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January 8, 2020

Sweetwater Junction to Highlight ABAC Scholarship Fundraiser Feb. 29

   TIFTON—Fabulous food, fantastic entertainment, and a chance to assist students in securing the education of a lifetime will be the key ingredients at An Evening for ABAC scholarship fundraiser on Feb. 29. Sponsored by the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Foundation, Inc., the event includes a cocktail reception, silent and live auctions, dinner, and superb entertainment from Sweetwater Junction, a group with a repertoire that covers classic rock, rhythm and blues, country, and favorite hits from the past five decades. Scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Tifton Campus Conference Center, An Evening for ABAC grows the ABAC student scholarship fund each year so that freshmen can wrap themselves in the ABAC experience when they enroll in the 2020 fall semester.  Now a fully credentialed four-year college, ABAC always attracts alumni to the event who remember when the college was a two-year college from 1933 to 2008. “An Evening for ABAC in 2019 was one of the most successful in the 48 years the ABAC Foundation has sponsored the event,” ABAC Vice President for External Affairs and Advancement Paul Williams said.  “We had around 500 alumni and supporters who helped us raise over $104,000 for student scholarships.  That means 41 students got a scholarship to ABAC because of this event.” ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones, who helps to coordinate the event for the ABAC Foundation, said the all-time record for An Evening for ABAC took place in 2018 when the event raised $106,144 which resulted in 42 ABAC student scholarships.  Community support has been ongoing since 1972 when the ABAC Foundation sponsored a fundraiser featuring Anita Bryant to complete the funding for the Chapel of All Faiths.  The banquet attracted 426 patrons and netted $22,612.  In 1973, Eddie Arnold came to town for another ABAC Foundation-sponsored event, and the legendary program called Dollars for Scholars was born. Dollars for Scholars became the social event of the year in Tift County with entertainers such as Ray Stevens, Louise Mandrell, Debbie Reynolds, Kathy Mattea, Marie Osmond, Helen Reddy, Lee Greenwood, Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan, and the Temptations.  Trisha Yearwood attracted the largest crowd for Dollars for Scholars in 2006 when over 1,800 patrons attended her show.  The ABAC Foundation changed the name of the event to An Evening for ABAC in 2008 and focused its efforts entirely on raising funds for scholarships.  Jodie Snow, Class of 2000 at ABAC and now the ABAC Foundation’s chief operating officer, knows how vital that scholarship support is to the students. “The debt assumed by many students is staggering,” Snow said. “If ABAC students are to leave school with a minimum debt load, most will require financial assistance. The advancement office and the Foundation are crucial to maintaining affordability for an ABAC student’s education and allowing them to graduate with minimum debt.” Tickets for An Evening for ABAC are $125 for singles, $225 for couples, and $1,500 for a reserved table which seats eight persons.  A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible. For tickets, interested persons can visit www.abac.edu/aneveningforabac or call (229) 391-4895.  ABAC Advancement Officer Ric Stewart said sponsors are vital to the success of An Evening for ABAC.  Sponsorship levels include ABAC 1908 Circle for $15,000 which sponsors six scholarships, Presidential for $10,000 which sponsors four scholarships, Titanium for $7,500 which sponsors three scholarships, Platinum for $5,000 which sponsors two scholarships, and Gold for $2,500 which sponsors one scholarship.  Details on sponsorships are available from Stewart at richard.stewart@abac.edu  or by calling (229) 391-5234. Tift Regional Medical Center, Colquitt Regional Medical Center, and Ashley and Dean Copelan are already on board for ABAC 1908 Circle sponsorships.  Platinum sponsors include Sodexo, Georgia Farm Bureau, Allstate Construction, Needmore Properties, and Synovus/Synovus Trust.  Gold sponsors include AgGeorgia Farm Credit, Mr. and Mrs. James Lee Adams, South Georgia Banking Company, Robert McLendon Farms, Ardry Trading Company, Dr. Joseph J. Day, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Checkers and Captain D’s, Melvin and Anita Merrill, Georgia Power, McLendon Acres, Premium Peanut, and Vivien and Austin Scott.                                               ###
January 13, 2020

