NCHS News 2016

Holiday hours for McRitchie-Hollis Museum:

The museum is open today, Friday, Dec. 30, until 3 p.m. We will be closed for New Year’s Eve tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 31, and reopen our regular hours 10 to noon and 1-3 on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Current exhibitions include the work of Newnan painter Tiffany Thomas in the downstairs rooms, and featured in the upstairs galleries is a selection of images from the three-decade Coweta County Remembered project of Newnan-Coweta Historical Society and The Newnan Times-Herald.

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Tour group brings surprise information on Howard Warner School

We enjoyed a pre-Christmas visit at McRitchie-Hollis Museum Dec. 21 by the Perkerson Park Unique Golden Age Club from Atlanta.

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The ladies toured the Newnan Train Depot and then explored the 1937 Jackson Street home that is now McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

img_20161221_110825356lowresA special treat was information shared by member Edna Rosser who grew up in Newnan and attended Howard Warner School, the facility on Savannah Street that is being renovated as a new city community center.

She shared information and identified old photographs for NCHS Curator Jessie Merrell and Executive Director Jeff Bishop while the rest of the group toured with staff member Ellen Corker.

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Maker dedication for Gen. Daniel Newnan in Rossville, GA Oct. 29

New Hope Baptist Church
2105 Tunnel Varnell Road
Tunnel Hill, GA

Lookout Mountain Chapter #437, U.S.D. 1812

War of 1812 Veteran Marker Dedication
General Daniel Newnan
(The City of Newnan, GA was named for him in 1828.)

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 – 11 A.M.

Newnan Springs United Methodist Church Grave Yard
78 Monanaw Avenue, Rossville, GA 30741

(Park at the church and ride van to the cemetery as there is limited parking.)

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Explore the Past at Oak Hill Cemetery

Actors practice for the Walk With Old Souls tour this Saturday at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Actors practice for the Walk With Old Souls tour this Saturday at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Experience Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery and learn about the lives of the people laid to rest there during the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s “Walk With Old Souls” event this October 15, from 4-7 p.m.
NCHS will host interactive, immersive experience tours of Newnan’s Historic Oak Hill Cemetery. Actors in costume will portray approximately a half-dozen of Newnan’s more notable deceased who are buried in Oak Hill.
“This will be a different kind of tour than we have done in years’ past,” said Executive Director Jeff Bishop. “It’s not a stroll through a historic neighborhood, and it’s certainly not meant to be a scary type of tour.”
The tour focuses on Newnan residents who lived and died in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the residents or those who served here during the Civil War featured on the tour include manufacturer R. D. Cole; a pair of Civil War nurses, Kate Cumming and Fannie Beers; society lady and College Temple student Hibernia Berry, educator Moses P. Kellogg, and others.
Jeff Bishop wrote the all-new scripts for the tour, based on original historical research. The cast includes Jennifer Dorrell as Fannie Beers, Dawn Campion as Kate Cumming, Bailey Oliveira as Hibernia Berry, Richard Tranter as M.P. Kellogg, Dean Jackson as W.U. Anderson, Tom Grandpre as R.D. Cole, Taj Stephens as Pharaoh Farmer, and Joe Arnotti, Gar Welden, Anne Graner, and Barbara Bishops as guides.

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hibernia

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The Newnan-Coweta Art Association members have provided new paintings of the principal people who will be featured on the tour. These will be displayed in the museum.
The tours, scheduled every 20 minutes from 4:00 to 6:20, last approximately an hour and begin at the NCHS’s McRithchie-Hollis Museum at 74 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA 30263. Some tours time slots are already sold out, so be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time.
Taking inspiration of Atlanta’s popular and successful Oakland Cemetery Spirit Tours, organizers of the NCHS Oak Hill Cemetery Tour hope to engage, educate and entertain ticket holders.
“This is community event designed to give citizens an opportunity to learn about some of Newnan’s citizens who had notable lives and made a difference or an impact on the town in which we live today,” said Tour Coordinator, Larisa McMichael.
Actors will perform next to the gravestone of the deceased person of which they are portraying. Actors will be in Civil War era or Victorian costume and have props or other visuals to help illustrate the lives of the people they represent.
Those in attendance should expect to hear a first person monologue by the actors about the life of the person they are portraying. This event is a unique opportunity for citizens to experience Oak Hill as they never have before.The guided tours will be led by an NCHS lantern-wielding docent dressed in Civil War or Victorian garb as well.
Ticket holders are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before their scheduled tour to check in and get with their group and guide.
While waiting for the Oak Hill tours to begin at the McRitchie-Hollis, there will be elegant dances performed by members of the Southern Arc Dance Company led by award winning choreographer, Paulo Manso de Sousa and old-time music played live by a trio of folk musicians.Local actors, musicians and dancers are being used as talent in this event. Folk musicians performing at the museum will entertain with a set of old-time, lively yet respectful music from the 19th and 20th centuries.

caroltoolepaintingboard
The first person accounts of the deceased’s lives are designed to engage audience members and give attendees a feeling of “getting to know” the citizen being featured on the tour.
By highlighting some of the citizens buried in Newnan’s Oak Hill cemetery, the stories of the deceased will be perpetuated and the memory of the former citizen prolonged and celebrated.
“The event is intended to be a celebration of some of Newnan’s own and how their lives impacted our town and community,” said McMichael.
This tour is being organized by the staff and volunteers of the Newnan Coweta Historical Society for the purpose of educating our community about some of our deceased citizens contributions to our community. Tours last approximately one hour and begin and end at the NCHS’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com, by calling 770-251-0207 or by visiting the NCHS museum at 74 Jackson St, Newnan, GA 30263.

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Second Annual Quilt Expo Oct. 6-8 at Newnan Train Depot

20161006quiltexpoposter_redowhoursThe Second Annual Quilt Expo comes to the Newnan Train Depot Oct. 6-8, presented by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
For the second year the historic Depot — 60 East Broad Street just two blocks from Newnan’s Court Square — will be filled with colorful quilts, displays by local quilt guilds and groups, and vendors offering a range of quilting supplies and gear.
There will be an assortment of vintage and contemporary quilts on view during the three-day event to offer inspiration.
Along with the colorful gallery of quilts, several area groups and guilds plan to be on site with displays and information about their offerings, including Common Threads Quilters Guild of Newnan, the Quilters Guild of the Southern Crescent and a guild group from Thomaston.

This colorful display at last year’s Quilt Expo is from the Quilters Guild of the Southern Crescent, which will be returning for the second annual event Oct. 6-8 at the Newnan Train Depot, hosted by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

This colorful display at last year’s Quilt Expo is from the Quilters Guild of the Southern Crescent, which will be returning for the second annual event Oct. 6-8 at the Newnan Train Depot, hosted by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

The Coweta County Quilts of Valor organization, headed by Kathy Wilson, will be sharing their story of efforts to honor those who have served the United States in the military. The group has stitched numerous quilts in recent years which have been presented to area veterans.
Coweta County quilt enthusiast Barbara Reed is again heading up this event for Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. She along with a list of vendors will offer quilting supplies, gear and knowledge.
Among this year’s vendor-experts will be Pamela Mayo of Treefrog Quilting in Moreland, and Peachtree City’s Laura Bosma of Pretty Penny Precuts who will be offering die-cut felted wool applique kits, stitching supplies and notions. Southern Stitches of Thomaston will be at the Expo with quilt kits and fabric.
Southeast Sewing Corporation returns with a display of high-end sewing machines including the Juki long-arm and Juki sit-down machines.
Show organizer Barbara Reed, of Newnan, who operates A Fine Notion, will display all quilting tools and notions, patterns, books, 18-inch doll patterns, clothes and shoes, along with specials and sales for this show.

A variety of colorful quilts will be on display at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s Second Annual Quilt Expo Oct. 6-8 at the Newnan Train Depot.

A variety of colorful quilts will be on display at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s Second Annual Quilt Expo Oct. 6-8 at the Newnan Train Depot.

Some special additions to this year’s show include Five Points, Alabama, craftsperson Carolyn Horn of Dip-Dap Krafts, who will be turning “yarn bowls.”
Also see basket weaving by The Georgia Basket Weaver and Miss Elaineous Baskets of Bonaire, Ga., operated by Doris Brown.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of the show Oct. 6-7, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the final show day Saturday, Oct. 8.
Admission is $5 at the door. There is ample free parking adjacent to the Depot.
For more information on the 2016 Quilt Expo contact the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, headquartered in the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson Street, at the corner of Clark Street, just north of downtown Newnan. The museum presents ever-changing exhibitions on historic and decorative arts topics presented in the setting of a restored grand 1937 home. Hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. General admission is $5, and $2 for students and seniors. For details call 770-251-0207, check the website at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com or on Facebook at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

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Lauren Waldroop serves as graduate assistant at NCHS

Working for NCHS during summer 2016 and then continuing her project on Coweta Remembered photographs for fall 2016 was graduate assistant Lauren Waldroop.

Lauren Waldroop

Lauren Waldroop

Originally from Flower Mound, Texas, Lauren Waldroop graduated from Auburn University in 2014 with degrees in Environmental Design and German. As a Fulbright Student the following year in Aachen, Germany, she worked on a project focusing on a small city in northern Italy, built in the mid-1500s as the ideal Renaissance city, trying to determine what makes this city ideal.

She is currently a Master of Historic Preservation candidate at the University of Georgia. Lauren’s research interests include architecture, architecture history, defining cultural identity, and the use of technology to promote history. During summer 2016 she worked on completing our database of “Coweta County Remembered” archival photo materials. When completed, the database will be a searchable digital asset for the organization for years to come.

Here’s the Omeka web address for the Coweta County Remembered project:

http://newnancowetahistoricalsociety.omeka.net/

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TONIGHT AT UWG NEWNAN CAMPUS!

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Congratulations to the winners in the

Fall 2016 Simple Pleasures photography contest!

Fall Simple Pleasures First Place and People's Choice winner Lisa Stephens with her entry "Silly Boys."

Fall Simple Pleasures First Place and People’s Choice winner Lisa Stephens with her entry “Silly Boys.”

Taking First Place as well as the People’s Choice award in the fall 2016 Simple Pleasures Photography Contest hosted by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society was “Silly Boys” by Lisa Stephens, shown with contest judge Billy Newman standing beside the winning photo of two boys playing in fall leaves.

Second place winning photo was “Charming Charlie” by Lori Kolbenschlag of Senoia. The entry was an image of a snake charmer she encountered on an international trip.

Second place winning photo was "Charming Charlie" by Lori Kolbenschlag of Senoia, with show judge Billy Newman.

Second place winning photo was “Charming Charlie” by Lori Kolbenschlag of Senoia, with show judge Billy Newman.

Third place photo was “Aunt Julia Remembers” by Lori Harrell. The winning photo showed a woman interacting with a horse.

Newman’s criteria for judging were:
1 — The photo had to reflect a Simple Pleasure.
2 — It had to be a technically good photo.
3 — There had to be a strong element of creativity and uniqueness.

Honorable Mention awards in the Fall 2016 show went to:
–“Rebellious Dancer” by Harper Wolf, a young girl dancing near a No Trespassing sign.
–“Jackleg” by Aneta Harris, an image showing a dog paw appearing to hold a house.
and
–“Morning Stretch” by Lori Kolbenschlag, a backlit image of a runner stretching.

Third place winner Lori Harrell with Simple Pleasures show judge Billy Newman.

Third place winner Lori Harrell with Simple Pleasures show judge Billy Newman.

Newnan-Coweta Executive Director Jeff Bishop and Simple Pleasures show director Larisa McMichael welcomed award reception attendees, and show judge Billy Newman commented on the entries and presented awards.

