Dauphin Island Heritage and Arts Council will host Last Friday Art Night on January 30, 6-8 p.m. Visitors are invited to "come shop for local art, enjoy food and beverages and hear stories of Old Dauphin Island" in the Heritage Gallery, 1008 Alabama Avenue. Call 861-3300 for more information.
Citizens for a Better Grand Bay is sponsoring the Last Saturday Community Breakfast on January 31, 8:30 at Grand Bay-St. Elmo Senior Community Center. A donation of $5 is encouraged.
Don't forget to "Dine Out and Donate" January 27 to help fight child abuse in our community. Approximately 35 restaurants and shops are participating in this fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center. Call 432-1101 for a complete listing of participants.
"The Light in the Piazza" continues its run at Chickasaw Civic Theatre, 801 Iroquois Street, through Sunday matinee February 1. Call 457-8887 for reservations.
Semmes Senior Center is looking for some devoted and able volunteers. Needed are fitness instructors, individuals who can teach Tai-Chi, Zumba, yoga and other classes, and a volunteer or two who would love to work the reception desk--"a great way to meet people and share all that the Senior Center has to offer," said director Terry Dixon. Call 649-2010 to find out more details.
Among upcoming February events to look forward to, to inquire about or to make reservations for are the following activities:
Mobile Country Music Association's Building Fund Benefit is Saturday, February 7, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the MCMA Concert Hall, 310 South Craft Highway, Chickasaw. There's music all day, but the Spotlight Performer, Charles "Bo" Grant will take the stage 1-2 p.m. For 12 years, Grant was a member of the 1950s recording group, The Platters, best known for such hits as "The Great Pretender," "Only You" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." For more information, call Carolyn Cain at 455-6748 or Marshall Fillingim, 457-0762.
A new Zonta Club is being organized in Mobile. An informational meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24, 6 p.m. at the Golden Bowl restaurant on Bel Air Boulevard. An RSVP is expected by February 15. Contact membership chair, Charlene Rains, by email at Charlene@zonta-district11.org or by phone, 251-533-9144.
"Breakfast with the Babies," a morning to enjoy coffee and doughnuts--and the chirping of hundreds of baby chicks--is scheduled for Friday, February 6, 7:30 a.m. at St. Elmo Feed & Seed. Call 957-2177 for more information.
Chickasaw Seniors Early Bird Breakfast is Monday, February 2, 7:30 a.m. at Chickasaw Civic Center, 224 Grant Street. Reservations are not required for this hearty breakfast served with a smile. This event is an opportunity to enjoy an inexpensive meal with congenial folks and to learn about upcoming city events.
In Satsuma, nominations for Citizen of the Year 2014 are being accepted by sponsor Satsuma Community Development Organization. The purpose of the award is "to recognize an individual who has made significant civic contributions to the development and quality of life in the Satsuma community through his or her personal volunteer efforts," according to SCDO. Candidates may be nominated by Satsuma citizens, clubs, organizations, churches or civic groups; Deadline for nomination is Monday,. March 2. Forms are available at Satsuma City Hall, Satsuma Public Library or online at www.cityofsatsuma.com
The Creola Community Development Organization, Inc. sponsors an annual award for Citizen of the Year 2014. "This award goes to an individual who has worked toward improving the quality of life in the City of Creola; this special individual shows dedication, spirit and has made an outstanding contribution to the community," according to the COY nomination form. Only Creola residents are eligible. Deadline for nominations is February 13, 2015. Forms are available at Creola City Hall and Creola Police Department. The award will be announced at the Creola City Council meeting February 26, 2015.
In other Creola news, Cub Scout Pack 32 annual Pinewood Derby 2015 is January 31, 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the SAIL Center and the Creola Ball Park.
Terri Nelson's tablescape at Semmes Camellia Festival, January 24 was sort of a "family affair." The centerpiece was a camellia painting by her daughter-in-law, Sarah Nelson. And the array of live camellias--white, pink, rose, variegated--were beautifully arranged in a collection of pitchers she had received from her mother-in-law, Mary Lee Nelson. Of course, it was Terri's use of her individual talent that pulled it all together into a very appealing and lovely table arrangements.
For the January 24, 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival, Carolyn Owens designed and executed the table-scape representing Semmes Heritage Park. The Park on Wulff Road includes Malone Chapel, an old-fashioned log cabin and the 1902 Semmes School, the oldest continuously in use school in the State of Alabama.
