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You Are Invited to the Breakfast for the Arts Friday, May 27

The Cabarrus Arts Council’s 2016 Breakfast for the Arts will be held Friday, May 27.

The annual event will be at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  Registration will begin at 7 am with the one-hour program starting at 7:30 am.

The breakfast is a fundraiser for the arts council.  While it is free, you can expect to be invited to give a donation. The program will include entertainment by local students, inspirational talks by people whose lives have been affected by the arts, a free hot breakfast and lots of fun. Everything is packed into one carefully planned and entertaining hour.

The arts council looks at the breakfast as both a very essential fundraiser and a public relations event that offers the opportunity to tell the community about our current and upcoming programs.

In the early years of the Breakfast for the Arts, the event moved to a different location every year as it outgrew venues.  The first one was at the old Philip Morris USA plant.  It then moved to Hotel Concord, then Cabarrus Family Medicine’s Copperfield Room.  The last stop before Embassy Suites was the First Assembly Village.

The event is free, but reservations are required for admission; reserve your seat by calling 704-920-2787 or emailing  If you’ve already accepted an invitation from one of our table hosts, you don’t need to RSVP again.


2016-17 Davis Theatre Tickets on Sale July 1

Tickets for all performances in the diverse, star-packed 2016-17 Davis Theatre season go on sale July 1.

The flagship On Stage at the Davis series will open Sept. 25, with performances by Grammy Award-winning singer Kathy Mattea who is known for hits such as “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses”; followed by the 2015 IBMA “Vocal Group of the Year” Balsam Range, Oct. 22; The Kruger Brothers, who play folk music fused with classical, Jan. 7; genre-bending cellist Ben Sollee, Feb. 11; and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member The Drifters, March 11. Embassy Suites Concord is the Gold Sponsor of On Stage at the Davis.

Three local favorites also will return: Jeff Whittington Bluegrass Band, Dec. 1 and May 4; Jim Avett, Feb. 2; and Jeff Little Trio, April 7.

Tickets for all performances go on sale Friday, July 1. Tickets may be purchased online and at the Davis Theatre Box Office Monday-Friday, 10 a.m-4 p.m., in person or by phone, 704-920-2753. There is a 7% discount for people who buy tickets to all five of the performances in the On Stage at the Davis series.

Here are short descriptions of the performances:

The Acoustic Living Room, Songs and Stories with Kathy Mattea featuring Bill Cooley
Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, two pefomrances: 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., $40

Grammy Award-winning singer Kathy Mattea and longtime collaborator guitarist Bill Cooley share a musically rich partnership. The duo welcomes you into “The Acoustic Living Room” to share songs and stories near and dear to their hearts, including Kathy’s beloved classics such as “18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and “Where’ve You Been?” You’ll see why her 17 albums have garnered multiple CMA, ACM, and Grammy Awards. A rare opportunity to see this artist in a venue the size of the Davis!

Balsam Range, Bluegrass – Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, 8 p.m., $35

From deep in the Appalachians where the Great Smokey Mountains meet the Blue Ridge, five friends came together to form Balsam Range in 2007. They already had long solo careers with Grammy and IBMA awards and collaborations with performers such as Doc Watson and Rusty Skaggs under their belts. Their unique backgrounds and skills quickly led to hits, such as “Trains I Missed.” The 2014 and 2015 IBMA “Vocal Group of the Year” blends bluegrass, folk, gospel and jazz into a new American acoustic music experience.

The Kruger Brothers, Folk and Classical Fusion, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, 8 p.m., $30

Originally from Switzerland, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger began playing North American folk music at an early age and were particularly inspired by Flat and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and Doc Watson. After getting a recording contract and radio show, they teamed up with American bass player Joel Landsberg to form a trio that has played together for more than 30 years. A MerleFest favorite, their incomparable sound fuses folk and classical music.

Ben Sollee, Genre-Bending Cellist, Saturday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m., $25

Ben Sollee is a genre-bending cellist, composer and storyteller. After a Lincoln Center show, The New York Times wrote: “meticulous, fluent arrangements continually morphed from one thing to another. Appalachian mountain music gave way to the blues, and one song was appended with a fragment from a Bach cello suite, beautifully played.” Sollee is known for inventive arrangements and combining his classical training with bluegrass and pop.

The Drifters, Doo-wop, R&B/Soul, Saturday, March 11, 8 p.m., $44

“Up on the Roof.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “This Magic Moment.” “There Goes My Baby.” “Dance with Me.” “Spanish Harlem.” “Stand by Me.” “On Broadway.” The Drifters’ 50-song hit list is packed with doo-wop and R&B/soul songs you know and love. The iconic band was in the first class of inductees into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and is one of the best-selling bands of all time with 214 million singles and 114 million albums. The band’s phenomenal current line-up continues the legacy!  This performance is sponsored by Hilbish Ford.

