Knoxville author Bob Booker to headline Pellissippi State’s lectures on 1919, the ‘Year of Fear’

Bob Booker, author
Knoxville author Bob Booker will discuss the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919 at Pellissippi State next week.

It’s been 100 years since the “Year of Fear,” when race riots, stock market crashes and flu pandemics swept the country.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Liberal Arts Department will help mark the occasion with a series of short lectures and discussions on these and other notable 1919 events next week.

Bob Booker, former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and an authoritative author on Knoxville’s black history, will provide the keynote address on the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919. His presentation will be held 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. A reception with Booker will follow.

All “Year of Fear” events at Pellissippi State are free and open to the public.

“The First World War was the most catastrophic, bloodiest event in human history up until that time. So often what is forgotten when studying war are the profound effects wars can have on the homefront of any nation,” said History Instructor Leslie Coffman, an organizer of the event. “The aftermath of WWI in America and around the world is a dark story. 1919 is known as the ‘Year of Fear’ for a reason, and we wanted to offer opportunities for the public to understand why.”

The “Year of Fear” schedule includes opportunities at each of Pellissippi State’s five campuses.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road:

  • 9:40-10:10 a.m. “Russia Still Remembers: America’s Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919” by Instructor Yuliya Kalnaus;
  • 10:20-10:40 a.m. Discussion of the upcoming play “Blood at the Root,” based on the Jena Six, led by Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter;
  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Day Wall Street Exploded: America’s First Great Terrorist Attack, 1919-1920” by Assistant Professor Nathan Pavalko;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus Community Room:

  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Year that Fun was Banned: The Flu Pandemic of 1919” by Professor Toni McDaniel;
  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “’It Was a Fear for All of Us’: The Lynching of Will Brown and the Omaha Race Riots” by Coffman;
  • 11:50-12:50 a.m. “The Heat of a Red Summer: Race Mixing, Race Rioting in 1919 Knoxville” by Booker;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Blount County Campus West Chevrolet Auditorium, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville:

  • 10:15-10:40 a.m. “The Spanish Flu: Adding Insult to Injury” by Assistant Professor Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Division Street Campus’ conference room, 3435 Division Street:

  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “The Marathon Continues: Questions of Race in 2019” by Instructor Gregory Johnson; and

Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Strawberry Plains Campus’ lobby, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike:

  • 12:55-1:50 p.m. “How 1919 Changed Knoxville Forever: The Events that Weren’t Supposed to Happen Here” by Instructor Laura Arnett Smith with a musical performance by tutor Marcel Holman.

“We wanted to focus on remembering the Knoxville Race Riots as part of this ‘Year of Fear’ because all of this seems particularly troubling when dealing with humanity issues so close to home,” Coffman said. “Understanding the Red Summer, in particular the atmosphere of Knoxville post-WWI, also gives us the context we desperately need for understanding modern racial dynamics. This is a road we have traveled together as Americans.”

For maps and driving directions to Pellissippi State’s five campuses, visit www.pstcc.edu/maps/.

To request accommodations for these or any campus event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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More than 50 Pellissippi State students sing at college’s Fall Choral Concert this Thursday

Meagan Humphreys directs student singers on risers
Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys, far left, directs student singers during the Fall Choral Concert in October 2018.

Mark your calendars for Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall Choral Concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. More than 50 student singers will perform.

This annual concert, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will feature both college choirs, Concert Chorale and Variations, and will feature a variety of repertoire, both sacred and secular in nature.

Concert Chorale will present a set of three songs that focus on the topic of peace, all differing widely in style. One of the songs in that set, “Hands are Knockin’” by Kyle Pederson, was published in 2018 and will feature student percussionist Dakota Loo on djembe.

Variations will present music from the Romantic era by Anton Bruckner, a set of three songs by three different contemporary composers all based on childhood poetry, and finish off the program with a rousing spiritual, “Hold On!”, arranged by Moses Hogan.

Several student soloists will be featured throughout the program. Both choirs are led by Pellissippi State Choral Director Meagan L. Humphreys and are accompanied by Associate Professor Peggy Hinkle on piano.

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.

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Pellissippi State exhibit features sculpture, photography from K-12 art teachers

Black-and-white photo by Jane Reeves
“Mom,” a photo by Jane Reeves, is part of a body of work exploring family and questioning home as a refuge.

Photography by Jane Reeves and sculpture by Jessica Courtney, artists who serve as K-12 art teachers in Southern Indiana, are featured in the newest exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

Their works will be on display until Oct. 4 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Gallery is located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The exhibit, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public, as is a reception with the artists 3-5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, in the Gallery.

