Caravan of Thieves plays Northeast State on June 22

Jump on the musical caravan when Caravan of Thieves returns to Northeast State for a live performance on June 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the Regional Center for the Performing Arts. The performance continues the College’s Hot Nights, Cool Music summer concert series.

Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, the fervent musical couple who front Caravan of Thieves, have traveled a fruitful yet challenging road since they met in late 2003. Soon after, they began blending their voices, writing music, traveling and performing together as the acoustic guitar-toting duo they simply called “Fuzz and Carrie.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Theater on the College’s Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The performance is free and open to the public.

Carrie and Fuzz Sangiovanni.

Inspired by the big band swing era, the Quintette du Hot Club de France, and early American folk music, Caravan of Thieves quickly took shape in the hearts and minds of Fuzz and Carrie. In early 2008, they wrote a handful of songs in this new style and began to fill out their sound with upright bass, violin, an occasional accordion and any other willing participant they could recruit along the way.

By the end of their first year, the Caravan started to gain recognition for their distinctive musical vision. The band released their debut full-length album, Bouquet (2009). The couple took their show and growing cast of characters on the road, sharing stages with a variety of artists such as Emmylou Harris, The Decemberists, Keb Mo, Tom Tom Club, Punch Brothers, and many others.

The Caravan eventually reached a comfortable stride as show and album producers, songwriters and arrangers, released Mischief Night (2010), The Funhouse (2012) and Kiss Kiss (2015), and continued building on the concept with each tour to follow.

Maple Hill Sessions is their latest album features acoustic duets inspired by the intimate live moments, singing around a single microphone during their shows. Songs such as “I Get Sad” and “Sweeter” which have become staples in their show have finally been captured during a very private, self-produced/engineered recording session in a friend’s barn with just Fuzz, Carrie, a Telefunken 251 mic and a couple of acoustic guitars.

For more information, contact 423.279.7668 or

Northeast State student wins essay contest, $5,000 scholarship

Mark Sanders did not plan to become a displaced worker.

At age 45, he faced the harsh reality of job displacement. But rather than becoming a statistic, Sanders enrolled at Northeast State Community College to find a new path. He also decided to enter the Hilmor Tools Annual Retool Your Future essay contest for a chance to win a scholarship.

“I knew I had to retool my own future,” said Sanders, a Kingsport native. “(HVACR Instructor) Ricky Black told me about the Hilmor essay contest so I wrote something.”

Sanders submitted a 250-word essay to enter the Hilmor contest this spring. The judges were duly impressed with what they read. Sanders was selected as an essay winner taking home a scholarship worth $5,000 provided by the company.

“Honestly, I entered hoping to at least earn a new tool because all the entrants to qualified to win that,” he said. “Winning the scholarship was a big surprise.”

Mike Oddo (left) from Hilmor and essay winner Mark Sanders. (Photo courtesy of Hilmor)

In the straightforward essay, Sanders wrote of his concern about how he planned to support his family after the layoff. But the essay also read of how Sanders planned to bounce back and succeed.

After 17 years working full-time in manufacturing, Sanders found himself out of work when the company relocated his factory out of the country and eliminated his job. He pulls no punches about his frustration with the loss of his job, a fate dealt with by many blue-collar American workers over recent decades.

“The thing that made this possible was all of the manufacturing plants we’ve shut down here,” said Sanders. “It is too late for me, but maybe these jobs can come back for the younger people.”

Sanders said he and his fellow co-workers received an extension in salary from the date of their layoffs. With the clock ticking, Sanders needed little motivation to set about reclaiming a spot in the workforce by earning a college degree.

Sanders plans to use his Hilmor Scholars scholarship award to earn his associate degree in Mechanical Technology with a concentration in HVACR technology. He expects to graduate from Northeast State in May 2018. His ultimate goal is establishing his own HVACR company.

Sanders essay below is reprinted with permission:

“Retool;” it is an important concept for my life.  For the past 17 years the majority of my job responsibility has been retooling a production line at Ball Corporation for changeovers. “Retooling” was the first job in the process.

In October of 2015, Ball announced the Bristol plant was closing and moving to Mexico. Suddenly “retool” had a brand new meaning. Instead of retooling machines, I would have to retool my life.

At first, the news was devastating. Would we be able to make it?  I am a 45-year-old man with no post-secondary education and a family to support.  I have often regretted not continuing my education.  Now is the time to fulfill that dream.

For me, HVAC is an easy choice (my father is a HVAC tech). I know being a HVAC technician is a stable profession in this area. The weather in Northeast Tennessee, with its hot humid summers and cold snowy winters, should provide a long line of customers for the rest of my life.