McMichael later announced the People’s Choice award and sharee about upcoming NCHS events, including the “Walk With Old Souls” tour of historic Oak Hill Cemetery coming up 4-7 p.m. Oct. 15 with tours starting every 20 minutes from the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

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“Walk With Newnan’s Old Souls” in Oak Hill Cemetery Tour

13558753_1207631459270630_6336158228506316583_oExperience Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery and learn about the lives of the people laid to rest there during the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s “Walk With Old Souls” event this October 15, from 4-7 p.m.
NCHS will host interactive, immersive experience tours of Newnan’s Historic Oak Hill Cemetery. Actors in costume will portray approximately a half-dozen of Newnan’s more notable deceased who are buried in Oak Hill.

Newnan's Oak Hill Cemetery.

Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery.

“This will be a different kind of tour than we have done in years’ past,” said NCHS Executive Director Jeff Bishop. “It’s not a stroll through a historic neighborhood, and it’s certainly not meant to be a scary type of tour.”
The tour focuses on Newnan residents who lived and died in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the residents or those who served here during the Civil War featured on the tour include manufacturer R. D. Cole; a pair of Civil War nurses, Kate Cumming and Fannie Beers; society lady and College Temple student Hibernia Berry, educator Moses P. Kellogg, and others.

Artistic markers in Newnan's Oak Hill Cemetery.

Artistic markers in Newnan’s Oak Hill Cemetery.

Jeff Bishop wrote the all-new scripts for the tour, based on original historical research. The cast includes Jennifer Dorrell as Fannie Beers, Dawn Campion as Kate Cumming, Bailey Oliveira as Hibernia Berry, Richard Tranter as M.P. Kellogg, Dean Jackson as W.U. Anderson, Tom Grandpre as R.D. Cole, Taj Stephens as Pharaoh Farmer, and Joe Arnotti, Gar Welden, Anne Graner, and Barbara Bishop as guides.
The tours, scheduled every 20 minutes from 4:00 to 6:20, last approximately an hour and begin at the NCHS’s McRithchie-Hollis Museum at 74 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA 30263.
Taking inspiration of Atlanta’s popular and successful Oakland Cemetery Spirit Tours, organizers of the NCHS Oak Hill Cemetery Tour hope to engage, educate and entertain ticket holders.
“This is community event designed to give citizens an opportunity to learn about some of Newnan’s citizens who had notable lives and made a difference or an impact on the town in which we live today,” said Tour Coordinator, Larisa McMichael.
Actors will perform next to the gravestone of the deceased person of which they are portraying. Actors will be in Civil War era or Victorian costume and have props or other visuals to help illustrate the lives of the people they represent.
Those in attendance should expect to hear a first person monologue by the actors about the life of the person they are portraying. This event is a unique opportunity for citizens to experience Oak Hill as they never have before.The guided tours will be led by an NCHS lantern-wielding docent dressed in Civil War or Victorian garb as well.
Ticket holders are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before their scheduled tour to check in and get with their group and guide.
While waiting for the Oak Hill tours to begin at the McRitchie-Hollis, there will be elegant dances performed by members of the Southern Arc Dance Company led by award winning choreographer, Paulo Manso de Sousa and old-time music played live by a trio of folk musicians.Local actors, musicians and dancers are being used as talent in this event. Folk musicians performing at the museum will entertain with a set of old-time, lively yet respectful music from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The first person accounts of the deceased’s lives are designed to engage audience members and give attendees a feeling of “getting to know” the citizen being featured on the tour.
By highlighting some of the citizens buried in Newnan’s Oak Hill cemetery, the stories of the deceased will be perpetuated and the memory of the former citizen prolonged and celebrated.
“The event is intended to be a celebration of some of Newnan’s own and how their lives impacted our town and community,” said McMichael.
This tour is being organized by the staff and volunteers of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society for the purpose of educating our community about some of our deceased citizens’ contributions to our community. Tours last approximately one hour and begin and end at the NCHS’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com, by calling 770-251-0207 or by visiting the NCHS McRitchie-Hollis museum at 74 Jackson St, Newnan, GA 30263.

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Talk on Gen. Sherman’s Destruction of Georgia Railroads set at Depot Sept. 13

Robert C. Jones

Robert C. Jones

A lecture on Georgia’s railroads as targets of attack during the Civil War is coming in September at Newnan’s Depot History Center.

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society will host author Robert C. Jones, who will present “Sherman’s Destruction of Georgia’s Railroads” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Newnan Depot, 60 East Broad Street.

Jones is a frequent speaker on a variety of topics from Georgia history from its founding through the Civil War years, as well as various topics on the Civil War, Revolutionary War, World War I, the War of 1812, the Old West and American Railroads. He will have copies of his books on historical topics available for purchase that evening at the Depot.

Jones served as president of the Kennesaw Historical Society for 21 years (1994-2015), and he also served as a member of the executive board of the Kennesaw Museum Foundation for 17 years (1998-2015). The Museum Foundation helped fund the 45,000-square-foot Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, GA.

Jones has written more than 40 books on Civil War and Revolutionary War themes, including “Lost Confederate Gold,” “A Guide to the Civil War in Georgia” and “Heroes and Heroines of the American Revolution.”

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Haley McKenzie completes Summer 2016 internship

We wish Haley McKenzie well as she is back in college earning her graduate degree.

McKenzie began her summer June 1, 2016 as a graduate assistant with Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. She is originally from Franklin, Ga.

Haley McKenzie

Haley McKenzie

She received her Bachelor’s in History from Georgia Southern University in 2015 and is currently part of the Public History Master’s Program at Georgia Southern.

Haley has worked with the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah, Ga and the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Ga.

She eventually hopes to have a career that allows her to make history interesting for the public.

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Facilities Manager Ellen Jenkins leaves to direct new Newnan children’s museum

We wish our recent facilities manager Ellen Jenkins well in her new role directing the Children/Connect Museum that is getting started this September 2016.

Jenkins joined the staff of Newnan-Coweta Historical Society in July 2015, managing facilities rentals of the McRitchie-Hollis Museum and the Historic Depot. She also worked developing educational programming and community outreach for NCHS.

Ellen Jenkins

Ellen Jenkins

Jenkins grew up in Newnan and graduated from Newnan High School before earning her undergraduate degree in history from the University of West Georgia. She also holds a Master’s degree in elementary education from Western Governors University.

“I’m excited to be back home and part of such a great group of people who are working to preserve Newnan’s history,” Ellen said as she started with NCHS last July. “I have wonderful childhood memories of my family being involved in so many different events and activities at the Male Academy Museum. I’m looking forward to fostering that sense of history and community in the next generation of Newnan residents.”

As a Newnan native, Ellen has strong roots in the area. She was a teacher at Trinity Christian School and The Heritage School and worked with the Summit Family YMCA summer camp program. In 2007, she and her husband Matt moved to Durham, North Carolina, where she taught at Duke School and developed a wide variety of summer programs. Ellen and her husband returned to Newnan last year and live in the downtown area.

“We are looking forward to working with Ellen to strengthen our programming, marketing, and outreach at the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society – especially programming for children, where her experience as a teacher will be a valuable asset,” said Executive Director Jeff Bishop as she arrived to work in July 2015. “She will be a valuable part of the NCHS team as we plan for the future.”

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Artist’s rendering of the Children Connect: Newnan Children’s Museum.

Artist’s rendering of the Children Connect: Newnan Children’s Museum.

Children’s museum to kick off activities in September

(From The Newnan Times-Herald, Aug. 12, 2016)

By Rebecca Leftwich

The walls of Newnan’s Male Academy Museum are mostly bare at the moment, and the sound of hammering echoes through the large, empty rooms.
When the historical building next opens to the public, it will house an entirely different kind of museum.

The Children Connect: Newnan Children’s Museum – a hands-on, interactive space designed to help children explore their interests and supplement their learning – will begin offering Saturday programs in mid-September.

Utilizing the larger classrooms of the former school wasn’t in the original plan for the children’s museum, which was intended to occupy the brick house adjacent to Gray Cottage on Clark Street. What began as a historical society committee has morphed into a museum project with plans too big to fit into the space originally designated for its use.

“The idea we had was for a space that children could really come and move around in and explore,” said Ellen Jenkins, executive director of Children Connect. “There just wasn’t enough space at the Clark Street location.”

With historical society collections already housed upstairs in the Clark Street location, the logical course of action was to move the Male Academy Museum displays to the downstairs portion of the house and reassign the NCHS’ lease to Children Connect. And the city of Newnan agreed, allowing Jenkins to get moving on the project.

“It made sense to switch spaces,” she said, citing the adjacent city park as another reason the Male Academy is an ideal location for a children’s museum.

While artist’s renderings show the exhibitions and spaces that are planned for the future, Jenkins said, they look different from what actually will be in place in September, when the first of Children Connect’s “Super Saturdays” will be held.

“It’s going to be awhile before we start looking like a traditional museum,” she said. “We’ve got to raise about $200,000 for fabrication. So at the beginning, we’re going to take advantage of the space we have and the experience I have doing hands-on projects with children.”

Jenkins, who holds a master’s degree in teaching, taught at The Heritage School and Trinity Christian School before moving to Durham, N.C. in 2007. In Durham, she worked at The Duke School, nationally known for providing project-based learning for students ages 3 through eighth grade.

“I was able to learn from the best about how to get kids excited about learning and curious about different topics,” she said. “I learned how to step back and let them shape their own learning. I felt like this kind of activity would really benefit Newnan. (The museum) is an opportunity to create a space for kids to come in and get their hands on something, get dirty, and get the joy of figuring things out for themselves.”

Super Saturdays will be designed for children ages 5-11, according to Jenkins, and initial activities will be based on Dr. Seuss books. Each project will incorporate science, technology and the arts.

“We’ll start with Horton Hears a Who, and we’ll learn all about sound,” she said. “We’ll learn about parts of the body and sound waves, then talk about musical instruments and how they produce sound. We’ll make our own musical instruments for the kids to show to their families.”

Children Connect will be seeking sponsorships and grants to fund some of the programming, with the aim of keeping Super Saturday activities free for all children in the community, Jenkins said.

Once Super Saturdays are up and running, “maker space” will be next on the development list for the museum.

“Maker space is a space with materials for kids to come in and make anything they want,” Jenkins said. “The point is to provide space, materials and enough supervision so that you can teach kids how to safely and appropriately handle things, then turn them loose. You just let kids have their own made laboratory.”

The design and purpose will be different from a traditional museum that people only visit a few times. Children Connect is meant to be a permanent place of discovery, according to Jenkins.

“We want to create a resource for every child in the community, regardless of whether they can afford it,” she said.

For more information on Children Connect: Newnan Children’s Museum, visit the group’s Facebook page at @childrenconnectmuseum .

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Male Academy Museum currently closed

Aug. 9, 2016

Male Academy Museum

Male Academy Museum

The Male Academy Museum is currently closed as it is transformed into the new Children’s Connect Museum. Stay tuned for more details from the children’s museum board.

Meanwhile, for information about the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society call our office at our new headquarters in McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., 770-251-0207.

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College Temple Storytelling Festival Sept. 24

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Storytellers from around the globe are ready to captivate Newnan audiencesSeptember 24 at the College-Temple Storytelling Festival, the first local event of this kind, from 4-6:30 p.m.

NCHS is coordinating this event, which includes five dynamic storytellers. Each storyteller performing has his or her own uniquely developed style that is sure to enthrall those in attendance.

The headliner of the festival is Irish storyteller Helena Byrne. “If you don’t get goosebumps when you hear her beautiful voice then you may need to consult a medical professional because chances are, you’re dead inside,” said Travel Ireland Magazine in March, 2016.

