A seasonal Christmas concert with holiday treats and tons of good cheer proved to be a big hit Saturday night at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education (KCHE).
Northeast State’s Cultural Activities Committee sponsored rising local favorites Wise Old River and The Rose Sisters to play the first-ever Acoustic Christmas concert at KCHE.
“The Acoustic Christmas event was a great success at the Kingsport Center for Higher Education,” said Jessica Barnett, events coordinator at KCHE. “This was a great way to open the facility to the community.”
The Rose Sisters opened the show with their elegant blend of Appalachian and Western swing music. Karla Diller and Jamie Collins are best friends, not sisters, but their superb harmonies and lyrics bind them as musical blood kin. Diller and Collins are multi-talented musicians and vocalists performed original songs for the audience and joined Wise Old River on stage for a few songs as well.
Wise Old River blends a variety of influences and instruments that combine tradition with originality. The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton, Jim Denton on acoustic steel guitar, and the bouzouki. Jeanne Denton provides well-crafted harmony vocals and occasional percussion with bassist Stephen Marshall rounding out the group.
The “eclectic-Americana” sound of Wise Old River has made them favorites at Northeast State events during the past year. The Rose Sisters and Wise Old River continue to grow in popularity around the region as “must-see” performers.
Both bands played Christmas favorites with lead singer James Denton singing a beautiful acoustic version of “Silent Night” and his own original song “Christ Was Born on Christmas.” Wise Old River also played holiday classics at the tree lighting ceremony in downtown Kingsport earlier in the evening.
Northeast State’s Students in Action sponsored a toy drive for the show with patrons brought a toy for distribution to needy children during the Christmas season. Patrons generously donated toys for needy children.
All of the Commission institutions at the KCHE participated in the event. Milligan College and Northeast State provided hot drinks and cookies. Tusculum College’s professional photographer was present to take free holiday photos of the concert patrons and the University of Tennessee and Lincoln Memorial University gave away free goodies. King University’s Twister, the Lion, along with Northeast State’s JP, the Bear, were also on hand to spread the holiday spirit.
KCHE hosts courses from all six member institutions. Enrollment at KCHE exceeded 2,000 students for the fall semester. Barnett said these member institutions of the Kingsport Higher Education Commission have cooperated well toward both academic achievement and social advancement of the KCHE as a cornerstone of the city’s Academic Village.
She added that arts lovers should mark the KCHE Auditorium as a new venue to see a variety of cultural events in downtown.
“The majority of patrons who attended the event had never been to the KCHE and were very impressed with the facility and what it has to offer,” said Barnett. “We hope to do many more events like this in the future.”