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Photo courtesy Samford University


I FOUND OUT I’M YOUNG AT HEART. Find out if you’re young at heart with our 5-minute Heart Risk Assessment. It will calculate your Heart Age and offer advice on how to maintain or improve your heart health. Visit to take the assessment.

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R WITNESS TO HISTORY Friedman Honored by Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in Broadway-Inspired Program PAGE 6

CURIO COLLECTION Plans Moving Forward for New Hotel in Homewood PAGE 8

FERTILE GROUND Urban Farm Program Reaps Benefits for Woodlawn High School Students PAGE 25

BREAKING OUT Theater Arts Bring Students out of Their Shells, Homewood Director Says PAGE 28




There’s so much happening in the Over the Mountain area, we can’t fit it all in the paper! Visit for more stories and photos.


J O U R N A L September 7, 2017 Publisher & Editor: Maury Wald Copy Editor: Virginia Martin Features Writer: Donna Cornelius Staff Writers: Sarah Kuper, Emily Williams Editorial Assistant: Stacie Galbraith Sports: Blake Ells, Rubin E. Grant Contributors: Susan Murphy, Jordan Wald, June Mathews, William C. Singleton III, Emil Wald, Marvin Gentry, Lee Walls Jr., Bryan Bunch, Sam Prickett Advertising Sales: Suzanne Wald, Julie Trammell Edwards, Tommy Wald Vol. 28, No. 3

Over The Mountain Journal is a suburban bi-weekly newspaper delivered to Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills, Hoover and North Shelby County areas. Subscriptions for The Journal are available for $24 yearly. Mail to: Over the Mountain Journal, P.O. Box 660502, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216. Phone: (205) 823-9646. E-mail the editorial department at E-mail our advertising department at Find us on the Web at Copyright 2017 Over The Mountain Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. The Journal is not responsible for return of photos, copy and other unsolicited materials submitted. To have materials returned, please specify when submitting and provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All materials submitted are subject to editorial review and may be edited or declined without notification.


Point Me In the Right Direction

every unrelated hotel stay – brings you ight now, you’re feeling pretty closer to a week at the beach. proud of yourself. You have Baby Dumpling’s Halloween Think about it. We’re entering costume safely in his closet, hoping prime spending time, people. Even against hope that he does not change though you already bought a his mind and decide that R2D2 is sooo Halloween costume, there will be much cooler than Batman. You’ve candy to purchase. You’re going to started nonchalantly throwing buy a turkey and yams and stuffThanksgiving spices into your grocery ing, Christmas decorations and wrapcart. You’ve even purchased three ping paper and gifts and gifts and gifts. strands of eco-friendly LED lights for It could add up to a lot of points, my the Christmas tree.  friend.  Now, ordinarily, I’d say, “Way to I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. plan ahead!” But after further considWhen you go to the grocery store, eration, I’m thinking, “Whoa! Hold up you’ll have to ask yourself, “Should I there, bucko.” No, this is not a rant put this on my Disney points Visa or Sue Murphy about people rushing the seasons. I the American Express that gives me just want to be sure that you take a airline miles?” You’ll have to eat moment to factor in your summer lunch at the place that offers a vacation.  I saw a guy on TV who multi-trip, punch-card program where the fifth visit is free, whether You heard me right. Unless you has taken his family you want a burrito or not. When you are planning a 2018 frolic in your travel to your high school reunion, own backyard, you will need to fly all over the world bypass the downtown hotel or drive somewhere. You’ll be eatusing freebies thrown you’ll where everyone else is staying and ing in restaurants, staying in hotels. book a room out by the freeway There will be theme park passes and in with his everyday because you’re only one stay away show tickets to buy, and all this expenditures. from a bonus night. You won’t be costs money – unless you do it with proud of it, but you’ll talk Baby points.  Dumpling into a hot dog/Slurpee I saw a guy on TV who has combo at the gas station to bump taken his family all over the world you up to free tank status. using freebies thrown in with his When it gets closer to Christmas, a lot of chain reseveryday expenditures. Properly played, it seems you can use airline miles, hotel points, gas station rewards taurants will offer gift card deals: buy $50 worth and and cash back perks to sail (or fly, or drive) right you get a $10 card free, a little something for everythrough your entire vacation. You’ll have to look up all one. No harm in that, I suppose, as long as you steel the particulars, but I do know this: You have to start yourself against the temptation to tell yourself that a Hamburger Hamlet gift card will be great for Aunt early.  Alice even though you know full well that she’s a vegeYou must research and secure the best credit cards, tarian. ones that offer cash back or double points or sign up Oh yes, points are serendipitous but they can be a bonuses. The guy had a binder full of them. The next slippery slope. So maybe forget I brought the whole step was to sign up for the most lucrative rewards programs so that everything you do for the rest of the year thing up and just have fun this holiday season.  – every trip to the grocery store, every gas tank fill-up, That’s the point. ❖  

OVER THE MOUNTAIN VIEWS September 10th is National Grandparents Day...

What’s your favorite memory of spending time with your Grandparents? “Coming to Savage’s with Pop and eating lunch. He’d get the cream cheese and olive sandwich and I would get a peanut butter cookie.” Margaret Scott Homewood “Walking to the beach in Long Island.” Tatum McCarthy Crestline “Cooking and baking in the kitchen and sharing recipes with Grandmom.” Maggie Burns Birmingham

“Hiking the mountains in the Sierra Valley in Aguascalientes, Mexico.” Angelica Martinez Samford Student



Smiles, Dollars and Hope

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 3

Three Organizations Care for Children Battling Cancer and Their Families in Different Ways By Sarah Kuper

Healing With a Smile

Smile-A-Mile, formerly Camp

Photo special to the Journal

Parents of children with cancer have a lot on their plates. In the Birmingham area, they have access to a wide array of doctors and treatment plans through Children’s of Alabama, a major pediatric research center. But medical care isn’t the only challenge they face as they fight to get their children well. There are local groups that also can help with money for parents faced with unexpected bills, a smile for families becoming discouraged, and hope for the future when the medical picture looks bleak. The need is monumental. Nearly 17,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with some type of cancer every year, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. September is the month designated to recognize issues surrounding childhood cancer. But for the kids and their families, facing cancer and its aftermath is a daily fight. Leaders at the local nonprofits Smile-a-Mile, Hope for Autumn and Open Hands Overflowing Hearts say they are coming at the problem from different directions but with one goal – caring for families affected by childhood cancer.

Meeting Everyday Needs

Former OHOH Executive Director, Christen Perry, presents a check to Children’s of Alabama for the Xenograft Project.

Smile-A-Mile, is a local nonprofit that’s mission is to provide hope, healing of the spirit and love for the whole family during the childhood cancer journey. A new facility on Second Avenue South near Children’s, called SmileA-Mile Place, is home to programs and resources for families. Professionals help families navigate emotions and hardships from the day a child is diagnosed. But they also are there to help alleviate the trials of childhood cancer with fun

activities and celebrations. Begun as a summer camp program for kids with cancer, Smile-AMile now has year-round programming and sometimes works with patients’ doctors to learn what a child is up against and how best to care for their non-medical needs. Development Director Savannah DeRieux said one of the most amazing things about Smile-A-Mile is the relationships. “There is something so powerful about being able to lean on someone

who knows exactly what you are going through,” DeRieux said, “Mothers can be the best resource and mentors to each other.” Smile-A-Mile is able to provide resources and programs through fundraising events such as the Monkey C Monkey Run on Sept. 16. “People need to be aware of what is available in your community. You never know when your family member may be affected,” DeRieux said, “It could be anyone.”

While children deal with the physical and emotional toll cancer takes, oftentimes their parents or caretakers are left with very real financial and logistical hardships. Hope for Autumn is a childhood cancer nonprofit that aims to help families take care of medical bills, transportation, employment and other unforeseen costs. The organization began with a backyard crawfish boil. Guests brought donations to help families with medical costs. Executive Director Amanda Knerr’s family was among the first to receive help from the group when her daughter was fighting a rare ovarian cancer at age 7. “The event grew and Hope for Autumn was established in 2012,” she said, “We started out helping one or two families a year and now we help families from all over Alabama.” While Hope for Autumn does raise money for cancer research, much of its money goes to everyday assistance, helping with things such as copays, mortgage payments and car repairs. The organization works closely with social workers at Children’s to find ways to help those who need it most. See CANCER, page 4


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Chelsea • Columbiana • Grandview Physicians Plaza • Hoover • Lee Branch • Liberty Park • Springville • Trussville

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Glow for a Cure Highland Park Golf Course Alzheimers of Center Alabama’s sixth annual golf tournament will begin with a tee off at 4:30 p.m. Golfers will enjoy nine holes before dinner and the remaining nine holes will be played with lighted balls, tees and greens. Tickets are $1,000 a foursome. Spectators tickets are $25 and include dinner. For teams and tickets call Vance Holder at 871-7970. For more information, visit

Sat., Sept. 9 HOMEWOOD

ZERO Prostate Cancer Walk/Run Homewood Central Park ZERO is partnering with Vituro Health to end prostate cancer. This event features a 5K run/walk, 1 mile walk, Kids’ Superhero Dash for Dad and

CANCER, From page 3

“It’s not always those that have huge community support. There are a lot of families that don’t have help from their church or family,” Knerr said, “Some are already living in extreme poverty and then their child gets cancer.” Knerr said often one parent has to quit his or her job to take care of a sick child. So far this year, Hope for Autumn has given $45,000 to help needy families. Knerr said she knows there are a lot of resources for children with cancer and their families, and Hope for Autumn is there to fill in the gaps. “With my daughter, we used all the other local support resources,” she said. “We didn’t want to repeat what others are doing because we highly respect them. We found other places where there is a need too.”


Bowling Tournament Childhood Cancer Benefit, Sat., Sept. 16 Vestavia Bowl Vestavia Hills Police Department presents a tournament benefiting the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. Adult teams are $100, kids teams (6-12) are $50. Entry fee includes 2 hours of bowling and shoe rental for up to 6 people. Prizes will be awarded for top adult/kids team and top individual kids score. Tickets will also be available for purchase for raffle items. To register contact David Abston, 533-2968. For more information visit, “Vestavia Hills Police Department” Facebook page. ❖


Helping Hands in the Hills Wald Park This year’s day of service will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the Wald Park pool pavilion with breakfast provided by a sponsor. From there, volunteers will disperse throughout Vestavia Hills to serve residents in need and help with various projects around the city. Afterwards, lunch will be provided. For registration forms, project requests, rules and waivers, visit

Sun., Sept. 10 HOMEWOOD

Bargain Costume Closet The Dance Foundation The annual costume sale will kick-off

In addition to the annual crawfish boil, Hope for Autumn will host an event called Fall Fizz and Fare on Sept. 29 at the Redmont Hotel. Guests will taste sparkling wine and craft beers plus eat dishes prepared by local chefs.

Tues., Sept. 12 BIRMINGHAM

from 2-4 p.m. and continues through the month. Items include dance wear, recital and halloween costumes, dance shoes and accessories. Proceeds from the sale benefit the foundation’s community partnership and tuition

assistance programs. For more information, visit thedancefoundation. org. HOOVER

Aga Khan Foundation Walk

ly became suddenly aware of the prevalence of childhood cancer and the profound lack of research. “We didn’t know until we were in the situation and saw how common it is. There are new diagnosis every day and we aren’t seeing better cure rates,” Perry said, “In fact, a lot of the chemo and treatment plans for Kayla were 30 years old.”


2828 Linden Avenue Homewood 870-4060

Art of Hope Avondale Brewing Company The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Alabama Chapter Junior Board presents the Art of Hope: Speaking the Unspoken from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Peruse the gallery of submissions while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and live entertainment. Prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. For more information, vista

OHOH but she said she knows there is a long way to go. “It is still frustrating because it doesn’t seem like they are making much headway with the cancers with lower cure rates.” Plus, she said, it all just seems unfair. “Childhood cancer – you don’t get it because you did something wrong liking smoking too much. There is no rhyme or reason as to why some kids get cancer and why some survive it and some don’t.”

Hope for Autumn assisted the Thompson Family as they dealt with childhood cancer.

Ending Childhood Cancer

In 2013, Kayla Perry Funk was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age 19. She fought through treatment after treatment, working with many doctors. Each one seemed to say the same thing, “I don’t know.” It was her frustration with this phrase and the lack of research on her type of cancer that led her to found Open Hands Overflowing Hearts. The chief end of the organization is to raise money for research on childhood cancers, especially ones that have lower cure rates. Funk’s mother, Christen, is the former executive director of OHOH. When Kayla was diagnosed, her fami-

Veterans Park Aga Khan Foundation presents a fundraising walk from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. to raise unrestricted funds and to educate people about global poverty. This free event will include a silent auction, a village in action (a visual depiction of the projects undertaken by the organization and prepared by middle school students), musical performances and kids and family activities. For a full event schedule, visit support.akfusa. org.

Through fundraisers such as Run for Their Lives and the Gold Gala, plus support from area merchants, OHOH has given $265,000 to childhood cancer research at Children’s and other pediatric cancer centers. Though OHOH gives money to centers across the country, Executive Director Laura McCormick said being a local nonprofit helps keep the money moving. “So many decisions can be made here locally,” she said, “We don’t have all the management steps between here and a national office so the money can go straight to our mission and resources.” Perry is excited for the research that’s made possible with money from

Keeping in the Forefront

Whether it is giving a family an outlet to feel normal again, helping pay rent until a Social Security check comes through, or funding cancer research labs, these three organizations are working to take care of the whole patient. During the month of September, leadership from all three organizations hope childhood cancer becomes top-of-mind and the public finds ways to support families when they need it most. For more information on Childhood Cancer Awareness Month events hosted by these organizations, visit;; and ❖

Photos special to the Journal

Thurs., Sept. 7

virtual Snooze for Dudes program. The run/walk starts at 8 a.m. and includes a post-race celebration. Participants will receive shirts, free food and the opportunity to connect with others who are impacted by prostate cancer. For registration information, visit support.


SEPT. 7-21



Guillermo (third from left) was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His mother Janet said Smile-A-Mile helped cure his loneliness and feel like a normal kid.



Lil’ Lambs Fall Sale Trinity United Methodist Church This consignment sale will feature gently worn clothes, toys and furniture Fri. from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sat. from 9 a.m-noon with select items half price. Volunteers and signers shop early at a preview sale on Thurs., Sept. 14. Proceeds go to fund mission and outreach projects in the community, the church and abroad as well as Trinity’s Modern Family Ministry Closet serving families in need in our area. For more information, visit

is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. For ticket information contact Dee Grisham at VESTAVIA HILLS

Family Campout Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest Celebrate the first day of autumn with a family campout. Bring blankets to make a family “campsite” and enjoy a hot dog supper, campfire singalong and smores. All activities are indoors, but don’t forget your flashlight. Registration is required and begins Sept. 1. Call 978-0158 to sign up or visit ❖

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 5 MOUNTAIN BROOK

Journal file photo by Jordan Wald

Sept. 14-16


Taste of Mountain Brook Sun., Sept. 17 Emmet O’Neal Library All in Mountain Brook and the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce present this family-friendly event from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on the grassy lawn in front of Emmet O’Neal Library and along Hoyt Lane. This event features food samplings from outstanding Mountain Brook restaurants and supports All in Mountain Brook. For more information, visit mtnbrookchamber. org. ❖ The Piggly Wiggly team, left, at last years’ event.

Thurs., Sept. 14 BIRMINGHAM

Stray Cat Strut The Nest Little Mews Cats will host their fundraiser from 6-8 p.m. The event includes a light dinner and dessert, a jewelry box fundraiser and silent auction. Door prizes will be raffled during the event. All proceeds go to Little Mew’s Cat Sanctuary Inc. to help stray and feral cats. Pre-purchased tickets are $20, $25 at the door. For more information, visit littlemewscats. com.

Fri., Sept. 15 BIRMINGHAM

ZooGala Birmingham Zoo The Zoo’s annual gala fundraiser “Mambo with the Macaws” will be held from 7-11 p.m. Listen to a steel drum band under the stars and enjoy Caribbean culinary offerings by Kathy G & Co. as you party island-Style. The Main Attraction will provide your favorite dance-party hits while you savor dinner and cocktails in the lushly decorated Children’s Zoo. An online auction will begin Sept. 8. Tickets are $200 per person for Zoo Members and $250 per person for non-members. This 21 and older event will feature Caribbean Cocktail Attire. For more information, visit

Reset your record. For you, recovery isn’t enough. You need to achieve victory over your injury and come back better than ever. When you team up with Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, we’ll put you back in the position to win.


Sweet Repeats Mountain Brook Community Church MBCC will host its consignment sale Fri. from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. with no strollers allowed before 1 p.m. Hours on Sat. will be from 9 a.m.- noon with many items being half off. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the church’s short-term mission trips to places such as San Diego, Peru, Hungary, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. All sales will take place in the MBCC gym. Please park behind the gym near the UCF House. For more information, visit

Fri., Sept. 22 HOMEWOOD

Dinnertainment A private club in Mountain Brook This unique dinner party features a cocktail hour, seated dinner and live entertainment by exceptional people as Exceptional Foundation participants, individuals of all ages with special needs, present songs, skits, videos and other performances. The event

Go to Andrews to start making your comeback. ©2017 Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. All rights reserved.

