An Interview with Jeff Haynes of “Pete Seeger: The Storm King”

 
Interview: Jeff Haynes
Posted by Jenks Miller


 

Recently, Pete Seeger’s birthday gave us a chance to reflect on the late folk singer and social activist’s work and legacy. With a career that included early radio success with The Weavers in the 1940’s and 50’s, blacklisting in the infamous McCarthy era, a prominent role in both the folk revival and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, Seeger played a significant role as a musician and leader in social movements until his death in 2014. In a written statement memorializing the folk legend, President Obama noted that Seeger “believed in the power of community – to stand up for what’s right, speak out against what’s wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be.”

 

Of course, the America of 2017 is still a far cry from the America Seeger knew it could be. On May 3rd of this year – also Seeger’s birthday – the head of the Trump Administration’s State Department, Rex Tillerson, became the first Secretary of State in decades to skip the press conference accompanying his department’s annual human rights report, claiming that the United States’ traditional insistence that its allies adhere to its values of freedom and human dignity creates “obstacles.” While Seeger would likely be among the first to note that there is still much work to be done in the pursuit of justice and human rights, he also embodied an unflagging optimism. His message was one of tireless engagement and sustained action. As he put it, “Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”

 

Today, Seeger’s message is sustained in The Storm King, a touring multimedia presentation of Seeger’s recorded stories, narratives and poems set to music and video. The Storm King, curated and presented by Grammy award winning percussionist/producer Jeff Haynes, comes to The ArtsCenter on Saturday, May 13th. We spoke with Haynes about his work with Pete Seeger and the role of the folk tradition in a changing world.

 

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Photo courtesy Pete Seeger: The Storm King

 
1. First things first! What got you interested in Pete Seeger’s work? Do you recall a specific event, or did your creative paths slowly merge?

 

It’s like what you said. It was an organic process that Pete and I had together. It started when we were performing in local schools for children in Beacon, NY. Then we collaborated on a children CD called “Tomorrow’s Children” and another called “A More Perfect Union.” From that point on, Pete never stop coming to my recording studio. He would come at least two or three times a week for 3 hours each session telling me his life stories. I decided to ask him if I could produce a spoken-word CD recording the stories he was sharing with me and he agreed.  So the process started at that point and lasted five years and that’s how the Storm King volume 1 evolved and then came volume 2.

 

2. The Storm King is the product of countless hours of conversation, listening, composing, arranging and editing: a true labor of love. Could you take us through the process that led to the finished presentation?

 

As you said they were countless hours—literally hundreds of hours of editing, fact checking, mixing and mastering the whole project, producing it, and deciding which piece of music would go under which particular story or which particular story would go with a piece of music that would not get in the way of Pete’s stories. Each piece of music and story had to be a perfect blend—a balance between each piece of music and story—so that it wouldn’t take away from Pete or draw attention away from his speaking. It had to enhance his story. Each piece of music had to be like a movie soundtrack. The same approach was taken with the performance.

 

3. What can attendees expect during your show at The ArtsCenter? Will there be familiar songs to sing along with, or is the presentation more focused on sharing unheard words from Seeger himself?

 

What I find to be true is that the audience will get a beautiful balance of Pete’s music, original songs from the artists on stage, and also music by Pete that was not mainstream—that he wrote when he was in a influenced during his travels around the world when he was blacklisted. He wrote songs with Tommy Sands from Ireland, he covered the song called Raghupati from India which was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite songs. So the audience will get a buffet of old and new songs that they have not experienced before. And within that, they’ll be hearing stories and experiencing Pete telling them in his own voice as if he was in the room with us as well as the music.

 

4. The Storm King project has spanned both sides of the presidential election of 2016, when the country experienced what many feel is a kind of upheaval or realignment. Is there any difference in how you approached the project in, say, early 2016 and how you approach it now? Has the audience reaction been any different? What kind of feedback are you getting these days?

