A musical call for climate action

Betsy PickleArts 865

If you were around 37 years ago, you might have spent your summer soaking in the technological and multinational culture of the 1982 World’s Fair. Also known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, the six-month fair drew 11 million visitors from around the world.


Aside from the Sunsphere, the only structure at World’s Fair Park remaining from the fair is the Tennessee Amphitheater, which hosted a variety of events in 1982. This Saturday, June 29, the amphitheater will focus on a different kind of energy: people power.

The Sing for the Climate Concert, featuring some of our area’s most talented and socially involved performers, will be held 2-5 p.m. at the Tennessee Amphitheater. Admission is free.

The concept underlying the event is that humans need to take serious action to put the brakes on climate change. Local climate activists have been meeting in the run-up to the show and will share ideas for action with the audience from the stage.

The performers will include Maggie Longmire & Free Soil Farm, The Emancipators, Jay Clark, Sarah Pirkle, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Choir, Greg Horne, Linda Parris-Bailey, The Accidentals and more. The choir will be joined by members from several other Unitarian Universalist churches.

Good music is a given. But this concert is also giving voice to a number of organizations that are devoted to cleaning up and healing our wounded planet. They will have tables with information to pass on to guests.

Dedicated to making this a zero-waste event, the organizers ask that people bring their own water bottles (there will be refill stations), cloth tote bags and pens. You can bring your own snacks as well, but Toney’s Italian Ice and Pretzels food truck will be on site.

The concert’s website has been creating excitement with a countdown to Saturday that includes eight action messages:

  • Climate change threatens everyone on Earth.
  • We, among the wealthiest in the world, have caused the problem.
  • We have the moral choice between ignoring the suffering we cause, continuing to care only for ourselves, or acting to benefit our children and grandchildren, future generations, all people, and all life.
  • We have until 2030 to reduce our carbon emissions by half to reduce the harms of climate change.
  • Climate change and social justice are inextricably linked. We cannot tackle one without addressing the other.
  • We can learn how to live sustainably within the natural limits of Earth.
  • We can learn how to care for the Earth and all life in ways that benefit all.
  • We can do all of this together!

Sing for the Climate is sponsored by TN Interfaith Power & Light and a long list of partners. Check it out on Facebook.

Don Cassell and Nancy Brennan Strange

Sheik out at KMA

Also on the music horizon is a great show at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The Tennessee Sheiks will perform 6-8:30 p.m. Friday (6/28) at KMA. On her Facebook page, singer Nancy Brennan Strange promises, “Dancing! Popcorn! Fun times!”

The Sheiks blend jazz, swing, bluegrass and folk, with polished performances of covers and originals. They’ve been working together for more than 15 years, but individually they’ve contributed to Knoxville’s music scene for far longer.

Original members Don Cassell on vocals and mandolin, vocalist Nancy Brennan Strange and Don Wood on acoustic guitars and lap steel are now working with Ken Wood (Don’s brother) on percussion, Barry “Po” Hannah on electric guitar, Michael “Crawdaddy” Crawley on harmonica and vocals, Marcus Shirley on piano and Grant Parker on bass.

Make no mistake on this ‘Comedy’

Bookending the “Shakesology” event from earlier this month, the Tennessee Stage Company will offer the same in-depth treatment for “The Comedy of Errors,” which will be presented this summer in rotation with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Shakespeare on the Square.

At 2 p.m. Saturday (6/29) in the children’s reading room at Lawson McGhee Library, 500 W. Church Ave., Dr. Jennifer Horn will delve into the history behind one of William Shakespeare’s earliest plays.

The two-and-a-half-hour study session is family friendly and is free.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens July 11 and “The Comedy of Errors” opens July 12  and will play through Aug. 10-11 in the 29th Summer Shakespeare Festival put on by the Tennessee Stage Company on Market Square.

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