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April 30, 2015

FOCUS’ 2015 Swimsuit Models Have Been Chosen

& The Swimsuit/Summer Guide Issue Is May 21!

Hickory - FOCUS thanks the many, many men & women who entered this year’s model contest. The models have been chosen and contacted, and for those who were not chosen to be one of the eight to be featured this year in FOCUS, please try again next year and thank you for your entry!

The contest is presented by Best of Beers, your local distributer of Anheuser Busch and Craft Beer.

The FOCUS models have won free swimwear & lots of goodies from our sponsors, Kelly & Company Hair Salon, The Olde Hickory Taproom and The Hickory Community Theatre.

Photo by Rose Mary Cheek

Kelly & Co. Hair Salon is providing a free cut and style to each model.

The Olde Hickory Taproom will give each winner a gift certificate. The Tap Room is sponsoring Hickory Hops beer festival in Downtown Hickory this Saturday, April 25th from 1-7pm. Tickets are available now for the Festival. Go to or call 828.322.1121.

Hickory Community Theatre will give each winner free tickets to be used at any of their productions. Hickory Community Theatre’s current show is award-winning comedy, Vanya and Sonya and Masha & Spike. The story centers around a middle-aged brother his sister, who feel life has passed them by as they stayed in their childhood home, caring for their parents.

A third sibling, a self absorbed Hollywood starlet way past her glory days, shows up with a young boy toy, and suggests she’s selling the home. Christopher Durang wrote this Tony-winning modern classic. It plays Thursday-Saturday, for the next three weekends in the newly remodeled Kitchen space at HCT. For tickets go to or call 828.328.2283.

Photo by Spencer Huffman

Well known Hickory area professional photographers & sponsors Spencer Huffman and Rose Mary Cheek will photograph our models for the Swimsuit/Summer Guide.

FOCUS’ Summer Guide is a handy reference for things to do & see - festivals, historic sites, amusement parks, conventions - within a day’s drive of Western North Carolina. Be sure to pick up this issue on May 21 to plan a great summer! The Swimsuit & Summer Guide will also be featured at through the summer.

FOCUS is distributed in seven counties surrounding Hickory to hundreds of locations and every type of business, including restaurants, bars & clubs, colleges, hospitals, car dealers, gas stations, grocery & convenience stores, coffee bars, movie theaters and specialty stores and service shops. The Swimsuit Summer Guide issue is an excellent opportunity for advertisers to reach potential clients with an issue that many readers keep for the summer and some forever! Call FOCUS at 828.322.1026 for more information on advertising specials for the biggest issue of the year!

May’s Seniors Mornings Out Offer Wide Range Of Activities

Hickory - Participants in Catawba County Seniors Morning Out will enjoy a variety of activities during May, including participating in the Senior Games, attending a health fair, and enjoying parties and special musical entertainment.

Seniors Morning Out operates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday at five convenient locations throughout the county. In addition to a variety of activities, participants are served a hot, balanced lunch. The program is free for any Catawba County resident who is 60 or better. There are no income requirements. Transportation is available along limited bus routes for those who are unable to drive. Please contact the site supervisor at least 24 hours in advance if you wish to attend any of these programs.

All sites will be closed May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. On May 4, all of the locations except for Maiden will travel to the Senior Games at Highland Recreation Center. On May 5, all sites will travel to the Valley Hills Mall to participate in a Health Fair and Mall Walk sponsored by Catawba Valley Medical Center. Other highlights by location are as follows.

West Hickory SMO: May 12, Bingo and Music by Rev It Up; May 14, Breakfast at Hardees and Trip to the Fireman's Museum; May 20, Music by Sycamore Bones; May 28, Birthday Party and Dancing with the Ridgeview Sliders. To reserve your spot, contact Lisa Adams at 828-323-8746.

East Hickory SMO: May 12, Dancing to the Music of Sentimental Journey; May 19, Learn to Make Low-Fat Strawberry Banana Dessert; May 20, Sharing of Strawberry Recipes.

To reserve your spot, contact Rita Pritchard at 828-320-5963.

Newton SMO: May 6, Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with authentic dancing and food. Cost is $3 and registration is required by May 4; May 7, Mother's Day Hoe Down with Music by the Joymakers; May 19, Music by Sentimental Journey. May 28, Memorial Day Cookout at Southside Park with Music by Karen Kondas. Dress Patriotically. To reserve your spot, contact Robyn Curtis at 828-455-4133.

Claremont SMO: May 6, Music by Sentimental Journey; May 11, Making Deviled Eggs; May 20, Hypertension Program by Peggy Messick of Catawba Valley Medical Center; May 21, Music by Bandys High School Jazz Band; May 28, Cookout at Southside Park with Singing by Karen Kondas. To reserve your spot, contact Wendy Thomas at 828-320-0434.

Maiden SMO: May 6, Spelling Bee Contest and Corn Hole Game; May 18, Heart Healthy Bingo and How to be Heart Healthy with Melissa Mooney of Brookdale Living; May 21, Senior Games Fun Walk with Lauren Townson of City of Hickory and Cookout in Maiden Park with Music by Sentimental Journey; May 28, West Side Baptist Church Choir to Perform. To reserve your spot, contact Loretta Hefner at 828-320-5966.

For more information about any of these programs, contact Senior Nutrition Services Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 828-695-5610. Donations are welcomed to help support this and other Senior Nutrition programs. To make a secure donation, go to and click on the red "Donate Now Button." Senior Nutrition Services is a part of Catawba County Social Services.

