NBBG

Northern Border Blue Grass bringing “Old Time” music to SMC – Wednesday, October 15

NBBGNorthern Border Blue Grass will be bringing old time music to the Spartanburg Methodist College campus on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 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 free.

Northern Border, named “Best Upstate Bluegrass Band” in competition and performance at Twichell Auditorium on the Converse College campus, had its beginnings on the campus of Wofford College in 1961 as part of the late Professor Sam Moyer’s choral program. The band’s name is derived from the first line of the Wofford College Alma Mater “On the city’s northern border….” The band leans heavily on the traditional mountain sound featuring three and four part harmonies and driving instrumentals from the five-string banjo and the mandolin. They also feature a variety of musical Americana from Steve Goodman to the Everly Brothers.

The members of Northern Border come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from concert to rock and roll, all returning to the traditionally voiced music of the mountains. The players include Steve Campbell of Greer, S.C.; Greg Farmer of Spartanburg, S.C.; Tom Bratton of Gaffney, S.C. and Milton Smith of Woodruff, S.C.

“Old Time Music at its Best” describes Campbell, who is one of the finest and most respected five-string players in the region. A veteran of bands “Southbound”, Flint Hill”, “Dakota’’ and “Mountain View”, he brings his extraordinary talents on banjo, guitar and dobro to Northern Border. A versatile vocalist, he sings lyric tenor lines as well as the bass part.

Farmer is a Michigan native, a physical therapist by vocation and an excellent singer and musician, bringing his vocal talents as well as his talents on the mandolin, guitar and fiddle to Northern Border. He displays his passion for the old time music every time he hits the stage and was named “one of the top five bluegrass musicians in the state” by “Living in South Carolina” magazine.
Bratton is a fine upright bass player and story teller who handles vocal arrangements for the group. As an All-State and orchestra trombone player, he naturally sings the baritone line as well as the lead part and has a “steel trap mind” when it comes to lyrics.

Smith sings lead and baritone parts and plays rhythm guitar. After traveling for many years as a horn player in contemporary music, he returned to the traditional music which is his first love. He has worked with the late Nashville producer and five-string banjo genius Bobby Thompson and handles logistic for the band.

Northern Border has recorded five albums: “Prisoner’s Song”, “Friends Forever”, “Pickin’ on the Back Porch”, “Live at the Pickin’ at Pickens” and “Nailing It!” and their appearance schedule includes TV, radio, and a variety of festivals, concerts and events including the North Carolina BBQ Festival, the South and North Carolina Seafood Festivals, the Atlanta Folk Festival, the Highlands, N.C. Folk Festival and the South Carolina Juried Arts Festival at Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park.

Make plans to experience Northern Border on Wednesday, October 15. The 7 p.m. concert is open to the public and admission is free of charge. The Gibbs Auditorium in Ellis Hall is handicapped accessible. Take advantage of this free community concert to learn about the distinct qualities of local blue grass! For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.

Rabbi Publicity Shot

SMC to feature Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz @ Judaism Seminar

The Social Sciences Department at Spartanburg Methodist College will host Rabbi Yossi Liebowitz on Thursday, October 23. The 4 p.m. seminar on Judaism will be held in the Davis Mission Chapel on the campus of SMC and is open to the public as well as the campus community.

Rabbi Liebowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York, holds a masters in Hebrew letters and has received two honorary doctorates. He recently completed his thirtieth year in the rabbinate and has served in pulpits in New York state and on the West Coast. Rabbi Liebowitz has completed his eighth year with Congregation B’nai Israel, located on Heywood Avenue in Spartanburg, which has proudly served the Jewish community of Spartanburg and surrounding areas for more than one-hundred years.

Judaism, the monotheistic (belief in one God) religion of the Jewish people, was established circa 2000 B.C.E. as part of a covenant between God and Abraham. Uprisings against the Romans during the first and second centuries A.D. led to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. Those practicing Judaism were kept marginalized from society and persecuted in many countries. The creation of a Jewish state was discussed at the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897, yet it was not until May 18, 1948 that the state of Israel was formed after World War II and the genocide of over six million Jewish people.

Judaism falls into four major periods: Biblical Judaism, or the Persian Period (approximately 20th-4th century BCE); Hellenistic Judaism (4th century BCE-2nd century CE), a time of Greek and Roman influence in many religions; Rabbinic Judaism (2nd-18th century CE) based on the Talmud; and Modern Judaism (approximately 1750-present). According to the American Jewish Year Book, the core Jewish population includes people who identify as Jews by religion and others who are not interested in religion but see themselves as Jews by ethnicity or other cultural criteria. There are an estimated 13,854,800 Jews in the World, an estimated 43.4% in Israel and 39.2% in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, 4.2 million (or 1.8% of the adult population in the United States) are Jewish by religion.