“Our visual arts teachers in K-12 education are on the front lines introducing our children to a better understanding of our immense visual culture,” said Pellissippi State Associate Professor Herb Rieth, who knows both artists and invited them to show their work at the college. “K-12 arts and design teachers work long hours, with ever-diminishing resources, to bring their knowledge and talent to very diverse populations. They are often underrepresented in showing their work because they frequently do not have time to work on their own artistic output.  Pellissippi State’s Visual Art faculty value the work these individuals do in the community and want others to see their powerful work.”

Reeves has chosen to exhibit a body of work exploring family and questioning home as a refuge. The collection has been in juried exhibitions in San Diego; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Louisville, Kentucky.

“Growing up poor, queer and sexually abused, I learned about isolation,” Reeves explains in her artist statement. “I learned to push away the people I loved the most. I put distance between my family and me. Physical distance became an obsession. Moving from place to place, the geographic solution.  Leave town, disappear, reinvent myself. I adopted new friends’ families as my own, as if I didn’t come from anywhere.”

That changed for Reeves when she was 25, during treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Reeves reflects that she understood suddenly that everything that had happened to her also had happened to her family, and she began visiting her family often, bringing her camera as a protective device.

“The camera helped explain to me something I had never let myself see up-close before – the whole process of running away, of closing up inside myself, of hiding,” Reeves says. “Through this journey of self-discovery, I have found the beautiful in the disturbing and the disturbing in the beautiful.”

Sculpture by Jessica Courtney
These pieces are among the sculpture Jessica Courtney has on display at Pellissippi State, artifacts of successes and failures in her studio practice.

Courtney has been working in precious metals since 2007 and began exploring the capabilities of 3D rapid prototyping in 2009. As the conversation surrounding her work began to focus on the duality of craft and the role of the computer in producing 3D printed sculpture, however, Courtney’s need to construct complex and precise work gave way to her desire to create intuitively. She began to create art using materials that could be found in an average craft closet or a child’s art bin.

“The playfulness that exuded from this work has inspired change in every level of my life and practice,” Courtney says.

The collection of work on display at Pellissippi State is sprinkled with artifacts of successes and failures from Courtney’s studio practice “while living a life constrained by gender roles and convoluted sexual identity,” she explains in her artist statement.

“I walked through life as a queer woman in heteronormative clothing for years before realizing that the solution to my anxiety, emotional unrest and isolation was always within my grasp,” Courtney writes. “The liberation I found while creating this work has transformed my life; I no longer feel a need to deny any part of myself.”

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, 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.

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Preview Knoxville Opera 2019-20 season at free Pellissippi State performance

Adia Evans of Knoxville Opera
Soprano Adia Evans will be featured in the Knoxville Opera Preview Thursday, Sept. 26, at Pellissippi State.

Music enthusiasts can get a sneak peek at the Knoxville Opera 42nd season in a free preview Thursday at Pellissippi State Community College.

The Knoxville Opera Preview, part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Pellissippi State is proud to host the Knoxville Opera Preview concert as a means for concert-goers to learn more about opera and hear a sampling of the Knoxville Opera 2019-2020 season, while also experiencing top-notch opera singers,” said Pellissippi State Music Program Coordinator Meagan L. Humphreys. “We hope it encourages all who attend the preview to make plans to attend a full opera performance.”

Cornelia Lotito of Knoxville Opera
Mezzo-soprano Cornelia Lotito will be featured in the Knoxville Opera Preview Thursday, Sept. 26, at Pellissippi State.

Maestro Brian Salesky will host the evening, which will feature soprano Adia Evans and mezzo-soprano Cornelia Lotito.

“The repertoire will be an eclectic mix of selections from most of our programs throughout the upcoming season – from Broadway to operetta, from spirituals to Christmas carols, and highlights from our three productions: Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, and Okoye’s Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom,” said Salesky, who is in his 15th and final season as Knoxville Opera’s executive and artistic director.

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, 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.

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Pellissippi State welcomes Italian guitar virtuoso Beppe Gambetta in free concert Wednesday

Beppe Gambetta playing guitar and singing
Italian guitarist Beppe Gambetta will perform a free concert at Pellissippi State on Wednesday. Photo credit: Michael Schlüter

Italian guitarist Beppe Gambetta will make a stop next week at Pellissippi State Community College while on his U.S. tour.

Gambetta will play a free concert at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The public is invited.