In addition to Seniors Morning Out, it operates Meals on Wheels, which urgently needs more volunteers. If you could donate one and a half hours per month to deliver meals, please call 828-695-5610.

For the latest information on Senior Nutrition Services, like us on Facebook at

Hotdog Benefit Fri., May 1 For Gerald Boston

Crouse, NC - The Women’s Auxiliary of Crouse Volunteer Fire Department will host a Hotdog Benefit for liver transplant patient Gerald Boston on Friday, May 1, from 11am to 7pm. Cost is $5 for a plate of two hotdogs, chips, dessert and drink.

The Auxiliary will take orders from businesses and deliver for orders of five or more hotdog plates. Businesses can call the fire department at 704-735-2247 to place their order. Boston is on the top of the list for a liver transplant and will have to have anti-rejection medicine which will cost over $3,000 a month for several months. His insurance does not pay for this medicine but will pay for his maintenance medicine.

In addition to the hotdogs there will be a bake sale and a raffle for many different items including oil changes. The fire department is located at 2764 West Hwy 150 in Crouse.

Western Piedmont Symphony Concert Under The Sails, May 3

Hickory - After a magnificent full season, the Western Piedmont Symphony will share its musical talents with the community this Sunday, May 3, at 5 p.m. under The Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory.

“I can't think of any other place in the country where people of all ages, backgrounds, and musical tastes can bring a picnic, blanket, and chairs and enjoy the symphony, playing everything from the classics, like Mozart and Bach, to favorites from Broadway, like Rodger and Hammerstein to Andrew Lloyd Webber,” said City of Hickory Communications Director and Brand Manager Mandy Pitts. “This relaxed atmosphere exudes a well-crafted life, and a place to meet old friends and make new friends.”

“Information gathered from citizens, when the community embarked on its authentic brand a few years ago, mentioned the need for more events in a centrally-located place where the community can join together,” added Pitts. “The public place has become The Sails on the Square in Downtown Hickory and, thankfully, with partners like the Convention and Visitors Bureau, we are able to provide a wide range of events throughout the year.”

The Symphony concert under The Sails on the Square this Sunday would not be possible without the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of Hickory's partnership.

"Our community is fortunate to have the Western Piedmont Symphony, as it attracts locals and visitors from all over the state and beyond,” said President of the Tourism Development Authority and Convention and Visitors Bureau Bebe Leitch. “Quality events like this brings people together and when our own community is talking about exciting concerts like the symphony, the conversation gains momentum and this becomes an event that people will travel to see, and stay a while to explore our community that’s full of arts, culture, furniture shopping and more.”

The Western Piedmont Symphony Board will be selling beverages before and during the concert. People are encouraged to get to Downtown Hickory before the concert starts at 5 p.m., bring a picnic or get food from area restaurants, bring blankets and chairs, and enjoy the concert that is free to the public, thanks to the City of Hickory’s “Life. Well Crafted.” brand and the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information about events, go to

Western Piedmont Symphony’s mission is to provide musical performances of distinction that enrich and enliven the community’s classical music experience; and to nourish new audiences through school concerts and family outreach programs.

Catawba Veterans Garden Of Honor Poker Run Is May 9

Catawba, NC - On November 8, 2014 the Small Town Main Street - VGH held the formal groundbreaking at the site of the Town of Catawba Veterans Garden of Honor. Less than two (2) weeks after our groundbreaking, our only local World War II - Pearl Harbor survivor, Retired Master Chief Hayes E. Drum passed away. His family was very grateful we were able to honor him publicly and that his memory will live on through this tribute. It is the committee's goal to begin construction in July 2015 with the formal dedication on November 7, 2015. We are working with Winecoff Memorials and Scenic View Landscapes to bring this tribute to life.

Fundraising and donations are the main source for funding this project and on May 9, 2015, we will host, in conjunction with the International Red Knights Firefighter's Motorcycle Club, our 2nd Annual Town of Catawba Veterans Garden of Honor Poker Run. Tony Huffman, a member of the Harley Owner Group (HOG) and committee member laid out the route that is 120 miles of beautiful Piedmont scenery.

Registration is from 10:00-11:30 am at Blue Ridge Harley Davidson in Hickory. Riders will travel McDonald Parkway (29th Avenue) to Highway 127 to our second stop, Hickory Tavern. Then we head 127 North to travel the country sides through Lenoir on to Zaxby's in Morganton for our third stop. From here riders head southward towards Shelby into Lincolnton and the fourth stop, Iron Station Thunder. Riders leave Lincolnton and travel 36 miles to the site where the Veterans Garden of Honor will be built in Catawba before traveling the last half mile to the Catawba Volunteer Fire Station on Main Street where a meal and prizes awaits them.

Anyone interested in being a part of this project as a rider or volunteer should contact Town of Catawba at 828-241-2215 or Fran Little 828-241-3636 by May 5th.

Public Meeting On County Library Plan Today, April 30

Newton, NC - Over the last 10 months, the Catawba County Library System has worked closely with the community to develop a strategic plan that reflects community needs.

We gathered valuable input—from library customers and staff, our community planning committee, our city and county leadership, and from the overall community through interviews, public surveys, focus groups, and public forums.

The purpose of our Strategic Plan is to help guide the library system and drive our plans for growing library services over the next years to best meet the needs of our citizens.