6 • Thursday, September 7, 2017



Area Churches Unite in Women’s City Prayer Breakfast By Sarah Kuper

On Sept. 29, women from all over the area will gather to pray for Birmingham. The city prayer breakfast is sponsored by Canterbury United Methodist Church and City Lights Ministries. City Lights Ministries is an organization of women from many different

churches in Birmingham who are committed to pray for and serve the community of Birmingham. City Lights Founder Susan Yarbro said she is excited to see what’s in store. The vision for the prayer breakfast is women coming together in prayer, service and fellowship to make an impact in the city for God’s glory.

“I think the event will strike a chord with a lot of women who want to be more involved in service around Birmingham,” she said. Janet Hall, WBRC Fox 6 news anchor, will serve as the emcee for the event and Sophie Hudson, local writer and speaker, will be the keynote speaker. Women in ministry roles across

the area will pray over issues relevant to Birmingham. But Yarbro said one of the most exciting things about the event will be the service fair. About 25 local ministries will be representing their mission and sharing ways women can volunteer. Yarbro hopes the service fair will make it easy for women to find ways to volunteer that will suit their gifts and fill a community need. The fair may even lead to women making new connections and creating volunteer pools. The breakfast is at Canterbury United Methodist Church from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at

Janet Hall, (left) WBRC Fox 6 news anchor, will serve as the emcee for the event and Sophie Hudson, (right) local writer and speaker, will be the keynote speaker.

breakfast. For more information on City Lights Ministries, visit ❖

Golden Opportunities Adopt A Golden Birmingham Is Glitzing It up for Annual Fundraiser

“If Ticia Payne lists it, it will sell.” Stacey and Glenn McIntyre with pets Oliver and Piper When Stacey and Glenn McIntyre decided to sell their home and buy a new one that suited their family’s active lifestyle, a friend referred them to Arc Realty agent Ticia Payne. “Ticia was so thoughtful. She even prayed for us during the stress of looking for a home and that meant a lot,” says Stacey. “We made an offer the day this home went on the market,” says Glenn, “and I’m glad we did. because there were other offers on the table. Ticia then listed our current home and sold it within a month.”

“Homeward Bound” is the theme of this year’s Night of Golden Opportunities, an annual event that raises money to rescue golden retrievers, care for them and find them permanent homes. Adopt A Golden Birmingham is hosting the event Sept. 21 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.  in The Carriage House at Park Crest Events in Hoover. Event organizers are hoping to raise $100,000, which would go directly to the emotional and medical care of rescues. Guests will walk a red carpet to enter the event, which will include

food, fine wine and local craft beer. Dancing and live entertainment will be provided by Cottonbird. The event also will feature a silent auction as well as a live auction led by Jack Granger of Thagard-Granger auctioneers Tickets are $150 and available for purchase through and on the group’s Facebook page. Table sponsorships and corporate sponsorship packages also are available. For more information, visit ❖

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Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 7


Witness to History

Rehab Reality...

Friedman Honored by Birmingham Holocaust Education Center in Broadway-Inspired Program By Deborah Layman

Photos special to the Journal

When it comes to improving life in greater Birmingham, there is scarcely an organization, an initiative, a program or a movement that has not been touched by Cathy O. Friedman. “I lived through the Civil Rights era,” said Friedman, a Mountain Brook native. “When I got older and had a voice, I knew I wanted to work for human rights. I knew I needed to speak out. I made a decision to be part of the solution.” Because of her commitment to Holocaust education and her lifelong work for human rights and social justice, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center honored Friedman during its annual L’Chaim (“to life”) event, on Aug. 20.

Don’t Wait. Don’t Hesitate.

The L’Chaim scene from Red Mountain’s recent production of “Fiddler on the Roof” was presented by members of the cast, featuring Kyle Holman and Brad Steele, (above) except that dialogue and lyrics were revised to honor Cathy Friedman (left).

‘I lived through the Civil Rights era. When I got older and had a voice, I knew I wanted to work for human rights.’ Working for her chosen causes – including the YWCA, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, Collat Jewish Family Services, N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Birmingham Pledge – Friedman has spoken out, organized, pushed, prodded, cajoled and insisted. Her secret weapons – charm and tenacity – have made her a force to be reckoned with in Birmingham.

Early Interest in a Dark Period

Friedman’s interest in the Holocaust began during her youth. Her first trip to Israel, in 1975, instilled a passion in her, she said. “Israel rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust, and I watched it flourish. It filled me with a sense of purpose,” she said. A visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau in 1994 as part of the “March of the Living” crystallized her focus. She saw evidence of the atrocities of the Holocaust and realized that in the small towns and villages around the camps, neighbors had remained silent as starvation and death filled the air.

She determined to become a witness to what hate, evil and indifference can do. “I knew I would never be silent to injustice anywhere,” she said. With Friedman’s help in her role as vice president of fund development, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center has grown from an all-volunteer group to a staffed organization with growing influence in the community. For the L’Chaim event, Keith Cromwell, executive director of Red Mountain Theatre Company and a long-time friend of Friedman’s helped craft a program that included “People” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” sung by Abijah Cunningham

and Amy Johnson. The L’Chaim scene from Red Mountain’s recent production of “Fiddler on the Roof” was presented by members of the cast, featuring Kyle Holman and Brad Steele, except that dialogue and lyrics were revised to honor Friedman. “We Can Be Kind” was sung by Kristen Sharp, and the Steel City Men’s Chorus closed the program with “Hallelujah” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” In her remarks at the L’Chaim event, Friedman said: “To be honest, I still have the same difficult time, as I did when I was child, in comprehending that the Holocaust was not an accident of history. It happened because individuals, organizations

and governments made choices to legalize discrimination, prejudice, hatred and ultimately mass murder. How can we learn from such a hideous injustice when some of the world denies its very existence? How can we do this as we continue to lose the generation that was there, our witnesses? “We become witnesses by making sure that every story is told, every experience is shared and every event is commemorated. This, my friends, is what the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center does daily.” Deborah Layman is vice president of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend intervention. Now I have a different opinion about it. As most of you know, I recently (August 14th) lost my sweet son, Jeff Butler, co-founder of Bayshore Retreat. While it was of natural causes, it still brings to light the reasons for having your life in order everyday and not taking anything for granted. As far as intervention and Bayshore Retreat, he always said, “if they’re not ready for change we can’t force it”, so intervention was low in our priorities. I understand this, but after living through the nightmare of dealing with things my position has changed. Clearly from medical standpoint and given his condition of being over weight and smoking, there’s nothing we could have done to save Jeff as his heart was a ticking time bomb. But if drugs or alcohol is causing someone to spiral downward, you may have a choice and chance. If someone in your life is self-destructing you should do something. Intervention/confrontation isn’t a bad thing. It may save his or her life. Be prepared to deal with denial. Don’t spare the words. What’s the worst that can happen? You are already living a nightmare so let the loved one know and share the nightmare their lifestyle is creating. Addiction isn’t something anyone chooses. It happens. We understand this, so the blame game isn’t the answer. Still ignoring it isn’t the answer either. You have rights as a spouse, parent or friend to live stress free of this person’s demons and problems so getting help for them might just save his/her life. As Jeff would say “Call my mom, she can help”… so call me.


8 • Thursday, September 7, 2017


Plans Moving Forward for New Hotel in Homewood

By Sam Prickett

Rendering courtesy Capstone Companies

After adjusting to local concerns and criticism, plans for a new, fullservice hotel in Homewood are moving forward. The four-and-a-half-star hotel – as well as an accompanying spa – is slated to be built on the corner of 28th Avenue South and 18th Street South, the former location of Hatfield Auto, Little Professor Bookstore and Wolf Camera. Capstone Companies founder Michael Mouron bought the property last year and announced his plans to build the hotel in April. Initially, Mouron said he had intended for the space to be dedicated to single-story retail businesses, because there would be enough parking spaces to attract regional and national retailers. But once he bought the property, Mouron cooled on the idea. “I began to think that just to do one-story retail, and to surround that with a sea of parking would just have been an inappropriate use for too valuable a piece of property,” he said. “It would have just continued the long, low retail stretch (on 18th Street), and I thought there needed to be more of an anchor in that important location.” He was inspired by the impact the Grand Bohemian Hotel has had on Mountain Brook since it opened in 2015, and he said he was motivated to build “the equivalent of that” in Homewood. The hotel is planned to be part of Hilton’s “Curio Collection,” an upscale brand launched by the hotel chain in 2014. There are more than 30 Curio Collection hotels worldwide. Mouron’s initial plan for the hotel featured a two-story section and a seven-story section, which included

become more of a green anchor.” The spa, for instance, will have a landscaped courtyard in front, thanks to city plans to add diagonal street parking to 18th Street. “There will be this nice, big development with a good bit of green, and I think that’ll be a very positive and appropriate front door for Homewood,” Mouron said.

Economic Impact

The four-and-a-half-star hotel – as well as an accompanying spa – is slated to be built on the corner of 28th Avenue South and 18th Street South, the former location of Hatfield Auto, Little Professor Bookstore and Wolf Camera.

127 rooms, a restaurant and a bar. That design was unanimously rejected by the Homewood Planning Commission on July 11 due to concerns that the structure was too tall and did not allow for enough parking for restaurant patrons. In response, Mouron altered the design of the hotel to five stories, with the changed layout actually increasing the hotel’s capacity to 129 rooms. It’s now a similar height to the SoHo development just a few blocks away, Mouron said. The parking issue, meanwhile, is being addressed by plans to buy a lot on the corner of 27th Avenue South and 18th Place South. Those changes led to the project being approved by the Homewood Planning Commission on Aug. 1. Following that, the plans advanced to the Homewood City Council’s Planning and Development Committee, which unanimously

approved the site plan. The next step, Mouron said, will come from a vote to rezone the property, on which the council as a whole will vote Sept. 11. The planned development won’t just benefit those staying at the hotel. The restaurant and bar will be open to the public, as will the planned fullservice spa, which will be built on the location of the former Wolf Camera. Mouron said he had hoped to avoid tearing down the existing building, but his plans for the spa probably will require a two-story building. Mouron said he believes there is strong demand for a spa in Homewood. “I’m very excited about bringing a full-service spa to the Over the Mountain communities, and I think it will prove to be a very popular amenity … . It will go a long way as far as setting the tone as far as the quality and sophistication that I expect out

Each year, the cities of Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills and Homewood take turns hosting a collaborative 9/11 Remembrance ceremony in honor of the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This year’s event will be hosted by Vestavia Hills at City Hall, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Brig. Gen. David Ling. He is the former director for U.S. Forces in Korea, where he worked to support readiness and strengthen relations between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. Ling currently serves as commander for the Army Reserve Sustainment Command of Birmingham The city of Hoover will be hosting its annual Patriot Day Remembrance Ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at Fire Station 2. During the ceremony, the city will honor residents, staff and people who have family members who have served in the military.

Vestavia BOE Seeks to Buy County’s Gresham Elementary

Photo special to the Journal

OTM Cities to Host 9/11 Remembrance Ceremonies

Brig. Gen. David Ling will be the keynote speaker at this year’s 9/11 Remembrance ceremony. All other Hoover stations will be holding short ceremonies at 8:58 a.m. by their flagpoles. For more information, visit —Emily Williams

The Vestavia Hills Board of Education is looking to acquire Gresham Elementary, a kindergarten through fifthgrade school that currently is part of the Jefferson County Board of Education. Though no formal agreement has been made, the board announced its intention through a non-binding letter at the end of its Aug. 23 meeting. Roughly 375 students are enrolled at Gresham Elementary, which employs 50 faculty and staff members. The students, who live in unincorporated pockets in the area, typically attend Irondale Middle School and Shades Valley High School, both of which also are part of the Jefferson County School System. The school is 2.2 miles southwest of Vestavia Hills Elementary and 4.5 miles east of Vestavia Hills Elementary West. Vestavia Hills Superintendent Sheila Phillips said she was approached about a potential sale by Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Craig Pouncey. A

of the hotel,” he said.

Greening the City

Mouron said he also is aware of the movement to increase green space in Homewood. In recent months, the community activist group Homewood GreenSpace Initiative has been gathering support for a “greening” plan for the city’s downtown area. Mouron said he plans for the hotel to contribute to that movement. Mouron said that, if his company had built retail, “what it would have been was probably retail pulled right up to the sidewalk, with parking behind it. There would have been little opportunity for significant green space,” he said. “By doing the hotel and spa, as I’m planning on doing, and pulling elements of that building back (from the sidewalk), then I really have pockets where I can do more intense green space and landscaping, and I think recent appraisal of the property, she said, placed its value at $6.75 million – $3 million for the 27 acres the Gresham campus occupies, and $3.75 million for the improvements. “My opinion is, I feel it would be an advantage to the Vestavia Hills School System to own and operate Gresham School,” Phillips said at the Aug. 23 meeting. The letter of intent, she said, is the first of a three-step process similar to the one used in the board’s purchase of Berry High School from Hoover last year. The next step will require both school systems to sign a sale-purchase contract; the third step will be the closing of the sale. If the purchase does occur, the land will be annexed into the city of Vestavia Hills, where it will be zoned by the municipal government for school and recreational purposes. Phillips said the sale would have a great impact on an upcoming study by Cooperative Strategies, a national educational planning organization that is slated to begin an in-depth analysis of the school system. —Sam Prickett

Mouron also hopes to emphasize the economic impact the proposed hotel will have on the city. According to a post on the Friends of Homewood Hotel Facebook page, organized by Mouron to keep Homewood business owners and residents updated on the project’s progress, the hotel will employ approximately 57 full-time employees “as well as an undetermined number of part-time employees.” The project is also estimated to generate $750,000 in tax revenue for the city annually. The Facebook page also emphasizes the new customers the hotel will attract to other local businesses. “I think it’s a great addition to the central business district,” said Andrea Snyder, owner of local restaurant Urban Cookhouse, in a video posted to the page. “I’m excited about all the customers it’s going to bring to the area, and I’m proud to be a part of Homewood, where we are progressive and forward-thinking.” Construction on the hotel and spa will likely begin in February or March of next year, Mouron said, with a planned opening of spring 2019. ❖

Eyes on the Road! Mountain Brook Construction Is Rerouting Traffic

Construction on a Mountain Brook shopping center will reroute traffic in the area for the next week. Renovations on a bridge on Lane Park Road – part of ongoing construction on the Lane Parke Shopping Center – mean that traffic on the road will be rerouted through the parking lot of the adjacent Mountain Brook Shopping Center. Renovations are expected to last through Sept. 14. The Lane Parke Shopping Center first opened in October 2016 after years of development. It features 12 retail spaces and boasts tenants including Western Market, Revelator Coffee Company and M&S Interiors, among others. Renovations on the bridge are being led by Evson Inc., the developers of the shopping center. In a Facebook post, the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce encouraged travelers to “plan an extra couple of minutes


Photo Hoover Fire Department

into your commute” and to direct any inquiries regarding the renovations to Evson. —Sam Prickett

said he was “proud and humbled” to have served as chief and expressed his hope that the department’s employees “will be as happy and fulfilled as I have been.” Under his leadership, the Hoover Fire Department was awarded a Class 1 Public Protection Classification. The classification, the highest possible rating by the Insurance Services Office, an independent analyst of municipal fire departments nationwide, was awarded in May. Wingate was the second veteran member of the Hoover Fire Department to retire in August. At the beginning of the month, operations Chief Rick L. Patterson also stepped down following 42 years as a professional firefighter, 28 of which were with the city of Hoover. —Sam Prickett

Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame to Induct Builder, Military Man

Hoover fire Chief Chuck Wingate retired Aug. 31 after 42 years with the department, including eight as chief.

Hoover Fire Chief Retires After 42 Years

Hoover fire Chief Chuck Wingate retired Aug. 31 after 42 years with the department, including eight as chief. His last working day in office was Aug. 29; on that day, his retirement was celebrated with a gathering at Hoover Fire Station No. 4. At the gathering, Wingate addressed the crowd, thanking the city and his fellow firefighters. He

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 9


The late Horace King and Adm. Thomas H. Moorer will be inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame on Sept. 19. King has been recognized as a master architect, an engineering genius and building contractor. He was a prolific builder of public buildings, factories, homes, roads and covered bridges. He also is credited with construction of the spiral staircase in the Alabama state Capitol. King was born into slavery but was emancipated by the Alabama Legislature and later was elected to serve two terms in the State House of Representatives, from 1868-72.