 

I truly don’t want to get too political with this, but I know where Pete stands and I think that his beliefs are reflected in the show and that these beliefs stand true from 2016 to now. I think the show represents how he feels—from many years ago through the civil rights movement, to his stance on the environment. He’s been a long time supporter of human rights reflected in the fact that he changed the lyrics to an old miner song singing, We Shall Overcome.

 

5. So far, you have curated two volumes of Pete Seeger’s stories and narratives. What is the future for The Storm King? Will there be a third volume in the series?

 

There is enough material for a third and a fourth volume if we should choose to do so. I would love to have success with the first two volumes, which I believe we are. God willing and if the universe provides the means, I would truly love to do more volumes. I truly love sharing Pete’s spirit with the world.

 

Jeff Haynes brings The Storm King to The ArtsCenter on Saturday, May 13th. Showtime is 8pm.

 

More Information and Tickets are available at artscenterlive.org
peteseegerthestormking.com

Welcome New Board Members!

The ArtsCenter would like to welcome two new members to the board of directors: Artie Bolick and Bruce Runberg. Artie is a Partner in the Brooks Pierce law firm specializing in construction law, plays the mandolin and lives in Carrboro; Bruce is the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services at UNC and is currently a Co-Chair of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Committee.
Also, join us in congratulating the new officers for 2017/18: Michael Parker, President; Bernadette Pelissier, Vice Chair; Charlotte Walton, Treasurer; and, Wendy Smith, Secretary. Thank you to our immediate past president Don Rose and outgoing secretary Beth Minton for their service.

Masters’ Ceramics Workshop Collaboration between ArtsCenter and Town of Chapel Hill

 

A ceramics master class led by local artist Ronan Peterson will be offered the last two weekends of April.

 

For two weekends this April, The ArtsCenter and The Town of Chapel Hill’s Community Clay Studio will jointly offer a Ceramics Master Class led by local artist Ronan Peterson. This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the two organizations that aims to enhance the course offerings of the two ceramics studios, as well as foster future joint efforts between The ArtsCenter and the Cultural Arts Division of the Town of Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Department.

 

Chapel Hill’s Cultural Arts Administrator Jeffrey York calls the collaboration, “just the beginning. Both the Town and The ArtsCenter have excellent ceramic programs. Projects like this can showcase what is possible when arts organizations work together.”

 

The master class “Peeling the Onion with Ronan Peterson” is the result of the goal of the two organizations to offer next level education opportunities to their advanced clay students. Peterson, who is known for his unique ceramic surfaces and glazes, maintains Nine Toes Pottery studio and has had his work featured in Ceramics Monthly,Clay Times, the books 500 Bowls and 500 Plates and Chargers, and in multiple galleries across the United States.

 

Ronan describes his aesthetic saying, “Essentially, I am dealing with effects of agents of growth and decay, and how these agents shape and embellish the surfaces of stones and the skins of trees. These agents also serve key roles in interacting with my ceramic vessels. Mushrooms, seed pods, grubs and other growths serve as knobs and handles, allowing one to remove lids and discover what might be inside or underneath a covered vessel, like lifting a rock to have insects scurry in many different directions when subjected to the light of day.”

 

The workshops are nearly filled to capacity, with Section A taking place at The ArtsCenter from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 22 and Saturday, April 29 and Section B taking place at the Community Clay Studio from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23 and Sunday, April 30.

 

We are confident that the success of this workshop will lead to future collaborative Masters Classes, so stay tuned!  For press interest in covering the workshops, please contact Jeffrey York at 919-968-2750 or jyork@townofchapelhill.org.

10 By 10 Festival Moves To Late 2017

The ArtsCenter is announcing its decision to postpone the annual 10 By 10 In The Triangle Festival of New Short Plays until late 2017. 

 

“We are committed to continuing to produce the celebrated 10 By 10 In The Triangle Festival of New Short Plays in 2017, but want to produce the festival within a time frame that enables The ArtsCenter to build and grow the quality and reputation of this festival.  10 By 10 has been a beloved institution for 15 years and we are excited and honored to continue this Carrboro tradition,” says ArtsCenter Executive Director Dan Mayer.