ABAC Arts Series Stages Shakespeare Classic on January 28

TIFTON—Shakespeare comes to Tifton on Jan. 28 when Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College presents the National Players’ production of “As You Like It” at 7 p.m. at the Tift County High School Performing Arts Center. With a 10-person ensemble, the National Players meld classic language with a contemporary staging of Shakespeare’s imaginative tale about city folk venturing into the woods. Research indicates that Shakespeare wrote “As You Like It” in 1599. The performance is a part of the ABAC Art Connection’s ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series. “‘As You Like It’ is really a romantic comedy about girls, boys, losing oneself, and finding oneself again,” ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said. “It’s a privilege for ABAC to bring a Shakespeare classic to Tifton.” Jones said the play involves Rosalind’s banishment from the only home she’s ever known to the Forest of Arden with her cousin, Celia, and the court jester, Touchstone. While disguised as a man, Rosalind meets fellow outcasts in the forest, including the dashing and lovesick Orlando. Determined to woo him, Rosalind persuades Orlando in her male disguise to win her heart. Her intention is to find out if Orlando truly loves her. Limited tickets will be available at a cost of $20 for adults and $10 for students. Interested persons can purchase tickets at www.purplepass.com/abac or call (229) 391-4895. The performance is supported in part by Southwell. Other events in the ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series include the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in “The Pirates of Penzance” on Feb. 7 at the TCHS Performing Arts Center, the Dallas Brass on March 5 in the Tift Theatre in downtown Tifton, and jazz vocalist Myrna Clayton with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble on April 16 in Howard Auditorium on the ABAC campus. The ABAC performing arts series is supported in part by the Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This project is supported in part by an award from the NEA. The ABAC Presents! Performing Arts Series sponsor is Wonders of Wood. Southwell is the premium event sponsor. Event sponsors include Dr. Joseph J. Day, Ponder’s, Hilton Garden Inn of Tifton, and Julie Hunt. Preferred sponsors are McDonald’s/Tifton Housing Authority, Prince Automotive Group, Rotary Club of Tifton, and South Georgia Banking Company. Community partners are Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals, Chicago Pizza and Pasta, and The Floor Shoppe at Glynn Hendricks Interiors.
January 7, 2020

Get Your Own Robot at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Ag on January 25

TIFTON—Visitors can begin the new decade with their very own robot when they attend a new exhibition on Jan. 25 at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture. Titled “Rust and Recreation,” the exhibition of 70 robots by Columbus native Dave Clegg will include several with price tags on them. “‘Rust & Recreation’ celebrates the fact that there is a treasure trove of beautifully aging vintage objects out there just waiting to be discovered and assembled into something new,” Museum Curator Polly Huff said.  “Many of the robots have been given clever and descriptive names, and most of the robots in the exhibition will be available for purchase.” In a 10 a.m. to noon gathering in the Museum Gallery on Jan. 25, guests can meet Clegg, participate in a conversation about his work, tour his very first public exhibition, and enjoy coffee and pastries. “Rust & Recreation”will open during the Annual Wiregrass Plant and Seed Swap at the Museum Gallery. After graduating from Georgia State University in 1980 with a major in Graphic Design, Clegg had a long and fulfilling career as an illustrator. His clients have included Sports Illustrated, Hardee’s, Scholastic, Jelly Belly Candy Company and Ranger Rick Magazine.  The 2005 animated film “Robots” made a huge impression on Clegg, who is a self-confessed lover of retro sci-fi character design, especially the older models with their dents, scratches and faded paint. “Inspired to create robots of his own, Dave began collecting found objects, mostly things from around the house that were no longer of use,” Huff said.  “Soon, he was frequenting thrift stores in search of anything metal, which led to his earliest creations being composed mostly of pots, pans, candlesticks and the like.”   Clegg’s illustration career was keeping him very busy during this time, and he eventually abandoned the robots for about a decade. Fast-forward to late 2017 when he was cleaning the basement, not knowing what to do with the unfinished robots and parts. Eventually he decided to complete a few of them and dispose of everything else. During this process, it became clear that he would need more than just the parts on hand. During a visit to a local antique mall, Clegg ran across a vintage tobacco tin with a great patina. This was the beginning of a new direction. He had found renewed inspiration, and soon he was hooked on building robots once again.  Throughout 2018, Clegg and his wife scoured thrift stores, flea markets and antique malls across North Georgia in search of vintage objects such as wrenches, pliers, springs, opera glasses, lanterns, and clocks.  By the end of the year, he had completed 37 robots. He was beginning to develop a style of his own, which continues to evolve. Clegg has now completed over 70 bots.  “We spent over a year working out all the details, and in the end, a unique exhibit spotlighting the robots was curated and is being displayed in public for the very first time by the Gallery of ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture,” Huff said. “Rust & Recreation” will remain on display through July 3.  Admission to this exhibit is included in the GMA’s daily admission, free to ABAC students, faculty and staff with an ABAC ID, and free to GMA Annual Pass holders. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Jan. 25.  For more information on this and future exhibits, interested persons can contact Huff at phuff@abac.edu. ###
January 9, 2020

