Singer Anderson East performs hometown concert to support Scout Music House

ATHENS, Ala. – While home for Thanksgiving, Athens native Anderson East performed a private benefit concert to support Scout Music House and opportunities for students to explore their interest in the music business.

East performed at Athens State University’s McCandless Hall on Friday, Nov. 23, to a sold out crowd. Athens Arts League presented the concert, and Athens-Limestone Hospital helped sponsor it.

Proceeds will benefit Athens Arts League’s Scout Music House project. The League is leasing the 1938 structure originally built for Boys and Girls Scouts from the City of Athens. Athens Arts League is raising money to renovate the once decaying structure into a music venue where students will get hands-on experience marketing, setting up and recording house concerts and other events.

During his performance, East remarked that for him, Scout Music House is 20 years too late. He said that 20 years ago the only place in Athens he had to perform was the coffee house at the Methodist Church. He toured Scout Music House while home for the holiday, and said he was honored Athens Arts League asked him to perform in support of the project.

East is a soulful R&B singer who was nominated for the Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Music Association Honors. He recently made his debut on the legendary PBS series “Austin City Limits.”

East said he performs concerts everywhere, but he was most nervous performing in his hometown where he knew many in the audience. Several of East’s family members and friends attended.

“Athens Arts League is humbled that a performer of Anderson East’s caliber believes in our mission to expand art opportunities in his home community, and we are grateful he and his band took of their time to support us with the concert,” said Athens Arts League Board President Jennifer Hilton Sampieri.

Athens Arts League Board member Holly Hollman, who serves as the Scout Music House Committee chair, said East also graciously donated part of the proceeds from his merchandise sales at the concert. Hollman said there are some outstanding invoices as well as additional donations to count, but she estimates the concert raised between $17,000 to $18,000.

“We are in the final phase of renovations, and this will go a long way to helping us complete the work left to be done,” Sampieri said.

Work remaining includes finishing the wiring, insulation, Sheetrock and restoring the wooden floor.

Although Scout Music House is not yet open, Athens Arts League is finding ways to involve students in programs. For example, sponsors paid for four students from city and county schools to attend East’s concert. The students not only enjoyed the performance, they obtained hands on experience setting up for the concert, taking photographs, and event planning.

SOURCE: Holly Hollman/City of Athens

Band students help park committee share Christmas spirit

ATHENS, Ala. – Each year at the Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park Committee Tree Lighting in Athens, the committee helps families in need celebrate Christmas by providing toys to children from the community and those recommended from the Boys and Girls Club. During the event, there are random drawings so some children receive a bicycle.

In 2017, when the East Limestone Marching Band learned the committee was in need of more presents and bicycles, the band collected gifts and bicycles at a Chick-fil-A toy drive. Band Director Jennifer “Miss Sam” Janzen said the band students are ready to help again.

“This Christmas project teaches the band kids to learn the importance of giving back and supporting their community,” she said.

On Nov. 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., the band will host a toy drive at Chick-fil-A in Athens. Those who want to donate can bring toys and bicycles for all ages, but especially toys for older children.

“We are always in need of gifts for those ages 10 to 14, girls and boys,” said Athens City Councilman Frank Travis, who is a member of the park committee. “We want them to get an age appropriate gift.”

The committee provides gifts for 100 to 150 children. The tree lighting will be Dec. 11 at Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers from the committee, City of Athens, Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission and other student groups assist with wrapping gifts prior to the event and serving snacks and distributing gifts at the event.

“You see the true meaning of Christmas at the Tree Lighting,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “You see how people from various groups can work together to bring a smile to a child’s face. Seeing those smiles is the best Christmas gift we as a city can receive.”

Source: Holly Hollman/City of Athens, Alabama