“I didn’t want the stories to end, each one was more spellbinding than the last,” said The Celtic Connection Magazine USA. Byrne “bridges the gap between Irish legends and folk music,” says The Irish World Newspaper UK.

“We’re so fortunate to be able to bring an international storyteller of this caliber to Newnan,” said Executive Director Jeff Bishop. Local storytelling group leader Larisa McMichael is coordinating the event.

The festival is scheduled from 4:00 to 6:30 PM and begins at the NCHS’s McRithchie-Hollis Museum at 74 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA 30263.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com, by calling 770-251-0207 or by visiting the NCHS museum at 74 Jackson St, Newnan, GA 30263.

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Lots going on at NCHS!

See upcoming events in our latest newsletter.

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20-year anniversary of 1996 Atlanta Olympics
marked with exhibition at McRitchie-Hollis Museum

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Numerous Cowetans were involved with the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, and a new exhibition at McRitchie-Hollis Museum reflects on both the Olympics and the Torch Run that brought the flame through U.S. cities including Newnan 20 years ago.

Memorabilia has been shared by participants and spectators, including items from Newnan-Coweta Historical Society board member and treasurer John Thrasher who was involved in the Games as an employee of Georgia Power and who was one of the local torch bearers — carrying the flame along a section of Bullsboro Drive.

The Centennial Olympics took place in metro Atlanta and outlying sites such as the University of Georgia in Athens and in Savannah between July 19 and Aug. 4, 1996. Atlanta Olympics Committee Chair Billy Payne and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young lobbied for the Olympics to be held in Atlanta to prove that the South was no longer impoverished and had moved past the racial tensions of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Atlanta was selected in September 1990 by the Olympic Committee, beating out Athens, Greece and front-runner Toronto, Canada.

The Olympic Torch Relay covered some 16,669 miles, crisscrossing through 42 states to Atlanta, More than 12,000 torch bearers took part in the relay which culminated with Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the opening ceremonies at the stadium that was later transformed into today’s Turner Field. The torch bearers were determined via an international selection program run by Coca-Cola.

Coweta citizen and Georgia Department of Corrections employee Duke Blackburn developed the route for the Olympic Torch Relay and supervised 1,200 Georgia law officers on the trek across the United States mainland. Georgia State Patrol Trooper Wayne Carlisle, also a Coweta resident, was a member of the team assisting with security for the relay.

Newnan’s own Bob Coggin, along with his wife Millie and numerous Delta and Olympic executives, flew to Athens, Greece to pick up the Olympic flame. Coming back, they landed in Los Angeles and that is where the torch started its trip to Atlanta.

13731469_1223250711032849_9207507844794645968_nAs Millie Coggin recalls, her husband was Executive Vice President of Delta at the time. Delta had a “brand new” jet that carried the torch. The torch was lit all across the ocean. Also, Bob carried the torch from Pine Road into the Newnan City Limits on Greenville Street where he handed it off to Lavinia Barron.

“I have numerous pins and memorabilia,” Millie Coggin shares. “At the time of the Olympics, Richard Branson and his family were our house guests during the Olympics. We attended many events. “We have wonderful memories of the Olympics. We can’t believe it’s been 20 years.”

The torches were designed by Malcolm Grear and assembled from aluminum parts manufactured in Newnan by William L Bonnell Company and pecan wood that was harvested and prepared locally by Woodmizer South plant of Newnan. The torches include 22 aluminum reeds, which represent the number of times that the Games had been held. All 20 host cities are listed on a gold band on the torches.

John Thrasher, in addition to carrying one of the torches in the relay, acted as a field marshal for the Games. He assisted at the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympic stadium in Atlanta. He also attended an equestrian event and was at one of the women’s soccer games in Sanford Stadium at UGA, witnessing the U.S.team take home the gold in the first women’s soccer event in Olympic history.

Visitors who were in Atlanta for the Olympics can take a walk down memory lane as they view the torch, souvenirs and images from events, various uniforms, a selection of the popular trading pins and even an “Izzy” mascot doll. The museum also has a journal for visitors to share their own memories of attending or assisting with events during the ’96 Games.

McRitchie-Hollis this summer also offers two other special exhibitions this summer. “Bathing Beauties” traces the evolution of swimwear from the late 1800s through the 1960s, featuring examples from the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society textiles collection. There is also a special historical photo exhibition on development of the Dixie Highway, a traveling exhibition on loan from the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia in Dalton. The cottage industry of the early 1900s making chenille bedspreads displayed along the highway route gave rise to the carpet industry that made Dalton the carpet capital of the world.

McRitchie-Hollis Museum is at 74 Jackson St. just north of downtown Newnan. Admission is $5 adults and $2 for students and seniors. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. For more information call 770-251-0207 or see our website at www.newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com or our Facebook page.

OlympicTorchLOWRESNewnan resident John Thrasher carried this torch in the Olympic Torch Relay for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games held in Atlanta. He was among locals carrying torches along Bullsboro Drive. The torches were assembled with aluminum parts manufactured by William L Bonnell Co. of Newnan.

 

 

 

 

Field Marshal jacketLOWRESThis jacket and straw hat were worn by Newnan resident John Thrasher as he served as a field marshal for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Olympic stadium was later converted into what is now Turner Field.

 

 

 

 

 

SecurityUniformLOWRESThis security uniform worn by Newnan resident Frank Reece is among clothing articles on display as part of the exhibition remembering Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic LegacyLOWRESNewnan-Coweta Historical Society is inviting visitors viewing the McRitchie-Hollis Museum exhibition on Atlanta’s 1996 Summer Olympic Games to share their own memories of the Games in a special journal.

 

 

 

 

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Open house at 52 College St.

Dent-Walls-Strain home, 52 College St.

Dent-Walls-Strain home, 52 College St.

NCHS members and College Temple neighbors Pat and Mike Strain are graciously hosting an open house of their antebellum home, known as the Dent-Walls home, at 52 College Street after their long renovation project. The open house is 1-6 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Admission is free, but the Strains are taking donations for CARE for AIDS to provide life-saving care to HIV+ parents in Kenya.

The restoration was done by Jerrell Griffin Inc., and the home was decorated by James Farmer III.

Parking will be available on nearby Cavendar Street in the lot across from University of West Georgia, about 4 blocks away.

Dent Home Open House_Strains_Flyer_reduced

Here is a little history on the home from the NCHS Art and Architecture tour in May.

The Joseph Ephraim and Elizabeth Stegall Dent home, 52 College St., was saved from the bulldozers in the 1940s when plans called for it to be the location of a new high school. The property was determined to be too small. It is one of only about 22 antebellum houses remaining in Newnan. The home and property have undergone an extensive renovation by the current owners. Joseph E. Dent was a planter, vice president of the People’s Bank of Newnan, a Mason, and an active member of the Methodist Church. Dent purchased a four-acre property from the Methodist Church and built the home about 1854. It is Greek Revival-style and has a four over four plan with a central hall and double exterior chimneys of handmade clay brick. Early deeds show that on the original large property were a “cow house,” hog pen, buggy shelter and an orchard. The original kitchen building was connected to the main house by a breezeway, now enclosed. The house features four large, fluted Doric columns and a cantilevered balcony. J. E. Dent was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on Aug. 15, 1819. As a young man of 16 he left Virginia with his older brother, William Barton Wade Dent, who had already settled in Georgia, and traveled to Heard County where they made their home. The brothers moved to Newnan in the early 1850s. W.B.W. Dent built a large home, quite similar in design, nearby on Temple Avenue in 1852.

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Signposts along the Dixie Highway

Signposts along the Dixie Highway

Travel the Dixie Highway this summer at McRitchie-Hollis Museum
July 5, 2016
Opening this first week of July at Newnan-Coweta Historical Society’s McRitchie-Hollis Museum is a photo exhibit of the Gateway to the South, the old Dixie Highway.
Explore the once well-traveled Dixie Highway, the first proto-Interstate Highway through the South, that offered “paved access” all the way from the North to Florida.

1929 Georgia Highway map showing routes of Dixie Highway

1929 Georgia Highway map showing routes of Dixie Highway

The photo history of the old road, sections of which still exist to this day, is on loan from the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia in Dalton. The North Georgia cottage industry selling tufted chenille bedspreads to travelers along the route gave rise to the carpet industry that made the Dalton area the carpet capital of the world.
The exhibit will be at McRitchie-Hollis through July and August.
Travel expanded in the early 1900s with advent of the automobile. By the 1930s vacationers from the North headed to Georgia and Florida beaches saw clotheslines filled with tufted chenille bedspreads displayed along U.S. Highway 41, through Dalton and other small communities in northwest Georgia. The area earned the name “Peacock Alley” from one of the popular, colorful designs. Tourists often stopped and bought these spreads, sometimes believing them to be examples of authentic American folk crafts.

 

Mrs. J. A. Green and her son, Allen Burton, make tufted bedspreads on U.S. Highway 41 in Bartow County, 1933. Green was one of the first in the county to make chenille bedspreads.

Mrs. J. A. Green and her son, Allen Burton, make tufted bedspreads on U.S. Highway 41 in Bartow County, 1933. Green was one of the first in the county to make chenille bedspreads.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Catherine Evans (later Catherine Evans Whitener) revived the handcraft technique of tufting in the 1890s near Dalton. Tufted bedspreads, which proved popular not only locally but also regionally and nationally, consisted of cotton sheeting to which Evans and (later) others would apply designs with raised “tufts” of thick yarn. These tufted bedspreads were often referred to as chenille products. Chenille, the French word for “caterpillar,” is generally used to describe fabrics that have a thick pile (raised yarn ends) protruding all around at right angles. Most tufted bedspreads did not meet the strict definition of chenille, yet the term stuck.

This hand-tufted chenille bedspread, popularized during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was displayed at the Prater's Mill Country Fair in Varnell. The peacock motif appeared on many of the spreads made during the 1930s. - Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development

This hand-tufted chenille bedspread, popularized during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was displayed at the Prater’s Mill Country Fair in Varnell. The peacock motif appeared on many of the spreads made during the 1930s.
– Courtesy of Georgia Department of Economic Development

The handcraft of tufting played an important role in the economic development of northwest Georgia. Evans and others who learned the technique stamped familiar patterns onto blank sheets, then filled the patterns with yarn. As the products grew in popularity, merchants in the Dalton region took an interest in marketing the spreads. By the 1920s tufted bedspreads appeared on the shelves of department stores in Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and other major cities.
Merchants organized a vast “putting out” system to fill the growing demand. They established “spread houses,” usually small warehouses (or homes) where patterns were stamped onto sheets. Men called haulers would then deliver the stamped sheets and yarn to thousands of rural homes in north Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Families then sewed in the patterns.
The hauler would make another round of visits to pick up the spreads, pay the tufters (or “turfers,” as they sometimes called themselves), and return the products to the spread houses for finishing. Finishing involved washing the spreads in hot water to shrink them and lock in the yarn tufts. The tufted spreads could also be dyed in a variety of colors.
The participation of farm families in this industry provided badly needed cash incomes and helped these families weather the Great Depression. It also produced fortunes for some. Dalton’s B. J. Bandy (aided by his wife, Dicksie Bradley Bandy) was reputedly the first man to make $1 million in the bedspread business by the late 1930s, but many others followed.
In the 1930s such companies as Cabin Crafts began to bring the handwork from the farms into factories. These new firms also began mechanizing the industry by adapting sewing machines to the task of inserting raised yarn tufts.
The industrialization of tufting raised productivity and created a booming local textile industry centered in Dalton. The remarkable success of tufted bedspreads led companies to experiment with other products, such as robes, tank sets (fuzzy covers for toilets), and small rugs.
The experimentation with small rugs eventually led some of these companies to begin using the machine tufting process to cover an entire piece of room-sized (nine feet by twelve feet or so) backing material with raised yarn tufts to produce carpets. In the 1950s carpets surpassed bedspreads and other tufted products and became a staple of American consumption.
Traveling the Dixie Highway soon became part of American popular culture, promoted in magazines, travel literature and even inspiring songwriters.

