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Arts & Entertainment

Poet Louise Runyon will read from her new collection on Friday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. “The Clearing” explores the concept of “clearing” in the personal, geographical, spiritual, individual and communal aspects of our lives.

Poet and playwright, Alice Lovelace says this of Runyon’s book, "Runyon has written poems and stories that resonate with home, loss, hope, love, and leaving. Her words are the language of geometry, dreams, memory, and the land.”

To reserve copies of “The Clearing,” call City Lights Bookstore at (828)586-9499.

History department faculty Sue Abram and Andrew Denson from Western Carolina University are overseeing a public history project that recently received a development grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.

An award of $5,000 was presented to the North Carolina chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, of which both are members, to be used to develop a website and brochure showcasing Cherokee Trail of Tears interpretive sites in six far western counties.

"The North Carolina Trail of Tears Association is thankful and excited to be included in the BRNHA's grant awards," Abram said. "We look forward to increasing public awareness and knowledge of the significant sites associated with the Cherokee removal and resistance period in Western North Carolina."

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Music of the period will help theatergoers travel back in time several hundred years as Western Carolina University stages “Robin Hood – The Legacy” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

The show, the seventh in a series of “academic- based entertainment” productions at WCU, will be presented in the style of a 1938 radio production with the cast, sound effects and orchestra all live on stage.

“Robin Hood” is a collaborative effort between two of the university’s colleges and three departments and involves students, staff, faculty and regional professionals. In addition, members of the Asheville Symphony Orchestra will be joining music students for the WCU Artist-In- Residence Orchestra to provide live musical underscore for the presentation.

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Mark Wills, a multi-platinum country music artist known for hits such as, “Don’t Laugh at Me,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “I Do (Cherish You),” will be in concert at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $20 each.

Wills was born in Cleveland, Tenn. He grew up in Blue Ridge, Ga., and spent his teenage years playing rock music in garage bands. He quickly discovered his love for country music and at 17, he won a talent show in Marietta, Ga. He then began to perform locally and soon after, moved to Nashville, Tenn., where he quickly landed a record deal.

In 1996, Wills released his self-titled debut album. In 1999, his sophomore album, “Wish You Were Here” was certified platinum. It produced several chart toppers including, “Don’t Laugh at Me,” Wills’s first number one hit. That same year, Wills received an Academy of Country Music award for Top New Male Vocalist. In 2000, Wills’s third album, “Permanently,” was certified gold. In 2002, Wills released his biggest chart hit, “19 Somethin,” which held the number one spot for six weeks and was Billboard’s Top Country Hit of the Year. It was also named the second mostplayed song of the decade.

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