Youth Leadership brings back Heroes canned food drive

Bobby Reynolds • 
Mt. Juliet News • File
Children throughout Wilson County will get the chance to meet their heroes at two upcoming events sponsored by Youth Leadership Wilson. Hungry for Heroes seeks to collect food for Wilson County Schools and Lebanon Special School District’s backpack programs.

The 2017 Youth Leadership Wilson class will bring back two events aimed to help those in need throughout Wilson County.

The group will continue a service project started by the 2016 class and hold two Hungry for Heroes canned food drives for Wilson County students Saturday at Castle Heights Elementary School and Feb. 25 at West Elementary School. Both events will be from 9-11 a.m. in the school cafeterias.

Youth Leadership members will dress as movie characters and heroes, and children will have the opportunity to meet their favorite characters and learn what makes them unique heroes.

Admission is one canned food item per person.

Dorie Mitchell, Leadership Wilson director, said all food from the Mt. Juliet event will go toward the Wilson County Schools backpack program and food received in Lebanon would go to the Lebanon Special School District backpack program.

“It’s a really fun day for everybody. Each child gets a goodie bag when they come in, and there’s an autograph book for them to get their favorite character’s autograph and pictures made,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said parents and guardians would need to bring their own cameras or smartphones for the event.

“I think we donated around 1,000 cans last year, and we would love to double that this year. I think we can help a lot of people,” she said.

Staff Reports

Encore Theatre Co. to present ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer’

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News Some members of the cast of Encore Theatre’s production of ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer’ are (from left) Jeff Lay, Jeff McCann, Marty Bollin, Fernando Ochoa, Karen Yates, Corinne Cook and Brian McKay.

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Some members of the cast of Encore Theatre’s production of ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer’ are (from left) Jeff Lay, Jeff McCann, Marty Bollin, Fernando Ochoa, Karen Yates, Corinne Cook and Brian McKay.

Cover pictureStep back in time as Encore Theatre will present the Lux Radio Theatre 1949 production of “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” from the screenplay by Sidney Sheldon.

Two shows only are planned for Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to show time.

The staged reading is a comedy about a womanizing bachelor who is ordered to date the teenage daughter of a beautiful judge.

The cast includes Jeff McCann, Sarah McKay, Corinne Cook, Brian McKay, Jeff Lay, Ron Tatlock, Andrew Smith, Marty Bollin, Fernando Ochoa, Laneese Cosby, Kirk Cunningham and Karen Yates.

Special desserts will be offered at each show in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Responsible adults may bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and older and $10 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are on sale at encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or by calling 615-598-8950.

Encore Theatre Co. is at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Highway 109 in Mt. Juliet. Encore is a nonprofit community theater that serves Wilson County and surrounding areas since 2006.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet Christian sixth grader wins songwriting, poetry competition

Lauren Kleeberg 2017

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News Lauren Kleeberg, a sixth grader at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy was the winner of a recent songwriting and poetry competition at the school. Kleeberg will perform her original song, ‘And If Only They Knew,’ during the Evening with the Arts on Feb. 24 at the school.

Local songwriters are preparing a special night of entertainment in Wilson County, and it will be particularly special for one Mt. Juliet Christian Academy sixth grader. 

The Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Fine Arts Booster Club will play host to local songwriters Darryl Worley and Friends for an Evening with the Arts, an annual fundraising event at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy. This year’s event, ‘An Evening with the Arts: Writers in the Round’ is scheduled for Feb. 24. 

Sensing an opportunity to provide Mt. Juliet Christian students with significant experience, event coordinators created a songwriting and poetry competition in conjunction with the Writers in the Round event. The competition was designed to showcase the bright, young artists at the school.   

“The songwriters Darryl Worley has lined up for the Evening with the Arts: Writers in the Round event are a stellar crew of talent,” said program chairperson Dorinda Biggs. “Since these writers have such a heart for fine arts education in our community, I knew this would be a wonderful opportunity for one of our MJCA students to showcase their own writing abilities. The songwriting and poetry competition idea was formed out of a heart to allow our students the experience of preparing, performing and being evaluated by a panel of judges in an audition that would lead to one winner performing live with these professional writers. This type of audition helps to prepare and launch our fine arts students into the real world where their creative works will be scrutinized by the music industry and community. It only makes each contestant stronger for having taken the risk. We are so proud of each student who took this exciting opportunity to try out. They were brave, and they were excellent.”

The winner was 12-year-old Lauren Kleeberg, a sixth grader at Mt. Juliet Christian.  Kleeberg will perform her original song, “And If Only They Knew,” during the event.

“The fine arts are being cut in schools all over the country,” said Beth Davis, Mt. Juliet Christian fine arts department director. “We believe it is vital to give our students the opportunity to learn, create and develop their expressive talents for the purpose of being united. Hearing Lauren’s amazing, well-written song that is relevant to the struggles teens face is an inspiration and a thrill to be a part of. I expect great things from our fine arts students here at MJCA because they are so very talented.”

