East Texas Symphony presents ‘Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant’

Narrating "Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant" with the East Texas Symphony was an opportunity to share my love of the performing arts with young audiences.

Narrating “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” with the East Texas Symphony was an opportunity to share my love of the performing arts with young audiences.

Have you ever heard of a “Zipperpotamus,” a “Panthermometer,” or a “Pop-Up Toadster?” These imaginative animals come to life illustrated in the children’s book, “Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant” were brought to life in the East Texas Symphony’s Family Concert on Saturday, February 27.

I had the great privilege of serving as narrator for the poetry, written by Jack Prelutsky, which inspired the musical arrangement composed by Lucas Richman.

The concert in Tyler’s Liberty Hall featured many of the Symphony’s resident performers: concertmaster Mark Miller on violin, Zachary Mansell on cello, Rebecca Wenck on clarinet, Andrew Merideth on horn and Maria Guénette on piano. Continue reading

Remembering a pioneer in East Texas television history

Hudson Collins, the first chief engineer of KLTV, has died at age 94.

This week, we learned of the passing of KLTV’s first chief engineer, Hudson Collins, who lived a long life of 94 years. While I never had the opportunity to meet him, I’m fascinated by many of the details of his pioneering career.

An engineer is an important position in any television station, but he holds the distinction of being a true pioneer in local television.

After speaking with his family, former colleagues, and even the workers at a Whataburger restaurant, I quickly developed great admiration for “Hud,” as he was known. Continue reading

Advice from a 105-year-old with no intent of slowing down

Advice from a 105-year-old with no intent of slowing down

Northwestern State University’s oldest living graduate, Earline Andrews, turned 105 on Wednesday. We attended NSU nearly 75 years apart.

What a privilege and honor it was Wednesday morning to visit with Tyler resident Earline Andrews on her 105 birthday. She happens to be the oldest living graduate of my alma mater, Northwestern State University! I don’t think she could have been more delighted when we arrived with a beautiful bouquet of flowers on behalf of NSU and balloons from our KLTV morning team.

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the stories from her time at ‘old Normal,’ short for the college’s former name, Louisiana State Normal College. Andrews explained that Natchitoches, Louisiana has earned a special fondness in her heart. She recalled sleeping on the porch of the girls dorm during warmer months, the plantation bell that signaled the start of each school day, and vivid memories of the famous Christmas lights that adorn the downtown riverbank. Continue reading

Wildly popular ‘The Art of the Brick’ exhibit opens at Tyler Museum of Art

Thousands of people are expected to wind their way through an exhibition featuring thousands of LEGO bricks arranged into 25 large-scale sculptures at the Tyler Museum of Art.Wildly popular 'The Art of the Brick' exhibit opens at Tyler Museum of Art

The Art of the Brick, a global-touring exhibit by Nathan Sawaya, is being hosted at the museum on the campus of Tyler Junior College through September 13.

Opening weekend, the exhibit broke museum records for attendance on an opening day, single-day, and opening weekend.

The Art of the Brick is such a popular exhibition because the artist uses a familiar childhood toy to create powerful and engaging sculptures,” TMA Executive Director Chris Leahy said in a news release. “Children and adults are instantly captured by the creativity and design of these human forms. We’ve gotten calls from as far away as Tuscaloosa, Ala., asking when they can see this show.” Continue reading

Theology on Tap serves up Bible study with a twist

The Tyler-area men’s group ‘Theology on Tap’ is catching on with East Texas, drawing as many as 70 attendees each month.

A Christian men’s group in Tyler is reaching out the faithful in an unlikely way, through Bible study with a twist. Theology on Tap provides fellowship and conversations about faith and spirituality in a casual setting.

Rev. Justin Braun, a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, helped start the group in 2012. “We’re East Texas men. We like beer. You know, and we like to talk about Jesus. So, we can do those things together.”

Once a month, the group meets at various restaurants in the Tyler area, with as many as 70 men participating. Organizer Nathan Ihrig said the idea was to create a relaxed environment, while offering meaningful discussion. “Guys are more willing to come and enjoy a beer or two and eat and listen and ask questions.” Continue reading

Legendary musician B.B. King sings the blues for East Texas audience

BB King

Lane and blues legend B.B. King after his concert in Tyler.

It’s not every day one of the most prolific musicians of the modern era performs in East Texas. Living legend B.B. King performed Thursday night in front of a crowd of hundreds at Tyler’s Caldwell Auditorium.

Fans were treated to a trip through decades of musical magic from the moment the 87-year-old strapped on his guitar named “Lucille,” an instrument that has become a celebrity itself. King’s stage presence commanded the audience’s attention from the very first riff. The performance wasn’t simply a mix of blues, rhythm, jazz, and pop. This master of his craft included stories of life experiences and past performances in between sets, including a little humor.

Thursday’s selected song list exposed fans to a sampling of some of King’s most recognized and favorite hits, including “The Thrill is Gone,” the 1970s single that made Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs. Continue reading

E. Texas priest awaits ordination as bishop of Tyler diocese

Bishop-elect Joseph Strickland with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

In the two months since the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI had chosen a local priest to become the fourth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Reverend Monsignor Joseph E. Strickland has kept a whirlwind schedule.

Through his blog, “Run Father Run,” Bishop-elect Strickland has provided an inside look at his latest spiritual journey that began with his appointment on September 29. Frequent posts have detailed trips across the country for meetings with other Church leaders, guiding the spiritual growth of East Texans through retreats and services, and even dedicating a new church. Continue reading

Time to rise & shine with Good Morning East Texas

Time to rise & shine with Good Morning East TexasTonight was my final East Texas News at Six broadcast on KTRE. Starting next week, I’ll be embarking on a new adventure, anchoring the Emmy Award-winning Good Morning East Texas on KLTV and KTRE.

This is an opportunity I’m excited about and I hope you will be too!  Moving to Tyler is bittersweet, especially with all the friendships and connections I’ve made in Deep East Texas over the last four-and-a-half years, but this is a tremendous chance to grow professionally and personally.

I sincerely appreciate each of you welcoming us into your homes each night for that standing appointment to have a conversation about what’s happening in our community. Continue reading