As a valued community member, we need your input. Take a look at the draft and let us know what kind of community library you want to learn, work and play in. Let us know if we’re getting it right by taking the survey at (or by scanning the QR code pictured) and join us for discussion and dessert at our public meeting on Thursday, April 30, at 7 pm at the Main Library in Newton.

Friends Fore Hospice Golf Tournament Is Monday, May 11

Newton, NC – Catawba Regional Hospice is gearing up for its 13th annual Friends Fore Hospice Golf Tournament, which will take place on Monday, May 11, 2015, at Catawba Country Club in Newton, NC.

The community event brings together seasoned and novice golfers in support of overall hospice services. As part of its mission, Catawba Regional Hospice pledges to provide end-of-life care to all patients who need it, regardless of their ability to pay. The proceeds from Friends Fore Hospice help guarantee that uninsured and underinsured patients have access to this high-quality hospice care.

Openings for morning teams are still available. Registration begins at 7:30am, and shotgun starts are scheduled for 8:30am and 1:30pm. A buffet lunch will be served between the morning and afternoon rounds.

Individual player costs are $100, and foursome costs are $400. These fees cover 18 holes, cart and green fees, practice range, a light breakfast, a buffet lunch, and complimentary beverages. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, third, and women’s flights. As added incentive, a hole-in-one cash prize of $10,000 is available on Hole 3, should a golfer's skills prove exceptional.

Registration deadline is Thursday, April 30, 2015.

Sponsorships are still available for businesses or individuals. The tournament’s Premier Sponsor is Wise Hospice Options. Foundation Sponsors are CommScope and Hickory Daily Record. The Golf Cart Sponsor is Cargo Transporters. Hole-in-One Sponsors include Electrical Associates of Hickory and Interstate Foam & Supply, Inc. Food and Beverage Sponsors include Bass-Smith Funeral Home, Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Dale Jarrett Foundation, Inc., North Carolina Eye Bank, Inc., and Piedmont Nephrology & Hypertension. The Scoreboard Sponsor is Catawba Valley Medical Center.

To register online, visit To request a form for registration by mail, contact Sue Mulay, Community Development Coordinator, at 828.466.0466, x2357, or About the Organization:

Catawba Regional Hospice, founded in 1979, is a community-based organization providing hospice medical care, patient and family support, and spiritual comfort throughout the multi-county Catawba region. From Lake James to Lake Hickory to Lake Norman, we serve patients and families regardless of diagnosis, age, gender, nationality, race, faith, sexual orientation, disability, or ability to pay. CRH is licensed by the state of North Carolina, certified by Medicare and Medicaid, and nationally accredited. For more information about our programs of service, call 828-466-0466 or visit

Photo: Players from Friends Fore Hospice’s 2014 tournament: (l-r) Harvey Travis, Leroy Lail, Dr. Jim Ross, and Glenn Hunsucker

Caldwell Arts’ The Other Group: Reunited Runs May 1-30

Lenoir, NC - During the month of May, visitors to the Caldwell Arts Council will experience an exhibit of original artworks created by 12 members of “The Other Group.” This exhibit is sponsored in part by LifeStore.

“The Other Group: Reunited” will be on exhibit in the Caldwell Arts Council Gallery (601 College Ave SW, Lenoir), May 1-30, 2015. All Caldwell Arts Council Gallery exhibits are admission-free and open to the public during the Arts Council’s operating hours, which are Tuesday - Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 10am-2pm.

An opening “meet-the-artists” reception is scheduled for Friday, May 1, 5pm-7pm hosted by the Lenoir Woman’s Club; light refreshments will be served.

About the Exhibit:

In 1994, a group of twelve North Carolina artists began meeting monthly to discuss one another’s artwork, offering commentary and suggestions to assist in furthering art objectives. Membership in “The Other Group” was by invitation. Diversity in style and media and a willingness to share opinions in an open forum setting were characteristic of participating members.

The name, “The Other Group”, was a counterpoint to another art critique group, “The Piedmont Painters”, whose membership quota was already secured. Meetings were held in various locations in Lenoir and Hickory. The group added and subtracted members as some moved and others died. The group eventually dispersed, but friendships remained and individuals continued making art.

This exhibition will reunite the members of “The Other Group” by showcasing their current art work. Twelve members are providing a diverse selection of images and mediums. The Caldwell Arts Council Gallery, both upstairs and downstairs, will be filled with artwork from these individuals: Andrew Atkin, Victoria Bauer, Jean Cauthen, Vae Hamilton, Jane Harrison, Deborah Klein, Bobbi Miller, Tom Oakley, Ellen Schwarzbek, Charlie Frye, Thomas Thielemann and Lynda Lea Bonkemeyer.

To learn more about Caldwell Arts Council events and programs, please visit, email , or call 828-754-2486.