Jeff Whittington Bluegrass Holiday Show, Thursday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., $16

Get in the holiday spirit with a festive bluegrass show hosted by Jeff Whittington, a North Carolina Banjo Champion who was a staff musician on the syndicated Arthur Smith Show. He will be joined by John Culbreath, a South Carolina Banjo Champion, on fiddle; Pete Corum, who was in the movie Cottonpatch Gospel, on bass; Mike Wood, whose first major show was Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festival, on guitar; and Jason Wood, who has played with bluegrass legend Curly Seckler, on mandolin. There will be an additional non-holiday show on Thursday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Jim Avett, Folk and Country, Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m., $20
Thursday, February 2, 7:30 pm, $20
Jim Avett grew up in a home surrounded by music. He never quit playing, but for 35 years he put providing for his family first. Since retiring, he has made up for lost time with a coast to coast touring and a handful of CDs. He plays folk, country and gospel songs and his original ballads that tell stories. See where Scott and Seth of The Avett Brothers got their first inspiration!

Jeff Little Trio, Appalachian music, Friday, April 7, 7:30 p.m., $25
Jeff Little makes piano his lead instrument, rare in Appalachian or Americana music. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity. He is joined by Steve Lewis, a two-time National Banjo Champion and MerleFest Guitar Champion, and Josh Scott, a highly sought after bassist. Back at the Davis by popular demand!

For more information, visit the websites listed with the performers or call the arts council at 704-920-2753.

Meet Two Artists Saturday, May 21

Meet artists Sudie Rakusin and Maureen Collins May 21 at The Galleries.

It’s the last day for the Wanderlust  exhibition and The Galleries will be open 10 am-4 pm. It will be a great opportunity to see the show on a weekend and peruse the Gift Shop as well as expose your children to fine art via hands-on activities.

Beginning at 2 pm, visitors will have the opportunity to meet exhibiting artists Sudie Rakusin and Maureen Collins.

Sudie will take visitors on a personal stroll through The Galleries and into her world. Hear about the inspiration behind her 3-dimensional paintings & papier-mâché sculptures while viewing her art. Visitor questions and conversation welcome!

Maureen will create one of her incredible Fairy Gardens as visitors watch.



Jeff Whittington Bluegrass Show at the Davis Theatre Thursday, April 28

Local favorite Jeff Whittington will be bringing his bluegrass band back to the Davis Theatre on Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m.

The Jeff Whittington Bluegrass Show is an evening of traditional bluegrass featuring a quintet of outstanding musicians: Whittington, Pete Corum, John Culbreath, Mike Wood and Jason Wood.

Whittington performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage and was a staff musician with the Arthur Smith Show.  He has been featured on commercials and movie soundtracks.  A former North Carolina Banjo Champion, he plays banjo, pedal steel, Dobro, and guitar with the Brand New Opry.

Culbreath has performed with such bluegrass greats as Vassar Clements and Mac Wiseman, as well as being a former SC State Banjo Champion. He plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

Corum toured with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass, playing at the Grand Ole Opry, on television and all over the United States and Canada, and appeared Off Broadway and in the movie Cotton Patch Gospel.  He plays bass and sings.

Mike Wood began his career at the age of 14 as guitar player for his father and renowned banjoist, Al Wood and the Smokey Mountain Boys.  His first major show was Bill Monroe’s world famous bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana.  In the 1980s, he joined with mandolinist Herschel Sizemore to form the Country Grass.  He also sings bluegrass-gospel with his wife and family band, The Wood Family Tradition.

Jason Wood, Mike Wood’s son, began playing guitar when he was 7, began playing bass with his grandfather’s band when he was 13 and took up his main instrument, the left-handed mandolin, at 17.  He toured with Constant Change and recorded “The Song of the Mountain” with bluegrass legend Curly Seckler. He also has played with Audie Blaylock and Redline and The Band.

On performance night, the doors to the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse will open at 6:30 pm to give patrons the opportunity to see the Sonia Handelman Meyer photography exhibition in The Galleries buy concessions.  The Davis Theatre will open at 7 pm.

Tickets are $16 and are available any time online and Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the box office in person or via telephone, 704-920-2753. All seats are reserved. The Davis Theatre is located at 65 Union St. S, Concord, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse.


Take a Closer Look at Wanderlust on Thursday, April 21

If you love art, you will want to be at The Galleries Thursday, April 21, for the free event, A Closer Look: Behind the Creative Process.

The event for all art lovers will begin at 5:30 pm and include a behind-the-scenes look at The Galleries’ Wanderlust exhibition and the opportunity to meet two of the exhibiting artists, Gayle Stott Lowry and Susan Edmonson. The artists will talk about where they get ideas for their work and demonstrate some of their techniques.