An Evening with the Arts:  Writers in the Round 2017 is an evening of music that will include songs and stories from Worley and other well-known Nashville songwriters. The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a silent auction. The show will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased in advance at the school or online at mjca.org/fine-arts.

The Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Fine Arts Booster Club will use proceeds from the event to replace outdated theatrical curtains and lighting needed to support the fine arts students at the school. Mt. Juliet Christian has a thriving fine arts program that prepares students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade in the elementary music, band, choral, drama and visual arts.

Worley has scored nearly 20 hit singles and three chart-topping hits with the self-penned  “Awful, Beautiful Life” and the poignant “Have You Forgotten,” which spent seven weeks at No. 1, as well as “I Miss My Friend,” which came to him via a songwriter friends in Nashville. He also recognized the importance of giving back every opportunity that he can through his annual charities that has funded organizations such as the Darryl Worley Cancer Treatment Center in Savannah.

“We’ve managed to do a lot by the grace of God over the past 15 years,” said Worley. “We’re having the biggest years of fundraising now just because we’ve learned how to do it. It’s just a very positive thing that we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Next up on the charitable future for the singer-songwriter is breaking ground on a wellness center geared toward assisting youth battling abuse of drugs and alcohol.

“It’s a labor intensive job, but it is a labor of love when you have a chance to really see how it affects human beings,” he said. “We’ve saved lives, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet event connects new people

What started as a search to meet other single people in Mt. Juliet has evolved into a social event aimed at singles, couples and those looking to meet new people.

The social event, dubbed Village Social, took place Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Jonathan’s Grille in Providence Marketplace.

Cecelia Bora, of Mt. Juliet, said the event started after a fake post in the Hip Mt. Juliet Facebook group that was started by a person claiming to seek single men in Mt. Juliet. She said the post was deleted after it was discovered the profile was fake, but the seed was already planted.

Bora said the post featured several married people offering suggestions, which eventually evolved to the tagging of single people to the post.

“That’s when people started tagging their single friends into the conversation and it was hilarious because people had no idea what they were being tagged into. It just made the conversation even funnier,” said Bora, who said plans for a meet up grew from the initial interest in the deleted post.

“What’s interesting to me is there are so many people here who don’t go out and don’t know people and are afraid to go out and meet other people, so they just stay at home and go on Facebook from their phone, but they never really do face-to-face conversations and engage,” she said.

Bora, who moved to Tennessee from Chicago 10 years ago, said the event would benefit those who have had a difficult time finding friends in the area, regardless of relationship status.

“I’m a full-time single parent, so I don’t have a lot of free time and a lot of people are in my situation where you just don’t have a lot of time to go out and meet people because free time is very limited,” she said.

Bora said difficulties arise with married friends because of the obligations that come with marriage and raising a family, but also highlighted the difficulties of people in relationships and married finding new friends.

“It’s not just about meeting single people, it’s about meeting people that you can hang out with and finding friends,” she said.

Bora said some people utilize Facebook and online dating apps and sites to find relationships and meet new people, but said she feel that wave is declining.

“Online dating, I think, has failed many people and has been a disappointment. I think people are looking for other ways to meet people,” she said.

“True relationships are built on face-to-face time and not the time we spend on social media.”

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com

Wilson County Fair shows continued success with awards

Some people use a planner to keep track of days and events happening throughout the year, but Wilson County residents organize their lives by means of the Wilson County Fair.

The Wilson County Fair is a staple in the community and state. It is a nationally recognized fair and continues to excel year after year. Not only does it set the calendars of the citizens of Wilson County, but it seems as though the whole world stops during fair time.

It is a week dedicated to fellowship and fun. With a focus on families, the Wilson County Fair provides a safe, enjoyable environment to gather with friends and family. It is a week dedicated to highlighting accomplishments throughout our community, and not just our community as a whole.

“Our fair does a fantastic job at showing all that Wilson County has to offer but the Wilson County Fair also makes it a priority to give individuals of every lifestyle and background a chance to shine,” said Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto. “The Wilson County Fair is also a week to celebrate agriculture in our community and throughout the world. Our fair’s main objective is to highlight the importance of agriculture in Wilson County.”

Though the 2016 Wilson County Fair has come and gone, but the success of this year’s fair continues. Each year, the Wilson County Fair attends the International Association of Fairs and Expositions contest program. This year’s contest had more than 1,468 entries judged by more than 50 industry experts. The Wilson County Fair received a total of 18 awards, including:

Agriculture Awards

• first place in agriculture programs promotional video for the Junior goat show video.

• second place in any other agriculture program or exhibit for the watermelon patch.

• third place in agriculture program area beautification for landscaping improvements.

• third place in non-fair-related agriculture event or program for the spring garden festival.

Competitive Awards

• first place in use of a single theme throughout all divisions for “We Want You at the Wilson County Fair” and the featured agricultural commodity for watermelons.

• first place in unique contest for the fair commemorative print contest.

• first place in competitive exhibit display photo series for the kids’ power tractor races.