Richard Bailey, vice chair of the Hall of Fame board of directors and a Reconstruction historian from Montgomery, will deliver presenting remarks for King during the induction luncheon. Moorer, a native of Eufaula, was a highly decorated Navy combat pilot and military strategist who was a veteran of World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. He served as commander of both the Pacific Fleet and the U.S. Supreme Allied Commander, NATO Atlantic Fleet. He also served as the Chief of Naval Operations from 196770 followed by two terms as the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, from 1970-74. Mac Moorer, a retired attorney with Lightfoot, Franklin, & White LLC and a nephew of Moorer’s, will give the induction remarks. The Men’s Hall of Fame recognizes men whose lives have impacted the state, the nation and the world. Honorees must have been deceased for at least two years before nomination, and inductees are selected by the Hall of Fame’s board of directors. Plaques recognizing the honorees are housed in Samford University’s Harwell G. Davis Library. The induction luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19 at The Club. Reservations are $35 per person or $280 per table and should be made by Sept. 11. Reservations are requested by Monday, Sept. 11. To reserve a place, contact Mrs. Ross Mason at 968-0967 or rebecca@shelbysys. com. ❖

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Photo sourtesy Alys Stephens Center

From Flappers to Hipsters

Virginia Samford Theatre Celebrates 90th Year Entertaining Adults and Shaping Children Birmingham native Emmylou Harris, a 13-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, will be performing at the Alys Stephens Center on Nov. 5

Journal photo by Emily Williams

ALABAMA BALLET: ALABAMABALLET.ORG At Home - Sept.15-17 | 22-24 Season opener at the Alabama Ballet will feature highlights from the Alabama Ballet repertory including work from world-renowned choreographers and up-and-coming contemporary artist. Tickets are $25.

The theatre is a home to many people, including Virginia Samford Theatre President Cathy Gilmore, above, who can remember her first performance on its stage. She was 11 years old and a member of the chorus for a production of “Three Wishes for Jamie.”

By Emily Williams In 1927 Birmingham, The Little Theatre opened its doors to the local arts community, and there it has stood for 90 years. Now named The Virginia Samford Theatre, the facility has not only been a pillar of the Birmingham arts community, but its foundation. The theater will be kicking off its 90th anniversary season with a celebratory opening night Sept. 20 for the season’s first show “A Chorus Line,” a favorite of VST President Cathy Gilmore. “This theater was a catalyst for a number of arts organizations,” Gilmore said. “Birmingham Children’s Theatre started here. Red Mountain Theatre Company started here, but back then it was known as Summerfest. The Alabama School of Fine Arts began here, holding classes in this building.” For Gilmore, the anniversary is not only a celebration of an important piece of Birmingham’s theater community, but a celebration of a theater that shaped her life as a young adult. “This theater has been a creative oasis within the community,” she said. When the Little Theatre opened its doors in the late 1920s, Gilmore noted, it served as the center for cultural activities for the Highlands area of downtown Birmingham, which was the most affluent area in Birmingham at the time. “It was the center of cultural activity for Birmingham in the ‘20s and ‘30s; and it survived the depression,” Gilmore said. Unfortunately, World War II caused the theater to close its doors in 1942, and the facility was turned into a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints location. Along the way, the theater was left vacant. Then in 1955, UAB speech instructor James Hatcher and a group of people with an affinity

for the performing arts planned to close revived the facility and and sell the facilrenamed it the Town and ity, Gilmore took Gown Theatre. Soon after, it action. was purchased by a donor and donated to the University Saving a of Alabama. Landmark The theater is a home to An active many people, including member of the Gilmore, who can remember Metropolitan Arts her first performance on its Council at the stage. She was 11 years old time, she was and a member of the chorus part of a group for a production of “Three that was instruWishes for Jamie.” mental in saving “This theater is more like the theater. The a tradition with me,” she said. group called on “There are so many good the help of memories.” Virginia Samford She first came into contact Donovan, a close with the theater through Virginia Samford Donovan friend of Steeple Arts Dance Academy Gilmore’s whose mother acted on the theater’s in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village. Lola Mae Coates ran the academy and choreographed stage in 1927. “She was one of the most devoted lovers of many of the theater’s shows. theater,” Gilmore said. Donovan even made a At her first performance, she was “in awe of point to visit New York City at least twice a everybody,” from the performers to the set year to take in as many Broadway shows as posdesigns and costumes. sible. One of her earliest memories of the theater “Theater was intoxicating to her. I had the was that first performance of “Three Wishes for Jamie.” Also performing was Patricia Neal, now opportunity to go with her a few times and it was a time I treasure,” she said. an acclaimed author and actress known as Donovan donated the money to buy the theFannie Flagg. Gilmore spotted Neal sharing a ater, an additional $3 million was raised to kiss with one of the male actors and was restore the space to its former glory, and in 2002 shocked, like any other 11-year-old would be. the facility re-opened as the Virginia Samford “I had only seen them, but I thought I had Theatre. sinned. I will never forget it!” she said. Gilmore, who for many years worked with During that time, she met Jack and Suzanne the Alabama Ballet, took on the role of presiMann, who are still staples in the VST family, and even later she met her first husband through dent. “It was just kind of serendipitous that I was the theater. See VST, page 15 So in 1999, when UAB announced that it

Ovation - Oct. 20-22 A mixed repertory performance of contemporary ballet featuring Études, a one-act ballet, and an original work by Roger Van Fleteren, resident choreographer and associate artistic director. BJCC Theatre. Tickets begin at $69. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker - Dec. 8-10 | 15-17 The Alabama Ballet will perform Balanchine’s holiday masterpiece. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University. AROVA CONTEMPORARY BALLET: AROVA FACEBOOK PAGE Retour - Sept. 8-10 Music combined with spoken word sets the background of this program curated by Therese Leager. Fri. and Sat. at 7:30 p.m., and Sun. at 2:30 p.m. Q&A to follow Sunday matinee performance. The Dance Foundation. Tickets are $21.69. Drenched - Oct 20-22 A performance of dance and water uniquely blended. Fri. and Sat. at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Q&A to follow matinee. The Dance Foundation. Last Stop - Dec. 1-3 This piece, choreographed by Kristopher EsterBrown, is presented through fifteen chapters each with their own style of music and thematic elements. Fri. and Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. matinee 2:30 p.m. Q&A to follow. The Dance Foundation. ALYS STEPHENS CENTER: ALYSSTEPHENS.ORG Shelia E. - Sept. 15 World-class drummer and percussionist, this multi-instrumentalist, equally proficient on guitar and bass, will perform at 8 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $39. Ballet Hispánico - Sept. 22 This all-Latina-choreographed engagement will be at 8 p.m. and celebrate the Latin culture. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $25.


Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 11


Joey Alexander Trio - Sept. 28 Fourteen-year-old pianist Joey Alexander will be featured in the sixth installment of The Essentials, the Center’s series devoted to honoring the history of jazz, at 8 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets are $40. 2 017 - 2 018 S E A S O N

Spanish Harlem Orchestra - Oct. 12 The two-time Grammy winning salsa and Latin jazz band celebrate their 15th anniversary with a free performance at 6 p.m. Engel Plaza.

The Triplets of Belleville - Oct. 19 A live cinematic concert featuring Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville with Composer-Conductor Benoit Charest will be at 7 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets are $25. David Holt - Oct. 29 A four-time Grammy winner dedicated to performing and preserving traditional American music and stories, will perform at 3 p.m. ReynoldsKirschbaum Recital Hall. Tickets are $15 adult and $10 per child. Bruce Hornsby - Nov. 3 This singer, pianist, composer and bandleader will perform at 8 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $48. Emmylou Harris - Nov. 5 The 13-time Grammy winner,

Mar 23 & 25, 2018

Jan 19 & 21, 2018

Robert Cray Band - Oct. 13 Five-time Grammy award winner and Blues Hall of Famer Robert Cray will perform at 8 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $59.

THREE ON A STRING - Virtuoso musicians and comedians Jerry Ryan, Bobby Horton, Brad Ryan and Andy Meginniss will perfom at Samford University Wright Center on Sept. 28. Photo special to the Journal Billboard Century Award Recipient and Birmingham native will perform at 7p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $56. Dionne Warwick - Nov. 10 The five-time Grammy Award winning, cornerstone of American pop and music culture will perform 8 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $56.

Modigliani Quartet The foursome will perform a concert of string quartet masterpieces at 2 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $35. Kevin Spencer Magic - Nov. 17, 18 This world-renowned illusionist will perform at 7 p.m. There will be a sensoryfriendly performance on Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. Sirote Theatre. Tickets begin at $10.

See PREVIEW, page 16

Oct 29, 2017

Dec 8, 2017

May 19 & 20, 2018

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12 • Thursday, September 7, 2017



Music Across Generations

Birmingham Music Club Builds on Storied Past to Attract Younger Generation By Sarah Kuper The Birmingham Music Club was one of the first cultural arts groups in the Magic City. Now, organizers are revitalizing its founding principles to suit today’s culture and remain relevant in an increasingly competitive arts scene. In the early 1900s, a group of women created the Birmingham Music Study Circle. They worked to bring classical musicians to town and present concerts. In 1928, the name changed to the Birmingham Music Club, and in 1933, the club launched the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, though the two are separate entities now. Over the years, the group brought big names from the classical world such as Rachmaninoff, Pavarotti and Liberace to Birmingham. As decades, wars and economic turns came and went, the Birmingham Music Club suffered ups and downs, and other arts organizations did as well. The city’s now-thriving art scene means groups are competing for supporters, said Ron Bourdages, executive director of BMC. “The cultural arts community has changed. Now it is very strong. The ASO is popular and well-supported, there is Opera Birmingham and the Alabama Ballet,” he said. “We found ourselves in the position where resources were depleted and we were losing our subscriber base.” Bourdages said leadership at the BMC realized a few years ago that they needed to make changes and take a more businesslike approach to steering the organization. Part of that included thinking of ways to engage a wider spectrum of classical music supporters. “We reworked our mission statement to ‘music across generations.’ We are taking music that is older and presenting it to audiences of various ages,” Bourdages said, “We are also incorporating younger players.”

The BMC presents four events each year to accomplish its mission. On Oct. 10, BMC will present its annual Young People’s Concert. This year’s theme is “Maestro goes around the world.” A 14-piece orchestra as well as singers will perform songs from many geographic regions and groups. It’s an educational performance in which players introduce their instruments and engage students about other cultures. The BMC also does a more intimate event at the Clubhouse on Highland and a Valentine’s Day concert at the Lyric Theatre. The most robust performance of the year is the light opera, which Bourdages describes as a musical-style retelling of comedic operas. The music is in keeping with operatic singing, but it is more play than traditional opera.

Imagination at Work

Homewood Artist Displays Work on Gallery Walls and Brick Walls By Sarah Kuper Even if someone hasn’t been to one of his shows or seen his paintings in a gallery, chances are they have seen Chip Ghinga’s work. The Homewood native’s oils and acrylics hang all over the Southeast, and recently he has used brick walls around Birmingham as his canvas. A recent mural on the side of Mojo Pub welcomes visitors to the Lakeview area. The mural’s bright colors and natural motifs of trees and starry skies give passersby a taste for his smaller scale work. On display now at the Joy Gallery in

Local Talent

In the spirit of celebrating the club’s past while engaging with the community, Bourdages said BMC tries to keep local talent in mind when casting the operas and forming ensembles. “We try to draw on local talent with a national reputation. The talent pool around here is phenomenal.” Bourdages said by involving young people and making classical music forms more relatable, the BMC has hit its stride again. But by appealing to a younger demographic, the BMC is not forsaking classical music lovers of an older generation. “In a certain sense, these younger college and high schoolers are learning a new art form and giving back to an older generation through performance.” Bourdages said. For more information on the Birmingham Music Club and its upcoming events, visit ❖

Chip Ghinga

Homewood Cumberland Presbyterian Church are examples from Ghigna’s “Infinitrees” and “Trees of Ascension” series. Ghingna, son of celebrated children’s book author Charles Ghigna, developed his love for art from a young age. “I took all the art classes I could at Homewood High School, then majored in art at Auburn University,” he said. Ghigna doesn’t have a specific way to describe his style, but he said his works sometimes are labeled as abstract or surreal. “I do like to paint from my imagination rather than from reality,” he said. He said he is inspired by nature, cities, and real and imagined faces. Ghigna sold his first painting at Art Alley in Homewood. He gives credit to the arts culture in Birmingham for giving him his start and supporting him today. “I’ve been fortunate to show in many of the galleries, libraries, restaurants and churches in the area,” he said, “I’m thankful too for the supportive art community and other Birmingham artists.” Ghigna is well on his way to gaining renown nationally and internationally, but he still is thrilled when local organizations show his work. After his show at the Joy Gallery, he will have a show at the Homewood Public Library. As for the future, Ghigna said he plans to keep using his talents and imagination. “I guess I’ll just keep making the best art I can and see where it takes me,” he said. For more information on Ghigna’s upcoming shows and to see examples of his work, visit ❖

Photos courtesy Chip Ghinga

Photo courtesy The Birmingham Music Club

Jennifer Bryant and Hannah Muse perform in the Birmingham Music Club’s 2016 light opera Die Fledermaus.


Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 13


Nothing to Fear

Opera Birmingham Breathes New Life Into an Age-Old Art Form

Photos courtesy Opera Birmingham

The 2017-18 season will kick off Oct. 29 with a performance by the Catch a Rising Star vocal recital winner Alyssa Martin.

By Emily Williams Much like the works of Shakespeare, a Balanchine ballet and the music of Mozart, opera can be intimidating to a modern audience member. But it doesn’t have to be. For more than half a century, Opera Birmingham has been keeping the art of opera alive and accessible to the community as the only professional opera company in northern and central Alabama. “Opera is a unique experience for the audience,” said General Director Keith A. Wolfe. “You hear the power of the human voice with no amplification or anything else between you and the sound.” For the 2017-18 Opera Birmingham season, the company has created a series of stories that celebrate different aspects of the human experience. Themes range from love to tragedy, and the stage on which they will be played changes as well. Performances of “The Tragedy of Carmen” will be in an intimate chamber setting at the Red Mountain Theatre Cabaret, and the grand opera “Romeo and Juliet” will take over the Wright Center at Samford University. “No matter what you come to, you’ll have a moving experience with some amazing music,” Wolfe said. The 2017-18 season will kick off with the Catch a Rising Star vocal recital celebrating one of the integral pieces of each season, the annual Vocal Competition, which features a new generation of working opera singers. The Oct. 29 performance will showcase the 2017 competition winner, Alyssa Martin, singing a selection of operatic numbers in the Brock Recital Hall at Samford.

move from being a student to a professional,” Wolfe said. “Competitions can help them get exposure and Opera Birmingham goes a step further by hiring our competition winners for roles in our productions to give them valuable performing experience.” Martin hails from Greensboro, North Carolina, and travels throughout the country each season, performing on the stage and in competitions for the love of her chosen career. “I have a weird affinity for history – things that are very old and have been passed down throughout hundreds of years,” she said. Not only does she love the way that a story is told through operatic singing, but also the connection between those older stories and the tales being told today. For example, one of her favorite performances has been in the opera “La Cenerentola,” by Gioachino Rossini. It first premiered on the stage in January 1817 and is based on the tale “Cendrillon” by Charles Perrault.

That same tale sparked more recent adaptations through Disney’s films and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical versions of “Cinderella.” “I think some people are often intimidated by opera because most of them are performed in other languages, so people feel that they can’t follow the story,” Martin said. Though an audience member may recognize the story being told, they have the added security of subtitles, of a sort. Translations are projected on a screen above the stage throughout the performance so the audience can follow along. “I think another reason people are intimidated by operas is because they feel like they have to enjoy every opera that they see in order to enjoy opera,” Martin said. Just as a person develops a taste for certain movies and books, a person who is new to opera should expect to see some that they don’t particularly like and others that blow them away. Rest assured, Martin has vetted the company’s March production of “Romeo and Juliet,” and it isn’t just because she will be returning to Birmingham to play the role of Stephano, Romeo’s page. The operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is her favorite of French composer Charles Gounod’s operas.

give them the highlights. Throughout the year, members and friends of the company ditch the costumes and orchestra and host Opera Shots popup concerts in local bars around town. “It’s a very relaxed environment, which helps strip away some of the preconceived notions people might have about opera,” Wolfe said. The events take opera to the public in a less stereotypical setting, with musical theater performances mixed in. They are free and include perks, such as discount codes for Opera

Birmingham tickets and giveaways. “Opera singers are regular people who happen to sing, and giving the general public the opportunity to see our singers – many of whom may be your friend, your neighbor, your coworker – on stage in their jeans singing an aria is a great introduction to what opera can be,” Wolfe said. The next installment of Opera Shots will be held Nov. 2 at The Collins Bar from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. For more information on Opera Birmingham and the upcoming season, visit ❖

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To help new opera-goers test the waters before committing to an entire performance, Opera Birmingham has created a series of performances to


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Martin is one of the up-and-coming opera singers who perform in similar competitions throughout the country to build their resume and make connections with companies that potentially could hire them. “Emerging artists always need a champion, something to help them


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14 • Thursday, September 7, 2017



Photos courtesy Acting Out Academy

Lights, Camera, Acting Out

Vestavia Hills Acting School Teaches Drama and Life Skills Photos courtesy Jerome Vason

By Sarah Kuper

After retiring from the military, Jerome Vason reconnected with a long-held passion for art. His work is on display at Artists Incorporated Gallery in Vestavia Hills.

