Heritage Center opening, Isaacs concert are among events planned for weekend
May 16, 2013 | 917 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Isaacs will be singing Friday evening for the Evening Shade concert.
The Isaacs will be singing Friday evening for the Evening Shade concert.
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Special to the Banner

The weekend is gearing up to be a busy one with the opening of a new museum, a concert, a festival and the Civitan’s Special Olympics planned.

Friday afternoon an open house will be held for the new Hiwassee River Heritage Center Phase I. From 2 to 6 p.m., residents may view the new center, located on Highway 11 in Charleston.

On Friday, the Evening Shade concert series returns to Johnston Park.

The concert, hosted by The Allied Arts Council of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission and local sponsors, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the downtown park.

The third concert in the series will feature Southern gospel music favorites — the Isaacs.

The Isaacs, an award-winning family heard often on the Gaither Homecoming Videos and Concert Series and in performances at the Grand Ole Opry, have been singing together 30 years. Based in LaFollette, their unique style “marries bluegrass harmonies and instrumentation with modern Southern Gospel lyrics.” Their musical influences come from a wide spectrum of music genres, including bluegrass, rhythm and blues, folk, contemporary acoustic, and Southern Gospel.

“As soon as this year’s lineup for Evening Shade was announced, we began receiving calls about when The Isaacs were going to appear,” Nancy Neal, Chamber vice president for communications, reported. “We believe The Isaacs will draw a huge crowd, so we encourage folks to come early to get a seat.”

Lily Fishman Isaacs, a vocalist and matriarch of the group, was born in Germany after World War II to two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. She grew up in the Bronx, studying theater, performing on Off Broadway, and recording her first album in 1968 on Columbia Records with her friend as “Lily and Maria.”

Raised in a Jewish home, she became a Christian in 1971. She made the decision to serve God with her music and along with the Isaacs’ patriarch, Joe, began the foundation of the Isaacs.

Ben Isaacs is a vocalist, songwriter and upright bass player. The only son and the oldest of the three children, he spends much of his off time in the studio producing and playing bass on numerous other artists’ albums. He arranges many of the Isaacs’ songs and is their sound technician on tour.

The middle child is Sonya. She is a vocalist, songwriter and mandolin player. She has co-written many of the Isaacs’ hit songs, including “From the Depths of My Heart” (with Ben), “Stand Still” (with Rebecca) and “Thank You.” Sonya also has recorded two projects for Lyric Street Records in Nashville.

The youngest daughter is Becky Isaacs Bowman. She is a vocalist, songwriter and guitar player. She has recently stepped out as a songwriter, co-penning recent singles such as “Stand Still,” “He Understands My Tears,” and “I Come in the Name of the Lord” (all co-written with Sonya).

John Bowman is a vocalist and a guitar, banjo and fiddle player. Although on stage he plays a few instruments, he is gifted to play many other instruments. In 1994 John married Rebecca and became a full-time member of the Isaacs. In 1997 he was called into the ministry to preach the gospel and spends much of his time speaking at churches and using his talents to help other artists record.

The concert is free to the public.

n Rainy weather postponed the Civitan’s 30th annual Special Olympics April 27. The ceremonies were reset for Saturday at Cleveland High School.

Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with invocation, welcome, parade and lighting of the flame.

Participating schools include Bradley and Cleveland High, Polk County High, Lake Forest Middle, Cleveland Middle, E.L. Ross Elementary, Stuart Elementary, Waterville Elementary, LUDIC and Life Bridges.

Events include softball throw, 50-meter race, standing broad jump, 25-meter walk and wheelchair, 100-meter dash and others.

Individuals wishing to serve as encouragers as the athletes take on the challenges should attend as “fans in the stands.”

n To honor the German celebration of spring, Maifest will be returning to First Street Plaza Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Montessori Kinder’s school. This year the school is collaborating with the Nancy Lieberman Foundation and Boys & Girls Cubs of Cleveland to raise the funds for a DreamCourt, a basketball court. A goal of $35,000 has been set to begin construction on the DreamCourt.

The Maifest will offer Bavarian and American food, drink and music.