“We were fortunate enough to arrange for a stop at our beautiful campus,” said Associate Professor of Music Larry Vincent, noting the musician will be giving a concert the following evening at the Laurel Theater in Knoxville. “Mr. Gambetta is an accomplished guitarist whose career spans more than 30 years in the industry and includes collaborations with top bluegrass artists in the U.S. and Europe such as Dave Grisman, Doc Watson, Norman Blake and many others.”

While Gambetta still lives in his native Genova, Italy, he travels to North America at least three times each year, according to his official website at www.beppegambetta.com. Gambetta’s reputation in the U.S. and Canada is reinforced by his participation in distinguished festivals as well as events like the well-known radio shows “All Things Considered” and “eTown.” Gambetta has performed in prestigious concert halls such as the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York.

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

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Get answers to your college questions at fall Pellissippi Preview

Four students are walking on the Hardin Valley Campus
Pellissippi Preview gives prospective students an opportunity to check out Pellissippi State Community College’s Hardin Valley Campus, explore programs they may want to study and get answers to their questions about financial aid and what classes will transfer to four-year institutions.

Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has an opportunity next week to check out the school —  from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available.

Pellissippi State’s open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held 9:15 a.m.-noon Saturday, Sept. 28, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages and is free to attend.

Pellissippi State will kick off the event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at 9:15 a.m. before letting prospective students explore the departments that interest them until 10:45 a.m. Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions about the college’s academic programs as well as the student services available at Pellissippi State.

Pellissippi Preview also will feature two short presentations: one on transferring from Pellissippi State to four-year colleges and universities at 10:45 a.m. and one on financial aid at 11:25 a.m. Participants will get hands-on information about one of the questions Pellissippi State advisers and recruiters hear the most: ”Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?” They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors.

All those who attend Pellissippi Preview will be entered in a drawing for one of two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation to attend Pellissippi State. The drawing will be held at 11:50 a.m. to close the event.

To RSVP for Pellissippi Preview, visit www.pstcc.edu/prsvp/.

To request accommodations for this or any campus event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State brings popular TV theme songs to stage with Prime Time Octet

Tom Lundberg and the Prime Time Octet performing
The Prime Time Octet includes, from left, Ben Dockery on piano, Harold Nagge on guitar, David Slack on bass, Keith Brown on drums, Tom Lundberg on trombone, William Boyd on tenor saxophone, Bethany Hankins on violin and Doug Rinaldo on alto saxophone. The group makes its Knoxville debut at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Pellissippi State.

Theme songs from television classics from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “Frasier” are the unique repertoire of Tom Lundberg and the Prime Time Octet.

The group makes its Knoxville debut at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Pellissippi State Community College’s Clayton Performing Arts Center, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The concert, which is free and open to the public, is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits.

“We created the Prime Time Octet to focus on music created for television from as early as the 1960s up to the 2000s,” explained Lundberg, the Brass Ensemble director for Pellissippi State. “We have found that these tunes will be quite familiar for folks whether they lived through this era or have caught reruns. Even students are familiar with these songs, whether they know the shows or not.”

As musicians, the Prime Time Octet were interested in exploring the composers of these theme songs that have become part of popular culture, all of whom are either well known in the music world or are household names like Quincy Jones, who wrote the theme song for “Sanford and Son” and Jose Feliciano, who penned the theme for “Chico and the Man.”

The Prime Time Octet takes the familiar music further, however, with cleverly crafted arrangements by composer Terry Vosbein that allow the musicians opportunities to improvise.

“We are, in that way, an improvisational jazz group,” Lundberg noted. “We bring a sound that is unique.”

Comprised of Lundberg and seven fellow Knoxville-area musicians, the Prime Time Octet first performed at Washington and Lee University in Virginia in fall 2017 and recorded a CD of the event, which was released last year.

The group includes three Pellissippi State Music faculty – Lundberg on trombone, bassist David Slack and guitarist Harold Nagge – as well as drummer Keith Brown, a senior lecturer/adjunct associate professor of percussion at the University of Tennessee; pianist Ben Dockery, an assistant professor of music at Tennessee Wesleyan University; professional violinist and teacher Bethany Hankins; woodwind specialist Doug Rinaldo, who has toured the world, including a four-year residency in Hawaii; and woodwind specialist William Boyd, who plays saxophone for the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra and just released an album, “Freedom, Soul, Jazz.”

“There is a lot of versatility in our group, with multi-instrumentalists,” Lundberg said. “Our palette of sounds has a deeper reach.”

Other theme songs on tap include those written for “Mannix,” “Maude,” “Monk,” “Night Court,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Muppet Show,” “The Rockford Files” and more.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, 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.

