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Most Popular Tab 1 - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. Sat, 23 Jun 2018 01:04:23 -0500 MYOB en-gb NorthRiver Yacht Club to Host the 2018 WSGA Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships Finalizing meals for the upcoming WSGA Championship at NorthRiver during a meeting on May 4 are (clockwise) Club Host Chair Katherine Moore, Tournament Chair and WSGA Board Secretary Susan West, NorthRiver Director of Food and Beverage Kristin Rastall, NorthRiver Director of Catering Hannah Thomas, NorthRiver Chef Scott French, and NorthRiver Assistant General Manager Zeke Larson.
Talented female golfers from 15 southern states are taking over the greens at Tuscaloosa’s NorthRiver Yacht Club…

“WSGA is thrilled to be at a championship venue like NorthRiver for our prestigious Amateur and Mid-Amateur Championships,” said Janie Carpenter, WSGA Board President. “We take great pride in our tournaments and look forward to being in Tuscaloosa.” 

Steeped in tradition, the WSGA has held its amateur tournament for over 100 years, with many  

participants and winners going on to play in the LPGA. Notable past participants include Dori Carter, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, and Louise Scruggs. 

Each tournament will host 48 players who will travel with their families from all over the south to participate. WSGA Board members estimate the tournaments will bring almost $400,000 in revenue to the community.

“The hospitality of our town was so good that the WSGA was thrilled when NorthRiver stepped up to host this year's championships,” said Susan West, Secretary of the WSGA Board of Directors and Championship participant. 

Registration and practice rounds for the championships are June 3, with qualifying on June 4. Match play gets underway on June 5, and the finals are scheduled for June 8. The featured social event is the Players Dinner in NorthRiver’s dining room overlooking the picturesque 18th hole.

This has been quite the year for Alabama women in golf. The USGA Women’s Open Championship was held at Shoal Creek in Birmingham in the days leading up to the WSGA tournaments. The Women’s Open offered a great opportunity for more experienced competitors and a potential learning experience for amateurs who chose to watch.

The WSGA also offers opportunities for young women golfers. Last year’s WSGA scholarship winner, Molly Ann Norris of Winfield, now attends Birmingham Southern College. Each year, the WSGA awards a four-year scholarship to a graduating senior who not only has an interest in golf, but who also excels academically. 

Supporting young women in the game of golf, either through hosting tournaments or providing scholarships, is all a part of the mission of WSGA. For decades, volunteers have continued these traditions with same ultimate goal.

“There is a lot of work, both beforehand and behind-the-scenes and up-front during tournament week, that goes into planning one of these championships, and the committee has been working on this for over nine months,” West said. “We are grateful for our local volunteers and the membership at NorthRiver for being so helpful.” 

Sports n Outdoor Sun, 03 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Songwriters to Share Music and Stories at Inaugural Druid City Songwriters Festival Over 40 different songwriters will be in Tuscaloosa over the weekend of June 21-24, for the inaugural Druid City Songwriters Festival. They’ll perform at various bars and restaurants as well as Government Plaza.
It’s part concert, part storytelling, and for Tuscaloosa, it’s an event that is the first of its…

McMillan said she has participated in songwriter festivals in other areas and has enjoyed them more than anything else she’s ever done. That’s why she wanted to bring one to Tuscaloosa. 

“The whole idea of the songwriter rounds that make up the festival started in Nashville,” she said. 

A songwriter round is made up of three or four writers who are on stage together. During a round, each songwriter will play a song they wrote and then share the story behind the song. After each writer performs three or four songs, the group moves to another venue, and other writers take their place for the next round. 

“Somebody in the audience can see nine to 12 songwriters in one venue, or they can follow the songwriter that they want to see to different venues,” McMillan said.    

“It’s very personal, because it’s a side of the song and the performance that you don’t see otherwise. The whole round itself is very intimate. It’s like a storytelling performance. The stories are just as good as the songs, sometimes even better.”

While the performance rounds will be held in bars and restaurants, McMillan said audience members shouldn’t expect a party atmosphere.

“We’re going to promote listening-room environments. People will come in, get a drink, and listen to the songs. It’s not a party environment. It’s an environment where you pay your respect to the songwriter, who is telling their story.”

Audience members with a particular music preference will be able to hear their favorite genre as songwriters in country, folk, rock, blues, and even psychedelia are scheduled to appear. There is no charge to attend the performance rounds.

The festival begins with a welcoming party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 21 at Black Warrior Brewing Company. Tommy Barnes, who wrote the song “Indian Outlaw” recorded by Tim McGraw, will perform.

Songwriter Tommy Barnes, who lived in Winfield during his teen years, has written songs for Tim McGraw, Hank Williams Jr., Little Texas, and many others, is a performer at the inaugural Druid City Songwriters Festival.

On Friday, June 22 the performance rounds begin at 4 p.m. at Black Warrior Brewing Company, and Band of Brothers Brewing Company.