• first place in general display photo single for the flower “bed” photo.

• second place in competitive exhibit display method and/or prop for the new rose show display.

• second place in create it on the spot contest for the watermelon carving for adults and watermelon head decorating
for youth.

• second place in participatory contest for watermelon gumball blowing.

• second place in new or unique contest to attract competitive exhibitors for the gaited mule show.

• second place in general display photo series for the broom-making demonstration.

Communication Awards

• second place in promotional or advertising poster.

• second place in unique advertising specialties, merchandise and souvenirs.

Sponsorship Awards

• first place for sponsorship innovation.

• first place for first-time sponsorship.

• second place for sponsorship.

• best of division for innovation in sponsorship.

“We are so proud of the accomplishments of our fair. However, none of these accomplishments would have been possible without the hard work of the Wilson County Fair Board and all of the volunteers that work continuously to make our fair the best of the best,” Hutto said. “So many people work year after year to provide the best fair experience possible and there is no way to thank each and every person enough for their contribution. Here at the county mayor’s office, we would like to say congratulations to Wilson County Promotions and the Wilson County Fair on another job well done.”

Staff Reports

Encore Theatre to offer its first play of 2017

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News The cast of ‘The Senator Wore Pantyhose’ (from left) includes Michael Rex, Linda Patrick, Fernando Ochoa, Jeff Lay, Lanie Shannon, Sarah Parker McKay, Jared Dalton, (seated, from left) Corinne Cook, Tony Shannon and Laneese Cosby. Not pictured is Hope McKay.

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
The cast of ‘The Senator Wore Pantyhose’ (from left) includes Michael Rex, Linda Patrick, Fernando Ochoa, Jeff Lay, Lanie Shannon, Sarah Parker McKay, Jared Dalton, (seated, from left) Corinne Cook, Tony Shannon and Laneese Cosby. Not pictured is Hope McKay.

Encore Theatre Co. announced “The Senator Wore Pantyhose” by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Millmore will be the opening play for 2017.

Directed by Holly Smith with James Bealor as executive director, the outrageous farce will open Friday and runs weekends through Jan. 29. Friday and Saturday shows will start at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon matinees will begin at 2:30 p.m.. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to show time.

Fed up with political and religious scandals? This comedy revolves around the failing presidential campaign of “honest” Gabby Sandalson, a regular guy whose integrity has all but crippled his bid for the White House. His sleazy campaign manager trumps up an implausible sex scandal to garner votes, a scheme that gloriously backfires.

Tickets are on sale at encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or by calling 615-598-8950. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and older and $10 for children 12 and younger.

Encore Theatre Co. is at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Hwy. 109, in Mt. Juliet. Encore is a nonprofit community theater that serves Wilson County and surrounding areas since 2006.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet filmmaker to premiere new movie

movie-poster

Jim O’Rear, a Mt. Juliet resident and longtime worker in the entertainment industry, will premiere his newest movie, “Nightblade,” in a special showing Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Full Moon Cineplex at 3445 Lebanon Pike in Hermitage.

“Nightblade,” is a 1980s-style police thriller produced and directed by O’Rear with his business partner, Scott Tepperman, that features Hollywood faces acting alongside homegrown talent.

The movie aims to capture the feel, style and fun of the 1980s police dramas and television shows such as “Miami Vice” and “Magnum P.I.”

“It’s definitely inspired by the ’80s, but it doesn’t take place in the ’80s,” O’Rear said.

“It’s a typical whodunit you might see in something like ‘Miami Vice.’”

“Nightblade” was filmed in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon and surrounding Nashville areas. Filming took place over an eight-day period, 16-18 hours each day.

“With most of our movies, we set aside 10 days, and we did that for this movie,” O’Rear said. “Everything went so smoothly that we just needed eight days.”

Among the actors featured in the movie are Todd Bridges from “Diff’rent Strokes,” Robert LaSardo from “CSI: Miami,” “Nip/Tuck” and “Death Race” and Betsy Rue from “How I Met Your Mother,” “My Bloody Valentine” and “True Blood.”

O’Rear has worked in the Hollywood entertainment industry for more than 30 years as an actor, stuntman, screenwriter, director, make-up artist and producer.

He got his start in the business after becoming one of the youngest people to be accepted in the American Society of Magicians.

“I went on tour with Harry Blackstone Jr. and worked several other magicians,” O’Rear said.

A producer asked O’Rear if he would be interested in acting in a commercial. At first, O’Rear resisted.

“I told him, ‘I’m not an actor, that’s not what I do,’” O’Rear said. “He said, ‘no, when you’re on stage doing magic, that’s what you’re doing; you’re acting.’ After a week or two of him begging me and my agent and my parents, I said OK, I’ll do the stupid commercial, and that’s how I got into the acting side of things.

He would later go on to work in a variety of different jobs in the entertainment industry.

“Really, I just wanted to be able to work,” O’Rear said. “Whenever someone would call and ask if I could do something, I’d say yes, and I just learned a little bit of everything.”