Vason Talks Art Former Military Recruiter Says Art Makes the World a Better Place

By June Mathews In his younger days, Jerome Vason wasn’t what you’d consider a talker. A quiet, somewhat shy kid, he never had a lot to say about much of anything. Years later, he became a military recruiter. Because talking was part of the job, his verbal skills improved, and communicating through the spoken word became easier for him. He now realizes the recruiting job – one he didn’t especially care for at the time – was preparing him for the future. After retiring from the military, Vason reconnected with a long-held passion for art, and with that passion came a wellspring of artrelated words. In fact, his desire to educate and inspire others in their own creative pursuits is so strong, he has a hard time NOT talking about art. “Now I look back and see how my experience as a recruiter helped me to be a better artist and taught me to be a better educator of art,” said the 62-year-old painter. “A lot of people don’t realize how important art is to everyday life. Art makes the world a better place.” Even as a child, Vason loved to draw and was attracted to art and design. He grew up on a farm, so animals and things like vegetables served as models for his early artistic efforts. Along the way, he was blessed with teachers who encouraged him After finishing high school, Vason worked as a dishwasher while attending classes at Jefferson State Junior College. It was there that he met art instructor Frauken Collinson, and she became a mentor to him. Collinson subsequently took him and some other students to visit Berea College in Kentucky, where, unbeknownst to them, Collinson had arranged for what turned out to be an entrance exam. “We all thought it was a field trip kind of thing, but three weeks later, I learned I’d been accepted to Berea College,” he said. At Berea, Vason became good friends with potter Larry Allen. But while Allen made a career of art after college, Vason joined the military. “While I was in the military, I did some art – murals, illustrations, things like that – but

nothing on a regular basis,” he said. “But whenever I could stick my finger in art, I did.” Getting Back to His Art Post-military, Vason went to work in the civilian world. Somewhere along the way, he reconnected with Allen, who helped reignite his interest in art and in participating in art shows. “I did my first show at Monte Sano State Park, and I did pretty well,” he said. He’s done many shows since. When Vason’s civilian job played out, his wife, Brenda, encouraged him to get into a gallery and show his work. Several years earlier, they had stopped by a gallery near Western Supermarket in Vestavia Hills to look around and talk about showing his art, but nothing ever came of it. Later, when Vason got serious about getting into a gallery, someone suggested he consider talking to Artists Incorporated. He decided to visit. “I kind of got goosebumps when I realized it was the same place I’d been in before,” he said. “I was thinking, well, maybe this was meant to be.” While his work once was mostly realistic – portraits and the like – Vason’s art has now taken a more abstract turn with textures, metallics and vivid colors. “I used to be driven by perfection, by wanting to create an exact image of the object or person I was trying to duplicate,” he said. “But going in a more abstract direction has been freeing and good for my art.” For him, the process is just as important as the end product. “I paint by inspiring words, Scripture and songs, and I like to paint things that are positive,” he said. “I think this is what God put me on earth to do, and I want to do it in a way that’s pleasing to Him.” A member of the Artists Incorporated board since 2013, Vason enjoys being part of a gallery because he loves people, and – yes – it gives him plenty of opportunities to talk with them about art. “We educate people that art is not just something to decorate with,” he said. “I’m just really glad to be a part of that. There’s more to being a successful artist than just talent. You have to be able to talk to people about it.” ❖

The first thing Meg Deusner teaches students at Acting Out Academy is to quit acting. “When you are acting for TV or film, it isn’t about playing pretend,” she said, “it is about having an experience and understanding human behavior.” A classically trained actor herself, Deusner spent years learning and acting in Connecticut, New York City and Los Angeles. She and her husband settled down in Birmingham and she found herself eager to teach all she knew. Her students come from many schools and backgrounds, and she hasn’t turned one away for lack of talent. “Every kid who wants to learn to act can do it on some level. Some learn the techniques faster than others,” she said, “And not every child is here to pursue professional acting.” While Deusner has relationships with agents and helps students prepare for auditions, she also uses her talents to create a safe place for participants. “We do something called an emotional check-in,” she said. “I ask, ‘What experiences have you had since we last met, whether positive or negative? What happened to you physically and how can you use that for acting?’” Deusner believes her students perform better when they are able to open up and feel free. While she grew up learning more serious classical acting, Deusner knows that today’s successful film and TV actors draw from different experiences. “One of the differences is we started approaching acting with the way things are now,” she said, “Kids are watching movies in their lap on iPads. The medium of what performing arts is has changed, so we started doing what the kids wanted to do. They relate to the shows on Disney and Nick.” Deusner said she knows it seems strange to have a professional film acting school in a city like Birmingham, but she thinks people underestimate how the industry is casting these days. “People think, ‘Sure, you want to be an actor, but you live in Birmingham,’ but that’s no longer true. There are tons of opportunities.” Given Birmingham’s proximity to Atlanta and the trend toward auditions being submitted

Acting Out Academy alum Hudson Meek, above, has appeared in the feature films, “Baby Driver” and “90 Minutes in Heaven.” Below, student Will Deusner’s credits include “Outcast” on Cinemax, “Shut Eye” a series on Hulu, and a Juicy Drop commercial.

electronically, children in the South now are competitive with children in larger cities. But, Deusner warns that pursuing an acting career at a young age comes with many considerations. “It is a family thing. What happens if a kid books something and he has to be ready to spend weeks away from home?” she said, “He’ll have to be able to get out of school or do homeschool. There are a lot of factors.” Plus, she said, for every 50 auditions, a child may get one call-back. Students have to be able to withstand the rejection. Students from Acting Out Academy have gone on to have roles on TV shows such as “Better Things” and “Shut Eye” and in movies such as “Hidden Figures” and “Baby Driver.” Deusner celebrates their success, and she knows their success inspires other actors. But if her students learn anything, she hopes it is the academy’s mission: be kind, be truthful, make great art. For more information on Acting Out Academy!, visit ❖

Meg Deusner says Acting Out Academy’s real mission is “be kind, be truthful, make great art.”

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 15


Step Together

The Dance Foundation serves more than 2,000 students ranging from preschool to seniors through its studio and outreach programs.

The Dance Foundation Introduces the Art of Dance to Underserved Areas

By Emily Williams

Nestled in the middle of Homewood is an operation that does more than offer dance classes. The Dance Foundation is a nonprofit dance studio that works to share the art of dance with local children, regardless of their financial needs. “Not only do dance classes offer physical benefits like increased coordination, strength, flexibility and poise, research shows that dance classes also develop creativity, problem-solving, communication, highordered thinking and social awareness,” said Executive Director Diane Litsey.  Operating under the opinion that opportunities to learn more about the art of dance should be available to all, the studio offers financial aid for dance students with significant financial need and partners with many local organizations to offer classes at facilities throughout the city.  The foundation serves more than 2,000 students ranging from preschool to seniors through its studio and outreach programs.  “Our philosophy centers on the belief that dance is for everyone,” Litsey said. “All abilities, all ages, all walks of life. Our approach to teaching focuses on creativity for young children and technique and artistry as they mature.”  In addition to offering classes, the organization offers up its studio space and a 100-seat theater to local arts groups that do not have their own space. Not only does it bring the local arts community a little bit closer together, Litsey said it gives the studio’s students a broader view of all of the facets of “the arts,” from belly dancing to the music of the violin.  “We embrace community and collaboration, and having community artists and organizations in our facility adds to the personality and energy in our studios,” she said. 

VST, From page 10

in a place in my life where I could take on this role,” she said. “It was supposed to happen.” She recalls many lunch dates in the theater’s board room with Virginia Samford Donovan. “After we finished eating she would go downstairs and answer the phones,” she said. “She just loved the whole environment here.” Since its re-opening, the facility has seen two expansions: a second-floor studio theater for more intimate performances; and, most recently, the addition of a glass atrium at the front of the building. Gilmore describes her connection to the Virginia Samford Theatre as a tradition. Many others who began working at the theater in 2002 are still a part of the family today.

Local organizations that use the foundation’s space include: AROVA Contemporary Ballet, Dala Tribal Belly Dance Company, Mad Skillz Dance Company, Notinee Indian Dance Group, Natyananda Indian Dance, Nashville Irish Step Dancers, Birmingham Suzuki Violinists, Mosaico Flamenco, Ebony Arrington Dance and Performance, Karar Performing Arts Group, Moore Dance Company, Red Mountain Theatre Company and the Sanspointe Dance Company. “Many of our students have interests and talents in other art forms, and we celebrate that!” Litsey said. “All of this learning and curiosity is intertwined.”  On Dec. 9 and 10, the studio will offer students the opportunity to collaborate with guest artists from the community in its annual Freeform performance. Entry to the showcase is free. 

All for One and One for All

For the 2017-18 season of classes, the foundation has added some new features. Students in the Dance Artist Program, a more rigorous set of classes, have the option of taking a class geared specifically toward musical theater. A ballet class specifically for teenagers also is a new addition. Various courses have been added over the years that are geared toward specific groups, when the foundation’s staff notices a need.  “We also have several classes that make us unique, including Movement to Music Especially for Students with Special Needs, Movement to Music Just for Boys and Acting and Dance Improvisations for Third Grade and Up,” Litsey said.  The facility will also have two adult classes this fall that target a variety of dance styles, which takes place Mondays 7-8 p.m., and Wednesdays noon-1 p.m.  “My son practically grew up here and I have loved every minute of it,” she said. “People who are involved here truly love this place,” she said. “We are all very attached to what we do here.” The season’s opening show “A Chorus Line” will not only celebrate the theater, but its support of the local arts community. The show will feature 17 dancers from the University of Alabama performing the show’s original choreography. “‘A Chorus Line’ was as revolutionary for its time as ‘Hamilton’ is,” Gilmore said. The show will run from Sept. 21 through Oct. 1, with tickets beginning at $30. The Exclusive Opening Night celebration on Sept. 20 will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. Tickets are $90 – “One dollar for every year we’ve been here,” Gilmore said. For more information, visit ❖

The facility will be hosting its annual Bargain Costume Closet fundraiser Sept. 10. Started in 2005, the sale includes gently used costumes, dress-up accessories and dance wear that is collected year-round by the foundation and through community donations. Funds raised through the event

benefit the community partnership that takes Dance Foundation classes to other community service organizations. “The event also benefits our financial assistance program for families in need,” Litsey said. “More than a couple dozen students rely on our help each year and we don’t want

to turn anyone away because of their financial challenges.” The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is marketed as the perfect spot to find discounted dance clothing as well as the perfect pieces to create a great Halloween costume. For more information, visit ❖

Hosting over 200 events annually to thousands of visitors, Samford Arts brings world-renowned artists and performances to Birmingham. Join us for our 2017-18 season which includes a wide variety of shows as well as productions by our community partners the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Ballet and Opera Birmingham.

Sampling of Fall 2017 Schedule: Tonight at the Wright presents Gaither Vocal Band Sept. 8

Tonight at the Wright presents Ashley Campbell Nov. 3

Emma Taylor Theatre for Youth presents How I Became a Pirate Sept. 29–Oct. 1

Michael J. and Mary Anne Freeman Theatre and Dance Series presents True West and Crimes of the Heart Nov. 2-12

Davis Architects Guest Artist Series presents Vadym Kholodenko Oct. 5

Dr. Chandler and Jane Paris Smith Opera Series presents Hansel and Gretel Nov. 30–Dec. 3

Tonight at the Wright presents Harry Potter in Concert presented in partnership with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as part of their Red Diamond® SuperPops Series Oct. 20 and Oct. 22

Tonight at the Wright presents Christmas with Act of Congress presented in partnership with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as part of their Red Diamond® SuperPops Series Dec. 1

For a full calendar of events, times and additional information go to or

205-726-2853 | Events are subject to change

Photo courtesy Children’s Dance Foundation


16 • Thursday, September 7, 2017

PREVIEW, From page 11

Holiday Soul - Dec. 10 This holiday celebration features UAB artist-in-residence Eric Essix, along with musical friends Antonio Allen, Melvin Miller, Leonard Julien III, Kelvin Wooten, Kim Scott, Belinda Peoples and Tamara Bodie at 7 p.m. Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $40. ALABAMA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: ALABAMASYMPHONY.ORG Sensory Friendly Concert - Sept. 17 A sensory-friendly concert will be presented in partnership with ASO Junior patrons, Kulture City and Autism Society of Alabama. Alys Stephens Center. Tickets are $10. Symphony 30 Picnic - Oct. 1 The Symphony Volunteer Council will host a concert fundraiser at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens at 4 p.m. Food will be provided by Jim ‘N Nicks and there will be a kid zone. Tickets are $75 per family or $30 for an individual. Opening Night with Carlos, Brahms & Beethoven - Oct. 6,7 Wendy Warner will apply her “youthful, surging” playing in this Haydn cello concerto. Carlos Izcary will conduct the orchestra as they perform Brahms’ first symphony. Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets start at $20.85. Ragtime Revelations - Oct. 10 Lively works for violin, clarinet and the piano inspired by the sounds and syncopations of “Ragtime” alongside arrangements of old favorites. Brock Recital Hall Samford University. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in Concert - Oct. 20, 22 The Symphony performs will transport audiences back into this popular magical fantasy series through composer John Williams’ scores, played along with the film. Wright Fine Art Center at Samford University. Tickets start at $27. The Fantastic French Horn Oct. 27, 28 Soloist Andrew Bain joins the orchestra as they explore the wonders of the French horn. Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $20.85. Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch - Nov. 10 ASO celebrates the life and career of composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch with featured vocalist Kristi Tingle Higginbotham and pianist Rich Ridenour performing music Hamlisch wrote for Broadway and Hollywood. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University. Tickets start at $24.50. Baroque Explorations - Nov. 14 Transcendent works for trumpets, timpani, violin and organ with the music of Bach, Handel, Telemann and more. Independent Presbyterian Church. Justin Brown Conducts Beethoven - Nov. 17 Maestro Brown takes the podium to conduct Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.


LIFE & ARTS Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $20. Justin Brown Returns! Mozart & Beethoven - Nov. 17, 18 Justin Brown returns as both conductor and pianist. He will lead Mozart’s Concerto no. 27 from the keyboard and take the podium to conduct Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony. Alys Stephen’s Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $20.85. ASYO Fall Concert - Nov. 18 The Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform a free fall concert conducted by Dr. Blake Richardson. Alys Stephens Center. Christmas with Act of Congress Dec. 1 ASO will join Act of Congress in a concert featuring a blend of tight harmonies, vintage instrumentation and deep musical roots. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University. Tickets start at $15. ASYO Holiday Concert - Dec. 3 The Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform a free holiday concert conducted by Dr. Blake Richardson. Riverchase Galleria. Handel’s Messiah & Bach’s Magnificat - Dec. 15 Celebrate the holiday season with a performance of Bach’s Jubilant Magnificat followed by the Christmas portion (Part1 + Hallelujah) of Handel’s Messiah. Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $39. The Music of Star Wars - Dec. 17 ASO will commemorate the release of “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” with a concert celebration of all of John William’s music spanning the epic Star Wars Saga. Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall. Tickets begin at $25. Celebrate! The New Year’s Eve Concert - Dec. 31 Alongside favorites by Johann Strauss II the ASO will perform popular hits from around the world and classics from the Great American Songbook. Tickets begin at $39. ARTISTS INCORPORATED: ARTISTSINCORPORATED.COM Opening Reception - Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 The gallery will host a reception from 4:30-7:30 p.m. to introduce new monthly exhibitions. BIRMINGHAM ART CRAWL: BIRMINGHAMARTCRAWL.COM Art Crawl - Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7 Local artists and performers will present exhibitions throughout downtown Birmingham the first Thursday of every month from 5-9 p.m. BIRMINGHAM ART MUSIC ALLIANCE: ARTMUSIC.ORG Birmingham New Music Festival 2017 at UAB - Oct. 12 The 4th annual festival presents Miolina Duo, New York City’s specialists in new music for two violins and returning virtuoso cellist Craig Hultgren at 7 p.m. Hulsey Recital Hall, UAB. This

Academy. Tickets are $30, with a limited number of active military and student discount tickets for $25. HOOVER LIBRARY THEATRE: HOOVERLIBRARY.ORG Carlene Carter - Sept. 20-22 The theatre will open its 26th season with performances by this Grammy nominee and winner of the ACMA Top New Female Voacalist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50.