Carolyn filled her exhibit with dozens of local pink and rose camellias, ancient teddy bears in night caps, a Raggedy Ann, a cloth clown, even a Topsy-Turvey (double-headed) doll--all toys our ancestors might have played with in early 20th Century.
Carolyn chairs the Old-Fashioned Christmas the first Friday night in December, an event that embodies the motto of Semmes Heritage Park: "Remembering the Past as we look to the Future."
Walter Creighton, a past president of the 75-year-old Camellia Club of Mobile displayed his greenhouse camellias at Semmes Camellia Festival
Among the beautiful camellias exhibited at the 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival January 24 were those developed by Walter Creighton (pictured) and Donald Oyler, both members of the Camellia Club of Mobile. Other blooms were by various individuals.
Jeanette Byrd, chair of the Festival, said that approximately 150 guests enjoyed the camellia exhibits, tables-capes, Carol Jarvis' china camellia plates, the Camellia Art Show and other displays.
The Semmes Camellia Festival began in 1949 and was revived in 2013 and sponsored by Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc. and Mobile Public Library. Raymond Byrd is president of Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, which meets monthly at Semmes Heritage Park on Wulff Road in Semmes.
Jarvis Nursery provided information on the propagation and maintenance of camellias at 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival January 24th
Tony Ebright, who is on the City of Semmes Parks, Recreation & Beautification Committee and the Special Projects Committee, enjoyed the display by Jarvis Nursery.
Vaun Jarvis was on hand to talk with visitors about the propagation and maintenance of camellias at Semmes Camellia Festival, Saturday, January 24, 2015.
One new addition to the Festival this year was that beautiful camellia plants were awarded as door prizes to some lucky guests. Among the winners were Beth Pippins, Becky Webb, Kim Gulley, Susan Digman, Tonya Read, Christy Stackpole, Rosann Goddard and Carolyn Owens. .
Members of Alumni & Friends of Semmes School Inc., who with Mobile Public Library sponsored Semmes Camellia Festival, were on hand to greet guests
The 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival was sponsored by Alumni & Friends of Semmes School Inc. and Mobile Public Library. Members of Alumni & Friends on hand to greet guests to the January 24th Festival were, back row from left, Alice Dodd Baker, President Raymond Byrd, Sarah Wilson, Carolyn Owens and Diane Moore. Seated, left, is event chair, Jeanette Byrd and right, Lib Dodd, affectionately known as the First Lady of Semmes.
Mobile Country Music Association Building Fund Benefit, Saturday, February 7 at 310 S. Craft Hwy., Chickasaw, to feature Charles "Bo" Grant of The Platters
The Mobile Country Music Association Building Fund Benefit on Saturday, February 7, 2015 will feature as Spotlight Performer Charles "Bo" Grant of the early 1950s recording group, The Platters.
The benefit show begins at 10:30 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Grant is scheduled to perform 1-2 p.m.
Billed as "a fun-filled day of food, food, fellowship and music," the event includes lunch at noon ($5 donation requested.)
The MCMA Concert Hall is at 310 South Craft Highway in Chickasaw.
For more information, visit the Mobile Country Music Association website or call Marshall Fillingim, 457-0762 or Carolyn Sue Cain, 455-6748.
Table-scapes, a beautiful feature of the 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival January 24, often tell a story or set a scene. The one below is entitled "Day with Nana"
Among the many visitors to the 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival January 24, 2015 were members of the Ajomale family.
Pictured above are, from left, Tobi, Tofunni and Toluwa, all students at Allentown Elementary School in Semmes. The family, originally from Nigeria, includes parents Uzezi and Ajibola Ajomali.
The children particularly liked the Semmes Senior Center tablescape entitled "Day with Nana." The display featured the creative handiwork of Diane Moore and included photos of her grandchildren among the various live camellias and gift bags decorated with candy hearts. However, there are many "Nanas" at Semmes Senior Center, and so the exhibit appealed to all ages--grandchildren, parents and grandparents.
Zonta International is organizing a new Zonta Club in Mobile. And, according to Charlene Rains, membership chair of the Zonta District 11 club, an informational meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24, 6 p.m. at the Golden Bowl, 309 Bel Air Boulevard, Mobile.
Since 1919, Zonta International has been a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.
And the efforts of Zonta organizations at the local level cover a variety of topics/issues, including economic growth, equal rights, access to health care, educational opportunities, self-sustainability, self-esteem, personal support, domestic violence issues and comfort on difficult situations.
