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Volume 26, Number 11 — November 2018

Fall season at Mary B. Martin School of the Arts mixes cross-continental music, classic theater, contemporary issues

Fall season 2018 closes with an uplifting performance by Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe.
Fall season 2018 closes with an uplifting performance by Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe.
Additional photos below »

August 29, 2018

Artists and audiences this fall explore troubled youth, embattled and grieving families, endangered shorelines, World War II losses and discoveries. And, on the lighter side, they explore dance and sing to the sounds of Zimbabwe, the Highlands and contemporary America.

East Tennessee State University’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts opens with the first in its 2018-19 independent film series from South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. Monday, Sept. 10, the narrative film “Sadie” by Megan Griffiths screens in ETSU’s Brown Hall Auditorium. “Sadie” is what Variety calls “a sympathetic portrait of a budding sociopath,” featuring newcomer Sophia Mitri Schloss as the outcast 13-year-old, missing her deployed-soldier father.

Southern Circuit films are free and followed by a Q&A and reception with the filmmakers. All Southern Circuit films are on Mondays this fall at 7 p.m. in Brown Hall Auditorium. “Man Made” a documentary focusing on four transgender men as they prepare to compete in the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world screens Oct. 22, while “Chasing Portraits,” the filmmaker’s story of pursuing her great-grandfather’s long-lost pre-WWII paintings of Jewish life, is shown Nov. 5.

Fall season also features three visual art exhibitions, starting with “The Shore Line Project,” an interactive multimedia documentary that looks at the tensions between unchecked development and climate change on coastal towns and cities around the world. “Shorelines are powerful, disruptive and awe-inspiring ...” says award-winning documentarian Liz Miller, “a front line for disasters and they are also the frontline of resistance.”

The Shore Line is on display at ETSU’s Reece Museum Sept. 24-Oct. 5, with an artist talk by Miller Thursday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. with a reception to follow.

The following week, the sixth annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social & Politically Engaged Art” opens, featuring artworks of myriad media from around the globe, spotlighting social and political issues. “FL3TCH3R” runs from Oct. 8-Dec. 14 in Reece Museum and features a juror’s talk Thursday, Nov. 1, at 5 p.m., by graphic design legend David Carson, who is selecting this year’s exhibition pieces.

The School of the Arts sponsors more visual art in October, with the Upstate Photography Exhibition, at Reece Museum Oct. 22 through Dec. 14, featuring the work of ETSU Art & Design professor Tema Stauffer, whose photography examines the social, economic and cultural landscape of American spaces. Upstate features color photos, exploring urban and rural environments and relics in or around Hudson, New York. Alison Nordström, an independent scholar specializing in photographs, gives the pre-reception talk Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. Xhenet Aliu gives a reading Wednesday, Oct. 24, 5 p.m.

Finally, The Martin School’s fall season also includes three ticketed events, two musical and one dramatic.

On Sept. 28, Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, the duo known as Switchback, combine their mix of mandolin, guitar and bass and “stunning vocal blends” (Music Connection Magazine) for what McCormack calls a “magical” concert of contemporary Celtic music and Americana songs that reflect the duo’s Irish heritage and Midwestern roots.

Switchback performs at First Presbyterian Church, Johnson City, at 7:30 p.m.

October brings a touch of the dramatic and classical with Actors From The London Stage performing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in ETSU’s Bud Frank Theatre, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. The play is staged with minimal props, costumes and set, says AFTLS Founding Director Sir Patrick Stewart, to keep the focus on the Bard’s words, which continue to resonate with audiences 400 years later.

Fall season 2018 closes Tuesday, Nov. 13, with an uplifting performance by Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe. Nobuntu interweaves traditional Zimbabwean afro-jazz and gospel songs with pure voices, percussion on traditional instruments and authentic dance movements. Media in America and Europe have called Nobuntu’s performances “vibrant,” “stunning,” “breathtaking” and “exhilarating.”

The vocal quintet’s concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Central Baptist Church, Johnson City, Tennessee.

“Each season is new, diverse and exciting for us at the Martin School of the Arts,” says Director Anita DeAngelis. “This fall, we will balance deep conversations and perspectives on family, personal and societal issues with joyous and toe-tapping music from other continents and our own. We look forward to sharing all these experiences with students and our friends in the community and Upper East Tennessee.”

For more information about ETSU’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts or to purchase tickets, visit www.etsu.edu/martin or call 423-439- 8587. Follow the Martin School of the Arts @artsatetsu and on Facebook.

Topics: Art, Music, Theatre



"Sadie" will screen Sept. 10. (photo by TJ Williams)


“The Shore Line Project,” an interactive multimedia documentary that looks at the tensions between unchecked development and climate change on coastal towns and cities around the world.


On Sept. 28, Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, the duo known as Switchback, perform.