 

The ArtsCenter values and celebrates our local theatre community and looks forward to continuing our theatrical programming.  This includes partnerships with local groups, such as Pauper Players — premiering their new production of In the Heights April 7-10 — Company Carolina, Triangle Playwrights, No Shame Theatre, and One Song, who just produced their annual Feb 48 show of original short plays written and produced in 48 hours.

 

The ArtsCenter is in the planning stages for the next 10 By 10 festival and encourages theater companies and theater leaders that would like to partner and help envision the next festival to contact us.  We will issue a call for scripts 4-5 months prior to the new date of the festival. If you are interested in learning more about 10 By 10 In The Triangle, please contact The ArtsCenter’s Executive Director, Daniel Mayer, at dmayer@artscenterlive.org.

Now Hiring for House Manager position

The ArtsCenter in Carrboro is hiring for the House Manager position

 

This is a part-time, support position responsible for overseeing the box office during evening, daytime, and weekend events and classes. Duties include but are not limited to: selling tickets to events, registering students for classes, handling money and basic box office accounting reports, setting up for performances, and assisting other departments with administrative tasks.

 

To apply for the House Manager position, submit your resume and cover letter to boxofficemanager@artscenterlive.org.


 

 

DUTIES OF ARTSCENTER HOUSE MANAGER

 

The house manager is responsible for overseeing the box office during daytime, evening and weekend events and classes, selling tickets to events, and registering students for ArtSchool classes.  House Managers must have excellent customer service skills since they are often the first person with whom patrons will interact with. It is the house manager’s responsibility to assist everyone who comes to the box office and to have a presence in the box office at all times. House Managers report to the Box Office Manager and Managing Director. Administrative tasks may also be assigned by other department heads.

 

It is the responsibility of each House Manager to cover her or his assigned hours.  In the event that a House Manager is unable to cover his or her shift due to illness or other unavoidable circumstance, it is her/his responsibility to obtain alternate coverage (from among the other house managers) for the days s/he will not be able to work.

 

In unusual circumstances, when coverage is not possible to obtain, the house manager will inform her/his supervisor that coverage is unavailable.  The supervisor is then responsible for house management of that particular day.

 

The House Manager is responsible for the smooth operation of performances and classes held at The ArtsCenter, including but not limited to:

 

SHOWS

 

  • Check the set-up of Theater(s) to make sure seating arrangement(s) meets the needs of the performance(s).

 

  • Assure the needs of the performers are met and that the show starts on time, and if the show cannot start on time, to keep the audience apprised of the situation.

 

  • Make curtain announcements when necessary.

 

  • Make sure theater is presentable after events- this includes doing a general walkthrough of the theater and picking up trash if necessary.  

 

  • Manage Box Office, including selling tickets, reconciling ticket sales and paying performers.

 

  • Manage issues and problems that may occur during performances.

 

  • Crowd management.

 

  • Overseeing bartenders;  reconciling bar sales at the end of the evening; finding a replacement bartender or covering themselves if the bartender does not show up

 

  • Training and supervising community service workers and volunteers.

 

RENTALS

 

  • Oversee setup and cleanup.

 

  • Manage issues and problems that may occur during rental.

 

  • Settle payment.

 

ARTSCHOOL CLASSES

 

  • Make sure classrooms are set up as needed.

 

  • Assist instructors with any special needs.

 

  • Sell & reconcile swing tickets on Tuesday & Wednesday nights.

 

  • Register students for classes when possible.

 

GENERAL

 

Communicate with Operations Director about any issues that arise during their shifts through the House Manager logbook or other means.

 

Oversee the completion of the list of chores for community service workers left by the Box Office Manager or Managing Director, and ensure its completion.  If something is unable to be completed, a note must be left for the supervisor as to why it was left uncompleted. House managers are responsible for the completion of these tasks.

 

Oversee the general cleanliness and appearance of the facility. This includes ensuring all chairs and tables are returned to their proper places on a daily basis, and checking cleanliness of the lobby, gallery, and bathrooms periodically throughout shifts.