Foothills Arts’ Auditions For God’s Man In Texas On May 4 & 5, 7pm

Hudson, NC - Foothills Performing Arts will hold open auditions for our Summer production, God’s Man in Texas written David Rambo, on Monday & Tuesday, May 4th & 5th ; 7-9 pm at the FPA Theatre. God’s Man in Texas is where faith and egos collide at Houston's Rock Baptist “Mega” Church. A search committee has been formed to find a successor to eighty-one-year-old Philip Gottschall. Young Jeremiah Mears is asked to preach for a month of Sunday evening guest sermons. Gottschall’s instinct is to protect what he has spent a lifetime building. The pastors' sounding board—is Hugo Taney, a reformed drunk & addict. When Hugo and Jerry discover their lives are linked by past events, Gottschall fears their alliance. The struggle among this trinity of men climaxes— there is a sacrifice, a resurrection and, finally, salvation as God whispers to a listening heart. The comedy/ drama is published by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. and rated PG. Parts are available for a cast of three men of various ages. Show dates are July 17-19 & 24-26, 2015. Jill Roberts is the Artistic Director. FPA is located in Bldg.-B on the campus of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute in Hudson on Hwy 321. For more information, call 828-726-2318 or visit our web site Foothills Performing Arts, 2855 Hickory Blvd. Hudson, NC 28645.,

Family Friday Nights Kick Off May 1 With The Crew

Valdese, NC – Family Friday Nights in Valdese will begin the first Friday in May at 7:00pm located at the Wells Fargo/Town parking lot and continues through the month of September. “We are so excited for this year’s Family Friday Nights. New bands will join us for the first time and many favorites are returning to the stage”, states Barbara Hefner, Community Affairs Director for the Town of Valdese. “Our Friday Nights have become a favorite pastime for families and continues to grow each year.”

Kicking off the summer series this year will be The Crew, an Asheville dance and entertainment band formed by William Jones and Steve Hughes in 1993.

The Crew to perform Friday, May 1

Through the years, they have performed all over Western North Carolina at many public events, such as Bele Chere, the Hendersonville Apple Festival, and the Jackson Park Fourth of July Celebration. They have also been a favorite at local nightclubs, country clubs, weddings and private corporate events. Of course there have been a few name changes throughout the years.

The group started out as Hansom Ranson, then shortened the name to Ranson, and now they are simply known as The CREW. In the past several years they have directed their musical interest to the legendary classics of the 60’s and 70’s. Today they continually expand their sets with salutes to more great artists, including classics of the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. Their main focus when performing is to provide great music and a good fun atmosphere. Whether you are into toe-tapping, shoulder swaying, a blast from the past, or dancing like nobody’s watching, this band will deliver. The Valdese Merchant’s Association will have concessions for sale during the concert series. Myra’s cruise in will begin every Friday night at 6:00pm and downtown shops will remain open later. For further information about events in Valdese and the full Family Friday Nights Concert Schedule go to

RugBugs’ Amethyst Crackle Has Four More Shows, May 2 & 3

Hickory - Youngsters and parents alike have just four more chances to catch “Amethyst Crackle’s Crystal Ball,” the new adventure by the RugBug Theatre@HCT, before the run ends on Sunday, May 3rd at the Hickory Community Theatre.

This magical adventure about a young girl who discovers a crystal wishing ball teaches the moral of “be careful what you wish for.” The play is geared toward children ages 3-10 but the fun is enjoyable for all ages.

All performances of “Amethyst Crackle” are presented in HCT’s Council Chamber Theatre May 2 & 3, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 and 4:00pm. Tickets are $4 general admission at the door only. Call (828) 327-3855 or visit for further details.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The RugBug Theatre at HCT is a sponsored project of the Hickory Rotary Club. This production is part of the 2014-2015 Season brought to you by Paramount Automotive.

PHOTO: The cast of “Amethyst Crackle’s Crystal Ball”, (Ashleigh Walker, Jade Duncan, Carleigh Dale, Elizabeth Garmon, Marlee Hoyle, Tess Perrin and Georgia Wood). The magical adventure concludes its run of performances this weekend at the Hickory Community Theatre. Call (828) 327-3855 for more details.

Photo is by Jamie Julian.

Pet Parade, Crafts Demo: Art In The Plaza Is Saturday, May 9

Valdese, NC - On Saturday May 9, 2015, come to Valdese and celebrate Art in the Plaza with Valdese Heritage Arts Center. The free fun begins at 10:00 am in Jacumin Plaza in downtown Valdese. Some of our artists will be conducting art and craft demonstrations both in the Plaza and across the street in our building. We will also have many unusual gift items available. We will be on hand until 3:00 pm.

At 11:00 am, in Jacumin Plaza, Sandy Walker will be hosting the “My Fair Lady Hat and Pet Parade.” Come on out whether or not you decide to wear your most interesting hat and bring your pet to join in the fun. Or just stand on the sidelines and enjoy the parade.

After the parade, also in Jacumin Plaza, Friends For Animals will be holding a luncheon fundraiser. By then everyone should be good and hungry and the money goes to a very good cause.

While all the other activities are going on, WMNC 92.1 FM, “The Big Dog” will be broadcasting on the scene. This promises to be a fun time for the whole family and we look forward to seeing you here in downtown Valdese.

Free Concert With Big Daddy Love Sat., May 2, Hollar Mill

Hickory - Carolina Moon Hospitality and The Crossing at Hollar Mill are thrilled to announce Big Daddy Love playing at the Music at the Mill concert series. The 3rd FREE concert will take place on May 2nd. Doors open at 7:00pm. Concert at 8:00pm at The Crossing at Hollar Mill in Hickory, NC.

Josh Goodfellow, the sound engineer with Codex Sound says, “Big Daddy Love will put on an amazing show from the first note to last. I have worked with these guys since they started creating their Appalachian Rock sound in 2009. Live music is alive and well at The Crossing. Free events to hear great bands should pack the house…come on, Hickory, Big Daddy Love will perform live for you on May 2nd. Don’t walk, run!”

To reserve your FREE ticket, please contact or Eventbrite.

Event parking is available.