Auditions for ‘The Spitfire Grill’ at ABAC on January 21-22

TIFTON—Auditions for the Baldwin Players upcoming musical, “The Spitfire Grill,” will be held on Jan. 21-22 at 6:30 p.m. each night in Room 319 of Conger Hall on the campus of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Dr. Brian Ray, Director of the Baldwin Players and a Professor of English and Theatre at ABAC, said those who plan to audition should prepare one verse of a country song or one verse of a traditional church hymn to be performed acapella or with recorded accompaniment. There will also be a cold read of selected passages from the script.  Copies of the script will be available at the audition. Ray said the auditions are open to all interested ABAC students, ABAC faculty and staff members, and members of the community.  Parts are available for four women and three men.  “The Spitfire Grill” will be staged March 26-28 in ABAC’s Howard Auditorium. “This spirited musical is based on the Lee David Zlotoff movie of the same title,” Ray said.  “In the play, a young woman recently paroled from prison seeks to find a quiet town where she can start over. “She finds such a place in northern Wisconsin and begins her journey to self-understanding. Along the way, she encounters some quirky townsfolk, a job at a down-on-its-luck eatery, The Spitfire Grill.  It’s the only restaurant in town and home to some small-town secrets.” Ray said that during the play, the young woman finds some answers, some friends, and a place she can feel at home. Her journey of self-renewal results in a journey of reawakening and renewal for the town as well. For more information on auditions or the play, interested persons can contact Ray at bray@abac.edu . ###
January 3, 2020

Tickets Available for Three Redneck Tenors at ABAC Bainbridge on January 16

BAINBRIDGE—Classically trained veteran performers will combine an awesome sound with side-splitting comedy on Jan. 16 when the Carter Arts and Lecture Series at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Bainbridge features Three Redneck Tenors. Dr. Michael Kirkland, Executive Director of ABAC Bainbridge, said the audience should experience some great music mixed with a lot of laughter. “I have always heard that laughter is good for the soul,” Kirkland said.  “This is going to be a fun evening for everyone.” Mixing down home laughs with big city music, Three Redneck Tenors were top finalists on “America’s Got Talent.”  Performing together since 2006, the group delights audiences with its vocal prowess in a delightful evening of songs and music. Kirkland said Three Redneck Tenors will perform at 6 p.m. on Jan. 16 at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center at ABAC Bainbridge.  The Thomas M. Kirbo and Irene B. Kirbo Foundation is the series sponsor.  The performance is supported in part by the ABAC Alumni Association.  Now in its seventh season, the Carter Arts and Lecture Series features compelling speakers, distinguished authors, and performing artists at ABAC Bainbridge.  Kirkland said the events are designed to bring ABAC students and the community together to educate, inspire, and spark imagination. Other presentations in the Carter Arts and Lecture Series include Mike Wiley in “Breach of Peace” on Feb. 21, historian Michael Francis on March 12, and jazz vocalist Myrna Clayton with the ABAC Jazz Ensemble on April 17.  Tickets for the series are $40 for adults and $15 for students 18 and under.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.purplepass.com/Carter or by calling (229) 243-6980.  Individual tickets for Three Redneck Tenors are $10 for adults, $5 for K-12 students, and free for ABAC students and Southern Regional Technical College students.  For more information on any of the performances, interested persons can call (229) 391-4895. ###
January 6, 2020

ABAC Showcases Tom Petty Music at Tift Theatre January 30

TIFTON—If you like the music of Tom Petty, you will love the Southern Accents’ show titled “The Ultimate Tom Petty Experience” on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Tift Theatre in downtown Tifton. Presented by Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College as a part of the new ABAC at the Tift series, the show was originally scheduled for Feb. 13 but had to be moved because of a revised schedule by Southern Accents. ABAC Arts Connection Director Wayne Jones said the show should be a great experience for devotees of Petty’s famous sound. “They play it like it is their very own music while showing respect to the original creator,” Jones said.  “The Tift Theatre is a perfect venue for this show.” Petty, a Gainesville, Fla., native, passed away in 2017 at the age of 66.  He left behind such classic hits as “American Girl,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Learning to Fly,” “Free Fallin,’” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” and “I Won’t Back Down.” Southern Accents promises to bring all the timeless melodies, sweet rhythms, and rock music of Petty to the stage so that everyone can experience and fall in love with these songs all over again. Jones said the depth and care that Southern Accents puts into their stage presence separates them from other tribute bands.  Tickets can be purchased online at www.purplepass.com/ABAC or by calling (229) 391-4895.  Tickets will be available at the door at a cost of $35 each. Cornell Gunter’s Coasters will be the final concert in the ABAC at the Tift series on April 30. ###