The ArtsCenter Opposes Immigration Ban

 

The Board of Directors of The ArtsCenter has endorsed the following resolution regarding the recent executive orders on immigration:

 

“We recognize these are stressful times for many of our community. Recently, President Trump signed two Executive Orders related to immigration.  One of the orders restricts citizens from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States and the other reflects his campaign promise to build a wall on our southern border. These Executive Orders are unjust and must be overturned.

 

These actions have heightened a sense of anxiety for many, having a chilling effect on the free flow of residents and visitors to the US at our airports and borders.  Carrboro and Chapel Hill are home to citizens from across the globe; over 17% of our residents were born in another country.  Our diversity is our strength. The targeting and stigmatizing of our Muslim and Latino neighbors, co-workers, and families has tested our resolve.

 

At The ArtsCenter we present programming from around the world; this Spring we are hosting musicians from many countries including Cambodia, Mali, Mongolia and France.  Our mission is to celebrate world culture and the diversity of creative expression that unites us all.  These Executive Orders have stifled global exchange and betray our country as an example of tolerance and acceptance of people and cultures from all corners of the world.

 

Through our educational programming, The ArtsCenter works with over 30,000 students from all over the world.  For example, last summer we hosted seventeen students from Iraq visiting North Carolina on a tour sponsored by the State Department promoting greater cultural understanding.  These students spent the afternoon in one of our classrooms learning techniques for filmmaking and documenting their experiences on their smartphones.

 

Whether in a classroom or in our theater, we are committed to the well-being of each and every student and patron that walks through our doors. We are committed to a community where all students, families, audiences and staff are safe, respected, and engaged. We expect everyone to be treated positively, without fear of bullying or intimidation.

 

We call upon all of us to remember what makes America special – it is our diversity, our deep sense of justice; our fundamental belief in personal liberty; and our willingness to stand for and with those in need.”

 

“I believe in our constitution and the freedoms, protections, and opportunities it provides. Together, we must defend the values we hold dearly and stand for each other. The ArtsCenter stands with all residents of the Triangle. Thank you for standing with us.”   — Daniel Mayer, Executive Director

Laughter is the Best Medicine: NCCAF 2017

Interview: Zach Ward
Posted by Jenks Miller

 

The ArtsCenter is gearing up for the 2017 North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival (NCCAF), a multi-venue comedy showcase and workshop featuring college groups and professional acts, improvisers, sketch writers and standup comics that will take place in Carrboro February 15th – 26th. Over the years, the NCCAF has grown both in size and stature; it is now recognized as one of the largest independent comedy festivals in the country. Recently, NCCAF founder and executive producer Zach Ward has emphasized the role of comedy in bolstering our emotional resilience during turbulent times. We spoke with Ward about some of the upcoming festival’s highlights, improv’s penchant for adaptability, and comedy as self-care.

 

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Photo courtesy of NCCAF.

 

The ArtsCenter: The North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival is in its seventeenth year. Carrboro/Chapel Hill was a very different place when the festival got off the ground in 2001! What inspired you to create the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival back then? How has the festival changed since then? And do those changes parallel changes you’ve noticed in the town itself?

 

Zach Ward: We started in 2001 so this will be our 17th annual event. With everything that has happened personally and professionally since then, it seems like a lifetime ago. We were all so different ― Chapel Hill, UNC, comedy festivals in general ― I was 22 when we started NCCAF, producing the fest out of my apartment in Chicago, a block North of Wrigley Field. I produced the first festivals as a way to teach and to foster a local appreciation for the type of comedy I wanted to eventually do myself, and see, in North Carolina. It took a decade and a lot more hustle than just our annual comedy party, but it worked. We did it. Now there are improv teams and troupes all over the Triangle performing “Chicago-style” improv, alt comedy shows and artists experimenting beyond the formats and shows that were popular at the time.

 

TAC: What can we expect from the NCCAF this year? Are there any highlights that stand out for you in particular?