MOSS ROCK FESTIVAL: The Preserve in Hoover hosts this Eco-Creative Festival and Beer Garden Nov. 4, 5. Photo courtesy Moss Rock Festival

Oleta Adams - Oct. 12, 13 This gifted songwriter and pianist with roots set in gospel, soul, R&B, urban and popular music will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50.

event is free. Birmingham New Music Festival 2017 at St. Paul UMC - Oct. 13 Miolina Duo presents a free program including both acoustic and electroacoustic works at 7:30 p.m. Cellist Craig Hultgren will join Miolina for a performance of an antiphonal trio by Takuma Itoh.

A comedy by Steven Dietz. Season tickets are $150, single tickets are $25, student tickets are $10 and a group rate for 10 or more is $15 each. On Second Thursdays, guests “pay what you can afford” with a minimum of $10.

Birmigham New Music Festival 2017 at Alabama Piano Gallery - Oct. 14 This free concert will feature young pianists performing newly created works written specifically for their ability level by BAMA composers at 1 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART: ARTSBMA.ORG Third Space / Shifting Conversations About Contemporary Art Sept. 7-Jan. 6 2019 The Museum will continue to feature over 100 works of art in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and video. Admission is free.

Birmingham New Music Festival 2017 at Samford University - Oct. 15 The all-new BAMA Players, a lineup of first-rate professional musicians from the Birmingham area, will play music by local composers beginning at 2:30 p.m. This event is free.

Opulence in Disguise: The Netherlands’ Golden Age -Sept 9 A selection of Dutch and Flemish prints and drawings will be displayed in the second floor hallway outside of the newly expanding gallery spaces. Featheringill Gallery.

BIRMINGHAM BOYS CHOIR: BIRMINGHAMBOYSCHOIR.COM The Birmingham Boys Choir will collaborate with the Notinee Indian Dance Troupe - Sept. 10. Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall. Tickets are $10.

Afterlife: Asian Art From the Weldon Collection - Nov. 4-Jan 28 Exhibition includes a wide variety of sculpture, ceramics and tomb wares that reflect ancient fashion trends, entertainments, status symbols and religions throughout the ages. It features more than 60 works that span thousands of years of history form China, Japan, India the Himalayas and Southeast Asia. Pizitz Gallery.

BIRMINGHAM CHILDREN’S THEATRE: BCT123.ORG “The Jungle Book” - Sept. 19-Oct. 18 The theatre will perform a new adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling story on its main stage. Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children. “Cinderella” - Nov.7-Dec.16 A Cinderella for the holiday season will be performed on the main stage. Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children. “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” Sept. 12-Oct. 6 The theatre will perform the classic tale on the Wee Folk’s Stage at the BJCC. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. “The Elves and the Shomaker”Dec. 1-16 The Grimm’s fairytale will be performed on the Wee Folk’s Stage at the BJCC. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. BIRMINGHAM FESTIVAL: BFTONLINE.ORG “Becky’s New Car”- Sept. 21-Oct. 7

BIRMINGHAM MUSIC CLUB: BHAMMUSICCLUB.ORG Maestro Goes Around The World Oct. 10 The Young People’s Concert will feature music from the world about the world at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center at Samford University. Tickets are $5 students and teachers are free. BLUFF PARK ART ASSOCIATION: BLUFFPARKARTASSOCIATION.ORG Bluff Park Art Show - Oct. 7 The show features more than 150 artist, food vendors, hands-on children’s activities and music from high school jazz bands. Bluff Park Community Center. Admission is free. CENTRAL ALABAMA THEATER: CENTRALALABAMATHEATER.ORG An Evening With Patsy - Oct. 28 The theater will kick off its 2018 CAT Cabaret series with Birmingham’s own Emily Herring’s interpretation of Patsy Cline at 7:30 p.m. Steeple Arts

“A Christmas Carol” - Dec. 6, 7. The theatre will perform the classic Christmas tale featuring 26 beloved traditional carols of the season at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27.50. MOSS ROCK FESTIVAL: MOSSROCKFESTIVAL.COM Eco-Creative Festival and Beer Garden - Nov. 4, 5 The 12th annual event will be held at The Preserve in Hoover beginning a 10 a.m. each day. There will be parking and a shuttle at the Hoover Met. Tickets begin at $7. OPERA BIRMINGHAM: OPERABIRMINGHAM.ORG Catch a Rising Star - Oct. 29 This program features the winner of the 2017 Vocal Competition in an intimate recital at 2:30 p.m. Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall. Tickets begin at $10. Opera Shots - Nov. 2 Opera Birmingham host a series of pop-up concerts throughout the community, held in unexpected places and designed to break down the stereotypes of opera, 6-8 p.m. The Collins Bar. Sounds of the Season - Dec. 8 This concert of favorites both sacred and secular will feature surprise guest artists and familiar faces at 7:30 p.m. Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall. Tickets begin at $7.25. RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE COMPANY: REDMOUNTAINTHEATRE.ORG Dolores Hydock The Lady with All the Answers - Sept 8, 10 Dolores Hydock will bring Ann Landers to life in a one-woman play Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. in the Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret Theatre. Ticket prices begin at $15. Broadway Night at the Cabaret Sept. 28-30 This Cabaret Theatre show will feature Audrey Cardwell and Veronica J. Kuehn as they sing favorite Broadway tunes joined by the RMTC Conservatory at 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $15. Wine and Cheese “A Seasoned Performers Production”- Oct. 13-15 The theatre will present a night of stories, love, relationships and selfawareness. Fri. at 7:30 and Sat. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $10.


Disney Sleeping Beauty Kids Nov. 3-5 This “for kids by kids” production of the classic fairy tale and one of Disney’s most treasured animated films will be at 7:30 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. and 2 p.m. on Sat. and Sun. Tickets are $5 for ages 12 and under and $10 for adults. Silence: The Adventure of a Medieval Warrior Woman - Nov. 18, 19 Delores Hydock tells a tale based on a story written in the 13th century, and adapted for 21st century audiences. Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $15. Holiday Spetacular 2017 - Dec. 1-17 Celebrate the holidays with all your favorite music of the season as RMTC Conservatory students perform alongside Birmingham’s best local artist. Wed.-Sat. at 7:30 and Sat. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Tickets begin at $19. SAMFORD UNIVERSITY: SAMFORD.EDU Between the Shadow and the Light: An Exhibition out of South Africa Sept. 4-Oct. 3 The gallery will host an exhibition of ten American artists and ten African artist who participated in the R5 Creative Seminar in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Two of the featured artists are Samford Arts faculty Joe Cory and Larry Thompson. Gaither Vocal Band - Sept. 8 Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band will share and evening of gospel music at 7 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 17

LIFE & ARTS Three on a String - Sept. 28 Virtuoso musicians and comedians Jerry Ryan, Bobby Horton, Brad Ryan and Andy Meginniss will be at Samford at 7 p.m. to help kick off the new school year. Wright Fine Arts Center. How I Became a Pirate Sept. 29, 30 | Oct. 1 This musical excursion by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Freidmand is for the whole family, Sept. 29-30 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. Vadym Kholodenko - Oct. 5 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist,Vadym Kholodenko, will perform at 7:30. Brock Recital Hall. The Art of Illustration: An Exhibition by Rob McClurkan - Oct. 16-Nov. 11 The Art Gallery will host an exhibition of Rob McClurkan and his book illustrations, including the recent publication, Aw Nuts! True West by Sam Shepard Nov. 2, 4, 10 and 12 This Tony-nominated play explores the themes of sibling rivalry, art as commerce and what it means to “be a man.” Showtimes will be Nov. 2, 4 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 12 at 2:30 p.m. Bolding Studio. Crimes of the Heart Nov. 3, 5, 9 and 11 Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize, “Crimes of the Heart”, by Beth Henley will be performed at 7:30 on Nov. 3, 9, and 11 and 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 5.

musicals forever opens the theatre’s 90th anniversary season. Performances are ThursdaysSaturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. General admission tickets begin at $30.

Ashley Campbell - Nov. 3 The banjo and guitar player, singer and songwriter shares her stories and images from her childhood and her time performing with her father, Glen Campbell, at 7 p.m. Wright Fine Arts Center.

An Invisible Woman - Oct. 26-28 Comedic entertainer Sunny Brown explores the way society tries to make women of a certain age “fade from view” with a variety of comedy, music and dancing Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. VST Mainstage. Tickets are $25.

Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck- Nov. 30-Dec. 3 The theatre presents a favorite Christmas opera based on the Grimm brother’s classic story on Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. Harrison Theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 students. TERRIFIC NEW THEATER: TERRIFICNEWTHEATRE.COM “Charles Busch; That Girl/That Boy”Sept. 23 This two-time MAC Award winner, Tony nominee, and drag legend, will performa for the season opener at 8 p.m. Tickets are $75. The Tribute Artist - Sept. 24-Oct. 7 The theater will host performances of a comedy by Charles Busch Thurs., Fri., and Sat. at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 at 2:30. Tickets are $25. The Big Meal - Nov. 2-18 This comedic drama written by Dan LeFranc is a winner of the 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award and the 2012 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination - Outstanding Play. Showtimes are Thurs., Fri., and Sat. at 8 p.m. with Sun. matinees Nov. 5 and 12 at 2:30. Tickets are $25.

Carlene Carter, Grammy nominee and winner of the ACMA Top New Female Voacalist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance will perform three shows at the Hoover Library Threatre this month. Photo special to the Journal

TNT’s “Written in the South” Series Split in Three - Various Dec. Dates The Alabama Premiere of a play by Atlanta-based playwright Daryl Lisa Fazio will be at 8 p.m. Thurs., Fri. and Sat nights with Sunday matinees Dec. 10 and 17 at 2:30. Fazio will join the production team for audience talk backs and more. Tickets are $25. VIRGINIA SAMFORD THEATRE: VIRGINIASAMFORDTHEATRE.ORG A Chorus Line- Sept. 20-Oct 1 The show that changed Broadway

The Taming of the Shrew - Nov. 3-12 David McMahon will direct performances of this Shakespearean classic Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Martha Moore Sykes Studio Theatre. General admission tickets are $25, $15 for students. Stars Presents: A Charlie Brown Christmas - Nov. 16-19 Students Take a Role at the Samford in this holiday favorite Thurs. and Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat. at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Mainstage, Tickets are $20 adult and $15 students. A Bluegrass Christmas Carol Dec. 7-17 Norton Dill’s new telling of Dicken’s Christmas tale will be performed Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Mainstage. Tickets begin at $25, $15 student. ❖

18 • Thursday, September 7, 2017




Lee and Margaret Moore.

Photos special to the Journal


night of food, fabulous items and philanthropy was brought to the Birmingham Country Club on Aug. 19 as the American Cancer Society of Birmingham hosted its annual Hope Gala. The evening was coordinated by co-chairs Nicole Reed and Ann-Dee Bailey. In addition to a seated dinner, the headlining activity for the evening was a live auction. Big-ticket items up for grabs included tickets to see the smash-hit musical “Hamilton” in Atlanta with overnight accommodations at the Ritz-Carlton. The Robert E. Reed Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Foundation was honoree for the evening. The organization was recognized for its work researching gastrointestinal cancers and educating patients at UAB and through donations to ACS. All funds raised through the gala will be used to support the American Cancer Society’s mission to educate the public and help find a cure for cancer. ❖

ACS Birmingham Hosts Annual Hope Gala

From left: Carolyn Reed, Randy and Jenny Reed, Robin and Scott Reed.

Sam and Emily Heide, Anjali and Mo Mehra.

Richard and Beth Shea.

Large Luxury Living

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Sam Heide, Ginny Tucker and Lenora Pate.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 19


Award-winning architect and Alabama native, Keith Summerour will be at Table Matters signing copies of his book

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Creating Home: Design for Living Tuesday, Sept. 19th from 11:30-1:30 Keith is known for beautiful projects like Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN, Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC, and Wofford College. Call 205.879.0125 to pre-order your copies

From left: Sharon Hagan, Melanie Jones, Jackie and Tyler Cummins

Autism Shines

Autism Society Caps Successful Year With Gala More than 300 guests made their way to the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook on Aug. 26 to celebrate the Autism Society of Alabama’s 20th annual Autism Shines Gala. Leading up to the annual event, parents, advocates and supporters dedicated hours of their time during the legislative session to lobby for requiring autism coverage in insurance plans. “Over 7+ years we have worked to get insurance coverage in Alabama and until now those efforts were unsuccessful. We’re enthusiastic that families can join us in celebrating the passage of HB284, especially for the 20th anniversary of our Gala.” said program director Bama Hager. The organization recognized a deserving supporter with its newest distinction, the “Mike Tumlin Award,” named for an autism dad who was a huge advocate within the community throughout his life. The award was given to Lisa Whitson Riley, presented by Tumlin’s son. Coordinating the event was a gala committee, headed up by chair Peggy Stevens along with, Christy Boyles, Ayesha Bryant, Ben Carlisle, Rod Harbin, Fran Heisner, Jenny Morris, Travis Grantham, Matt Moore and Ashlie Walker. A variety of items were up for auction, donated by local retailers and businesses, with festivities led by the event emcees, JOX Roundtable personalities, Jim Dunaway and Ryan Brown. Big ticket items included a Caribbean beach getaway, a Jones Is Thirsty wine dinner and a shopping spree at Bloomingdales in Chicago. The evening’s proceeds support the organization’s mission to improve services for people with autism spectrum disorders and their families, and promote education and advocacy. ❖


To: From: Date:


Jessica Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., 205-824-1246, fax August

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Sept. 7, 2017 issue. Please contact your sales representative as soon as possible to your ad or make changes. You may fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

Clockwise from above: Jonathan Hunt, Chloe and Ian Mulhearne; Melanie Jones, Thomas Bonatz and Olivia Timpson; and Sara Nall and Hatton Smith.

Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number!

Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

Thank you for your prompt attention.



20 • Thursday, September 7, 2017


Ready to Rumble

The parking lot at the Bell Center for Early Intervention was jampacked with tents celebrating favorite football teams Aug. 26 for the center’s annual Tailgate Challenge. Teams served up their favorite game-day food for hungry attendees as well as judges. When they weren’t eating, guests enjoyed live music, kid-friendly games and crafts and meet and greets with university mascots Aubie and Big Al. Winners for the day, picked by a panel of judges, included: Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Alabama team tied for Best Tasting Food; Texas, Best Tasting Drink; Oklahoma, Most Team Spirit; Mississippi State, Best All-Around; and Kentucky, People’s Choice. The event was a fundraiser for the organization’s early intervention programs for children with special needs. ❖

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Bell Center Hosts Annual Tailgate Cook-Off Fundraiser

Clockwise from above: Whitney and Mary Ellis Jamison with Big Al; Charlee Kate Wilson, Leyton Waller and Blake Harden; Jim Dunaway, Ashlee Jones and Ryan Brown; Holly, Emarie and Holly Bell; and Anna Jackson and “Spike” the Bulldog.



Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 21

Photo special to the Journal


From left: Judy Long, Annie Green, Dottie Hoover, Lucy Richardson, Marjorie Forney, Anne Gibbons, Elouise Williams and Elizabeth Wallace.


Delightful light pink double breasted coat with ecru velvet trim.

Antiquarian Society Makes Plans for Its New Year

To begin the Antiquarian Society of Birmingham’s 73rd year, officers met at the home of Nan Teninbaum, membership chair, on Aug. 10 to plan upcoming programs and events. President Marjorie Forney presided over the meeting with executive officers Annie Green, first vice president and program chair; Lucy Richardson, second vice president and yearbook chair; Dottie Hoover, corresponding secretary; Elizabeth Wallace, recording secre-

tary; Judy Long, treasurer; Anne Gibbons, historian; and Elouise Williams, parliamentarian. Kirke Cater is past president. Other committee chairs for the year will be: Kay Clark, Susan Dasher, Cece Dillard, Carolyn Drennen, Judith Hand, Sandra Holley, Nancy Jones, Becky Keyes, Janet Krueger, Meredith Peeples, Beverly Phillips, Carolyn Satterfield, Caroline Sparrow, Nan Skier, Linda Stewart, Rebekah Taylor, Amy Tully, Diana Turnipseed and Kay Wooten.