Rabbi Liebowitz supports a wide number of interests, including digging for dinosaur fossils, Science Fiction and Music. His interfaith musical duo with Pastor Paul Harmon “The cap and the collar” has performed at over forty venues from Churches and Temples to concert halls. He has taught at the university level for many years and currently teaches at Converse College and University of South Carolina Upstate. Rabbi Liebowitz is married and has four children ages 31, 27, 22 and 12.

According to Dr. Cole Cheek, SMC Professor of History and Anthropology, “We welcome this opportunity to explore common questions about Judaism with our students. Is Judaism a race, a religion or a nationality?” Dr. Cheek went on to elaborate that “it is my wish that students walk away with an understanding and appreciation of the Jewish society and the relationships among individuals within that society.”

Math with the Simpsons

SMC to present Math Morsels from the Simpsons to Futurama on Monday, October 6

“The Simpsons” is an award-winning global pop culture phenomenon. But did you know that “The Simpsons” also contains over one hundred mathematical moments, with material ranging from arithmetic to calculus to Riemannian geometry? There’s even a resident mathematician/inventor, Professor Frink.

Spartanburg Methodist College invites you to join us as we host Dr. Sarah Greenwald and she presents some of our favorite mathematical excerpts from “The Simpsons,” and explores the related mathematical content, accuracy and pedagogical value. The 7 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 free.

Greenwald is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and a Women’s Studies core faculty member at Appalachian State University in the northwestern mountains of North Carolina. She is the winner of a 2005 MAA Alder Award for distinguished teaching, the 2010 Appalachian State University Wayne D. Duncan Award for Excellence in Teaching in General Education, and the 2011 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher of the Year. In 2010 she was inducted into the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences Academy of Outstanding Teachers. She has co-edited the 3-volume Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society, which was named a “Best Reference 2011″ by Library Journal.

Dr. Greenwald received her Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and B.S. in math from the Department of Mathematics at Union College in Schenectady, NY.

Spartanburg Methodist College’s Gibbs Auditorium in Ellis Hall is handicapped accessible. Educators and students from the community are encouraged to take advantage of this free presentation to learn a few math morsels! For additional information, contact Yvonne Harper, harpery@smcsc.edu, 864-587-4278 or 266-7409.

sam blackwelder close up

SMC shares “Why You and Your Student Should Visit Colleges!”

A campus visit is an opportunity to get a personal view of a college and life on that campus.  College catalogs, brochures or websites can only show you so much. To really get a feel for a college, you need to walk around the quad, sit in on a class, review the student newspaper, activity calendar and bulletin boards and visit the residence halls.

The importance of visiting college campuses cannot be over emphasized.Walking around the campus can give you a feel for what a college is really like and help you find a good fit where you can be successful,” stressed Mike Queen, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Marketing at SMC.

According to Queen, there are two kinds of visits: one is the “drive-by” informal visit that can begin early in the college search.  This type of visit can be made without a lot of hype and pressure and does not have to be the college to which the student will eventually apply. With a little planning the visit can be a welcome side trip during a vacation with the opportunity to walk around, see the facilities, eat in the cafeteria and visit the bookstore. This can be a very low-key, non-stress way of experiencing many different colleges and universities for the whole family, including younger siblings. You also can take advantage of campus tours and information sessions. The differences between campuses will soon become clear to all. If you are not able to travel long distances to visit this is an ideal way to get the feel of a small liberal arts school in a small town or rural area or a large metropolitan university with the city for a campus.

The second type of visit is the more formal visit, and is appropriate for seniors who have narrowed down the list of schools. It is best to visit when the college is in session and students are on campus. The visit should include a campus information session, a campus tour and time to simply wander around the campus. This gives potential students the chance to talk to actual students, faculty, coaches, financial aid and admission officers in person, sit in on classes, and see inside residence halls where the student might live.  (Campuses generally have residency requirements: specific halls for males, females, athletes, honor students, etc.)  Plus it allows answers to important questions regarding class size, instructors, meal plans, clubs and other student organization activities available.

Although visiting colleges may not be possible for everyone, it’s a good idea to make the trips, if you can.  Parents and other family members can participate in visits and informational sessions, and are great sounding boards for discussing the visit on the trip back home. Queen suggests creating a checklist to remind you of everything you want to do and see once you get on campus and make sure to allow plenty of time to explore and be sure and ask your tour guide or students you meet on campus: Why did you choose this college?  What do you love about this college?

Spending time on a campus helps you determine whether a college is a good personal fit.  SMC sophomore Sam Blackwelder, member of Kingstree United Methodist Church, Kingstree, SC, shared “I immediately felt comfortable and at home. I clicked with the students and the faculty.  SMC is everything I imaged college to be!”

A campus visit not only will help to narrow down the choices but it can have benefits such as acting as a real motivator for the student to do well academically as well as in extracurricular activities. Visits give a clearer picture about the college environment and it can act as an ideal opportunity for parents and students to talk about this very important decision. Ultimately, it’s your and your student’s decision. Listen to your heart.