Normally known for his work in horror and science fiction films, O’Rear has decided to branch out and offer his fans a different experience with Nightblade.

“We’re still giving the fans a horror element with Nightblade,” said O’Rear, “because at its core, the story focuses on tracking a serial killer, but we’re hoping to expand beyond blood and guts and let the story elements and performances drive this one.”

The theatrical premiere of “Nightblade” is open to the public, and will be held Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Full Moon Cineplex. Tickets are $5 and are available at the theater.

The audience will be able to watch the film for the first time with members of the cast and crew, who will be in attendance.

A question-and-answer segment with the cast and crew will be held after the screening for anyone interested in behind-the-scenes stories or filmmaking advice. 

“I do about 15-20 convention appearances throughout the year at different comic cons, and I’m asked to do filmmaking panels … I go there to share with people who want to learn, because not too many people in the industry who like to share their secrets. I don’t mind. I think there’s room for everyone,” O’Rear said. 

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Second annual Christmas Lights Walk upcoming in Mt. Juliet

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold its second annual walking tour Monday to view the best of Mt. Juliet Christmas displays.

The walking tour will cover the Brookstone and Willoughby Station subdivisions and will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be served at City Hall before the walk. Participants will car pool from City Hall to Brookstone and park at the neighborhood clubhouse. Willoughby Station will be the second stop on the tour, and again drivers are asked to park at the clubhouse. The walk will last between one to two hours, and everyone is encouraged to bring a flashlight for added visibility.

“Last year, a small crowd of residents joined us for the walk, and this year, we want to invite everyone to be a part of this special event. We have all viewed Christmas lights from our cars, but this is a unique opportunity to see the lights from a different perspective. I can’t think of anything that will get you in the holiday spirit more than looking at Christmas lights and mixing that with a little exercise and Christmas cheer,” said Art Giles, Mt. Juliet commissioner and BPAC chairman.

Mt. Juliet BPAC is made up of volunteers from the community with the goal of guiding the city with plans for safe walking, running and cycling infrastructure improvements. BPAC is an advisory committee to the city commission with no decision or policymaking.

Staff Reports

Christmas lights shine in Wilson County

With Christmas just a few weeks away, there are several places in Wilson County to enjoy festive light shows to help get into the Christmas spirit.

Chad’s Winter Wonderland at 791 E. Old Laguardo Road in Gladeville, opened Thanksgiving and will continue with light shows each night from 6-10 p.m. until New Year’s Eve. This year marks the 34th year of the Christmas lights display.

The drive-through light show features a nativity scene and live animals, along with more than 2 million lights on eight acres. A special mailbox is also set up to mail letters to Santa Claus. Santa will be there every night.

According to organizers, the goal is to be open each night, but sometimes Chad’s Winter Wonderland will close due to weather. Closings are announced on the Facebook page Facebook.com/chadswinterwonderland.

The cost to view the light show is $15 per carload or $20 for multi-passenger vans. Vehicles up to 9 feet tall may pass through. Credit/debit cards are not accepted. For more information call 615-758-8300 or email info@chadswinterwonderland.com.

ChristmasLand, located at 1130 Trousdale Ferry Pike in Lebanon, features a light display that is in its 22nd year. Lights are on display each night from 5-9 p.m.

A nightly light display at 912 Koble Drive in Lebanon features 15,000-plus lights set to music.

The Festival of Lights in Lebanon, located at the Wilson County Fairgrounds, features a drive-through tour with animation throughout the fairgrounds, lighted nativity scenes, a fountain of life and the main attraction, the Grinch in the jail.

More than 1 million lights will be on display, and letters to Santa Claus may also be dropped off at the Fiddlers Grove post office. The Festival of Lights is open Friday-Sunday in December from 5-9 p.m.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Time running out to nominate top volunteers

Wilson County will accept nominations for the 2016 Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards through Friday.

The annual award recognizes “outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties,” according to the Volunteer Tennessee website.

“We know the value of calling attention to someone’s service and sacrifice; the military does this extremely well, but even in the military, someone has to submit the proper paperwork in order to recognize that special someone,” said Wilson County committee member John McMillin. “Honestly, nominating someone for outstanding volunteer service isn’t a lot of work to reward someone’s dedication, hard work and creativity.”

Nominations for youth and adults may be made. Nominations for Wilson County honorees will be accepted through Dec. 16. At that time, a committee will go through the nominees and select one youth and one adult to send on to the state level.

“The deadline to get them into the state is Dec. 30,” he said.

McMillin, who is executive director of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, said, “from my standpoint I’m thankful for a volunteer no matter what level.

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with volunteers in this county who are simply amazing.

Staff Reports

Encore Theatre Co. set to present ‘Sorry Wrong Chimney’

CHIMNEY_Cockeyed

Encore Theatre Co.’s production of “Sorry Wrong Chimney,” written by Jack Sharkey and Leo W. Sears, will complete its 10th anniversary season.

