Miss SMC

Students vie for Miss SMC title on Saturday, January 25th

Spartanburg, SC –  Spartanburg Methodist College will host its annual Miss SMC Pageant on Saturday, January 25.  The 6 p.m. event will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall on the campus of SMC.  The event is open to the public and admission is $5.  SMC faculty, staff and students are admitted for free.

Contestants will compete in five categories: Preliminary interview, lifestyle and fitness, talent, evening wear, and on-stage interview.  The winner of Saturday night’s pageant will compete in the Miss South Carolina pageant in July.

“We are excited to be a part of the Miss South Carolina and Miss America Scholarship organizations and support the four points of the crown: service, scholarship, success, and style,” said Kim Day Caton, SMC Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development.

Bonnie Walls, from Piedmont, currently serves as the reigning Miss SMC.  Angela Hughes Singleton, Miss South Carolina 1996 and Mrs. South Carolina 2005 will serve as host and this year’s judges include:  Heidi Aiken, Radio Host on B93.7; Dr. Penny Fisher, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees and former Superintendent of the Greenville County School District; Mrs. Effie Williams; Mr. Bobby Holcombe, Director of Financial Aid at USC Union and Joyce Cox, former Director of the Miss Greenville pageant.

The 2014 Miss SMC contestants include:

Stefanie Egan a freshman from Greer, SC. Stefanie is the daughter of Cyrus Berdan and Georgeanna Egan and is a graduate of Byrnes High School.

Allisha Fewell a sophomore from Rock Hill, SC.  Allisha is the daughter of Maurice and Angela Fewell and a graduate of Rock Hill High School.

Kathleen Grayson a sophomore from Easley, SC. Kathleen is the daughter of Webster Grayson and Eva Haynie of Easley and a graduate of Liberty High School.

Brittany Moore a freshman from Union, SC. Brittany is the daughter of Robbie and Sharon Moore and is a graduate of Union County High School.

Logan Phillips a sophomore from Blacksburg, SC. Logan is the daughter of Randy and Julie Phillips and a graduate of Blacksburg High School.

Orrien Williams, a freshman from Fountain Inn, SC. Orrien is the daughter of Brenda Williams and is a graduate of Hillcrest High School.

“The Miss SMC Pageant is an exciting event for our students and campus,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, SMC President.  “This group of young women is an impressive group. We are pleased our students are able to demonstrate their community service efforts and talents in this venue.”

FIRST LEGO League

SMC to host FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Event – Saturday, January 11th

Spartanburg, SC –  Saturday, January 11th the Jesse L. Bridges Arena at Spartanburg Methodist College will feature a different sport than the usual basketball – the Pioneers will host a “sport for the mind” – the Spartanburg FIRST LEGO League Regional Qualifier tournament, beginning at 9 a.m.

Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology, founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

The FIRST LEGO League introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. Elementary and middle-school students get to:  Design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology;  apply real-world math and science concepts; research challenges facing today’s scientists;  learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills and participate in tournaments and celebrations.

Dr. Woodie Flowers, FIRST National Advisor and Pappalardo Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term “Gracious Professionalism”   – part of the ethos of FIRST, which encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. Another FIRST value is “Coopertition” – founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete.

Tonya LeBrun, local FLL Tournament Director, stated “with Gracious Professionalism, students learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either.  Coopertition involves learning from teammates; teaching teammates; learning from Mentors; and displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.”

The doors will open at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and the 9 a.m. opening ceremony will begin with a welcome from SMC President Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, who shared “SMC is thrilled to play a role in the inspiration of young people to be science and technology leaders. What FLL teams accomplish is nothing short of amazing. It’s fun. It’s exciting. And the skills they learn will last a lifetime.”  The event is open to the public and admission is free of charge.  For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.

Jazz Trio album cover

SMC to host an evening with the Keith Davis Trio

On Monday evening, January 27th Spartanburg Methodist College will treat  jazz-appreciative audience members with a performance by the Keith Davis Trio. The 7 p.m. concert, free for the community, will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall on the campus of SMC, and is part of the college’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

Make plans to discover America’s original musical art form, learn about the distinct qualities of jazz, and why it’s a reflection of our community, our nation, and our world.  The Trio, composed of Davis, Justin Watt and Ron Brendle, recently released their first CD, entitled “Still.”  The three played their first gig together a couple of years ago, and right away felt that rapport and sense of a shared “inner groove” that gave them the impetus to pursue their musical association.  The music on their CD truly springs from that “inner groove” which can be found within each one of us.

Keith Davis, a distinguished jazz pianist, composer and educator, has been growing his own voice through performing and composing music for the piano for over 30 years. Davis has been featured at the Jazz Festivals of Savannah, Atlanta, Jacksonville and others.

Davis lives in Greenville, SC, where he performs regularly and serves as Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Piano at Furman University. He has toured with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Matt “Guitar” Murphy (Blues Brothers). He has performed with many notable figures from the jazz world, including David “Fathead” Newman, Pat LaBarbera, Mike Mainieri, Ben Riley, Wycliffe Gordon, Conrad Herwig, Ronnie Cuber, Byron Stripling and Frank Foster. In addition, he was a member of the Teddy Adams Quintet, and studied with respected Atlanta jazz instructor, Ted Howe, as well as classical pianist Steve Hall.

In 1985, Keith attended the Banff Summer Jazz Workshop in Canada, where he studied and played with Dave Liebman, Cecil Taylor, Don Thompson, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, and Dave Holland. During his stay at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he studied privately with renowned saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi.

Justin Watt resides in Asheville, N.C. In addition to playing in the Keith Davis Trio, he is the drummer for the Bill Gerhardt Trio and Like Mind Trio. Justin is also the drummer for the Greenville Jazz Collective, a quintet that features original compositions by the members of the group.  He is also active with several regional theatre groups, and co-curates the “Asheville Original Music Series”, a weekly session held at the Altamont Theatre that features regional composers and their music.  In addition, Justin teaches percussion at the Asheville Music School, and is adjunct percussion instructor at the University of North Carolina Asheville and teaches drum-set at Furman University in Greenville, S.C.

Ron Brendle, a freelance bassist in the Charlotte area since 1981, was recently recognized by Charlotte Magazine as “Best Bassist.” His innovative compositions and improvisational style have also earned seven awards as “Jazz Artist of the Year” by Creative Loafing Magazine. Ron was the recipient of two North Carolina Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship Grants, which helped to produce his CDs Hypermobility and Photograph. Ron has performed and recorded with many notable jazz artists of international stature, including Nneena Freelon, Clark Terry, Andrew Hill, Charlie Byrd, Charlie Rouse, and Mose Allison. Some recent recordings include projects with Loonis McGlohon, Mike Campbell, and Frank Kimbrough.

Join SMC on Monday, January 27th at 7 p.m. for the Keith Davis Trio.  The free community concert will be held in the Gibbs Auditorium, located in Ellis Hall, both of which are handicapped accessible.  The event is open to the public and admission is free of charge.    For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.