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The Dixie Highway followed several routes through Georgia. Communities promoted tourist attractions along the way like the Incline Railway at Chattanooga, the Civil War battlefields of northwest Georgia, Rock City gardens, Stone Mountain near Atlanta or the peach orchards of south Georgia. Postcards showed accommodations for overnight guests from upscale hotels to tourist courts to cottages and cabins, or travelers might camp with travel trailers.
Muddy conditions and river crossings were particular hazards for drivers before paving of routes along the Dixie Highway. Bridges were built and roads were improved, sometimes by local townspeople but often with prison labor.
An extra advantage of the road improvements was that the highway provided routes for local commerce. In the late 1800s the primary means of transport of goods had been the railroads with smaller roads built like spokes of a wheel from farms to small towns.
The route through Georgia generally followed Highway 19 and 41, and much of it still exits as byways today.

The Dixie Highway exhibition includes 24 photographic display stands depicting scenes of the famous route’s construction and stops along the way.

The Dixie Highway exhibition includes 24 photographic display stands depicting scenes of the famous route’s construction and stops along the way.

See this traveling exhibit at McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson Street just north of downtown Newnan. Hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information call 770-251-0207.
McRitchie-Hollis also presents the history of swimwear from the 1800s through the mid-1900s in a summer exhibit called “Bathing Beauties.” And opening mid-July is a 20th anniversary tribute to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the Torch Run that brought the Olympic flame through communities in Coweta County.

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McMichael to direct Simple Pleasures photography contest
July 1, 2016
20160701SimplePleasuresDirector_LarisaMcMichael
The new face of the Simple Pleasures photography competition, Larisa McMichael, left, was introduced at the June 30 closing reception for the spring 2016 Simple Pleasures: The Nature Show.
Newnan-Coweta Historical Society Executive Director Jeff Bishop made the introduction while honoring outgoing director and show founder Carla Cook Smith. Carla will continue to support the competition as director emeritus.
Bishop noted that Larisa will help NCHS make the show a continuing success going forward, as she has done with promoting events like the Burns Scottish hetitage weekend and the recent debut of musical drama “Flies at the Well” recounting the 1948 John Wallace murder trial.
Entry is open through July 26 for the fall Simple Pleasures photography competition. See the Simple Pleasures or Newnan-Coweta Historical Society websites for an entry form or call NCHS at 770-251-0207.
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These students need our help
June 3, 2016
ECHS History Day winners
CONGRATULATIONS to East Coweta High School History Day Winners Sarah Akbar, Kate Lee, Emma Helfers, Allison Haskell, and Paul Anderson, who are all going to NATIONAL HISTORY DAY — but they need some help! “We all have a great passion for history,” said Akbar, “and this is depicted in our projects. We have won 1st place at the school level, 1st place at the regional level, and 1st place at the state level. Now it is time for us to go to the National level in Maryland from June 12 to June 16th to compete for one final time. We were wondering if you would be able to help a little bit to fund our trip there so that we can compete at the National level.”
Nobody from East Coweta High School has ever qualified to go to Nationals for National History Day, even though it is a competition the school competes in every year. “This is an amazing opportunity for us and for our school, but we need some help getting there,” she said.The approximate costs of the the trip are a $110 registration fee per student, $250 for a round-trip plane ticket per student, and approximately $400-500 for staying at a hotel in Maryland per student. This totals to be about $800 per student and approximately $4,000 for all of the students together.“We are not asking for you to fund our entire trip, but any small donation is very much appreciated. If you are interested in helping us go to nationals or want more information about our project or about National History Day, please contact our teacher, Todd Crafton. His contact information is below.”Todd Crafton
(770)714-7142
todd.crafton@cowetaschools.netThe group’s GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/nhdnationals2016

The online project is called The Golden Age of Broadway and here is its link. http://80668400.nhd.weebly.com/

Its description:
The Golden Age of Broadway was the era in which Broadway musicals began to truly develop. We trace the changes to the musical itself, as well as the social effects that these shows had on American culture by handing tough subjects such as racism.

The exhibit project is called The Speckled Monster: Microscopic Soldier and beginning Friday it will be ON DISPLAY FOR A LIMITED TIME AT THE McRITCHIE-HOLLIS MUSEUM! A cash donation box will be made available.

For its description:
The Speckled Monster: Microscopic Soldier describes the historical significance of smallpox, especially its effect on Native American populations and culture. Smallpox has become a notorious agent of death in the course of American history, and its devastation was integral in the decline of Native American civilizations. The smallpox virus killed and mutilated millions of Native Americans, drastically reducing the world’s cultural diversity and diminishing their ability to resist subjugation.

“I know the numbers seem daunting, but any donation in helping us achieve our goal of winning at the National Competition is greatly appreciated!” said Akbar.

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These students need our help
June 3, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS to East Coweta High School History Day Winners Sarah Akbar, Kate Lee, Emma Helfers, Allison Haskell, and Paul Anderson, who are all going to NATIONAL HISTORY DAY — but they need some help! “We all have a great passion for history,” said Akbar, “and this is depicted in our projects. We have won 1st place at the school level, 1st place at the regional level, and 1st place at the state level. Now it is time for us to go to the National level in Maryland from June 12 to June 16th to compete for one final time. We were wondering if you would be able to help a little bit to fund our trip there so that we can compete at the National level.”
Nobody from East Coweta High School has ever qualified to go to Nationals for National History Day, even though it is a competition the school competes in every year. “This is an amazing opportunity for us and for our school, but we need some help getting there,” she said.The approximate costs of the the trip are a $110 registration fee per student, $250 for a round-trip plane ticket per student, and approximately $400-500 for staying at a hotel in Maryland per student. This totals to be about $800 per student and approximately $4,000 for all of the students together.”We are not asking for you to fund our entire trip, but any small donation is very much appreciated. If you are interested in helping us go to nationals or want more information about our project or about National History Day, please contact our teacher, Todd Crafton. His contact information is below.”Todd Crafton
(770)714-7142
todd.crafton@cowetaschools.netThe group’s GoFundMe page can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/nhdnationals2016The online project is called The Golden Age of Broadway and here is its link. http://80668400.nhd.weebly.com/Its description:
The Golden Age of Broadway was the era in which Broadway musicals began to truly develop. We trace the changes to the musical itself, as well as the social effects that these shows had on American culture by handing tough subjects such as racism.The exhibit project is called The Speckled Monster: Microscopic Soldier and beginning Friday it will be ON DISPLAY FOR A LIMITED TIME AT THE McRITCHIE-HOLLIS MUSEUM! A cash donation box will be made available.For its description:
The Speckled Monster: Microscopic Soldier describes the historical significance of smallpox, especially its effect on Native American populations and culture. Smallpox has become a notorious agent of death in the course of American history, and its devastation was integral in the decline of Native American civilizations. The smallpox virus killed and mutilated millions of Native Americans, drastically reducing the world’s cultural diversity and diminishing their ability to resist subjugation.”I know the numbers seem daunting, but any donation in helping us achieve our goal of winning at the National Competition is greatly appreciated!” said Akbar.
Busy weekend ahead for NCHS
June 2, 2016
13305066_1184589984908111_8700798255486568361_o
It’s shaping up to be a busy weekend for family fun and art in Newnan via the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society with two events at two museums, the McRitchie-Hollis Museum and the Male Academy!
The weekend opens with the smooth sounds of jazz performed by saxophonist Antoine Knight at the reception at the Male Academy Museum for Beyond Cups and Bowls, a free fine art clay competition/exhibition on Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. AntoineKnight
Winners from the national clay competition will be announced at the event which also showcases the talent of four local artists. Details: www.beyondcupsandbowls.com
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IMG_20160602_113148404_HDRIMG_20160602_100819522

On Saturday, June 4, indoor and outdoor exhibits for Beyond Cups and Bowls open at the Male Academy beginning at 10 a.m. and will include artisan demos in blacksmithing, textiles, spinning, painting and more via the Artisans Heritage Guild. Support local non-profit organizations through the purchase of food and beverages at this event which is sponsored by Christopher Bros. Surveying, McKoon Funeral Home, Piedmont Insurance, the Senoia Buggy Museum and Welden Financial.

There are more opportunities for family fun on Saturday at the McRitchie Hollis Museum, which is providing children’s activities from 11 until 1 at the NCHS Family Fun Day.

Sophie Bishop, back, with a young visitor at the Face Painting station during the NCHS Easter Egg Roll. There will be fun kids' activities Saturday 11 to 1 for Summer Family Fun Day at McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

Sophie Bishop, back, with a young visitor at the Face Painting station during the NCHS Easter Egg Roll. There will be fun kids’ activities Saturday 11 to 1 for Summer Family Fun Day at McRitchie-Hollis Museum.

Join Newnan-Coweta Historical Society for a day of fun for the whole family! Kid’s games and activities, face painting, live music, food trucks, and free admission to the museum are included. This Saturday also marks the opening of a new historic swimwear exhibit, “Bathing Beauties,” at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, featuring swimsuits from the early 20th century into the 1960s.

Beyond Cups & Bowls at the Male Academy, on Saturday from 10-5, celebrates the talent of four local clay artists: Andrea Faye, Susan Gibbs, Janet McGregor Dunn and Jackie Chapman in addition to spotlighting the finalists (Masa Sasaki, Zack Callaway and Karen Fincannon) from the national fine art clay competition.

What started as a hobby 16 years ago for Andrea Faye has developed into a worthwhile business. Her works include figures, sculpture and Raku (among other techniques) and are featured in fine art galleries.

An art teacher in public schools for 40 years, Susan Gibbs has a Master in Fine Arts with a clay focus. Her work sometimes incorporates fiber and metal into the design. A lot of Susan’s work is figurative, displaying a love of ethnic art in addition to the surprise of combining non-traditional materials and techniques.

Sculpted clay with an addition from nature describes the work of Janet McGregor Dunn. Whether functional or decorative, her work has multiple glazes and sometimes added glass. Glaze firing 2 to 5 times adds depth to her art.

Jackie Chapman began exhibiting her clay works in 1980. An educator for 29 years, she brings a creative edge to staple Pottery and is often the best selling artist at shows. Her work has 3+ coats of glaze and 2 firings. Glazed pieces are lead-free and food safe.

The four members of the Artist Showcase serve as judges for Beyond Cups and Bowls inaugural competition. Cash Prizes will be awarded to winners at the opening reception Friday evening.