Directed by James Bealor with assistant director Holly Smith, the laugh-out-loud Christmas comedy will open Dec. 9 and runs weekends through Dec. 18. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon matinees will start at 2:30 p.m. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to show time.

David Tuttle is moonlighting as a department store Santa so he can buy his wife a fur for Christmas. He tells her he’s working late at the office, but she finds out he isn’t at the office. A suspected other woman, hypnotism, the notorious Santa burglar Kris Kreigle and his gun-toting fiancée and a confused policeman add up to a rollicking tale that is hilarious Christmas or anytime entertainment.

The play will feature Austin Kemp as David, Corinne Cook as Samantha, Sarah Parker McKay as Natalie, Dan Eaglin as William, Emma Brown as Sheila, Tristan Penn as Kris Kreigle and J.D. Young as Policeman.

Tickets are on sale at encore-theatre-company.org, ticketsnashville.com or by calling 615-598-8950. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and older and $10 for children 12 and younger.

Encore Theatre Co. is at 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Highway 109, in Mt. Juliet. Encore is a nonprofit community theater serving Wilson County and surrounding areas since 2006. Now in its 10th year, shows continue to draw audiences of all ages from across Middle Tennessee.

Staff Reports

Online voting continues for Zaxby’s Fan of the Year

zaxbys-fan-of-the-year-logo

Voting online at lebanondemocrat.com continues, but time is running out, for the fourth annual Zaxby’s Fan of the Year.

A dozen lucky fans are in the running for the coveted prize after they were selected fans of the week by The Lebanon Democrat staff during high school football games in Wilson County this season.

Voters may pick their favorite fan from Joe Driskol, of Mt. Juliet; Kelly Meadors, of Lebanon; Judy Jordan, of Lebanon; Dawna Guterriez, of Watertown; Danette Baskin, of Mt. Juliet; Kristi Dunn, of Mt. Juliet; Bob Edwards, of Lebanon; T.A. Bryan, of Lebanon; Jim Creswell, of Watertown; Kay Jordan-Ralph, of Mt. Juliet; Connie Kerley, of Lebanon; and Sarah Moore, of Lebanon.

The Zaxby’s Fan of the Year will receive enough food to feed 25 people at a tailgate or party event of their choosing.

“This is the perfect opportunity for one of our fans to get outfitted for bowl season or even a Super Bowl party, both of which are right around the corner,” said Democrat editor Jared Felkins. “We want give a big thank you to Zaxby’s for teaming up with us to sponsor this opportunity. It has been a great time selecting and showcasing the fans each week in Sports Extra, and we can’t wait to do it again next year.”

In addition, The Democrat will also give away a Zaxby’s chicken finger platter, and all fans have to do is like the newspaper on Facebook. Those who like The Democrat’s Facebook page through Dec. 2 will be entered into a drawing for the platter, along with a Zaxby’s Fan of the Week T-shirt.

“We didn’t want to let these dozen fans have all the fun, so we opened a portion of the contest up for everyone to get involved,” Felkins said.

Voting online for the Zaxby’s Fan of the Year ends Dec. 2 at noon. Anyone can cast a vote now for their favorite fan at lebanondemocrat.com/fan or visit The Democrat’s homepage and click on the Zaxby’s Fan of the Year alert link at the top of the page.

The Democrat can also be found on Facebook @lebanondemocrat.

Staff Reports

Turkey Trot set for seventh year

Two Rivers Ford will hold its seventh annual Turkey Trot 5K and Family Fun Run on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.

The 5K Run/Walk starts at 8 a.m. and the 1-Mile Family Fun Run begins 8:30 a.m. and will start at Two Rivers Ford at 76 Belinda Pkwy. in Mt. Juliet. Registration for the 5K Run/Walk is $35 and the 1-Mile Fun Run is $20.

The 5K course is a USA Track and Field certified road course through the Providence area that will begin and end at Two Rivers Ford. Friendly and well-socialized leashed dogs and strollers are welcome at the back of the pack. The event will benefit Compassion in Action of Tennessee.

The first 200 dogs present will receive a special race-day bandana. Attendees are encouraged to wear their best “turkey” get-ups, if they dare.

Runners and walkers may pre-register online at reg2run.com through Monday at midnight. Race day registration will open onsite at 6:30 a.m., but pre-registration is recommended and encouraged.

More information is available at turkeytrot5k.org. Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female winners in each five-year age group, as well as overall awards to the top male and female winners.

“This event is always a great way to start the holiday season. Come on out, spend a little time with the family, work off a few pre-holiday-meal calories and celebrate the start of the season of giving by doing something that will bring your family together and help raise funds for animals in need,” event organizer Amy Haverstick said.

Compassion in Action of Tennessee is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in communities .

Staff Reports

‘Little Stage’ to welcome Mt. Juliet’s Jolly String Quartet

The historic “Little Stage” at the Storytellers Museum in Bon Aqua will play host to a special Thanksgiving weekend concert performance of Mt. Juliet’s Jolly String Quartet on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The four classically trained teens have both strong Middle Tennessee ties and a remarkable story of life that began for them in a Russian orphanage.