"The formation of a new club in Mobile is therefore a very important milestone for our organization," Rains said. "We have identified unique opportunities for service and advocacy efforts in the Mobile area, and we would like to share how Zonta International will pursue making a difference in the lives of many women close to you through this new club," she said of the public invitation to the February 24 meeting.
Rains asked that those planning to attend the informational meeting RSVP no later than February 15 by emailing Charlene@zonta-district11.org or by calling 251-533-9144.
2015 Semmes Camellia Maids make first public appearance at Semmes Camellia Festival January 24, 2015
Three new Semmes Camellia Maids made their first public appearance at the 2015 Semmes Camellia Festival on Saturday, January 24, 2015. The Festival, revived in 2013, was held at Semmes Public Library.
They are pictured above, from left: Lydia Smith, daughter of Joel and Kelly Smith of Semmes. Lydia is a home-schooled student in 10th grade. Kaitlyn Read, daughter of Paul and Tonya Read is in 9th grade at UMC-Wright Preparatory School. Briley Kearns is a 7th grader at Semmes Middle School. Her parents are Jeniffer and James Kearns.
The Maids will have both responsibility and fun as they represent the Alumni & Friends of Semmes School, Inc., and the community as ambassadors for Semmes history, culture and hospitality. They will participate in activities at Semmes Heritage Park, Open House, Old Fashioned Christmas, Camellia Festival; Heritage Day and other special events and activities throughout the coming year.
It's almost time, once again, for chicken enthusiasts to flock to St. Elmo Feed & Seed, 9001 Highway 90 W., to welcome some new arrivals. At 7:30 a.m. on Friday, February 6, the store will host its annual "Breakfast with the Babies."
The event lets customers enjoy doughnuts and coffee as they visit with each other and check out the 2-day-old chicks. This spring, the store will offer several rare breeds, as well as the more popular, common ones.
A complete list of expected poultry can be found on the store website. New birds will arrive every Friday through April 24, McCarter said. For more information, call 957-2177.
At the 2014 Breakfast with the Babies at St. Elmo Feed & Seed, some Mobile Bay Area Backyard Chicken Club members and Tracy McCarter of St. Elmo F&S were on hand to answer questions. Pictured are, from left, McCarter, and Sharron Fobes and Marj Gray of the club.
The 2014 national rate of students who pass their GED test is 59%. In Alabama, the pass rate is 53%. The number of local students who studied for their GED through the Bishop State Community College program was 156 in 2014; 63 took the test and 33 (52%) passed.
Statistics don't always show the struggles of those who finally achieve success, but one of those people, Shahimn Ruan, shared his story recently in the GED newsletter. His road toward success and the obstacles along the way are detailed below, with permission of Abbie Lee Deese, MS, Recruitment/Retention Specialist Adult Education at Bishop State. It is repeated here to encourage others traveling the same highway that Shahimn traversed.
"My name is Shahimn Ruan. I am 18 years old now, but my journey began when I was 17," Ruan writes. He was in foster care when he was 16 and didn't want to go to high school, so he elected to study for his GED and began classes at Revelation Baptist Church. There, Ruan said, "I met a nice sweet lady named Odessa McCaine, my GED teacher. She encouraged me every day in class and lifted my spirit by telling me to 'never settle for less,' which made me press my way through."
He made his first attempt at the GED test in September, 2013, and passed everything except math. His score was 380; he needed 410 to pass. "I felt down, but I didn't give up," Ruan said. He went back to studying and took the test a month later; again, he did not pass the math portion. "I just wanted to say 'Forget it,' and go backward." But a friend suggested a tutor, and after studying a few weeks, he took the test once more and scored 420 on math. "I was so happy all I could say was, "Thank you, Jesus!'" the persistent student said.
Ruan went on to enroll in the Welding Program at Bishop State Community College in January 2014. "My instructor, Mr. Moore, encouraged me to by myself and said, 'You get out what you put in,' and other instructors encouraged me, too, with 'You will get a job,'" Ruan said.
It took another year for him to graduate with a Certificate in Structural Welding, and two weeks later, he had a job. "I give God all the glory; I would not have made it without Him," Ruan said.
Shahimn Ruan's road to success was not without stumbling blocks that discouraged him and made him want to give up. But he persevered, and to others, he had this to say: “Do not settle for less and whatever your goal is, see that you reach it, press your way to it, never give up and put your trust in God.”
For more information on GED sites, dates and other details, call Deese at (251) 662-5395.