About Big Daddy Love:

Big Daddy Love

Having only been together since the Summer of 2009, Big Daddy Love-- founded by high school friends from the rural mountains of Sparta, NC-- was just playing a handful of North Carolina markets when they made their first trip to Floyd in 2010, where they won the prestigious "Under The Radar" contest for the best new artist at the large, Virginia festival.

The fresh, vital sound and energized performance of this new band simply blew people away, and with the fan-voted award under their belts, Big Daddy Love returned home and began to build their grass roots following in earnest.

Big Daddy Love is a five-piece band with a unique and natural blend of rock, roots and grass that they call ‘Appalachian Rock’. Above the mix, the lead vocals and acoustic guitar accompaniment of their principal songwriter, Scott Moss, command the listener's attention and call for the harmonies that arise in response. Twin leads of Stratocaster riffs and soaring Allman-esque slide guitar on the one hand, and 5-string Scruggs / Fleck style banjo on the other-- like a typical Southern rock line-up, just replacing the second guitar with the banjo-- punctuate and emphasize what Moss delivers. These contrasting voices are anchored by a rhythm section that is equally at home in a groove or driving the bus with country, swing, funk or straight ahead rock. Big Daddy Love's high-energy performances, fueled by this combination of fiery vocals, striking instrumental dynamics that range from bombastic assaults to soothing grooves, have garnered them a strong, passionate following throughout their home region.

CVCC Potters’ Workshop To Host Three Summer Workshops

Hickory - The CVCC Potters’ Workshop is pleased to host three summer workshops with some of the area’s talented ceramic artists. Between May and August, participants will be exposed to a variety of turning and decorating techniques. The workshops are designed for the beginner level potter to the more experienced potter, as well as those with a general interest in pottery.
The first workshop will be held on Sat., May 30 with Shane Mickey, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In this one-day workshop, Shane will demonstrate how he creates his signature pitchers and Gnome Jars, as well as a variety of tableware making techniques. The cost of the workshop is $75.00 and lunch is provided.

On Sat., June 20, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Po-Wen Liu will hold a one day workshop on creating platters and plates on the potters’ wheel. The demonstration will include throwing, trimming and decorating techniques. The cost of the workshop is $75.00 and lunch is provided.

The last workshop will be held on Sat., Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with Raine Middleton. This hands-on, one-day workshop will cover paper resist, wax resist, simple alterations, stencil and soft stamp printing, sprigging/stamping, slip trailing, carving and sgraffito. Tiles will be bisque fired (not glazed), in an electric kiln, and participants can pick up their work between August 24 and 28. The cost of the workshop is $86.25 and lunch is provided. • All workshops are held at the CVCC Potters’ Workshop and pre-registration is required. Interested participants can view more information and register online at, or by calling 828-327-7000 x4032. The Workshop seeks to promote the understanding, appreciation and continuation of Catawba Valley pottery. The goal is to provide contemporary instruction using local, historical methods and materials to make pottery.

The World Of Carl Sandberg, Free Shows On May 1 & 2

Newton, NC - The Green Room Community Theatre, in conjunction with Abernethy Laurels Retirement Center, will present The World of Carl Sandburg, a free performance highlighting the works of the North Carolina poet. The script by Norman Corwin’s captures the genius of Sandburg as a wordsmith and a teller of tales expressing the American spirit, and his thoughtful introductions to the material provide insight for audiences to enhance the appreciation of Sandburg’s imagination. Folksongs from the American Songbag illustrate our national psyche with music throughout the play.

The World of Carl Sandburg is made possible in part by a grant from the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council, with funding from the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

This show is directed by Jonathan Ray. The World of Carl Sandburg will be performed at Abernethy Laurels Spirit Place on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm. This is a free performance, and no reservations are needed.

For more information about this or any of the other programs offered by The Green Room Community Theatre, please contact our main office at (828) 464-6583, or visit us on the web at

The Green Room Community Theatre is a funded affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Cast Photo (L-R): Penny Bost Schrum, Peter Bost, Brian Stone, Brenda Smith. Photo by The Green Room

Hickory Parks Changing Hours For Area Parks On May 1

HICKORY – The Hickory Parks and Recreation Department seasonally changes the hours of operation for all City owned parks. Effective May 1, the new park hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. This coincides with all parks closing a half hour after sundown.

About 15 minutes before the parks close, staff will make announcements of the closing. At the closing time, the park gates will be closed and locked. If someone’s vehicle remains in the park after closing, the only way to leave the park is to contact the Hickory Police Department at (828) 328-5551 to come and unlock the gate. The Parks and Recreation Department’s goal is to have everyone leaving the parks at the designated times that are seasonally set and posted at the parks and on the City’s website ( Please plan your outings accordingly.

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
This applies to the following parks: Civitan Park, 460 17th Avenue, NE
Cliff Teague Park, 1125 2nd Street, SE
Glenn C. Hilton, Jr. Memorial Park 2000 6th Street, NW
Henry Fork River Regional Recreation Park, 5655 Sweet Bay Lane
Hickory Optimist Park, 751 2nd Street Drive, NW
Jaycee Park, 1515 12th Street Drive, NW
Geitner – Rotary Park, 2035 12th Street Drive, NW
Kiwanis Park, 805 6th Street, SE
Southside Heights Park, 1400 2nd Street, SW
Stanford Park, 1451 8TH Street Drive, NE
Taft Broome Park, 735 3rd Street, SW
West Hickory Park, 830 16th Street, SW and Winkler Park,2500Clement Blvd, NW.