Sign refurbished at McRitchie-Hollis
May 26, 2016

McRitchie-Hollis Museum

McRitchie-Hollis Museum

Aren’t we looking spiffy!
The sign in front of McRitchie-Hollis Museum is all repaired and refurbished!
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Dr. Steve Goodson wraps up Southern Crossroads series Thursday
The series “Southern Crossroads: Where History and Literature Meet” concludes 7:30 p.m. May 19 at the NCHS McRitchie-Hollis Museum with “Is It True What They Say About Dixie? Southern History Through Song” presented by Dr. Steve Goodson, Ph.D.
Southern Crossroads May 19
Goodson is chair of the Department of History and professor of history at University of West Georgia. The series has been co-hosted this spring by Newnan Carnegie Library and the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
No region of the United States has richer musical traditions or a more fascinating history than does the South. Dr. Goodson provides a presentation that will bring together that music and history in a discussion of the ways in which the South has been represented in song over the past 175 years. He will play a generous sampling of vintage and modern recordings to illustrate the major Southern themes, events and characters that have preoccupied songwriters and performers since the early ninetheenth century.
Kicking off the series Jan. 28 at the Carnegie with “Frederick Douglas & Harriet Ann Jacobs: Narratives, Incidents of Race, Gender and Nation” was Dr. Stacy Boyd, English professor at UWG.
Part 2 was held at McRitchie-Hollis Museum Feb. 11 featuring Dr. David Newton of UWG. He discussed “Writing at the Crossroads: Southern Literature, Reconstruction, Old South and New South.” There was an effort for Southern writers to create an “American” literature, distinct from that of England and Europe. Newton focused on Gilmore Simms.
Part 3 – “Between History and the Page: The Fugitive Moment,” featured Melissa Dickson Jackson, MFA, Creative Writing, Poetry, on March 24 at the Carnegie Library. Part 4 was April 28 at the Carnegie with “The Female Aesthetic in the Modern South: A Confederacy of Water Moccasins” presented by Dr. Rebecca Harrison, Ph.D., associate professor of English.
McRitchie-Hollis Museum is at 74 Jackson St. Ample free parking is behind the museum, with entrance off Clark Street.
For more details on future lectures call the Carnegie Library at 770-683-1347 or Newnan-Coweta Historical Society at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum office, 770-251-0207.
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Farewell to Harvee White

Harvee White

Harvee White

Harvee White, a Master’s degree candidate in Public History at the University of West Georgia, completed her second semester with Newnan-Coweta Historical Society this month.

She began work the last week of August 2015 as our Graduate Resident Assistant (GRA) and continued in that role in her second semester Winter 2016.

Among projects during her time here she helped with refurbishing and reopening the Male Academy Museum in fall 2015 and with mounting the first Quilt Expo at the Depot History Center, helped research and create information panels on the Arnco Mill Village to accompany quilt exhibition “Labor of Love” at the Male Academy, coordinated a spring 2016 family fun day at the Male Academy, and did research for Facebook posts in conjunction with Main Street Newnan for the “This Place Matters” campaign for National Historic Preservation Month.

Originally from Louisiana, she has been a Newnanite since 2004, and is excited to learn its history. After graduating from East Coweta High School in 2009, she went on to pursue her Bachelor’s in Art History from Georgia State University, earning the degree in 2013.

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994727_1134944566539320_6705809880835820396_n
“Shakespeare Smackdown” Thursday, April 21 at Depot

The “Shakespeare Smackdown” comes to Newnan Thursday at the Historic Depot, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the passing of The Bard.

“The Ultimate Shakespeare Death Smackdown is a performance event hosted by the Newnan Coweta Historical Society, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, or as we call him, Bill,” said Dale Lyles, host of the event.
The Smackdown will invite teams to compete for prizes in a wrestling format as they recite some of William Shakespeare’s greatest hits.

“Join Newnan-Coweta Historical Society at the Depot 7:30 p.m. April 21 as we remember the accomplishments of English poet, playwright and actor William Shakespeare for National Poetry Month,” said Jeff Bishop, NCHS executive director.

Entry for the contest is underway. Prepare your best Shakespeare reading or scene and compete for prizes. Teams introduced much like a wrestling match, performances are timed. There is still time to enter.

“The Historic Depot will become an arena in which individuals and teams will compete in a rowdy night of artistic achievement and bardolatry, complete with cheers and jeers from the crowd,” said Lyles.

Here are the eules:

A fee for each entry is required: $10/individual, $25/team. You pay the fee at the event.
Register your entry at http://goo.gl/forms/8N66OCs2WD. You will need to know:
Your real name
Your real contact information
The organization you represent (if any)
Your stage name or team name
The scene (Play, Act, Scene, Lines) you’re doing. Because different editions number the shows differently, we will ask for the actual first and last lines of your scene, not line numbers. (Sonnets are permissible. Venus & Adonis is not.)
You may register more than one scene.
Rehearse.
Show up at The History Depot on Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. (an hour before showtime) fee in hand.
Prepare to SMACK DOWN!
Each team will have no more than 60 seconds to take the stage and be ready to start, so keep your props/set pieces to a minimum. The Depot will have chairs. Other simple furniture may be available.
Scenes have a time limit of 8 minutes.
Adjudication will be based on:
a. clarity
b. theatricality
c. audience response
d. tip jar score (this is a fundraiser)
e. bonus points for scenes that include or refer to death
Cash prizes will be awarded.

Shakespeare trivia:

Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the 26th, 1564. By tradition and guesswork, William is assumed to have been born three days earlier on April the 23rd, a date now commonly used to celebrate the famous Bard’s birthday.

The Bard coined the phrase, “the beast with two backs” meaning intercourse, in his play Othello.

Shakespeare invented the word “assassination.”

There are only two authentic portraits of William today: the widely used engraving of William Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout first published on the title page of the 1623 First Folio and the monument of the great playwright in Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.

William married a woman nearly twice his age. Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when William married her at age 18. They married at Temple Grafton, a village approximately five miles from Stratford. Anne Hathaway was said to be from Shottery.

Shakespeare and wife had eight children, including daughter Susanna, twins Hamnet, Judith, and Edmund. Susanna received most of the Bard’s fortune when he died in 1616, age 52. Hamnet died at age 11, Judith at 77. Susanna dies in 1649, age 66.

There were two Shakespeare families living in Stratford when William was born; the other family did not become famous.

Shakespeare, one of literature’s greatest figures, never attended university.

Of the 154 sonnets or poems, the playwright penned, his first 26 were said to be directed to an aristocratic young man who did not want to marry. Sonnets 127 – 152 talk about a dark woman, the Bard seems to have had mixed feelings for.

Most academics agree that William wrote his first play, Henry VI, Part One around 1589 to 1590 when he would have been roughly 25 years old.

The Bard is believed to have started writing the first of his 154 sonnets in 1593 at age 29. His first sonnet was Venus and Adonis published in the same year.

William lived through the Black Death. This epidemic that killed over 33,000 in London alone in 1603 when Will was 39, later returned in 1608.

The Bard lost a play. The play Cardenio that has been credited to the Bard and which was performed in his life, has been completely lost to time. Today we have no written record of it’s story whatsoever.

The Great Bard suffered breech of copyright. In 1609, many of his sonnets were published without the bard’s permission.

The famous playwright died in 1616 at the age of 52. He wrote on average 1.5 plays a year since he first started in 1589. His last play The Two Noble Kinsmen is reckoned to have been written in 1613 when he was 49 years old.

William never published any of his plays. We read his plays today only because his fellow actors John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work as a dedication to their fellow actor in 1623, publishing 36 of William’s plays. This collection known as The First Folio is the source from which all published Shakespeare books are derived and is an important proof that he authored his plays.

William was born to a Stratford tanner named John Shakespeare. His mother Mary was the daughter of a wealthy gentleman-farmer named Robert Arden.

Legend has it that at the tender age of eleven, William watched the pageantry associated with Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Kenilworth Castle near Stratford and later recreated this scene many times in his plays.

Unlike most famous artists of his time, the Bard did not die in poverty. When he died, his will contained several large holdings of land.

Few people realize that aside from writing 37 plays and composing 154 sonnets, William was also an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as those of other playwrights (Ben Jonson).

As an actor performing his own plays, William performed before Queen Elizabeth I and later before James I who was an enthusiastic patron of his work.

Will wrote lewd comments about woman. In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet’s nurse crudely tells Juliet “thou (you) wilt (will) fall backward when thou (you) hast (have) more wit” (Act I, Scene III, Line 41), by which she means Juliet will learn to fall or lie on her back (have sex) when she is older.

The Bard crudely discusses genitalia size in The Taming of the Shrew where the character Curtis tells Grumio, “Away, you three-inch fool” (Act IV, Scene I, Lines 26-28). Grumio banally replies that he is at least as long as his foot.

Will dabbled in property development. At age 18, he bought the second most prestigious property in all of Stratford, The New Place and later he doubled his investment on some land he bought near Stratford.

Even Shakespeare had his critics. One called Robert Greene described the young playwright as an “upstart young crow” or arrogant upstart, accusing him of borrowing ideas from his seniors in the theatre world for his own plays.

William’s 126th poem contains a farewell, to “my lovely boy” a phrase taken to imply possible homosexuality by some postmodern Shakespeare academics.

The Bard’s will gave most of his property to Susanna, his first child and not to his wife Anne Hathaway. Instead his loyal wife infamously received his “second-best bed”.

The Bard’s second best bed wasn’t so bad, it was his marriage bed; his best bed was for guests.

Until The First Folio was published seven years after his death in 1616, very little personal information was ever written about the Bard..

William was known as a keen businessman to many in his home town of Stratford.

Suicide occurs an unlucky thirteen times in Shakespeare’s plays. It occurs in Romeo and Juliet where both Romeo and Juliet commit suicide, in Julius Caesar where both Cassius and Brutus die by consensual stabbing, as well as Brutus’ wife Portia, in Othello where Othello stabs himself, in Hamlet where Ophelia is said to have “drowned” in suspicious circumstances, in Macbeth when Lady Macbeth dies, and finally in Antony and Cleopatra where suicide occurs an astounding five times (Mark Antony, Cleopatra, Charmian, Iras and Eros).

Racism crops up frequently in the Bard’s work. In Othello, the lead character , a Moor of African descent, is continuously insulted for his heritage and appearance (especially in Act I) by his enemies and even his supporters (Lodovico) at the play’s conclusion when Othello murders his wife for mistakenly believing she cheated. Racism also occurs in Titus Andronicus (towards the Moor named Aaron), The Tempest where the misformed giant Caliban is called “this thing of darkness” (Act V, Line 275), and in Richard II.

Anti-Semitism also crops up. The Jewish moneylender Shylock in the Merchant of Venice is portrayed as greedy and calculating. At the play’s conclusion he is forced to change religion to Christianity as punishment for wanting “a pound of flesh”from Antonio who agreed to this if his friend forfeited a debt to Shylock. Being a Jew is used as a curse in Henry the First, Part Two (Act II, Scene IV, Line 178), in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Act II, Scene V, Line 53), The Merchant of Venice,Anthony and Cleopatra, Much Ado about Nothing , Macbeth and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The Bard’s characters frequently debase those of colored skin. In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the character King Ferdinand, King of Navarre, racially remarks that “Black is the badge of hell, the hue of dungeons and the scowl of night” (Act IV, Scene III, Lines 254-255).

William was popular with King James I. England’s ruler following Elizabeth I was so taken with the Bard’s skill that he gave his acting company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men a patent allowing them to perform and also made these actors Grooms of Chamber. The Bard returned the favor by renaming his company, The King’s Men. This title made William a favorite for Court performances and made him a favorite with the new King of England.

William Shakespeare is one of the most identifiable icons of England. Others include members of England’s Royal family, Westminister Abbey, Big Ben, and red double-decker buses.