"The Light in the Piazza" opens Friday, January 23 at Chickasaw Civic Theatre, 801 Iroquois Street in Chickasaw
Myles Garver plays Fabrizio Naccarelli, the love interest of the young innocent, Clara Johnson, in "The Light in the Piazza," which opens at Chickasaw Civic Theatre on Friday, January 23.
Myles, a senior at the University of South Alabama, comes to this production with several leading roles behind him, both at USA and CCT. Included among those plays are "A Little Night Music" (2012), "Pirates of Penzance" (2013) and "The Bartered Bride" (2014); upcoming is a role in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail.
"I have also been fortunate to have had two professional roles with Mobile Opera: Jake Wallace in Lafanciulla del west (2013) and Prince Yamadori in Madama Butterfly in 2014," Garver said.
He received a Young Artist award with Mobile Opera in 2013-2014 and has won his category annually in ALNATS since 2012. This past year, he was in a summer program through Sessione Sienese per la Musica de l’Arte where he performed as a featured soloist in 16 concerts in 30 days throughout Tuscany, and was a finalist in the 2014 Vann Vocal Institute Program.
Others among the talented cast of Piazza, directed by Stacey Driskell with musical direction by Scott Wright, are Tjaden O'Dowd Cox as Franca Naccarelli, Blake Waters as Giuseppe Naccarelli and Linda Grill as Signora Naccarelli. Also in the cast are Steve Alsip, Monica Ganoe, Lea Johnson, Elizabeth Anderson, Jackson Henson, Ken Austin and Glen Vanderbeek.
The Light in the Piazza runs two weekends at CCT: January 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31 and February 1. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. CCT is at 801 Iroquois Street in Chickasaw. For reservations, call 457-8887.
Tablescapes are a beautiful and meaningful aspect of Semmes Camellia Festival, coming up January 24, 2015
One of the most beautiful and heartfelt table-scapes at the 2014 Semmes Camellia Festival was the one Diane Skelton Moore created in memory of her mother.
Entitled "Betty," the display consisted of some of Ms. Betty's favorite things: A picture of her husband, "The love of her life," Moore said; her used and worn-out Bible; her beautiful crochet work.
Ms. Betty loved carnival glass, and several pieces from her prized collection were included, along with her simple jewelry--a strand of pearls; her Sunday gloves and camellias from her yard. "I even had some cookies that she loved to bake--she was quite a cook and could put out a 'spread' fast," Moore said. Her mother was "a treasure and is so very missed," Moore said.
The table-scape truly was beautiful, the kind of creation a visitor is drawn to, wondering about each item, its significance to both the exhibitor and to the person honored. Not all the displays are devoted to a person, but each tells a story, and most designers are nearby and willing to share those stories.
This year's Semmes Camellia Festival is Saturday, January 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Semmes Public Library, 9150 Moffett Road. Presented by Alumni & Friends of Semmes School Inc. and Mobile Public Library, the event includes displays of individual camellias, a camellia art show, a collection of china plates featuring paintings of camellias and so much more.
For more information, call Chair Jeanette Byrd, 649-1647.
Seniors at Connie Hudson Mobile Regional Senior Community Center treated to Cookies & Coffee, courtesy of Jackie Woodward Barnett, Homecare Companions
After a workout at the gym, a crafts class or a catered lunch at Connie Hudson Mobile Regional Senior Community Center, 3201 Hillcrest Road, seniors stopped by the table of Jackie Barnett for Cookies and Coffee. The January 21 event was sponsored by Barnett and Homecare Companions.
Pictured above, from left, are Judy McClammy, Minnie Satchason, Lucille Harris, Jackie Woodward Barnett of Homecare Companions and Rod Garcia
USA senior, Brianna Smith, stars as Clara Johnson in Chickasaw Civic Theatre's production of "The Light in the Piazza" opening January 23, 2015
Brianna Smith, a senior at the University of South Alabama, plays Clara Johnson in Chickasaw Civic Theatre's production of "The Light in the Piazza," opening January 23. Clara, who is on vacation in Florence, Italy with her mother is described as "an innocent young woman who sees the world through the eyes of a child due to an accident she suffered as a child" in this play based on a novel by Elizabeth Spencer.
When Clara falls in love with Fabrizio Nacarelli, she is transformed by the experience, and, said Piazza director, Stacey Driskell, Brianna is "extremely proud" to bring the character of Clara to the CCT stage.