Barnes, along with hit songwriters Troy Martin and Steve Leslie, will perform at Government Plaza at 6 p.m. Other songwriters will perform at Rhythm and Brews, Green Bar, Copper Top, and Billy’s Sports Grill in Northport beginning at 6 p.m. 

Leslie, a Grammy Award-winner, who has written songs recorded by Kenny Rogers, Mark Chesnutt, George Strait, Ricky Skaggs, and others, will hold a workshop for anyone interested in learning about songwriting on Saturday, June 23 at 10 a.m. at Hotel Indigo. The cost for the workshop is $25.

“Anyone interested in the Nashville songwriting process should come to the workshop,” Leslie said. “I’m going to talk about how we do it here, what we do once the song is written, and how much money can be earned.”

Saturday’s performance rounds begin at 2 p.m. at the breweries and 4 p.m. at the other locations. 

The festival will conclude for the public on Saturday night, with the final round being held at the rooftop terrace at Hotel Indigo at 7 p.m. A farewell brunch for the songwriters will be held on Sunday, June 24. 

During the weekend, an app for smartphones will be available to help audience members find where specific songwriters are performing. Schedules can also be picked up in the Hotel Indigo lobby or found on the Druid City Songwriters Festival website.

McMillan said songwriters and their followers have a passion for these types of music festivals, and she expects many visitors from outside Tuscaloosa. She had to turn away some artists who applied because this year’s festival just couldn’t accommodate them.

“I was really blown away by the amount of talent, and people from different states that applied, especially with this being our first year,” she said. 

“We didn’t have anything to tell these people, but that we were doing a festival, and they’re coming in from all over just for the opportunity to do a festival like this.”

Steve Leslie’s professional songwriting career spans more than 25 years. The Grammy Award-winner will perform and lead a songwriting workshop at the Druid City Songwriters Festival.

Leslie said he is glad Tuscaloosa is starting a songwriters’ festival.

“I love the idea,” he said. “The more opportunities available for people to hear and understand what it is we do the better! Also, inspiring younger songwriters is the best part of this job for me.”

 “I want people to come out and give it a shot,” McMillan said, “because I really believe people are going to love it.”

For more information about the Druid City Songwriters Festival, visit or @DCSF18 on Facebook.   

Community Tue, 19 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Part of Your World: The ACT to Present Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” June 1-4 Flounder and the Mersisters strike a pose. Center: Brady Taylor; L-R: Emily Odom, Farris Turner, Reagan Branch, Meredith Vaughn, Virginia Hutto, and Anna Adams.
Did you know that life under the sea is better than anywhere on land? That’s according to…

The musical The Little Mermaid is based on the 1989 classic Disney movie that tells the story of Ariel, the famous red-headed mermaid, as she embarks on a journey to marry a prince that lives on land. Along the way, she is accompanied by Flounder the fish, Sebastian the crab, and Scuttle the seagull. All of them help her restore life under the sea from Ursula, the evil sea witch.  

University of Alabama student LeeAnna Sparks is starring as Ariel in the production. Sparks says since she was a little girl, she’s always felt she and Ariel share similar personality traits. 

“She is fun-loving, adventurous, and determined,” Sparks said.   

According to Sparks, this determination is seen in Ariel’s journey during the show.  

“Ariel dreams of being a human and does everything in her power to make that dream come true, even though it seems impossible,” Sparks added.  

LeeAnna Sparks plays Ariel in The ACT’s upcoming production of The Little Mermaid.

Along her journey, Ariel is faced with many obstacles, one being an evil sea witch named Ursula, who will be played by theatre teacher (and ACT newcomer) Marissa Mena. She says Ursula is one of the most iconic villains of all time.  

“The audience will be expecting what they know from the movie, so I want to keep the Disney essence of the character, but also make her my own,” Mena said.   

Mena says the set hasn’t been revealed to the cast yet, but she is excited to see what it’s going to look like.  

“I feel like the ACT always has a few tricks up its sleeve that always leaves the audience talking about special effects and things like that, so I believe that will make this production different from others,” Mena added.  

Joey Lay, artistic director of the ACT, is both directing and costuming the show.  

“This production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is going to be a visual feast for the audience with both the set and costumes,” Lay said. “We are constructing over 100 costumes from scratch.”  

For this production, the ACT is partnering with the charity “The Joy Like Anna Foundation.” This charity is a legacy honoring the love, joy, faith, and kindness of Anna Kamplain, a Hillcrest High School freshman who passed away in December after a liver transplant. The foundation's purpose is to provide families with spiritual and financial assistance as they care for their children with life-threatening illnesses. Additionally, the foundation works with other charitable organizations with similar purposes to carry out the missions important to Anna. The foundation also provides scholarships and assistance for youth with interests in missions through their local churches and other mission-oriented organizations.  

Community Tue, 29 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500