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Poetry Month Event this Thursday at McRitchie-Hollis Museum
We’re celebrating National Poetry Month with a “Stone, River, Sky” reading at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum in Newnan 7 p.m. this Thursday, April 14.
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Join Georgia poets Nick Norwood, Laura Beasley, Melanie Jordan, Melissa Dickson Jackson, Carey Scott Wilkerson, and Michael Diebert on Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. at 74 Jackson St.
National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives.“Art just may save us all,” said Jackson, organizer of the local event.
While we celebrate poets and poetry year-round, the Academy of American Poets was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and founded National Poetry Month in April 1996 with an aim to:· highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
· encourage the reading of poems,
· assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
· increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
· encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and
· encourage support for poets and poetry.
There are many ways to participate. Here are just a few:· Follow the thousands of National Poetry Month celebrations taking place using #npm16 and follow the Academy of American Poets on Twitter @POETSorg.
· Use the new National Poetry Month logo to promote your events. It can be downloaded here.
· Order a free National Poetry Month poster and display it proudly.
· Invite K-12 students to participate in our Dear Poet project by writing letters in response to poems shared by the award-winning poets serving on our Board of Chancellors.
· Attend Poetry & the Creative Mind, a celebration of poetry from the reader’s perspective featuring leading and luminary actors, artists, and public figures, on April 27, 2016, in New York City.
· Participate in National Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 21, 2016.
· Sign up for Poem-a-Day.
· Join the Academy of American Poets and show your support year-round for poets and poetry.
· Share your photos and feedback about your National Poetry Month celebrations with the Academy of American Poets by emailing npm@poets.org.

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‘Flies at the Well’ opens in one week
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In an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, the Newnan Theatre Company has joined forces with the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, The Newnan Cultural Arts Commission, Main Street, The Coweta Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Carnegie Library, the Coweta Community Foundation, the Charter Foundation, Newnan Utilities, and many others to recognize the April anniversary of the events that sparked the famous “Murder in Coweta County,” the 1948 John Wallace trial.
The subject of a best-selling book by Margaret Anne Barnes, a TV movie, and now a play began with the April murder of a Carrollton sharecropper in Moreland by Meriwether County farmer John Wallace.

The former Sunset Cafe in Moreland where the fleeing Turner ran out of gas.

The former Sunset Cafe in Moreland where the fleeing Turner ran out of gas.

Lorraine LaRue of the Coweta County Convention and Visitors Bureau flips through a book of information on the John Wallace case at the Courthouse Visitors Center in Newnan.

Lorraine LaRue of the Coweta County Convention and Visitors Bureau flips through a book of information on the John Wallace case at the Courthouse Visitors Center in Newnan.

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The trial was noted for the dogged determinism of Coweta Sheriff Lamar Potts to pursue the case despite the lack of a body, highly unusual in a time before DNA evidence, as well as the colorful antics of “Oracle of the Ages” Mayhayley Lancaster, and the hubris of Wallace’s self-incriminating testimony. The trial is also noted for the testimony of Albert Brooks and Robert Lee Gates, two of Wallace’s field hands, who were African-American. The trial took place 20 years prior to the Civil Rights movement, in a time when such testimony was highly unusual.
Exhibits related to the murder case and trial will be on display at the historic Coweta County Courthouse (CVB) and at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, 74 Jackson St., featuring artifacts and newspaper articles related to the trial.

Brochures showing locations related to the John Wallace case and trial have bee produced by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

Brochures showing locations related to the John Wallace case and trial have bee produced by Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

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A driving tour brochure of sites related to the trial has been developed by the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society and is available at the CVB, the Carnegie, the Male Academy Museum, and the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.
On April 1, the TV movie “Murder in Coweta County” will be exhibited at 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Library in Newnan. “Flies at the Well,” the new musical based on the trial, will premiere at the Wadsworth Auditorium on Friday night, April 1. Tickets are available at www.fliesatthewell.org.

Musical directors Becky Clark and Matthew Bailey lead the Flies at the Well cast.

Musical directors Becky Clark and Matthew Bailey lead the Flies at the Well cast.

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The music of ‘Flies at the Well’
Note: Newnan-Coweta Historical Society Executive Director Jeff Bishop is the playwright for new musical drama “Flies at the Well,” which debuts April 1-3, 2016, at Wasdsworth Auditorium. Here he discusses the music behind the story in this new production.
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Jeff Bishop

Jeff Bishop

“Flies at the Well,” debuting April 1-3 at the Wadsworth Auditorum in Newnan, is intended to be an “indigenous” musical experience. All of the musical pieces in this play are songs one would have heard on the front porches, in the churches, and in the fields of Newnan and Coweta County in the mid-20th century at the time the John Wallace murder trial occurred. Some of it – such as the Shape Note songs — originated here, and one song even bears the name of “Newnan.” All of it is authentic.
“One aspect that’s really exciting is the music,” said playwright Jeff Bishop. “When I say it’s indigenous, I don’t mean it’s Native American. I mean that it’s music that is of this place — music that you would have heard in our churches, in our fields, on our front porches, on our roadsides, in our woods and riverbottoms during the time the murder and trial took place, in 1948. It’s of this place, and it’s utterly haunting.”
The Reese Twins and The Sacred Harp

Suire J.P.Reese

Suire J.P.Reese

“Flies at the Well” prominently features the local 19th century music of renowned Shape Note singers and songwriters, the Reese brothers. The twins John Palmer “Ripples” Reese and Henry Smith “RAT” Reese were born Nov. 23, 1828 in Jasper County, Georgia. Though lacking a formal education, never having more than “six months’ training in an old field school,” they went on to write some of the most memorable “Shape Note” songs for the “Sacred Harp” tradition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both Reese brothers became preachers, and both eventually settled in Coweta County and wrote regularly for the Newnan Heraldnewspaper. During the Civil War H.S. Reese served as a medical assistant, while his brother served in Company I of the 37th Georgia Infantry. Ripples was described in The Makers of the Sacred Harp as “a student of the freaks of nature.” As an example, the authors relate a story of Ripples being “troubled over the last tenor note in the ¾ section” of the song “Weeping Pilgrim.” Then he “heard the lowing of a cow in a nearby field” and incorporated it into the tune. (If you’re familiar with the primitive, raucous sounds of Shape Note singing, this won’t come as such a shock.) Ripples was “eagerly read by the people,” relating many colorful anecdotes in the newspaper, including an observation that “most preachers are fond of spare ribs and backbone and fatty bread,” and that these “greasy doin’s are productive of good,” since they “strengthen the ties between flock and pastor” by encouraging preachers to follow church members back home after the service. “Just kill a hog and invite the preacher” if you want to get closer to God, he explained. When he died of pneumonia in 1900 the Herald and Advertiser reported that Ripples was “devoted to the art of song, and enjoyed a wide reputation as a vocalist, having served for four years as president of the Chattahoochee Musical Association.” Ripples had “probably presided over more singing conventions than any man in Georgia,” the newspaper reported. “He took part in these meetings, not for amusement, but in a spirit of earnest worship,” and was never happier than when he was leading a singing. Ripples contributed over 40 songs to the Sacred Harp hymnal, including “Sharpsburg,” “Grantville,” “Mulberry Grove,” and “Fillmore.” Songs featured prominently in the new musical “Flies at the Well” include “The Golden Harp” and “Newnan.” Ripples moved two miles north of Newnan in 1855, and in addition to preaching, songwriting, and reporting for the newspaper, he also was a farmer and a tax collector. Ripples or “Squire Reese,” as he was often called, married Elizabeth Mosley and fathered 10 children. His brother, known to local readers as “R.A.T.” (Round About Turin), was no less accomplished. He contributed 11 songs to the Sacred Harp, including “Traveling Pilgrim,” which is featured in “Flies at the Well.” RAT outlived his twin, and preached for 67 years in Coweta and surrounding counties, settling in Turin and marrying Martha Jane Leavell, with whom he had seven children. “After the Civil War he helped African-Americans to organize Baptist churches and associations,” the writers of The Makers of Sacred Harp report. His house still stands in Turin. Just before his 90th birthday, Reese preached one last time at his old church, Macedonia Baptist, in what was described as “a remarkable and impressive service.” “His mind is still clear, his demeanor cheerful and genial, and he reads without the use of glasses,” the newspaper reported in 1917. “Every utterance that falls from his lips is inspired by sincerity, charity, and good will.” We honor the legacy of the Reese twins by bringing their haunting compositions to the stage as part of the “Flies at the Well” musical experience.

Hear a quick sample: CLICK HERE.
Many songs based on field recordings
Many of the songs in the new musical “Flies at the Well” (www.fliesatthewell.org) were based on field recordings of Southern folk songs recorded by famed musicologists John and Ruby Lomax on a 6,502-mile trip through the Deep South in 1939 on behalf of the Library of Congress.
The songs selected from these 25 hours of folk recordings include “Humbug,” “Drinking Shine” (originally “Drinkin’ Wine”), “Keep A-Runnin’ From De Fire,” “You Got to Lay Down,” “The Huntin’ Song,” “Whatcha Gonna Do When De World’s on Fire,” and “Down on Me.” (A version of the “Crawdad Song” that closes Act I is also a part of the Lomax field recordings, and the prison work song, “Early in the Mornin’,” was recorded by his son, Alan Lomax, also a famed folk musicologist). Many of these songs were later made famous through popular versions recorded by major recording artists like Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, and Janis Joplin.
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The Lomax family’s collection work was aided immensely with the acquisition of a 315-pound aluminum disk phonograph recording machine in 1933, which Lomax installed into the trunk of his Ford sedan.

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The Lomaxes were among the first music field collectors to use scholarly methodology in their work, and the recordings are often accompanied by meticulous field notes taken by Ruby Lomax. The Lomaxes were most famous for their “discovery” of the blues great, Leadbelly, during their travels. The folk songs they collected had often been passed down from generation to generation, evolving and being re-worked as they made their way from front porches and fields to prison farms, and eventually into recording studios.

The Lomaxes collected over 700 sound recordings during their 1939 trip through the South, which wound up being the final such excursion for the Library of Congress as World War II approached and acetate became a war commodity. John Lomax, who began his career recording first-person slave narratives, was also suspected by Southern politicians of “agitating” for civil and worker rights, leading to the final demise of the program. The original songs, now widely recognized as a national treasure, can be found at https://www.loc.gov/…/john-and-ruby-…/about-this-collection/

Learn more about the collection HERE.

You can hear an interview with John A. Lomax HERE.

Play also incorporates black gospel tradition
“Flies at the Well” (www.fliesatthewell.org) also incorporates, at key points in the play, the black gospel singing tradition. The emotional climax of “Flies at the Well” involves two songs from this school. The first, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” is a traditional hymn dating back to 1745. It was originally written in Welsh, and titled “Arglwydd arwain trwy’r anialwch.” The lyrics – “Guide me, O Thou Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land,” speak to a longing for a beacon of hope when facing an unknown future. “I am weak, but you are mighty – hold me with your powerful hand,” the hymn states. The hymn was brought over to America in the 1700s and proved especially popular in Southern African-American churches, where it is considered one of the “old hymns” and is still used in services today.
The second song – which comes at one of the great high points in the play – is called “City of Refuge,” but is more widely known as “You Better Run.” The origins of this “call and response” song are obscure, but the song was included among turn of the 20th century folklore collections such as John W. Work’s “American Negro Song” and the Frank C. Brown “Collection of North Carolina Folklore.” A version of this song was also included in the 1914 dissertation of Joseph Brummell Earnest, “The Religious Development of the Negro in Virginia.” The earliest known recording of the song (titled “You Better Run”) was by Wiseman Sextette in 1923. The song was recorded again in 1928 by Blind Willie Johnson and in 1934 by Louise Washington. Later versions were recorded by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and even Elvis Presley.
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The arrangement of the version used in the play is based on that popularized by the Rev. C.J. Johnson, a Douglasville native, and the son of a Shape Note singer. Johnson’s version of the song was used by the Atlanta History Center in its permanent exhibition, “Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South,” and more recently in the first season of the HBO series, “True Detective.” The lyrics used in “Flies at the Well” are based on much earlier versions of the song, however. The lyrics varied widely from version to version, but always related to the Biblical concept of a “city of refuge,” where people accused of manslaughter could escape vengeance. The concept of a “peace town” where lawbreakers could seek refuge was also common among the Creek Indians. Many of the lyrics used in early versions of this song referred to the “end times” of the Book of Revelation, and to the Last Supper. In the context of the play, it is the murderer John Wallace’s last chance at redemption, and a warning of the reckoning that is about to come.
Hear a sample of Rev. C.J. Johnson singing HERE.
The Greek Chorus
“So the jury for the trial seemed a perfect opportunity to explore some of this music, since we have the ancient tradition of the Greek Chorus, which comments on and processes the action of the play as it unfolds,” said Bishop. The jury could double a choir, and serve as the Greek chorus, he said.
“All plays originally had choruses like this. Even Shakespeare employed a Chorus figure from time to time. Just watch Henry V for a good example. So I wanted to go back to that,” he said.
The Greek Chorus originally offered a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance. They commented on themes, and demonstrated how the audience might react to the drama. In many of these plays, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets. The chorus often provided other characters with the insight they needed.The chorus represents, on stage, the general population of the particular story, in sharp contrast with many of the themes of the ancient Greek plays which tended to be about individual heroes, gods, and goddesses. Historian H.D.F. Kitto argues that the word “chorus” gives us hints about its function in the plays of ancient Greece:”The Greek verb choreuo, I am a member of the chorus, has the sense ‘I am dancing,’ Kitto has argued. The word ode means not something recited or declaimed, but ‘a song’. The ‘orchestra’ in which a chorus had its being is literally, a dancing floor”. From this, it can be inferred that the chorus danced and sang poetry.“And there will be plenty of singing and dancing at ‘Flies at the Well. Only instead of an ancient Greek lute, you might see a banjo or a washboard,” said Bishop.“Flies at the Well,” a production of the Newnan Theatre Company, premieres at the Wadsworth Auditorium April 1-3. Jennifer Dorrell directs. Music direction by Becky Clark and Matthew Bailey. Tickets are available at www.fliesatthewell.org