Downtown Hickory’s Sails Music Series Begins Friday, May 1!

Hickory - What does unique musical entertainment, lawn chairs and blankets, picnics, and Fridays in May and June in Downtown Hickory have in common? The Sails Music Series.

This family-friendly, Hickory-original, music experience returns to Downtown Hickory at The Sails on the Square stage this Friday, May 1, beginning at 6 p.m. with John McCutcheon.

For the third year in a row, the City of Hickory is fortunate to have Bob Sinclair organizing this original music series. He does this for fun, and has many years of experience putting together events like the Sails Music Series, as well as playing music himself in places like the Bluebird in Nashville. Sinclair has, again, brought together a lineup for this series that has a variety of genres from indie-rock to international party music, Latin jazz to fusion, and bluegrass – all world-class; all free.

“I am very excited about this year’s musical lineup for the Sails Original Music Series,” said Sinclair. “What started out as an idea for a modest little music series in 2012 has become a highly regarded musical event that attracts people from across the state to our downtown square in Hickory, North Carolina.”

Sinclair added, “In 2015, every Friday night in May and June, we will present perhaps our most diverse array of music yet.”

John McCutcheon

“I think the thing that really shows that we are on the right path is that we are getting unsolicited sponsorships from local and regional businesses,” according to Sinclair. “Renaissance Financial, Olde Hickory Brewery, Silent P Designs, and Larry’s Music and Sound have all stepped up as the May/June series sponsors, which is appreciated by all of us who are involved in bringing this event together.”

Sinclair continued saying that there are others who plan to sponsor the September series, as well. Sinclair excitedly added that the regional AAA radio powerhouse, WNCW, has reviewed the lineup and they think it perfectly fits their large, youthful demographic and has asked to become a sponsor of the series.

“Music brings people together,” said Mandy Pitts, City of Hickory’s Communications Director and Brand Manager. “The City and organizers of the music series work to make Hickory a unique Friday destination for families and the musically adventurous citizens of the area.”

Event attendees are encouraged bring their lawn chairs or blankets and pack picnics or get food from one of the restaurants in the area.

This Friday’s entertainment is a folk artist with deep roots in American traditional music. According to McCutcheon’s bio, his approach to writing reflects both a simplicity and a layered complexity that creates songs that are always more than they seem. “He is a master at the difficult craft of the ballad,” touted the Boston Globe. “Storytelling with the richness of fine literature,” added the Washington Post. “One of our country’s best songwriters,” said Pete Seeger.

McCutcheon’s first award-winning song was titled The Ponderosa No-Cream-in-My-Coffee Blues, written at the greasy spoon of the same name in his Wisconsin hometown. At 15 years old, it won him his high school talent show. Since those early days, McCutcheon has written hundreds of songs and has garnered many accolades. His eclectic catalog of ballads, historical songs, children’s songs, love songs, topical satire, fiddle and hammer dulcimer instruments, and even symphonic works are among the broadest in American folk music. His 36 albums have earned six Grammy nominations. His songwriting has been hailed by critics around the world; his song Christmas in the Trenches is considered a classic and was recently named one of the 100 Essential Folk Songs.

For more information on John McCutcheon, visit his website at

The series is scheduled each Friday in May and June from 6 to 8 p.m. under the beautiful Sails on the Square Stage. Below is the lineup for the May and June season.

May 1 - John McCutcheon - FAMOUS FOLK
"The most impressive instrumentalist I've ever heard,” said Johnny Cash.
May 8 - Sol Driven Train - FUNK FUN
Expect fun, horns and dancing! Make sure the kids come to this one…
May 15 - Chorobop - ACOUSTIC BEBOP/JAZZ
A new ensemble from the Berklee School of Music – playing traditional Brazilian Choro genre, with a special bebop twist.
May 22 - Banda Magda - WORLD MUSIC MAGIC
Led by Greek vocalist, film scorer, and composer Magda Giannikou, this band defines “world music.”
May 29 - Jeff Sipe Trio - JAZZ/ROCK FUSION
All the electric guitar, jazz-funk aficionados better come see this one! Brilliant!
June 5 - The Honeycutters - SINGER-SONGWRITER PLUS
We welcome Amanda and The Honeycutters back to the Sails. They’ll be singing songs from the new CD, “Me oh my!”
June 12 - River Whyless - AMERICANA WHIMSY
This band is on a roll. Unusual, sonic, acoustic, lovely!
June 19 - Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers - INDIE-ROCK
An eccentric six-piece band from Kalamazoo… Guitars, horns, drums, and energy!
June 26 - Caroline Rose - ROCKABILLY INDIE
She revels in her oddball silliness, and is unapologetically weird in the best way. Great rockabilly songs and vocals.

Dysfunctional Family Comedy Continues This Weekend At Hickory Community Theatre! Photo: (L-R) Chrissy Schramm, Michael Navarro and Connie Bools in “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

The award-winning comedy continues this Thursday-Saturday in the Firemen’s Kitchen at the Hickory Community Theatre.

Call (828) 328-2283 or go to for tickets and information. Photo is by Ken Burns.

Meals On Wheels Volunteers Honored - More Are Needed!

Hickory - Catawba County's Senior Nutrition Services recently recognized the volunteers who deliver Meals on Wheels with an appreciation breakfast held at J&S Cafeteria. The western-themed event was attended by 182 volunteers.