 

ZW: I am very excited about how the programming for the festival has changed and stayed the same. Some artists make our fest an annual event, which has turned Chapel Hill, Carrboro and NCCAF into a comedy homecoming for a lot of acts. A large number of college teams have returned every year to perform at our festival for over a decade. This year we have booked headliner Aparna Nancherla, who will be on The ArtsCenter stage on Saturday Feb. 18th, and I am thrilled for festival artists and local audiences to see Aparna. This will be Aparna’s 3rd time at the festival, having first come to the festival in 2007 to perform with her improv team from Washington Improv Theatre in Washington, DC. She gained a significant amount of recognition in 2016, which has made her an “overnight success” (after dedicating the last 10 years to the work and the art of comedy).

 

Highlights at The ArtsCenter:

 

* RISK! podcast with Kevin Allison (feat. Eddie Brill, 13+ year talent coordinator for David Letterman)

https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows/2017/2/17/risk-podcast

 

* The Magic Negro and Other Blackness and AIL Podcast

https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows/2017/2/18/the-magic-negro-and-other-blackness-ail-podcast-keisha-zollar-andrew-kimler

 

* Aparna Nancherla (feat. local comics Hannah Strom and Brandy Brown)

https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows/2017/2/18/aparna-nancherla

 

* The Josh and Tamra Show (feat. Jim Henson-trained Muppeteer Josh Cohen)

https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows/2016/12/27/actual-garbage-people-the-josh-tamra-show-eric-holly

 

* ImprovBoston and Billyhawk (Los Angeles) and The Magnet TourCo (New York)

https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows/2017/2/25/improvboston-billyhawk-improv-all-stars

 

 

TAC: In addition to serving as Executive Director of the NCCAF and the Artistic Director of DSI Comedy, you also teach improv comedy workshops to students and professionals in many different disciplines. I’m interested in the relationship between improv performance and business (or even “life”) skills. What are some of the specific tools students of improv comedy develop in your workshops? Much of improv comedy performance is based on confidence and adaptability – are these skills that can be learned, and then translated into other areas of life.

 

ZW: I work with corporate clients and non-profit organizations on how the applied skills of improvisation and comedy can be used for active listening, creativity in business, effective leadership, sales, and relationship building. Just in the last year YesAndLife has customized programs to teach teamwork, collaboration, overcome negativity and conflict resolution. Over 20 years since my initial pursuit of comedy just for laughs (which most students secretly want even when they won’t admit it, Read: the endorphin release knowing you were responsible for making someone laugh will always be the best drug) has transformed for me personally into a healthy obsession with compassion, empathy, and a continuing study of interpersonal dynamics.

 

TAC: The press release for the NCCAF announces that you will be donating some of the proceeds from this year’s festival to the NAACP and to Planned Parenthood. I suppose that speaks to our current political environment. As you put it, “Laughter may be the best (only) medicine we have over the next four years.” Can you discuss the relationship between the political arena and the stage? What does laughter do for us in times like these?

 

ZW: I’ve regularly posted the hashtag #laughtokeepfromcrying since we sat in the theater on November 8 and watched the (very UNfunny) election results roll in. I stand by comedy as a tool for self-care (#laughmore), as a way to break tension and lighten the emotional weight of communication, especially for the conversations we seem to be having daily in our current political environment. Modern improvisation was actually founded in the 60s by and alongside artists who were exploring comedy, improvised works and satirical sketch comedy, to push for social change. Satire then and now has the opportunity to passively educate an audience and highlight absurdity through entertainment. Laughter is the best medicine, this we know. With the repeal of the ACA it may soon be the only medicine my friends can afford. I always want to make sure we are able to help people laugh in the moment, but right now it was also important for me that we give to Planned Parenthood and the NAACP, orgs who will be actively helping people fight for basic human rights over the next 4 years.

 

The NCCAF takes place February 15th – 26th.  For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.nccomedyarts.com/shows

Update: 10 By 10 and Theatre at The ArtsCenter

The ArtsCenter values and celebrates our local theatre community and is committed to continuing our theatrical programming, including partnerships with local groups such as Pauper Players, Company Carolina, Triangle Playwrights, No Shame Theatre, and One Song, who just completed a well-received run of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s classic You Can’t Take It With You in the Earl & Rhoda Wynn Theatre.