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“Brush Up Your Shakespeare” at McRitchie-Hollis Museum on Tuesday, Mar. 22

In preparation for the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, former Newnan Theatre Company Artistic Director (and founder) Dale Lyles will give an introduction on “Acting Shakespeare” at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum next Tuesday, Mar. 22, at 7:30 p.m.

The museum is located at 74 Jackson St.

Dale Lyles

Dale Lyles

Lyles has directed numerous Shakespeare productions, including “Winter’s Tale,” “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” “Henry VI, Part III,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Comedy of Errors.” This workshop is intended to prepare prospective entrants for next months’ “Shakespeare Smackdown” at the Newnan Historic Depot. Both events are sponsored by the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.

“One of my favorite memories at Newnan Community Theatre Company was our 1995 production of The Winter’s Tale,” said Lyles. “Our Hermione was a professional actress from Atlanta, Equity even, whose personal goal of playing all of Shakespeare’s queens overrode her concerns about union rules. (She did perform under an assumed name.) She was amazing to work with and had a great time with us.

“At the cast party after our last performance, I was looking at my large cast running around enjoying themselves, congratulating themselves on a job well done, and Jen walked up and said fondly, ‘They don’t know they’re not supposed to be able to do this, do they?’

“’No, they do not,’ I replied. And they didn’t. They had no clue that tackling one of Shakespeare’s late romances was out of their league. But I had provided the opportunity, and not knowing any better they jumped into the deep end without a second thought. And they did it!”

Lyles said just about anyone can tackle Shakespeare’s immortal texts, with the right introduction and training. There’s no need to feel intimidated, he said.

“Give yourself permission to create,” said Lyles, who is writing a book on the subject.

He gives himself that same permission all the time, he said.

“One reason I chose Winter’s Tale was its very unfamiliarity to audiences. How would they take a sprawling play that they didn’t know anything about?” Lyles said.

He took a risk, and it came off marvelously. He plans to share some of his hard-won experience with others next Tuesday.

You can sign up for the April 21 “Smackdown” at the Shakespeare Smackdown event page on Facebook. Anyone can enter!

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Check out our March/April events!
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Can you help us with a little mystery?
These three photos are in the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society archives from the United Daughters of the Confederacy collection. They are great pictures except we don’t know who they are! Neither do the remaining UDC members.The NCHS Collection Committee is hoping the public can help identify these men. If you can help, please email us at executivedirector@newnancowetahistoricalsociety.com, send us a note at NCHS, P.O. Box 1001, Newnan, GA 30264 or call the McRitchie-Hollis Museum at 770-251-0207.
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Family Fun Day Feb. 27 at Male Academy for Black History Month

A Family Fun Day complete with storytelling will be held at the Male Academy Museum Feb. 27 to help celebrate Black History Month.

The FREE event will run 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Male Academy located beside the city park on Temple Avenue at College Street near downtown Newnan.

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Newnan-Coweta Historical Society has arranged for “Sistah Olufemi” (Christine B. Arinze-Samuel) of Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia to entertain youngsters with a story session at 11 a.m. That will be followed by a craft time.

Sistah Olufemi will perform her story, “The Secrets of the Quilts — on The Underground Railroad as Harriet Tubman.” The theme ties into the continuing quilt exhibitions on display at the Male Academy.

Sistah Olufemi

Sistah Olufemi

Following the performance, children and families will be invited to participate in African-American and quilt-themed crafts. Among the activities, youngsters will create their own quilt-inspired designs. They will also help assemble the NCHS Dream Quilt from colorful cards on which participants have shared their own dreams. The project is in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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In recent weeks NCHS Graduate Research Assistant Harvee White, a grad student at the University of West Georgia, has distributed boxes around town and at the historical society’s McRitchie-Hollis and Male Academy museums inviting the public to share their dreams. Anyone may stop by one of the participating downtown businesses or the museums to fill out a card. The cards will be gathered for assembly at the Feb. 27 event.

Sistah Olufemi considers herself to be a natural “storyteller.” She specializes in telling the Underground Railroad story as Harriet Tubman. She is a veteran educator with more than 30 years of service, having taught every grade level and adult education as well. Her stories are tailored for the family.

As an educator, she said, she understands the importance of keeping the history of her culture in the forefront as a storyteller as well as the inclusiveness of all humanity. It is her desire to continue the oral tradition of storytelling and loving to tell stories that are meaningful, uplifting, thought provoking, informative and most of all stories that can be enjoyed by a genre of audiences.

As a published poet, she understands the rhythm, rhyme and the power of words.

Sistah Olufemi is co-chairperson of the initial inception of The Metropolitan Atlanta Kwanzaa Association (MAKA). She also has performed for the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and was a part of the first NBAF parade.

For more information contact the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society at 770-251-0207.

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Quilt Expo in Carrollton

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This weekend there’s a Quilt Expo in Carrollton at the Train Station on Bradley Street. Hours are Saturday, Feb. 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the event is sponsored by the Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum. There will be shuttle service from the depot to the museum, downtown and the library. Price is $10 for admittance to the expo, tour of quilt museum, shuttle service and the quilt show at the library. If you’ve enjoyed the recent quilt exhibits at the Male Academy in Newnan or last October’s Quilt Expo at the Depot, this is an event you won’t want to miss. And mark your calendars for the return of the NCHS Quilt Expo at the Depot in October!

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Last chance for Senoia museum Coke exhibition!

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Hank Williams tribute Saturday, Feb. 20

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From the Times-Herald newspaper:

For many, music is the universal language that transcends the most common social barriers – harnessing the ability to bypass our complicated filters and drive directly to our soul.

The short and complicated life of Hank Williams not only produced a stunning amount of beloved music, but seemingly set the blueprint for the “live fast, die young” tortured musician.

Since his mysterious death in 1953, his influence on music and culture would only grow larger with each passing year – spawning tales as tall as the man himself.

Dr. Steve Goodson is the co-editor of The Hank Williams Reader. As the professor and chair of the History Department at the University of West Georgia, he’s also the author of Highbrows, Hillbillies, and Hellfire: Public Entertainment in Atlanta, 1880-1930 (2002), which won the Georgia Historical Society’s Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award.

In Goodson’s latest book, the extraordinary life of Williams is chronicled through a series of excerpts and memories written by journalists, family and friends, musical contemporaries, biographers, historians and scholars, ordinary fans and novelists.

Through his work, Goodson encountered fans from all walks of life – all connected by their love for Williams. One afternoon, he was greeted by an elderly man who tracked him down to his office at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

In his arms was a stack of old magazines and worn records, all about Williams. He presented the treasure trove of memorabilia to Goodson, claiming that no one else in his family would appreciate it.

“It’s fascinating how music connects people,” Goodson said. “We’ve been trying to do the same thing, which is connecting our school and community together with this kind of program.”

Goodson hopes to bring the legend of Williams even closer by hosting “The Life and Times of Hank Williams” – an evening of readings and songs celebrating Williams – at the Wadsworth Auditorium.

Along with a collection of vintage recordings and videos of Williams, excerpts from the book will be read along with a live performance by Daniel Williams and his Driftin’ Poboys Band.

Last September, a similar event was held in Carrollton with more than 230 people attending, according to Goodson. The success spurred the idea of creating an annual series – “Icons of Southern Music” – which will chronicle the life of Johnny Cash in 2017.

“We’re really excited to bring this to Newnan and can’t think of a better way to celebrate the legacy of Hank Williams,” Goodson said. “And we’re still getting compliments on the Driftin’ Poboys Band…”

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A Coke and a Smile …in Senoia

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Join our friends at Senoia Area Historical Society 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, for the opening of their new Coca-Cola exhibition!

The Coca-Cola bottle’s iconic hourglass shape just turned 100 years old in November. Meanwhile, the City of Senoia is commemorating its 150th birthday this year. To celebrate these milestones, the Senoia Area Historical Society (SAHS) is sponsoring an exhibit of Coke-related artifacts this February at the SAHS History Museum.
Coca-Cola is a hallmark brand in the South, and Senoia has enjoyed a long relationship with the company. In the early 1900s, Blount & Williams ran a Coke bottling operation in the basement of the Baggarly property on Senoia’s historic Main Street. The building has been home to a long string of businesses, making it the third-longest continuously operating commercial structure in Georgia. Today, the sixth generation of the Baggarly Family owns the building and operates the Buggy Shop Museum there.
Items that will be displayed at the SAHS History Museum during the Coca-Cola exhibit include many on loan from the former Sewell’s General Merchandise Store collection. The store had been located on Main Street for many years, and today, the Coca-Cola items belong to Hal and Vicki Sewell. The Sewell Family’s artifacts include straight-sided pre-1915 Coke bottles, Coke thermometers, and a clock from the General Merchandise Store.
A wide variety of other Coca-Cola artifacts have been loaned or donated to SAHS for this event, including branded signs, serving trays, and a metal lunchbox. Some items are part of the Museum’s own collection.
The exhibit will kick off with an evening of Coke and chips and other light refreshments on Friday, February 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the SAHS History Museum, located at 6 Couch Street, Senoia. The event is free and open to the public, with donations to the SAHS gratefully accepted. After opening night, the exhibit will be open between 1 and 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday from February 12 through February 27 at the SAHS Museum.
The upcoming Coca-Cola exhibit is the third annual SAHS temporary exhibit held during the month of February. In 2014, there was a display of vintage valentines, then last year, it was vintage jewelry. Those previous romance-inspired exhibits were scheduled during February to coincide with Valentine’s Day. In keeping with the theme, SAHS invites you to come out on February 12 to enjoy a Coke with your sweetheart!

2016 Coke Exhibit (1)JPG

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Events set for February

Check out our upcoming events in the February newsletter (4 pages):20160205Newsletter_FebAndComingEvents_Page_1

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Get Your Kilt On!

