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Students to perform excerpts from novel

Click to enlarge Students to perform excerpts from novel

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(from top left, clockwise) James Thorn,rn Chris Briant, Michael Parks, Shelly ... (more)

11.10.2005Arts & EntertainmentCurriculum Programs

PITTSBORO - A few Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) students will help bring the stories of pre-Civil War Appalachia to life.

The CCCC "Readers Theatre" class, which meets Thursday evenings at the college's Pittsboro campus, will perform staged excerpts from "My Old True Love," a novel by Sheila Kay Adams set in an 1840s North Carolina mountain community.

Ellen Bland, who teaches the class, chose the work by Adams, a North Carolina author and singer, because it is the featured novel for this year's Pittsboro Memorial Library Community Read program.

According to Bland, the story reads much like an old traditional ballad or folk song and the characters in the book all carry on a tradition of passing down folk songs, many of which originated in England a hundred years before.

Along with the excerpts, a group of local musicians will perform songs from the book and about the book's themes. The musicians include "Fiddlin'" Al McCanless, Virginia Ryan, Janet Place, Drew Lasater, Bland, David Misenheimer and Audrey Schwankl.

The performance will be held Thursday, November 17, in the Pittsboro campus multipurpose room at 7:30 p.m.

This marks the third year The Friends of the Pittsboro Memorial Library has held its Community Read program. "The Friends of the Library have been extraordinarily successful in their past two community reads, really building community," Bland said.

" Our goal as an organization is to build community by having everyone read and discuss the same book," said Jennifer Gillis, 2006 Community Read coordinator. "We wanted to establish a partnership with Ellen Bland's 'Readers Theatre' class because we knew that the wildly successful play 'Millworker' was born to be a vehicle for such a class two years ago."

" Millworker," a critically acclaimed play that chronicles the lives of southern mill workers during the Great Depression, was directed, produced and co-authored by Bland and recently received the NC Theatre Conference's 2005 Community Theatre Award.

" The plot of 'My Old True Love' revolves around love, traditions, traditional music, rivalry and the coming of the Civil War," Gillis explained. "Because it is written in Appalachian dialect and includes snippets of traditional songs, this book practically begged for a performance."

The Friends of the Pittsboro Memorial Library will be accepting donations at the performance. Proceeds will benefit the library in Pass Christian, Mississippi, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Gillis said the community read is an event that was established in Seattle, Washington several years ago by librarian Nancy Pearl and has since spread all over the country. For more information on the program, contact chairperson Margaret Tiano at For additional information on the performance, contact Bland at (919) 718-7242