Mother and Daughter Love this Coat

The Antiquarian Society of Birmingham was organized in 1944 with the object of creating more interest in antiques and heirlooms by study and display. The first meeting of the year will be held at the Vestavia Country Club with Kristen Miller Zohn as the speaker. She is the former curator of education and director of collections and exhibitions of the Columbus, Georgia, museum. Her topic will be “Elegance, Ease and Luxury: The Clothing of Jane Austen’s Era.” ❖

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Pride and responsibility drive us to be the best in everything we do.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Joseph Braswell

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son Adams r The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., -824-1246, fax g. 2017

This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the SUNDAYS AT 8:15 & 10:45 AM Sept. 7, 2017 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

Please make sure all information is correct, including address and phone number! Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

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Oak Mountain Thank you for your prompt attention. Presbyterian Church 5080 Cahaba Valley Trace Birmingham, AL 35242

Back to School

The 1967 class of Hoover’s W.A. Berry High School returned to its old stomping grounds the weekend of Aug. 17-19 for a 50th year reunion filled with nostalgic gatherings. The weekend began Thursday evening with an informal gathering at Margarita Grill, followed by a dinner party Friday night at the home of Bob and Sara Rast. One of the activities planned for the weekend was a tour of the old Berry campus, recently purchased by Vestavia Hills City Schools. Reuniongoers were invited to tour the halls of their old school in the morning and meet at Brio’s restaurant

Berry Class of 1967 Gathers for Reunion afterward for a quick lunch. Old Car Heaven then set the scene for the biggest bash of the weekend. The space was decked out in orange and black with food served by A


Social Affair catering, thanks to help from reunion volunteer Bobby Roden. Memorial boards were scattered around the space, sharing pictures, classmate bios and school history. Special thanks went out from the reunion coordinator, Patricia Braxton, to those who helped with the hand-written invitations, including Charlotte Wood Kearney, Nancy Naugle Hentz, Nancy Goodson Richey, Janis Costilow Williams, Dianne Wyatt Booth, Lois Razek, Cathy Adderhold Head and Jackie Puttman Easter, and to Bobby Butler and Joe Dunham. ❖

For the Birds

Raptor Force Hosts Casino Night to Benefit Alabama Wildlife Center

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Come as you are. You’ll fit right in.

Front, from left: Lois Racek, Patricia Tate Braxton, Jackie Puttman Easter, Janis Williams Costilow, Nancy Goodson Richey and Bob Rast. Back: Luke Thornton, Kathy Aderholt Head, Bobby Roden, Bobby Butler, Charlotte Wood Kearney and Joe Dunham.

Brittany and Lauren Muncher.

Scott Swindle and Inga Clum.

On Aug. 19, folks gathered at Rosewood Hall in Homewood for the annual Chirps and Chips fundraiser, hosted by the Alabama Wildlife Center’s junior board, Raptor Force. Festivities for the evening included beer served up by Ghost Train Brewing Company, wine tastings by Cat-n-Bird Winery, hors d’oeuvres galore and live music by High Tide.

In addition, Goodfellas Gaming set up a variety of casino-style games to entertain guests when they weren’t perusing silent auction items or entering drawings for prizes. The evening was coordinated by Raptor Force Chairman Jason Lybrand and members Joe Amari, Helen Dolive, Gina Hinson, Russell Hinson, Brittany Muncher, Tom

Above, Audeline Kurniawan with a red-tailed hawk. Below, Milly Collins with Coosa a Barred Owl.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 23

From left: Jacob, Mallory, Meg and Stacy Pugh.

Bragging Rights

District Rotary Hosts Annual Tailgate Party

As fall football fast approaches, Rotary International District 6860 hosted its annual Boiling and Bragging fundraiser Aug. 19 to kick-off a new season. Folks gathered in the parking lot in front of Otey’s Restaurant in Crestline village for a tented tailgate party. Team tents offered tastings of their best game-day recipes for attendees to judge Funds raised through the event have been donated to support Children’s of Alabama’s Critical Care Transport team. ❖

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Above, Gage and Grason Sanspree with Big Al. Left, Bo Porter, Sue Mitchell and Mary Jean Sanspree.

24 • Thursday, September 7, 2017


Lauren Dawn Sullivan and Stephen Andrew Wright were married

Dr. Gary D. Fenton. The bride is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. R. Philip Kimrey of Birmingham. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. David Baird of Lexington, Kentucky. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a gown that she designed from local wedding gown designer Heidi Elnora’s Build-ABride collection at Heidi Elnora Atelier. The Lele Fraser gown was a fit-to-flare silhouette made of silk dupioni with a sweetheart neckline. Styled with her dress was a Summerlin Skirt overlay, with a slight opening displaying the silk dupioni fabric. She wore her mother’s heirloom veil sewn by her paternal grandmother for her wedding day. Caroline Elizabeth Kimrey, sister of the bride, of Birmingham was the maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Lauren Baird of Lexington, Kentucky; Caroline Cartledge of Homewood; Mary Claire Lalane of

Boynton Beach, Florida; Dr. Ilana Hrozencik of Atlanta; Laura Sims Jackman of Greenville, South Carolina; Sarah McIntosh of Vestavia Hills; and Dr. Alicia Thibodeaux of Gallup, New Mexico. The flower girl was Anne-Ryan Grace Mayfield, daughter of Justin and Suzanne Mayfield of Vestavia Hills.  The father of the groom was the best man. Groomsmen were Dr. Trenton Cleghern of  Mt. Brook; Dr. Vinh Duong of McKinney, Texas; Jeremy Hobbs of Lexington, Kentucky; Dr. Lee Thibodeaux of Gallup, New Mexico; and the Rev. Taylor Wehrle of Graniteville, South Carolina. Dr. Chad McRee of Hoover served as an usher and Dr. Whitney Lowe of Birmingham was the featured vocalist. After a honeymoon trip to Kauai, Hawaii, the couple will reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they are both practicing optometry. 

June 3 at Brookwood Baptist Church. The ceremony was officiated by Dr. Jim Barnette. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Allen Sullivan of Birmingham. She is the granddaughter of Mrs. Montgomery Carl Littlejohn and the late Mr. Montgomery Carl Littlejohn of Birmingham and the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Patton Sullivan of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Shambaugh Wright of Birmingham. He is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Ernest Smith and the late Mr. and Mrs. Lee Carney Wright, all of Birmingham. Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a Paloma Blanca ivory wedding gown with a strapless draped

bodice and ribbon around her waist. Her cathedral-length veil was previously worn by her mother in her wedding. Leigh Sullivan, sister of the bride, was the maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Michaela Wright, sister of the groom; Caitie Morgan, cousin of the groom; Kate Blank, Chelsea Brown, Randie Hensley, Allison Lumsden and Casey Truesdale. Caroline Morgan was the flower girl. The father of the groom was the best man. Groomsmen were Conner Parsons, cousin of the groom; James Morgan, cousin of the groom; CJ Blount, Lance Ingram, Kirk Munsayac, Brett Turner and Brandon Ward. Crew Ingram was the ring bearer. The couple will live in Birmingham.

Engaged Wedding Library Planning Bridal Event The wedding experts with Engaged Wedding Library in Homewood are hosting a wedding planning event to help Birmingham brides meet some of the best vendors in town as well as be inspired and educated through mini-wedding vignettes and expert-led seminars. The Engaged Collective will take place at The Haven event center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sun., Sept. 17. Engaged is hosting this event to showcase their curated collection of local wedding vendors including cake bakers, wedding planners, venues, bridal gown shops, photographers, floral designers and more. “With 10 years experience in the Birmingham wedding industry, I have invited the best of the best to be a part of our wedding vendor collection at Engaged. This event will allow brides to come meet them in one location,” Engaged Wedding Library owner Stephanie Whitaker said. More than 70 local wedding vendors will be participating in the Engaged Collective - the largest bridal event for the business to date. Whitaker has hosted more than 20 wedding shows over the past 9 years and likes to bring a fresh design

concept to each show. “I am always looking for inspiration. The concept for this show was inspired by my six sisters/sisters-in-law. Each of them has a unique and beautiful style and they just happen to perfectly represent the six dominant wedding styles that we are seeing right now.” At the show, teams of vendors will work to create six different “miniweddings” to represent each of Stephanie’s sisters wedding style. Styles will include Bohemian, Classic, Modern, Glam, Rustic, and Southern. Inside of each team’s vignette, brides will be inspired while also being able to meet the creative vendors who put the look together. “We feel like it will be helpful for brides to see all the unique styles brought to life. These interactive, visual presentations will provide inspiration that they can’t find on Pinterest,” she said. Along with the “mini-weddings”, the show will include cake tastings, photo booths, bridal fashion, music, and planning seminars. The seminars will cover popular topics like Budget Planning, Décor Options that Won’t Break The Bank, and Creating Your Own Custom Wedding Style. In lieu of

giveaways, Engaged will be holding a silent auction with services and bridal merchandise donated by wedding vendors. The proceeds will go towards a marriage preparation package for each bride that visits Engaged. Sponsors for the Engaged Collective include On-site Productions, Cahaba Dermatology, I do! I do! Wedding Planning, The Haven, Bella’s Bridal and Formal, Event Rentals Unlimited, I Do Linens, and Alabama Weddings Magazine. Brides can pre-register and find more information at Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or at the door. Engaged Wedding Library helps local brides build a wedding vendor team, with the goal of helping brides keep their planning on track, save money and have fun on their way to the chapel. Engaged’s wedding planning studio is located in the Edgewood neighborhood of Homewood and online at For more information, contact Stephanie Whitaker, show producer, at or 637-0735.


Mrs. Carey Elton Howard of Birmingham announces the engagement of her daughter, Caroline Barnes, to Joseph Brinkley Vaughn, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Arthur Vaughn of Bluffton, South Carolina. Miss Howard is also the daughter of the late Mr. Carey Elton Howard.  The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Mrs. Aubrey Elton Howard and the late Mr. Howard of Birmingham


Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Eldon Rushing of Birmingham announce the engagement of their daughter, Katie Michelle Rushing, to Randal Woodson Sellers, son of Mr. and Mrs. Randal Hugh Sellers of Alexandria, Virginia. The bride-elect is the granddaugh-

and the late Mr. and Mrs. David Boykin Patton of Eutaw. Miss Howard is a graduate of Mountain Brook High School and a 2011 graduate of the University of Alabama, where she received a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She received a master’s degree in nursing from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2014. She was a member of Kappa Delta sorority and was presented at the Ball of Roses. Miss Howard is employed by Sharp and Stone OBGYN as a nurse practitioner. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Francis Vaughn of Boston, Mrs. Margaret Moore Gilbert of Atlanta and the late Mr. Eugene Tolly Brinkley of Atlanta. Mr. Vaughn is a graduate of Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, and a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota, where he received a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in graphic design. Mr. Vaughn is employed by GorrieRegan & Associates. The wedding is planned for Nov. 18 in Birmingham. ter of Mrs. Norma Lyons Barron and the late Mr. Marcus John Lyons Jr. and Mrs. Lillieth Draper Rushing and the late Mr. R. J. Eldon Rushing, all of Birmingham. Miss Rushing attended Mountain Brook High School. She is a graduate of the Harrison School of Pharmacy and completed a pharmacy residency in ambulatory care at Auburn University. She is a member of Delta Gamma social sorority and the Junior League of Birmingham. Miss Rushing is employed by CVS Pharmacy. The prospective groom is the grandson of the late Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Charles Garbarini of Memphis, Tennessee, and Mrs. Ronald Carl Pearson of Surprise, Arizona, and the late Mr. Bob Lee Sellers of Memphis. Mr. Sellers attended The Altamont School and is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is employed by Atlas Air. The wedding is planned for Dec. 9.

Photo by Jett Walker Photography


Grace Catherine Kimrey and Adam Wesley Baird were married June 24 at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church. A reception followed at the College of Health Sciences at Samford University. The ceremony was officiated by



At the show, teams of vendors will work to create six different “mini-weddings” to represent “the six dominant wedding styles that we are seeing right now,” according to Engaged Wedding Library owner Stephanie Whitaker.



Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 25


Fertile Ground

The annual Saint George Middle Eastern Food Festival will be Sept. 14, 15 and 16 at Saint George Melkite Catholic Church, 425 16th Ave. S in Birmingham. Saint George parishioners for 36 years have prepared and served homemade Middle Eastern food such as falafel, meat and spinach pies, and kibbee to thousands of visitors. The event also includes church tours, entertainment, and shopping for handmade crafts, Byzantine icons, olive wood artifacts from the Holy Land and the church cookbook, “Our Favorite Recipes.” Take-out, delivery and drive-through options are available. For more information, visit or follow the festival on Facebook.


Graze, a farm-to-fork picnic, will be Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Avondale Brewing Co., 201 41st St. S, Birmingham. The third annual event, hosted by the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, offers dishes produced by pairs of local farmers and restaurants. Tickets are sold on a pay-what-youwant basis. Suggested prices are $45 for adults and $9 for kids. For a list of participating farms and restaurants and to buy tickets, visit


Some of Birmingham’s best food trucks will gather for the American Family Care Presents Trucks by the Tracks festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at Birmingham’s Railroad Park, 1600 1st Ave S. The trucks will offer a wide variety of food, from po’boys, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and specialty burgers to ice pops, snow balls and ice cream sandwiches. Good People Brewing Co. and Coca-Cola products will be available, too. Musicians will perform throughout the afternoon. General admission is $5 in advance and $8 at the gate. Children 12 and under get free admission. Food is not included in the ticket price. For tickets or more information, visit railroadpark. org.


One of Birmingham’s oldest cultural food festivals is set this year for Sept. 21-23. Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral is hosting its 45th annual Greek Festival at the church, 307 19th St. S in Birmingham. The event includes Greek food, music, dancing, church tours and both indoor and outdoor dining.

See FOOD NEWS, page 27

Urban Farm Program Reaps Benefits for Woodlawn High School Students

By Donna Cornelius The Woodlawn High School Urban Farm sows more than seeds. The Jones Valley Teaching Farm program, which went into operation during the 2016-2017 school year, not only teaches students about food and farming, but also helps them harvest lifelong skills and interests. “They learn sustainable agricultural practices, which is an intense and rigorous way to grow food,” said Amanda Storey, JVTF executive director. “But the program also increases the students’ entrepreneurial and leadership skills and helps build confidence.” For the second year, the Woodlawn farm is getting a boost from one of Birmingham’s premiere food events. Breakin’ Bread, set for Sept. 24 at Sloss Furnaces, is donating its proceeds to the program. The food, wine and beer festival is presented by the Birmingham Originals, a group of 33 of the city’s locally owned restaurants. Storey said the Woodlawn High School Urban Farm is one of JVTF’s seven teaching farms. “At Woodlawn, we launched a paid internship program, with students getting course credit and intern hours,” she said. “Breakin’ Bread came along last year with perfect timing. We were able to award our seniors $1,000 scholarships as they graduated the program.” Storey said there was enough money left over from Breakin’ Bread’s generous contribution to treat the Woodlawn students to a senior trip to Atlanta, where they visited other urban farms, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Georgia Aquarium. The 2-acre Woodlawn farm has a state-ofthe-art greenhouse, covered outdoor classroom, bio-retention pond, a working office for the staff, and produce processing and storage facili-

The 15th annual Birmingham Originals Breakin’ Bread event is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 at Sloss Furnaces, 20 32nd St. N in Birmingham. Breakin’ Bread’s donation this year again will be used to fund scholarships for the Woodlawn High School Urban Farm program’s interns (top).

ties. “All the seeds that we sow start at the Woodlawn greenhouse,” Storey said. “It’s big enough for it to be a hub for all our teaching farms.” Students harvest the food and sell some of it at the Pepper Place Saturday Market and the Woodlawn Street Market. “We also launched a student-run market at the high school,” Storey said. She said program graduates now in college are majoring in computer science, business and finance and have shown an interest in engineering after learning about irrigation systems. One graduate is in the culinary program at Lawson State Community College.

“Food can be a platform for them to find their interests,” she said. Storey credits PNC Bank for providing much of the funding for the Woodlawn farm. “Breakin’ Bread’s contribution allows us to enhance the program,” she said. Storey, a native of Columbus, Georgia, worked at Southern Living and Cooking Light magazines when she first moved to Birmingham. After leaving Cooking Light, she began volunteering with Jones Valley Teaching Farm. She was assistant director at the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and led United Way of Central Alabama initiatives about childhood obesity. She became the JVTF executive director in 2016. “Food has been the common denominator for me all along,” she said. The Woodlawn High School Urban Farm is especially important because five of the Jones Valley urban farms are at WHS feeder schools. “These kids will be with us for all their school years,” Storey said. “It’s great to see children who have been with us for several years get to high school and be able to take advantage of more experiences and opportunities.” She said Breakin’ Bread’s donation this year again will be used to fund scholarships for the Woodlawn program’s interns. “We hope to be able to provide another travel experience for our students, too,” Storey said. “They’ve earned it. Growing food is hard, hard work.”

Breakin’ Bread Bulletin

The 15th annual Birmingham Originals Breakin’ Bread event is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 at Sloss Furnaces, 20 32nd St. N in Birmingham. See FERTILE GROUND, page 27

Photos special to the Journal


26 • Thursday, September 7, 2017


Journal photos by Jordan Wald


Ted’s Restaurant owners Beba and Tasos Touloupis, in front of a mural recently painted by Birmingham artist Bo Hughins. Another mural is a detailed painting of the city’s skyline, complete with landmarks that most customers will have no trouble recognizing. The venerable meat-and-three eatery has been in business since 1973.