Newnan Burns Weekend Jan. 29 and 30

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Robert Burns, the Bard of Ayshire – Newnan’s “sister city” – will commemorate his birthday this week, and the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, the Newnan Cultural Arts Commission, and the Order of the Tartan are joining forces to celebrate.
A series of events will be held next weekend at the Wadsworth Auditorium, the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, the Alamo, and the Newnan Historic Depot.
The first event, a concert honoring Burns, will be held Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wadsworth Auditorium. Tickets for the concert are $20. “Through Heather and Thistle,” a story of long love and friendship told through the songs of Scotland and the poems of Robert Burns, will be related. Jamie Laval will provide musical selections with a Scottish theme, with dance accompaniment by Southern Arc Dance Company.
“Coming through the Rye” and “Mairi’s Wedding” will be performed by the McGees, and “Highland Cathedral” and “Scotland the Brave” will be performed by the Oak Hill Pipe and Drum Band. Scottish Gael will be performed by Rusty Tate, and “Suo Gan” will be performed by Lalla McGee. “The Parting Glass” will be performed by Matthew Bailey, and “Auld Lang Syne,” with lyrics written by Burns, will be performed by all artists along with the audience.
After the concert, a special reception “after party” will be held at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum, with hors d’oeuvre and opportunities to mingle with the artists and storytellers. Tickets for this special event are available for an additional $15.
On the following day, Saturday, Jan. 30 at 3:30 p.m., join the fun at a free ceilidh (Scottish folk dance and music) at the Alamo in downtown Newnan, followed by the ticketed Burns Supper and Formal Ceilidh, with haggis, at the Newnan Train Depot. Tickets for this event are $45. Tickets for all event on both days are also available as a combo for $80.
Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist, widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and celebrated worldwide. Many Southerners have Scottish ancestry and this event offers everyone a chance to celebrate Scottish heritage and history as well as Newnan’s special link to Ayshire as its sister city.
Find out more at Newnanburnsweekend.com, or at the Newnan Burns Weekend Facebook page, or you can order tickets at eventbrite.com or pick up tickets at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum or the Male Academy Museum. Call 770-251-0207 for more information.

Meet Millie!

Photo by Bob Fraley

A special show by plein air artist Millie Gosch is currently on display in the main floor rooms at McRitchie-Hollis Museum. She will present two gallery talks at the museum, one on Jan. 21 from 10 – 11:30 a.m. and an evening talk on Jan. 28 from 6-7:30 p.m. They are free to the public. It is a “homecoming” for Gosch, who is one of the four Thomasson children who grew up in the former residence at 74 Jackson Street. Ample parking is available behind the museum with entrance off Clark Street.

A little talk with Millie:

1. Tell me a little about when you first began painting, or thinking of yourself as an artist. Was it early in your life?

For as early as I can remember I have always made some form of artwork. I began painting in oils when I was 10. I still have some of my earliest works which is fun for me to look back upon. I exhibited in Powers Crossroads for years. I would work all year to get body of work to sell there. My father made my frames for me. He would laughingly say, “I’m a certified board surgeon as well as a board certified surgeon.” With The money I earned from selling my paintings, I would buy a piece of art from a fellow artist in the show.

2. When did you first become aware of Plein Air and become drawn to it? What was the attraction?

For 20 years I was a freelance decorative artist. I painted on anything, furniture, walls,ceilings. I made floor cloths and painting tile back splashes. I always wanted to return to fine art. About 15 years ago, I rented studio space at the Artist Atelier in Atlanta. It was there that I was introduced to Plein Air painting as we know it today. I went to a workshop in Laguna beach California with two suitcases of art supplies. I’ll never forget the instructor’s comment when he looked at my painting. “Is that what you see?”. All I learned was that I had a lot to learn. I am naturally drawn to Plein Air painting because I love being outdoors, and painting from life is very powerful.

3. What do you remember about growing up at the Jackson Street home? What’s it like to return there for a show now that it’s a museum?

My first studio was in the basement of our Jackson Street home. So I guess as Miranda Lambert sings, “it was the house that built me.” I’m so glad the house is preserved as a museum. It’s really beautiful and speaks a lot of Newnan’s history. The house is something of a work of art of its own. It is built during an era of hand-crafted, elegantly appointed homes. R.D. Cole Manufacturing was a local millwork company that produced all the woodwork on site.

4. How do you envision the artist-in-residence program, the historical society, and the local art associations working together with the community at large to bring more cultural awareness and art to Newnan and Coweta County?

I’m excited about the Newnan Art Rez program. It brings all kinds of artists into town for an extended stay. This allows our town to have the opportunity to see an artist work and get to know them. The Newnan Art Rez program allows for different organizations in Newnan to partner and host an artist of their choice. With this many groups involved you can reach a lot of people in the area.

5. Who do you hope shows up for the gallery talk? What might visitors expect?

I love to talk about my work. Each painting has a story. I can remember vivid details about my plein air paintings when I painted them. I hope I have a big crowd. It’s always nice to have that support. Those that come will find out:

-How long it takes me to paint a painting
-what painting I painted looking out of a window
-which is my favorite painting in the show
-how I get my inspiration
-what is my process

6. How is the life of an artist different than what one might expect?

The life of an artist is different because we must make art in order to breathe. Daily life can get in the way so you have to carve out time and creative space. It’s a lot harder than one might think. Sure it is fun and fulfilling but not always easy. I tell my students ,”your worst enemy is your last success”. If you had a successful painting that just flowed from your brush then the next time you stand before your canvas, it might not be that easy . You may have to pray a lot more and work a lot harder.

7. How is Newnan different than other towns? What role might art and artists play in its future?

Newnan is a great town. Since growing up here I’ve watched a huge growth in the arts over the last 25 years. It’s so exciting. People show up for exhibits, openings, and productions. I look forward to seeing Newnan continue to grow in the arts.

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MLK: Man of Peace Concert Set for Jan. 16

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Newnan-Coweta Historical Society will present “Man of Peace,” a concert by The Atlanta Concert Ringers in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Saturday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at The Depot on East Broad Street.
The one hour concert will include “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute” arranged by Eileen Laurence which incorporates quotes from well-known speeches by Dr. King and settings of “There is a Balm in Gilead,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “We Shall Overcome.” This piece was premiered in New York City March 26, 1995 and is still performed annually in New York.

Also included will be “Peace in Our Time” by Cathy Moklebust which honors Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. King. This piece for violin and handbells will feature Justin Rawlings on violin. Justin is a sophomore Music Ed major at Kennesaw State University. A Lithonia, GA native, he began playing violin at age 9.

Boxes are also being distributed around Newnan for the MLK “Dream Quilt” project, headed up by NCHS Graduate Research Assistant Harvee White of the University of West Georgia. Local residents are encouraged to submit their “dream” for Newnan and Coweta County. The submissions will be stitched together and displayed at the Male Academy Museum.

Atlanta Concert Ringers_Lightened
The Atlanta Concert Ringers began Sept. 22, 2002 as a result of a goal of Michael Bryant, a former chair of Area IV of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, to assemble a community based handbell performance group attracting experienced ringers from throughout the Atlanta Metro area. He wanted to prepare programs showcasing a wide variety of handbell music — secular to sacred to show tunes, old stand-bys to new compositions, whimsical favorites to notable classics — and share this music with a variety of audiences in Atlanta and beyond.
ACR has developed under the leadership of other directors since Michael Bryant and has been privileged to work with such notable handbell clinicians as David Davidson, Michael Helman and Kevin McChesney. ACR has also performed at Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC; AGEHR Area IV Festival in Orlando, FL; AGEHR Georgia Fall Festival in Decatur, GA; AGEHR Georgia Spring Ring in Marietta, GA; Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar in Atlanta; and Spivey Hall in Morrow, GA. ACR has reached out to new audiences by performing in concert with noted vocal groups including Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and Southern Crescent Chorale.

Advance tickets, $15, are available (with a small additional processing fee) at eventbrite.com

Here is the direct link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/man-of-peace-handbell-concert-in-celebration-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-tickets-19689020390?aff=ehomecard

For information call the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society McRitchie-Hollis Museum at 770-251-0207.

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Jamie Laval headlines Newnan Robert Burns Weekend

Coming Jan. 29-30 is the Newnan Robert Burns Weekend filled with Celtic entertainment and celebrating Newnan’s sister city relationship with his home of Ayr, Scotland.

​It is a two-day celebration saluting poet Robert Burns, Scottish music and dance featuring the music of internationally-known fiddler Jamie Laval, along with such talent as Atlanta group Craic’d Up and Rusty Tate. On Friday, the Wadsworth hosts a passion-filled concert. Continue the revelry at the after party. On Saturday, clasp the hand of your neighbor at a free Scottish Ceilidh (dance celebration pronounced “kay-lee”) taking place at the Alamo, followed by a Burns Supper and formal Ceilidh at the Train Depot.

Jamie Laval

Jamie Laval

Newnan-Coweta Historical Society is co-sponsoring the event with the Order of the Tartan and the Newnan Cultural Arts Commission.

This special weekend kicks off Friday Jan. 29 with the 7:30 p.m. Robert Burns Scottish Heritage Concert at Wadsworth Auditorium. Individual tickets are $20. There will be an after party at McRitchie-Hollis Museum with more fun and entertainment for an extra $15.

Then Saturday, Jan. 30, are two events. At 3:30 p.m. is a free Ceilidh at the Alamo on West Court Square downtown. That is followed at 6 p.m. with the ticketed Burns Supper and Traditional Ceilidh at the Train Depot — $45.

For tickets, go to eventbrite.com or visit either www.newnanburnsweekend.com or the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society webpage.

One of the premier Celtic performers on the international music scene today, Jamie Laval creates rapt audiences with his intensely passionate performances of traditional music of Scotland, Ireland, Brittany and Quebec, rendered with hints of classical refinement and ethnic music from around the world.

Jamie is heralded as “One of North America’s finest practitioners of traditional Scottish music” (San Jose Mercury News) and “The next Alasdair Fraser” (Press and Post). The Asheville Citizen-Times writes, “One of the hottest fiddlers out there…this act has been turning heads wherever it plays.”

What sets Jamie’s music in a class by itself is the nuance, virtuosity, and musical craftsmanship he brings to an ancient art form. Simple Celtic folk melodies are transformed into epic tonal narratives which take the listener on an emotional journey from quiet melancholy to wild jubilation.

Jamie’s accessible sound appeals to families, youth, seniors, and devotees of ethnic, jazz, and classical music.

The making of his trademark style began at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where he studied classical violin. He performed actively throughout the Pacific Northwest as a professional symphony musician, recording studio artist, improvising violinist, and contra dance fiddler. Eventually his passion for the haunting sounds of rural Irish and Scottish folk music usurped all other preoccupations, and he has devoted himself exclusively to Celtic music ever since. In 2002 Jamie won the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Championship and subsequently embarked on a full time touring career which today includes 100 engagements per year throughout the U.S. and Scotland.

Jamie now lives in Asheville, North Carolina and takes a keen interest in the musical and historical ties that connect his Appalachian home with the dispersion of Celtic peoples from their original homeland.

Jamie has recorded three solo albums to date. Murmurs and Drones, his most recent, won the popular vote for “Best World Traditional Album” in the 2012 Independent Music Awards. Jamie has also collaborated on numerous television, film, and CD recordings, including Dave Matthews’ Some Devil, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wild America, and WB-TV series Everwood.

Recent live performances include the Bijou Theatre (Knoxville), Wintergrass Festival (Tacoma), the Freight & Salvage (Berkeley), Swallow Hill Productions (Denver), Club Passim (Boston), The Fringe Festival (Edinburgh), the NBC Today Show, The West Coast Live radio show, and a private appearance for Her Majesty the Queen.