Echoes and Images student winners announced

Northeast State’s award-winning student literary publication Echoes and Images announced winners of the annual competition. Student submissions were made during the fall semester in the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Visual Arts. A panel of judges, who are experts in each category, selected first-, second, and third-place award winners earlier this semester.

Robin’s Nest by Taylore Bivens (Reprinted with permission)

In the Fiction category, Hunter Eaton earned the first-place award for his work Cardinals. Jessica Howington took second place for A Pen With a Pulse, and Ethan Lyle won third place with In Flight.

In the Non-fiction category, Makayla Adams took first place for Something Blue. The second-place award went to Megan Street for her work When the Rooster Crows.  Anna Rosenbalm took third place for 19066-084. Honorable mention notices went to The Strongest Bond by Madeline Rash and Hate by Taylor Laughren.

For the Poetry category, Matthew Bennett claimed the first-place award for his poem Pondering at the Drive-Through. T.S. Griggs took the second-place award for Cars. The third-place award went to Hunter Eaton for his work Birds Beyond Buildings. Honorable mention notices went to these contributing poets: Abigail Hines for Ashes of an April Love Affair; Bennett for My Western and Homestead Ablaze; Chandler McCrary for Rhyming Depression; and Jessica Suarez for Sycamore Shoals.

In the Visual Art category, Brad Simon won first place with As above, so below, a color pencil and pastel work on black pastel paper. Emily Overbey earned second place with Off With Her Head, a mixed media on Bristol board work. Haley King received the third-place award for her work Earning My Collaging Patch, a collage on canvas.

A Starry Night by Samantha Koniak (Reprinted with permission)

Honorable mention notices went to Runzhou Zhu for Freedom, an India ink on drawing paperwork and Samantha Koniak for A Starry Night, an acrylic on canvas.  Other art noted for distinction by the judges were: Jose Tavarez for Lucerne Swans, photograph; Taylore Bivens, Robin’s Nest, collage on illustration board; David Gonzalez, Tessellation, ink and color pencil on Bristol board; Shayna Richardson, Kaleidoscope, mixed media on Bristol board; Jenna Jacobs, Goya, graphite on drawing paper; Cassandra Parker, Midnight Magic, mixed media; and Brad Simon, Dead Lights, ink on Bristol board.

Freedom by Runzhou Zhu (Reprinted with permission)

First-, second-, and third-place winners in all categories will be published this spring in Echoes and Images 27.  Other winning entries will be published as space permits.  A reading and art exhibition of this year’s winners is scheduled April 12 at 6:00 p.m., in L106 of Basler Library.

Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show set Feb. 24 at RCPA

Northeast State hosts the 22nd annual Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show on Saturday, Feb. 24.

This year’s guest of honor and featured performer will be bluegrass and gospel legend Larry Sparks. The former lead vocalist for Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys formed his own band, The Lonesome Ramblers, in 1969. He has released more than 60 albums and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2015. His awards include the 2004 and 2005 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Male Vocalist of the Year Award and the 2005 IBMA award for Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year for his album “40.” (See Larry Sparks perform here:

The show takes place at the Regional Center for the Performing Arts, 2425 Highway 75, Blountville.  Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets can be ordered at or by calling 423-354-5169. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 7:00 p.m.

Each year, The Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show raises money for music-related nonprofit organizations in memory of the late bluegrass artist Leon Kiser, who was the bandleader of the Holston Mountain Boys for more than 30 years. Kiser was also a prolific concert promoter in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“It’s a great honor to be part of the Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show,” Sparks said. “I think it is very important for me and other established artists to support programs that promote bluegrass music and help younger artists to develop their talent. We must all pull together to keep bluegrass alive. We can make some new paths but never forget the old paths and learn from them the real bluegrass music the way it should be played and sung from the heart.”

Proceeds will benefit the Benny Sims Scholarship Fund and the Leon Kiser Scholarship Fund at East Tennessee State University, as well as the ACMA Mountain Music Museum, which recently reopened in a new location in downtown Kingsport. The museum is owned by the nonprofit Appalachian Cultural Music Association (ACMA), which produces the Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show.