 

The ArtsCenter will continue to produce the celebrated 10 By 10 In The Triangle Festival of New Short Plays in 2017, and will issue a call for scripts in the next four to six weeks.  10 By 10 has been a beloved institution for 15 years and we are excited and honored to continue this Carrboro tradition.

 

We are currently looking for theatre professionals and community leaders to help shape and produce the festival in 2017 and beyond. If you are interested in helping to produce 10 By 10 In The Triangle, please contact The ArtsCenter’s Executive Director, Daniel Mayer, at dmayer@artscenterlive.org or (919) 929-2787 ext. 217.

ArtsCenter Fundraising Dinner at Provence

provence-invitation

As we close out our year and look forward to a successful 2017, we would like to cordially invite you to Dinner at Provence to benefit The ArtsCenter and all of its wonderful programs.

 

The ArtsCenter thanks you for your generous and continuous support of our programs. Without dedicated donors like you, our classes, concerts, residencies, and performances would not be accessible to those that need it most.

 

Date: January 5, 2017 at 6PM
Where: Provence (203 W. Weaver St. Carrboro, NC 27510)
Tickets: $95 – click here to purchase
If you have any questions, please contact Connor Lillis at clillis@artscenterlive.org or by phone at 919-929-2787 ext. 214

 

MENU:

 

ArtsCenter Fundraiser

 

“Le Menu Provençal”

 

Premier Plat

Oysters on the half shell with mignonette and goat cheese

  • 2014 Domain Moreau-Naudet, Chablis

 

Deuxième Plat

Bisque of Roasted Red Pepper and Chèvre

  • 2015 Gérard Fiou, Pouilly-Fumé

 

La Salade

Salad of Arugula, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Red Beet Confit, and Chèvre

  • 2014 Château de Villeneuve, Saumur Blanc

 

Troisième Plat

  • Duet of Grilled Atlantic Lobster Tail and NC Scallops

Red Skin Potatoes, Haricots Verts, Beurre Blanc

  • Filet de Canard Wellington

Duck breast roasted in puff pastry, Tartiflette, Asparagus, Juniper Demi-Glace

  • Filet d’Agneau

Lamb medallions, seared on the grill, Artichoke Barigoule,

  • Jardinière de Légume

Chef’s Vegetable Selection

  • 2013 Domaine Sébastien Magnien, Pinot Noir
  • 202 Sequoia Grove, Napa Chardonnay

 

 

Le Dessert

Chocolate Fondant with Roasted Walnut Ice Cream

  • Presidential Port

Read our Early November eNewsletter!

 

We have so much planned for this holiday season, we couldn’t fit it all in one eNewsletter, so we split it in two!  Our Early November eNewsletter is out now, and a second eNewsletter for the latter half of the month will be hitting inboxes next week!  Check it out for the latest news about ArtsCenter classes, concerts, promotions and more!

 

Click here to view our Early November eNewsletter.

 

Want to get our eNewsletter every month? Sign up by entering your email address into the “eNewsletter Signup” box at the top right of the page and clicking “Join!”

Read our October eNewsletter!

 

Our October eNewsletter is out!  Check it out for the latest news about ArtsCenter classes, concerts, promotions and more!

 

Click here to view our October eNewsletter.

 

Want to get our eNewsletter every month? Sign up by entering your email address into the “eNewsletter Signup” box at the top right of the page and clicking “Join!”

Season Brochure and ArtSchool Fall Catalog Now Online!

 

We’re happy to announce that you can now peruse our 2016/2017 Season Brochure and our Fall 2016 ArtSchool Catalog online from your computer or phone!  Our brand new interactive digital catalog system allows you to flip the pages, learn about our performance and class offerings, and even buy tickets and register directly from the catalog by clicking on the name of a show or course!  Try it out by clicking on a publication below:

 

2016-2017-season-catalog-front-cover      fall-2016-catalog-cover