Showcased in Lenoir

Twenty-five minutes north of Hickory, on U.S. 321, JEBCC has offered quality entertainment and rental facilities since 1993.
Jeff Bentley, director of JEBCC, said the center has seen a lot of growth each year.

“It’s quite a challenge for us — a lot of people have misconceptions about the facility,” Bentley said. “We are 95 percent self-supporting — we raise those funds.”

A 1,000-seat auditorium with excellent acoustics is the center attraction. The annual popular Showcase of Stars features a variety of family-friendly events that include comedy, music, theatre and more.
“Basically we’ve presented our showcase of stars every year since we opened,” Bentley said. “We start in September and run through May. We used to do 22 shows a season, but because of the economy we’ve scaled back to two a month.”

Bentley serves on the programming committee of The North Carolina Presenters Consortium, which advances the performing arts through collaboration, shared resources and professional development.

“It’s a useful tool to see what other folks are doing,” he said. “We get some of our booking information from them.”

Additionally, a panel of 10 includes people from the community, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and the Caldwell County Arts Council provides input in planning the season.

The facility is available for rental for various community events throughout the year — dance recitals, gospel concerts, wedding showcase, benefits and fundraisers.

An upcoming event is “Caldwell Cuisine — A Night Out in the City” on March 28 at 6 p.m. CCC&TI Culinary Arts students prepare and serve eclectic and innovative four-course meals.

“We have our own in-house caterer and executive chef — we call him ours,” Bentley said. “It’s great to have him — it’s amazing what he can do. His ice carvings are beautiful.”

“We can seat 350, banquet style,” he added. “The large room at the front of the facility offers stunning views, especially when the leaves change colors in the fall.”

Musician’s Showcase

JEBCC will host the 15th Annual Traditional Musicians Showcase on Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. The theme for the show is “Cecil Palmer: A True Guitar Man.”

Palmer is a Caldwell County guitarist whose professional career has spanned more than 50 years. He is a master of country, jazz, pop and rockabilly music.

Palmer will be joined on stage by family members and a few of the many musicians he has influenced over the years.

“Strictly Clean and Decent” band members Patrick Crouch, Ron Shuffler and Kay Crouch, who say they have enjoyed and learned from Palmer’s playing for many years, will host the evening.

Popular Caldwell County act, The Harris Brothers, which includes Palmer’s nephews, Ryan and Reggie Harris, will appear on the showcase.
The Nautical Wheelers, consisting of Palmer’s son Chet Palmer, great-nephew Ricky Cannon, and bassist Steve Pritchard will be guests on the show and will perform with Palmer. Cecil Palmer’s son Brent Palmer will be featured, along with the elder Palmer’s granddaughters, Shelby and Lauren Moore.

Wes McCall, who was a well-known drummer and vocalist in Palmer’s Quest band, will be featured.

Gloria Coffey, who is known for her work with Gloria Coffey and the Old Hat Band, will be on the program. She collaborated with Palmer on musical projects since she was 9 years old. David Edmisten will perform on a tribute to Palmer. Edmisten spent the last six years as a professional musician touring the U.S. and beyond, and he cites Palmer as one of his main guitar influences.

Jaret Carter will be featured throughout the evening as he has in many recent showcases. Carter cites Palmer’s musical phrasing and melodic approach to the guitar as major influences in his own playing.
Derrell Johnson has been involved behind the scenes in every Caldwell Traditional Musicians Showcase as recording engineer, electronic technician and artistic consultant. Audiences will be pleased to see him perform on stage with Palmer this year.

Finally, Palmer will be joined by Carolina Ray Whisnant. The two began playing live music together in the 1950s.

The show is set for Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, or for tickets, call the Civic Center box office at 828-726-2242 or visit

The Gibson Brothers

The Gibson Brothers — a bluegrass band — will perform on April 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Eric and Leigh Gibson grew up on a dairy farm outside of Ellenburg Depot, N.Y., in the shadow of the Adirondack mountains. It isn’t the typical beginning for a bluegrass band, but sometimes things just come together. When Eric and Leigh were 11 and 12, their dad asked them to learn to play the banjo and the guitar. Eric chose banjo and Leigh, guitar, and the die was cast.

“Help My Brother,” the Gibson Brothers’ 10th album, won the prestigious 2011 IBMA Album of the Year Award. The Gibson Brothers were also named the 2011 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, the first time a brother duet has been honored with this award. If you love bluegrass, don’t miss The Gibson Brothers at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.

“Our biggest draw is Marty Stuart on May 4,” Bentley said. “I’m looking forward to that, and I know all the bluegrass fans in the area will, as well.”

Marty Stuart

Marty Stuart started out singing gospel as a child, went on to a bluegrass stint with Lester Flatt in the ‘70s, six years with Johnny Cash in the ‘80s, and then came up with his smash “hillbilly rock” hits of the ‘90s. The four time Grammy-winner, platinum recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, country music memorabilia preservationist, stylist, designer, photographer, songwriter, all around renaissance man, charismatic force of nature, and (first of all, perhaps), leader of the extraordinary, versatile touring and recording band The Fabulous Superlatives, Stuart has shown a showman’s zest for every conceivable flavor of country music. Not to mention, a missionary’s zeal for bringing the importance of the music and its themes home to long-time fans and newcomers alike. If you love county music, don’t miss one-of-a-kind showman, Marty Stuart, at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center.