Performing since they were 7 years old, the Jolly String Quartet is now recognized nationally for their expressive and rich musical performances that encompass a broad range of music – from classical to pop, from jazz and folk to gospel and newgrass.

The group – comprised of Viktor, Yara and Kristina, all 16, and Gorsha, 15, are the oldest children of Jeff and Elaine Jolly, of Mt. Juliet. All four were adopted from Russia.

They began musical studies at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music with further fine tuning of their gifts taking them to studies at Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. The young prodigies have expanded the vision of their music to include influences as diverse as the Annie Moses Band and jazz master Billy Contreras.

The Jolly String Quartet has received applause and accolades from stages that have taken them from Carnegie Hall to The Grand Ole Opry in the past several years. The family often makes public appearances to tell their story of adoption and raise awareness of the plight of orphans worldwide.

Audiences will have a chance to hear their remarkable music and story onstage Thanksgiving weekend as part of “the Saturday Night At Hickman County” series. The concert will also feature fellow artist Roger Anderson.

For ticket information, call 931-996-4336 or visit storytellersmuseum.com.

Housed within the newly opened “Storytellers Museum” in Bon Aqua the new home of the historic “Little Stage” was originally the landmark general store in Bon Aqua – converted later into a recording studio and often used by Johnny Cash as the stage of choice for regular “guitar pulls” that often included Cash family members – June, the Carter Family – and friends like Waylon Jennings and Carl Perkins. The “Little Stage” would become the regular home of the “Saturday Night In Hickman County” performances by local musicians. The old general store is now restored as “the Storytellers Museum” – and the welcome mat is out to a new generation of music – and storytellers. The Little Stage is currently open daily, featuring live music.

Both the Storytellers Museum and The Hideaway Farm are open to the public and becoming the new “must see” tourist destination for music lovers. They are located off Interstate 40 west at exit 46 in Bon Aqua, a short drive west of Nashville.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy students honor men, women in uniform on Veterans Day

Colleen Creamer • Mt. Juliet News Mt. Juliet Christian Academy students perform a medley of Armed Forces tunes Friday during the school’s Veterans Day Celebration.

Colleen Creamer • Mt. Juliet News
Mt. Juliet Christian Academy students perform a medley of Armed Forces tunes Friday during the school’s Veterans Day Celebration.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy pulled out all the stops Friday for the country’s men and women who served, and who still serve, in the military both foreign and domestic.

Just prior to newspaperman and author Sam Hatcher, a retired US Army colonel, taking the podium, the MJCA band and choir performed a choreographed medley of patriotic songs that compelled the entire auditorium to its feet.

For more than 45 years, Hatcher was a newspaper publisher and journalist in Wilson County. During the majority of that time, he also served with the Tennessee National Guard. He is a past president of the Tennessee Press Association, as well as a past member of the Associated Press board of directors for Tennessee.

Hatcher was a U.S. Army National Guard public affairs officer from 1971-2005 working out of Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. He also served as chair of the U.S. Army National Guard Communications Board before retiring with the rank of full colonel in 2005.

He reminded the crowd there was a spiritual umbrella eclipsing the pettiness of current-day politics.

“I think today is a special Veterans Day for our nation,” Hatcher told the packed auditorium at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy. “Our nation has been so divided in the last several months over this crazy election. I think Veterans Day is a reminder to all of us that we are indeed one nation under God.”

What was formerly known as “Armistice Day” and meant to celebrate veterans from World War I, Hatcher told the crowd it turned into Veterans Day after World War II when it became clear that one day a year would be needed to honor all veterans in all wars.

The retired colonel referenced the now-famous “Christmas Truce” during World War I when British and German soldiers stepped out of the trenches on Christmas Eve in 1914 and exchanged small gifts, ultimately ending in both sides singing Christmas carols.

“This story fascinates me, and I will tell you what fascinates me about it is, if this could happen in war, why can’t this happen all the time?” Hatcher asked. “They did this from a period from Christmas Eve all the way to New Year’s Day.”

The irony, said Hatcher, is not lost on anyone who reads about the historic and unofficial truce that ultimately would have to come to an end.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how on Jan. 2, they went right back to shooting each other and killing each other.” Hatcher said. “How can we go and fight in battle and be at war when really we all want to be is at peace in our own hearts.”

Hatcher is the author of “Heisman’s First Trophy” an homage to the 100th anniversary of Cumberland University’s astounding 222-0 loss to legendary coach John Heisman’s Georgia Tech team. That game in 1916 would be known as the game that launched football in the South. The anniversary was Oct. 7.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy brought in Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Rhett Walker with the Rhett Walker Band to wrap up the day’s events. The band, a blend of Southern rock and country, has become known for writing about faith, family and country.

“Right now while we are here, there are men and women laying their lives on the line so we can have the freedom to have this Veterans Day celebration here in America,” Walker told the crowd.