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Pellissippi State Convocation encourages students to make a difference

Head shot of Whitney Kimball Coe
Whitney Kimball Coe of the Center for Rural Strategies will speak at Pellissippi State’s Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 12.

College students don’t have to wait until they graduate to start making a difference in the world.

That’s the key message behind Pellissippi State Community College’s new Common Academic Experience theme of “Making a Difference,” a two-year discussion of issues, both in and out of class.

Pellissippi State kicks off the Common Academic Experience with Convocation 12:30-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

This year’s speaker is Whitney Kimball Coe, director of National Programs for the Center for Rural Strategies and coordinator of the National Rural Assembly, a rural movement made up of activities and partnerships geared toward building better policy and more opportunity across the country.

Her presentation is free and open to the public.

“Whitney has a story that I hope will resonate with our students,” explained Pellissippi State librarian Allison Scripa, who co-chairs Common Academic Experience with librarian Will Buck. “Growing up in tiny Athens, Tennessee, her goal was to get out, to go to the big city. But what she found is that, day in and day out, she’s showing up in her community and making a difference in the world.

“That’s what we want our students to know: they can do start here, they can start now,” Scripa stressed. “They don’t have to wait until the graduate. They can start doing things that make a difference whenever they want to, wherever they are.”

Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience will encourage students over the next two academic years to explore volunteerism, civic engagement and citizen science.

“’Making a Difference’ is about learning that the little things we do to help others and help our communities can add up to make a big difference,” Scripa said.

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

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Editing, publishing presentations added to annual James Agee Conference on Sept. 13

Leigh Ann Henion
New York Times bestselling author Leigh Ann Henion will give the keynote address at this year’s James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts at Pellissippi State.

An annual literature and arts conference at Pellissippi State Community College now includes editing and publishing presentations, in response to interest from local writers.

The fourth annual James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts will be held noon-7:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free and open to the public. There is no pre-registration. Check-in will be held 11-11:50 a.m. on site the day of the conference.

“We try to shift around and add something new each year in response to our participants,” explained conference founder Charles Dodd White, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State. “This is the first time we’ve offered these editing and publishing presentations.”

Thomas Alas Holmes of East Tennessee State University will lead the editing discussion 12-12:30 p.m., while Beto and Bob Cumming of Iris Press will lead the publishing discussion 12:30-1 p.m.

The rest of the afternoon will feature master classes in Nature Writing with Kim Trevathan, an associate professor of writing/communications at Maryville College who is writing his latest book about canoeing the Tennessee River from Paducah, Kentucky, to Knoxville last year; Songwriting with Tiffany Williams, an Eastern Kentucky native who released her debut EP, “When You Go,” earlier this year; and Fiction Writing with Caleb Johnson, author of the novel “Treeborne,” an honorable mention for the 2019 Southern Book Prize.

Leigh Anne Henion, author of “Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World,” will take the stage at 6 p.m. for the conference’s keynote presentation. Henion, who has had stories noted in three editions of “The Best American Travel Writing,” penned her memoir after becoming a mother and questioning whether “experiencing earth’s most dazzling natural phenomena” could reawaken a sense of wonder in herself similar to the one she witnessed daily in her child, who would marvel over simple things in nature.

The conference will wrap up with a signing with all the authors, and Union Avenue Books will be on site with books available for purchase.

White, whose novel “In the House of Wilderness” was named the 2018 Appalachian Book of the Year by the Appalachian Writers Association in June, created the James Agee Conference four years ago largely to give Pellissippi State students an opportunity to attend a scholarly conference while also celebrating the literature, culture and arts of Appalachia.

“Agee is such a particular touchstone for this area,” said White, who was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame for fiction in October. “The conference gives us an opportunity to honor his influence while also exploring the hometown portrayal of Appalachia through writing and art.”

For the entire schedule of this year’s James Agee Conference, visit www.pstcc.edu/events/ageeconference. To request accommodations for a disability at this event or any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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‘Meet the Band’ at Knoxville Jazz Orchestra concert Thursday

Arts at Pellissippi State logoThe Knoxville Jazz Orchestra kicks off Pellissippi State Community College’s Fall 2019 Music Concert Series at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5.

The performance, which features some of the finest jazz musicians from in and around Knoxville, including some of Pellissippi State’s own Music faculty members, will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Thursday’s concert, titled “Meet the Band,” will showcase all of the talented soloists and unique sounds present in the modern jazz big band. Selections will include music of Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Dizzy Gillespie and Vince Guaraldi, as well as a brand new composition by orchestra director Vance Thompson.

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra’s performance Thursday 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 about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, 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.