Lowry is known for her light-infused architectural and landscape paintings. Her work in Wanderlust is primarily architectural paintings from her travels to Italy, Spain, Mexico and Cuba. Travel, in fact, has provided the impetus for the East Carolina University graduate’s growth as both a person and an artist throughout her adult life.

“I have relished any opportunity to leave my familiar surroundings and experience life in another part of the world,” she said.  “There I see with clarity of vision and partake of the diversity and richness of another culture, another landscape, another life.  Delving into this unfamiliar environment challenges me, poses questions and removes my certainty. It places me in context with all other living things, illuminating the beauty and mystery of existence.

“Interpreting these experiences through my paintings helps me relive these transformative times in my existence as a human being on this earth at this moment in time. It deepens my appreciation for life until I can venture forth again and find myself in unknown circumstances.”

Edmonson is an award-winning fiber artist who lives in Concord. Her specialties have long been folk art, crazy quilted wearables, wall quilts and “flower doodles.” More recently, she has been creating mixed media fabric books and mini art quilts. Her work is lavished with beading and embroidery. She loves working with vintage style fabrics and colors. Her patterns have evolved from original pieces inspired by vintage quilt designs and nature.

A Queens College graduate in art and design, Edmonson is in demand as a teacher and lecturer throughout the Southeast. She has designed quilt patterns and kits for two national stores as well as her own pattern line.

Wanderlust also includes works by seven other artists: Ráed Al-Rawi, acrylic paintings; Maureen Collins, living fairy gardens; Gene Costanza, oil paintings; Jessica Gordon, oil paintings; Frank Hunter, platinum/palladium photographs; Sudie Rakusin, three-dimensional mixed media paintings; and Christie Taylor, oil paintings.

The Galleries are located at 65 Union St. S, Concord, in the Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse. Reservations for A Closer Look will be appreciated but are not required to attend. For more information or to reserve a space, call 704-920-2787.

The Listening Room Open Mic Night April 14 at the Davis Theatre

The Listening Room, Davis Theatre’s version of an open mic night, will finish its first season Thursday, April 14.

Since its inception in September, The Listening Room has featured single, duo and group musical performances in a variety of genres, radio theatre, poetry and live painting. The evening is hosted by singer-songwriter David Domingo, who works with the Cabarrus Arts Council to help choose the acts. Domingo has played on the Davis Theatre stage several times in the past two years with his Fuzzbucket Music Company and also coordinates music for the Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival in Kannapolis.

One way The Listening Room differs from many open mic nights is that acts are chosen in advance and must be G-rated. In choosing performers, the arts council looks for both quality and variety. The goal is to give local artists the opportunity to perform on the Davis Theatre stage while at the same time providing a great evening of entertainment for the audience.

The guidelines for being considered as a performer may be found at here.  For more information, email or call the arts council at 704-920-2787.

The Listening Room begins at 7:30 p.m. and usually ends about 9 p.m. Tickets are just $5 at the door.


International Sensation Barrage 8 at the Davis Theatre April 10

Barrage 8, the new show from the creators of the original Barrage, will close the 2015-16 On Stage at the Davis season April 10.

The performance will be on Sunday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Davis Theatre located in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse at 65 Union St. S, Concord. Tickets are $48 and are available 24 hours a day online and Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the box office in person or via telephone, 704-920-2753. For more information, click.

Barrage 8 is the latest project from John Crozman, Dean Marshall and Tony Moore, the original creators of the hit show Barrage, which performed to rave reviews in 27 countries between 1996 and 2012. With the same energy, panache and innovative stage performance that Barrage was known for, Barrage 8 features all the instruments in the modern string family. The “8” in the name represents a re-imagining of the string octet: 5 violins, viola, cello and double bass. This instrumentation drives a rich and powerful sonic palette that further explores the musical diversity in the Barrage 8 compositions and arrangements.

Barrage 8 bills the show as a memorable presentation of music, from many genres and cascading generations, delivered in a way not seen or heard before.” The cast is composed of young masters of their instruments – it would be difficult to convey just how energetic they are, but these quotes from well-known publications give you some idea:

  • “This is not your father’s recital hall experience.” Chicago Tribune
  • “Too WOW for words.” Denver Post
  • “Irresistible energy.” Chicago Sun-Times

Galleries Open on Saturday March 5 and 12

The Galleries will be open on Saturday, March 5 and 12, 10 am-2 pm, providing some extra opportunities to see Convergence before it closes. The exhibition also may be viewed during regular hours, Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm.  It closes on March 12.

Convergence explores where found materials meet fine art via works by 12 artists. There are exquisite wood pieces turned from fallen trees found in the woods, photographs of well-loved dolls and plastic bags, horses and sculptures made of metal, artwork composed of books and dresses constructed of window blinds and folded paper.