County Commissioner Sherry Butler addressed the volunteers. Jan Shaffer, Adult Services supervisor, told the volunteers they are our heroes, feeding the hungry and helping their fellow man. They were described as rays of hope to homebound seniors. One hundred local businesses participated by donating door prizes.

More volunteers are needed to deliver Meals on Wheels throughout the county. It only takes an hour and a half a month to deliver Meals on Wheels. The volunteers pick up the meals at one of several pick-up stations throughout the county and deliver them to the seniors on their route.

In March, there were 768 Meals on Wheels volunteers in Catawba County. Between July of 2014 and March 2015, 415 seniors were served. There are currently 51 persons on the waiting list. Additional volunteers would allow more of these seniors to receive meals.

To be eligible to receive Meals on Wheels, a person must be at least 60 years old and be unable to shop or prepare their own food. There are no income requirements for this program. Anyone who meets the requirements may receive the meals, which are free to participants.

"Because the typical volunteer only delivers Meals on Wheels once a month, we need to have a large number of volunteers to meet the need," said Vickie Redden, volunteer coordinator. "Our volunteers tell us that they are blessed to deliver the meals. They are often the only person the recipient sees all day and provide a vital link to the community. Because of Meals on Wheels, many seniors are able to remain in their own homes."

If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, call 828-695-5610 Monday through Friday during business hours. Senior Nutrition Services is also looking for local businesses who are willing to organize a team of employees to deliver meals. In addition, local donations are needed to support this service.

For additional information, call 828-695-5610, go to, or like the Facebook page at

Photo: Helen Brigham, Dale and Debra Zimmerman are some of the volunteers recognized at the annual Meals on Wheels Appreciation Breakfast. More volunteers are urgently needed. To find out more, call 828-695-5610 or go to

BBQ Chicken Dinner Benefit May 2

Vale, NC - Propst Crossroad Volunteer Fire Department on May 2, 2015 Will be having their annual fund raiser to help with purchasing needed supplies and other equipment for our Company. We would like to cordially invite everyone to come out and help us make this fund raisers to make it a huge success.

The Fund raiser will kick off serving at 11:00 AM. - until. The dinner will consist of BBQ chicken with coleslaw, baked beans and a roll with dessert and tea for $8.00 a plate.

For more information please call (704) 462-1460.

Off-site Rabies Clinic This Saturday

Hickory - Humane Society of Catawba County, in collaboration with Catawba County Animal Services, will be offering off-site rabies clinics from May through September.

There will be 1 year rabies vaccines available for $7.00. The first clinic is Saturday, May 2nd, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at St. Stephens Dog Park, 2247 36th Ave NE, Hickory. All dogs must be on a leash and under control of the dog owner at all times, and all cats must be in a carrier for the safety and security of the cat. No appointment is necessary. Rabies clinics are available to any member of the public and are not limited to residents of Catawba County.

Darkness To Light Training May 5 & June 6

Hickory - Darkness to Light raises awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.

Upcoming trainings are on the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, May 5 from 6-8 p.m. at Rink & Robinson, 340 9th Ave. Dr. NE, Hickory, NC

Saturday, June 6 from 10-12 noon at Viewmont Surgery Center, 50 13th Ave. NE, Suite 1, Hickory, NC

For more information, call Kate Landry at Children’s Advocacy Center at 828.465.8162.

La Cage Aux Folles Leads Have Diverse Backgrounds

Hickory - The two leading actors in the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming production of the international hit musical “La Cage Aux Folles” both have degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne University but each brings a different background to his individual role.

David Zealy, who plays Albin and his alter-ego Zaza, who is the co-owner and the main attraction at the nightclub in the play, is in real life a therapist and substance abuse counselor. He has some things in common with his character, for he worked as a nightclub performer and makeup artist while putting himself through graduate school at LRU. When asked why he wanted to be in this show, Zealy responded, “I strongly identify with Albin as a nurturer and in his need to be needed. But above all, I was excited to have the opportunity to tell this story of unconditional love and family.” His most recent stage roles were in “Hairspray” and “Into the Woods” at The Green Room.

Scott Curtis, who plays Georges, the owner and master of ceremonies at the club, has a BA in Music from LRU and was an aviation ordinance man in the US Navy. He is now an elementary music teacher and church music director, who has been music director for two mainstage shows and directed four casts of young actors for the RugBug Theatre at HCT. He’s excited to be in this show because, “it's a funny, poignant and relevant show with great music. Georges is a dream role for me.” Past on stage experiences include “The Full Monty” and “Trip to Bountiful” at The Green Room. Curtis is an area native, having grown up in Morganton, but has lived in Hickory for 15 years, as has his co-star Zealy.

The pair have also shared the stage as a famous couple once before, as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad in “Hairspray” at The Green Room in 2013.

“La Cage” is the final Mainstage production of the Theatre’s 66th season. Performances begin Friday, May 15 and run through the 31st. Regular price tickets for Fridays through Sunday are $18, seniors are $16, students and youth are $10. Thursday nights, tickets for all adults and seniors are $14; student and youth tickets are $10. For tickets, call (828) 328-2283 or click Due to adult humor, this show is recommended for mature audiences.

HCT is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. “La Cage aux Folles” is produced by Robert Abbey, Inc. and Dr. Delores Hammer, DDS. This production is part of the 2014-15 season sponsored by Paramount Automotive.

PHOTO: David Zealy (left) and Scott Curtis star in “La Cage aux Folles.” The award-winning musical opens Friday, May 15 on the Jeffers mainstage at Hickory Community Theatre.