“I think one of the amazing things is to celebrate and then to bring it full circle back to the one who laid his life down for us so we could have eternal life and so we could have peace.”

By Colleen Creamer

Special to Mt. Juliet News

Cedar Creek Community Band performs at Cumberland University

Sherie Grossman makes music wherever she goes, including Wilson County.

She has been involved in community bands in California and Nashville, and founded the Cedar Creek Community Band in 2009.

Since it began, Wilson’s community band has consistently had 45-60 members, and includes a range of personalities and professions. It is an all-volunteer band with members from around Wilson County.

“We have accountants, retired people, college students, someone who works for TBI — it’s all across the board,” Grossman said. “It’s an eclectic, wide-range of players, some who have played consistently since high school, and some who just got their instrument out of the closet and started rehearsing.”

The size of the band makes some performances difficult, as a venue has to be able to accommodate the large number of band members and the various equipment and instruments used.

Eventually, Grossman was given permission to use the facilities at Mt. Juliet High School, where the band rehearses during part of the year.

The Cedar Creek Community Band presented “A Night With Middle Tennessee Composers” on Monday in the Heydel Fine Arts Center at Cumberland University. The concert featured composers Jay Dawson, Wade Smith, Dave Sartor and “A Tribute to Silent Films” by Rick DeJonge. Pieces by associate conductor Ben Channell and Mt. Juliet High School sophomore student Holden Brewer premiered, as well.

“A Tribute to Silent Films” featured a silent film projected on a screen while the band plays the soundtrack to it.

Grossman founded the band in 2009 after moving to Wilson County from California. She was involved with a similar community band in California, and initially was involved with a group in Nashville. Rather than continue that commute, she decided to form a group in Wilson County.

Debra Martin, a trumpet player in the band, said she is looking forward to the Cumberland performance.

“We already have a lot of fun just playing for ourselves, so it’s nice to have an audience,” Martin said.

For those in the community who are interested in being part of the band, there are no auditions; anyone who is able to perform the material and can commit to a two-hour rehearsal each week, normally held on Monday nights, is welcome to join.

The band will have a rehearsal Nov. 21 at Mt. Juliet High School from 7-9 p.m. in preparation for the Dec. 19 holiday performance at West Wilson Middle School. Anyone interested in joining the band is invited to attend that first rehearsal.

For more information about the band and additional details about joining, visit their Facebook page, Cedar Creek Community Band, or the website cedarcreekcommunityband.com.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Veterans Day events set in Wilson County

Various Veterans Day events in Wilson County are scheduled to honor those who have served their country in the Armed Forces.

Wilson County’s annual Veterans Day parade starts Nov. 11 at 9 a.m. The parade goes from South Hatton Avenue down West Main Street, through the Lebanon Square and ends at the Wilson County Veterans Park at the Wilson County Courthouse.

According to organizer retired Lt. Col. Jim Henderson, the parade will consist of Gold Star Mothers, grand marshal retired Lt. Gen. John Pickler, high school bands, walking and trolley-riding veterans, military organizations and several other groups.

At the end of the parade, a ceremony will be held at the Veterans Park to honor Wilson County veterans. Pickler will be the guest speaker.

Pickler and his wife, Karen, are Wilson County residents. He retired with more than 36 years of service in the Army. Pickler is a 1965 graduate of West Point Academy as an artillery officer and served in several duty stations throughout his career, including chief of staff forces command.

Anyone with a group that would like to be included in the parade should call parade director Don Fox at 615-934-1860 or 615-444-7276.

Although Veterans Day is Nov. 11, Liberty State Bank will celebrate the occasion ahead of time with a special breakfast Nov. 9 at 8 a.m. at the East West Building on the Wilson County Fairgrounds.

The guest speaker for the breakfast event will be Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan. Breakfast starts at 8 a.m. and the program will follow. To RSVP, call 615-449-4441 or 615-444-4166.

Rutland Place will have a special celebration to pay tribute to veterans with a Veterans Day All American Buffet, served Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

There will also be a veterans’ salute at 1 p.m. Anyone who would like to share military memorabilia or photos of themselves or loved ones in the Armed Forces should bring those items to Karen Tucker’s office no later than Nov. 10.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy will hold its annual community-wide Veterans Day celebration Nov. 11 from 1:30-3 p.m.

The guest speaker will be retired Col. Sam Hatcher. Rhett Walker will be the guest artist.

The event is free and open to the public, and veterans are encouraged to attend. For more information about the celebration, contact Renee Reed at rreed@mjca.org.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Encore plans auditions for upcoming Christmas comedy

CHIMNEY_Cockeyed

Auditions for Encore Theatre Co.’s production of “Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” will be Nov. 6-7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Mt. Juliet theatre.

The play will be directed by James Bealor. Available roles include David Tuttle, a struggling young executive between 25-35 years old; Samantha Tuttle, David’s new bride between 25-35 years old; Natalie Weldon, the Tuttles’ neighbor across the hall between 35-45 years old; William Weldon, Natalie’s psychiatrist husband between 35-45 years old; Kris Kreigle, a man with a holiday delusion between 30-45 years old; Sheila, Kris’ doggedly devoted fiancée between 30-45 years old; and policeman, a determined disciple of law and order 35 years old or older.