The Galleries offer several free hands-on activities for children, and there is no charge for admission.

Brushes, Bourbon and Creative Muses at the Arts Council

Two fun and very special events, one for anyone who loves art and the other for young professionals, are taking place in February at the arts council.

A Closer Look: Behind the Creative Process will be held Thursday, Feb. 25, 5:30-7 p.m., in The Galleries. The program, intended for anyone who loves art, will take guests behind-the-scenes to learn more about the The Galleries’ Convergence exhibition, which explores the relationship between found materials and fine art via works by 12 artists. Two exhibiting artists, Marygrace Bianco and Carolyn DeMeritt, will talk about their creative muses and demonstrate how they create their pieces. Free. Reservations are appreciated. The event is free, but registrations are appreciated; call 704-920-2787 or email

Bianco of Concord creates sculptures that represent energy and regeneration and demonstrate a fresh look at objects. Her art is a combination of left and right brain, reconnecting the past and present, finding passion and purpose in various materials. It’s about looking at all things for special meaning, appreciating life and celebrating nature.

DeMeritt of Charlotte is a self-taught photographer and videographer who has worked at her craft for more than 30 years. She is driven to create, but often doesn’t know why until the work is finished, if then. There is a common thread in her work: there is a personal interaction with her subjects and, be they people, places or things, they reflect both the dramatic and subtle changes of life.

Brushes and Bourbon will take place Friday, Feb. 26, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Galleries. The evening will include bourbon tasting and whiskey painting. It is a membership event of Art on Tap, the arts council’s membership group for young professionals. The bourbon tasting will be facilitated by Thomas Thacker, head distiller and chief operating officer for Southern Grace Distilleries in Concord. Visual artist Jennie Martin Tomlin will host an interactive painting session where guests will learn about the history and process of whiskey painting.  Several whiskey painting stations will be set-up for guests to try this fun and unique art form. Guests also will be able to enjoy the Convergence exhibition and a variety of yummy treats.

Brushes and Bourbon is free to Art on Tap members and $20 for guests. All attendees must be at least 21. For more information about the event and the Art on Tap membership group, please call 704-920-2787 or email

Americana Band Mountain Heart at the Davis Theatre February 19

Americana band Mountain Heart, known for revolutionizing the way acoustic music can be played, will perform at the Davis Theatre on Friday, Feb. 19.

The show will be at 8 p.m. in the theatre located in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse at 65 Union St. S, Concord. Tickets are $36 and may be purchased online 24 hours a day aand Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the box office in person or via telephone, 704-920-2753.

Mountain Heart combines elements of rock, jam band, country, blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass into a high-energy sound that has earned it more than 130 appearances on the Grand Ole Opry stage and a boatload of awards and nominations. The band has won multiple International Bluegrass Music Association awards and it or individual members have been nominated for the Grammy, Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards. They have shared the stage with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brad Paisley, Alison Kraus, Tony Rice, The Avett Brothers, The Punch Brothers, Levon Helm and John Fogarty.

The band is made up of five all-star musicians: Josh Shilling, Aaron Ramsey, Seth Taylor, Jeff Partin and Molly Cherryholmes.

Shilling is a versatile singer-songwriter who plays piano and guitar and contributes robust vocals to Mountain Heart. He embraces many musical genres and has toured with The Avett Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Traveling McCourys, The Embers and Tower of Power. He graduated from high school a year early so he could begin touring.

Ramsey started playing mandolin at 12 and by the time he was 13 he was touring with his dad’s gospel band, Damascus Road. When he was 17, he won the mandolin competition at MerleFest. As a member of The Lites, he contributed his mandolin playing to the 2006 IBMA Album of the Year. He tours with Tony Rice, as time allows.

Taylor started playing guitar when he was 3 and learned banjo and other stringed instruments by the time he was 8. Competitions were a big part of his life; he won 14 in just five years, including the 2008 MerleFest guitar competition. He began playing in local bluegrass bands when he was 12 and touring with bluegrass/gospel band Pine Mountain Railroad when he was 15. He was a founding member of the acoustic band Monroeville.

Mountain Heart’s mandolin player, Partin, began singing with his family’s gospel group when he was 2 and has toured with them ever since. He began playing bass at age 3, mandolin at 8 and dobro at 10. He was 12 the first time he appeared at the Grand Ole Opry. He also is a member of the bluegrass group, Volume 5.

Cherryholmes was a five-time Grammy nominee as fiddler with her family’s bluegrass band, Cherryholmes. The youngest member of the family and group, she took the stage at age 7, just four months after beginning fiddle lessons with her mother. As a member of Cherryholmes, she traveled more than a million miles, playing venues ranging from Lincoln Center to the Grand Ole Opry to the Bonnaroo festival.