For tickets call (828) 328-2283 or go to

CVCC Offers Free Small Business Series, May 5 Through June 9

Hickory - CVCC’s Small Business Center is presenting the “Step Up, Start Up” program, a series of seminars designed to help individuals interested in starting a business build a foundation for business success.  The program consists of six seminars which will be presented on Tuesday evenings from May 5 through June 9 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at CVCC’s Corporate Development Center.  Participants can register for the entire series or individual sessions.  There is no-cost to attend, but pre-registration is required.  

The first session of the program is You, Inc., on May 5 to help participants understand the many roles and responsibilities of business ownership and compare them to their work experience, life goals, current and future financial needs, and their tolerance for risk. 

Additional sessions include:

From Idea to Opportunity on May 12.  Participants discuss market research, their target customers and their competition. They learn to identify niche opportunities and to convey their unique competitive advantage to potential customers.

 Creating the Images, Crafting the Message on May 19.  Participants learn the importance of branding and creating a unique image for their new company.

 Reaching Customer Targets on May 26.  Participants learn how successful business owners create targeted marketing messages and choose appropriate media for effectively marketing products and services.

Keeping $ Score $ on June 2.  Participants are introduced to standard scorecards for tracking business performance, cash position and net worth.  Participants will learn about sources of startup capital. 

Roadmap to Success on June 9.  Participants will compile data and conclusions from the previous five seminars into a draft of a business plan to be used to chart the course for their startup. 

These seminars are provided at no cost to participants through the Small Business Center Network, which is funded by a grant from the North Carolina state government. 

Pre-registration is required.  To register, call the Small Business Center at 828-327-7000, ext. 4117 or register on-line at the Small Business Center website,

Western Piedmont Symphony Masterworks Concert V “Resurrection”

By W. Gerald Cochran

Hickory - The Western Piedmont Symphony concluded its first half-century and its Golden Jubilee Celebration in a blaze of glory and trumpets with a performance of Gustav Mahler's (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection," in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium of Lenoir-Rhyne University. The orchestra, led by John Gordon Ross, Music Director and Conductor, was joined by soprano Louise Toppin, contralto Diane Thornton, and the Hickory Choral Society, J. Donald Coleman, Director. With 97 orchestra members and a choir of almost 100, this was probably the largest assemblage of performers in the history of the orchestra.

The Resurrection Symphony is one of the crowning jewels of symphonic literature of all times. Mahler's music is thought by many to be dark and brooding, and, yes, the first movement of this symphony is a funeral rite, then it opens up to joy and glory. First performed in 1895, it is this symphony that finally brought Mahler fame as a composer.

Following the funereal first movement, the second movement features a light, Austrian Ländler, a folk dance. The third movement is a scherzo, and evokes a mixture of pessimism, humor, and tragedy. The fourth movement is one of the most beautiful and inspiring songs Mahler ever wrote – "Urlicht" (Primal Light). Sung in pianissimo and very low register, the contralto soloist sings "I am from God and would return to God!" – the first hint of Mahler's realization of resurrection. Ms. Thornton sang this with absolute beauty and control.

The colossal final movement, reminiscent of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, introduces effects and sounds heretofore never heard in symphonic music, with off-stage brass instruments, huge crescendos for percussion instruments alone, and a giant chorus, which opens in the softest voice possible, singing "Rise again, yes, you will rise again," the introduction of Mahler's "resurrection." Then the soprano sings "O believe, my heart, but believe…" Ms. Toppin's voice soared above the music in absolute glory.

The last portion of the movement is a powerful and triumphant Coda. Mahler brings together the full forces: vocal soloists, choir, organ, bells, tam-tams, ten trumpets, eleven horns, two harps, two sets of tympani, and he asks the conductor and the orchestra to play with the "greatest possible strength." To say that the performers fulfilled Mahler's request would be an understatement. The choir sang with great beauty, and their diction was perfect. The finale was one of the finest moments of playing that I have heard from this orchestra. Indeed, the entire performance was inspired. The performers' exhilaration while playing this piece was palpable; I can't recall a similarly exciting and excited performance by this group in the twenty-five plus years I have been attending their concerts.

This, of course, opens up the road to the next fifty years, for even greater and greater performances.

Investing, On Monday, May 4

Hickory - Join instructor Ron Dees at 5:30pm on Monday, May 4th at Beaver Library for “The Basics of Investing.”This seminar will show you how to open an investment account using the Fidelity Investments website and offers a basic understanding of purchasing stocks, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), bond funds, etc. Learn buying & selling based on the economic business cycle that all Wall Street investors use to time their portfolios. Discover easy to understand principles that will allow you to grow your money using low risk techniques. The seminar is free and open to the public, but space is limited and pre-registration is required, call 304-0500 ext 7235. You may also register in person at the reference desk.

Free Self-Defense Class, May 30

Newton, NC – Demand for the Newton Police Department’s recent self-defense training was so robust that Newton officers plan to offer another session in May for women and female teenagers.

Newton officers will lead the free class from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30, on the lower level of the Newton Recreation Center at 23 South Brady Ave. Participants must be 16 years old or older. Participants 16 and 17 years old must have parental permission and be accompanied by an adult.

After a brief presentation, Newton police officers will provide hands-on self-defense instruction to participants.

The class is free, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided.

To sign up for the class, email Sgt. B.J. Williams at or call Alex Frick at 828-695-4266.

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