Catch “American Idol” alum Melinda Doolittle this Friday

Melinda Doolittle became a household name during the 2007 season of American Idol. She came in third in the voting, but she placed first with Simon Cowell. The often cantankerous judge called her his “personal favorite.” Doolittle became the sweetheart of the season, winning everyone over with her powerhouse vocals and her personal charm.

Doolittle graduated with a BA in Music from Belmont University in Nashville. She went on to become a highly sought after background vocalist. She sang for numerous musical icons including Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Aaron Neville and Jonny Lang.
 
In 2009 Doolittle released her debut album Coming Back to You, for which The New York Times hailed her as one of the most “phenomenally gifted” singers in years. Her sophomore album, You’re the Reason, followed in 2013. Doolittle also penned the book Beyond Me: Finding Your Way to Life’s Next Level and was the well-loved co-host of TV Line’s Reality Check

Doolittle continues to thrill audiences everywhere she goes — from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to The White House, and from the Copa Room to Carnegie Hall. In addition, she has been a featured guest with the Boston Pops, the Charlotte Symphony and the United States Air Force Orchestra and was a featured performer at the 2015 Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular. She is currently headlining her own soulful show Great American Soul Book

Doolittle performs at 8 PM this Friday, December 6, at The Clayton Center.

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Ready. Set. Bake!

If you think you have what it takes to create the best gingerbread house in town, get out the sugar, turn on your oven and start constructing your entry for the 2019 Clayton Gingerbread House Contest.

Sponsored by The Tina Barletta Team at HTR, in partnership with The Clayton Center and Clayton Visual Arts, the contest is open to Johnston County residents in the following categories: Youth – 17 and under; Adult – 18 and over; and Professional – chefs, bakers, caterers and artists.

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category. Entries will be judged by members of Clayton Visual Arts. Winning entries will be announced on Thursday, December 5.

All contest entries will be on public display during business hours at The Clayton Center, 111 E. Second Street in downtown Clayton, from November 27 through December 23.

For a complete list of submission deadlines, entry application and contest rules, visit AddressYourDreams.com/Contest.

Veterans Day Closure

The Clayton Center, along with all other Town of Clayton facilities, will be closed on Monday, November 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

Tickets to all events at The Clayton Center will be available online at theclaytoncenter.com during this time. Thank you.

Clayton Proud

If you’re around town and looking for something to do this month, stop on by The Clayton Center and take in Clayton Visual Arts’ November art exhibit. In recognition of Clayton’s 150th anniversary, this month’s photographic exhibit celebrates those who serve the Town of Clayton – its employees.

When you “Think Clayton. Think Pride.” This photographic essay captures proud moments of a town in motion and spotlights many of those who accept responsibilities and challenges that most residents never see. Town staff are portrayed in their daily roles, illustrating what Clayton has going on behind the scenes.

Clayton Visual Arts will host its monthly reception tomorrow, Thursday, November 7, from 6 to 7:30 PM. It’s a great time to view the exhibit and maybe meet some of the featured town employees. All are welcome.

Clayton Piano Festival Presents Clayton at 150 Gala

The Clayton Piano Festival closes its 8th season with a celebration of the Town of Clayton’s 150th birthday. CPF will present local history through music and documentary film clips that capture the people and influences of the region.

The evening will be narrated by special guest performer, 2019 Miss America Nia Imani Franklin. The program also will feature violinist and violist Christin Danchi and pianists Joey Chang and Jonathan Levin, among others. The program will follow a narrative which presents many of the themes of life in Clayton and Johnston County from years past to the present day.  A reception will follow the performance.

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Sloane: A Jazz Singer Returns

Jazz singer Carol Sloane will return to the Triangle area for a concert performance at The Clayton Center in downtown Clayton, on Friday, October 11, at 8 PM. 

“Two for the Road” pairs Sloane with the incredible Mike Renzi — one of her most beloved, longtime pianists. The show will be an intimate “homecoming” (Sloane lived in North Carolina for a number of years) and will feature some of Carol’s favorites songs, including tunes she recently recorded for a new live album at Birdland in New York City. 

NPR calls Sloane “a sublime singer of great songs.”

“She is natural and unaffected with a voice that embraces the melody and the listener with equal parts maturity and conviction. Combining spirit with character and elegance with style, Sloane has enchanted audiences all over the world. Her command of The Great American Songbook is unmatched.”

Film director Michael Lippert (Reeves: A Home For Music) is crafting a moving film about this favorite lady of jazz. The documentary film SLOANE • A JAZZ SINGER began shooting when Sloane appeared at Raleigh’s C Grace jazz club in May of 2018. The film continues in production and will include the recording of the new live album at Birdland. And don’t be surprised if you see a camera or two wandering around The Clayton Center on October 11. (view the film trailer here.) 

It’s not often you come across a music documentary where the greatness of the film equals the greatness of the subject (“Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser” and “The Beatles: Anthology” come to mind) and this trailer has all the earmarks that “Sloane: a Jazz Singer” will turn out to be a film of that caliber. Like those great documentaries, it looks stunning and grabs the viewer immediately. The juxtaposition of the current and historical footage and images tells you right up front that you’re about to embark on a very special journey. Although there are many who deserve this quality of treatment, there is no one who is more deserving than the incredible Carol Sloane, especially to those of us here in her home state of Rhode Island. Bravo to all involved. As they say, “I can’t wait to see the movie!” Rick Bellaire, Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame 

For more info about the documentary SLOANE • A JAZZ SINGER now in production, click here.

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Popular Country Crooner and Greensboro native Billy “Crash” Craddock added to September schedule

Read more here

It’s Easy as Pie to see Billy “Crash” Craddock in concert in Clayton. Crash will perform at The Clayton Center on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30 PM.

Sing along with Crash as he belts out his biggest hits, including Knock Three Times, Rub It In, Ruby Baby, Broken Down in Tiny Pieces, Easy as Pie, Sweet Magnolia Blossom, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’, Still Thinkin’ ‘Bout You, and Dream Lover. Tickets for the show are $25, plus sales tax and fees.

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