Cooking up a New Look Ted’s Restaurant Revamps with City-Centric Murals

By Donna Cornelius The owners of Ted’s Restaurant in downtown Birmingham don’t mind if you loiter in their parking lot. In fact, they encourage it. That’s because the venerable meatand-three eatery, which has been at

328 12th St. S since 1973, recently updated its exterior with two new murals. On the entrance side of the building, Birmingham artist Bo Hughins painted a straightforward message: “Welcome to Ted’s in the Heart of Birmingham.” The mural on the





building’s back wall invites closer inspection. It’s a detailed painting of the city’s skyline, complete with landmarks that most customers will have no trouble recognizing. “Bo gave us the start of a skyline,” said Beba Touloupis, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Tasos. “We kept adding to it, and it took on a life of its own.” A few of the familiar structures and places in the mural, which Hughins has dubbed “Ted’s Cityscape,” are the Alabama Theatre, Thomas Jefferson Tower, Sloss Furnaces, the Lyric Theatre, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Temple Emanu-El, Vulcan, and the Touloupises’ church, Holy TrinityHoly Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Look closely at the depiction of Regions Field, and you’ll see a tiny baseball flying out of the park. Hughins also included the symbol of the Audubon Society; he’s a member of the group’s Birmingham chapter. “I thought the mural would be fun for people to look at and would draw them in,” he said. His father, Wayne Hughins, not only helped him with the painting but gave him his first introduction to Ted’s Restaurant years ago. “We used to eat there when I was growing up,” Hughins said. “I really like the food. It’s not overdone; it has nutrition, and it tastes good.” Beba Touloupis said Chris Seagle, a Birmingham graphic designer, came up with the design of the front mural. Seagle also does the restaurant’s branding. Both murals are green on a white background. The vintage Ted’s Restaurant sign in front of the building was restored and updated with the restaurant’s new logo and its slogan: “Where friendly gets downright fresh.” The building’s new look is part of the Touloupises’ plan to keep their restaurant on trend and to boost its

appeal to younger customers. “The challenge is to bring the restaurant into the 21st century,” Beba said. “We wanted an updated logo and image to present in the next decade.” The couple bought the restaurant in 2000 from Ted Sarris. “Tasos was the general manager at Hoover Country Club, and Ted came in to plan a birthday party,” Beba said. “He told Tasos, ‘My restaurant is for sale.’ We’d never been there, so Tasos said, ‘Let’s go have lunch.’ Ted made us a deal we couldn’t refuse. It was a blessing on both ends.” Although Beba had no experience in the food business, she joined her husband in the venture. “Ted told us, ‘Beba has to work there with you,’” she said. The couple’s three children ended up spending a lot of time at Ted’s, too. “Our children grew up at the restaurant,” Beba said. “They started out standing on milk crates behind the counter.” Sons John and Alexios now are students at the University of Mississippi, and daughter Mary Catherine is a ninth-grader. The family lives in Vestavia Hills. Both Beba and Tasos have Greek heritage. In the 1970s, Tasos came from Thessaloniki, Greece, to attend the University of Alabama. Beba, a UAB graduate, is from a Greek family but grew up in the Bahamas. The two met at church, Beba said.

Farm-to-Table Before It Was Cool

While Ted’s is usually described as a meat-and-three restaurant, the Touloupises serve food that’s just as advertised in its new “Where friendly gets downright fresh” slogan. “We were farm-to-table before it became a thing,” Beba said. In addition to familiar steam table foods, the lunch menu has some unexpected dishes. Greek flavors shine in patitsio, a Greek baked pasta; souvlaka, which are pork kabobs, and Greek baked chicken; baked tilapia; potatoes; slaw; and salad. Some foods are served every day. In the veggie department, you’ll always find collard or turnip greens, creamed potatoes, fried okra, Brussels sprouts, creamed corn, cabbage, English peas and carrots, green beans, rice and dressings. Check the restaurant’s website for daily specials such as Chicken Bahama, chicken pot pie, beef tips and rice, roast beef, squash casserole, navy beans and mac and cheese. On the lighter side, Ted’s Signature Salad has mixed greens, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries and roasted pecans. The Greek salad combines mixed greens, tomatoes,

cucumbers, Kalamata olives, Salonika peppers and feta cheese. You can add chicken to either salad. And on the not-so-light but hardto-resist side are chocolate, coconut and lemon icebox pies; banana pudding; assorted cookies; and a cobbler and cake of the day. The breakfast menu at Ted’s has egg plates, pancakes, three-egg omelets, French toast, breakfast sandwiches and several side-dish options. Beba said she loves to cook at home. “When I was growing up in the Bahamas, we had lots of fresh fish, peas and rice, and conch mingled in with Greek food,” she said. “Food is important in Greek homes. That’s how many Greeks found their niche here in Birmingham; they assimilated into the community, opening hot dog, meat-and-three and steakhouse restaurants.”

A Family Affair

Tasos said his wife is his chief marketing officer. “She’s the best CMO I’ve ever hired in my life,” he said, laughing. While Beba hadn’t worked in the professional side of food when the couple bought Ted’s, Tasos had gained experience by working at country clubs. “I worked at NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa while I was in school, and it was an incredible experience,” he said. “It made me love the country club business.” As a teenager in Greece, he worked at upscale hotels. “I moved up the ranks pretty quickly,” he said. “When I was 18 in 1977, they called me to be the private waiter of the prime minister of Greece.” Beba said maintaining staff is important for any restaurant. Among their longtime employees, some of whom have been at Ted’s for more than 10 years, is Romell Adams, the restaurant’s kitchen manager and head cook. The Touloupises said the busiest time at Ted’s is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We get lawyers, construction workers, doctors, students, office workers – it’s a wonderful mixed groups,” Beba said. The Touloupises think their restaurant’s modernized look will please regular customers and help draw in new ones. They want Ted’s Restaurant to be as much a Birmingham landmark as the other buildings featured in their mural. “How many people can say they’ve been in the same location for almost 45 years?” Beba said. Bo Hughins said Beba and Tasos made him “feel like family” when he was painting the murals. “I think that’s how they treat everybody that comes to the restaurant,” Hughins said. Ted’s Restaurant is at 328 12th St. S in Birmingham. It’s open Monday through Friday. Breakfast is served from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Lunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ted’s also offers catering. For more information, visit or follow the restaurant on Facebook and Instagram. ❖


FERTILE GROUND, From page 25

and Hot Fish Club, Irondale Café, The J. Clyde, Jackson’s Bar & Bistro, JoJo’s on Broadway, Little Savannah, MAFIAoZA’s, Moss Rock Tacos & Tequila, Nabeel’s Café & Market, Ocean, OvenBird, Revolve Kitchen & Brew, Sky Castle, Slice, Sol’s, Ted’s Restaurant, Vecchia Pizzeria & Mercato, Vino and The Wine Loft. “The 15th year is a major milestone, and we are pleased to offer this opportunity to residents of Birmingham and to our member restaurants that shape the food culture of

Photo special to the Journal

The event includes tastings of signature food from 33 restaurants, wine, beer and nonalcoholic beverages, plus cooking demonstrations and musical entertainment. Birmingham Originals member restaurants and Breakin’ Bread participants include 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar, Avo, Bellini’s, Bettola, Bistro V, Bob Sykes BBQ, The Bright Star, Cantina, Catering by Bellini’s, Cashio’s Meatball Market, Continental Bakery/Chez Lulu, dg, FoodBar, Homewood Gourmet, Hot

FOOD NEWS, From page 25

There’s no admission charge. Free parking is available in the former Liberty National building on Third Avenue and 20th Street South. Drive-through service is available all three days from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit or follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Celebrate autumn as well as German food and culture at Birmingham Oktoberfest from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 23 in Birmingham’s Caldwell Park. The party includes German food, beer, music, games and themed activities. Regular tickets are $17.50. VIP tickets are $50 and include admission, a souvenir beer stein, four meal vouchers and a commemorative T-shirt. The park is at 2500 Highland Ave. To buy tickets or for more information, visit birminghamoktoberfest. com.


Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture and heritage, is set for noon to 8 p.m. Sept. 30 in Birmingham’s Linn Park More than 20 countries will be represented at the event, which will have Hispanic food, music, art, dancing and children’s activities. This year marks an important milestone for the festival; it is Fiesta’s quinceañera. In Latin American culture, a young girl’s 15th birthday, or her quinceañera, is an important celebration that involves the whole family. This year’s 15th anniversary festival is themed “A Celebration of Generations” as Fiesta celebrates this milestone year with the community. Tickets are $8 in advance and $15 at the gate and are available at Children 12 and under are admitted free. The park is downtown, at 710 20th St. N.

our community,” said Chris Zapalowski, president of the Birmingham Originals board of directors. Since 2002, Birmingham Originals has donated more than $125,000 to organizations benefitting children and families in the greater Birmingham area. Past recipients have included Jones Valley Teaching Farm, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, Camp Smile-A-Mile, Make-A-Wish Alabama, United Way Healthy Communities, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama, and Susan G. Komen North Central Alabama. Breakin’ Bread VIP tickets are $99 and include unlimited food samplings, wine and beer, access to the event’s exclusive lounge area and gift bags, as well as early entrance at 12:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $35 and include unlimited food sampling and two drink tickets for wine and beer. Children under 12 enter for free and have access to unlimited food sampling, nonalcoholic beverages and the children’s area. For tickets and more information, visit For news and updates, follow the Birmingham Originals on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media users are encouraged to interact with the event by using #BreakinBread, the official event hashtag. ❖


Open Monday-Saturday 11am-2pm & 5pm-9pm 521 Montgomery Hwy, Vestavia Hills, AL 35216 • (205) 823-1505


To: Teams can test their catfishcooking skills at the Cahaba River From: Fry-Down from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at Birmingham’s Railroad Park, 1600 Date: 1st Ave S. This is Celebrity judges will choose the tastiest catfish and side dishes, and those who attend can vote for their favorites. The eighth annual Cahaba River Society fundraiser’s carnival-like atmosphere also includes music, a climbing wall, beer garden and children’s activities. Tickets are $20 and include catfish and sides. There’s no admission charge for children 12 and younger. For more information, visit frydown. com. ❖

Emily Over The Mountain Journal, PHONE: 205-823-9646 FAX: 205-824-1246 March your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Ma issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246.

Please make sure all information is correct, inclu address and phone number! Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

If we have not heard from you by 5 pm of the Friday before the press date, your ad will run as is. We print the paper Monday.

Thank you for your prompt attention.

Food will be served all day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. Downtown delivery will be available for lunch on Thursday and Friday with a $75.00 minimum order. For takeout and delivery call 492-9621. A convenient drive through service will operate until 7:00 P.M.

425 16th Avenue South,

Saint George Melkite Catholic Church


New Fall Arrivals

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 27





Classic Painting Co.

Convertible Tops "Where quality and craftsmanship Sunroofs To: Jo Ann From: Over The Mountain Journal, 205-823-9646 ph., Since 1977 Leather Interiors Date:

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This is your AD PROOF from the OVER THE MOUNTAIN JOURNAL for the Call: Sept. 7, 2017 issue. Please fax approval or changes to 824-1246. 1201 3RD AVENUE SOUTH . BIRMINGHAM, AL 35233 Office 205-968-0102 or Cell 205-369-5636 PHONE: 205-251-0684 . WWW.ALABAMAAUTOTOP.COM Please make sure all information is correct,

including address and phone number! Please initial and fax back within 24 hours.

28 • Thursday, September 7, 2017

Breaking Out



By Emily Williams A strong arts community runs throughout the Birmingham area, and the schools are no exception. Studying theater arts gives students the opportunity to not only learn an art form, but also to build life skills that will help them in many areas of their lives, said Homewood High School

Theatre Department Director Jason Kennah. “Theater arts provide an inspiring environment for students to expand their creativity, problem-solving skills and social confidence,” Kennah said. “Performance and design create ample opportunities for students to think outside of the box to make a production happen.”



The theater program at Homewood not only gives students the chance to take to the stage, but also offers tech theater classes for students who want to learn more about set building, lighting design and other behind-the-scenes work that goes into a theatrical production. “I see students who begin a theater arts class with nervousness finish the class with a new sense of self-esteem,” Kennah said. “It happens every year. That increase of self-esteem can help any student to take on whatever challenges may come and maximize their unique potential.” By placing themselves on stage, students are stepping outside of their comfort zones and learning how to perform. This can be helpful when they are asked to give a presentation in other courses or want to be more animated and approachable when meeting new people. The theater also is a place where strong friendships can be made, Kennah said. Every member of a cast and a crew has to work together to pull off a great performance, and they spend a lot of time in rehearsals and sharing a stage while preparing for a big show. “There is just something about being a part of a live theatrical performance that bonds students together and establishes lifelong memories,” Kennah said. Homewood theater students will be learning the ups and downs of participating in a live performance as they

Photo special to the Journal

Theater Arts Bring Students out of Their Shells, Homewood Director Says

Homewood High School Theatre Department Director Jason Kennah says studying theater arts gives students the opportunity to not only learn an art form, but also to build life skills that will help them in many areas of their lives.

prepare for the annual fall play. This year, students will perform “Twelve Angry Men.” The famous play by Reginald Rose follows the story of a jury trying to reach a verdict in a murder trial. It was popularized further by a 1957 film of the same name starring Henry Fonda. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. The show will run from Nov. 15 through Nov. 17 and will be amended to “Twelve Angry Jurors” to suit both male and female roles. In addition to preparing for the play, at least 12 to 15 of the program’s students will be preparing for the district-level Trumbauer Festival, which is an annual day-long theatrical competition hosted on the district and

statewide levels by the Alabama Conference of Theatre. The competition consists of 30 individual events as well as a one-act play festival. The students compete for six $1,000 scholarships that the organization hands out at the state level. Students also have the opportunity to watch other performances and mingle with students from across the state. “The theater arts community is a tight knit group of folks that all care about and respect those who perform, design and build productions,” Kennah said. “The students have a wonderful opportunity to network with other students from around the state and discover that there are so many more of their peers who love this art form just as they do.” ❖

Save the Date: Fall Arts and Music Events at OTM High Schools Junior High will host their annual holiday concerts on Dec. 5. The MBHS choir will host its holiday showcase on Dec. 7.


Fall Mainstage Play, Nov. 3-5 The school will host performances of the fall theatrical production at 7 p.m. each evening in the Cabaniss-Kaul Center for the Arts.


Grades Pre-K - 8th Awarded as Highest Performing K-8 Independent School in Alabama

Blue Ribbon School

State Math Champions


EPISCOPAL SCHOOL 2019 6th Avenue North 35203


Fall Play, Oct. 26 and 28 The high school students’ production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” will be hosted each evening at 7 p.m.

Veterans Day Concert, Nov. 7 and 9 A band concert will be held at Spain Park High School from 7-8 p.m. in honor of the Veterans Day holiday. JOHN CARROLL CATHOLIC

Fall Showcase, Nov. 2 The Homewood High School choir will perform a fall show from 7-9 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. Holiday Show, Dec. 7 The High School’s band will perform a seasonal showcase, beginning from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Fall Play, Nov. 10-13 The high school’s theater department will showcase its fall play production each evening from 7-10 p.m. Trumbauer Showcase, Nov. 29 Students of the school’s theater department who are to attend the state-wide competition will host performances of their individual event pieces from 6-8 p.m.




Sparks 2017, Oct. 7 Spain Park High School’s band will host a marching band competition. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 and older. Hoover Invitational Marching Festival, Oct. 21 This annual event will be held at the Hoover Met Stadium and will feature performances by the Hoover High School Band, as well as the University of North Alabama Pride of Dixie Band. Tickets are $8.

Fall Play, Sept. 25-28 MBHS will host performances of its fall play each evening, beginning at 7 p.m. Brookstock, Oct. 19 The high school’s annual evening music festival will begin at 7 p.m. Veteran’s Day Concert, Nov. 7 The MBHS band and choir will team-up for a concert performance celebrating the Veteran’s Day holiday. Holiday Concerts, Dec. 5 and 7 Both MBHS and Mountain Brook


Rockette Sparkly School, Sept. 9 From 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the high school’s dance team will host a clinic for younger students in both the new and old gymnasiums. Fall Theater Production, Oct. 14 The high school will host its annual fall play with a performance for the public from 7-9 p.m. Fall Choir Concert, Oct. 22 VHHS’s choir will perform its annual seasonal concert for the public at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium. Jazz Concert, Nov. 16 The VHHS jazz band will host a concert from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Fall Play, Nov. 20 The high school will host performances of its annual fall production at 7 p.m. Holiday Band Concert, Dec. 5 The VHHS band will perform a holiday concert, beginning at 7 p.m. Celebrate the Season, Dec. 7 The VHHS band and choir will collaborate for a seasonal concert in the school’s auditorium at 7 p.m. Choir Holiday Concert, Dec. 12 The high school choir will host a performance at 7 p.m. at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. ❖



Photo special to the Journal

Creative Montessori School Adding Seventhand Eighth-Grade Program

West students follow “The West Way,” signing a pledge to be courteous, respectful and responsible.