David Tuttle is moonlighting as a department store Santa so that he can buy his wife a fur for Christmas. He tells her he’s working late at the office, but she finds out he isn’t at the office. A suspected other woman, hypnotism, the notorious Santa burglar, Kris Kreigle, and his gun-toting fiancée and a confused policeman add up to a rollicking tale that is hilarious Christmas or anytime entertainment.

Those who plan to audition should bring a headshot and resume. Auditions will be cold readings from the script.

Performances will be Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 16-18. Anyone with questions may email Bealor at evillittlepygmy@gmail.com.

Encore Theatre Co. is at 6978 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. For more information, call 615-598-8950, email info@encore-theatre-company.org and visit encore-theatre-company.org.

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet Middle School unveils revamped auditorium

Jake Old • Mt. Juliet News Students perform a scene from ‘Elf,’ which will be performed in December. The scene was a sneak peek for parents and community members who came to see the unveiling of the new auditorium at Mt. Juliet Middle School.

Jake Old • Mt. Juliet News
Students perform a scene from ‘Elf,’ which will be performed in December. The scene was a sneak peek for parents and community members who came to see the unveiling of the new auditorium at Mt. Juliet Middle School.

Mt. Juliet Middle School officials unveiled the school’s new and improved auditorium during a special event Tuesday, Oct. 25.

A total of $3.3 million was invested in the auditorium, which now has a larger stage, new seating, new floors, new restrooms and a high-tech lighting system. The project was under construction for five months.

The new facility can seat 780 people. It will be used for multiple school productions each year, including the drama department’s plays and concerts by the chorus.

“We’re so excited,” principal Tim Bell said. “This whole thing is not about us. This whole thing is about these kids.”

Parents and community members were invited to get the first look at the facility Tuesday, and they saw a scene from “Elf,” the December play by the students, and performances by the chorus and jazz band. “Elf” will be the first performance by the drama department on the new stage.

The Tuesday performance marked just the third time the students were on the new stage.

“These kids take 12-13 weeks to prepare,” said theater teacher Julie Groover. “We just got access to this sound and lighting, so we’re excited about it. It has so much potential for our show.”

Other building projects at Wilson County schools include renovations at Gladeville Elementary School and Tuckers Crossroads School.

Construction crews begin renovation projects this week at Watertown Elementary School, Southside Elementary School and a new central office facility at the old Lebanon High School.

On Nov. 1, a groundbreaking is scheduled for the new Springdale Elementary School in Mt. Juliet.

By Jake Old

jold@lebanondemocrat.com

Farmisan’s Market ends another season

Angie Mayes • Lebanon Democrat Reagan Robinson performs at Saturday’s Farmisan’s Market at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet.

Angie Mayes • Lebanon Democrat
Reagan Robinson performs at Saturday’s Farmisan’s Market at Charlie Daniels Park in Mt. Juliet.

The Farmisan’s Market season finale took place Saturday at Charlie Daniels Park’s amphitheater in Mt. Juliet.

The event showcased 37 entertainers, as well as vendors. Co-organizer Jim Bradshaw said this is the third year for the showcase series, and Saturday’s event was the “biggest group I’ve ever seen. We were asked if we wanted to put on a show, so we put together a three-hour show. We have more than 40 entertainers here today. You might see a band or a group.”

In addition to the singers, which were from Amy Lechner’s vocal performance students, there were clips of the musicals, “In the Woods,” “Beauty and the Beast” and the upcoming “Christmas Carol,” by Angie Dees’ Audience of One Productions.

The day was capped off with Bradshaw and Lechner’s Music Review, featuring Mt. Juliet Showcase winners. The Mt. Juliet Showcase, which wrapped up two weeks ago, was won by Ariana Crefeld. She performed, in addition to six other artists, at the end of Saturday’s events.

Crefeld, and her sister Neveya, also played host to a vendor booth at the event, featuring their headbands made with homemade flowers and feathers. The items are made by the girls and 20 percent of the sale of the items are donated to families dealing with cancer. The name of their business is Anaveya Creations.

“Me and my sister had a neighbor, named Savannah Swandal, and she had some type of cancer,” Ariana said. “At the age of 6, I just wanted to help her in some way. I didn’t know exactly how, but I thought I’d do a lemonade stand, but it was the middle of winter. My parents talked about it with me, and we decided we’d do a hot chocolate and cookie stand.”

They made more than $3,000 from the sale, and the money was donated to Swandal’s family. They’ve also helped other families along the way, she said.

“It was amazing to see all of those people supporting this.” Ariana said. “It was pretty unbelievable. Of course, my little six-year-old mind couldn’t grasp all of that.”

For more information on Anaveya’s Creations, visit anaveya.com.

By Angie Mayes

Special to Mt. Juliet News