twelve students will be acting in the plays, two will be providing sound effects and two will be working on the audio recording.
During technical rehearsals and performances, actors will be spaced 15 to 20 feet from each other around the perimeter of the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the College’s Hardin Valley Campus, Miller stressed. The additional distance between students addresses thatactors and musicians can spread respiratory droplets farther than those who talk without projecting their voices, he said.
“Doing it live creates the kind of energy that is important to actors, but we will record it so that it can be enjoyed later by those who are not available to listen to it live,” Miller added.
To tune in to “The Lone Ranger Redux” and “Think Like a Dinosaur” live,visit youtube.com/PellissippiStateat 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, or 2p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
Pellissippi State Community College’s Media Technologies faculty and students are directing, filming, recording, photographing and engineering Sites & Sounds from Big Ears, a series of intimate concerts at the historic Bijou Theatre.
The new livestreaming initiative fills a gap left when Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival was canceled due to coronavirus. The next concert, with the top-tier contemporary jazz trio The Bad Plus, will premiere at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9.
Tickets are $15in advance and $17 on the day of the livestream. Those who purchase their tickets in advance or during the livestream also have access to a recording of the concert that will be available until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11.
Big Ears Festival Executive and Artistic Director Ashley Capps reached out to Assistant Professor Mischa Goldman, who has served as production manager for Big Ears at the Bijou for many years, to brainstorm how they could support artists and venues that had suffered severely due to COVID-19 closures.
What they landed on isn’t your typical livestream, where the viewer experiences the concert from a fixed perspective, far from the stage.
“Ashley wanted to make this very personal and engaging for the audience,” explains Goldman, who serves as program coordinator for Audio Production Engineering at Pellissippi State. “There wasn’t a concrete vision of how he wanted to do this, but I believe we were able to translate and capture Ashley’s desire to present a unique streaming experience.”
Sites & Sounds from Big Ears livestreams concerts in a single take with a Steadicam —taking viewers down Gay Street, viewing the marquee out front, into the empty Bijou Theatre, backstage and, ultimately, up on stage with the artists.
“It’s like a first-person experience,” Goldman explained. “You are up close with the artists, not sitting far back, and they break down the fourth wall, talking to each other and to the camera between tunes.”
Big Ears and Pellissippi State piloted this approach during Sites & Sounds from Big Ears’ first concert – musician R.B. Morris on Aug. 21 – and received rave reviews from viewers.
“A lot of streaming is flat,” Goldman said. “We got comments like, ‘I didn’t expect this. Wow.’ You are seeing the concert through the eyes of someone invited on stage with the musicians, and that provides intimacy.”
Because of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns for safety, Sites & Sounds from Big Ears utilizes a very small crew. Big Ears Festival Managing Director Aaron Greenwaldjoins Capps as a producer. Goldman is serving as producer and audio mastering engineer and is joined by Pellissippi State Instructor Jonathan Maness, recording and mixing engineering, and Adjunct Matthew Caldwell, director of photography/Steadicam operator and video editor.
The Pellissippi State Video Production Technology and Photography faculty also selected four students to join them: Channing Huskey, still photography, and Logan Maddox, Michael Mooreand Grant Robinson, assistant cameras.
The students are receiving class credit for their participation.
“This gives students real-world experience of how to put together a production like this: how to gather assets, how to work within the restraints of technology, how to work on tight deadlines,” Goldman explained. “The students have been very professional. They understand our safety protocols and have worked well with the artists.”
Capps, the founder of AC Entertainment, which produces the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester in addition to the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, is pleased with the result.
“We’re thrilled, in this most uncertain moment for the arts, to be able to work with artists about whom we care deeply, in venues that are part of the fabric of our city, and with the indispensable faculty and students from Pellissippi State Community College, an East Tennessee treasure,” he said.
The Pellissippi State Community College Media Technologies program will host a free, three-part continuing education webinar series titled “The Art, Science & Impact of Digital Storytelling” beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21, with other sessions scheduled for Dec. 1 and Jan. 22, 2021.
Each session will take place 12:30-2 p.m. Eastern over Zoom. Registration is open nowfor professionals, faculty, students and alumni in digital, creative and strategic communications communities from East Tennessee, as well as from thought leaders in these areas across the country.
This webinar series takes the place of the half-day digital storytelling forum that was planned for April 24 and postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our team of supporters for Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program and the Bagwell Center for Media and Art are excited to welcome the creative and strategic communications community to join us for learning, sharing and networking opportunities, as we interact with leaders who represent such important voices of our industry’s workforce pipeline,” said Mary Beth West, volunteer chair of Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies development campaign.
This webinar series sponsored by The Hive, Bagwell Entertainment and Jupiter Entertainment will bring together thought leaders in digital production, creative services and brand storytelling, to discuss industry trends and workforce opportunities, as Greater Knoxville continues to evolve as a nationally and internationally recognized center of digital content development for major broadcasting and consumer platforms.
Session 1 on Oct. 21, “Crafting Digital Messages that Motivate Audiences to Action,” will feature a keynote address by Steve Crescenzo of Crescenzo Communications, who has been voted the No. 1 speaker from the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference seven times.
Shel Holtz of Webcor will moderate a panel including Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO at Pure Performance; Damon Rawls, founder of Damon Rawls Consulting Group; and Scott Monty, former chief of global digital communications at Ford Motor Co.
Session 1 will focus on the essence and purpose of strategic communications and digital engagementand will explore questions such as:
How much is the medium still (or even more so) the message in the digital age?
How should strategies and tactics change as digital innovation accelerates and saturates?
Is understanding your audience more important as you aim to earn trust for your business, sell products/services to customers or persuade people to your cause – and how can authentic connections be achieved during the disruption of the COVID-19 Age?
There is no cost for the webinar series. The webinars highlight Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program, which offers concentrations in Audio Production Engineering, Design for Web and Print, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology.
Pellissippi State Community College has decided it willnot hold an in-person Commencement ceremony this August for its spring and summer graduates as was hoped. With the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, the college decided it was notsafe to move forward with the specially scheduled ceremony.
“When we postponed our May Commencement, I was hopeful that we would be able to hold the ceremony in August,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
The Knox County Health Department reported 91 new positive COVID-19 cases Thursday. Federal officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies visited Knoxville last week after declaring the area a hotspot for the coronavirus.
Pellissippi State’s summer graduates will be notified by postcard when their diplomas are available for pick up, and the collegealso will offer all 2020 graduates photo opportunities on campus when it is safe to do so, Wise said.
Spring and summer graduates will be allowed to walk in the college’s next Commencement ceremony as well.
“We are so proud of the diligence and resilience our 2020 graduates have shown, completing their associate degrees under what have been the most unusual and stressful circumstances in the 46-year history of our college,” Wise said. “Pellissippi State is a family, and we want to celebrate with our graduates who have worked so hard to reach this milestone. But, like with our individual families, the health and safety of our Pellissippi State community is our top priority.”