West Way Day Takes Over VHEW

Courtesy, respect and responsibility make up “The West Way,” and every year, students learn about these character traits during West Way Week. This year, students kicked off the school year by celebrating West Way Week Aug. 14-18. From the moment they enter the school, visitors to Vestavia Hills Elementary West see the phrase that guides students’ behavior in a display. They also see it throughout the halls and classrooms of the school as students demonstrate the motto, which sums up how West students are expected to behave. Students started the week by receiving a special memento to help them remember “The West Way.” Classes spent a day on each trait, discussing it in depth and talking about how children and teachers could demonstrate each one. Students in each class then signed a “West Way Pledge,” which is displayed throughout the school year. The week wrapped up with “Team Up at West” day, as students, faculty and staff wore their favorite team shirts to remind everyone that together, they are a team.

Journal photos by Jordan Wald

Homewood Gets In the Back to School Swing of Things at Patriot Park Event

Homewood Parks and Recreation partnered with the West Homewood Neighborhood Association for a Back to School celebration Aug. 26 at Patriot Park. Among those enjoying food trucks, carnival rides, music and more were, clockwise from above left: Patrick Werner with son John David; Molly Kate and Katie Lynch; and Oliver, Erik and Marie Pasco.

Creative Montessori School is adding a seventh- and eighth-grade program to begin next year. Christopher Schell was hired to oversee development of the adolescent program. He will spend the 2017-18 school year working on special projects with fourth- to sixth-grade students while developing the adolescent program and setting up the new classroom space. “I enjoy helping adolescents discover their own voices and perspectives through meaningful activities and conversations,” he stated in a release from the school. The school now works with students 18 months through sixth grade. The adolescent program will extend academics through practical life activities and opportunities to work on projects that will develop the students’ confidence and ability to provide and care for themselves and their environment, according to the statement. Greg Smith executive director of the school, said parents had been asking for an adolescent program. “It’s even more exciting that it coincides with our 50th anniversary next year,” Smith said.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 29



Hoover Teachers Recognized by State Health Association

Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance recently announced its 2017 awards, recognizing Hoover City Schools educators Leta Hoit and Becky Peterson. Hoit, physical education teacher at Greystone Elementary School, has been selected as the association’s Jump Rope for Heart Coordinator of the Year. Jump Rope for Heart is a national educational event and fundraiser sponsored Leta Hoit by the American Heart Association and the Society of Health and Physical Educators. Hoit has taught at Greystone for 15 years and has been an educator for 19 years. Peterson, physical education teacher at Rocky Ridge Elementary School, was named the association’s Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. She has been with Rocky Ridge since 2015 and is an Becky Peterson adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Hoit and Peterson will be honored in November at an awards reception during the organization’s annual fall conference. With this recognition, they will advance to nominations for Southern District titles.

The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is committed to finding a cure for Matthew and the more than 1,500 children who come to us for care each year. As a founding member of the Children’s Oncology Group,* Children’s of Alabama and UAB combine research and innovative therapies to help save the lives of children down the street and around the world. Although the cancer cure rate has risen from 50 to 84 percent and strokes in patients with sickle cell disease have decreased by 90 percent, we are actively working toward a CURE for young adults like Matthew.

*The Children’s Oncology group is a clinical - translational trials organization with more than 9,000 experts worldwide dedicated to finding better cures and improving the outcomes for all children with cancer.

30 • Thursday, September 7, 2017




Spain Park’s Henze Joins Two Other OTM Players on the Crimson Team

MOODY, From page 32

missed a couple of assignments, but no one’s perfect.” Moody combines power with finesse as he makes his blocks. “He’s more athletic than you normally get on the offensive line,” Berguson said. “I remember seeing him play some fullback in middle school. He runs well and he’s strong. That’s why we’ve got him playing left guard. He does a good job of pulling when we’re running power plays and other stuff.” Moody said it’s just a matter of doing what’s necessary. “I think it’s more of a combination when I am blocking,” he said. “I try to be patient when I pass block and let them come to me instead of going after them and getting off balance. I can also turn it around and attack them, especially when we’re running the ball, to make my block. I can get a pancake (block) if needed. “I just go my hardest every play and push them back as hard as I can.”

Better Luck This Year?

Moody believes the Patriots will be a much improved team this fall.

After posting four consecutive ninewin seasons from 2012 to 2015, the Patriots stumbled to 5-6 in 2016. The season ended with a 41-21 loss to Minor in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. The Patriots met rival Vestavia Hills in their second game this year, trying to snap a 10-game losing streak to the Rebels. They will visit Parker on Sept. 8 in their first Class 6A, Region 5 contest. “I think this will be a great season for us,” Moody said. “We’ll bounce back and be better than last year. “Our offensive line is looking better, too. We’ve had a couple of young guys who have really stepped up, sophomore right tackle Jekobie Harris and junior left tackle Will Strong.” For Moody, this probably will be his final season playing football. He intends to go to Auburn and concentrate on being a student. “I don’t know if I’ll play at the next level,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something I want to do. I’m more focused on school and getting a college degree. I think I’ll study astronomy. Space really interests me. Maybe, one day I’ll go work for NASA.” And perhaps he’ll see a total eclipse up close. ❖

Journal file photo by Lee Walls Jr.

Above, Homewood’s Chance Hall eludes a Pelham tackler in the Patriots opening week 29-22 win over the Panthers. Below Antoine McGhee (50) and John Firnberg (36) close in on a Pelham ball carrier.

Three players for the 2017 Harvard Crimson football team have roots Over the Mountain: freshmen Doug Henze from Spain Park and Ben Abercrombie from Hoover, who had a bit of a rivalry going, and senior Tristan Tahmaseb from Vestavia Hills. For Henze, recruitment escalated quickly following the AlabamaMississippi All-Star Game, and he knew that the opportunity to continue his football career while obtaining a world-class education was one he couldn’t miss. “After I left the (all-star game), several schools began showing up on the radar,” Henze said. “Harvard called me that week and asked if they could come to my house for an in-home visit. And after the in-home visit, they said, ‘We want you to come up to Harvard next week.’” Henze found himself touring the Boston campus within about 10 days of his first contact from the coaching staff. The all-star game was Dec. 7, 2016, and he had made his verbal commitment before Christmas. Columbia, Gardner-Webb, Troy and Southern Miss were also on his radar, but the 6-foot 7-inch, 270-pound defensive tackle quickly knew where he wanted to spend the next four years. “Three days after (his visit), I committed to them,” Henze said. “It felt right. This place won me over.” Henze was part of a Spain Park team that went to the AHSAA state finals in 2015, falling just short of winning a championship in a 14-12 loss to McGill-Toolen. Last year, he was awarded the Hoover City Schools Finley Award, given to a senior at Spain Park and at Hoover for outstand-

Doug Henze was a three-year starter at defensive line for Spain Park and a member of the All-Over the Mountain Team in 2016.

ing character. He’s an Eagle Scout, and he finished tied for third on his team in tackles with 36. He spent his summer at home training and he’s barely had time to adjust to his new digs, but he’s already adjusted to his new relationship with Abercrombie. Henze’s 2015 Spain Park team was the first to ever defeat Hoover, where Abercrombie played. “We played peewee football together, so that was funny,” Henze said. “We started talking again after we both committed and came up here together. It’s been fun.” Harvard opens its season Sept. 16 at Rhode Island, and while Henze hopes to get on the field sooner rather than later, he already has his sights set on a larger victory: a degree in neurobiology.

Henze said he’s been overwhelmed by how welcoming they have been in Boston. That’s been a pleasant surprise, since he hasn’t had much time to spare in his first weeks on campus. Adjusting to a new place is always challenging; but there’s one thing in Boston that simply can’t compare. “The barbecue,” he insists, “isn’t barbecue.” Henze expects big things from the Jaguars he left behind this year, under the leadership of quarterback Braxton Barker and middle linebacker Hayes Cole. Henze said the team competes in the toughest region in the state. “It’s the SEC of high school football,” he said. “You’ve got to bring it every week or you’re going to take a loss.” ❖

Photo courtesy Hoover High School

Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.

By Blake Ells

Hoover Varsity Cheerleaders

First row, from left: Kameron Walker, Grace Heglas, Lexi Conner (captain), Amelia Snider (captain), Ashley Hopping (captain), Maddie Lee and Mia Gage. Second row: Mackenzie Massey, Katie Hardin, Grace Bonner, Brooke Weidler, Harrison Bevis, Elizabeth Knerr, Victoria Burst and Anna Leigh Bruner. Third row: Catherine Calvano, Anna Camille Self, Hanna Cate Armstrong, Lauren Thompson, Alex Brocato and Kathryn Brooks.

In every issue we’ll highlight OTM cheerleading squads, band members, mascots and fans that make high school football so special. Find more photos at



SPARTANS, Fort, took the position on short notice and had little time to prepare his new team. It made Mountain Brook’s own preparation difficult; the team spent time watching two sets of game film – one from Gulf Shores and one from Spanish Fort – to form their plan. “We had a little bit of an idea of what we thought they would do,” said Sisson. “We had some film from his old school and some film from their spring game.” After beginning their season with

By Blake Ells

‘One of our biggest goals is to leave the Mountain Brook football program better than we found it. Last year’s senior class did that perfectly for us, and we want to keep that tradition going.’

A host of Mountain Brook defenders bring down a Gulf Shores runner, including: Nick Belt (12), Jim Williams (21) and Colton Yeager (45). Below, Christian May looks for running room in the Spartan’s 56-24 win.

Journal photos by Marvin Gentry


tight end Clay Stearns and wide receiver Wilson Higgins in a senior class that is one of the most experi-

enced groups around. That reliability makes Sisson’s task much easier. “Not only because they’re great football players,” Sisson said. “But they’re some of my best friends, too.” It’s a group that is already being courted by college programs and will continue to see interest escalate as the season continues. Sisson has offers from Army, Jacksonville State, Wofford and The Citadel, and he hasn’t yet shut the door to other possible suitors. He doesn’t expect to make his decision until the season concludes. Joiner is arguably the top recruit in the Birmingham metro area, and he’ll also take his time. Michigan State and LSU are at the top of Joiner’s list, but Alabama and UCLA are still in contention for his services. For now, Sisson and Joiner will enjoy the journey together as longtime friends and teammates. “I love Harold,” Sisson said. “He’s my man.” ❖

BUSA Makes Gift Bags for Children’s of Alabama Families in Largest Volunteer Drive to Date

Photo courtesy Birmingham United Soccer

Lightening in a Bottle

Spain Park Shoots to Recapture the Magic of 2015 With D’Arie Johnson in the Lead

From page 32

two games out of region, the Spartans will dive in head first on Sept. 8 when they travel to Hoover to face the Bucs at the Met. But as region play begins and the challenges become greater, this experienced senior class is confident they can navigate a path that will cement their legacy. “One of our biggest goals is to leave the Mountain Brook football program better than we found it,” said Sisson. “Last year’s senior class did that perfectly for us, and we want to keep that tradition going. And obviously, the goal is to win a state championship. Last year, we had a great season at 8-2, but we lost in the first round of the playoffs. We weren’t satisfied with the way it ended. Sisson and Joiner are joined by

Thursday, September 7, 2017 • 31

Members of the Birmingham United Soccer Association volunteered their time recently to organize and carry out a gift drive to benefit patients and families at Children’s of Alabama. BUSA Serves Day 2017 marked the first time all of the competitive teams in the association worked together on a single project. “By leveraging our club’s size, we were able to make a lasting impact on many patients and their families at Children’s of Alabama,” Dillon O’Hare, assistant director of internal operations for BUSA said in a statement. He said 4,000 items valued at about $50,000 were collected to make gift bags to give every patient and their family during their stay at the hospital. “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our membership and so excited about the commitment to help and serve others on our 2017 BUSA Serves Day,” said BUSA Executive Director Andrew Brower. “We have been able to provide over 4,000 items and a care package for all 232 patients currently in Children’s Hospital, which is an amazing accomplishment!  We as an organization are proud of our players and family members who have rallied around an excellent cause to provide a small ray of sunshine to the patients and families currently at Children’s.”

Spain Park wants to recapture what it accomplished in 2015. The football team reached the AHSAA state finals, losing in the championship game to McGill-Toolen, after winning its first game in the program’s history over rival Hoover. Last year the Jaguars finished with an 8-2 overall record, dropping a pair of consecutive, midseason region games to Hoover and Mountain Brook. While the record last season was admirable, a loss in the first round of the playoffs to James Clemens left a sour taste in players’ mouths and they’re eager to improve. In the Jaguars first game of 2017, they rolled over Gadsden City 31-19. It wasn’t always easy; the Jaguars trailed by five in the first half before pulling away after the break. It was a bold scheduling move by Jaguars coach Shawn Raney, who’ll spend the bulk of the season battling 7A Region 3 competition beginning Sept. 8 at Vestavia Hills. But that’s a strategy he hopes will have the Jaguars prepared for what lies ahead. Senior D’Arie Johnson led the Jaguars in the opener with 110 yards on 20 carries; 89 of those yards were after contact. He scored two touchdowns on runs of 11 and 17 yards. “I was really impressed with our lineman,” he said. “If I can’t trust the linemen, then we’re not going to have much offense.” The group is led by seniors Ryan Campbell, Abdul Deeb and Michael Fowler. They get help from Jalen Henderson, a junior who has stepped into a role similar to the one he played last season.

Henderson had 108 yards on 20 carries of his own, providing a onetwo punch for the Jaguars similar to the one Johnson was a part of in 2016. Johnson spent much of last season at fullback so the Jaguars could get him and Larry Wooden on the field at the same time; Wooden is now a freshman at Arkansas State. “I was fine with it,” he said. “As long as I was helping the team out. It was good for me, and it was good for the team.” Johnson wants to major in business, and he’s begun attracting attention from a few schools for his athletic ability – even Yale. But before that comes, he’ll work to lead this group back to state. It’s an experience that he recalls contributing to as a sophomore kick returner, but as every class that Raney coaches can attest, it takes patience to see the field at Spain Park. Everyone on the offensive line that Johnson credits for his early success is making their first starts this season. He’ll have help. Along with Henderson, he has Braxton Barker at quarterback, who also eased his way onto the field throughout 2016. It’s a senior class that has earned its due, and one that has a legacy to secure. ❖ THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

BRIARWOOD at Moody HOMEWOOD at Parker HOOVER at MOUNTAIN BROOK JOHN CARROLL at Hueytown Huffman at OAK MOUNTAIN SPAIN PARK at VESTAVIA HILLS Go to to see photos from last week’s Vestavia at Homewood matchup.

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Journal photo by Marvin Gentry

Journal photos by Lee Walls Jr.


Harvard Men Spain Park’s Henze Joins Two Other OTM Players on the Crimson Team PAGE 30

In first week action against Gulf Shores, threeyear starting quarterback Hamp Sisson was 10-of-14 for 167 yards. More game photos at

Feet on the Ground, Eyes on the Stars Moody Means Stability on Homewood’s Offensive Line

By Rubin E. Grant


hen Homewood High School students gathered outside last month to witness the solar eclipse, perhaps there was no one more interested than senior Harry Moody. “I find that type of stuff so intriguing,” Moody said. He wished he could have been somewhere along the path of totality so he could have experienced the full effect. “I thought the eclipse was very cool, even though we didn’t get the total eclipse where the moon fully covered the sun, which I would’ve preferred,” Moody said. “But it just blows my mind to think that everything we know is on Earth and that there is a vast place outside of Earth that can potentially have life.” Moody couldn’t travel elsewhere to see the eclipse that week because Homewood was busy

Senior Harry Moody, (above and top) is off to a good start. He had a dominating performance in the Patriots’ opener as they rolled up 319 total yards in a 29-22 win against Pelham. More game photos at

preparing for its season-opening football game against Pelham. The 6-foot, 250-pound Moody starts at left guard and is the linchpin of the offensive line.

He was selected the Patriots’ offensive lineman of the year for 2016 by his teammates at the team’s season-ending banquet. “We seldom get that honor for a junior, an underclassman,” Homewood coach Ben Berguson said. Moody wasn’t altogether surprised with the honor. “I was thankful,” he said. “I enjoyed getting it. I want to try to get it again this year.” Moody is off to a good start. He had a dominating performance in the Patriots’ opener as they rolled up 319 total yards in a 29-22 win against Pelham. He graded 96 percent for his blocking, based on technique and assignment in that game, the second Milo’s Breakfast Kickoff Classic at Samford University’s Seibert Stadium. “A score of 80 percent or higher is a ‘win,’” Berguson said. “He had a great game.” Moody shrugged off his performance. “I think I played well for the most part,” he said. “I See MOODY, page 30


Spartan’s Sisson Aims for Championship With Veteran Players Backing Him Up By Blake Ells Mountain Brook hopes it can make a run at the highly coveted 7A Region 3 football championship this season, and with seasoned veterans at their skill positions, the Spartans’ chances are good. In first week action against Gulf Shores, threeyear starting quarterback Hamp Sisson was 10-of-14 for 167 yards. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another as he and running back Harold Joiner led their squad to a 56-24 victory. Former Gulf Shores coach Rick Cauley resigned – without actually coaching a game – just six weeks before the season began. Matt Blake, who previously had coached at Spanish See SPARTANS, page 31

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