At USA, Brianna studies Vocal Music Performance and Instrumental Music Education. As to her stage performances, she was recently cast as Wednesday Addams in the "Addams Family" with Theatre USA, as Esmerelda in the USA Opera and Musical Theatre's production of "The Bartered Bride" and was part of the Mobile Opera Chorus in "Madama Butterfly."
Light in the Piazza, under the musical direction of Scott Wright, will run two weekends, January 23, 24, 25, 30 and 31 and February 1. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. CCT is at 801 Iroquois Street in Chickasaw. For reservations, call 457-8887.
( Some information on other performers to come.)
Unique partnership between the City of Semmes and Mobile County Commission will benefit public safety: Ribbon-cutting ceremony January 23, 9:30 a.m.
On Friday, January 23, 2015 at 9:30 a.m., the City of Semmes and Mobile County Commission will hold a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for the opening of the new City of Semmes Public Safety Training Complex at 9010 Forest Street in Semmes.
Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson will be the keynote speaker with Chief Tim Blakemore of Alabama Fire College as guest speaker, followed by Semmes Mayor Judith Hale and Semmes Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Edmond. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by tours of each facility, and vendors of emergency and fire equipment will be on site for all department representatives.
In a press release from Semmes Project Coordinator Brandi Michelsen, it's noted that "This project highlights the partnership between Mobile County Commission and the City of Semmes to offer more training and classroom opportunities for volunteer fire departments, EMS and other public safety personnel throughout Mobile County."
Mobile County collaborated with the City of Semmes to construct the live Fire Training Tower (Probie) adjacent to the City's planned multi-use classroom facility, which will provide ample space for Alabama Fire College certification classes and other training--giving volunteer firefighters more opportunity for training without their having to travel outside the County.
For more information about this event, call Semmes City Hall, 251-649-8811
Board of Directors for SouthWest Mobile County Chamber of Commerce, formerly Tillman's Corner Area Chamber of Commerce
Tillman's Corner Area Chamber of Commerce recently voted to change its name to SouthWest Mobile County Chamber of Commerce. Board members are as follows: Front Row, from left: Della Wade, Larry Kent, Russanne Howell, Delores McLaney, Maranda Hance, Kelle Flynt, Tiffany Ginn, Matt Garner, Sharon Murrill, Pete Riehm and Ed Murphy Back Row:.Theresa Orrell, Ruth Robinson, Alesia Davis, Donna Abercrombie and Kay Peace
Photo and IDs courtesy of Sarena Cawthon, Tillman's Corner Community Center
Semmes Camellia Festival January 24 will feature table-scapes, a collection of camellia plates, a camellia art show and many exhibits of individual blossoms
Semmes Camellia Festival is Saturday, January 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Semmes Public Library, 9150 Moffett Road.
In addition to table-scapes featuring camellias, a collection of china plates with 1850 paintings and a camellia-inspired art show, the Festival will include several tables of individual blossoms. And at 10 a.m., Vaun Jarvis of Jarvis Nursery in Semmes will be on hand to answer questions about camellias.
For information, call Jeanette Byrd, 649-1647.
Dr. Thomas Rowell to fill the role of Signor Naccarelli in Chickasaw Civic Theatre production of "The Light in the Piazza," opening Friday, January 23, 2015
In "The Light in the Piazza," which begins a 2-weekend run at Chickasaw Civic Theatre January 23, Dr. Thomas L. Rowell plays Signor Naccarelli. Tenor Rowell, said Piazza stage director Stacey Driskell, has performed numerous operatic roles with Mobile Opera and Pensacola Opera, and last appeared on the CCT stage as Jean Valjean in the 2013 production of "Les Miserables." Rowell is also Coordinator of Vocal Studies and directs the University of South Alabama Opera. He teaches studio voice, vocal pedagogy and song literature.
Currently, Driskell said, "Dr. Rowell maintains a very active performing schedule as a recitalist, soloist (and performing) roles with regional opera companies" (and) "in addition to his teaching and performing, he serves as conductor of Bella Voce of Mobile, Mobile's premier women's chorus."
Of Light in the Piazza, Driskell said that it is "set apart from the 21st Century tradition of pop music on Broadway . . . the melodic structure is very evocative of what is happening on the stage. CCT will again offer an extended, six-piece orchestra for this musical, drawing from among Mobile's leading musicians to fill the pit." Maestro Scott Wright conducts and Daniel Driskell serves as rehearsal accompanist and principal keyboardist.
(Some information on other performers to come)
(Photo courtesy of Stacey Driskell)