• Sofi McCray of Hayesville sang a stirring rendition of Train’s Drops of Jupiter on Friday night at Ronnie’s. By Ben Katz
    Sofi McCray of Hayesville sang a stirring rendition of Train’s Drops of Jupiter on Friday night at Ronnie’s. By Ben Katz
  • These are some of the rocks painted by Mandy Taylor to spread a message of harmony on International Drop a Rock Day, which is today.
    These are some of the rocks painted by Mandy Taylor to spread a message of harmony on International Drop a Rock Day, which is today.

SCOUTING AROUND: Marble Community Center sets finalists for Karaoke contest

    Marble – Whistling may help with cleaning up a place, but the Marble Community Club is using song to help them complete almost $20,000 worth of improvements its center.
    Over the last month, more than 40 people from all over the area have participated in the club’s Karaoke Stars fundraiser to raise money to make the center a “nicer place to rent,” club President Tony Pace said.
    The group has already started some of the work, including rebuilding the stage, taking up the floor, repairing the roof and improving drainage issues. They want to put in a bigger kitchen, plus install a heating and air system.
    “It still needs quite a bit of work,” Pace said.
    The total cost of the project is estimated at $15,000-20,000, and the club’s goal is to raise at least $5,000 with the Karaoke Stars event. Pace said they are doing the fundraiser because they want the center to remain an affordable place to rent. They’ve gotten some helpful donations for the project, too.
    The preliminary rounds were held throughout June at the center, Chevelles 66 in Murphy, Chevelles 69 in Hayesville and Ronnie’s in Andrews. Judges scored each performer on song choice, originality, stage presence, voice quality and overall performance. They’ve had up to 20 contestants at one location.
    “We’ve had good turnouts,” Pace said.
    The top performers from each location qualified for the finals to be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at the community center. Those finalists may sell votes for $1 each to help give them an edge for the finale – votes, which may also be obtained during the finals event, count for 50 percent of the performer’s score, while judges’ scores at the finals will count for the other 50 percent.
    Finalists are Micah Buck, Brooklyn Johnson, Heather Weaver, Justin Lee, Keith Lager, Paul Roach Jr., Gage Adams, Nicole Schmidt, Billy O’Hara, Katrina Burgess, Mark Petty, Taylor Coffee, Rhiannon Aresenault, Angel Moss, Trenton Whidden, Lori Pluger, Krista Riddle, Chase Lancaster, Sofi McCray, Robert Platt and Dave Phillips.
    Finalists must pay a $25 entry fee for the finals competition, but admission is free for supporters. The club will have a concession stand, barbecue plates (include bun, chips, slaw and baked beans) for $6 and a 50/50 to raise funds during the event. They plan to create a program to help supporters learn more about the finalists. The Marble Community Center is at 2180 Airport Road.

Local groups to hide ‘harmony’ rocks today
    Murphy – Rocks around the world will be spreading a message of harmony today, International Drop a Rock Day. The day organizes rock painting groups all over to decorate rocks with a theme that encourages others, then hide those rocks for others to find. There are two local groups – Murphy Rocks and Murphy Rock Stars – that are participating.
    “The Kindness Rocks Project was started to give people joy throughout their regular day,” said Mandy Taylor, one of the local organizers. “The global event is to bring attention to the rocks, and having a united theme across the world. It’s neat to be a part of it.”
    This is the fourth year of the event. The theme is harmony.
    “Harmony means coming together,” Taylor said. “Forget all the diversity and politics – we the painters hope to make someone smile from it, and knowing we are taking part in something all across the world from small town Murphy, seems fun.”
    Throughout the year, members in both groups paint rocks, and hope to inspire those who find the rocks. Members were asked to hide rocks in safe places where they won’t be trip or mowing hazards, and paint the group’s name on the back so those who find the rock can post it to the group’s page on Facebook. They can use anything material to decorate the rocks, but are encouraged to use a sealer, like Mod Podge, to keep the colors from fading.
    Those who find the rocks are asked to post on Facebook then rehide them, or keep and paint a rock of their own to hide. Taylor said the painters like to know what happened to their creations.
Painted rocks can be found throughout the area – on trails, at local businesses, in flower beds and even on gas pumps. Taylor has not heard of any location owner or manager having a problem with a rock being left on their property.
    Murphy Rock Stars has more than 2,300 members, and Murphy Rocks has more than 1,700 members. Taylor said participation has decreased recently, and she hopes the event gets the community more involved again.
    Taylor painted several rocks for today.
    “It’s stress relief to me, and I get my exercise in when we go ‘rocking,’ “ she said.

Friday is Art Walk
    Murphy – Downtown will be filled with artists Friday night for the monthly ArtWalk, and the Murphy Art Center will be filled with teachers willing to share their skills with others.
    The Meet the Teachers event brings together MAC teachers, possible students and other members of the community, classroom coordinator Penny Johnson said. The teachers will be available to share information about their upcoming classes, do live demonstrations and show finished products from previous classes.
    Johnson and Pat Sherrill, organizer of the kids summer program, will be on hand to answer questions, help people sign up for classes and recruit more teachers.
    “We had a very successful first Meet the Teachers in January of this year, “ Johnson said. “The teachers are very excited to have this opportunity again.”
    Teachers scheduled to be on hand include Sherrill, Sheryl Bessette, Carrie Diana Davis, Tim Ford, Sharon Francis, Dianne Gardner, Carmen Haynes, Betsy Henn Bailey, Barbara McMillan and Mike Lalone. Bessett, the featured Valley River Arts Guild artist of the month, will be positioned outside the MAC.
    Tim Ford, who organizes the Art Walk for the Valley River Arts Guild, said participating merchants are key to the monthly event being a success. The merchants pay a fee to host an artist, and some contribute more to be Bronze, Silver or Gold patrons of the event.
    Ford said The Daily Grind & Wine is the only Gold level downtown merchant. Across the street from the MAC, The Daily Grind hosts a music act for the event, and on Friday night will feature the debut of folk singer/songwriter Eli Lev.
    This Art Walk will also feature the debut of another Gold patron, John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown. The school will have its booth near the square in front of the former Parker’s Drugstore.
    Art Walk is held from 5-8 p.m. on the first Friday of each month from May through December.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.   

The Cherokee Scout

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