“It’s great to see how the music community comes together for this event every year,” said Tim White, who will emcee the benefit, along with Rick Dollar, the museum’s director. “Performers volunteer their time and talent to raise money to raise awareness of mountain music and support promising young artists.”

White, who hosts the nationally syndicated public television concert series “Song of the Mountains,” will also perform at the upcoming benefit with his band, Troublesome Hollow. Other performers who are scheduled to appear include Earl “Hump” Doyle, Raymond McLain, Morehead State University’s Mountain Music Ambassadors, Kaitlyn Baker, the Kiser Family, Cork Lickers, Breaking Tradition, Cedar Valley, Kenny Morrell, Duty Free, Saplin’ Grove, Brandon Lee Adams and Grant Maloy Smith.

The show will also pay tribute to the Old Hickory Tree Store in Bristol, which was a popular hub for live, regional bluegrass music for many years.

For more information about the show, visit

NE Theatre wins big at KCACTF competition

The Northeast State Theatre Department continues to win awards and impress critics and audiences in our region and beyond.

Northeast State Theatre earned seven awards at the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) competition held Feb. 6-10 at Georgia Southwestern University, in Americus, Ga. The adjudicated competition recognizes the best theatre work of two- and four-year colleges across the Southeast.

Jon Wampler (left) and Allen Lopez in “The Foreigner.”

The Northeast State festival caravan featured two faculty members, six students, two alumni, 12 workshops attended, four plays attended, three panel discussions, three faculty awards received, a performance at the KCACTF IV Gala Event, and four student design awards received.

Awards presented to Northeast State faculty and staff were:

Weiss Allied Craft Design First Place Winner, Shelby Minogue

Weiss Lighting Design Second Place Winner, Allen Lopez

Winner of the Don Childs Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Award, Shelby Ashley

Vector Works Lighting Award, Shelby Ashley

Meritorious Achievement Award for Excellence in Applied Theater Technology, Crimes of the Heart, Brad McKenzie

Meritorious Achievement Award for Excellence in Directing, The Foreigner, Brad McKenzie

Special Recognition Award for Invited Gala Awards Ceremony Scene, The Foreigner, Brad McKenzie

“We can’t thank everyone enough for the assistance and the support that we have received for this event,” said Elizabeth M. Sloan, associate professor and director of Northeast State Theatre. “It means so much to work with colleagues that support the arts.”

Apply online now for Tennessee Reconnect!

Looking to reboot your life? Take a step forward and apply for the Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship at

Tennessee Reconnect encourages adults to return to college to earn a degree or technical certificate. The program allows every Tennessee resident to attend a technical school or college without having to pay tuition. Tennessee Reconnect is a last-dollar scholarship created for adults to earn an associate degree or technical certificate, tuition-free.

Whether you are enrolling in college for the first time, returning to finish a degree, or a service veteran applying for admission, Tennessee Reconnect provides the steps to navigate the college admissions process. Adult students planning to apply for Tennessee Reconnect should follow these steps:

  • Fill out the Tennessee Reconnect application and submit it.
  • Create a login on the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) portal at this link:  Once you have created an account, Select “Apply for Scholarships” on the TSAC portal, and then choose “Tennessee Reconnect.”
  • Submit an application for admission to Northeast State.
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  • Enroll in a degree or certificate program at Northeast State as a part-time or full-time student.

Created in 2013, The Drive to 55 Initiative seeks to increase the state’s educational attainment rate from 37 percent to 55 percent by the year 2025.

Representatives of the Northeast State Office of Enrollment Services are happy to provide information and answer questions about Tennessee Reconnect. For more information, contact Northeast State Enrollment Services at 423.323.0229 or

Submit the spring graduation app by Feb. 5

Set to graduate this spring? Turn in your application for graduation form before the Feb. 5 deadline.

An application to graduate form must be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office. You can download an application in the Admissions and Records Office or the Campus Information Center or access the application form in pdf format at the How to Graduate link.  The link also provides important information about graduation requirements.

Students may complete requirements for more than one concentration of study within the degree program by successfully completing all course requirements in both concentrations. A separate Application for Graduation must be submitted for each concentration. Students will receive separate diplomas, one for each concentration.

Spring commencement exercises are held in May at East Tennessee State University’s Memorial Center.