In just the few weeks I have been in school, HVAC has already begun retooling my life.  I now sleep like a normal person; no more shift work.  I spend more time with my daughters (getting math help).  I have even had the opportunity to assist in some heat pump installations. “I am excited to see what the future holds. I know for sure, HVAC is my future, and I cannot wait to get started.”

TN Reconnect Information Fair happens June 20

The new Tennessee Reconnect Act establishes a last-dollar scholarship for adults to attend a community college tuition-free.  Northeast State invites the public to learn more about Tennessee Reconnect and returning to college at an Information Fair scheduled June 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wayne G. Basler Library on the College’s Blountville campus, 2425 Highway 75.

The College’s Office of Enrollment Services hosts this free informative session for non-traditional college adults seeking information about Tennessee Reconnect as well as younger students seeking more information about Tennessee Promise and how to enroll at Northeast State.

With this extension of the Drive to 55, which comes at no additional cost to taxpayers, every Tennessean will have the opportunity to enter or reenter public higher education with no tuition expenses.

Attendees can get information about Admissions, Financial Aid, and Veterans’ Affairs among others. Fair attendees can meet with staff and learn more about the College and Tennessee Reconnect.

For more information about this event, contact Northeast State Enrollment Services at 423.323.0229 or

Northeast State welcomes the Cody Blackbird Band June 15

As a traditional flutist and singer Cody Blackbird has been recognized as one of the top Native American flutists touring today, reaching over 120 communities annually.

Cody and his Cody Blackbird Band kick off the “Hot Nights, Cool Music” summer concert series at Northeast State on June 15. The series features local, regional, and nationally known musical artists.

Cody Blackbird (Photo courtesy of Cody Blackbird)

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater at the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased at, by calling 423.354.5169, or at the door. Northeast State students with ID are admitted free.

Cody is of the Eastern Band Cherokee and Roma descent. His father is Thomas Blackbird, an accomplished American Indian Cowboy poet. Cody found his calling as a musician and has had worldwide success with his band the Cody Blackbird Band. Starting as a traditional flutist and singer, he recorded the album Raven Speaks Cody recorded the album Raven Speaks which garnered him a nomination at the 2010 Native American Music (NAMMY) Awards for Best Debut Artist. Blending the old with the new, Cody merges the Native American flute with powerful vocals into contemporary blues-rock sounds. The band has been compared to a hybrid Native version of the famous Blues rock band Blues Traveler.

The band recently received attention and praise from luminaries including Mike Posner and the Steve Miller Band’s Kenny Lee Lewis as well as Kris Kristofferson and others. Featured on NBC, PBS, CNN and The New York Times, Cody has performed over 1,500 shows both nationally and internationally. The Cody Blackbird Band has shared the bill with such artists as Michael Franti, Arlo Guthrie, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke, Buffy St. Marie, Peter Paul and Mary’s Peter Yarrow, and reggae legends “Big Mountain” among others.

Blackbird collaborated in 2014 with Lakota Producer Terrance to create the album Euphoria, an exploration of merging Native American flute with celestial synth key and drums to create an album that lives up to its name. Euphoria placed number 17 on the iTunes and Billboard New Age charts and was featured in Top 40 and was nominated at the 2016 NAMMY Awards.

The band will also hold a workshop at 3:00 p.m. on the Blountville campus. Contact Jim Kelly at to sign up.

For more information about this or other upcoming concerts in the Hot Nights, Cool Music series, visit or contact

Sign Up for Summer – Anatomy & Physiology I

Medical career majors rejoice! Prof. Michele Glass teaches a class of Human Anatomy and Physiology I with two lab sections during the full summer term. Summer classes begin today. Space remains open for a few more motivated students. This course and lab sections begin Monday, June 5. 

A core course for our popular Health-Related Professions and Sciences degree programs, the A & P I ( BIOL 2010/ CRN 50023) lecture is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, in the Powers Building, on the Blountville campus. Two lab sections are available from 8:20 a.m. to 10:10 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.

The knee bone connected to the thigh bone.

Human Anatomy and Physiology I introduces students to the structures and functions of the human body, which includes basic anatomical organization and directional terminology, cell biology, and the body’s skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Course prerequisites are all math learning support courses, ENGL 0870, READ 0870, or appropriate entrance scores.

Summer classes offer students a great way to earn credit hours, fast-track certificate or degree paths, or simply learn more about a new subject. First- and full-term summer classes begin June 1.

For more information contact Prof. Glass at